Casseroles · Family Favorites · My Roots

Beef Macaroni Skillet–blast from the past!

Beef Macaroni Skillet, a  one skillet meal, was a regular menu item when my children were young.  It was a quick meal that I could put together after work.  I haven’t made it in over 20 years and it was a fun walk down memory lane.

My older daughter, Megan, and her girls were here to experience it.  Megan didn’t remember it but liked it as did her two year old daughter.  The five year old didn’t care for it, but then again, she’s in a phase of only liking what she knows.

The original recipe card is in my handwriting, probably around the age of 11 or 12, when I started my recipe box.  It’s funny to look back at it and find humor in the reference to ‘this main dish’.


1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups tomato juice (add more if it becomes too dry)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

  • Brown beef and onion in a skillet.  Drain fat.
  • Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered, until the macaroni is cooked, about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally while cooking to prevent from sticking.
Breakfast · Family Favorites · New Traditions

Big Country Breakfast Bread Pudding

Breakfast casseroles are always a treat and easy peasy when you make it the night before.  This casserole has a wonderful cream cheese surprise in many bites.  Why have I never thought of that?

Serve this dish with a wonderful fruit bowl, a cup of hot coffee (or tea), and great conversation.


1 loaf Brioche bread, cubed (I used French Bread)
1 cup heavy cream (I used half & half)
1 /2 cup milk
9 eggs
4 oz. can chopped green chiles
2 c. + 1 c. shredded sharp white cheddar (or any shredded cheese of your liking)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
10 oz. browned breakfast sausage (optional)
5 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or 1 tsp. McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning)

  • Spray a 9×13″ extra deep baking dish and place 1/2 to 2/3 of the bread cubes in the dish.
  • Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl, add cream, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.  Reserve 1 to 1.5 cups of mixture and pour remaining over the bread cubes.
  • Spread green chiles on top of bread. Sprinkle with 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Lightly press the bread down to aid in absorption of the egg mixture.  Top with cream cheese, sausage and bacon, if desired.
  • Top with remaining bread and pour reserved egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, if desired.
  • The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake on middle rack for 45-55 minutes or until the center is firm. Cover the bread pudding with foil about halfway through the cooking time and remove for the last 5 minutes or so.
  • Serves 12.

Recipe adapted from



Cakes · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from

    Family Favorites · Holidays · Meats

    Roast Beef Perfection…Centerpiece of Holiday Parties

    What says the holidays better than a delicious Prime Rib or Cross Rib Roast with Horseradish sauce. The original recipe for closed door cooking of the Prime Rib came from Colorado Cache Cookbook, still my all-time favorite cookbook.  We have served this recipe many times, always a big hit.


    This time, however, the balsamic vinegar and rub were new and I loved the results.


    1 Prime Rib or Cross Rib Roast, any size
    3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
    3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
    2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems and chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, removed from stems and chopped
    1 tablespoon coarse sea or kosher salt
    Freshly-ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place Prime Rib in roasting pan and brush with Balsamic vinegar.  Make a paste of the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Rub paste mixture over the roast.


    • Place roast in oven and cook for 1 hour.  Turn the oven off and KEEP THE OVEN door closed.
    • 45 minutes before serving, turn the oven to 300 degrees. Remove from oven and rest for 5-10 minutes.  The roast will be juicy medium-rare and perfect every time. If you like your Prime Rib cooked to medium, just add 15-20 minutes to the initial cooking time.

    Horseradish Sauce

    1 cup sour cream
    1 tablespoon grated onion
    1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    3 teaspoons prepared horseradish

    • Stir together and refrigerate until serving time.

    Recipe inspired by Colorado Cache Cookbook and What’s Cooking America

    Appetizers · Family Favorites · Holidays

    Snowman Cheese Dip

    During the holidays there are so many parties and potlucks and it’s fun to make something that people remember. Charlene, an AT&T co-worker, shared this recipe several years ago after she brought this to one of our office potlucks.

    The first time I made it, I had the snowman standing upright. Big mistake, no one wanted to dip into it and have Mr. Snowman tumble. Give Mr. Snowman a rest on a platter and surround him with crackers.  He’ll be a big hit!

    Snowman Cheese


    1 tub whipped cream cheese
    2-8 ounce bars cream cheese
    4 ounces dried beef, chopped
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon horseradish
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    bunch of green onions

    • Mix cream cheese bars and chopped dried beef.  Add chopped green onions (white part only). Blend in garlic, horseradish and parsley.
    • Form into 3 balls (small, medium and large) using waxed paper.  Stack into snowman shape using a toothpick to attach. (NOTE:  I lay the snowman down on the platter)
    • Spread whipped cream cheese over snowman using wet knife. Garish and serve with crackers, carrots, pretzels.


    • rosemary branches or broken pretzel twists for arms
    • black olives cut into pieces for mouth & buttons
    • tiny baby carrot for nose
    • dried cranberries for halo
    • piece of red pepper for heart
    • green onion tops for scarf
    Family · Family Favorites · Pastas

    Microwave Mac & Cheese…endorsed by my two year old Grandson

    My Grandson, Evan, loves Mac & Cheese. I’m not fond of the boxed variety and I didn’t want to make a huge batch since I typically don’t typically eat gluten.

    I tried this recipe and was pleased with the results. He ate every bite! My taste test confirms it was delicious. It’s easy, cheaper than boxed, and so much better!

    Microwave Mac ‘N Cheese

    1/2 cup macaroni
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 finely grated cheddar cheese

    • Combine macaroni and milk in an oversized, microwavable container (I used a pryex 2 cup measuring cup).  Microwave for 1 minute on high.  Stir the ingredients and cooked another minute and stir again. Continue this process until noodles are cooked through.
    • Remove from the microwave and stir in cheese until melted.


    Gluten Free · New Favorite · Poultry

    Crock Pot Chicken Cream Cheese Chile

    Crock pot meals are the best…easy with so many options.  I love the Salsa chicken recipe that daughter, Megan, shared with me a while ago.  This recipe sounded very similar but with the addition of cream cheese.  YUM!

    I used almost 2 pounds of chicken strips vs. the 2 chicken breasts called for.  It was delicious but in the future I would use about 1 pound of chicken for this recipe. Great over rice, in a burrito, over a baked potato…or invent your own combination!


    2 chicken breasts, still frozen
    1 can Rotel tomatoes
    1 can corn kernels, do not drain
    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 small can mild green chiles
    1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
    1 T cumin
    1 t chili powder
    1 t onion powder
    1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

    • Put the chicken in the crock pot.
    • Top with the tomatoes, corn, the drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chile powders.
    • Stir to combine, then top with the cream cheese.
    • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese.
    • Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice. Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
    Family · Family Favorites

    Potato Bacon Chowder…Family Fave!

    Potato Bacon Chowder is officially a family favorite, shared with me by my sister Carolyn. It’s a quick fix for a weeknight meal and GREAT as leftovers. Need I say more?


    8 slices bacon (cut in 1 inch pieces)
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    2 cups cubed potatoes
    1 cup water
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 3/4 cups milk
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    dash of pepper
    2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)

    • Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
    • Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

    • Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk.
    • Add salt, pepper and parsley.
    • Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
    Family · Family Favorites

    Easy Peasy Oven Fried Chicken

    One of the great cookbooks I received when I was newly married was Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook (love the $2.95 price tag).Dinner for two cookbook

    A favorite recipe that I still refer to is the Oven-Fried Chicken.  I love fried chicken but I don’t enjoy standing over the stove cooking it.  This recipe has the flavor of a true fried chicken but with the simplicity of baking in the oven.


    1/4 cup shortening or salad oil
    1/4 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 tablespoon paprika
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces

    • Heat oven to 425 degrees. In oven melt shortening in baking pan.
    • Mix flour, salt, paprika, pepper in plastic or paper bag; shake chicken, 2 or 3 pieces at a time in bag until coated.
    • Place chicken skin side down in pan.
    • Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Turn chicken, bake until tender, 15 to 30 minutes longer.

    2 Servings

    Family Favorites

    Seafood Chowder for a cold winter’s night!

    Seafood Chowder is so easy and so delicious! I love recipes that are easy to prepare and contains items in your pantry and freezer.  This Chowder fits the bill. My friend and former co-worker, Cyndi, shared this with me a few years ago and it’s a regular on my winter menu.

    Hope you enjoy as much as I do!



    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1 large potato chopped small (or 10 or 12 red new potatoes)
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Fresh ground pepper to taste
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 cups chicken broth (equals 1 can plus some water)
    1/2 cup cream (or evaporated milk)
    1 can corn (drained)
    1 can chopped clams with juice
    1/2 lb. Tilapia – cut into bite size pieces (
    1/2 lb. Shrimp peeled and cut into bite size pieces

    • Sauté onion, celery, potato in butter for 5 min. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add chicken broth, Worcestershire, and thyme and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 min)
    • Add clams with juice, fish and shrimp.  Cook over med heat about 10 min
    • Add can of corn and cream, season with pepper to taste, heat to serve immediately.

    It serves 4 smaller serving bowls or 2 large servings as main meal.