"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Baked Oatmeal

My sweet Cameron loves oatmeal for breakfast in all forms.  This is a recipe I have been making since 2003. My kids love it. I love that it has 7 grams of protein, 48.8g carbohydrates (not a favorite for carb watchers), and has 3.4 g fiber per serving.  Serving this to my children makes me feel like I am giving them something that it will stay with them unlike cold cereal when I send them off to school .  It is good in the winter as a warm welcome on a cold morning to start of the day.  It can be made ahead, covered in the fridge, and simply reheat as needed throughout the week.  Mine never last longer than one day; two if I am lucky!


Preheat oven to 375.
Spray your 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine in a medium bowl.
4 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
3/4 -1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
2 Tablespoon pecans
3 cups milk

Combine in a separate bowl
1/2 cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
cooking spray

Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture; stir well.  Pour oat mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown and the center of the oatmeal looks set.
Yields 10 servings (serving size 2/3 cups)

*If you half the recipe use a 8 x 8 pan.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Roast

I served this at the hospital party last Christmas and it got the same rave reviews from that crowd as it did my family.  I love Jamie Cook’s It Up blog I get many keeps from her kitchen.

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Roast

Time: 10 minutes prep + 4-6 hours cooking
Yield: 6 servings
Recipe from Let's Dish via Pinterest

1  2 pound pork loin
1 t sage
1/2 t salt
1/4/ t pepper
1 t garlic
1/2 C water

1/2 C brown sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C water
2 T soy sauce

1. Place your pork roast on a pan, or plate. 
2. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and garlic. Press the seasonings into the pork roast. Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray. Place the seasoned pork roast inside and pour the water along the edges of the roast. 
3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6, depending on how hot your crock pot cooks things. You are looking for an internal temperature of 180 degrees. 
4. In a small sauce pan, combine the glaze ingredients. Bring it to a boil while stirring and let the sauce thicken. (Should only take a couple of minutes.)
5. Drizzle some of the glaze over the top of the roast and let it cook for another 30 minutes. 
6. Remove the roast from the crock pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Slice it thinly, drizzle the remaining sauce over the top and your are ready to eat. It's fabulous served with rice and a green veggie...or with roasted vegetables

I (Jill) serve this with the glaze on the side. 

SIDE: Seasonal Steamed Veggies or Roasted Carrots (2 Tablespoons melted butter. Salt and Pepper to taste) Quick steam them in the microwave then roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until tender.

Slow Cooker Upside-Down Chicken Pot Pie

This a favorite at our house, but how can you go wrong with a classic like Chicken Pot Pie?
My kids give this recipe a 5 Star rating; I have been making it for a couple of years now and can't believe I couldn't find it when I came searching on my blog for it.  I love this classic comfort food and that I can throw my chicken thighs in frozen and still have it done in 6-7 hours on low.
Make your favorite biscuit.  I usually use Bisquik because it keeps things simple, but any favorite biscuit will act like the crust if you will.  Split the biscuit and place in bowl and spoon some of the hearty stew over the top. Or if you are filling extra motivated you could bake pasty puff shells in place of the biscuits.  It's even good without biscuits if you don't have time to get to them.

Slow Cooker Upside-Down Chicken Pot Pie

1 1/4 pound of boneless chicken thighs (3 Costco size thighs)
1/2 cup chopped onions (Instant onions could be used here 1 Tablespoon. I prefer fresh always)
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 jar (18 oz) chicken or Turkey gravy or 2 envelope pouches made as instructed on package
2 medium celery stalks, diced
Add the last 15 minutes of cooking:
1 (12 oz) bag of your favorite frozen mixed vegetables

Place the chicken in a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. Top with onions, bay leaf, pepper and gravy.  Place celery on gravy.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. (If you have an older crock pot it may take 8-10 hours just check your chicken to make sure it is cooked through).

About 30 minutes before serving, make and bake your biscuits.  Meanwhile, gently stir in frozen vegetables into the chicken mixture.  Increase heat to high setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Serve with your favorite biscuits as preferred- over the top or on the side whatever makes the crowd happy.  My in-laws like this served over mash potatoes. Its versatile.

MAKES 8 (3/4 cup each) SERVINGS

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I got from Betty Crocker Kitchens

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homemade Granola Bars

This recipe was recently shared at a recipe/menu exchange group I created a year ago called My Girlfriends Kitchen.  It is a group that shares our tried and true favorite recipes based around a chosen theme for the month.  The month of September I thought I need new ideas for home lunches for school and after school snacks.  Many great ideas were shared, but this one was my favorite! Annette is a fabulous cook and baker and cake decorator extraordinaire.  Check out her blog to see for yourself.   http://www.violetscustomcakes.blogspot.com/

Homemade Granola Bars—Annette Moss

1 cup sugar (granulated or brown)
1 cup corn syrup or honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter)

Stir until combine


2-3 cups old fashioned oats
2-3 cups rice krispy cereal

Combine and add more oats if needed.  (More oats make it drier/crunchier, less oats makes it chewier).

At this point stir in whatever you want like:

Chocolate chips
PB chips
Pretzel pieces
Graham crackers/ Marshmallows/ and chocolate chips s’mores flavor

Line 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper so it comes up to the sides.  Dump granola bar mix into the pan. Press flat and cut into bars. Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.  (If they last that long!)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Jell-O Marshmallow Fondant

Jell-0 Marshmallow Fondant adapted from a recipe I found
last year for regular fondant (see post about Elsa cake) and 
one off of pintrest this year for Jell-O fondant.  I am not one to 
eat much of the fondant on any cake, but this jello version is 
probably my favorite. I love the different flavors it had; so
did the kids and guest.  Very little fondant on the cake made it to the trash.  

I am a frosted cake kind of girl, but I sure love the way a
fondant cake looks. I have to say if you ever bawk at what a 
cake decorator charges, don’t this little cake took me at least
$20 in supplies, baking and building time, time to freeze it
before crumb layer of frosting, then 8 hours to roll, just, and 
place the fondant.  You do the math! I think that their prices 
are probably not as bad as you think!  Why do I make my own 
then you ask? I was asking the same question as I was 
putting this together.  I do it because I love seeing the reaction 
on my kids face when they see the final product or the time it 
gives us to work on something together making a memory.

Jill's version of Jell-O Marshmallow Fondant
3 oz Marshmallows Microwave about 30-35 seconds
1/4 lb Powdered Sugar (4-4 1/2 oz)
4 tsp. Jello Mix
1/2 tsp. water 
After water and marshmallow have been heated together Add 

1/2 teaspoon Extract flavor of choice. (Vanilla or Coconut is what I use.) 
1/2 tsp corn syrup

*I actually measure powdered sugar and Marshmallows on my kitchen scale so that each batch turns out exactly the same.  If your fondant seems too wet no big deal just need in more powdered sugar.  It is always going to take what it takes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Salted Caramel Granola

I love granola! I love making it for my family and friends. I came upon this recipe when I was searching for some recipes for a special shower I was hosting at my house for a friend of mine who was a surrogate mother for her dear cousin.  One special gal! So I wanted this shower to be simple yet have a variety.  I made several homemade granolas and this one took the prize. It is more like a treat than it is a tree hugging "granola" snack.  Probably why everyone devoured it.  Its a keeper for sure!



4 cups oats
½ cup flax seeds (optional)
⅛ cup chia seeds (optional)
1 cup pecans
1 cup of pretzels
½ cup honey
½ cup of coconut oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ stick of butter
½ cup of brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet or use a silicone baking sheet.
2 Mix together the oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, pecans, and pretzels.
3 In a saucepan, bring the honey, coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil.
4 Allow to cool then mix together with the dry ingredients.
5 Press the mixture onto your cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes,or until it starts to turn golden brown.
6 Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.
7 While its cooling, bring the brown sugar, butter and milk or cream to a boil on the stove stop. Whisk constantly.
8 Allow to boil for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
9 Pour over the granola and place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
10 Remove, let cool and break into pieces!

11 Enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Apples with Toffee Dip

I was introduced to this yummy fall treat years ago when we were grad students in Connecticut. Our dear friend Lynnette was such a gourmet cook that it was always great when she shared something so simple like this that I could put together. She has inspired me to learn more about cooking and enjoying it over the years of our friendship. Here is her recipe word for word:

Every time I make this I get requests for the recipe, so here it is. I know it seems a little pampered chef-like, but I promise it's really good. Don't use fat free cream cheese because it turns into a watery mess. Also, the toffee bits will eventually dissolve, so you might want to wait to stir them in at the last minute. 

¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce block) 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
¾ cup toffee bits
apples for dipping

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add toffee bits, mix well. Cover and chill.