Come on in! Let's talk FOOD!

"Bacon grease makes pretty much anything taste better!" is the local philosophy and I grew up on good, down home country cookin'! Although I've ventured into a healthier way of eating (some of the time) I still enjoy many of the favorites of my childhood. I also have a passion for Italian food and I'm slowly but surely learning the pleasures of cooking with fresh herbs. Here I'll share with you a broad spectrum of recipes...some healthier than others, but all of them guaranteed DELICIOUS! : )

*I have imported posts from my other blog. These posts may involve topics other than food, but they do include recipes or food related information at some point in the post. Future posts to this blog will be more strictly food-related but I did want to include these recipes here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The World's EASIEST Whoopie Pies

I'm not sure when I first made this whoopie pie, but I think it was about 10 years ago. And while this doesn't compare to the ones we get in Ohio Amish Country (I'm sorry, but those just can't be beat!) it's a great substitute. The ingredients are things you'll more than likely find in your own kitchen, so they're great for when you're just wanting something sweet but don't want to go to the store.

World's Easiest Whoopie Pies <-------- Click here to print
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

1 cup marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Roll dough into 1" balls and place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until set. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Combine filling ingredients. Blend well with hand mixer. Spread filling onto bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie. Now how easy was that? These are super rich! And they're always a hit no matter where I take them. Hope you enjoy them, too! : )

*Tips and Tricks*

*I've used many kinds of cake mix with this. With pudding in the mix, without pudding in the mix, dark chocolate, German chocolate, devil's food, you name it.
I've never had a problem with any of them, but my favorite so far has been
Betty Crocker dark chocolate. The cookies stay chewier and the flavor is wonderful.

*Even when a recipe calls for an ungreased cookie sheet, I always use Reynold's Nonstick Foil. Anything to make clean-up a little easier is always the way to go. ; )

*These will store well for a couple of days, but not much more than that.
Put them in a container that seals tightly. You can refrigerate if you want the filling
to be more firmly set, but it may make your cookies a little firmer than you'll like.
You will have some filling left over, but I'll also say that the cookie recipe doubles well. May as well make twice as many and use up all that filling. ; )
(If you do this, you will need to use less filling per cookie than I did in these.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken Casserole

Hard for me to believe that it's been more than 20 years since I first tried this casserole. My friend Carolyn invited us to dinner, served this, and I was immediately smitten. (With the casserole, not Carolyn. ; ) )

Of course I've tweaked it a little over the years. (Ya shocked?) And here is the way I make it now.

Chicken Casserole <------------Click here to print
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 stem of celery, chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 soup cans of milk bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a large soup pot, cover chicken breast with water and bring to a boil. Cook until done. Drain. Cut chicken into cubes and return to pot with green pepper, onion, celery and margarine. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden and onions are translucent. Reduce heat and add soups and milk. Stir until well combined and mixture is heated through. Pour into a casserole dish or baking pan. Top with crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and crumbs begin to turn golden brown. Serve over noodles or rice.
*The original recipe calls for canned chicken (2 cans). If you're rushed or if you just have lots of money to throw around, you can certainly use canned chicken. My family just requests this so often that it's much more affordable to cook my own.

*You can mix it up where the veggies are concerned. The original recipe didn't call for green peppers; just onions and celery. The Hubster hates celery so I usually omit it, and we love green peppers so it made sense to add them. Personally, I like all of it. Don't see why you couldn't even add corn, peas, carrots, etc.

*This time I used Panko bread crumbs because that's what I had on hand. You can also used crushed saltine or Ritz crackers. Seasoned bread crumbs are also a tasty way to top it.

*Serving this over noodles is preferred by everyone in my family. Some folks like it over rice, but I prefer lighter, less rich foods over rice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Creamy Jigglers

Perfect for a Valentine treat!

These are fun. If you have kids, they will love you even more for making these. If you don't have kids, find some to make these for and they will love you.


You will also gain the sincere admiration of various adults with discriminating good taste. Make some and pass them around at the office, a church gathering, or just pick a street corner. See if I'm not right. You'll make all kinds of new friends. ; )

Seriously though, this is such a simple, tasty little treat. Make them with sugar free Jello and sugar free pudding and they're not even terribly fattening!

Adorable Easter eggs!

*I haven't made these recently and won't be making them for a couple of weeks (I always make them for Valentine's Day) but I wanted to get this posted now so you can pick up the necessary ingredients if you'd like to make them for your Valentines, too. The pictures here are ones I found at and not my own. *

Creamy Jigglers
<----- Click here to print
2 1/2 c. boiling water
2 lg. or 4 sm. pkgs. Jello
1 c. cold milk
1 sm. pkg. vanilla instant pudding

Stir boiling water into gelatin. Dissolve completely; cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Pour milk into mixing bowl. Add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly pour into gelatin, stirring with wire whisk until well blended. Pour into 13 x 9 inch pan. Refrigerate until firm (3 hours). To cut jigglers, dip bottom of pan in warm water for 15 seconds to loosen gelatin. Turn chilled mixture onto a cutting board or cookie sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutters or just cut into cubes using a sharp knife. Lift from board or pan and place on serving tray. Keep refrigerated.

Tips and Tricks

*You can very lightly oil the pan to make it easier to remove the Jigglers. VERY lightly. Nobody wants a greasy Jigglers, ya know.

*Let your imagination run wild. Experiment with flavor combinations. I adore these things made with orange Jello. Tastes like a Dreamsicle! Lime works well for St. Patrick's Day. And for the Fourth of July there is even blue Jello to go with the red!

*If you want to make a lot of these and you need to take them somewhere,
simply layer them into a large, deep Rubbermaid or Tupperware container with sheets of waxed paper between the layers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

WV Style Chicken Potpie

I know when I was a kid, chicken potpie was this little tin pie plate of nastiness that came out of the freezer and went into the oven for about 40 minutes. We never had homemade potpies because....well, it just wasn't something any of us liked all that much. 'Nuff said.

Then I married Phil and his mom made chicken potpie quite often. Not gonna lie to ya. The first time we were visiting them and I found out that's what she'd made for dinner, I was less than excited. But never one to be rude about such things, I gave it a try.

And I fell in love!

Much to my husband's dismay, I might add. It still isn't his favorite meal so we don't have it often. But once in a while, I just gotta have it. ; )

Chicken Potpie <------ Click here to print
1 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 lg. boxes or cans of chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 12 oz. bags frozen mixed vegetables
flour and water for thickening
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425*. In small saucepan, cover chicken breast with water and bring to a boil. Cook until done. Drain and cut chicken into cubes or use two forks to shred. Set aside. In large pot heat chicken broth and bouillon cubes to boiling and reduce heat to simmer. Make a thickening with about 3/4 cup flour and enough water to make it pourable. Using a whisk and stirring constantly, pour flour mixture into simmering broth and continue to heat until thickened. Add veggies and chicken.Pour into oblong baking dish (13"x 9" or larger).

Place biscuits on top and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes. Place a piece of foil loosely over biscuits (to prevent over browning) and bake an additional 10 minutes to ensure that biscuits are cooked throughout.

*Biscuits can be homemade or canned. Mine are somewhere in between. ; ) I use a generic mix that is similar to Bisquik. It comes from Save A Lot and it's called Ginger Evans Baking Mix. LOVE this stuff. I use it for pancakes, waffles, biscuits. You name it, this is a great foundation for it. I use this baking mix and some milk, knead it, cut it with my Mama's biscuit cutter and VOILA! Some of the best biscuits ever.
: )

Tips and Tricks

* If you get the broth a little too thick, add a small amount of water or more broth to get it to the desired consistency.

*Before you pour mixture into the baking dish, TASTE IT! This is when you need to add salt or pepper or make any adjustments.

* I use Bird's Eye Steam Fresh mixed veggies. Tastes like you just went to the garden and picked them yourself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kelli's Version of Applebee's Chocolate Chip Sunday Dessert

The Hubster and I grabbed lunch at Applebee's a few days ago. (Ever had their Philly Cheesesteak? HIGHLY recommend it!) Trouble is, like most meals eaten in our favorite restaurants, it left us entirely too full to order dessert.

And Applebee's has this fantastic dessert that we love, too!

Does that not look positively sinfully and delectably delicious?

Yes, I thought so, too.

So I made them for everyone later that evening at home.

Kelli's Version of Applebee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dessert
<-- Click to print

One warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie per dessert
Vanilla ice cream (I prefer vanilla bean)
Hershey's syrup
1 can of whipped cream
Crushed Oreo cookies

I grabbed a roll of Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie dough for my cookies because I was in a hurry, but you could certainly use homemade. While the cookie is still warm, put it on an individual serving plate and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with Hershey's syrup and then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Now sprinkle crushed Oreos over the entire thing and hand it to the person who is drooling over your shoulder, waiting for you to get it done! : )

Applebee's makes theirs the size of a dinner plate and it takes four of us to eat it all! I like this individual serving size, especially when you want to limit how much sugar your kids are taking in at any one setting. ; ) You can make it as small or as large as you like.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THE Bread Dough

The long awaited bread recipe. This is going to be a long post, folks, but please don't let the length of the instructions scare you away! There are two reasons for this:

1. I am wordy by nature.
2. In order to communicate to you the little tricks I've learned throughout the years, I need to explain thoroughly. It just makes things so much easier.

So make it easier on yourself. Learn from my many years of trial and error.

First, the recipe:

Bread Dough <------- Click to print

1/2 cup warm water (about 105* to 115*)
1 packet yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups warm milk

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar and eggs; stir well, then add oil and warm milk. Add about 3 cups of flour and mix. Continue adding flour until you have a dough you can handle. Turn onto a floured surface and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so. While dough is resting, wash out your mixing bowl, dry and then generously oil it. Set aside.

Sprinkle dough with additional flour and begin kneading. Continue kneading, adding flour as needed to keep dough from getting sticky, for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl, then turn dough over so oiled side is up. Cover with a warm, damp towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough and *shape as desired. Allow to rise until doubled, about 40-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400*. Grease pans. For dinner rolls, bake for approximately 12-14 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil loosely over rolls to prevent over-browning and allow to bake an additional 10 minutes or so, or until they're done. Remove from oven and rub or brush tops with butter. For cinnamon rolls, bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and check to see if they're done. Depending upon the size of the pan and the thickness of the rolls, it may take up to 18 minutes.
For loaves, grease loaf pans, shape dough into loaves and bake for 20-30 minutes depending upon size of loaves. You may need to cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Loaves are done when tapping on them produces a hollow sound.

*At this point you can shape into simple rolls, cloverleaf rolls, cinnamon rolls, loaves, etc. This is a multipurpose dough that is delicious no matter how you shape it.

Here is the dough once you've kneaded it and allowed it to rise the first time:
This is the dough rolled out for cinnamon rolls:

Spread with butter/margarine:

Sprinkled with cinnamon:

Brown sugar is added:

And then this is how we roll:

Once it is rolled and you've pinched the edge to seal, it's time to cut the rolls.
A knife makes this messy work. Dental floss makes it quick, neat and easy!
Simply slide the floss under the roll, bring up the sides and crisscross.

Now pull all the way through, producing a clean cut.
How easy was that?
Place rolls cut side down on greased pan.
Place pan in a warm area (I use my oven...NOT turned on, of course.)
Allow to rise for a second time, about 40-45 minutes or so.

Here they are when they're just about ready to pop into a hot oven:
And here they are all golden and yummy.

But wait! We need GLAZE!
Just a simple glaze.
Mix up a couple of cups of confectioner's sugar,
a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and just enough water to make a good drizzle.

And there ya go!

I use this dough for everything. Delicious light rolls, loaves of bread, tea rings, you name it. Something else you can do is this: Once you have spread with butter and sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon, you can also add finely chopped apples. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Talk about yummy! Then roll it up, slice it and bake it.


*Yeast is a living thing. Never add the oil before adding at least a portion of the dry ingredients.
The oil will bind to the yeast and suffocate it, stopping the rising process before it even begins.

*That ten minutes of resting time before you begin kneading the dough can make all the difference in the world in the consistency of your bread.
Impatience can ruin it.

*Be generous with your kneading time. Unlike biscuits, yeast bread likes being handled.
Over-handling or over-kneading will make biscuits tough.
Yeast dough gets smoother and more elastic and reaches perfection
from kneading for at least ten minutes.

*Don't try to make this bread when you are in a hurry. Trust me, you'll be disappointed.
Patience is the most important part of this recipe.
I can't stress that enough.

*Days of high humidity can cause issues, too. I do my best to avoid making bread when it's raining or the humidity is simply through the roof. The dough is sticky, difficult to handle, and the consistency of the finished product suffers, too.

Friday, January 7, 2011


These have been a Christmas tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Their chewy, gooey goodness has always been a huge hit! My Mama Jones was the official Scotcharoo maker and not only did she make a batch for Christmas Eve, she would also always make a batch for my Uncle's birthday a few days before Christmas. Once she got to the point that she could no longer handle stirring and cutting them (it does take some strength!), I took over for her. And I'm happy to say that Uncle Cecil has gotten a batch for his birthday every year since, too! : )

These are truly delicious. When you have a batch in the kitchen, you'll have a hard time walking past them without snitching a nibble! ; )

<---Click here to print
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Butter a 13"x 9" pan. Measure Rice Krispies into a bowl and have them ready to use. In large pot combine sugar and corn syrup. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until coated. Press gently into buttered 13"x 9" pan.

In microwave safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave at 15 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Spread on top of Rice Krispies mixture. Set aside until topping has fully set. Depending upon temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Cut into squares and watch them disappear! : ) Store in airtight container.

Tips and Tricks

*Have a small bowl of cool water at hand when patting into pan.
Dampen hands often. This will not only keep your hands from burning, but will also keep the mixture from sticking to you.

*These will keep for a week to ten days when sealed in an airtight container;
4 or 5 days when just covered with plastic wrap.

*These are ideal for bake sales! When vacuum sealed, they also travel by mail very well.
College students, friends and family who are far from home LOVE them! : )

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mashed Potato Casserole

This was the biggest hit of our New Year's Day dinner. I hadn't made this in YEARS. Back in the mid 1980s my uncle was hosting a formal dinner party and he asked me to do the cooking. I readily agreed and we found a recipe similar to this. I prepared it and everyone loved it! Well, the recipe is long gone...I somehow lost track of it when I moved...but this is the 'Kelli' version of it. ; ) It's a very tasty dish that will please all sorts of palates. The onion and pepper give it some zing while the cheeses make it sinfully rich and delicious! And the egg makes the creamy mixture puff up all fluffy on the inside while the outside gets the most tender, slightly golden crust. Try this. I promise you won't regret it! : )

Mashed Potato Casserole <---Click here to print

10-12 medium to large potatoes
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 stick margarine
salt to taste
1 8 oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 finely chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease an oblong casserole dish (13"x9" or a little larger; I prefer glass) with shortening.

Peel, cut and boil potatoes for mashing. Drain well. Using an electric hand mixer, mash potatoes with margarine, salt, cream cheese, egg and about 1/2 the can of milk. Beat on high speed until smooth. Add more milk if potatoes are not creamy enough, but don't make them runny. Add pepper, onion and about 2/3 of the shredded cheddar. Mix on low speed just until combined. Spread in prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheddar and bake for 40 -45 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and potato mixture is golden around the edges.

Sorry there are no pics but I really didn't have time to snap them before the vultures descended! ; ) Trust me when I tell you it's not only delicious but quite a pretty dish, too.