Recipe: Graham Cracker Éclair Pastries

These Graham Cracker Éclair Pastries are so impressive… your guests will never know just how easy it was to make it… unless you tell them…. and by the way.. why wait for guests? ... Treat your family to a delicious dessert!

This recipe was adapted from a JELL-O recipe found in Holiday Desserts No. 29. The original recipe made this as a cake in an 8 x 8 pan. Frankly I found it difficult to get the pieces out looking good, so I decided to make them as individual pastries.

The original recipe mixed Cool Whip Whipped Topping into the pudding. I know this recipe is “semi-homemade” … but I felt my Chantilly Cream gave this a better flavor and a more homemade custard flavor.

And finally, I did decide to use canned Milk Chocolate Frosting instead of making my own to save some time and work. You can make homemade frosting if you prefer.


I highly recommend you use whole milk, it will give the instant pudding a creamier and richer flavor… after all this is a pastry.

You absolutely need to refrigerate this at least 3 hours before finishing this up and serving. It needs time to soften the graham crackers so you don’t have a mess trying to cut into it with a fork.

I figure 2 pastries per person.

I hope you treat yourself to this delicious dessert!


Recipe: Graham Cracker Éclair Pastries

All you need:

Honey Maid Grahams, broken in half
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 can Milk Chocolate Frosting

For the Chantilly Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

All you need to do:

To make the Chantilly Cream:

In a large mixing bowl beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until fairly stiff peaks form. Set aside.

To make the pudding:

In another large mixing bowl, beat the instant pudding and milk for 2 minutes. Let the pudding stand for 5 minutes.

Fold in the Chantilly Cream.

To assemble:

Spread some pudding mixture on 2 graham crackers (half size).

Put one on top of the other.

Repeat for each pastry. Adding another graham cracker on top of each.

Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Spread milk chocolate frosting on the graham crackers on top.

Recipe: Mini Jelly Filled Muffins

These delicious little muffins are so easy to just pop in your mouth… they’re addictive! … the light and airy texture with the sweet jelly center and cinnamon sugar topping makes these a little like a cross between a donut and muffin.

These delightful muffins are a terrific addition to a special breakfast or buffet. They go together quickly and bake quickly.

The recipe uses self rising flour. If you recall a while back I did a post that was devoted information about self rising flour… If you need information about it… click here to go to my post What is Self Rising Flour?.

I was on the hunt for new recipes specifically using self rising flour. I was out of flour recently and ran to the store for some and grabbed self rising flour instead of all purpose flour. I use self rising flour for some recipes I have but only purchase it when I intend to make them… so I figured it was a good time to try some new recipes. Self rising flour is especially good when making muffins, they seem to rise perfectly and look perfect.

The recipe is from Muffins Galore by Catherine Atkinson. The batter is made a bit unusually and really does need a few tips for success.


The butter needs to be soft. Not to be the Goldilocks of butter… but you need it soft not hard, but not too soft. You want it soft but still with a little shape to it when holding it.

I used a fork to press the butter through the flour. You need to be a bit patient, just keep pushing the butter through the flour with the fork, scraping it off the fork and repeating until it’s well mixed and resembles little crumbs… like those you find on a crumb bun.

Make sure your baking powder is not expired.

I use a wire whisk to mix the flour and the baking powder so it mixes evenly. I also use a whisk to mix the sugar and cinnamon to evenly distribute the cinnamon throughout the sugar for the topping.

Use whole milk, otherwise the batter will get too thin.

The batter will be lumpy… mix it well with a spoon but you will see lumps, they should be butter lumps not flour lumps.. flour lumps “explode” when you stir it with a spoon.

I highly recommend you don’t do as I did…. geesh sounds like my Mother talking… use paper liners for these… I know my little muffins are cute but quite a number of them stuck to the pan… (more for the cook)… the jelly tends to sink and stick…. even after greasing a non-stick pan.

I used a sugar spoon from my cutlery set to put the batter into the muffin tin. One spoonful of batter… then a ¼ teaspoon (measuring spoon) of jelly then another spoonful of batter. Mine were filled ¾ full and rose perfectly.

Any flavor jelly will work… I used seedless raspberry jelly and cherry preserves… both worked well.

The original baking time was listed as 8-10 minutes, mine needed 11-12 minutes. They are light in color but were extremely light in color at 8 minutes. At 11 minutes they were very fragile but done… barely done but done… I think 12 minutes was best… test yours by touching the top and seeing if it springs back and by color..

The original recipe used 4 tablespoons of melted butter for the topping.. I had quite a bit left so I cut the recipe to 3 tablespoons.

This recipe makes exactly 36 mini muffins.

I hope you enjoy these!


Recipe: Mini Jelly Filled Muffins

All you need:

For the batter:

1 2/3 cup self rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the topping:

¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line the mini muffin tin with paper liners (see TIPS).

In a large bowl mix together the flour and baking powder.

Cut in the butter using a fork until crumbly.

Add the sugar and mix well with a spoon.

In another bowl, beat the eggs slightly.

Add the milk and vanilla to the eggs and beat with a wire whisk until well mixed.

Add the egg-milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture, stir with a spoon until mixed (see TIPS).

Drop a spoonful of batter into each mini muffin well… then a ¼ teaspoon jelly and then another spoonful of batter (see TIPS).

Bake for 8-11 minutes (see TIPS) until done.

Cool for 2 minutes in the pan then remove them from the pan and cool slightly on a rack (cool enough to handle)

Meanwhile, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a wide bowl (see TIPS).

Brush melted butter on the tops and roll the mini muffin tops in the sugar and cinnamon.

Serve warm.

Recipe: Peaches and Mascarpone Cream Dessert Shooters

I love dessert shooters… they can satisfy after a large meal or be part of a dessert buffet where guests can graze… indulging their sweet tooth over an array of sweet treats…. so I love making up all kinds of combinations… and Peaches and Mascarpone Cream is one of them.

Most people put berries with mascarpone… peaches add a different take on the dessert and I promise you … you won’t be disappointed.


Make sure the mascarpone cheese is softened… you can soften it quickly in the microwave … about 10-15 seconds should do the trick… be careful… microwave ovens vary… keep an eye on it.

Desert shooter glasses are tough to come by… in my opinion… 5 oz. is the perfect size. You can find them in party stores or online. You want either 5 oz. glass or clear hard plastic tumblers. The plastic ones are easier to find and perfect for parties.

I know mascarpone can be expensive, but it is worth every penny.

I use Amaretto in the recipe.. if you want it alcohol free, you can substitute almond extract… start with a teaspoon and adjust to your taste…

I used homemade sugar cookies because it’s what I had… store bought will work fine too…

I used 1 ½ cookies, crumbled, per shooter. I used about 2 tablespoons mascarpone cream and about 2 tablespoons of peach mixture for each.

This recipe should make about 6 shooters.

Try this delicious dessert!


Recipe: peaches and Mascarpone cream Dessert Shooters

All you need:

About 9 sugar cookies, crumbled

For the Mascarpone Cream:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Amaretto
¼ cup heavy cream

For the Peaches:

About 1 cup canned sliced peaches, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon Amaretto
3 tablespoons Polaner Peach All Fruit
Slivered almonds for garnish

All you need to do:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened mascarpone and sugar until fluffy.

Add the Amaretto and the heavy cream. Beat the mixture until creamy.

In a small ramekin or bowl, heat the Polaner Peach All Fruit in the microwave for 5 seconds on high in the microwave, stir and heat for another 5 seconds, stir well.

In another bowl, mix together the heated all fruit and chopped peaches. Add the Amaretto and stir.

To Assemble:

Place about 1 ½ crumbled cookies in each glass.

Top with about 2 tablespoons of Mascarpone Cream and then top the cream with 2 tablespoons of the peach mixture.

Sprinkle with slivered almonds for garnish.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Recipe: Crab Alfredo Sauce

We went out for supper recently and Crab Alfredo was on the menu. Warren jumped at the chance to order it… honestly I hadn’t thought about adding crab to Alfredo Sauce until he ordered it. The creamy Alfredo Sauce with the sweet crab flavor… a winner of a combination.. for sure.

Alfredo Sauce can be very heavy and admittedly, fat laden. So I made a few changes to the recipe to lighten it up a bit without sacrificing the texture and flavor.

Recently I posted a Philly Alfredo Sauce by Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese and decided to adapt it.


Last month in my speed shopping in the grocery store, I grabbed what I thought was Half and Half cream, only to get home and realize I grabbed Fat Free Half and Half. It must have been fate, because I discovered it really worked well in recipes without anyone noticing the substitution… so I now use it a lot in my recipes. I highly recommend you try it.

If you substitute milk for the Half and Half, add 1 tablespoon flour to the butter and garlic after you’re done sautéing it. Allow it to cook for a minute to cook off the flour taste and then whisk in the milk, whisking until smooth.

To further cut the fat, you can use a lower fat cream cheese.

Make sure to soften the cream cheese, if you need to soften it quickly, it can be done in the microwave. See my previous post, How to Soften Cream Cheese Quickly.

I did use 1 tablespoon of butter to sauté the garlic, you can substitute a lower fat margarine if you prefer.

Crab tends to be expensive, if you’re on a budget and want to save a little, you can use a “crab substitute”.

Use a good quality Parmesan cheese, it will make a huge difference in the flavor.
This recipe will be enough to make sauce for a pound of pasta, which should serve 4. If you need less, the recipe can easily be cut in half.

Served with garlic bread and a salad, you have an easy and truly delicious meal!


Recipe: Crab Alfredo Sauce

All you need:

1 tablespoon butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ cups Fat Free Half and Half or regular Half and Half cream
8 oz. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened
8 oz. crab meat, flaked
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked pasta

All you need to do:

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.

Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow garlic to scorch, if it looks like it will scorch, turn the heat down.

Add the Half and Half cream and whisk.

Add the softened cream cheese, whisking constantly until smooth.

Whisk in the Parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked pasta.

Recipe: Easy Caprese Tartlets

This easy recipe combines tartlet crusts and the delicious combination of Caprese salad (tomato and fresh mozzarella…. olive oil and fresh basil)… and is a perfect little addition to your appetizer or horś dourves menu. Not only is it easy… you make it ahead.. so no added last minute stress.


Use homemade or commercial pie crusts… whichever you prefer.

Plum tomatoes are easier to seed and work with than other varieties of tomatoes… simply cut in half and use the tip of an ice tea spoon… the seeds remove easily.

I use my medium size biscuit cutter to cut the rounds of pie crust…. My biscuit cutter is approximately 2 ¼ inch in size.

I highly recommend you use fresh mozzarella… it’s so much more flavorful than the packaged hard mozzarella.

Fresh basil works best… I don’t recommend you use dried basil.

For a little variety .. instead of drizzling olive oil in the tomato-mozzarella mixture… why not try using an Italian dressing instead.

The tartlet crust may puff up a bit while baking, that’s fine… they will deflate and will fill just fine with the mixture.

Each pie crust makes 14-16 tartlets.

I hope you try this!


Recipe: Easy Caprese Tartlets

All you need:

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Fresh mozzarella, chopped into very small pieces
Chopped fresh basil
Olive oil
Pillsbury pie crust or homemade pie crust

All you have to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray the mini muffin tins with cooking oil spray and set aside.

On a flat surface dusted with flour, unroll the pie crusts.

Using a biscuit cutter cut the pie crust into small rounds.

Gently push the rounds into the mini muffin tin cups.

Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and cool for a minute.

Gently remove the baked tartlet crusts with a spoon and cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, mix together the tomato and mozzarella in a small bowl.

Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and stir.

Add about 1 teaspoon of tomato cheese mixture into each tartlet crust.

Place a small piece of torn fresh basil on each tartlet.

Champagne Tips

These tips are from the Korbel website…. I thought it would be a good idea to include some information on champagne with New Year’s just around the corner. I hope you find the information helpful.

Store your champagne in a cool, dark area and keep the bottle on its side. Champagne remains good for up to three years.

How much to buy?

Allow six very generous glasses per standard 750 ml. bottle. For a toast or dessert, allow one glass per person. For cocktails or as an aperitif, you may need two per person. For an entire evening, plan on ½ bottle per person.

How to chill champagne

For a large party, you may want to chill your champagne in a bucket of ice cubes instead of a refrigerator. The champagne will chill faster in a bucket or container that is half filled with ice and water and it is considered the best cooling method. It will chill in 30 minutes as opposed to an hour in a refrigerator.

Champagne that has been chilled does not need to remain chilled. As long as the bottle is stored on its side, it can be placed back in the wine rack until ready to be chilled again.

How to open a bottle of champagne

“The popping of a cork may sound festive and exciting, but it does waste champagne. The pop may also be dangerous if it causes the cork to fly. The recommended Korbel way to properly open a bottle is to ease the cork out slowly, with the sound of a gentle sigh.

For the best results in opening, follow these steps:

1. Avoid shaking the bottle. Remove the foil and wire muzzle, keeping your thumb on the cork to prevent it from shooting out of the bottle. Or, wrap a towel around the neck of the bottle, covering the cork.

2. Tilt the bottle at a 45 degree angle while holding the cork firmly with one hand and the base of the bottle with the other. Be sure to point the bottle away from your guests.

3. Do not twist the cork. Rather, twist the bottle slowly while letting the cork glide out gently, emitting a gentle sigh.

4. Never use a corkscrew. A champagne cork is highly compressed. If a corkscrew is inserted at an angle, you may have an exploding bottle in your hand. Exercise caution!”

Fabulous Brunch Foods for the Holiday

I love the holidays... what could be better than celebrating with family and friends... whether it's a breakfast for two or twenty... breakfast or brunch can not only be fun but also easy. There are so many recipes to consider... from foods kids love to adult favorites... many are easy and can be either prepared in advance or at least partially in advance to make the holiday fun and relaxing for the cook too.

Here are some great suggestions for you to consider.. from sweet to savory... there's something for everyone... for sure!

You may want to start off with a little holiday cheer... see some great recipes under the Alcoholic Beverage label and for those of you that want to be alcohol free there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverage recipes to choose from under the Beverage label.

Grilled Mascarpone and Apple Breakfast Sandwich - this knife and fork breakfast sandwich combines the wonderful flavor of apple with dulce de leche, a caramel like sauce ... a perfect combination!

Provencal Eggs - this savory dish is not only beautiful and's easy too! Make the base ahead of time and when its time to make it... reheat it and bake it with the eggs... fool-proof and stress-free! Serve this with a savory muffin and coffee... and you're all set!

French Toast - use fresh bread from the bakery and slice it thick... soaked in a custard-like batter...this classic is always a favorite with kids and adults alike.

Poached Eggs - you can do so much with poached eggs... Eggs Florentine... Eggs Benedict ... served on toasted English muffins with endless varieties of sauces... they make a fabulous presentation... making them in large quantities with an egg poacher is a challenge... so the answer is bake them in a muffin tin... see my post How to Poach Eggs in the Oven for instructions

Southern Sweet Potato Pancakes - you have to love Southern cooks... they have hundreds of family favorite recipes and this is one of them... these light and fluffy pancakes have just a hint of sweet potato flavor.. just heavenly with some maple syrup drizzled over them.

Eggnog French Toast Casserole - what could be better for the holidays than an Eggnog French Toast Casserole? The wonderful flavor of Eggnog and the convenience of a prep ahead breakfast casserole... make sausage or bacon while it bakes.. maybe some scrambled eggs too... a wonderful way to start your holiday off right.

Southwestern Potato Egg Bake - maybe a southwest set of flavors is more your style.. try this easy egg bake.. serve with breakfast potatoes and maybe a sweet and you have yourself an impressive little brunch.

Banana Bread French Toast - Does your family love banana bread? Treat them to this over the top french toast casserole... just delicious!

Cheddar and Chive Scrambled Eggs in a Pastry Shell - want to impress? This recipe maybe the ticket - believe it or not this is a truly easy and foolproof recipe... what a presentation!

Asparagus and Crab Quiche - a quiche is always a great choice to add to a buffet.. they're easy to make and are so pretty.. everyone will think you spent hours in the kitchen...

Quiche Lorraine - maybe a Crab and Asparagus quiche is not a family favorite... don't give up on the quiche idea... just make a different kind... pick flavors your family likes... Quiche Lorraine with ham and Swiss is a universal favorite.

Deviled Eggs - use a decorator gun to make these look just perfect... so pretty...these are not only easy but a prepare ahead food... make it and store it in the fridge... a stress-free addition to a buffet.

Piña Colada Dip for Fruit

Breakfast Bruschetta with Mascarpone & Blueberries

Banana Foster Waffles

Cheese Strata

Spinach Bacon and Onion Frittata

Seasoned Oven Browned Potatoes

Home Fries

Potatoes O’Brien

Consider adding a delicious coffee cake or muffins to the menu... after all... there's always room for a little sweet!

Peach Upside Down Muffins

Sausage and Cheese Muffins - Decide on southwestern foods for your menu? Add these muffins to your food assortment... they go perfectly with savory foods.

German Apple Cake - this delicious breakfast cake... loaded with plenty of apple and cinnamon flavor is a perfect addition to any brunch menu.

Blueberry Streusel Cake

Amaretto Peach Tart

Linzer Torte Bars

Mini Cheesecakes

Bite Sized Fruit Pies

Coffee and Tea..

Coffee and Tea Buying Guide for a Crowd

Tips for Making Coffee for a Crowd

Or even better... end with a specialty coffee drink...

Tia Maria and Coffee Aka Calypso Coffee

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

Recipe: Mexican Chorizo and Eggs Breakfast Burrito

As some of you may know from previous posts… I recently discovered Mexican Chorizo… and fell in love with it…. I love the zippy flavor…

My only complaint and it is a small complaint.. is that it tends to be quite greasy… that problem is easily solved by draining the cooked sausage on paper towels…

I decided to make a breakfast burrito with it one Saturday.. we happily ate our fill of it… a perfect weekend breakfast.


I highly recommend that you drain the cooked sausage on paper towels, as I mentioned earlier.

I used whatever brand of chorizo I found in the hot dog section of the grocery store.

I like to use a combination of red, green and yellow bell pepper… they’re regulars on our grocery list…. you can use all of one or any combination you want…. Keep in mind …. green pepper has a stronger taste than red or yellow….

You can sub frozen hash browns for the fresh potatoes …. When using the fresh potatoes, you want to dice them as small as the frozen ones are.

This recipe will make 4 very large breakfast burritos. I ate one … Warren had two… I would figure most men and teen boys will want two…. just so you can figure quantities when making it.

I hope you enjoy this delicious breakfast!


Recipe: Mexican Chorizo and Eggs Breakfast Burrito

All you need:

2 small links of Mexican chorizo
½ cup diced pepper (red, green and/or yellow) *see Tips
2 medium potatoes, small diced
About a handful of chopped green onion (green and white parts)
6 eggs
Dash of milk
¼ cup finely shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream

All you have to do:

Remove the casings from the chorizo and break up the contents in a hot large skillet… cook over medium high heat until cooked through. Break up any large clumps.

Remove the cooked sausage from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the small diced potatoes to the grease left in the skillet. Toss to evenly coat them.

Cook over medium heat with the lid on… stirring frequently. After about 5 minutes add about ¼ cup hot water to the hot skillet to create steam… replace the lid and allow to cook for a few more minutes.

Remove the lid and add the diced pepper and drained cooked chorizo… stir to mix well…. allow to cook until fairly soft and the potatoes begin to crisp a bit… and are cooked through…. about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.

Pour the egg mixture over the peppers, potatoes and chorizo.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese and chopped green onion over the top.

Cook as you would scrambled eggs.

Serve with large tortillas … and sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Recipe: Easy Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes are extremely easy to make… and oh so elegant… they will surely impress your guests… and the best part? You can make these ahead… in fact… that’s the only way I know how to make them…


Basically you need thick mashed potatoes to make these… not lumpy … creamy but thick…. you don’t want lumps to clog up the decorating tip.

You can use a pastry bag fitted with a flower or star tip. I use my decorating “gun” to press out the potatoes… I find it easier than a decorating bag.

When cutting your potatoes, try and cut the pieces about the same size… so they cook evenly.

Cook the potatoes until cooked but still a bit firm.. not mushy.

There is no reason why you couldn’t flavor your potatoes if you wanted to… such as garlic potatoes.

I use fat-free half and half…. cuts a bit of the fat.. and on one was the wiser.

Definitely freeze these at least overnight… you want them solidly frozen.

These can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.

They really do come off the pan easily… just use a cake spatula and a spoon and gently lift them off the pan unto a plate.

Make sure you take them off the pan when they’re done… otherwise they will get softer on the hot pan.

This recipe will make about 20 Duchess Potato mounds… good sized ones…. I figure about 3 per person.

Impress your family and friends… try making these!


Recipe: Easy Duchess Potatoes

All you need:

6 medium/large potatoes, peeled and cooked
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup half and half
2 egg yolks, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

The egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with a dash of water

All you have to do:

Mash the potatoes, then put them in a large mixer bowl. With the paddle attachment on, beat the potatoes with the butter and half and half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the egg yolks and beat until fluffy.

Load the decorator gun or decorating bag fitted with a flower or star tip.

Cover a small baking sheet with non-stick foil (for easy clean-up).

Squeeze mounds onto the prepared baking sheet.

Freeze until solid and store in airtight containers in the freezer until ready to bake.

When ready to bake…

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Place the frozen potato mounds on the foil and brush with the egg wash.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil and broil until the ends are browned. *Do not leave unattended… they will brown quickly.

Remove from the oven and remove the mounds immediately to a serving plate.

Recipe: Toasted Almond Crunch Topping

This is recipe for Toasted Almond Crunch Topping is another quick and easy recipe… a perfect addition to baked goods…. Cheesecakes… coffee cakes and muffins to name a few…

It’s a great way to jazz up muffins made from a mix… I know… a mix… heavens.. the blog snob is rolling her eyes… but hey.. you and I both know we all use them from time to time…


To toast almonds… preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread evenly whole or sliced almonds on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes … shake the pan or stir with a cooking spoon every 2 -3 minutes. Do not leave unattended… nuts can burn easily. Allow to cool.

I used my mini chopper to finely chop toasted almond slices … about a handful at a time. Don’t fill more than that at a time otherwise the bottom slices will turn to powder and the top ones won’t chop enough.

So here’s this quick and easy topping… that I hope you try on your next batch of muffins.


Recipe: Toasted Almond Crunch Topping

All you need:

¾ cup toasted and finely chopped almonds
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

All you have to do:

Mix together the chopped almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Add the melted butter and mix well.

Sprinkle the topping on muffins, coffee cakes or other baked goods… you can sprinkle it before or after baking…. I usually sprinkle it right after whatever I’m baking comes out of the oven while it’s still hot.

Store any leftover topping in the fridge.

How to Toast Almonds

Toasting nuts is not only easy… it greatly enhances the flavor… perfect for baking.


Try not to have the nuts overlap … I know with sliced almonds that’s difficult… but do the best you can to spread them out. You shake the pan every few minutes or stir with a cooking spoon so they will toast evenly.

I always cover my baking pan with foil… it makes clean-up a snap.

Make sure you keep an eye on them.. nuts tend to burn easily.

So let’s get started!


How to Toast Almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread almonds, whole or sliced evenly over a baking sheet.

Bake until light brown in color… mine took about 10 minutes. Gently shake the pan every 2-3 minutes to ensure even toasting.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

I hope you found this helpful!

Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

I think everyone has heard of and had the famous “Green Bean Casserole” … I know we had it almost every holiday when I was growing up…. what I find surprising…and maybe it’s just my Mother did it slightly differently… but when searching Green Bean Casserole… out of curiosity …. I found the “official” recipe to be different than my Mother’s… not a lot different… just a bit.

We never thinned the canned soup with milk…. and we never added soy sauce…. and we always used canned French style green beans not frozen cut green beans… which appears to be in the Campbell’s Kitchens recipe. So with that said…. here is our recipe for the Classic Green Bean Casserole…


My Mother always used one can of French style green beans drained…. You can use cut green beans… however.. the texture will differ than my recipe.

We always used canned green beans and drained them.. you can use frozen or fresh green beans… some recipes cook them first.. some don’t… I recommend that you cook them first otherwise they will be very chewy…

You can use either 98% fat free or regular condensed cream of mushroom soup.. either will work well.

Depending on how much you want to make…. and how many people you’re feeding… just increase the recipe as needed… it doubles easily.

You can never have too many French’s French Fried Onions.

The Fried Onions now come in a Cheddar Cheese flavor… which I bought by accident and was upset that I didn’t have the regular ones… until I tried it… they’re great!

I hope you like our version of this great classic!


Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

All you need:

1 can French Style green beans, drained

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

French’s French Fried Onions

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together the soup and the drained green beans.

OPTIONAL: You can mix in about ½ cup of Fried Onions.

Pour mixture into a small baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly along the sides.

Sprinkle Fried Onions over the top and return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

How to Bake or Roast a Ham

So you've decided to make a ham for the holiday.... and you've read my post about Choosing the Perfect Ham... now for tips on baking and roasting the ham.... it really is easy... just a few things to remember...

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that I helped ease the stress a bit!

Recipe: How to Bake or Roast a Ham

All you need to do:

Bake at a low oven temperature (325-350 degrees F) (recipes vary on the temperature)… If you’re following a recipe… follow your recipe as to oven temperature and time…otherwise… figure about 20 minutes a pound at 325 degrees F.

The ham is placed cut side down on a flat rack.

Do not overcook ham or it will become dry and tough. Fully cooked ham should be cooked to 140 degrees F. To ensure doneness, use a meat thermometer.

Some things to remember and a few tips...

Although a cured ham doesn’t need additional cooking, baking releases juices that accentuate the flavor while tenderizing the meat.

Some recipes create a “little sauna” by adding liquid to the bottom of the roasting pan (just below the rack with the meat on it) and loosely tenting foil over the meat. This prevents any chance of the meat drying out.

If the label on your ham says “cook before eating”, then cook until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.

When placing a meat thermometer, insert it in the thickest part of the meat and be sure the thermometer is not touching a bone because this can give you a false reading.

Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the ham when trying to turn it because piercing causes valuable juices to escape.

To add extra flavor, apply a glaze to the ham during the last 20-30 minutes of the cooking time. Take care that the glaze does not burn as this will spoil the flavor.

Let the ham rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Looking for More Recipes?

If you are looking for more recipes click the "Older Posts" link to page back to older posts or go to the archives in the right column. The list of labels at the bottom in the right column will help you find specific types of recipes or try our search engine at the top and search by name or ingredient.

What's more comforting on a cold day than Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup? .. and it's so easy to make!

Chicken Noodle Soup