Veggie Pizza

One of my favorite recipes from my Pampered Chef days...

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of a variety of fresh vegetables: zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, green or red peppers, green onions, seeded tomatoes, seeded cucumbers, etc.
1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spread crescent roll dough onto a baking stone or cookie sheet and pinch seams together.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill weed, salt and pepper. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust. Coarsely chop or crinkle cut chosen vegetables.Sprinkle layer of each vegetable over pizza. Top with grated cheese. Refrigerate before serving.

Chicken Divan

4-6 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 lb. broccoli, lightly steamed
1 can cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. bread crumbs
cooked rice or egg noodles

In a greased 9x13 pan, layer broccoli and chicken.  Mix together soup and milk and pour over chicken and broccoli.  Sprinkle cheese on top of soup mixture, and cover with bread crumbs.  Bake covered at 375 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.  Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve over rice or egg noodles

Macaroni and Cheese

This was a staple in our house growing up, usually a once or twice a month treat on Saturday nights (with fried chicken and tossed salad), and it definitely found its way to our table every holiday.  I don't usually measure the ingredients when I make this, so you may want to adjust this to taste.

1 lb. box elbow macaroni
8 oz. Velveeta
4 oz. cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
2 oz. pecorino romano
1/2 c. margarine or butter
1 c. milk
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste

Cook macaroni to a bit less than al dente (you don't want it to overcook in the oven).  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter, milk, and cheeses, and cook over low heat until combined.  Add seasonings to taste.  Transfer to an oven-safe dish coated with cooking spray and bake, covered, at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Escalloped Potatoes/Funeral Potatoes

Some people substitute peeled and diced potatoes for the frozen hash browns, but I'm too lazy for that...

1 (32 oz.) package frozen hash brown potatoes (I usually take mine out of the freezer a bit)
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. chopped onions
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. corn flakes, crushed
3 Tbl. melted butter

Mix first 8 ingredients together and spread in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle corn flakes over the top, and then drizzle with butter.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Pretzel Salad

I love this salad, but am the only one in my family who will eat it, so I tend to make it fairly infrequently.  The combination of the sweet and salty is so good!

2 c. pretzels, crushed
4 Tbl. sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) container of Cool Whip
1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry jello
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries

Mix pretzels, 4 Tbl. sugar, and butter in a 9x13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.  Cool.  Mix cream cheese, 1 c. sugar and Cool Whip together and spread on top of crust. Refrigerate. Dissolve jello in 2 c. boiling water.  Add strawberries and chill until almost congealed.  Spread on top of cream cheese mixture.  Continue to chill until set.

Paula Deen's Taco Salad

A bit of a twist on "traditional" taco salad;  I will sometimes add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and a can of corn (drained and rinsed).

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, diced or shredded
1 large onion, chopped (I use thinly sliced red onion)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (I use a combo of iceberg and romaine)
1 lb. ground beef, browned, crumbled, and drained (I usually season it with a taco seasoning packet)
1 16 oz. bottle of Catalina salad dressing
1 bag of Doritos, crushed
Taco sauce/salsa/sour cream

Combine the tomatoes, cheese, onion, lettuce, and ground beef in a large bowl.  Add the entire bottle of salad dressing and mix well.  Just before serving, add the Doritos, tossing to combine with the other ingredients.  Top each serving with taco sauce or salsa and sour cream.

My Mom's Mexican Rice

This is one of the 3 things I knew how to make when I got married. Thank goodness my husband likes it. :)

3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies (optional)
1 to 2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
Diced or Dried Onion to taste
3 cups of white rice
About 1 TBSP Cumin
1 to 2 TBSP of Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Oregano

In a LARGE measuring bowl, let chicken bullion cubes soak in about 1 cup of hot water until they are soft then mix. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water until you have 5 cups of liquid.
In a large skillet sautee' olive oil, garlic, and onion. When the oil is sufficiently hot add the 3 cups of white rice. On medium heat stir rice and oil until most of the rice has turned white, rather than translucent.
Add your 5 cups of liquid and stir until it starts to boil.
Cover and turn the heat down to a medium low. Let it simmer for about 40 minutes. Do not remove the lid or your rice will stay crunchy.
After 40 minutes, remove cover and fluff with a fork.

Marshmallow Fondant

This recipe has become part of my arms, so I am sitting here think, thinking, about how I actually do it... Hmm...

You will need;

1 bag of 16 ounce mini marshmallows (Most bags come in the 10.5 ounce size, so make sure you are using 16 ounces.)
3 1/2 TBSP water
1/2 TBSP glycerin (You can get this in the wilton isle of your craft store. If you don't have access to it, use an extra 1/2 TBSP of water)
1 TBSP butter flavoring
2 lbs of 10x powdered sugar

GENEROUSLY grease a microwave safe bowl with vegetable shortening. Add your marshmallows, water, glucose, and butter flavoring.

Microwave for 1 minute. Using a greased spoon, stir the marshmallow mixture.
Microwave an additional 30 seconds. Stir again. You will continue to microwave in 30 second increments until it is completely smooth.
(It never takes me more than 2 minutes, total.)

If you are planning on coloring the entire batch of fondant, now is the time to add your coloring. Mix until even.

Here are you two options for mixing in the powdered sugar;

Option #1 Kitchen Aid mixer (preferred)

Generously grease your kitchen aid bowl and kneading hook. Pour marshmallow mixture in to the bowl and slowly add your 2 lbs of powdered sugar.
It will start to pull away from the bowl, but it will still be REALLY sticky when you are done.
Place the warm fondant on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Cover completely in a tight ball shape. Put covered fondant inside a ziploc bag. Let sit for at least 8 hours. It will be soft and pliable when you are ready to use it.

Option #2 Hand kneading

Slowly mix in your 2 pounds of powdered sugar. You will need to knead in the sugar like you are kneading bread. (It is helpful to lightly cover your hands with shortening.)
It will still be REALLY sticky when you are done.
Place the warm fondant on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover completely in a tight ball shape.
Put covered fondant inside a ziploc bag. Let sit for at least 8 hours. It will be soft and pliable when you are ready to use it.

Fondant can be used to cover cakes or to mold in to fun shapes and dry. It's great!


Not to be confused with the cookie variety. This recipe from Lion House Recipes is another fall/winter favorite at our place. It is wonderful served warm out of the oven with freshly sliced bananas and real whipped cream. It's also good cold--if it lasts that long.

1/2  cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cream sugar and butter well. Add egg and molasses. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture (I usually just stir them together with a fork). Add hot water and beat until smooth (batter will be very thin). Pour into a well-greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven  for about 40 minutes or until cake tests done.

Gingerbread Men

These are a fun holiday tradition that I grew up with. I remember having all the neighbors over to decorate gingerbread men one year when I was a kid. The decorating is just about as fun as eating them.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup light molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

Cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar. Stir or sift dry ingredients together. Add 1/3  at a time to creamed mixture, beating until smooth. Chill dough overnight. Roll  in 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are brown. remove to racks and cool before frosting and decorating.

*To make Valentine Bears, cut with a bear shaped cookie cutter; roll a small ball of dough scrapsand place on bear's face for a muzzle. Use small raisins or currents for eyes (just above muzzle) and nose (in center of muzzle). Place a heart-shaped red hot candy on chest are for heart. Bake as above.

Butternut Squash Soup

Had this last night at a Relief Society meeting/homemaking/HFPE/enrichment and it was amazing.  I didn't add the sour cream or croutons and it was still SO delicious!

1 butternut squash
1 small onion
2-3 carrots
32 oz. chicken stock
1 tsp. garlic
sour cream/croutons

Cut the squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Roast in oven cut side down about an hour, or until very tender, at 375. In a pot add chopped onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover with broth and simmer until tender. When the squash is done, let it cool a bit then scrape it out of the skin and add to the veggies in the pot. Add remaining stock and simmer. Using a measuring cup, add to blender and blend until smooth. Serve hot.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and croutons.

Cauliflower Soup

When Che's aunt dropped off a head of cauliflower bigger than my 2-year-old's head, I knew that I was going to need to do more with it than steam it and serve it with dinner for the next week.  I made this for lunch yesterday and it was fantastic.  My adjustments are in parenthesis. Check out The Pioneer Woman Cooks! for a bunch of great recipes!

1 stick butter
½ onion, diced (I used a whole onion)
1 carrot, diced (I used 2)
1 rib of celery, diced (I used 2)
1 whole (to 2 whole) cauliflower heads (roughly chopped)
2 Tbl. fresh or dried parsley (chopped)
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or stock (I only used one quart)
6 Tbl. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole milk (used 1%)
1 c. half-and-half (didn't have it, so I didn't use it)
2-4 tsp.salt, to taste
1 c. (heaping) sour cream, room temperature (I just added a Tbl. to the individual bowls)

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.
Serve immediately.

Russian "Tea"

We used to have this (and even passed it off as wassail a couple of times) growing up, and the original recipe included instant tea.  I have since excluded that ingredient and find it to be just as tasty!

2 c. Tang, undiluted (dry)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 pkg. Kool-aid lemonade

Place ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended (alternatively, you can place in a glass jar with a screw top and shake until blended).  To serve, mix 2 tsp. of the mix with 1 c. of boiling water.

Brining the Turkey

I had brined turkey for the first time at my mom's house when we had our early Thanksgiving dinner. It was fabulous. Best turkey I have ever eaten! It is not a hard process and totally worth it!
Here are the instructions;

1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7-pound) bag of ice
1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.

My mom cooked the turkey in an oven bag after brining it. That part is up to you. My grandparents stopped by unexpectedly and our turkey ended up over cooking a bit. I was afraid it was going to be dry. I couldn't tell at all!! I will definitely be doing our turkey this way.

Sausage Bread

This makes a yummy "light" meal;  I will usually make it on a Saturday or Sunday night during the holidays and serve it with a salad. I've also divided the dough in half to make two smaller loaves for appetizers.  It tastes delicious both warm and at room temperature.

1 lb. ground Italian sausage (or cut links out of their casing)
1 lb. pizza dough
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 c. flavored bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. parsley
Butter/olive oil
Pizza/marinara sauce

Fry sausage, drain, and cool.  Add eggs, bread crumbs, garlic salt, and parsley.  Add cheese to mixture.  Roll dough into a rectangle and sprinkle filling over top.  Roll up from the short end, pinching ends and tucking underneath.  Make 2 or 3 slits on top of the bread, rub with butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with oregano.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then cut into slices.  Serve with pizza/marinara sauce

Potato Latkes

I am not Jewish, but grew up with friends and family who were.  Even if I'm not actually celebrating Hanukkah, I usually end up making these sometime during the holiday season.  My favorite way to eat them is with sour cream, but I have also had them with apple or pear sauce.  They are really filling, so again, served with a salad, it makes a "simple" meal.

2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled (I sometimes add a bit more)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbl. flour
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil

Grate potatoes and onions by hand or food processor.  Remove excess liquid by placing in a clean kitchen towel and squeezing over the sink.  In a large bowl, combine potatoes with eggs, flour, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Heat about a quarter inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.  Drop in potato mixture by heaping tablespoon for each pancake.  Fry until crisp and golden brown on both sides.  Drain latkes on paper towels.  Makes about 20 small or 12 medium-sized latkes. 

Southern Pecan Pie

This pie has always been my favorite. It's kind of fun to have friends around here with pecan trees in their yards that share with us. It's not as much fun to have to shell them ourselves. ;) Since David is allergic we have also made this pie substituting almonds for the pecans. We even made it with pistachios once. That was interesting. It was actually pretty good but definitely unusual. My favorite version is the old standard with pecans though.

3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 cup pecan halves
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs and corn syrup, mix well.Add sugar and mix thoroughly.Stir in salt and vanilla. Let stand about 5 minutes.Meanwhile spread pecans evenly on bottom of pie shell.Stir melted butter into syrup. Pour over pecans. Be sure all the pecans rise to the top.Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is firm.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

My mom always made this at Thanksgiving and Christmas growing up and I can't eat any other kind(well I can, but I choose not to) ;) I love this warm, so I make it about 20 minutes before eating, but it can be made ahead and eaten cold or reheated. It is also so good the day after the big feast with some leftover turkey on a roll.

1 lb fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.Bring to a boil, cover, then turn to medium heat. Continue cooking until all the berries pop, stirring ocassionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until cold, or serve warm.

Green Beans with Almonds

An elegant and easy side dish that goes together in minutes. Mom always made this at Thanksgiving. It's nice with a big meal when the oven and stove are already being used.

1/4 cup slivered almond
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 ounce) package frozen green beans

Place almonds and butter in a 1-quart casserole.Microwave uncovered on full power, stirring every minute, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.Remove almonds from dish with a slotted spoon.Place salt and beans into same dish. Cover tightly and microwave on full power for 3 minutes; stir.Cover and microwave until tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer.Stir in almonds. YUM.

Grandma Hall's Simple Bread Stuffing

This is the stuffing recipe that my Great Grandma Hall used and it is still our family's favorite. It makes enough for a 12-pound turkey. Make sure and adjust it to the weight of your bird.

3/4 cup onion, minced
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped, with leaves
1 cup butter
9 cups bread, soft, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sage leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute onion and celery in butter until tender.Stir in about 1/3 of the bread cubes. Turn into a deep bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss well.Stuff turkey just before roasting. You can mix this together the night before and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff your bird on Thanksgiving day. You can also bake it in a casserole dish if you don't like in-the-bird stuffing.

Grandma Nolan's Weenie Sauce

A Christmas Eve tradition...

1 c. currant jelly
1/3 c. yellow mustard
Mini hotdogs

Combine jelly and mustard in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mini hotdogs and continue cooking on low until heated through.

Egg Rolls

A friend's mom would give a huge pan of these to us each holiday season. I haven't made them in awhile because they are a bit labor intensive, but they are so worth it!

1/2 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 c. cabbage, finely chopped
1 mushroom, chopped
1/3 c. bamboo shoots, chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
4 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
egg roll skins

Stir fry pork in skillet until cooked through. Drain, and remove from skillet, reserving fat. With 2 Tbl. reserved fat, stir fry cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and onion. Mix soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, and sugar; pour over vegetable mixture. Stir fry for one minute and let cool. Mix pork and vegetables together. Place 1/4 c. of meat mixture in the center of an egg roll skin. Fold one corner over filling; overlap the two opposite corners. Moisten the fourth with water; fold to make into a roll. Heat oil (1 inch high) in a skillet until bubbles appear. Fry one to three egg rolls at a time until golden brown, turning once. Fry about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sweet-and-sour sauce, soy sauce, or hot mustard.

Hot Cocoa Mix

3 c. nonfat dry milk
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1 2/ c. white chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container for up to three months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 c. of mix into 1 c. of hot milk.

Chocolate Mousse Pie (Sugar Free Option)

This is another simple recipe! I made this the other night for my family using the sugar free option, so that my dad could enjoy it with us. It was the perfect treat to compliment our card game. :)

1 package instant chocolate pudding (Use the sugar free box if you would like for this to be a sugar free dessert)
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of milk
1 baked 9 inch pie crust

Whip together the heavy whipping cream and the box of instant pudding until it starts to become thick. Whip in the 1/2 cup of milk.
Spoon the chocolate mousse in to the pie crust and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate if you will not be eating it right away.

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

We had an early Thanksgiving feast yesterday. My dad is headed to Kuwait and we wanted to celebrate with him. My mom made this fabulous pumpkin pie. (Recipe found on
No one throw anything at me, but pumpkin pie is not a favorite of mine. This pie was so tasty and my brother had no idea he was eating sugar free pie!

1-9 inch pie crust (We used THIS fantastic pie crust recipe.)
1 egg
2/3 cup of Splenda (the kind that measures cup for cup as sugar)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a medium bowl whisk together egg, sugar substitute, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Add pumpkin and milk to egg mixture, and stir until smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell.
3.Place pie on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until set in center. (Knife comes out clean)

This is a great choice for those diabetic family members, or just those watching their sugar intake.

Pineapple Cranberry Jell-o Salad

This recipe combines Jell-o (which you must always have with a holiday dinner!) and cranberry sauce (again, a required side) and is so good!

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) or 1 pkg. (8-serving size) raspberry jell-o
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 medium apple, cored, chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid. Add enough cold water to reserved liquid to measure 2 cups; pour into medium saucepan. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mix; stir at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until well blended. (Note: Due to the presence of whole berries in the cranberry sauce, the gelatin mixture will not be smooth.) Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until thickened. (Spoon drawn through leaves a definite impression.)

Stir in pineapple, apple and walnuts until well blended. Spoon into 6-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto serving plate. Store leftover gelatin in refrigerator.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Ahhhhh, Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of all. I love planning/cooking/eating -- every aspect of Thanksgiving dinner (except cleanup). This recipe became a lifesaver for me, because before I found it, I usually ended up with some gross, lumpy, tasteless mess that could never pass for gravy! This makes perfect gravy every time, and you don't have to mess with pan drippings on the big day.

4 turkey wings (about 3 to 4 lb)
2 medium onions, cut up
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth
1 chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 400°F. You’ll need a large roasting pan, a 5- to 6-qt pot and a 3-qt saucepan.

Put wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions on top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions in pot. Add water to roasting pan; stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrots and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.

Remove wings. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.

Strain broth into saucepan; skim fat off broth.

Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended and smooth.

Bring broth in saucepan to a gentle boil. Whisk in flour mixture; boil 5 minutes to thicken gravy. Stir in butter and pepper.

Plan ahead: Freeze up to 1 month. When thawed, purée in blender, then reheat.

Seriously Tasty Breadsticks

I have been searching for a yummy breadstick recipe for a very long time.  I wanted something comparable to Olive Garden fare, but every recipe I came across required frozen bread dough, and they never turned out to be exactly what I wanted.  Well, I have finally found one that meets my criteria -- soft, chewy, garlicky, delicious.  This site has a bunch of terrific recipes, and this one is no exception!  They recommend using it for pizza dough as well, but I wasn't terribly fond of it (I tried it a couple of weeks ago before making the breadsticks).  The original recipe has you making 12 breadsticks, but they do come out very large, so unless you are serving it with soup (where you would want a nice chunk of bread to go with it), I would recommend stretching it to 16 or 18 breadsticks.  Enjoy!

1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour

In a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer, if you have one), combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly. 

Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.

 Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.

Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it's okay if they're close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life's greatest pleasures!

Cover pan and allow dough to rise for another 30 minutes. When there's about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning or the powdery Parmesan cheese in a can and garlic salt. Or you could sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Roll

Another delicious pumpkin recipe!


1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (to sift on finished dessert)


Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.


Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.