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Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Bread of Life

To read through Proverbs each month,
click on the number below that corresponds to the date.

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"I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly.
Tunafish casserole is at least as real as corporate stock."
~Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

2/26/12

Apple Dump Cake


 Apple Dump Cake isn't all that pretty, but...
it sure is tasty!

Apple Dump Cake

You can use other flavors of pie filling with this recipe too. Peach, cherry and blueberry are all delicious!

2 cans apple pie filling
¼ cup brown sugar
1 yellow box cake mix
2 sticks butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Pour both cans of apple pie filling into prepared dish.
Sprinkle with brown sugar over pie filling.
Sprinkle yellow cake mix on top of pie filling.
Slice butter into pats and place evenly on top of cake mix.
Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and done.

1/27/12

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

These are basically a little different take on chess squares. Easy and yummy!

1 box lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
8-ounce cream cheese
16-ounce box powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine cake mix, 1 egg and butter to form a dough.
Set aside 1 cup of dough mixture.
Pat remaining dough into prepared pan.
Mix together cream cheese, 3 eggs, powdered sugar and lemon juice, and pour over dough.
Sprinkle reserved dough over cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool completely and, cut into squares.

1/18/12

Gussied Up Ranch Dip


Gussied Up Ranch Dip


I have been making this dip for years. It is not an overstatement to say that my kids love this dip! I can’t believe I’ve not posted it before! It’s so quick and easy! We like it best served with Wavy Lays, but it is good with corn chips and veggie sticks too! This dip also makes an excellent topping for baked potatoes! 

Note: This can be made with fat-free sour cream and cheese, but you may need to add a bit of milk before serving, as the fat-free cheese tends to absorb moisture from the sour cream.

Gussied Up Ranch Dip

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch dressing mix
1 can, jar or packet of real bacon bits 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine sour cream and ranch dressing mix until smooth. 
Stir in the bacon bits and cheddar cheese, reserving a bit of the bacon and cheese for garnish, if you like.
Chill well before serving.

1/11/12

Creamy Cheesy Pasta Bake

Creamy Cheesy Pasta Bake
If you like, double this recipe and bake it in a 9x13-inch baker.
It keeps well for several days and reheats beautifully in the microwave. We love leftovers! 
Or, you can double the recipe, eat one now and stick one in the freezer for later!

Creamy Cheesy Pasta Bake

8 ounces uncooked pasta (I like penne.)
1 pound ground beef
1 large can spaghetti sauce
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 1 ½ cups shredded Italian blend cheese
1 small can French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat an 9x9” baker with cooking spray.
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
Brown ground beef; drain.
Add spaghetti sauce to skillet; heat through.
Combine pasta and sauce.
Place cream cheese and milk in a microwave-safe container. Heat and stir until smooth. Add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese to cream cheese/milk mixture.
Assemble ingredients in baking dish in this order:
Pasta mixture
Cream cheese mixture
Shredded Italian blend cheese
Bake for about 20 minutes, remove from oven and top with French fried onions.
Return to oven for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as these onions tend to burn easily. 

1/3/12

Creamy Cheese and Bacon Vermicelli

Creamy Cheese and Bacon Vermicelli

Creamy Cheese and Bacon Vermicelli

I found this on the back of the pasta box. It was super easy and yummy! It could be lighten by using low-fat or no-fat cream cheese and milk, sautéing onions in water or broth, and reducing the amount of bacon.

8 ounces vermicelli
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 tablespoon margarine or 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese , cubed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
6 slices bacon , cooked crisply, crumbled
grated parmesan cheese
Directions:

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain, cover and set aside.
In small saucepan, sauté green onions in margarine or butter.
Add milk, cream cheese, parsley, and seasonings.
Cook, stirring constantly over low heat until smooth and cheese is melted.
Add cooked pasta to pan; toss with cream cheese mixture and bacon.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Note: If sauce is too thick, add a bit of milk.

1/1/12

New Year's Dip

New Year’s Dip

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
~C.S. Lewis, Author


New Year’s Dip

I wanted a dish that would incorporate black-eyed peas and greens for a New Year's dish this morning for our Sunday school fellowship time. I threw this together with items I had on hand. It was well received by the class. I thought it turned our pretty good too! Please play around with the ingredients and find a combination that you like best! Happy New Year to all!!!

4 ounces softened cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
½ packet dry ranch dressing
½ shredded cheddar cheese
3 – 4 green onions, chopped (The onion tops were my greens!)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can Mexicorn, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes, slightly drained
1 cup sausage, browned and drained
Tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine cream cheese, mayo, dry ranch mix and cheese.
Add drained veggies and sausage, stirring gently until well combined.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Serve with chips.

4/25/11

Pantry Granola

My sweet friend, Rachel, recently bless us with a delicious bag of homemade granola! It was wonderful and disappeared quickly. I decided to try my hand at making a batch, using items from my pantry. We thought it turned out great. Granola keeps really well in an airtight container. It makes a great gift and is yummy sprinkled over yogurt, ice cream or eaten with milk like cereal. It's great by the handful too!

Pantry Granola


This time of year, we are all needing little gifts for the various teachers in our kids' lives. This granola makes a great happy! Spoon into a plastic freezer bag, a clear jar (For safety reasons, use a plastic jar, if a child is delivering gift!) or cover the oats container with pretty paper and use it.
I found this cute canning tag HERE. I thought it worked fine for the granola too!

Pantry Granola

Tip from Rachel: To insure granola browns evenly, pull the granola from the edges of the pan toward the middle when you stir the granola because the edges tend to brown more quickly.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (18-ounce) container regular rolled oats
1 cup raw nuts (coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts, sunflower seeds or sliver almonds - or a combination!)
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots, apples, peaches - or a combination!)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large stock pot, melt butter.
Add honey and brown sugar to melted butter, stirring until well combined.
Add oats to butter mixture, stirring well to completely coat oats and nuts.
Spread on cookie sheet(s) and place in oven, baking for 10 minutes.
Stir well; add pecans and bake 10 minutes longer.
Stir well; add dried fruit and return to oven for about 5 minutes.

Note: You may decrease or increase baking time depending on how crunchy or chewy your family prefers their granola. We like ours crunchy, so that’s what you’ll get if you follow these directions. The granola will seem a bit moist, when you first remove it from the over, but it will get crunchy as it cools.

4/20/11

Bacon Crisps

Larry and I attended Off Square Book’s Thacker Mountain Radio production last week, where Martha Hall Foose read from her new cookbook, A Southerly Course. Martha’s first cookbook, Screen Doors & Sweet Tea, garnered her a James Beard Award! Both books are delightful reads, as Martha includes tales about her family and our beloved state of Mississippi, along with, of course, great recipes and gorgeous photos. If you haven’t obtained copies of Martha’s cookbooks yet, I highly recommend you do so. Autographed copies are available at Square/Off Square Books in Oxford. For those of you familiar with our area, Martha, a French culinary school trained pastry chef, opened the Bottle Tree Bakery in Oxford and the Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood. Martha's other credentials include being a former executive chef of the Greenwood Viking Cooking School and serving as the food stylist for the movie The Help, which is based on the novel of the same name. Congratualtions to Martha! We Mississippians love to see one of our own do well!

One of the things I love best about Martha Hall Foose is that even with her long list of accomplishments and credentials, she’s not above including a two-ingredient recipe, like the one below, in her cookbook! To learn more about Martha Hall Foose, including information on her book tour schedule, visit: 
http://www.marthafoose.com/

 Bacon Crisps

Bet you can't eat just one!

I made these for Sunday school this past Sunday. We decided that this recipe is a keeper! According to my calculations, each Bacon Crisp contains 2 grams of fat. 
Be sure you have friends to share these with! They're addictive!
Along with the original recipe idea, I've included a couple of variations of the recipe I found! 
Enjoy!


Bacon Crisps (or Bacon Crackers - whichever name you like best!)

1 sleeve Club Crackers
1 pound thin sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Cut each slice of bacon crosswise into three pieces
Wrap each cracker tightly with a strip of bacon.
Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet.
Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 1½  hours, or until the bacon is done.  (No need to turn.)
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: You can also bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, if you're in a hurry!

Variation One: Prepare crackers as directed above and sprinkle with brown sugar after placing on baking rack. Bake as directed.

Variation Two: Spoon a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese onto each cracker before wrapping with bacon. Proceed as directed.

4/18/11

Taco Casserole

This is another of my at-least-it's-better-than-going-through-the-drive-thru recipes. 
For a more healthful dish, choose reduced-fat soup, 2% cheese and fat free sour cream!

Taco Casserole

This colorful dish is yummy garnished with a dollop of sour cream!

Taco Casserole

For a larger group, double this recipe and bake in a 9x13.

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (from your freezer, rotisserie or canned)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 can Southwestern Style Mexicorn
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
6 corn tortillas
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine first 4 ingredients; set aside.
Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges.
Layer half of tortilla wedges in prepared pan.
Top tortillas with half of chicken mixture.
Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
Repeat layers.
Cover tightly with foil and bake until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Variation:
Substitute 1 pound of browned ground beef for chicken and a can of cream of mushroom soup for the cream of chicken soup.

4/12/11

Ground Beef Stroganoff

This is one of those super quick dishes that I make when time is really tight. My kids do love it and often request it! If time permits, I am going to try to share some of my "this-is-at-least-better-than-running-through-the-drive-through recipes" over the next few weeks, since that is about the only kind of cooking that is happening at our house right now!

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Serve with a green veggie or salad and drop biscuits or Texas Toast.

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
2 packets brown gravy mix
1 can (14.5-ounces) beef broth
1 can drained mushrooms (optional)
½ cup sour cream

Sauté ground beef and onion until meat is done and onions are tender; drain well.
Add brown gravy packets and beef broth.
Bring to a boil; add mushrooms.
Lower heat to simmer, and add sour cream.
Serve over hot noodles or rice
This is also good spooned into baked potatoes and sprinkled with shredded cheese!

4/10/11

White Texas Sheet Cake

This cake is easy to make, and all the ingredients can usually be found in my pantry and fridge.
It was well liked by the Sunday School Crew!
Larry and the kids loved it too!

 White Texas Sheet Cake

White Texas Sheet Cake


For a nice change, substitute almond extract for the vanilla.

Cake ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Icing ingredients:
½ cup butter
¼ cup milk
4½ cups confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, but good!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a jelly roll pan (10½x15½ x1-inch) with cooking spray.
Combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring 1cup butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat.
Combine eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add to butter mixture. Mix well.
Add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix well.
Pour batter into prepared pan. (Batter will be thin.)
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done.

Icing:
Combine ½ cup butter and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mix in confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Stir in chopped nuts.
Spread icing over warm cake.

4/7/11

Skillet Cookie

Chocolate doesn't make the world go 'round, 
but it sure does make the trip worthwhile!

I gave Gail’s Skillet Cookie recipe from the blog hop a try tonight. We have all been trying to eat more healthfully. This is the first “real” dessert I have made for just our family in about a month. It was a great choice! So, so easy and so, so good! All the needed ingredients were right in there in my pantry! My family loved it!! Definitely a keeper!

Skillet Cookie on McCarty Pottery
(We simply must talk about McCarty Pottery one day very soon!)

Although I love the way the cookie looked in my cast iron skillet, I turned mine out onto a platter to serve. I wanted to see how easily it would come out of the pan. It practically slid out! Perfect! I think this will make a great dessert to take to folks. Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these giant chocolate chip cookies? Patting this dough into the skillet was much easier and quicker that scooping out individual cookies.
I did reduce the cooking time to 30 minutes in my convection oven. I thought it was just right - crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle. Yum! We didn’t have the ice cream, but a warm slice of this big cookie would be wonderful topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with chopped nuts!
I may add some chopped pecans to the dough next time! We Southerners do love us some pecans in our chocolate chip cookies!
For you cookie/cake decorators, this would work great for decorating with confectioner's icing! What a neat birthday happy this would make!
Oh my, how the time does flies! I didn't mean to rattle on this long! Gail has a whole series of skillet recipes on her blog, Faithfulness Farm. (Isn't that a wonderful name for a blog?!)
I can’t wait to try more of her recipes! Be sure to hop over to Gail's site! Have fun!

 Skillet Cookie

Skillet Cookie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened (Gail uses unsalted, but y’all know I use salted!)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Gail uses 2 teaspoons of vanilla.)
1-1/2 cups mixed milk and semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch skillet well with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Shake chocolate chips with one tablespoon of flour mixture to coat well. (This will help distribute the chocolate chips more evenly throughout the dough.)
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add egg and vanilla, mixing until they are fully incorporated.
Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.
Stir in the dusted chocolate chips.
Transfer dough to a 10-inch cast iron skillet, and press to flatten, covering the bottom of the pan.
Bake until the edges are brown and top is golden, 30 – 40 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For extra special treat, drizzle chocolate syrup over cookie wedge and ice cream and sprinkle with chopped nuts! Yum!!

4/6/11

Great Cookie Recipes from Gooseberry Patch

I received an email invitation to join the Gooseberry Patch Cookie Blog Hop!
Be sure to join the fun by adding a link to your favorite cookie recipe below! Don't all these recipes sound delicious?!


Also, check out the newest release from Gooseberry Patch,

4/3/11

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Krispies

This is one of my “pantry creations". I had these four ingredients on hand and decided to try to concoct a little something for us to have during Sunday school fellowship time. 
These little candies were a big hit with our class.
Makes a large batch! Plenty to share!

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Krispies

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Krispies

1 (16-ounce) package chocolate candy coating
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups mini marshmallows
4 cups Rice Krispies

Combine Rice Krispies and marshmallows. 
In a separate bowl, melt chocolate coating according to package directions. 
Stir peanut butter into melted chocolate coating. 
Add Rice Krispies mixture to chocolate mixture. 
Stir well to coat Rice Krispies and marshmallows. 
Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

3/28/11

Tuesday's Tip: Great Recipe using Leftovers/Best Microwaved Baked Potatoes


This recipe is great for those nights when time is really short! It is also a great way to use leftover meat! You'll just need to add desired amount of your favorite barbecue sauce.
You can make the barbecue from left over chicken or pork or beef roasts. You can also use a commercially prepared container of meat, such as Lloyd’s or Corky’s. Picking up 1½ pounds of meat from your favorite bbq joint is another great option!


Zapping your potatoes in the microwave will help this meal to come together quickly. Here is my favorite way to make baked potatoes in the microwave:


Best Microwaved Baked Potatoes

Begin by setting your regular oven to 450 degrees.  (You're going to bake the potatoes for few minutes in your regular oven after microwaving to help crisp the potato skins!)
While oven is heating, wash and scrub baking potatoes well. (Russets work best for baking!)
With a fork, pierce the skins of the potatoes in several places. This will allow steam to escape and prevent the potatoes from exploding in your microwave.
Place pierced potatoes in microwave oven.
Microwave on high. Turning potatoes over halfway through cooking time.
Depending on the size of the potatoes and your microwave's power level:
One potato will take 6 - 8 minutes
Two potatoes will take 8 - 10 minutes
Three potatoes will take 10 - 12 minutes
Four potatoes will take 12 - 15 minutes
You can test for doneness by giving the potatoes a gentle squeeze or piecing with a fork.
Using an oven mitt, remove potatoes from your microwave oven and place them directly on the rack of your preheated, regular oven.
Bake for 5 – 10 minutes in regular oven to help crisp the potato skins a bit.

Barbecue-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Barbecue-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4 baked potatoes
butter (optional)
1½ cups shredded barbecue meat (beef, pork or chicken)
½ cup sour cream
2 green onions, finely chopped
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Open potatoes with a knife and fluff with a fork. Add a pat of butter, if you like.
Top each potato evenly with bbq meat, sour cream , cheese, and onions.