The Girls’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

I call this “The girls’ recipe because it’s one that actually started with them, or one of their friends rather.  Then they just became the cookie makers in the family, which was fine by me!  With so many chocolate chip cookie recipes around, it’s hard to say what makes one better than another… As for me, I like this one the best because it was passed “up” to me for a change!  Grab a glass of milk and sit around the table for some talk with these cookies…you never know the stories you’re going to here with all these girls!
The Girls’ Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3/4 cup butter-flavored Crisco
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, mini, YOU choose!)
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Combine the Crisco, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg and beat until well blended.
In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix into creamed mixture.  Stir the chocolate chips and nuts in.  Drop by tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 8- 10 minutes.  Cool 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. 


Chicken Rice Casserole

File this under “Comfort food” as this is one recipe my kids will ask for whenever they come home.  It’s easy to throw together, easier still if you use chicken meat from a grocery roasted chicken, and great to make in the morning and pop it in the oven in the evening.  Serve with a salad and bread and you’ve got your meal. 
Chicken Rice Casserole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
4  half chicken breast, roasted or boiled , then diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup butter, melted
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium sized saucepan and add rice; reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all the broth is absorbed.  Set aside.
Combine the chicken, celery, onion, cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and curry powder  in a large bowl and mix well.  Mix the rice into the chicken mixture and turn into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.   Combine the Ritz cracker crumbs, almonds and butter and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes until golden brown. 

Original Chex™ Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow

So even though my girls grew up loving this sweet treat, I recently brought this to a  puppy-themed  birthday party for a friend and it was still a hit with the grown ups.  Yes, I still do “themed” birthday parties with my friends! What’s that saying about age?  It’s only a number. And you’re never too old to have a birthday party with all the trimmings.  Anyway, I’ve also always thought this snack would be a cute addition to a Halloween costume for a little one dressed as a puppy… they could carry it around in a little dog dish as an accessory to their costume.  Whenever you make it, you can guarantee it won’t last long!  

Original Chex™ Puppy Chow
9 cups Chex cereal (I like Rice Chex)
1/4 butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
In a small, heavy-bottom pan over very low heat melt the butter,  peanut butter, and chocolate chips; stir in vanilla and remove from heat.  Pour Chex cereal into a large bowl and pour chocolate mixture over, gently mixing until all is evenly coated.
Pour half of the powdered sugar into a large paper bag and pour the coated cereal into the bag.  Pour the rest of the powdered sugar on top and fold top of bag several times to “seal.”  Shake bag gently for several minutes to thoroughly coat the cereal with powdered sugar.  If you open bag and some of the cereal is still wet and dark chocolate in appearance, add more powdered sugar in necessary, re-close bag and continue shaking.  If you don’t have a large enough bag to do the whole batch at once, do two smaller batches at a time.  Store in an air-tight container.

THE Best Blueberry Muffins

THE Best Blueberry Muffins
This is MY mother’s recipe.  She first brought these to me when I had just come home from the hospital with my firstborn, and I’ve been making them for my girls ever since.  Sure, I still buy that box in the grocery store with the can of blueberries in it, but every time I make these and see how easy they are and how quickly they come together, I wonder why I bother with that box….these are so much better!  Try them once and I think you’ll agree.
THE Best Blueberry Muffins
2 cups flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well mixed.  In separate bowl, sprinkle blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture, tossing to coat.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine milk, butter and eggs and mix until blended.  Stir into flour mixture.  Add oatmeal and stir just until mixed.  Add blueberries and mix until just folded in.  Spoon into 18-24 muffin cups. 
Sprinkle with the following topping:
1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
Combine all topping ingredients until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over each muffin.
Bake 12- 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Cool on wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan. 

Skillet Pasta and Sausage


This dish is a good one to make when you’re short on time because it’s all done in one pan, and yet it’s still a crowd pleaser. It’s also an easy dish to add to, so feel free to go through your fridge and toss in some bell peppers, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or anything else you find in there that sounds good at the moment. 
                                            Skillet Pasta and Sausage
2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil
1 14-oz link of smoke kielbasa sausage, sliced
1 small brown onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 10-oz can Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chilies
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz uncooked penne pasta
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheese
Heat olive oil in large oven-proof skillet; add onion and kielbasa and cook until onion is soft (about 5-7 minutes).  Add the broth, Ro-Tel, cream and salt and pepper; stir until blended well.  Stir in the pasta, bring to a boil and cover; reduce the heat and continue to simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
When the pasta tests tender, turn heat off and stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place pan under the broiler for just a few minutes to
melt the cheese. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

food 003

2 large heads broccoli, cut into 1-2” pieces
1 large brown onion, diced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium carrots, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup ½ and ½ or heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Saute broccoli pieces and onion in olive oil in large, heavy stock pot until onion is soft (about 5 minutes).  Add chicken stock, carrots, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and either use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a puree consistency, or if you don’t have immersion blender allow mixture to cool at least 5 minutes and carefully place small portions of the soup in a regular blender and puree a little at a time.  Be VERY careful doing this with hot liquids, always leaving the blender lid slightly ajar so as not to for a vacuum while blending).  Once blended, return all soup to pot. 
In a small cup, stir the flour into the melted butter.  Add this to the hot soup and return the soup to a medium heat to bring back to a simmer for 5 minutes (this will thicken the soup up).
Slowly stir in the ½ and ½ or heavy whipping cream and cheese and stir well.



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