Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This recipe is for bread machines. Place ingredients in loaf pan starting with wet then dry. Put in yeast last, make a little hole in the flour to hold the yeast. This helps keep it away from water.

1 c. warm water
1 1/2 tbsp. lard
2 tsp. dry yeast
3/4 c. raisins
3 c. bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Homemade Chicken Soup

Brown cut chicken (breasts work well) and cut into small pieces. Place in pot.
Add 4-6 cups of water.
Add chopped onion, garlic, and celery.
Add chicken bouillon to taste (4-5 tsp) or replace 1 cup water with chicken broth.
Add carrots and other veggies. Just before serving add macaroni.
Sprinkle with grated cheese.


About my Bread Machine …

I love it, I absolutely love it. My mom always bought me random kitchen items since I was a junior in high school. It started out with an espresso machine then it was a Belgium Waffle Maker and then it was the Braun Hand Blender. All of which I have and still use today … over ten years later. It’s key when you want to cook for enjoyment that you surround yourself in good tools. Over the course of the years there have been two that stand out in my mind as superior kitchen items I would not live without. My KitchenAid Mixer and my Breadman Bread Maker. But this post will focus on the love of the bread machine. : )

Generic, store, square bread, which should only be good to transform you back to old school for grilled cheese day or bologna with Miracle Whip, costs anywhere from $1.50-$2.00 depending on sale prices. Regular, good bread is about $3.00 and my favorite bread is $3.50-$3.99. That’s ridiculous.

To make a loaf of bread it costs less than a buck. You can make so many different kinds of bread too … and I shouldn’t limit myself to only saying bread. Bagels, rolls, pizza doughs, pretzels. Anything carb can be done in there, even cakes!

My one son is allergic to dairy, not lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy. I had this same issue growing up, fortunately for me there is many more soy options. Not so fortunate for my pocket book. (I solved this by buying soy milk powder at the organic store.) Anyways, most breads contain milk and with the bread machine there are so many different recipes that don’t require milk.

Both of my kids love the cinnamon raisin bread and guess what … There’s NO sugar in it! It’s great.

Anyways, spend the $90 for the best kitchen help one could ask for. Do it!


Beat, Roll & Stuff Chicken Breasts

Preheat oven to 400

3 or 4 chicken breasts pounded and flattened. I usually put the breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound the crap out of them with the flat side of a mallet until they’re nearly see-through. Once flattened to 2-3x original size, season well with season-all (like Lawrys). Set aside.

Brown together:

5-6 ozs spicy Italian sausage,
½ cup diced onion
A clove or two of minced garlic
Crushed red pepper (the amount depends on your heat preference. I probably use 2 teaspoons)

Add to sausage mixture:

1 cup dry stuffing mix (any flavor will work, but chicken flavor does probably make the most sense)
½ c hot water

Let this sit a minute or two to allow the stuffing to absorb the water.

Then add:

2 cups of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, with excess water squeezed out
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Divide the mixture between the chicken breasts. Roll the chicken tightly around the stuffing, overlapping the ends. You can use toothpicks to weave through the ends to hold the seam together. Place the chicken rolls in a non-stick cake pan. If the toothpicks give you trouble, forget the toothpicks and just put the chicken rolls seam-side down in the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150-ish degrees.



Happy Birthday Allison! In lieu of a birthday, I decided to post the recipe to my favorite drink. Bottoms up!

Sugar coat the rim of the glass then take raspberries and put a few in the bottom of the glass.

In the martini shaker add:

1/2 shot of Cointreau
Vodka – Works well with a berry vodka like Stoli Raspberry and Belvedere always suffices when no fruity vodka. : )
Splash of cranberry juice
Triple Sec

Shake up and pour in then add Champagne on top — that’s the best part!


Pumpkin Cake

In the fall time this is one of my favorite things to make. Brings me back home to the autumn nights when it was chilly and this cake is heavy enough to warm you up!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. oil
4 eggs
2 c. pumpkin

Mix all ingredients together. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and stir in.

Put in grease bundt pan and cook for 60-80 minutes.


Carne Asada Marinade

I use to cook East Coast Mexican, where I thought Ortega Taco Sauce was Salsa. Now that I live in the Southwest, I have been exposed to some of the best Mexican food. Took me awhile to get use to it and now I love it. Especially my guacamole.

Here it is …

3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Jalapenos or other hot peppers – great from the garden!

Mix ingredients together, add meat and let marinate for two hours.


Slop, Sloppy Joes

Yes, Sloppy Joes is on the menu! And you know what? They are darn good — and go completely old school and pull out the tator tots. Your kids will love it as much as you.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper
Sloppy Joe Seasoning
c. water
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
Tobasco Sauce

In pan, mix onion, garlic and meat. Cook until meat is brown and crumbly. Add seasonings, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Best when served on homemade buns or fresh from the oven at the store buns!


Basil Shrimp with Feta & Orzo

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1 regular size foil oven bag
1/2 uncooked orzo
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 c. diced tomato
3/4 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. (2 oz.) feta cheese
1/2 tsp. lemon rind
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
3/4 lb. large shrimp
1/4 c. fresh chopped basil

Coat bag with cooking spray. Place bag on large, shallow baking dish. Cook pasta in boiling water for five minutes and drain. Place pasta in large bowl. Stir in 1 tsp. of olive oil and next seven ingredients (through black pepper). Place orzo mixture in bag.

Combine shrimp and basil then arrange over orzo mixture. Fold over bag edge to seal. Cut open bag and pull back with a fork. Drizzle top with 1 tsp oil.

Cook 25 minutes.


No Bake Cookies

So easy and so good …

1 3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
4 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, butter and cocoa. Bring to a boil and boil for 1.5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

Spoon onto wax paper and let harden.