Category Archives: Recipes

Out of this World Lemon Cake

Spring is here. It really is, but I know that many of my friends and family out there have been plagued with one last (hopefully) round of sickness before we can officially look back on winter as a memory. We’ve been sick around our house as well, and yesterday when I was getting my groceries, which was only a possibility because of some powerful antibiotics, I decided that we needed an extra flavor of spring to cheer our sick selves up.

That’s how I ended up with the ingredients for lemon cake in my cart. I tweaked this recipe that I got from a friend several years ago, and it is a family favorite as well as a crowd pleaser. It’s also extremely easy. Who doesn’t love that?

Lemon Cake

Here’s what you’ll need to make your little taste of spring:

  • 1 small package of lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  1. Dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Cool completely. (Side note that will seem ridiculously obvious to everyone. Be sure to cool said concoction at room temperature. One time I thought I would be smart and cool it quickly by sticking it in the fridge. Thirty minutes later I had a cup of gelled jello, which was worthless to me. Haha!)
  2. Mix cake mix, eggs, oil, and lemon extract with electric mixer for 4 minutes.
  3. Add cooled gelatin. Mix together on low speed. Be careful! It will splash easily!
  4. Pour into greased 9×13 dish.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until baked through.
  6. While cake is baking, mix together glaze. (Ingredients listed below)
  7. Once cake is baked, poke holes all over the cake with a plastic fork. Plastic cutlery is the best at not sticking to baked items.
  8. Pour the glaze all over the cake. In a few minutes, it will all disappear into the deliciously lemony pours of the cake and make the final product even more moist and incredible. To make things extra pretty, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. It will taste fantastic, but what’s great about this recipe is that it only gets better the longer it sits, so you can whip it up the day before you need it and be guaranteed that it will be wonderful.

Whisk together these 3 ingredients to make your glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 6 tablespoons milk

 

Fall Dinner Ideas

I get in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when fall arrives, and this year has been no exception. Because I love a good recipe exchange, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite fall dinner recipes that I’ve come across. All but one of them is a crock pot recipe, which is a big plus, too!

Beef Stew – One of the least expensive, satisfying meals I have in my repertoire.

Minestrone – I shared this recipe last fall. It’s still one of my favorite fall meals. I love freezing half of it for a day I don’t feel like cooking down the road.

Crock Pot Potato Soup – I made this one today after eyeing it on Pinterest for a long time. Delish! Seriously try it! I threw a couple of chicken breasts in there then shredded them when they were cooked to give it some protein. Seriously. Make this recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup – I got the original recipe here, but once I started making it, I kind of started dumping a bunch of different things in there as well. Here is my adapted recipe.

1 small onion, chopped
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cans {14 oz.} Rotel (I did one fire-roasted and one regular)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 lbs. chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth

Add onion, corn, Rotel, beans, cream of chicken, and garlic to the crock pot.  Mix well to combine and place chicken on top of tomato mixture.  Pour broth over chicken & tomato mix. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Remove chicken and transfer to a cutting board to shred.  Return to crock pot and stir.

Serve with chips, sour cream, cheese, and whatever Mexican toppings you enjoy.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Gravy – These made a really yummy, comfort food-style dinner. The only thing I will do different next time is lessen the amount of flour mixture I add to the broth. The gravy was a little on the thick side, although still tasty.

Oven-Baked Frito Pie – This is one of the few soup/chili recipes that my husband excitedly approved. I’ll be making this my go-to chili recipe. Next time, I’ll probably skip baking the frito pie and opt for making our own individual ones in our bowls. This made a lot for 2.5 people, so I was stuck eating soggy fritos for leftovers. It would also make yummy chili dog chili.

I hope you enjoy these recipes! Now, you know what I would really love? If you’d share your favorite cool-weather recipes with me!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Easy Asian Beef Noodle Recipe

I don’t know about you, but one of the ways that I can easily slip into a rut of feeling less-than-exceptional is coming up with new dinner ideas. When a busy day comes, and I add picky eaters to the mix, I am always happy to find a go-to meal that is easy, actually contains vegetables, and most importantly is yummy!

I was so excited to find this recipe for an Asian Beef Noodle Bowl over at Meal Plan Girls‘ website. It has seven ingredients, most of which I almost always have on hand. Want to try it yourself? You can find Jen and Ashley’s recipe here. I have tweaked it a little to better suit our family’s tastes, so feel free to check out my variation below as well.

Ingredients:
8 oz. linguine (or spaghetti…whatever you have on hand)

3 c. broccoli florets (I use frozen)

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 lb. beef steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (I am going to use chicken instead sometime for something different.)

2 tsp. oil

1/2 c. Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (AKA My favorite dressing ever!)

2 Tbsp. Teriyaki sauce

(If you cook Asian food as much as I do and you have some Hoisin sauce on hand, I throw in a tsp. or so of that as well when I’m making the sauce.)

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Add the vegetables in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Drain and place in a large bowl.
3. Heat oil in skillet.  Add meat; cook 4 minutes or until brown on all sides, stirring occasionally
4. Stir in dressing and Teriyaki sauce; cook 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the meat mixture to the pasta mix.

Voila! An easy and delicious dinner!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Oreo Truffle Recipe

We all have our favorite holiday treats. Fudge, cookies, cheesecake, cheese balls, the list is endless as you well know.

A few years ago while I was still teaching, one of my dearest friends entered my classroom just before Christmas and introduced me to one of the greatest reasons to throw diet rules out the window. Inside the pretty Christmas wrapping I discovered some chocolatey decadence nestled and sweetly beckoning me. Ever since my first bite, I’ve been addicted and look forward to any excuse to make my own Oreo truffles each holiday season.

Why do I love them? 1) Because they contain an insane amount of chocolate 2) Because they are so simple to make 3) Because it only has three ingredients 4) Because it doesn’t require baking

Here’s what you need to make your own:

  •  One package of Oreo cookies
  • One package of cream cheese – softened (I obviously used Neufchatel cheese because it’s supposed to be better for you so I could feel less guilty about eating more than one. It worked just as well as cream cheese.)
  • One half package of melted chocolate almond bark

Step one: Crush the entire package of Oreos (minus one used as Dash’s compensation for being my assistant) however you see fit. I find a food processor to be the easiest way. And don’t you love that my son’s fingers are stained blue from his snack of frozen blueberries earlier? I promise I washed them.

Step Two: Combine the crushed cookies and the softened cream cheese. Let me just make sure you understand how important it is to get the cheese nice and soft. I even stuck mine in the microwave for a few seconds just be be safe.

I have learned that for me, it’s easiest to just mix with my hands. It’s messy, yes, but so worth it, in my opinion.

Step Three: Form the mixture into balls of whatever size you see fit. I made two dozen and they looked like this.

Step Four:  Flash freeze the balls for about 20 minutes.

Step Five: Melt the almond bark and dip the balls until covered. Chill until hardened.

Step Six: Enjoy!

 

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Minestrone

I remember the glorious day that my mom made minestrone for the first time. I believe it was somewhere in the middle of my high school years that she came across the recipe and thought, “Why not give it a try?”

Since that day that my taste buds first experienced the comforting flavors of this delicious, hearty soup, I was hooked. I love it, too, because it’s versatile in the method you can use to cook it. If you need it quickly, you can have it done in 30-40 minutes, or if you want to make it earlier in the day and enjoy the scents it exudes while it simmers in a crock pot, you can do that, too!

Here’s what you need to make your own:

1 lb. hamburger (I’ve also used                                  1 tsp. Italian seasoning
ground turkey, and it was yummy, too!)                     2 med. stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 c.)
1/2 c. onion, chopped                                                 1 small zucchini, sliced (1 c.)
1 c. shredded cabbage                                              1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I like
1 1/4 c. water                                                              the Italian flavored ones)
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules                                        1 can corn (I’ve also used frozen)   1/2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni                               salt & pepper to taste
1 can black or kidney beans (rinsed)

Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet. If you’re going with the stove-top method of cooking the soup, add the beef mixture plus all of the other ingredients except the elbow macaroni to a pot and heat to boiling. Once it’s reached boiling, reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add macaroni 10 minutes before serving.

Crock pot method: Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet. Add beef mixture plus all other ingredients except the macaroni to the crock pot. Simmer on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Add macaroni in the last 30 minutes before serving.

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Mac and Cheese

I’m a big fan of lots of food, but in my opinion, few things are better than pasta and cheese in the same dish. Our church does a weekly potluck dinner, so finding something to take that would satisfy many people without breaking my budget has been a challenge I’ve worked hard to conquer. One day, in my search for such a recipe, I came across this amazing homemade macaroni and cheese recipe.

I kind of have a complex about making homemade macaroni and cheese for other people because it’s the first dish I made my husband when we were dating. And he hated it. It’s actually a really humorous story, but that’s for another time. The moral of the story is, I’ve learned that not everybody likes every kind of mac and cheese like I do.

That’s why I’m happy to share this recipe with you. It’s something my husband will eat, and every single time I make it for our church potluck, I have people hunt me down and ask me for the recipe. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it, too, if you’re into this sort of a thing.

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups dry, small elbow macaroni,                            1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
cooked and drained                                                         1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch                                                2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt                                                                 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese,
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard                                                divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2-quart casserole dish.

2. Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard, and pepper in medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese (I’ve been known to add up to an additional cup of cheese at this point) until melted. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly brown.

Apple Coffee Cake

One of my favorite things about fall is the cooler temperatures. Now that it’s not a million degrees outside, I can once again fire up my oven and bake some yummy treats. I’m pretty sure that it’s required to bake and/or eat as many apple recipes as possible once September arrives. At least that’s what I decided when I found this apple coffee cake recipe by Emeril Lagasse on foodnetwork.com. I did the only logical thing; I pinned it on Pinterest and then continually drooled over the picture that accompanied the dessert until it was time to stop pining over it and do something about it.

Last week I finally found an excuse to make it, so I pulled out my mixing bowls and got to work. If you could have been a witness to the crazy mess that ensued in the process of making this cake, you’d appreciate it even more. Not that the recipe is a difficult one, but I was just having one of those days. Long story short, half of the dry ingredients ended up coating a good portion of my kitchen due to a clumsy moment. My sous chef, Little Man, and I got a good laugh out of it, and in spite of the extra mess, we recovered enough to forge on and get that batter finished and into the oven…after it met the sous chef and official taste tester’s approval.

For the record, the mess wasn’t even my helper’s fault. He was waiting patiently for me to tell him it was okay to turn the mixer back on. I love having him help me in the kitchen, even if it is often him who adds a crazy element of messiness to things (like an egg thrown on the floor or a toy train in the brownie batter as has happened on previous occasions).

Here’s what you need to do if you’d like to try it yourself. (I’m not trying to be pushy or anything, but you really do want to if you’re into moist, cinnamon-scented, apple-y goodness with just the right amount of sweetness.) It reminded me of that light feeling of zucchini bread only better because of the crumble and caramel-like glaze on top.

Cake:

  • 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:
(I changed this slightly from the original recipe because some of the reviewers thought it might be better this way. The original recipe called for water instead of butter, but there were several complaints that it was too grainy with water. The butter idea turned out to be pretty awesome in my opinion, but if you’re wanting to be healthier, just mix the sugar, vanilla, and water in a bowl until smooth.)

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sifttogether the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour creamand vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the sugar and vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.


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