Creamy Garlic Shells

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Quick Post: This pasta dish is full of garlic flavor and a great substitute for any boxed pasta mix. I served it alongside this roast chicken and this roasted broccoli – thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Garlic Shells – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 8oz mini shells pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes

Directions: 

  1. Cook pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside. Let pot cool off the heat for several minutes.
  2. Return pot to stove over medium heat then melt butter in olive oil. Add garlic then saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Take pot off the heat then stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and parsley flakes until smooth then add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Taste then adjust salt & pepper if necessary
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Zesty Breakfast Potatoes

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Quick Post: My family loves these and they would go perfectly with leftover Thanksgiving ham. We enjoyed these in breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs and bacon, these tortillas,  and this pico de gallo. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Zesty Breakfast Potatoes – adapted from Viking

  • 1 – 2 pounds Russett potatoes, par-cooked and diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons onion poweder
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions –

Quick Method for par-cooking potatoes – Scrub them clean, dry them then poke holes all over with a fork. Wrap each potato in a wet paper towel and place them on a plate in a circular fashion. Microwave on your “baked potato” setting if you have one – but only for a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the spices and the olive oil in a small bowl. Place the potatoes in a bowl and toss with the spice-oil mixture.  Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and crispy. Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Round-Up

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Fall is my absolute favorite season because of the cooler weather, but mostly it’s because of the food! Thanksgiving dinner is hands-down the most time-consuming meal I make all year; but I love it! It’s a little depressing when I think of all the planning, shopping, prep-work, cooking, baking – not to mention the dish washing involved; and everyone is finished eating in about 20 minutes. Thankfully, there are the leftovers which can be the best part of the ordeal 🙂 I decided to round-up some of our favorites to help those of you who need inspiration and ideas.

A couple of tips for you novices out there – don’t be intimidated! 🙂 Plan at least a week in advance, especially if you plan on brining your turkey – I highly recommend it! You will never have a more moist, perfectly seasoned bird than when you’ve taken the time to brine. It’s not difficult, but you will need some extra space in your refrigerator and if you don’t have a huge, lidded container you can use heavy-duty brining bags, (I have used these). Also, invest in a digital probe thermometer, because who wants to go through all that trouble only to end up with overcooked (or under-cooked) turkey? Thanks for reading!

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Breakfast

*Update* Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Waffles

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

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Appetizer/Sides

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vanilla Almonds

Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Loaded Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

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Breads

Honey Yeast Rolls

Basic Buttery Brioche

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns

Honey Cornbread Muffins

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Mains

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey

Honey Ham 

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Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crisp I

Apple Crisp II

Vegan Apple Crisp

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For the Leftovers

*Update* Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Ham and Potato Soup

Parmesan Garlic Bread

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When in doubt – add more carbs and cheese, right? I wanted a quick garlic bread recipe to go along side this loaded potato soup for our dipping pleasure. The garlic/butter mixture added great flavor to this simple french loaf; and it’s less work that our favorite garlic bread recipe. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Parmesan Garlic Bread – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread (*I used a loaf of this bread*)
  • 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  •  1 tablespoon Shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoons Parsley, minced (I used about 1 tsp of dried parsley)
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your french bread in half and then take the two halves and split those down the middle lengthwise. Combine the garlic, shallots, parsley, salt, black pepper, softened butter, olive oil and Parmesan. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Slice the Italian loaf lengthwise and heavily smear half of the butter mixture on each of the halves. Bake for 7 minutes – take the bread out and sprinkle your grated cheese over top each piece. Place back in the oven until the cheese melts and is nicely browned – about 3-5 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Italian Antipasto Salad

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I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit 😉 The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

antipasto

Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions –

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

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The name says it all – these really are perfect! They are the easiest potato side dish I have ever made and I’m finding new excuses to make them. We enjoyed these alongside this roast chicken and these garlicky green beans. The leftovers heat up nicely too – if there are any! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • fresh thyme to taste (my addition…so yummy)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.

Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Best of 2012, Part 1

Happy New Year! I decided that since I have had this blog going for some time now, I should go back into the archives and share with you all which recipes are my favorites. In addition, I want to showcase a couple of my most popular posts from this year. I would never guess that my blog would have so many visitors in such a short amount of time. Thanks to Pinterest and a few other blogs; one recipe receives hundreds, and sometimes a thousand or more hits a day!

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Alfredo, Shells, Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese – It’s the picture that sells this one, for sure! (I really need to get my camera fixed). As soon as I uploaded this to Pinterest, it hasn’t stopped being my most popular post. This is probably the easiest and most customizable recipe I have here, and thankfully the people who have tried it enjoy it. To date, it has been pinned over 107,000 times!!

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Roasted Garlic Bread – Hands down, this is the best garlic bread! Everyone loves it! To date, it has been pinned over 10,000 times – not exactly a close second, but impressive for being viewed only 13,000 times!

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Carrot Ginger Dressing – I double this recipe whenever I make it and it would be a mistake not to. The vibrant orange screams “healthy”,  and is perfect for your simple salads.

That’s it for now! I have over 20 favorite recipes from last year and I may have to narrow that down a bit 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

I Can Hardly Wait!


After two years of making this huge spread for TG, I have learned (the hard way) what to do in advance to make this as stress free as possible. Today I started the brine for our turkey! It’s a simple step that really makes all the difference in your finished bird. I never craved turkey until I made this recipe, but this always comes out juicy and flavorful. Every year I have made it, I have used the 10 gallon Ziploc bag, and my 12 quart stock pot to contain the beast! It’s a nerve-racking workout to place this safely and cleanly into the fridge 🙂

Over the weekend, I prepared my brioche dough for the brioche and sausage dressing and the herb butter is sitting pretty in the freezer ( I used a stick and a half of butter instead of three). Tomorrow my plan is to bake off the brioche and roast several bulbs of garlic. Wednesday I will prepare the dressing, make the dinner rolls and take the turkey out of the brine. Thanksgiving day, I will prepare this ham in the crock pot, roast the turkey, make the roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and bake off the dressing. It’s lists like this that makes me wish for two ovens!  Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Miracle Mac n’ Cheese

It was getting closer and closer to dinner time, but I had no idea what to make. My girl and I flipped through Pintrest and came across this recipe and she said I should make it 🙂 This mac n’ cheese is so easy, you don’t have anymore excuses to buy boxed stuff, and if you can boil water, you can make this tasty macaroni and cheese! It’s pretty neat how cooking the noodles in milk makes all the difference. My daughter (aka. The Picky One) ate two servings of this – that is a very rare occurrence in this house. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Miracle Macaroni and Cheese – heavily adapted from Budget Bytes

  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ( I used sharp white cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions –

Combine the dry macaroni and 4 cups of milk in a medium pot. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over medium/high heat while occasionally stirring. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the pasta is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Make sure to stir often during this process to keep the pasta from clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Promptly replace the lid each time to help hold in the moisture. Once the pasta is soft and has absorbed most of the milk, season with salts, pepper, paprika, and dry mustard, or the spices of your choice. If the mixture begins to look dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese. Serve immediately.

Cheddar Biscuits

Quick Post: I made these to go with this salad. They were cheesy and delicious. The End!

Cheddar Biscuits – adapted from No More To Go

  • 1 ¾ cups King Arthur Self-Rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (*next time I will use less salt – at least 1/4 tsp less*)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Butter:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried parsley

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with canola oil.
3. Combine flour, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
4. Using a pastry cutter, food processor, or just two forks, cut in the cold butter.Combine the butter using this method until you have pieces of butter no bigger than a pea.
6. Add cheese and milk and mix with your hands until just combined.
8. Drop using a ¼ cup measuring cup onto your prepared baking sheet.
9. Bake for 11-13 or until the tops of the biscuits are light brown.
10. While the biscuits are cooking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
11. When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with the butter glaze and serve