Sunday, September 28, 2008


I have to admit, I love pizza!!! The kids and I could eat pizza almost every night of the week, but Marty can barely tolerate it one night a week. I should probably be thankful for that, I can't imagine what all that pizza dough and cheesy toppings would do to my hips!! When I came across this recipe, I wondered if this would satisfy the pizza cravings for the majority of us as well as be different enough that Marty would like it. It came through for both requests and was rated an A++ for us.

This is such a yummy recipe that has a great presentation so it's great to serve as a casual dinner for guests. I typically fix this on Friday nights, and because the recipe makes two large loaves, we eat the leftovers for lunch the remainder of the weekend. It's also a repeated request when we have company for Sunday afternoon Colt's games. GO COLTS!!! I slice these loaves up, place on a platter on the bar downstairs with chips, veggies and dip and hot wings and everyone can snack at their leisure during the game. Fun times!!

Rarely do I prepare this recipe the same way twice. I use whatever lunch meats, pepperoni and sausage that I have on hand and any cheese combination work great too. The sauteed veggies also have numerous variables to experiment with. This is such a fun recipe for versatility according to who your preparing it for and what you have on hand in your fridge.

The bread dough preparation also has a couple of options. You can use your own favorite bread recipe from scratch or you can purchase frozen bread loaves at the store. Depending on the amount of time I have for prep, I have prepared this recipe both ways with extremely satisfactory results. To further reduce my prep time when I've used the frozen dough, I use the quick rise method in the oven. Wonderful!!


1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 medium green pepper, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon butter
2 loaves (16-ounces each) frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 pound thinly sliced hard salami
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound sliced mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until crisp-tender; set aside.

On two greased baking sheets, roll each loaf of dough into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Arrange the salami, ham and cheeses lengthwise over half of each rectangle to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with onion mixture; sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal well.

Brush with the egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool loaves for 5 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 2 loaves (8 servings each)

Source: Taste of Home

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Autumn is my absolute favorite season. I love how the morning air has a crispness you can practically touch. I love how listening to the breeze rustle the colored leaves makes me long to curl up with a warm blanket and a Karen Kingsbury book ( to have the opportunity to actually sit and read more than a sentence of a book I will either have to administer Benadryl to all the kiddos so they all take naps or scoot them off to my parent's house.....of course I'm kidding about the Benadryl bit) . I also love the way my cooking changes during this season. My crock-pots slowly reappear and replace the grill, comforting meals such as soups, stews and chili appear on our menu again and the kids often arrive home from school to fresh baked muffins or cookies.

One of my all time favorite ingredients to bake with during this time of year is pumpkin. I begin to stock pile this amazing puree in late July. Seems a little obsessive huh??? Well, just after my kiddos were back into school, my pumpkin baking frenzy began. Muffins, breads, cookies and cakes were coming out of the ovens just as fast as they could be consumed. My kids have been in a pumpkin eating glory and no, their skin doesn't have an orange tint to it yet.

These cookies have quickly become a favorite for us. I made them the first time for our family a few weeks ago and resorted back to them today when I was preparing dinner for a friend who took a nasty fall yesterday. I wanted to make her an apple pie, but time got away from me. I remembered sharing these with her when I first baked them and thought they'd be a great treat for her to have this weekend. This recipe comes together so quickly and easily. Everything is mixed in one bowl and you're ready to bake in just minutes. They have a cake-like texture to them and have the perfect balance of pumpkin and chocolate in every bite. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and I thought some pumpkin pie spice would add even more flavor. I added 1/2 teaspoon this time and love how it kicked up the taste of cinnamon and spice in this special little cookie.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Mini's)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (my addition)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add pumpkin, oil, eggs, milk and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate ships and nuts. Drip by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 13-14 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. cook for 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: All Recipes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brownie Cookies

Last night our oldest daughter (11) asked if she could bake a batch of cookies. Since our pantry has been empty of that sort of sweet for most of the week....a cardinal sin around here, I told her we would bake when I returned home from soccer practice with the boys. She rustled through a couple of cookbooks and found the recipe she wanted to bake and I left for soccer. Well, soccer was running a little long so I called home to have my little baker get all the ingredients out and begin to melt the chocolate and butter on the stove so that it had time to cool before I got home. Let me preface to all you worriers....I'm not a negligent Mom....Marty was home to oversee any cooking taking place. I explained that she needed to get a saucepan out to melt her ingredients. She was trying to verify which pan was a saucepan, "Mom, does it have one or two handles?". "Honey, it has one handle and is the pan I use to heat veggies on the stove". Her again, "What size?" My reply, "The second to the smallest should work fine." "O.k., thanks Mom". Well, soccer ended and as I drove home I was gearing up to bake a batch of chocolaty cookies and experience some quality bonding time with my daughter. I walk into the kitchen and past the stove top and notice something strange. I asked, "Why did you pour the chocolate mixture into that bowl to cool?" "Mom, that's the bowl I used to melt everything. You told me to use the bowl with one handle......" UGH!! She had used the second to the smallest mixing bowl with one handle (actually a ring) to melt the chocolate!!! Thankfully the bowl is metal and our stove top is glass so nothing was harmed during the process. Oh, what a HUGE mess we could have had on our hands. One of my dear friends has a great saying in times such as these, "Remember, you're creating memories Christy." What a wise and wonderful friend.

Now do you want to know how these cookies turned out? My little baker chose a fantastic recipe. In every fudgy, chewy, brownie like bite is a divine taste of double chocolaty, chippy heaven!!! These are a very rich tasting cookie...but check out the reason...4 squares of chocolate, 3 CUPS of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter. OH MY...I think my thighs will be screaming for me to hide these cookies from myself!!! I'm already thinking of ways to switch this recipe up by adding vanilla chips or butterscotch or peanut butter. The variations are endless.

So, go make sure you have lots and lots of ice cold milk, bake these yummy cookies and then sit down and have a nice, long argument with your thighs over how many cookies you should or shouldn't be eating!!

Brownie Cookies

1/2 cup butter
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted (I omitted these)

Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, and 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter and chocolate melt; cool.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture, beating well. Add chocolate mixture; beat well. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels and pecans.

Drop by 2 tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen.

Source: Southern Living Incredible Cookies

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

The other day when I fixed oven fried chicken for dinner, I needed a side dish that would be ready when we arrived home from piano lessons. The boys both had soccer practice and we had exactly 30 minutes to sit down and eat dinner as a family. In order to prepare for this rushed schedule I cooked the chicken during nap time and then resorted to my ever faithful crock-pot to take care of the rest of our meal. There's nothing tastier or more comforting than potatoes served alongside fried chicken. These potatoes were fantastic. They were extremely cheesy and oh-so yummy!! Where the cheese had cooked close to the walls of the crock-pot it was nice and crispy, just like pan fried potatoes. Mmmmm. I am definitely marking this dish as one to fix again.

Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
8-10 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
half an onion, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 cup grated American, or cheddar cheese (I used cheddar)
10 3/4 oz. can cream of celery, mushroom or chicken soup
1 tsp. paprika

Dissolve cream of tartar in water. Add potatoes and toss together. Drain.
Place half of potatoes in slow cooker. Sprinkle with onions, salt pepper, and half of cheese.
Repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese.
Spoon soup over the top. Sprinkle with paprika.
Cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours, or High 4 hours.

Note: Tossing the potatoes in the water with cream of tartar keeps them from darkening.

Source: Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook

Seasoned Fish Crackers

If you have little ones running around your home like I do, then fish crackers are probably a staple on your pantry shelf. This easy to fix recipe gives the every day cracker a little kick. They are so addicting that once you start snacking on them you can't stop. These are great to serve at parties, Sunday football games or to pack in kids' school lunches. Try them and see if your little ones love them as much as mine do!!

Seasoned Fish Crackers

3 packages (6 ounces each) bite-size cheddar cheese fish crackers

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

3 teaspoons dill weed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2/3 cup vegetable oil

Place the crackers in a large bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients; drizzle over crackers and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to two ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake @ 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Taste of Home

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oven Fried Chicken

Do you love fried chicken but hate the splattered, greasy mess it makes on your stove-top? Are you concerned that pan fried chicken is too fatty and unhealthy? I have the perfect solution...oven fried chicken. This is an easy, mess free, lower fat way to prepare chicken for your family. The skin, flavored with salt, pepper and paprika, is so crispy while the meat remains juicy, tender and delicious.

My Granny gave me this recipe when I was a young newlywed. I asked her to share some recipes that my Papaw had always enjoyed. I was determined to impress my new husband with delicious dinners when he arrived home after a long day's work. This is one that quickly became a favorite at our house and one that our kids LOVE. It smells absolutely heavenly when baking. You can use any part of the chicken you like. I buy packages that are drumsticks only, because our four kiddos always want that part of the chicken and this keeps the arguing at bay during dinner time at our house.

Try this recipe for oven fried chicken and it's sure to become a new favorite on your menu too.

Oven Fried Chicken
Chicken pieces of your choice
3 Tbs. oil
3 Tbs. butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Salt, pepper and paprika individual pieces of chicken, slightly rubbing in and under skin. Place flour in bag. Toss a few pieces into flour bag and shake generously to coat chicken. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Place oil and margarine in 9 x 13 pan and place in oven for 3-4 minutes to melt butter. Place chicken pieces in pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, turn chicken and bake for another 20 minutes. So easy.

Source: Edna Harris (Granny)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

My family has been in the mood for some variety for breakfast and I am always happy to oblige. With ISTEP testing occurring this week and the fact that Marty (hubby) has been battling an upset stomach, I decided to look for a recipe with an oatmeal base. Oatmeal seems to comfort an ailing tummy and is also an ingredient I thought might give my little students a brain boost for their tests. Around our home muffins are always a huge hit due to their versatility. They can be grabbed on the go if we're in a rush or warmed up in the microwave and enjoyed with a steaming cup of coffee or glass of milk. These muffins did not dissappoint!! The addition of the chocolate chips really made this recipe. I used mini chips instead of regular chips. I like that when you bite this muffin you don't get overwhelmed by huge bits of chocolate but taste the oatmeal texture too. The consistency of the inside of the muffin was very chewy and still chocolatey....yum, and the outsides were perfectly crunchy.

Note to self....don't use yellow plates in photographing foods anymore!!!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

1/2 c butter or margarine
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup rolled oates
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with applesauce to the creamed mixture. Stir in oats and chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Recipe from

My Slice of Heaven

Let me begin by showing you where it all happens. I have to say.....I LOVE MY KITCHEN!!!! I have ample counter space to work on, double ovens to bake with (a must have for a family of six), one large pantry and another small "pantry" to store our home canned goods, my plethera of cookbooks, and my ever faithful crock-pots. Looking out my breakfast nook windows, I have a fantastic view of our woods and small creek that runs across our land. This is my little slice of heaven. I hope that in upcoming posts I will be turning out some terrific, flavorful, and delectable recipes that not only my family will enjoy but will encourage you to prepare for your family's palate too.

I decided to start my own blog to share recipes with friends and family and to network with others who enjoy cooking and baking as much as I do. My love of cooking blossomed as a young girl while standing beside my Granny as I helped her roll out pie dough for pies. She always allowed me to sprinkle the leftover dough with cinnamon and sugar to be savored later as a special treat. She was ever patient with my eagerness to assist in any kind of baking. My grandparents ran a small farm (where my Mom grew up and is the same ground we built our home on) and at harvest time Granny would fix large lunches and dinners to be transported out to the fields for everyone. I'm not talking ham sandwiches and chips here, I'm referring to fried chicken (wrapped in newspaper to stay warm), potatoes, green beans, rolls and of course pie!!! Wow!!! Some of my fondest memories as a child are sharing moments with my brother and cousins riding in the grain wagons full of beans or corn freshly harvested from the fields. What simple, wonderful times those were.

Not all the recipes posted here will be lengthy, time consuming, from "scratch" recipes. As a busy mom of four very active children, my priority is to have a meal prepared to eat before running out the door to our commitments rather than grabbing a drive-through meal that has ZERO nutritional value. Our dinners consist of crock-pot meals, fresh homemade soups, grilled dishes, simple casseroles or my kid's favorite.....breakfast for dinner. I build into my weekly menus a buffet night when all leftovers are placed on the island to be gobbled up. This is typically an evening we have commitments at different times and places.

So, come along on this new adventure with me. I hope it's a fun, flavorful one for all.