Spicy Super Bowl Chili

This is one of Gil's recipes from Snow Melts in Spring. Perfect for this year's Super Bowl. Make some this weekend!

2 pounds hamburger
one medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 - 15 oz. cans chili beans
1 - 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 - 15 oz. can crushed tomatos
1 - 12 oz. can dark beer
1 - 4 oz. can green chilies, chopped

In large saucepan, brown hamburger. Stir in onion and garlic and cook till tender. Add seasonings, beans, tomatoes, beer, and chilies. Bring mixture to a boil and then cover and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with saltine crackers and sliced cheddar cheese. This recipe is even better on the second day. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the recipe.

Diane Dean White's Pear, Chocolate and Cardamom Cake


Diane Dean White started her writing career at an early age when she asked for a typewriter for Christmas. She pounded the keys writing poetry and short stories in grade school on an old black Royal manual. It wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a southern town she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper, covering hard news and feature stories in the area. Upon returning to their home-state of Michigan, she did stringer work, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations; while doing her favorite job ever, as a stay-at-home Mom. 

She is the author of Beach Walks and Carolina in the Morning. Diane was a columnist for a weekly magazine, for four years, and her stories have appeared in a number of magazines and books. She is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her book, newly released, On a Summer Night, is a story of suspense and romance. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-one years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals. Diane thanks the Lord daily for her loving husband, three great kids and for giving her the desires of her heart. Visit Diane on her website at www.DianeDeanWhite.com

Diane's Latest Book Release: On a Summer Night

Kate and Vanessa hadn’t planned on the summer night that changed their lives. Could they have imagined the darkness that descended and how gripping fear could be? The beauty and sweeping moss, gentle palm trees and Florida breezes was wrapped with the memory of the awful evening. They played at being cheerful and returned home to yet another sorrow. Times steals away from the 60’s, and the memory of what happened was hidden in the recesses of Kate’s mind. She and her husband take an early retirement returning to the winter home where by-gone memories are stored. Can she trust God to help her find forgiveness? Will her husband understand? She knew he needed to hear her story.

Diane's Recipe for Pear, Chocolate and Cardamom Cake

(Shared with love from my daughter-in-law Inna)

11 oz. salted butter at room temp.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
11 oz. ground almonds (*Note may use 11 oz. almond meal/flour in place of ground almonds in addition to flour below.)
1/2 cup gluten free or plain flour
1 tsp. ground Cardamom
2 ripe pears, peeled, sliced or chopped.
3 1/2 oz. dark chocolate 70% cocoa, roughly chopped
Caster sugar for dusting, or the equivalent, C&H Baker's Sugar

Preheat the oven to (320 Fahrenheit) and line the base and sides of a 23 cm spring form cake tin with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Switch the mixer to low and gradually add the beaten eggs followed by the ground almonds, and/or flour and cardamom. Mix until combined.

Place half the cake mixture into the prepared tin, cover with half the pear and chopped chocolate. Cover remaining cake mixture and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cake and push the remaining pieces of chocolate into the top of the cake and top with the remaining pear in whatever pattern you prefer. Sprinkle the pear with caster sugar and return to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is cooked and the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove the cake from the tin and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with a dollop of cream.

Molasses-Brined Baked Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables

Here's a delicious recipe to make for your family. Juicy, rich, and oh so yummy! Serve with roasted vegetables.

6 cups hot water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8-10 frozen chicken thighs
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 red potatoes, cut into quarters
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
10-12 mushrooms, halved
15-20 pearl onions, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock

In large container, combine water, salt, molasses, onion, garlic, and thyme. Add frozen chicken thighs and allow to soak for 6-8 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from brine. Rinse and pat dry. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Heat oil in large skillet and brown chicken on both sides for five minutes. Place chicken in a baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until done. Cover with foil and keep warm.

Meanwhile, In large bowl, pour oil over prepared vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix together until vegetables are coated with oil. Place in oblong baking dish. Pour a cup of water in the browning skillet and heat to get the juices from the skillet. Pour over vegetables. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 45-60 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring once or twice during baking. Arrange vegetables around the chicken and serve. Serves 8-10.
Wine Recommendation: Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake


Here's another delicious cake recipe for you to enjoy! This is my husband's favorite cake recipe.

1 cup salted butter, softened
2-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add alternately with sour cream, beating after each addition. In another small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and pecans.

Spoon 1/3 batter into a greased 10" tube pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of sugar mixture over batter. Repeat layers two more times. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ A Year of Holidays

Since it's a new year, I thought I might add a new twist to my blog by including recommendations for cookbooks and other kitchen items. I adore Ree Drummond, and actually followed her blog, The Pioneer Woman, before she became "famous." I even "met" her last year when we traveling home from Kansas City. What a joy! Here's her newest cookbook, which is available at all bookstores, and I've seen it in Walmart. You can order it online at Barnes and Noble HERE. 

Editorial Review ~ Barnes & Noble

Ree Drummond launched her Pioneer Woman blog in 2006, but it was almost year before she found the confidence to publish her first recipe. What began as a steak tutorial became an internet, and then a book and Food Network sensation, and now Ree is back with her first year-round holiday cookbook. As her blogging devotees already suspected, this prettily package hardcover contains not only a full bounty of recipes for holiday gatherings and family meals; but also the step-by-step photos that have helped make Drummond such an online favorite. A Year of Holiday helps you through all four seasons with everything from breakfast and brunches to lunches, dinner, parties, and feasts.
Ree Drummond began blogging in 2006 and has built an award-winning website, where she shares recipes, showcases her photography, and documents her hilarious transition from city life to ranch wife. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling books Charlie the Ranch DogThe Pioneer Woman Cooks, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier as well as Charlie and the Christmas Kitty,Charlie Goes to School, and his I Can Read adventures. Ree lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, with her husband, Ladd; their four kids; Charlie; Abigail; and lots of other animals.

S'Mores Bars

Here's a recipe I discovered at a recent church supper. They were amazing and I had to try them! I hope you'll enjoy them just as much!

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 milk chocolate bars, approximately 1 1/2 ounces each
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in crushed graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve 1 cup of the graham cracker mixture and press remaining mixture over the bottom of a greased 8" square pan. Arrange chocolate bars in a single layer over graham cracker crust. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Crumble reserved graham cracker mixture over the marshmallows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into bars and cool completely. Makes about 12-16 bars.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Thin and Crispy Pizza


Here's one of the best thin pizza crusts that I've tried. The secret is in the flour. I've tried King Arthur's Italian Flour, but have to admit that I like Antimo Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour better. Love it, love it, love it! Make some tonight!

2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
3 cups 00 Antimo Caputo Pizzeria Flour
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients in order listed to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and cover with a lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow to relax for 15-30 minutes.

Lay out two 12" squares of parchment paper on table. Roll each piece of dough into a 10-12" circle, about 1/8" thick. Spray with olive oil and let rest while oven (and pizza stone, if you have one) preheats to 450 degrees.

Place the parchment sheets and crusts directly on the hot stone. Bake for 4-5 minutes until edges begin to turn brown.

Remove from oven and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Return crusts to stone and bake an additional 7-8 minutes until cheese is warm and bubbly. Makes two 12" thin-crust pizzas.

*Toppings: We like making one meat and one vegetable pizza with this recipe. Try pepperoni and sausage with mozzarella cheese or veggie toppings of sliced peppers, onion, mushrooms, black olives, and sliced grape tomatoes. I also use my recipe for PIZZA SAUCE when I make these thin pizzas. Enjoy! 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This is a favorite cake recipe I enjoy serving during the holidays, but you can enjoy it anytime of the year! It's especially good with hot tea.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons poppy seed
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon peel

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream softened butter. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time. In small mixing bowl, combine flour and soda. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with sour cream until mixed well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool ten minutes and turn out onto plate. Drizzle with lemon glaze.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Here's an easy recipe when you need quick and comforting meal--my go-to recipe when one of my loved ones gets sick.

3 chicken breasts
6-8 cups water
3 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen peas
6 oz Amish Extra Thick Kluski Egg Noodles

In a medium saucepan combine chicken and water and bring to a boil. Add bouillon cubes, celery, carrots, onion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper. Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes until meat is cooked through. Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool. Add frozen peas and return to a boil. Add noodles and cook as directed on package, approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Add to soup when noodles are tender. Cook another 5 minutes. Serve immediately with saltine crackers. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheesy Sourdough Rolls

Here's a delicious recipe to use with your sourdough starter. Enjoy!

1/2 cup "fed" sourdough starter (Recipe HERE)
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup warm water
5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1-1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In large bowl, combine sourdough starter, flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, egg, butter, and water. Mix well with stand mixer or your hands to make a smooth, soft dough, kneading for 5-7 minutes. Place dough in greased container and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until doubled. Gently punch down dough.

Roll or pat the dough into a 12x16" rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with paprika. Sprinkle with cheese. Beginning with the long side, roll the dough as you would for cinnamon rolls. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1" slices. Place in two lightly greased 8" round cake pans (8 per pan). Cover the pans and allow to rise for another hour, until puffy. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until done. Remove from oven.

In small bowl, combine remaining 3 T butter and garlic powder. Spread over warm rolls. Serve warm. Serves 16.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Here's a great recipe when you want to change-up your grilled cheese sandwiches.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
8 slices sour dough bread
4 slices Provolone cheese

In small bowl, mix together butter and Parmesan cheese. Slice 1/4" pieces of sour dough bread. Spread butter on one side of each piece of bread. Place 4 bread slices, butter-side down on a preheated griddle. Add one folded slice of Provolone cheese to each. Top with remaining piece of bread, butter-side up. Grill until lightly brown. Turn and grill other side until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve warm. 2-4 servings.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Bacon and Cheese Potato Salad

Here's a new twist on potato salad, served warm. Great with pork chops.

4 medium potatoes (2 pounds), cubed
7 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
2 eggs, boiled, peeled, and chopped
3/4 cups onion, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

In large saucepan, cover potatoes with water. Bring to boil, then simmer until fork tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add to potatoes, the bacon and eggs.

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Pour over potato mixture and stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with cheese and let sit in warm oven until ready to serve. Serves 6-8
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Peppermint Meringues

This is a recipe I make at Christmastime or for tea parties. Our girls adore them! It's also a great way to use up those leftover Christmas candy canes! Enjoy!

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed

In large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Mix together, adding sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat on high for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks form. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies. Bake at 225 degrees for 90 minutes. Turn off heat, and leave candy in oven with door ajar for one hour to cool. Makes 3 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.