Savory Southwest Biscuits

Here's a delicious recipe based on my Country Biscuit recipe to use for dinner or breakfast. Enjoy!

3 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup diced green chilies
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in shortening. Add egg and milk. Mix in cheese, chilies, and crumbled bacon. Turn out on floured surface and knead 10-15 times. Roll out 1/2 thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Place on greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Suzie Waltner's Autumn Harvest Bake

Suzie Waltner graduated from the University of Idaho and decided to make a move across the country to Nashville, Tennessee. After seventeen years, she now claims Tennessee as home. She loves all things Jane Austen, engaging romance novels that end with a satisfying HEA (happily ever after), movies, and cheering on her hockey team to victory. While she hasn’t found her own true love, she hasn’t given up on him and can dream of what he might be like in her writing. Beauty from Ashes is her fourth novel. Learn more about Suzie and her writing HERE. 

Suzie's Latest Book - Beauty from Ashes 

After her boss threatens to fire her if she takes her vacation, Libby James decides it’s time to move on. The only problem is the non-compete clause in her contract. She can’t work for another interior design firm for six months. Needing money to live and something to keep her busy until she can return to the career she loves, Libby accepts a position where her best friend works. Little does she realize, her life is about to become much more complicated. Despite his aversion to weddings—and more specifically, marriage—Jack Price owns and manages a successful event planning company. In need of some additional assistance, he agrees to hire the friend of one of his employees. He is immediately drawn to the open and honest woman. He won’t acknowledge his interest in her at first, but the more time they spend together, the closer they become. He’ll have to let go of his past if he hopes for a future with Libby. Purchase Suzie's book HERE.

Suzie Waltner's Autumn Harvest Bake

(This is one of my fall/winter favorites. I've even started using it instead of sweet potatoes for holiday meals--and it works as a dessert! - SW)

1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
A good pinch of kosher salt (for taste)
4 cups butternut squash chunks (cut into roughly 1” cubes)
3 cups pear chunks (3-4 pears cut into 1” cubes)
2 cups apples chunks (2-3 apples cut into 1” cubes, baking apples work best)
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together melted butter, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together butternut squash, pears, apples, and cranberries. Pour butter mixture over it and toss until well distributed. Spread into a 9 X 13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and toss or stir. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the squash and pears are tender. Serve hot. 

This dish can easily be made ahead of time, cooled, and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. When you want to serve it, heat it up in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot. Serves 10.

Easy Green Bean Medley

Here's a tasty recipe that's also quite colorful on your plate. Make some for your family tonight!

16 oz. frozen whole green beans
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
5 button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In large microwavable bowl, steam beans in microwave for 3-5 minutes until heated through.

In medium skillet, saute carrots, mushrooms, and onion in melted butter until tender. Add dill weed, salt, and pepper. Pour over steamed green beans and toss together. Microwave an additional 2 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Baked Barbecue Chicken


This is a recipe we enjoy often at our house.

1 whole chicken (cut up)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey barbecue sauce
1/3 cup wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in large skillet and fry chicken until browned. Place chicken in 13X9" baking dish. In same skillet, saute onion in remaining oil until tender; In glass measuring cup, combine remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to onions and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes or until chicken is done, basting occasionally. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Gail Kittleson's Homemade Noodles

Heroines that Dare to Bloom parallels Gail Kittleson’s long journey to blooming as a writer. She taught college expository writing and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats.

WhiteFire Publishing released her memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in November 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology. Please feel free to contact Gail—meeting new reading friends is the meringue on her pie, as Dottie would say!

Gail Latest Release: In This Together

After losing her only son to World War II and her husband soon after, Dottie Kyle takes a job at a local boarding house. Her daughter Cora moved to California straight out of high school to work for the war effort, married a sailor and settled down in the Golden State—another loss.

Dottie contributes to her rural Iowa post-war world by cooking and cleaning, volunteering at her church, and tending her garden. But when troubles arise in Cora’s third pregnancy, Dottie longs to help Cora and meet those two grandbabies out in California. However, old fears prohibit her from making that arduous, cross-country train journey.

At the boarding house, complications arise that force Dottie to speak up for what’s right, and as her confidence grows, so does the unexpected interest of the widower next door. Nary a reason to blush here, but plenty of opportunity to cheer Dottie on to victory! Purchase the book HERE.

Gail's (Dottie’s) Homemade Noodles

2 cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
large pinch of salt
2-4 tablespoons water

Pour flour in a medium sized bowl. Stir in eggs, a hefty pinch of salt, and 2-4 tablespoons water to form soft dough. Knead by hand and divide into two 6-inch mounds. Let rest a couple of minutes before rolling out on floured board about 1/8 inch (or less) thick. The thinner the better, and the more noodles you’ll create. When noodles have dried (a few hours for each side), cut into long strings and drop into boiling beef or chicken broth. Boil for ten to fifteen minutes or until tender.

The boarders like these noodles best with a big roast beef or whole stewing chicken cooked in broth for Sunday dinner. Of course, serve this tasty dish over boiled potatoes slathered with butter. Dottie’s heard of some folks adding a pinch of baking powder to the original mixture, but thinks this step unnecessary. 
Feeds 6-8

Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti


Here's a delicious recipe I found on King Arthur Flour, that has been slightly adapted. These are absolutely wonderful with tea. Make some today!

6 tablespoons salted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pistachios
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
Decorating Sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a baking liner. In medium-sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in to egg mixture. Dough will be sticky. Add pistachios and cherries. Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheet and pat it into a flattened log about 13 inches long, 3 inches wide, and about 3/4" thick. Smooth out the top and sides using a wet spatula. Sprinkle with decorating sugar, if desired. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Spray with water, spritzing the sides and top. This will soften the crust just enough to make slicing easier. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Wait five minutes, then cut crosswise with a sharp knife, 1/2" slices. Place cookie slices on baking sheet standing up on edge. Bake for another 30-35 minutes, until biscotti feel very dry and are golden around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Makes 2 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Zesty Pizza Sauce


Here's an easy homemade pizza sauce our family loves. Use with my thick homemade pizza dough or thin pizza.

15 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

In glass measuring cup, mix together all ingredients. Pour over large unbaked pizza dough. May also use for dipping sauce. Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Ane Mulligan's Six-Layer Eggnog Cake

While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many including pro-family lobbyist, drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane writes her Southern-fried fiction in Sugar Hill, GA, where she resides with her artist husband and chef son. Her debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival, was an Amazon bestseller. Chapel Springs Survival received 4 stars from RT BookReviews, Home to Chapel Springs, in May 2016. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website.

The Chapel Springs Cookbook was a fun project. My street team (fans) meets on a private Facebook group, where the often interact as the characters from my Chapel Springs series. Mayor Felix Riley (aka Mike Ehret) decided the town needed a collaborative cookbook and invited the “residents” to contribute. My publisher loved the idea and published the cookbook. You’ll find everything from appetizers, like Herb Cheese Stuffed Potato Rounds and the mayor’s Firehouse Chili to holiday desserts like the one found below.

Ane's Chapel Springs Cookbook
Good cooks surround me, and that's purely divine intervention. You see, my culinary expertise maxes out at Jell-O Jigglers. It's a good thing my hubby, Joel, loves to cook. Otherwise our kids would have gotten pretty tired of PB&J sandwiches and salad. We all have our talents, but God didn't give me a culinary gene.

A number of Chapel Springs Revival readers asked me for my favorite recipes—which flat knocked me out given I can't cook. But Mayor Felix Riley liked the idea, so all my friends got together and submitted their favorites. This cookbook includes the best recipes from Chapel Springs—the dishes we all bring to town potlucks. I've had the good pleasure of tasting all of these at one time or another … well, except for one of Felix's. I wouldn't try it. But maybe you're more adventurous.

I hope you enjoy this cookbook. And I hope all y'all get the next book in the Chapel Springs series, Chapel Springs Survival, coming in December. The author exposes my great faux pas in the world of art. Enjoy! ~ Claire Bennett (fictional character)

Ane's  Six-layer Eggnog Cake
From the author*

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon rum extract
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups Sugar
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
red and green food coloring
2-3 tubs buttery chocolate frosting

At least 4 hours ahead of serving or a day ahead: Preheat over to 350ยบ F. Grease and flour three 9” round cake pans. You can put a circle of wax paper in the bottom, if desired.

In a small bowl, with a fork, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In another small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy cream and rum extract until stiff peaks form.

In a large bowl using the same beaters, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. With a wire whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture and whipped cream into egg mixture until blended; pour batter into cake pans.

In 2 of the cake pans, add a few drops of red and green food coloring and gently blend. Stagger pans on 2 oven racks so no pan is directly over another. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make chocolate curls for garnish. Using the heat of your hands or in a slightly warm oven, slightly soften chocolate squares. With a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate into curls and set aside.

When the cake layers are completely cool, with a sharp knife, cut each cake layer horizontally in half. I use toothpicks around the circumference of the cake layer to mark where to cut. Place first layer on cake plate, cut side up; spread with a thin layer of frosting. Set the second layer on, cut side down. Repeat until all layers are stacked on top. Make sure the last layer is topside up. Frost with remaining frosting. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate until serving time.

Sesame Chicken

Here's a delicious recipe to make the next time you're craving a little Chinese food. Serve with Fried Rice, Crab Rangoon, Egg Rolls, and Egg Drop Soup. Yum!

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1" chunks
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
1 teaspoon chili pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish

In gallon Ziplock bag, combine flour, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Add chicken chunks to flour mixture and shake to coat the meat. Heat large skillet with oil. Add chicken and cook until chicken is golden brown on both sides.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan on low heat. Saute garlic until tender. In medium mixing bowl, combine water chestnuts, chili seasoning, chicken broth, cornstarch, wine vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Whisk together until cornstarch has dissolved. Pour into butter mixture and cook on medium heat until mixture thickens. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over rice. Serves 6-8.

Wine Recommendation: Castello del Poggio Moscato
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Asparagus with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Here's a new recipe I served with Chicken Cordon Blue. Let me just say it was amazing! I hope you'll give it a whirl!

2 cups water
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
5 large button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 cup sour cream

In a large cooking pot, steam asparagus and carrots over boiling water. Boil 5-7 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion, mushrooms, and garlic in melted butter until tender. Stir in the flour, lemon-pepper, and salt. Blend well. Gradually stir in broth. Add parsley, vinegar, and dill weed. Bring to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat and stir in sour cream. Arrange asparagus and carrots on plates and top with cream sauce. Serves 4-6. Delicious!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Homemade Salami

Here's a recipe my mom has been making for years during the holidays. Serve with crackers and cheese. Especially good with Chili Cheese Roll (pictured above--look for this new recipe in the weeks ahead). Enjoy!

2 pounds lean hamburger (I like using venison if you have it)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fast-cure salt
1 tablespoon peppercorns, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of salt

In medium bowl, mix together water, fast-cure salt, crushed peppercorns, liquid smoke, garlic powder, red pepper, onion powder, and salt. Set hamburger in large bowl, and pour water mixture over it, mixing in well until all is combined. Shape into three rolls. Roll into plastic wrap and set in oblong cake pan. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove wrap and bake in shallow glass pan for 1 hour at 300 degrees. Salami will turn pick while cooking. Cool and wrap in plastic to freeze or refrigerate.

Wine Recommendation: Estancia Stonewall Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.