Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

One word... DIVINE!  I like to make these at Christmastime - I use 3/4 bag of chocolate chips and 3/4 bag of Andes mint chips - either the green or the red ones, and omit the nuts.  YUMMY!

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 chocolate cake mix (I used a chocolate fudge cake mix)
1 family-size brownie mix (I used a dark chocolate brownie mix)
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1.5 bags of chocolate chips (any type of cookie chips would be good... peanut butter, mint, regular chocolate, etc.)
1-2 cups of nuts (I've used walnuts, but I usually omit nuts altogether)

Mix all ingredients together.. but DO NOT USE A MIXER!  (The dough is very thick and will burn up the motor... mix by hand.)
Roll the dough into balls, or ice-cream scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes (for crunchy cookies, bake for 12 minutes).

Tater-Topped Bake

I've looked at this recipe many, many times, and can't believe it took me so long to make it!  Soooo simple, and soooo DELICIOUS!  Changing the name to "Bake", because I'm not allowed to make casseroles.  :S

Tater-Topped Casserole Bake

prep time: 15 min
total time: 1 hr
makes: 6 servings, 1 cup each

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 lb. (1/2 of 32-oz. pkg.) frozen bite-size seasoned potato nuggets

Heat oven to 375ºF.
Brown meat with onions in large skillet, stirring occasionally; drain.
Spoon into 2-qt. casserole dish.
Mix soup and milk; pour over meat mixture.
Top with layers of vegetables, cheese and potatoes.
Bake 45-55 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and casserole is heated through.

Pretzel Jello Salad

Pretzel Jello Salad

2 c. crushed pretzels
3/4 c. melted butter
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 c. powdered sugar
1 lg. box raspberry,strawberry or blackberry Jello
2 c. frozen berries of any kind

Mix together pretzels, melted butter and 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar.
Press into a 9x13 inch pan.
Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Mix cream cheese, Cool Whip and 1 c. powdered sugar; pour over pretzel crust.
Dissolve Jello in 2 c. boiling water.
Add 2 packages of frozen berries, not drained.
Mix well and pour over cream cheese.
Chill for a couple hours.

Roasted Rosemary & Garlic New Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary & Garlic New Potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped  (I use minced garlic that I keep in the fridge - about 1-2 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves  (I use dried rosemary - just under 1 Tbsp.)
2 lbs. small red potatoes, rinsed and quartered
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In large bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
Add potatoes and toss until well coated; season with salt.
In large, shallow roasting pan, arrange potatoes in a single layer.
Roast, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are crisp tender.

Serves 4.

Margene's Chicken Elegante

Margene's Chicken Elegante

Chicken Breasts (halved or whole)
8 oz sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
Almond slivers

Prep chicken, cut in half (if desired).
Wrap in bacon slices.
Place in dish.
Mix sour cream and soup.
Pour over chicken.

Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
Add almond slivers during last hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Add almonds during last 15 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin

This is my mother-in-law's recipe...  it's super-delicious and easy!

Pork Tenderloin

About an hour or two before grilling, rub the tenderloin with olive oil on all sides.
Sprinkle Montreal Steak Seasoning on all sides, rubbing it in as you turn it.
Add some fresh or dried rosemary - about a teaspoon of dried and rub it in too.
Wrap in either foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until grilling time.

Grill it on high for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning it about every ten minutes or so.
Most tenderloins will fall into two pieces so the grilling time can be shortened.

OR, put this in a roasting pan in the oven at 400 for about 40 minutes.

So easy and so good!

For leftovers, put either the whole piece or the chunks on a sheet of foil and pour a lot of barbeque sauce on it, wrap it tightly and freeze. It is easily heated in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes (from a thawed state). Or you can shred the leftover meat, put sauce on it and put it on buns.

Margene's Easy Chicken Parmesan

So, I made this for dinner and Dad really liked it. AND it was easy!  It’s a recipe to feed six, I just cut things in thirds. So here it is, the measurements in ( ) will be what the original recipe called for.

Margene's Easy Chicken Parmesan

Prep Time: 5 min.
Total time: 45-55 min.
Makes: 2 servings (6 servings)

1 c. (1 jar-26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 Tbl. (6 Tbl.) grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 small (6 small) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ c. (1 ½ c.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour sauce into a baking dish (for 2, I used a square glass dish; for 6, use a 9 x 13 glass dish).
Stir in 1½ Tbl. grated parmesan cheese.
Add chicken; turn to coat both sides with sauce.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 – 50 minutes (I zapped it in the microwave for 3 minutes, to make sure they were cooked).
Uncover and top with remaining parmesan cheese and then the mozzarella cheese.
Bake 5 minutes more or until chicken is done (165 degrees) and cheese is melted.

Serve it over your favorite pasta (I just used spaghetti noodles).

Complete meal: Chicken Parmesan over pasta, green beans, salad, garlic bread

And before the pasta is added, it’s only 300 calories!

Next time I’ll plan on having spaghetti later in the week to use up the rest of a large jar (26 oz.) of spaghetti sauce. 

Margene's Broccoli Cheese Soup

Margene's Broccoli Cheese Soup

Saute in soup pot:
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tbl. margarine

3 c. water
2 chicken boullion cubes or 2 tsp. granules
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring to a boil.

1-2 pkg. Top Ramen (chicken) noodles, broken up (I also put in the flavoring packets)
1 pkg. froz. or fresh broccoli (approx. 4-5 stalks), chopped & cooked (I only use the flowerettes, not the stalks)

3 c. milk
1/2 of a 12 oz. brick of Velveeta cheese (I use the light Velveeta)

Heat until the cheese melts.

Butterscotch Brownies/Blondies

These are dense & moist. If you cut them into 1x1 inch squares (bite-sized pieces), you get lots.

Butterscotch Brownies/Blondies

1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. coconut
1 c. butterscotch chips

Cream butter, brown sugar, eggs & vanilla.
Stir in flour, salt & baking powder.
Then add pecans, coconut and butterscotch chips.
Grease & flour a 9x13 pan.
Spread into pan and bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

When cool frost with a cream cheese frosting.
Then grate a chocolate toffee bar on top.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 c. or less of butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar

Because of the cream cheese, store in the fridge.

Margene's Spicy Hot Punch

Mom's famous throat soothing beverage...

Margene's Spicy Hot Punch

Make a spice bag or use a tea ball:
1 stick cinnamon (or)
1 stick cinnamon, crush 1 whole nutmeg, 1 tsp. whole cloves

Boil spices in 2 1/2 quarts water for 10 minutes.

1 c. sugar
1 sm. can (6 oz.) orange juice concentrate
1/2 c. lemon juice

Serve warm.

(I use the cinnamon stick and cloves)

Don't leave the spice bag or ball in the punch, thinking it will just make it more spicy. It doesn't. It makes it bitter. So, after it has boiled for 10 minutes, remove it.

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

Boil for 5 minutes:
2 c. brown sugar
2 cubes margarine
1/2 c. Karo syrup
1 tsp. salt

Take off stove and add:
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla.

Pour over:
6 quarts (24 c.) popped corn

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, turning occasionally

Margene's Oatmeal Coconut Crispies

Margene's Oatmeal Coconut Crispies

Makes about 7 doz cookies

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flaked (shredded) coconut

Mix shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy.
Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting (not packed).
Blend flour, soda, and salt thoroughly: stir into shortening mixture.
Blend in rolled oats and coconut. (Dough will be soft)
Shape in 2 rolls, each about 2" in diameter.
Wrap in waxed paper; refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut rolls of dough into 1/4" slices.
Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake 6-8 min, or until lightly browned.

Note: If you use self-rising flour, omit soda and salt.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
(Or, make into a cake - whichever you prefer.)

1 package plain white cake mix
1 cup whole milk
1 stick of butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 stick butter
3 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3-4 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and flour & grease 2 9" pans (for cakes) or line your cupcake tin. Place cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend for three minutes (stop to scrape once). Pour into pans and bake for 27-29 minutes (for cake) or 22-25 minutes (for cupcakes). Allow the cakes to cool completely.

Beat butter until fluffy for frosting. Add all other ingredients.

Note: These can be frozen (without frosting) to save for another occasion. They freeze very nicely!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

(previously seen on my blog)
I've made this twice now...YUMMY!

**I adhered to the "Karen's notes" modifications. One pan works well, you just have to bake closer to the 50 min mark, depending on your oven I suppose. You should also do a little more of the topping if you prefer, it ends up baking down in the top, not really a crumbily topping like I imagined. And I added a little extra pumpkin, cuz I knew I wouldn't have anything else to use it for and I wanted it to taste "pumpkin-y" I don't know if it really made a difference. Probably adding more pumpkin would help it be more moist. But it's usually better the second day anyway. Or I guess you could make 2 cakes! I also used fat-free sour cream cuz that's what I had. I doubt it makes a difference and you still have a stick of butter in there.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans

- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the sour cream, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture. Beat on low just until blended. Spread the batter into two greased and floured 8-in. round cake pans. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

I used a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for the pumpkin spice and skipped the nuts for you :-). I also used one pan instead of two and I think the thickness was perfect.

Coffee Cake

For the cake:

1 Yellow Cake Mix
4 Eggs
1 pkg. Vanilla Pudding
1/2 cup Oil
1 cup Sour cream


1/2 cup Sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
2 Tbl. Cinnamon
2 Tbl. Unsweetened Cocoa
1 cup of chopped nuts (Optional, but I use pecans)

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, pudding, oil and sour cream until smooth. This mixture will be thick. Layer 1/2 of the cake mix in the bottom of a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan (I use the sugar mixture instead of flour). Spread 1/2 of the sugar mixture, and nuts if desired, over the cake mix. Layer the additional cake mix and remaining sugar mixture and add additional brown sugar to the top if desired. Run a butter knife across the width and length of the pan to create a swirl effect in the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Avocado Feta Cheese Dip

1 Avocado
3 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
4 oz. Feta Cheese, Crumbled
1/4 to 1/2 Red Onion, Chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Oregano (dried works as well)
1 tsp. Fresh Parsley
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Tbl. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Lime, Juiced
1 clove Garlic, Minced
Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill and serve with tortilla chips.

Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 egg
1 1/2 tsp. melted butter
Marinara sauce

Flatten chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and melted butter.
In another bowl, beat the egg.
Dip chicken into egg, then coat with crumb mixture.
Place in greased, glass baking dish.
Cook at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with whole wheat pasta and marinara sauce.

Classic Orange Jello Salad

This might be a no-brainer to some, but I wanted to include it, seeing as how it's a family favorite and all...

Classic Orange Jello Salad

1 small pkg orange jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup orange juice
1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Mix the boiling water into jello powder, until dissolved (approximately 2 minutes).
Stir in orange juice.
Pour in mandarin oranges and stir to spread evenly through liquid.
Chill at least 4 hours until set.

Crash Hot Potatoes

These are perfect with steak or barbeque chicken!

Crash Hot Potatoes
by Pioneer Woman

12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.
With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Alice Springs Chicken Bake

This dish is inspired by Outback's Alice Springs Chicken.  I've made it a few times now, and it's definitely a family favorite!

Alice Springs Chicken Bake

Serves 4-6

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Pinches of Italian seasoning, thyme, and onion powder
1 can mushrooms, stems & pieces
4 oz. Canadian bacon, diced  OR  cooked breakfast bacon, diced
1 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cold water
16-oz. jar of alfredo sauce
2 c. small shells pasta
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese. grated

Preheat oven to 375F.
Spray 9x9 baking dish or covered casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Cook chicken pieces in olive oil, adding Italian seasoning, thyme, & onion powder to chicken during the last few minutes.  Place in large mixing bowl.
Boil water and cook pasta as directed.  Drain and add to mixing bowl.
Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil, until all water has been released.  Add to mixing bowl.
In same frying pan, saute Canadian bacon a few minutes to release flavor and slightly crisp it.  Add to mixing bowl.  (No need to saute cooked bacon, if used instead, just add to mixing bowl.)
Put chicken broth in sauce pan and boil to reduce by 1/3.  Mix flour with cold water, then slowly whisk into broth and cook 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Whisk in alfredo sauce to broth mixture and heat through.  Add sauce to mixing bowl and stir ingredients together.
Place mixture in baking dish.  Cover with lid or foil and bake 20 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake another 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned and casserole is bubbly.  Enjoy!

Homemade Snickers Bars

These are easy to make, but take quite a bit of time.  They do taste just like real Snickers bars!

Homemade Snickers Bars

Prep Time: 45 min
Total Time: 2 hours 30 min
Makes: 36 bars

Cookie Base
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 egg

1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
Dash salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Caramel Layer
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

Cookie Base 
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. (Skip the cooking spray, and instead line the pan with quick-release foil for easy cleanup and removal of bars from the pan.) In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients except powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well blended (filling will be thick). Press filling over cookie base. Refrigerate while preparing caramel layer.

Caramel Layer 
In 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and 2 tablespoons water over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Stir in peanuts. Spread evenly over filling. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until caramel layer is firm.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once, until melted. Spread evenly over caramel layer. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chocolate is set. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.

Oven-Roasted Green Beans

This easy side dish adds color to the meal, and you can roast it at the last minute while you finish setting the table.

Oven-Roasted Green Beans
(from Cooking Light magazine)

12 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place a jelly-roll pan in oven for 10 minutes.
Place beans in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
Arrange green bean mixture in a single layer on preheated baking sheet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Easy Green Beans

Easy Green Beans

Fresh green beans
Olive oil
Minced garlic
Fresh ginger

Toss fresh green beans with olive oil, minced garlic, and fresh ginger.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Margene's Taco Soup

Margene's Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey (I use a pkg. of ground turkey, 20 oz.)
1 c. chopped onion (I just chop a whole onion)
2 c. water
2 14-oz. cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 16-oz. cans kidney beans, undrained
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning

Garnish with: chopped avocado, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or corn chips

Cook meat & onions, drain off any fat.
Put meat mixture, water, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce & taco seasoning into soup pot.
Mix all together.
Simmer the soup, covered for 15 minutes.

(To get everything out of my cans, I use the 2 cups of water to rinse the cans. Pouring it back and forth and twisting them, to get everything out)

Candy Bar Cake

This cake is always a favorite - super-easy, super delicious!  (And it actually tastes better the 2nd day!)

Candy Bar Cake 

1 chocolate cake mix (regular chocolate, devil's food, german chocolate, etc.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar ice cream topping (caramel, butterscotch, or fudge)
1 8-oz tub Cool Whip
Candy bits (Heath/Skor, Butterfinger, etc.)

Bake cake as directed on box, in 9x13 pan.
Poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch with handle of wooden spoon.
Drizzle milk evenly over top of cake; let stand until milk has been absorbed into cake.
Drizzle with ice cream topping.
Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake.
Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.
Spread whipped topping over top of cake.
Sprinkle with toffee chips.
Store covered in refrigerator.

Aimee's Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

If I made this once a week for Brian, he'd be in heaven... and it's a dish that he actually eats the leftovers of - every.last.bite!  Don't be fooled... this isn't very authentic, but it's oh so delicious!

Aimee's Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp. butter
1 small can diced green chiles
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese or mexi-cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
12 oz. sour cream
1 10-oz. can chicken broth
8-12 flour tortillas

Boil chicken with onion, salt & pepper about 15 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Let chicken cool.
Cut it into bite-sized pieces or shred it, and set aside.

In small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add chiles and chopped onion and cook until onions are just transparent.
Remove from heat and add 6 oz. of the shredded cheese, 1/2 the cream of chicken soup, 1/2 the sour cream, all of the cream cheese, and the chicken.  Mix thoroughly together.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Spoon 1/2 c. of this mixture into each tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the baking dish - wedge it in to fit 8-12 stuffed tortillas.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining sour cream, soup, and chicken broth.
Pour this sauce over the tortillas.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish.
Bake 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
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