OREO & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

This dessert is super-easy to put together, and keeps very well in the freezer for days... if it lasts that long!  We've probably made this a dozen times or more, as it's an oft-requested birthday cake by Brian!

OREO & Fudge Ice Cream Cake
(from Kraft Foods)

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 4 hr 10 min
Makes: 12 servings

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
8 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

POUR fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.

ARRANGE 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining COOL WHIP. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.

FREEZE 4 hours.

Margene's Strawbana Frozen Delight

Margene's Strawbana Frozen Delight

1.5 quarts pineapple sherbet
1 tub (box) frozen strawberries (in syrup)
4 large bananas (just barely yellow), cut into bite-sized pieces

Thaw frozen strawberries and let pineapple sherbet soften.
Stir together in a large bowl.
Add cut-up bananas.
Spoon into glass 9x13" pan.
Cover and freeze for several hours.
Once frozen, cut into squares, serve, and enjoy!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This comes together so easy, plus makes great leftovers!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
(modified version of a Kraft Foods' recipe)

Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 40 min.
Makes: 4 servings, 1 cup each

1/2 can (8 oz.) diced tomatoes w/ garlic & basil, undrained
1/2 pkg. (3 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/4 c. water
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place tomatoes in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix, water and garlic; stir until stuffing mix is moistened. Set aside.
Place chicken pieces in baking dish; sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and cheese. Top with stuffing mixture.
Bake 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Light Blueberry Pound Cake

Light Blueberry Pound Cake

2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light butter/margarine, softened
4 oz. lowfat cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
3 c. flour, divided
2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz.) carton lemon lowfat yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 tsp. lemon juice

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes).
Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Measure flour into bowl.
Take 2 tablespoons flour and combine with blueberries in a small bowl - toss well.
Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add flour mixture to sugar/egg mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Fold in blueberry mixture and vanilla.
Pour cake batter into a 10" tube pan or bundt pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350F for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle over warm cake.
Cut with a serrated knife.

Chocolate Passion Bowl - Trifle

Chocolate Passion Bowl - Trifle

(from Kraft Foods, of course)

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Makes: 16 servings, about 2/3 cup each

3 cups cold milk
2 pkgs. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP French Vanilla Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-1/2 cups)
1 pt. (2 cups) raspberries

Beat milk and dry pudding mixes in large bowl with wire whisk 2 min. or until blended.
Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
Place half of the brownies in 2-qt. serving bowl; top with layers of half each of the pudding mixture, remaining whipped topping and raspberries. Repeat all layers.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Citrus-Honey Chicken

This is my go-to Sunday dinner dish...  hardly any prep, inexpensive, and so EASY!

Citrus-Honey Chicken

1 whole chicken (make sure it's not bigger than your crockpot!)
1 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
Dried rosemary

Remove giblet packets, and other gross parts from your chicken, rinsing it thoroughly inside and out.
Pierce lemon with fork several time, and place inside chicken.
Place chicken inside crockpot.
Combine honey and orange juice, stir until smooth. Stir in rosemary.
Pour over chicken. Cover crockpot.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours, basting chicken w/ juices towards the end of cooking time.
Chicken is done when limbs fall off body.
Carve up and serve!


Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

1 box of penne pasta (try Barilla Plus)
2 chicken breasts
Toasted pine nuts
1 container of pesto
Parmesan cheese

Get your water boiling, and don't forget to salt it! Boil the pasta according to the instructions.
Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Saute in olive oil, and season in final cooking stages (I like to use TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute on my chicken).
Slowly toast your pine nuts in a dry pan until done to perfection (ie. right before you burn them).
Mix together your cooked pasta, chicken, pine nuts and pesto. Top with parmesan cheese.

Easiest Pot Roast EVER

Not. Kidding. Just 3 ingredients and 3 steps...

Easiest Pot Roast EVER

1 2-3 lb. pot roast
1 1/2 cups water
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Put the pot roast in your crockpot.
Add the water and soup mix.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Yep, I know... no carrots and potatoes cooked with the roast, but that's fine by me! I never have liked onion-y, soggy vegetables with my roast beef, plus they never work well as leftovers, anyway. I combined this with smashed potatoes, brown gravy w/ a little oregano, steamed veggies, and fresh-baked sourdough bread. It was delicious!!

Stuffed Pasta Shells

An uber-easy, 5-ingredient dish!

Stuffed Pasta Shells

1/2 package (6 oz of 12 oz box) large pasta shells
1 container (16 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 jar (26-32 oz) spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook shells according to package directions, and drain.
In bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg, and mozzarella.
Stuff cooked shells with cheese mixture.
Place shells in a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
Pour sauce over shells.
Cover and bake about 45 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly.

Makes 6+ servings.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Yield: depends on how small you cut them...

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of one lemon (3 Tablespoons)
4 cups fresh blueberries (2 pints)
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely (and chill if possible) before cutting into squares. (Store in the refrigerator.)

Aimee's Chicken Packets

Aimee's Chicken Packets

2 breasts of chicken - diced and cooked
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I usually buy the 1/3 less fat kind.)
2 tubes crescent roll dough (I usually buy the reduced fat version.)
Spices to season the cream cheese mixture (I typically use basil, chives, minced onion, and a little garlic.)
Seasoned dry bread crumbs
4 tsp. melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (optional)
Milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll one tube of crescent rolls. Each tube will contain 4 rectangles of dough with a diagonal perforation. Press along diagonal perforation to seal together and arrange on baking sheet.
Mix chicken, cream cheese and spices together in a bowl.
Spoon 1/4 of the mixture onto each crescent roll rectangle, leaving some room on the edges so you can seal the packets.
Open the second tube of crescent rolls, and lay those 4 rectangles over the chicken mixture. Press along the edges to seal the packets.
Brush melted butter over the top of each packet, and sprinkle bread crumbs on the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with a gravy made from thinned out cream of chicken soup (with milk), if you want.

This recipe makes 4 large packets - with a side and veggie, 1 packet per person is plenty for dinner. If your family won't consume all 4 in one sitting, freeze the extras before baking (then thaw and bake as normal).

Aimee's Lazy Lasagna

Aimee's Lazy Lasagna
(adapted from Kraft Foods)

1 jar (26-32 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 lb. ground beef or italian sausage, browned
1 container (15-24 oz.) ricotta or cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups rotini pasta, cooked

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix spaghetti sauce and meat; set aside.
Mix ricotta/cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese in separate bowl.
Spray 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Spread half of the sauce mixture into prepared pan; cover with layers of pasta and half of the cheese mixture.
Top with layers of remaining sauce and cheese mixtures; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil.
Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; let stand 5-10 minutes. before cutting to serve.

Sweet Cereal Mix

Sweet Cereal Mix

Candy thermometer
4 c. Special K
5 c. Corn Chex
4 c. Cheerios
4 c. Rice Krispies
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
3/4 c. light Karo Syrup
Dash of salt
1 c. heavy whipping cream

Measure out cereals, and combine in one large bowl. (Separate into 2 bowls, if you don't have one that can accommodate the cereals.)
In a medium saucepan, melt sugar, butter, Karo Syrup, and salt together.
Bring melted mixture to a boil, and add whipping cream. (Add slowly while boiling - don't let it stop boiling.)
Cook to soft ball stage - 230 degrees.
Pour mixture over your cereals, and stir together to combine.
Spread on a cookie sheet to cool.
Store in an airtight container.

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 graham cracker (or chocolate) pie crust
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. pecan pieces, divided
1 cup cold milk
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided

Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans.
Beat milk, pudding mixes, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups whipped topping. Spread into crust.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with remaining whipped topping, caramel topping and pecans just before serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

2 eggs
1 c. pumpkin
1.5 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
0.5 c. oil
1.75 c. flour
0.25 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
0.5 tsp. each of salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, & ground cloves
1 c. milk chocolate chips (or, you can use 0.5 c. raisins + 0.5 c. chopped walnuts instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 small, or 1 large, loaf pan(s).
In a large bowl, beat eggs.
Mix in pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla.
Add oil and stir together.
Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Finally, add in chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared loaf pan(s), and bake for 1 hour, until done. (I bake about 50 min. and test with a toothpick.)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've had really bad luck baking homemade cookies over the last year. They always taste great right out of the oven, but by the next morning, they're either way too soft, or rock hard. (Unless I made these.) Finally, I've found a cookie recipe that maintains its delicious texture day after day... it does not disappoint!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1.5 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
0.5 tsp. salt
3 c. oatmeal
1 bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat butter/margarine until light.
Add sugars; beat until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well.
Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are just set. Do not overbake. (I used a silpat, and baked mine to perfection with 10.5 minutes in a 360 degree oven.)
Makes about 5 dozen.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

A delicious, super-easy cake... tastes like fall!

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake


1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients.
With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on low for 30 seconds.
Increase speed to high & beat for 4 minutes.
Pour into a greased & floured bundt pan & bake at 350°F for 40-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.
Let sit 5 minutes & then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Glaze with cream cheese glaze (see below) & sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.


4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk

Beat together all ingredients until smooth.
Spoon or carefully pour over cooled bundt cake.

Margene’s Cherry Sauce

Mom makes this to top off ham.  Yum!

Margene’s Cherry Sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp corn starch
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup apple juice
1 tbsp vinegar
Red food coloring (opt.)
1 16-oz can pitted tart red cherries (water pack), drained

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cloves.
Stir in apple juice, vinegar, and food coloring (if desired).
Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly.
Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
Stir in cherries, and heat through.
Serve warm with ham, pork, or poultry.

Makes 2 ¼ cups.

Margene’s Sweet Potatoes

Margene’s Sweet Potatoes

1 sweet potato per person (buy long column-like ones, rather than fat, round ones)
Brown sugar

Peel and slice them about ½ - ¾ in. thick.
Boil them in water until just fork tender. Don’t over cook them or they become mushy. Drain them.
Put them in a baking dish. Put pats of butter/margarine all over them, and sprinkle brown sugar over the top. (Make a syrup.)
Warm in the oven.
Just before serving, sprinkle marshmallows over the top, and toast them in the oven at about 400 degrees or more. Keep an eye on them!

Margene’s Funeral Potatoes

Margene’s Funeral Potatoes

1 32-oz. pkg. shredded froz. potatoes, thawed (hash browns)

½ c. melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
12 oz. grated cheddar cheese (I use less, maybe 8-10 oz.)
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 8-oz. sour cream
2 c. crushed corn flakes

Place potatoes in 9x13 baking dish.
Saute onion in butter until translucent.
Then stir in can of soup, cheese and sour cream. Mix well.
Pour over potatoes.
Top with crushed corn flakes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

(You could divide this between 2-3 baking dishes & freeze some for another time. I would suggest lining your dish with foil and then preparing the recipe. Leave the corn flakes off to add before you bake at a later date. After it is frozen, you can take it out of your dish, wrap it tightly in foil. Then slip it in a freezer bag. Then remove the foil before you let it thaw. Slip it back into the baking dish & let it thaw, add the crushed corn flakes, then bake.)

Margene’s Crown Jewel Dessert

Mom's classic, plain-Jello holiday salad.

Margene’s Crown Jewel Dessert

1 pkg. (3 oz.) each Jello Orange, Cherry, and Lime
(I just used 2 red ones and 1 green one) {I like this recipe for Thanksgiving, using orange, yellow, & green}
4 c. boiling water
1 ½ c. cold water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Jello Lemon
¼ c. sugar
½ c. pineapple juice
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

Prepare the 3 flavors of gelatin separately, using 1 c. boiling water and ½ c. cold water for each.
Pour each flavor into an 8-inch square or cake pan.
Chill until firm, or overnight.
Then combine the lemon gelatin, sugar, and remaining 1 c. boiling water; stir until gelatin and sugar are dissolved.
Stir in pineapple juice.
Chill until slightly thickened.
Blend the Cool Whip into the slightly thickened lemon jello.
Cut the firm jellos into ½-inch cubes.
Fold in gelatin cubes. Pour into bowl.
Chill at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Breakfast Pizza

This recipe is our Christmas Morning tradition... with most of the prep on Christmas Eve, the morning is a breeze!

Breakfast Pizza
(As seen on O'Keefe Family Fun.)

1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls or crescent roll sheet (preferred)
6 oz. oil
1 (32 oz.) package frozen hash browns
1 lb. ground pork sausage (I prefer to buy the pre-cooked crumbles)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/8 - 1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Use non-stick spray on a 13x9 in. baking dish, and unroll crescent rolls dough and press on bottom and partially up sides of the dish (press perforations to seal, if necessary).
Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
If necessary, cook sausage until no longer pink and drain well; sprinkle cooked sausage evenly over crust.
Prepare hash browns according to package (I make them extra-crispy... ½ bag in 2-3oz. of oil for 6-7 minutes, stir, cook for another 6-7 minutes, done. Repeat for other ½ bag. Pat excess oil off with paper towel.) and spoon evenly over sausage.
Sprinkle cheese over hash browns.
Cover and chill for 24 hours.

Next morning, whisk together eggs, salt, milk, and pepper.
Pour evenly over cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until liquid is nearly all baked.
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