Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip

I made this dip over the weekend...  soooo good!  Definitely a hit with our resident pizza lover!  (As seen on Noble Pig.)

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip

3/4 c. chopped pepperoni
1 can (15 oz.) pizza sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 can (2-1/4 oz.) sliced black olives, drained (opt. - I left it out)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1-1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated breadstick dough
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. minced parsley

In a heavy pot, over medium heat, combine pepperoni, (sliced olives), green onions, oregano and pizza sauce.
Cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes.
Add cream cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Stir until melted and mixture is well combined.
Turn heat to low while preparing the breadsticks.
Stir occasionally.

Remove breadsticks from tube and cook according to package directions.
When breadsticks are finished baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve warm.

Margene's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Always a hit!

Margene's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

1/2 c. butter, softened
6 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. & 2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (if no nuts, add 1/2 c. add'l)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (opt.)

Combine butter, sugars, & vanilla; beat until creamy.
Beat in egg.
Gradually add flour, soda, & salt.
Stir in chocolate chips (& nuts).
Spread onto greased & floured pizza pan.
Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes.


1 c. + powdered sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1/6 c. milk
pinch of salt
food coloring (as desired)

Mix together.
Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
Add food coloring and add'l powdered sugar as necessary.

Margene's Buckeyes Candy

Margene's Buckeyes Candy

1 lb. butter or margarine, softened
3 lb. powdered sugar
2 lb. creamy peanut butter
24 oz. chocolate chips (2 pkgs.)

Mix butter, sugar, & peanut butter well.
Shape into balls.
Chill or freeze.

Melt chocolate over hot water in double boiler.  (Do not let water boil.)
Use toothpick to stick ball into chocolate, leaving small part of peanut butter ball exposed.
Place on wax paper.
Chill or freeze.

Makes 180-200 balls.

Apple Crisp

This is my fail-proof recipe for Apple Crisp... super easy, super delicious.  (From Betty Crocker.)

Apple Crisp

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 50 min
Makes: 6 servings

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 c.)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Cream or ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375ºF.
Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
Spread apples in pan.
In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients (except cream/ice cream) until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
Serve warm with cream/ice cream.

Variation:  For blueberry crisp, simply use 4 c. fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries for the apples.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Brian is gaga for anything blueberry...  this cheesecake is an oft-requested favorite at our house.  (And so easy!)  From Kraft Foods.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

prep time: 15 min
total time: 5 hr
makes: 16 servings

1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs
2 c. fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix crumbs, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar and the butter.
Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan.
Bake 10 min.
Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Add sour cream; mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.
Pour over crust.
Puree the blueberries in a blender or food processor.
Gently drop spoonfuls of the pureed blueberries over batter; cut through batter several times with knife for marble effect.
Bake 45 min. or until center is almost set; cool.
Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

I have halved this before, and made it in a ready-made graham cracker crust for speed and convenience.  
You can also substitute 1 can (15 oz.) blueberries, well drained, for the 2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries.
Instead of using a blender, crush the blueberries in a bowl with a fork. Drain before spooning over the cheesecake batter and swirling to marbleize as directed.

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

These are always a big hit, and look pretty, too!  From Kraft Foods...

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

prep time: 20 min
total time: 4 hr 48 min
makes: 9 servings

12 OREO Cookies, finely crushed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 squares white chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 c. red raspberry preserves

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch square pan.
Melt 2 chocolate squares as directed on package.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended.
Add melted chocolate; mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.
Pour over crust.

Bake 25 to 28 min. or until center is almost set.
Cool 5 min.; spread with preserves.
Melt remaining chocolate square; drizzle over cheesecake.
Cool cheesecake completely.
Refrigerate 4 hours.

This recipe can be easily doubled. Just prepare as directed, doubling all ingredients and baking in 13x9-inch pan. Makes 18 servings.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

Oatmeal Carmelitas

1 c. flour
1 c. quick-cooking oats
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. melted butter or margarine

1 c. chocolate chips
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
3 tbsp. flour

Combine flour, oats, sugar, soda, salt, & butter in large bowl to form crumbs.
Press 1/2 of mixture into bottom of 9" pan.
Bake at 350 for 10 mins.

Sprinkle 1 cup (I use less) choc. chips over top of baked mixture.
Mix 3/4 c. caramel ice cream topping with 3 tbsp. flour and pour over choc. chips.
Sprinkle remaining crumbs over caramel topping.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. until golden brown.

Chill before serving.

Try not to eat the entire pan in one sitting!

Aimee's Parmesan-Garlic Chicken

This is an often-requested dish at my house, and since my in-laws call it simply, "Aimee's Chicken", I will, too!
(Originally spotted this recipe here.)

Aimee's Parmesan-Garlic Chicken

1 clove garlic, minced (I keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge)
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted
1 cup dried bread crumbs (this is really good with Panko crumbs, but regular bread crumbs work, too)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or 2/3 cup if you are using a Microplane zester)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat, cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches

Preheat oven to 450°F.
In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter.
In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper.
Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.

Place coated chicken pieces on to a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Try to leave a little room between each piece.
Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.

Serves 4-6.

Caribbean Sweet Pork Salad (aka Cafe Rio Salad)

Caribbean Sweet Pork Salad (aka Cafe Rio Salad)

Serves 6


6 flour tortillas, warmed
2-4 c. cooked white rice, warmed
3 c. Sweet Pork, warmed (see recipe below)
1 can black beans, warmed
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)
Cilantro Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Place a warm tortilla in a bowl or on a plate.
Place approximately 1/3 c. rice, 1/3 c. sweet pork, and 1/3 c. beans on the tortilla.
Place lettuce over beans.
Sprinkle with Pico de Gallo over the salad as desired.
Drizzle with cilantro ranch dressing and sprinkle cheese as desired.
Serve and enjoy!


Serves 12
Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time:  6-8 hours

4 lb. pork shoulder roast
1 c. Pace picante sauce
2 c. brown sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Remove pork roast form packaging and wash.  (Don't cut the roast to expedite cooking time.)
In a bowl, mix picante sauce and brown sugar.  Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved.
In a crock pot, place the roast in the cooker and cover with the sugar mixture.
Place on low-medium heat, cover and simmer.  Check it every hour or so the rotate roast in the juices.  The roast will eventually produce enough juices to make the right consistency, so do not add water or remove any liquid.
Once the roast is fully cooked (6-8 hours), use a fork to separate the meat into smaller segments.  Cover and continue to keep warm.
If it appears to be too juicy, turn slow cooker down to its lowest setting, remove the cover and let it reduce as needed.
Any remaining meat from the meal can be refrigerated, frozen, or canned for future use.


1 c. diced tomatoes (remove seeds)
1/3 c. diced red onion
1 diced jalapeno (at least a Tbsp, but more if you prefer)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 limes, juiced (about 1/3 c.)
1 Tbsp. cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
Refrigerate to keep chilled.


1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch buttermilk ranch dressing (prepare according to pkg. directions)
3 Tbsp. salsa verde (found near traditional salsa in grocery store)
1/4 bunch of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. lime juice
1/8 tsp. tabasco sauce (if desired)

Clean and rinse cilantro and remove large stems.
Pour prepared ranch dressing in a blender and add remaining ingredients.
Blend until cilantro is finely chopped.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until dressing has thickened.
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