I’ve been so busy doing report cards this week. Then for my class, I’m planning a  fun Halloween Party on Monday. The rest of the week I’ll be  having kids on candy highs for a few days and then Parent Teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday. EEK! Fun week ahead! Anyhoo…..

My finished cherry dump cake Cherry Crisp

I can’t face cooking today. So My nice hubs went and got takeout at Goodwood Barbeque in Draper, my favorite BBQ place.

EasyIngredients for Cherry Crisp…..minus the crushed pineapple..

And I’m making a cherry dump cake to go with it.  It is soooooo easy but yummy.

Just use a can of cherries for the Cherry Dump Cake

Spray the pan, line with the canned cherries for Cherry Crisp….

Then add the pineapple and pecans…just dump them in! 

Dump the cake mix on top and dot with butter pieces….THAT’S IT! 

Here is the recipe.


1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple, including juice
1 butter cake mix
1 stick butter
chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350, Spray 9 x 13 pan with Pam. spread cherry pie filling, top with crushed pineapple. Sprinkle cake mix on top and dot with sliced butter and nuts. Bake for 45 min. to an hour.

Cherry Dump Cake (kind of a cherry crisp) all finished and half eaten!!

And like some desserts, it is actually better the next day when the crispiness has hardened a little and isn’t soft and mushy. Here it is after we ate half of it. Yum.

John’s brisket….


And here is my Goodwood Barbeque take-out on my new square, white dinner plates from TARGET. My husband loves the brisket, I love the ribs…the potato salad is pretty great there too. Now if only Goodwood was next door and not all the way in DRAPER!  Thanks hubs. You rock!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Oranges

Chinese Chicken Salad with cabbage and cranberries!

I’ve had this salad many different ways but this is my favorite way to have it. I use cabbage, Ramen Oriental Noodles, sliced almonds and mandarin oranges and dried cranberries. I make the dressing with oil and rice vinegar and sugar and the noodle seasoning packet. It always turns out delicious, crispy and fresh looking. And the best part is… will feed a huge crowd!

I love this crunchy Chinese Chicken salad! You can add green onion to each serving if you like it. 

I like that it is super easy and quick too. When I’m not in a cooking mood I usually pick up a cabbage and have some chicken breasts in the freezer, and those ramen noodles last for like 10 years in your pantry so I buy them in bulk…. a whole box at a time. We usually use them up in a year.  I also buy all my nuts  from Costco in bulk, so I know I’ve got my ingredients on hand.

Mandarin oranges, Ramen noodles raw, sliced almonds and dried cherries go into my Chinese Chicken Salad. I got dried fruits at the downtown Farmer’s Market.. …Yum! 
Don’t ya LOVE this cutting board I just picked up at Hobby Lobby for 50% off?  I diced up the chicken on it…

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
1 medium cabbage chopped coarsely
2 packages ramen noodles broken up (oriental style) reserve the 2 packets of sauce mix
1 larger or 2 small cans mandarin oranges (add them just before tossing salad)
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
3 chicken breasts cooked and diced into chunks
green onion for garnish.

This dressing is really flavorful and tart….

Delicious Dressing

2/3 cup canola oil (I’ve used olive oil and I don’t like it as much)
1/3 to 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or apple cider or red wine vinegar but I prefer the rice vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
2 seasoning packets from the Ramen
1 Teaspoon of lemon or lime juice (optional) for a zingy flavor
A shake of Lawry’s season salt if needed (or Johnny’s season salt – get at Costco)

Break up the Ramen Noodles in the chopped cabbage and fruit and sliced almonds…
Then add the dressing  and chicken for the Chinese Chicken Salad, and toss a few times! 
That’s it!

Whisk the dressing  up in a small bowl till sugar is dissolved. Taste it.. if it is not flavorful enough add a dash of rice vinegar…not sweet enough add a shake of sugar, not seasoned enough add a shake of Lawry’s Season Salt.  I can’t remember a time I have not messed a little with homemade dressing of any kind. You get better at it the more you make it.

These plates are so cute for a summer Chinese Chicken Salad, aren’t they?

Here is my finished salad. It’s delicious on a warm, fall day when you don’t want to cook!  Great with homemade muffins or some rustic, crusty bread and butter.And how do you like my new stoneware? It’s from Smiths Marketplace! It was a buck a plate! I think it’s so pretty! Boo yah!  I bought a set of 12 with bowls too. I think they will look cute in the Spring and Summer for dinner parties.

Chocolate Chip Marble Cake

Okay I just made the best cake from a boxed yellow cake mix! It was super EASY and QUICK!  I mixed it according to directions, except I added a cup of sour cream to the mixture. It makes a cake much richer. Then I took out a cup of that yellow cake batter that was mixed already, and then mixed THAT cup  with a small box of dry chocolate pudding mix in a separate bowl. So I had my yellow cake mix bowl, and the 1 cup of wet cake mix mixed in with a dry package of chocolate pudding mix in a 2nd bowl.

Then I greased a 9 x 13 pan and poured the yellow cake into it, then dropped blobs of the 2nd bowl with the chocolate pudding mix and 1 cup of batter in about 5 places in the yellow cake mix to marble the cake. I took a knife and knived through it to get a cool, marbled effect.  Then I dropped a cup or so of chocolate chips all over the top and baked it according to the cake directions.  Oh my! This cake did not even need icing, it was so delicious!  You could top it with a swirl of cool whip. Try it when you are pressed for time and need a delicious, rich dessert.  This was gobbled up in no time!

My darling Marisa

And my cute Megan

I just HAD to include some cute pics of my sassy granddaughters. Aren’t they just adorable?
They love grandma’s cakes too. mmmhmmm.


Red sauce Enchiladas
quick and easy weeknight meal…

These cold fall days seem like perfect hot enchiladas days. I like chicken enchiladas in a sour cream and green chili sauce. But I happened to have leftover taco meat. So I decided to do a red sauce and make regular enchiladas.

I use cheddar cheese and make my own sauce….also great topped with quacamole! 

I fried them up in a little canola oil in my crepe pan!  So quick and easy! 

My leftover meat made 8 enchiladas, enough for 2 meals!  (freeze one or bring it to work for your lunch!)

 Enchiladas……Bake at 350 for around 20 minutes…

I didn’t have to fry any meat up but I did make enchilada sauce. I used a small can of tomato sauce, a few shakes of chili powder, onion salt,  and garlic powder and some cumin.  Then I microwaved it for a minute. Then I  fried up the corn tortillas in a little oil and put them on paper towels.

My red sauce…I added cumin, onion and garlic powder, and some chili powder.

Here are my red sauce enchiladas  before I baked them….

Then I just dipped the tortillas in sauce, added the taco meat and some grated cheddar and rolled them up. I topped them with sliced olives and then baked them for 20 minutes on 350. It was really quick!

Yummy with a fresh green salad with avacado, tomatoes and green pepper….

I love to add some sour cream on my enchiladas….yummy!

Enchiladas are an easy 30 minute dinner if you have already prepared your  meat….

I sliced some green pepper, avocado, tomato and chopped up some green leafy lettuce and made a side salad with ranch dressing. These were yummy-licious.  Not very low calorie though.  But hey, sometimes you’ve just gotta live it up!

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder Soup New England Style

It started SNOWING OUTSIDE this week! It is only the first week in October! Man that is soooooo not fair I said to Mr. Weatherman! What the heck! So I had to get out my umbrella because when it wasn’t snowing it was raining. That means one thing to me. Let’s make some hot soup and homemade bread!  Perfect thing when the weather gets COLD! brrrr…

Snow on October 5th! Well…at least it melted off by day’s end….

I always start any soup I make with a half cube of butter and chopped onion in a frying pan.  Then when the onions are tender and caramelized I add a few tablespoons of white flour and mix that up with the butter for a few minutes to cook off the “flour” taste. Then I pour in about a 1/3 cup of milk and make kind of a roux mixture. This helps to thicken my soup.  When it’s almost done I add a few cups of milk.

Chopped up an onion
Then I let that thicken up for a few minutes while I add spices. I like Johnny’s seasoning, lemon pepper and some parsley. Then I cut up some red potatoes into diced pieces and shuck the corn from 2 cobs of corn.  
Last of the summer corn on the cob…..sigh…..

Shuck it up! 
I just get minced clams for Clam Chowder Soup….2 cans are tastier than just one….

In another pan I add my diced new potatoes (red potatoes) and 2 stalks of celery in some water to boil.. Then when those are tender (about 10 minutes I dump them into the roux mixture and add a can of cream of chicken soup and a dollup of sour cream. the cooked and diced bacon, the corn (fresh or frozen or canned), and the minced clams.  It’s almost done now.  Just taste it and season salt and lemon pepper it.  Let it simmer 5 more minutes.

8 new potatoes not peeled, diced up
2 stalks celery
1 diced onion
can of corn or a frozen corn or 2-3 ears of corn shucked
2 pieces of bacon cooked and diced
1 to 2 small cans (tuna size) of minced clams
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
2-3 Tablespoons flour
Johnny’s seasoning salt, lemon pepper & parsley to taste.

Great soup seasonings…Parsley…Johnny’s Season Salt (get it from Costco)….I add lemon pepper too….it’s a good all around seasoning….
Here’s a close up of my veggies & the thickened Clam Chowder soup…..

And now it’s ready to eat! Don’t ya want a bite?  Soup makes a great meal on a cold, rainy day! 
And ya gotta have some hot bread too…just keep some  in your freezer…Rhodes Rolls are so easy! 

It is a delicious, hearty Soup and it is so easy too. It takes less than 30 minutes start to finish, even chopping up veggies. It’s great on a cold day.  It just warms everybody up.

Homemade Hawaiian and Supreme Pizza in a Cast Iron Pan

I LOVE pizza. We usually just go out and pick one up. But last week we saw this great deal on a HUGE brick of mozzerella cheese. So I decided to use some of my fresh cheese up by making some pizzas.  

Homemade Pizza on a Pizza stone…

Pizza crust is really easy to mix up if you have a mixmaster. I just dump the ingredients in and the machine does all the work mixing and kneading it a bit. For a better crust, sprinkle  cornmeal on the prepared pizza pan. To prevent soggy crusts, use sauce kind of  sparingly.

Homemade pizza dough…
My old pizza stone has seen better days…..
But it always makes a great pizza!

My family loves PREGO spaghetti sauce. I never use up the huge 64 ounce jugs we get at Costco with one family spaghetti dinner . So this is a great way to use up any leftover marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce you have in the fridge. 

My favorite pizza sauce….

Now my son and daughter-in-law got me these cute Skookie cast iron cookie pans awhile back and I hadn’t had a chance to use them yet. But what about little individual deep dish pizzas? Now doesn’t that sound SUPER fun?  

Snookie makes a cool pizza pie pan! 

Here’s the box they came in. And guess what I found when I opened it up? Each one has a little hot pad fajita type handle cover. SO bleeping CUTE! 

Aren’t the little hot pads just the  cutest little things? It came with a cute pair and his and hers SKOOKIE pans!  
Adding oil to my Skookie Pans for homemade Hawaiian and Supreme Pizza! 

Anyway, here’s my pizza dough and  fixin’s …….
Ingredients for Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (not hot, you’ll kill the yeast)
1 Tablespoon sugar  Combine yeast, water and then add sugar. Set aside.
Then mix

2 1/2 cups bread flour (or all purpose) plus 1/4 cup extra when rolling out
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon salt
Then add in the yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook in mixer for a few minutes. Roll out on pizza stone.  ( I usually have enough for 2 mediums.
Add sauce and toppings. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on 425.

Baking Directions

  1. Bake at 375 degrees C (190 degrees C) for 20 + minutes. Allow pizza to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Spread the pizza dough in the Skookie Pans….these will be cute pizzas! 
Sauce those pizzas up! 

My favorite is Canadian Bacon or real bacon and pineapple. It’s yummy! 

Ham and Pineapple pizza (actually bacon and pineapple) 
John’s on the left, mine on the right….his and hers….hehe

John’s favorite is supreme. I use sausage, olives, peppers and onions to his. I was out of sausage in this pic so he is stuck with bacon on his. 

Finished homemade Hawaiian Pizza and Supreme Pizza.  
Homemade Pizza in a cast iron fry pan….so cute! 
I love how these pizzas turn out…it looks like a fajita pan these individual pizzas are sooooo cute! 

Kids love to make their own individual pizzas in these cast iron pans too. 

My daughter’s favorite is barbequed chicken. Just add barbeque sauce to   some chicken sliced 1/4 inch strips. Add cheese and mushrooms slightly sauteed in butter and garlic. 

 I used to love Taco Pizza. Just use leftover taco meat, cheese, tomato and some Doritos crushed. These are unusual and  winners when you are having a tailgate or sports party at your house.  Mmmmhmmm……everybody loves a pizza pie. 

Rosa Marina Salad or Orzo Fruit Salad

Rosa Marina Salad or Orzo Fruit Salad 

This recipe was one of the first given to me by my old friend, Olive Grant, when I was a newlywed. She taught me so many tricks of the kitchen trade I will always be grateful. She was a little old lady about 30 years older than me at the time….. She told me once, “I won’t be around forever to cook the suppers at church, so you need to learn how to do it for when I’m gone.” She was a master of all kitchen gadgets (some I’d never seen before!)  and she was a wonderful, wondrous cook. 

Ingredients for Orzo Fruit Salad 
The Rosa Marina macaroni is very hard to find. It looks like fat pieces of rice in pasta form. But Orzo pasta is a good substitute and easier to find in most markets. But I like Rosa Marina better. It plumps up to a nice oval shape and it feels fun in your mouth. So if you find it, buy up bags of them up!  Anyway, I used orzo for this recipe, so you can too. 

Custard mix for Rosa Marina Fruit Salad
You are basically making a sweet custard to mix with cool whip and the macaroni is a base for this sweet, fruit salad. It makes a huge bowl so I love bringing it to a family supper or a church pot luck. The Maraschino cherries make it so pretty and it will feed an army, like 12 to 14 as a side dish. 

  • 1 box (1 pound box or bag) Rosa Marina pasta, OR orzo pasta
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
  • 1 jar (8 ounces) maraschino cherries
  • 2 cans (11 ounces) mandarin oranges
  • 3  eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 container (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Heat a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the salt, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. 

cooked Orzo pasta….for Rosa Marina Fruit Salad
Meanwhile, drain all of the fruit, reserving the juices,  (except cherry juice).  Add the eggs, flour, sugar, lemon juice and the mixed fruit juices in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat until custard mixture thickens like gravy. Pour into a bowl and cool mixture in fridge.

Here is the thickened, cooked Orzo Fruit Salad custard…..only takes 5 minutes…..
Drain the pasta when cooked, then let cool. Place the cooled pasta into a bowl and add the cooled fruit sauce custard mixture and the crushed pineapple. Mix. 

 Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Refrigerate the fruit separately in a bowl.

This was before I mixed in the fruit…. how beautiful it looks after the  pineapple, oranges and cherries are added. It is so colorful and pretty in a glass or crockery bowl.

When mixture sets up, add the mandarin oranges and tidbit pineapple and cool whip to the pasta and custard mixture. Pull the stems off Maraschino cherries and add a handful into the salad, reserve 8 for the top of salad. Set in fridge until ready to serve. 

 Here is the finished Rosa Marina Fruit Salad….it looks good….and it IS YUMMY!  

Place them in a circle on top of the salad just for looks. I like to use a pretty glass bowl so the pineapple, oranges and cherries show through the sides. But this was a new orange crockery bowl I just bought and wanted to try out. 

I ALWAYS get compliments on Rosa Marina fruit salad. 

                      You will too!  I promise!  

What to do With Leftover Marinara Sauce? Baked Ziti!

My Version of  Ziti, Goulash or Beefaroni….

With some Garlic Bread added….makes a nice weeknight meal! Do you have some leftover Spaghetti or Marinara Sauce? 

I added mushrooms and ground beef….. Beefaroni!  

Boiled up some pasta shells for Pasta Casserole  

Grated some Mozzarella Cheese for the top…..Ziti Goulash….

Added some roasted vegetables…..remember to roast them  very HOT like 450 degrees! 

Yummy, easy Italian Pasta dinner…takes about 20 minutes start to finish…..

Yummy marinara sauce and Ziti pasta….mozzarella cheese and parsley on top. 

Leftover Marinara Sauce Pasta….a Weeknight meal that is even better tasting for lunch as leftovers the next day!  Yup!