Recipe of the Month – Spaghetti and Meatballs

My daughter Lexie has been on a spaghetti and meatballs kick ever since she had “the best” at a Texas Steakhouse in Corpus Christi in June. Now, I have made my own spaghetti meat sauce from scratch before but I hadn’t made spaghetti and meatballs. I found this recipe for meatballs on Now, I made just the meatballs and added them to a jar of Marinara sauce that Lexie likes but I am including the whole recipe including the sauce here.


1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine beef with bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, egg, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix until just combined then form into 16 balls.

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate. (Note: I skipped cooking them in oil and cooked them in the microwave instead.)

Add onion to pot and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Return meatballs to pot and cover. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve pasta with a healthy scoop of meatballs and sauce. Top with Parmesan before serving.

Recipe of the Month – Spinach Artichoke Pasta

I love Spinach Artichoke dip. One of our local restaurants serves a Spinach Artichoke pasta which is basically pasta mixed with that delicious dip. Wanting to make my own, I searched the internet and found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman website. Delicious! (This recipe makes a lot so I half it.)





6 T. Butter

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bags baby spinach

2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and halved

3 T. flour

3 cups milk

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste

12 oz (weight) Penne Pasta, cooked

crushed red pepper, to taste


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in some chicken broth.

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes.

Serves 10

Recipe of the Month – Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars

Oh, yum! Two of my favorite things – Snickerdoodle and Cheesecake – together! I saw this recipe on Facebook and have been meaning to make it. It had great reviews. Maybe I’ll make this for the next staff appreciation luncheon at the school.




2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9″-x-13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Prepare cheesecake layer: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.

Prepare snickerdoodle layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars with a hand mixer, then add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Gradually add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.

Press about half of the snickerdoodle dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar. Pour cheesecake batter on top and smooth with a rubber spatula. Break up remaining snickerdoodle dough into small clumps, flatten slightly with your hands, and place on top of cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake until edges are set and center of cheesecake mixture is only slightly jiggly, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing into squares.

Yield: 20 servings

Recipe of the Month – Ranch Cheddar Chicken

This is a simple chicken recipe but it is oh, so good. Now both my kids don’t like this but hey, one out of two is better than nothing.




1 cup ranch dressing

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup seasoned panko bread crubs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chicken to the bowl until chicken is evenly coated. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs, Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Dredge each chicken breast in the bread and cheese mixture. Arrange chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is crisp and an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.

Recipe of the Month – Avocado Egg Rolls

I love egg rolls. I love the traditional style or Southwestern or even these which are a version of the ones served at the Cheesecake Factory. Actually this recipe is a combination of two things I love – avocados and egg rolls. Yum. And these are pretty easy to make – only taking 20 minutes.


1 cup vegetable oil

3 avocados, halved, peeled and seeded

1 Roma tomato, diced

1/4 cup diced red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 egg roll wrappers

Cilantro Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed

1/3 cup sour cream

1 jalapeno, seeded

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. To make the cilantro dipping sauce, combine cilantro, sour cream, jalapeno, mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, gently mash avocados using a potato masher. Add tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.
  4. Working one at a time, place avocado mixture in the center of each wrapper. Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly over the filling, folding in the sides. Continue rolling until the top of the wrapper is reached. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrapper with water, pressing to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and avocado mixture.
  5. Working in batches, add egg rolls to the Dutch oven and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Serve immediately with cilantro dipping sauce.

Recipe of the Month – Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies

My mom made these cookies recently for a church event. She said everyone wanted the recipe.

This recipe comes from the 2000 Family Circle magazine’s Presidential Cookie Bake-Off. You see, every year since 1992, the magazine has done a bake off between the two potential first ladies with the public voting for their favorite. In 2000, Laura Bush submitted her Cowboy Cookies which beat out Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snaps. In fact, out of all the cookies in the history of the contest, Mrs. Bush’s have circulated the most.

This recipe only produces 36 cookies but they are huge. (Everything is bigger in Texas, right?) Enjoy!


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened flake coconut

2 cups chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In an 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugars and beat to combine, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, and the vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture gradually until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans, mixing until just combined.

For large cookies, drop a hefty 1/4 cup of dough onto the baking sheets for each cookie, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Rotate cookies sheets halfway through cooking. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

For smaller cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough per cookie and bake for 15 to 18 minutes total, rotating the baking sheets midway through. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for several days.

Makes 36 large cookies.

Recipe of the Month – Cinnamon roll cookies

I love cinnamon rolls and cookies so what could be better than putting the two together? Cinnamon, butter, and sugar in a chewy sugar cookie. Yum! You can make these thin (and almost crisp) or go for a thicker, chewy cookie.




Cookie Ingredients

One batch of sugar cookie dough (make your own or just buy a roll)

1/4 stick of butter, melted


Brown sugar

Icing Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 T. milk

1/2 t. melted butter


Roll out sugar cookie dough into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle liberally with a layer of cinnamon followed by a layer of brown sugar. Roll up dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in the freezer. slice cookies off roll (thick or thin, your preference) and bake according to sugar cookie recipe.

For icing, mix all liquid ingredients. Very slowly drizzle your liquid mixture into the powdered sugar, stirring constantly until you get your desired consistency. Drizzle icing on cookies.