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.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup – Recipe of the Month

I am not a big soup eater, but there are two soups that I love. The first is the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden. (Check out my version here.)

The second is Loaded Baked Potato Soup. I saw this slow-cooker version on Facebook and couldn’t wait to try it out. Yummy!


10 slices cooked bacon, diced

3 cups chicken broth

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried parsley

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk or half-and-half or heavy cream

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste


Add diced potatoes, diced onion, minced garlic, bacon, parsley and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 6-8 hours on low or on high for 3-4 hours, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Once the soup has cooked, add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat and melt. Whisk in the flour until completely combined and gradually add in the evaporated milk or heavy cream, depends which one you are using. Whisk the flour mixture until smooth. With the heat on the lowest stove setting, let the mixture cook until it starts to simmer and is getting thicker, stir occasionally.

Immediately add the milk-flour mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Using a potato masher, mash about 3/4 of the potatoes.

Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir well, until fully combined and creamy. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking the soup on low for 30 minutes or on high for 15 minutes.


If the soup is too thick, add more chicken broth.

Serve warm, garnished with bacon, cheese and sour cream.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serves: 8

Twelve Holiday Recipes

‘Tis the holiday season for baking…This month I am featuring some holiday delights perfect for any holiday party or dinner. Let’s start out with one of my favorite things…Apple Pie.


French Apple Pie – A nice twist on pie crust. This one has a nutty pat-in-the-pan-crust.

Swedish Apple PieWith no bottom crust and a pour-type topping, this one is more of a cobbler than a pie but still oh, so yummy.

Caramel Apple Pecan PieI love this one as it includes one of my favorite nuts – pecans!

Caramel Apple Slab Pie A good pie that serves 25!

And for some other pies and another favorite – cheesecakes…

Oreo Pie This is one of my kids’ favorites! (And so easy to make!)

Oreo Cheesecake – I love cheesecake and Oreo cookies so what could be better than combining the two?

Pumpkin Cheesecake – A good combination – this recipe is a copy of the Cheesecake Factory’s one.

And this last group covers cookies and other goodies….

Pumpkin Crunch – A kind of pumpkin pie with a crunchy topping….

Oreo Truffles These are so good!

Bacon Maple Fudge – Everything is better with bacon!

Candy Cane CrinklesCombining a cookie with a candy cane makes for a good treat.

The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies – A Christmas tradition from my childhood is decorating sugar cookies. My kids and I started using this recipe a few years ago.

Recipe of the Month – Burgundy Beef Strips

Another recipe from my mom. This one takes over an hour to cook so make sure you have the time, but oh so worth the time. It is delicious.


2 lbs. beef round steak

1/3 cup flour

2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

3 T. shortening

2 bouillon cubes, crushed

1 cup boiling water

12 small onions (or several slices of a large onion)

1 cup burgundy wine

2 T. catsup

1 small bay leaf

1/2 t. thyme

1/9 t. garlic powder

1/2 lb. mushrooms, halved

Chopped parsley


Cut steak into strips 1/8 by 2 inches. Combine flour, salt and pepper. Dredge steak in flour. Brown in hot shortening. Pour off drippings. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water and add to meat. Add onions, wine, catsup, bay leaf, thyme and d garlic powder. Cover tightly and cook slowly for 45 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice or noodles.

Serves 6 to 8.