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.

Recipe of the Month – Paprika Chicken Legs

My kids love fried chicken legs, but frying chicken is too much work. Since chicken legs are their favorites, I decided to look up a few recipes to see I could find something they might like. This is the first recipe we tried. I really wasn’t sure the kids would like it but everyone in the family loved it! We will definitely be having this again.


8-12 chicken legs, with bones and skin

2 T. butter

4-5 t. paprika rub

  • Paprika Rub:
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. sweet paprika
  • 3/4 t. onion powder
  • 3/4 t. dried thyme
  • 3/4 t. dried cracked rosemary
  • 1 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 t. garlic powder


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine spice ingredients and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid. (This makes more than you need for this recipe, but you can store the rest for the next time you make this recipe or try it on other meats.)

Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Sprinkle four to five teaspoons of the rub evenly over all sides of the chicken. Place the seasoned chicken on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush the chicken with melted butter using a silicone brush. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until the skin, is crispy and juices from the pierced flesh are clear (not pink).

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe of the Month – Taco Casserole

School has begun again, and I figure all parents need an easy meal. If you (or you kids) like tacos, then this casserole is for you.


1 lb., lean ground beef

1 can spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained

1 cup thick & chunky salsa

2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips

3/4 cup sour cream

4 medium green onions, sliced

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

whole tortilla chips, shredded lettuce and additional salsa, if desired


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in beans and salsa. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

In an ungreased 2-quart casserole, place broken tortilla chips. Top with beef mixture. Spread with sour cream. Sprinkle with onions, tomato and cheese. Bake uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes or until hot an bubbly. Arrange tortilla chips around edge of casserole. Serve with lettuce and salsa.


Recipe of the Month – Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

This recipe comes from my mom. She knows I am always on the lookout for good recipes for my blog. She and my dad liked it. It looks pretty simple and sounds delicious so I am putting it on my list of recipes to try.


1 1/2 to 2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds

1 T. olive oil

salt and pepper

Cajun or Creole seasoning

1 cup apricot preserves

2 T. white wine vinegar

4 T. spicy bold or Dijon mustard

1 T. soy sauce

green onions


Pound tenderloin until about 1/2 inch thick. Heat large skillet to medium high and add olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper pork, then lightly sprinkle with Cajun or Creole seasoning. Place in skillet and brown for 3 minutes per side. Remove pork to a plate. Add rmaining ingredients to pan and stir until smooth. Add pork and cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add green onions and cook about 3 minutes more.

Serves 6.

For more recipes using pork tenderloin, check out BBQ Pork Sandwiches.

Recipe of the Month: Caramel Apple Slab Pie

Since today is Independence Day in the United States, I thought it fitting to feature an Apple Pie. I saw this one on Facebook. It looked delicious and had many good reviews. As it serves 25, it is perfect for feeding a crowd at a potluck, reunion or holiday party. If you are like me and don’t enjoy making pie crust, you can replace this with pre-made pie crust. Since I don’t have a large gathering coming up, I am thinking about attempting to cut this recipe in half. I’m sure it will be delicious either way.



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 t. salt

2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening

8 T. cold water


2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 t. ground cinnamon

3 1/2 pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (10 cups)

Crumb Topping

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter

Caramel Topping

1 cup brown sugar

4 T. butter

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 T. vanilla extract

pinch of salt


Spray a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. To make dough, in a large bowl combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender cut the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 1 T. of cold water over mixture and toss with a fork. Repeat using 1 T. of water at a time until it is moistened and knead the dough into a ball.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 19×13-inch rectangle. Wrap it around the rolling pin and unroll it unto the prepared baking pan. Ease the dough into the pan and up the sides, being careful not to stretch it. Trim dough to 1/2 inch beyond edge of an. Fold dough edge over and flute if desired.

To make filling: In an extra large bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Mix well and then add applies. Toss until coated. Spoon the mixture on the dough and spread evenly.

To make crumb topping: in a large bowl, stir together quick-cooking rolled oats, brown sugar and flour. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until topping mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of apples.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender. If it is starting to brown too fast, cover the top with foil for the last 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

To make caramel topping: Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. Serve Warm or refrigerate until cold. Drizzle on top of apple slab pie. Enjoy!

Looking for other apple pie recipes, try Swedish Apple Pie, French Apple Pie, or Caramel Pecan Apple Pie.