Chicken Pot Pie

I have the day off work today and as always, my husband goes to work at 2:30.  So I thought I would make us a nice lunch since we never get to have dinner together during the week.  I meant to make this last night, but I wasn’t feeling well after work so I just cooked the chicken breasts for this recipe and threw together a tuna melt for myself and then relaxed on the couch. 

This recipe is adapted from Good Things Catered

Chicken Pot Pie

 double crust pie dough  (I cheated and used store bought)
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/2 cups diced carrot, about 3 large carrots

1 cup diced celery with some green leafy parts, about 2 stalks
1/2 tsp ground dry thyme
1/2 tsp old bay
1/8 tsp ground pepper

Pinch salt
4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
4 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (one 15 oz. can)
1 c. milk
1 lb. cooked chicken breast, cubed (I used 2 large chicken breast, cooked the night before.)
1 egg, lightly beaten

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Roll out 1/2 of pie dough and line bottom of a pie plate.
-Return all dough to fridge.
-In a large, deep skillet heat oil over medium high heat.
-Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
-Add garlic, carrot and celery and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

-Add thyme, old bay, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
-Reduce heat to medium low and add butter, stirring until melted.
-Add flour and stir to combine.
-Cook, stirring frequently, until roux starts to darken, about 3-5 minutes.
-Deglaze pan with chicken broth, slowly, stirring and scraping browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
-Once it begins to thicken, slowly add milk and stir to combine. (You want it to be very thick; I added a slurry of approximately 1 tsp corn starch and ¼ cup cold milk.)
-Remove from heat and stir in chicken.
-Remove pie plate and remaining dough from fridge and pour filling into dough-lined pie plate.
-Roll out remaining pie dough as desired and top the pie, making sure to have at least one large hole for steam to escape.
-Brush the top with beaten egg.
-Line the edges of the pie plate with heavy duty foil to protect them from burning.
-Place in oven and bake until dough is golden brown and filling is heated through, about 35-40 minutes.
-Remove, let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Sorry, I cut into it before taking the picture!

Sorry, I cut into it before taking the picture!

Sugar Cookies

I have a confessions to make – I am obsessed with cookie cutters.  I have cookie cutters for almost every holiday and occasion, I just wish I had time to bake that many cookies every year!  I have used this recipe a couple of times  and it never fails.  But, for whatever reason, this time I must not have been paying close enough attention because I rolled the dough a little too thin.  They ended up being about 1/8″ thick instead of 1/4″ but they still taste delicious!  I would describe the texture as very tender!


Sugar Cookies (adapted from: Annie’s Eats)


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 tsp almond extract (I use 1 tsp orange extract)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt (I use 1/2 tsp)

2-1/2 cups flour, sifted


In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter.  Add powdered sugar.  Blend in egg, extracts, and salt.  Slowly add flour.  Chill dough until firm.  Roll to 1/4″ thickness on floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters.  Place on parchment lined or greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Cookies should not be brown.

Cool, then frost and decorate.

Recipe says it yields 40 cookies, I got only 30 various sized cookies.

**Be sure to only bake the same size cookies on a sheet at a time.  Otherwise, smaller cookies will burn and larger cookies will not be done.


I made a simple icing of approximately 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 scant tablespoon meringue powder and 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, plus a couple drops of red food coloring.  Just stir together in a bowl until you reach your desired consistency.  I spread it on the cookies with the back of a spoon.  Icing will dry hard.

Cheese Spread

This is yet another recipe from my Mom!  She’s been making it for years and now I make it all the time.  We almost always have a batch in the fridge.  Its perfect for parties, pot lucks, an afternoon snack, or to serve to unexpected house guests.  It only takes a few minutes to whip up.

Cheese Spread


1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese, softened

1 (5 oz.) jar Kraft Old English cheese

1 (5 oz.) jar Kraft Bacon cheese

3 Tbsp mayo

1 tsp lemon juice

few drops Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion salt



Combine all ingredients using hand mixer.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust flavor with more salt, Worcestershire sauce, etc…

Serve with crackers, bagel crisps, or raw veggie dippers.


Mom’s Chili

Chili is absolutely one of my favorite winter foods.  It is just so warm and comforting.  Now, I am NOT a picky eater, at all…except when it comes to chili.  I have to have it this exact way.  Because of this, I’ll never order chili in a restaurant.  It is always too thick, full of beans, and just not good enough.  The only place thick chili has a home is on top of a hot dog.

I had to change this recipe a little bit because we like things quite a bit spicier than my parents.  But you can slowly add the seasonings, tasting as you go, until it reaches your desired heat level.

Chili (source: my Mom)


1 pound ground beef or turkey

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed thru a garlic press

1 medium red or white onion, finely chopped

1/2 of a large green bell pepper

1 (14.5 oz) can Hormel Chili No Beans (I used “with beans” this time, original recipe uses 2 cans)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (10 0z) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilies OR stewed tomatoes, lightly drained ( plain diced tomatoes work)

2 heaping tsp cumin

3 heaping tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp onion salt

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, croutons, sour cream, finely chopped chives, chopped scallions, chopped jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips, etc…

THIS IS ALSO AMAZING ON SPAGHETTI. AMAZING. PERIOD. (Sorry for shouting.)  I think they call that Cincinnati style?  I think its called Chili Mac at Steak ‘n Shake? Maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t been to Steak ‘n Shake in years, but its good!  I didn’t serve it over spaghetti this time because we had spaghetti the night before.


Brown the crumbled ground meat in a large skillet for 10 minutes or until no longer pink with garlic, bell pepper, and onion.  Drain.  Return to skillet over medium heat, add tomato paste, chili, diced tomatoes and chilies.  Stir everything together.

Next, slowly add seasonings until you reach the level of spiciness that you like.  But, keep in mind that adding the tomato juice will make the spice less concentrated.  So, either make it slightly more spicy than you normally would like.  Or, to be safe, keep it mild and then taste and adjust seasoning one final time after the tomato juice is added.

Transfer the chili mixture to a large stock pot or dutch oven and slowly pour the tomato juice over.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to meld.  The longer it simmers, the better and thicker it will get. (It is supposed be on the runny side though.)  I’ve also noticed it gets spicier the longer it simmers too.  I don’t really know why…


In a large skillet, brown meat with onion, bell pepper, and garlic until no longer pink, like before.  Drain.  Place in large slow cooker.  Add all other ingredients and mix together.  Cook on low for 1-4 hours, ideally.  Leaving it for 8 hours is fine, but the sides tend to burn/blacken.  The taste doesn’t seem to be affected though.


Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake

OMG! This is the best chocolate cake I have ever had!  Seriously it is wonderfully dense and moist and perfect just like the name implies!  You must try it the next time you need a birthday cake, party cake, dessert for any occasion, or just a chocolate fix!













Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake


2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Butter Cream frosting (recipe below) or frosting of your choice



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9″ round baking pans. Set aside.  I use cocoa powder instead of flour.

Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer).  To that, add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Stir in boiling water*.  Pour into prepared pans. 

*Batter will be very thin.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Frost once cool.  Store in refrigerator.  Yields about 10 servings. See Hershey’s website for baking pan variations. 


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa, sifted

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 Tbsp meringue powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tiny pinch of salt

7-8 Tbsp milk



Cream butter, shortening, vanilla, and salt together with stand mixer on low, occasionally scraping down paddle and sides of bowl.  This may take several minutes.

Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar, cocoa, and meringue powder together and set aside.

Once butter mixture is combined, slowly add sugar mixture in batches on low speed.  Scrap sides and paddle between additions.  It is important to keep the mixer on low speed to avoid adding air to buttercream.

Once all of the sugar mixture is incorporated, add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired thin/spreading consistancy is reached.  You may need more or less milk to achive this. 

Makes about 2 cups of frosting.

If your cakes dome while baking, slice that off to create a flat cake.  Place bottom cake on cake plate, spread thin layer of frosting on top.  Place other cake on top of that and spread top and sides with remaining frosting.


BBQ Beef Cups

Are you planning a Superbowl party?  Well, aren’t you glad you stopped by!  These little babies will be perfect for your party!

They definitely aren’t healthy or pretty, but we’re going to pretend that doesn’t matter.  Its a party after all!  What’s important is that they are delicious, party friendly, time friendly, and guy friendly! 







My husband went nuts for these the first time I made them.  I think I ate two and he ate the other six. 🙂  I do really enjoy them too though.  And, I’ll be the first to admit my tastes aren’t very sophisticated.  So, give me one or two of these and a beer and I’ll be happy. 🙂

But, back to Superbowl parties for a minute.  You can do these full size if you want them to be more of a main dish or in mini muffin tins for smaller bites.  You’ll need to cut the biscuits in half or maybe even thirds to fit into the smaller muffin tin holes.  The baking time will also be reduced, so watch them closely in the oven.  I would start checking on them after 5 minutes.

I’m not sure of the source of this recipe to be honest.  If you know, I will gladly give credit where its due.

BBQ Beef Cups


3/4 pound ground beef

1 can of refrigerated flaky buttermilk jumbo biscuits (8 in a can)

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon instant minced onion, optional ( Sometimes I use 1/2 cup fresh chopped onion.)

salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or other seasonings of your choice depending on your tastes and spiciness of your BBQ sauce, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press raw biscuits into muffin tin holes to form cups, set aside.

Brown ground beef in skillet until cooked through (add chopped onion if you choose). Drain. Return to skillet with heat turned off. Stir in BBQ sauce and seasonings.  Put hamburger mixture into “cups” and top each with shredded cheese.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Cups before going into the oven

Cups before going into the oven


Fiesta Casserole

I made this for dinner Sunday night and it was easy, quick and delicious!  The leftovers taste great too.  I adapted it from Brooke at  I wasn’t able to get a good picture of it, so go to her blog if you need to see a photo.

Fiesta Cornbread


1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 packet taco seasoning

1 can (10 oz.) Mexi-corn, drained (regular corn works fine)

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (10 oz.) Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chili peppers, drained

1 Jiffy cornbread/muffin mix (8.5 oz.) and the ingredients to prepare it.

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can (4 oz. or 7 oz.) diced green chilies, drained (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish (I used a glass 7×11 Pyrex dish) with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic.  Drain.  Return to skillet and heat to medium low, add taco seasoning, beans, tomatoes, and corn.  Stir to combine and heat thoroughly.

Meanwhile, prepare cornbread mix as directed on box with egg and milk.  Stir in cheese and canned chili peppers. I used a 7 oz. can of chilies.

Pour meat mixture into casserole dish and press it down slightly with a spatula.  Top with cornbread batter.  Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.

Yields 6 really large servings.

This definitely has some kick to it.  If you want to reduce the spiciness, omit the chilies in the cornbread, use regular diced tomatoes, and regular corn.

If you use a larger casserole dish (9×13 or bigger), you may want to double the cornbread batter.

Grocery Savings!

My total bill was $46.50!

Ok, wow!  That is not normal for our household!  I’m in shock!  Last week I spent just over $50.  Before that, I was easily spending over $60, most weeks close to $80!  

Tonight, I stocked up on many pantry staples including numerous canned beans, crackers, bread, milk, cheese, carrots, celery, potatoes, other canned goods, etc…  I even grabbed a few impulse items that weren’t on my list!  I’m so excited to have a restocked pantry and have what I need for several upcoming meals that I have been thinking about.  

Now, you may be thinking that this is still a lot to spend at the grocery store, but keep a few things in mind:  The hubs and I love food.  I cook/prepare everything that we eat.  Usually from scratch or nearly from scratch.  We almost never eat out – maybe once or twice a month.  Not even take-out pizza.  We pack our lunches for work everyday. 

I will be posting my weekly grocery bills on here in the future to encourage myself to keep the total under $60.  I know I can do it!  I resolve to be more frugal in 2009!  Can you shave down your grocery bill?  Imagine squirreling away $20 a week!!  Now that’s incentive! 

*Tip*  I know its easy to get lazy and mindlessly throw the items into the cabinets/pantry after shopping.  But remember the following when restocking your pantry:

Keep similar items next to each other.  All tomato products should be on the same shelf, soup, dried pasta, beans, etc.  This makes it easier to grab what you need in the middle of a recipe and easier to see what you are low on when writing your grocery list.

When bringing in new purchases, shift the older items to the front of the shelves and place new items in back.  That way you use the items with the nearest expiration dates first.  It only takes another second or two.


BBFCCCC = Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Many people I know are constantly looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.  This one just might fit the bill!  I am very happy with how they turned out.  This recipe produces a nice balance between crispy outside and soft/chewy inside. Yummy!

BBFCCCC (source:, originally from

2 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups choc. chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift (or whisk together) flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.

With mixer, cream melted butter and sugars.  Beat in vanilla, then egg, then yolk, until light and creamy.  Mix in sifted, dry ingredients. Stir chocolate chips in by hand.

Drop 1/4 cup of dough on sheet 3″ apart. Bake 14-17 minutes. Mine are always done at exactly 15 minutes.

Makes 18-20 big cookies (depending on how much dough you eat. huh? what? I don’t eat raw cookie dough. )

I’m learning how to knit!


Two of my great friends came over last night to teach me how to knit.  I’m pretty sure that they have both been knitting for a couple of years and I was dying to learn!  It was so much fun!  We definitely gossiped talked way more than we knitted but I still learned the basics.  They were great teachers!   Not surprising of one, because she IS a kindergarten teacher! 🙂

The primary focus of this blog will continue to be cooking and baking, but I do intend to share my other homemaking endeavors periodically.  They will *hopefully* include:  gardening, canning and pickling, cleaning tips/schedules, various product (tools, gadgets, cookware, etc.) reviews, and of course, knitting! 

One topic I’m not sure of including is related to my day job – interior design. Although it may be fun to share design tips and tricks with you, I am leaning towards keeping that segment of my life separate to avoid totally burning out!  😛  But, on the other hand, as a typical newlywed homeowner, we do plan on doing some of our own home renovations down the road and I may want to document them here.  I may also want to share design tidbits that I find particularly useful along the way.  So, we’ll see which way the wind blows me day-to-day.

What would you like to see featured here?

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