Archive for the ‘Food, Recipes’ Category

Simple Pizza Dip Recipe

My husband had his department potluck yesterday, and brought my pizza dip.  He got so many requests for the recipe, I decided to post it.  Now is the season when we’re all asked to bring something to share to many gatherings!


1 pkg cream cheese
1 jar pizza sauce – 14 oz.**
Mozzarella cheese – enough to cover the sauce two times (we buy it in bulk, so I really don’t know how much I used)
1 pkg mini pepperoni – 5 oz.
Oregano or Italian seasoning
Bread or crackers for dipping

The pizza dip is basically two layers of the first four ingredients.

  1. Cut half of the the cream cheese into small pieces and place in bottom of small casserole dish (or small crock pot).
  2. Cover with half of the pizza/spaghetti sauce.
  3. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella (in pizza-style) over the sauce (enough to cover it).  
  4. Scatter the pepperoni bites over the top so it looks like pizza.
  5. Repeat – with second half of everything.
  6. Sprinkle top with oregano or Italian seasoning.
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until heated through (or heat up in crock pot–works well for a potluck!)
  8. Serve with bread or crackers.
* I doubled this recipe for my 4 quart crock pot to serve a crowd.
**For the double recipe, I just used a 24 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce, rather than two pizza sauces.

Recipe for Chewy Brownies with Fudge-Like Frosting

I’m almost positive that not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom, who passed away almost 15 years ago.  But I especially think about her during the holidays, since she made such a big deal out of them!

So here is her recipe for brownies, which never fail to get rave reviews like, “This is the best brownie I’ve ever had!”


1 ½ sticks butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla
Dash salt
1 cup flour

Melt butter and chocolate in large saucepan, stirring constantly (to keep chocolate from burning).  Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt, and then flour.  Spread in a 9×13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  (The brownies should still feel soft when you take them out!)


Melt ½ stick butter and 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate in large saucepan.  Remove from heat, and beat in (with mixer) 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and enough milk to make it glossy and spreadable.  QUICKLY spread frosting onto cooled brownies, and when it cools, it will be like fudge!

Caramel Popcorn Recipe with Maple Syrup and Sucanat

We often have popcorn on Sunday evenings, and sometimes, we even make caramel popcorn!  For several years now, we’ve been using real maple syrup for part of the sweetner, but today I tried sucanat (unrefined cane sugar) with it (instead of regular brown sugar), and it turned out fine!

We popped about a cup of popcorn kernals, and then mixed it with the following caramel recipe:

Melt together and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally…
½ cup butter
1/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
½ tsp sea salt

Remove from heat and stir in…
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla

Pour over popped corn and stir. Bake in a large pan (ours was larger than 9×13) at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the popcorn is no longer sticky.  (I baked ours for 15 minutes while the oven was still heating.)

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Interestingly enough, Sunday evenings are often the evening of the weekend that we might start a family movie.  Then we can look forward to finishing the movie on Monday evening!

Really Simple Outdoor BBQ (and homemade ketchup)

This might seem like no-brainer, but our family never thought of it until last year…

One way to enjoy the outdoors in the Fall without a lot of prep or clean up is to just have roasted hot dogs and buns (that’s it!) for supper.  Our family did this on Saturday; it was such a nice day, we did a last minute outdoor fire and hot dog roast, even though it wasn’t on the menu.

  • Scott ran to the store for hot dogs and buns with a kid (quality time).
  • While I made homemade ketchup with Barrett, Scott started a fire with the rest of the kids (quality time).
  • We brought outside hot dogs, buns and hot dog forks (that’s it!)  (And the bowl of ketchup)
  • Everyone ate their hot dog(s) as they sat around the fire.
  • Everyone brought something inside and then got a drink of water.
  • Scott and I even snuck back outside after the kids went to bed and restarted the fire!
  • Would I invite company?  Probably not; they might feel very unhealthy.;) winking

Ketchup recipe:

1/4 c. tomato paste
1/4. water
2 T. sugar
1 T. vinegar

Mix and serve!

A Super Simple Breakfast or Lunch

BUT…you need leftover pancakes.  Our family makes dozens of pancakes every Saturday, and SOMETIMES we have leftovers.

A really simple way to serve them again is to make what I call “Pancake Bake.”  I cut up all the pancakes into bite size pieces (several at a time), put them in a crock pot, drizzle some butter over the top (or chunks of softened butter), heat it up on low for awhile, then serve it with syrup.  This way, you don’t need to divide up any leftover pancakes OR do any cutting for small children when it’s time to eat!  🙂


Oatmeal Bake recipe to prepare the night before for a simple breakfast

We aren’t a cold cereal family (at least, we try not to be), so it’s one of my goals to prepare part of our breakfast the night before so I can just quickly mix it together and stick it in the oven.

Here is my recipe for oatmeal bake that I prepare the night before.  You will notice that I “soak” the oatmeal in a honey mixture overnight.  This not only makes a softer and more moist product, but it’s actually more healthy, too!

The night before…(this takes about three minutes; I just timed it.)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together …

2 cups oatmeal
About a tablespoon of lemon juice (I don’t measure)
1/2 cup honey (I don’t measure this, either)
Enough water to make a pancake-battter-like consistency

This next part you can mix together the night before and put it in the refrigerator OR just add it the next morning.

Mix together…
3 beaten eggs
1 stick of butter, melted

Add the next part RIGHT BEFORE baking…
1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (less if you use table salt)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Lots of cinnamon (5-7 dashes)
Lots of nutmeg (2-3 dashes)
Vanilla – about 1 teaspoon
AND enough milk to make a cake-batter-like consistency

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  We serve it with real maple syrup drizzled over each piece.  Serves 8-12.

Note:  I just heard from a friend that you can buy gluten-free oatmeal, so this would work for a gluten-free diet if you used rice flour instead of the wheat (which I have done.)

Fourth of July Traditions – Music, Colors, Recipe

Here are some things we’re doing for the 4th of July this year…

1.  We learned “America the Beautiful” in harmony.  It was a toss-up as to whether or not we should memorize all four verses, or learn the first verse in parts; since I’ve got a music education degree, I opted for teaching my kids to sing it in parts.   Carl can now sing tenor (yay!) if it’s not too low, Daniel and Barrett learned alto, and the three youngest (not including the two-year-old) can hold the melody on their own pretty well.  (If I ever figure it out how to do it, maybe I’ll record them!)

2.     We have a tradition of making our Fourth of July breakfast very RED, WHITE and BLUE.  So we have pancakes with strawberrries and/or blueberries on top with whipped cream FROM A CAN, something I almost never buy!

3.  And this year, we are going to make star-shaped sugar cookies and frost them with red, white and blue frosting.  This was my son Daniel’s idea; I asked him what he wanted to do before the next time I brought him out for hot cocoa, and he said, “Make cookies with you.”

So I got out my old church recipe book (since I couldn’t find my grandma’s recipe), and put together my own recipe based on five “sugar cookie” recipes from the book.  Here is it…


Cream together the first four ingredients, then the next three, then the rest:

1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. butter (softened)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. powered sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
Almond extract – a few drops
4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
A dash of salt (maybe 1/4 teaspoon?)

Roll out, cut out, and bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

In the middle of making these, we had to refill our flour bucket…

And this is what happens when you accidentally leave it out…