Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Medley

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Medley
This is one of our absolute favorite dinner sides - in fact we have been known to make a whole meal out of it. The best part about it is you can use most any vegetables, especially root veggies since they seem to work best. I will give you the ingredients as I used this last time. Sooooo tasty!

Oven Roasted Vegetables:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with heavy duty foil.
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  • small red potatoes, cut into 4 pieces each (scrubbed, skin-on)
  • baby carrots or washed and scrubbed regular carrots chopped into large chunks
  • green peppers - wash, remove seeds and chop into chunks
  • zucchini - wash and cut into chunks or thick slices
  • onions - either whole baby onions or any other type peeled and cut into chunks.
  • Garlic cloves if desired **I stopped here but you can also add turnips or rutabaga or parsnips (if you like them)**
  • olive or canola oil
  • Italian seasoning, rosemary, smoked paprika, salt and pepper
  1. As you chop your veggies, place in a large bowl. Drizzle with about 1/4 c or so of oil along with your favorite seasonings. Toss gently to thoroughly coat
  2. Dump carefully into foil-lined pan and spread out evenly for consistent roasting.
  3. Place on middle rack of pre-heated oven and roast for approximately 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and turning golden brown.
Excellent when served with roasted turkey or chicken (as shown in picture) or with BBQ or grilled meat. This made enough for a few meals for us. Bonus!!

8-Layer or Magic Bars

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Hi! I'm baaaack with more favorite recipes that I have been perfecting for the last while. This is my husband's absolute favorite. Some folks call them 7-Layer Bars while others call them Magic Bars. In my opinion, I would rather eat them than quibble so let's get down to some serious baking! And why are my bars called 8-Layer instead of 7-Layer? Because they have an extra-special something something that makes them even more delectable - if that is even possible!

8 Layer Bars
The inside story
  • 1 1/2 c graham wafer crumbs
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) butter
  • 3/4 pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 pkg salted caramel or butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 pkg white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1 pkg coconut flakes or shredded coconut - sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1 x 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk - regular not low fat
Preheat oven to 350 degrees before starting. Line 9x13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper.
*True confessions: I made the mistake of lining the pan with foil and attempted to mix the graham wafers and melted butter right in the pan. Big mistake: ripped foil, messy results but so good!*
  1. Melt stick of butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Check and melt a bit more if necessary.
  2. Stir in the graham wafer crumbs with a fork and then press into a foil-lined 9x13 inch pan. (You can also use parchment paper but I find foil easier to fuss with)
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the crumb mixture
  4. Sprinkle caramel (or butterscotch) chips evenly over the chocolate chips
  5. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over the caramel chips (trust me, these make all the difference)
  6. Sprinkle first the walnuts and then the pecans over the top
  7. Sprinkle the coconut over the whole mess of deliciousness. Make sure all is covered with it.
  8. Drizzle the whole thing evenly with the can of sweetened condensed milk. Don't leave gaps - the bars don't like that (just kidding - it's almost impossible to get it perfect but do your best)
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or so. The top should be slightly golden with darker gold edges (see the picture). This gives the best results. DO NOT even think about cutting this until it's thoroughly cool - or at least cool enough to not fall apart when you use a serrated knife run under hot tap water to cut it. If you use a better grade of foil than I did you should be able to pull the whole thing out of the pan. This is why we always put the foil slightly higher than the pan's edges, my friends. 

Enjoy....but I don't have to tell you that. If you cut it in many pieces - I call them 2-bite pieces while my hubby calls them "more" - you can get at least a couple to three dozen slices. I kept some out and froze the rest in 2 different freezer container, for the sake of self-control. They "keep" very well.

Monday, June 26, 2017

White (Bechamel) Sauce

Basic White or Bechamel Sauce

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This is one of the first recipes that burgeoning cooks should learn. Once you have the hang of this,  you can add grated cheese or other ingredients such as carmelized onions to enhance your meals.


  • flour
  • 1 stick of butter
  • milk or cream (warm)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese optional
Procedure (Read before starting)
  1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan
  2. When melted, stir in approximately 1/2 c of flour. It should melt into the butter without being too wet or too solid. Add a bit extra flour if necessary - but not more than a tablespoon at a time or it will get chunky (time to experiment).
  3. Stir over medium heat until thoroughly mixed and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat slightly and slowly stir in warm milk or cream (room temperature or slightly heated) into the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk so it doesn't scorch. It may take a cup to a cup and a half of liquid. What you want is a thick, creamy sauce.
  5. If you want a cheese sauce, add some grated cheese to the mixture but be careful, it will scorch easily. Always work over low heat for this addition.
  6. When the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and serve over pot pies, perogies, meat pies or other dishes as required. To refrigerate and reuse, keep covered (will last up to a few days) and simply add a bit of milk when you reheat it, stirring often in the microwave or on the stove top on low-medium heat.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe at allrecipes.com, one of my favorite go-to sites. It is perfect for potlucks, family dinners and with a bit of tweaking (see below), is just right for large gatherings (2 pans). This is the perfect dish to prepare the night before and bake the following day. And yes, I had to taste it for "quality control" <koff koff>.


  • 2 large baking potatoes (or 6 regular)
  • 1/2 pound lean bacon (or Real Bacon Bits)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  2. Poke a few holes into each potato using a toothpick.
  3. Bake potatoes in the preheated oven until fully cooked, about 1 hour. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on paper towels and crumble.
  5. Cut a thin slice from one side of each potato; carefully scoop out the flesh and transfer to a bowl. Discard skins. Mix 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, chives, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder with potatoes. Spread potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish; top with 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

*Let the 'tweaking' begin. I baked 5 lbs of potatoes and, after letting them cool slightly, I scraped the contents into a big bowl and chopped them up with my spoon. I added a full bag (8 oz) of sharp cheddar, 1 1/2 c of sour cream, 2 tbsp of dried chives, half bag of Kroger 'real bacon bits', ground pepper and salt (didn't measure, just poured some on my hand and then into the bowl). I didn't use garlic salt because the chives provided sufficient seasoning). I used about a cup of milk and about 4 tbsp of butter. The potatoes were still hot enough to melt the butter when mixed in. I folded everything together, put it in one larger foil lasagna pan and one smaller, more shallow aluminum foil cake pan (about 8.5" by 12.5") for us. I used another half bag of shredded sharp cheddar to top the two pans and sprinkled liberally with dried chives and about half the pack of bacon bits. The casserole was moist, not wet, before baking and because I like my casseroles well cooked, the small one took about 25 minutes to warm through with bubbly cheese. I will probably cook the large one for about 30-40 minutes. Turned out tasty, slightly puffy and smelled delicious!*