Saturday, January 10, 2015

Uncle Gene's Cheesecake

First let me state, this is not my Uncle Gene, I don't have an Uncle Gene.  However, when we asked about the cheesecake at a local restaurant, the waitress stated that it was Uncle Gene's cheesecake and that he made all the desserts served.  Since the cheesecake was really good, I kind of wish that he was my Uncle Gene. 

Second, this was probably the easiest cheesecake I've ever made and I've even made those cheesecakes that come in boxes.  Not counting the topping or the graham cracker crust, there are just three ingredients.  And luckily for me, I had them all on hand.  The waitress told me that this recipe would fill a 9 x 13 baking dish, but I had an extra large graham cracker crust on hand and it did fine.

Third, I would use whatever fruit topping I had on hand.  This time darling blue eyes wanted blackberries, so I just added some sugar to frozen blackberry juice and thickened it.  It made a great topping.

Uncle Gene's Cheesecake


1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz bar cream cheese
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 extra large prepared graham cracker crust
topping of your choice


  • Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  • Mix cream cheese, lemon juice and condensed milk in large bowl until completely smooth.
  • Pour into prepared graham cracker crust.
  • Chill for at least 5 hours.
  • Spread on topping of your choice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Am I frugal or just being cheap?

This is a question I have had to ask myself on more than one occasion, "Am I being frugal or am I just being cheap?"  The other day as I was cleaning out my cabinets, I noticed that I had several bags of "bulk" items that should be in canisters or tubs.  My first thought was that I needed to run to the Dollar Store and get some more knock-off Rubbermaid containers, buying store brand is frugal right, but then I remembered that hubby had several plastic coffee cans in the garage that he wasn't using.  So being of the mindset to re-use or re-purpose if possible, I snatched several from the garage and used them to make my bulk containers.  Now according to Pinterest, I can get spray paint and decorate them to match my kitchen, but I don't see the need to do that.  They are doing their job.  So tonight I dragged down my "new" canisters and pulled out my elbow macaroni to make this dish.

Broccoli Pasta


  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 lg. crown broccoli
  • ½ med onion
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) sharp cheddar, shredded
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • to taste salt and pepper 


  1. Get a large pot of salted water on to boil. Rinse the broccoli well and cut it into small florets.
  2. The pasta and broccoli will be cooked in the same pot to save on dishes and time. When the water comes to a full boil, add the pasta. Set a timer for 8 minutes then add the broccoli. Cook the pasta and broccoli for two minutes more and then pour everything into a colander to drain. Set them aside until ready to add to the cheese sauce.
  3. While the pasta and broccoli are doing their thing, you can begin the cheese sauce. Finely dice the onion and cook with butter over medium heat until softened (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Add the flour to the butter and onion. The flour and butter will form a paste like mixture (roux). Using a whisk, stir and cook the roux for 1-2 minutes more taking care not to let it scorch. This slightly cooks the flour preventing the cheese sauce from having an overly flour or paste like flavor.
  5. Add the milk and whisk well to dissolve all of the flour clumps. Add freshly cracked black pepper at this point. Bring the mixture up to a simmer (you may need to raise the heat just slightly). When the sauce reaches a simmer, it will begin to thicken. When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, it’s time to add the cheese.
  6. Turn the burner off and whisk in the shredded cheese (and parmesan if using) until it is fully melted in. Give the cheese sauce a taste and add salt, pepper to taste.
  7. Once you have the cheese sauce seasoned to your liking, stir in the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli.
As written it was very bland, however after tasting this I added some garlic powder and seasoned salt.

Adapted from Stunning corner


Monday, December 29, 2014

Baking Marathon

In the month of January, we plan on eating only from our pantry and freezer.  I know that we will have to purchase a few food items like eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, etc.  We will make a stock up trip to Aldi before the new year but after that the words "grocery store" will be four letter words.  So to prepare the family for pantry eating, I decided to experiment this weekend to see if I could make enough snacks to last them for a week.  As a side note, my husband and son both suffer from a sweet tooth.  During my marathon baking session, I used a five pound bag of flour and ended up with strawberry muffins, a loaf of strawberry bread, two loaves of zucchini bread, a pan of brownies, five dozen chocolate chip cookies, two medium sized bread bowls and five yeast rolls. 

These chocolate chip cookies are some of the best cookies I have ever made.  I have used several recipes over the years and always return to this recipe.  I think the secret to these cookies lies in the fact that you mix instant pudding powder into the batter.  These cookies stay soft and yummy.

Amazing Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3.Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Adapted from

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It Tastes Like Spring

We were watching TV on Christmas Day when an advertisement showed some fresh strawberries. DH looked at me and said "I'd like you to get some strawberries out of the freezer and make something with them."  Well that's a pretty broad category, "Something".  I've made mixed berry cobblers with them before, but I wanted to try a new recipe.  This morning I finally got the frozen berries out and well, the rest is history.

Do you know the muffin man?
The muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man
Who lives on Drury Lane?

Strawberry Muffins

1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 tsp of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oil an 8 cup muffin tin, or use paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oil, milk, and egg. Beat lightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Toss in chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. Pour in milk mixture and stir together. 
  3. Fill muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 minutes, or until the tops bounce back from the touch. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.
If you are using frozen strawberries, let them thaw just a little bit, then chop them up.

Adapted from

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

This is the best cinnamon roll recipe I have ever tried.  I only thought that I would be able to make the biscuit type rolls, never the yeast rolls until a friend posted a picture of these on facebook.  When I asked her for the recipe, she directed me to Money Saving Mom and the bread machine cinnamon rolls.  I've made them with the glaze recipe provided and also with cream cheese icing.  They are amazing either way.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 egg, lightly beaten plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour (Add a bit more if dough seems too wet after first few minutes of kneading in the bread machine.)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons yeast


2 tablespoons butter
 1/3 cup brown sugar  and 1/3 cup white sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon

I doubled the filling recipe, but didn't use quite the whole mix, so I just stuck in the cabinet for the next time I made these.


1 teaspoon milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons (or less) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed and run on the dough cycle. After the dough cycle is finished, roll the dough into a large rectangle and spread it with 2 Tablespoons melted butter and 2/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon.
Roll up and cut into 10-15 rolls and place in two greased round cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned. Spread the icing on as soon as they come out of the oven.
You can also cover the unbaked rolls with plastic wrap, stick them in the refrigerator overnight, and then bake in the morning.

Adapted from:  Money Saving Mom

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Easy Ratatouille

The garden is going crazy, so now's the time for vegetable based main dishes. I am writing this as I made it, however, if or when I make it again, I'm going to do something to thicken the tomato sauce since I served it over hot noodles and I will allow a little more time for cooking the vegetables because DH doesn't like his warm veggies to have a "crunch" when he bites into them, me I don't care.

Easy Ratatouille 


2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, peeled and diced (1/2 in.)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed
8 ounces Asian eggplant, rinsed and diced (3/4 in.)
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium red, yellow, orange, and/or green bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and diced (1/2 in.) 8 ounces zucchini, rinsed, ends trimmed, and diced (1/2 in.)
8 ounces yellow summer squash, rinsed, ends trimmed, and diced (1/2 in.)
 1 tablespoon dried basil


1. In a 12-inch frying pan with sides at least 2 inches tall, or a 5- to 6-quart pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir frequently until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. 2. Add tomatoes (with juice), eggplant, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tablespoon dried basil and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft when pierced, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Serve over hot noodles of your choice and top with italian blend of cheeses.

Adapted from: My Recipes

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Skillet Stuffed Peppers

I will state this about this recipe, my family found it better as leftovers. It actually tasted like stuffed peppers the second day since the flavors got to mesh, the first night it was more like spanish rice with hamburger. I think this might also be good as a filling for burritos. Also, since I have home canned tomatoes, I used a quart of home canned whole tomatoes, crushed, along with the juice instead of a can of whole tomatoes and a can of chicken broth, it was just what I had on hand. I think you just need the liquid to cook the rice.


•2 tablespoon of oil
•2 tsp of garlic minced garlic
•2 Bell Peppers, any color
•½ of a medium onion
•1 pound of extra-lean ground beef
•1 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes
•1 14 oz can of low-sodium chicken broth
•1 8oz can of tomato sauce
•1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste
•1 teaspoon of soy sauce •1 cup of long uncooked, extra long grain rice
•1 cup of shredded jack cheese


1.Start by dicing two cloves of garlic, ½ of a medium onion, and two bell peppers. Reserve some of the diced bell peppers to sprinkle on top.
2.Saute peppers, onions and garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
3.Once the peppers and onions have started to soften, increase heat to medium high and add one pound of extra lean ground beef to the pan.
4.Season with one teaspoon of kosher salt and several turns of fresh pepper.
5.Once the ground beef is cooked, add chicken broth, the can of whole tomatoes (chopped), tomato sauce, and soy sauce.
6.Bring the tomato mixture up to a simmer, then stir in one cup of uncooked extra long grain rice. 7.Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat down to low.
8.Let mixture cook 20-30 minutes, or until rice is tender.
9.At the 20 minute mark, start stirring the pan occasionally so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
10.One rice is tender, sprinkle the cheese on top.
11.Cover the pan with the lid to let the cheese melt.

Adapted from: