Sage Sausage Roka

Last year I blogged about my Sausage and Brown Sugar Acorn Squash and it is still one of my favorites. But I am always looking for new twists on my old favorites. So tonight I made Jon the Sausage and Brown Sugar Acorn Squash and then I had a great idea for a twist for me. I love blue cheese so when Kraft releases their Roka Cheese spread I go a little crazy for it. So my mind was wheelin’ tonight. Sausage and Blue cheese hmmm think that is a winner. So here is what I created for me.

Sage, Sausage and Roka Cheese Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash cut in half and seeds scooped out.

Kraft Roka Cheese Spread

1 tsp of butter

1/2 to 1 cup of cooked Sausage crumbles

4 fresh leaves of Sage

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375°. Take the two halves of Acorn Squash and put flesh side down on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Place in oven until you can gently squeeze the squash. Then you know it is cooked through. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes. Depends on how big your squash is. While the squash is baking in the oven brown your sausage and towards the end add your sage finely chopped.

When the squash is done flip them over and add the butter. With a fork run the butter over the edges and inside the cup of the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix a spoonful pr two of the Kraft Roka Cheese and the cooked sausage together and then place into the cup of the Acorn Squash and put back into the oven for about 5 to 7 min. until the cheese is warm and gooey then enjoy this savory combination.

Here is the Sausage and Brown Sugar Acorn Squash link.




What is comfort food? The definition of comfort food is this: food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking. I guess to each of us it is most likely something different. One it is something that reminds of us of our youth. Two it brings well comfort to us when we either eat or remember or smell that food.  For me my comfort food is Nipla. This is something I grew up with. I am going to tell you right now that you either love or hate this recipe. I happen to be a lover but in my family we have both lovers and haters of Nipla. I have made this for my kids and one loves and the other hates. I honestly think of Nipla every time I smell onions cooking in butter. That is my comfort trigger.  Have you read William P Young’s book The Shack? Here is a link to his webpage for the book.  In his book he mentions Nipla “And I enjoy food—a lot. Nothing like a little shaomai, ugali, nipla, or kori bananje to make your taste buds happy….”. So I want to share with you something I have enjoyed since a little girl, my comfort food of choice so your taste buds can be happy too.


(This recipe is for 1 to 2 people but can be easily adapted to make more.)

3 eggs

Half a stick of butter

½ cup of chopped onion

¾ cup of flour

Salt and pepper


First chop your onions and then put butter in a sauté pan on low to melt and add onions.


Then bring a sauce pan half full of water to boil.


Crack three eggs into a bowl and whisk.


Add salt and pepper to the eggs and whisk again.

Then add ¼ cup of flour at a time until the eggs become like thick dough.




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Drop the egg mixture into the boiling water a spoonful at a time.

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Turn the heat up on the onions and butter until the onions are translucent.


Once the Nipla are floating and have cooked for about 5 minutes drain the mixture and place into a bowl. Pour the butter and onions over the Nipla.  I add a little sea salt before enjoying but you can omit that if you like.





So it is your second birthday in heaven.  I think of you often and wonder if God lets you have a peek into our lives. I hope you see us happy and living the best we can without you. I hope you see the laughs and smiles on Hayley and Evan’s faces. You see that is where I see you the most in Evan’s crazy ideas and Hayley’s sweet smile.  I hope you see Jen laughing and enjoying being a wonderful mom just like you. She is such a great mom and you can see it in the kids. You would be so proud of her.

Jen and Hayley


Jen and Evan


I hope you see how much Buzz still loves and honors you. I hope you see that you are missed dearly and that we are missing a piece of our heart. I try to smile each time I think of you but a tear still comes to my eye. It’s a sign of I miss you, not one of goodbye because sometime we will be together again.  I hope you are listening all those times I talk to you. It makes me feel better knowing you are listening.

I stopped by to see you today and brought you some beautiful roses.



As I visited you I found myself wondering what you were doing in heaven today. Were you baking, were you reading and enjoying the relaxing sunny day or were you watching over us as we were about to celebrate your birthday? I just wanted to reach out to you and give you a hug and let you know how much you are loved and missed.

Today we celebrated your birthday. Buzz got everyone together for a fish fry and he grilled roast too. We all brought a dish to pass. You would have loved having us all together.  All your grandbabies and neices and nephews were there laughing and smiling and having a great time. I still try to picture you laughing and talking to everyone. Making everyone feel welcome and loved. You were always the life of the party. Happy Birthday Lillian. We all love and miss you so much.

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Perfect Pear ProsciuttoA while ago Jon and I went to a get together at our friends Brett and Lisa’s house where they had a pizza making party.  Now Lisa started making this pizza and I won’t share her recipe because that is hers but everyone at the party thought she was nuts just adding fruit to the dough as the sauce.  But after her pizza was done let’s just say it was the star of the party.  We could not get enough of that pizza. So this pizza is an inspiration of mine from that pizza.

So long after the party I keep thinking about that pizza and how I could build my own. So here is the creation I came up with.

I started out really wanting to make my own dough but I didn’t have time the night I made this. I used Pillsbury pizza dough but promise me when you make this you will use homemade dough.

Then I took my mandolin and sliced the pear thin. This is the first layer. This is your sauce. I know crazy right but trust me.


Then I took dried figs and sliced them into small pieces. Now in the summer I would use fresh figs but it is winter and I could not find one fresh fig.  Take the fig pieces and spread them out over the pears slices.


Now take one package of prosciutto and lay the pieces all over the pizza.


Sprinkle the gorgonzola cheese over the entire pizza.

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Bake in oven according to your pizza dough directions for 15 minutes.


Then drizzle reduced Balsamic vinegar over the pizza and then enjoy.

Perfect Pear Prosciutto

It might sound like a strange combination but trust me. Jon was quite pleased with this creation. It will be made many more times in our house.

Perfect Pear Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza dough

one Pear

3 to 4 dried figs (if using fresh figs might use less)

1 pkg of prosciutto

Gorgonzola cheese

Reduced Balsamic vinegar

Throw All Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


I gave this recipe to my best friend Andie the other day for her Bunco ladies and she got such a great review that I have to share it with you. Plus this way her friends can get the recipe too. I love recipes that are so easy but taste like you were in the kitchen all day cooking away.  I should categorize these recipes under a Great Deceiver tab.  Chicken Tortilla Soup is probably one of my most favorite soups. It has (well as most of my followers know) my favorite herb Cilantro in it.

So I know when I  am pressed for time I have trouble coming up with ideas for dinner. This soup could be made over the weekend and then reheated for the rush night during the week that we all have.  But if you are like me I always make too much for Jon and me to eat so I freeze it.

Here are the first ingredients that you will need to make this soup.


Rinse the beans and the corn ( I know that my recipe below calls for creamed corn but this is all I had on hand and it works just not as good as the creamed corn). Then add them to the slow cooker along with the broth, enchilada sauce, petite diced tomatoes, and Jack’s special salsa. Stir and set the slow cooker to low for about 5-8 hours. 



One hour before you are serving add Cilantro and Cumin and Chicken.


Here are some of my favorite add in’s to this soup. A squeeze of fresh lime juice, monterey jack cheese, cilantro and of course tortilla chips or if you have them tortilla slices.


And this my friends is the end result. Yummy delicious soup. Hope you enjoy it as much as Jon and I do. 


Throw All Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

 3 cans of Black Bean Rinsed

1 can of Creamed Corn

1 can of mild Enchilada Sauce

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

1 tub of Jack’s Special Mild Salsa

1 Carton of Chicken Stock

1 Rotisserie Chicken (meat shredded)


Monterey Jack Cheese

Tortilla chips

Lime juice




Put all the canned ingredients in slow cooker along with Chicken Stock and Salsa. Cook for 5-6 hours. One hour before you are serving add Cilantro and Cumin and Chicken.

When serving here are some options to throw on top of the soup.

More Cilantro…. (Which is a must for me)

Monterey Jack Cheese

Tortilla Strips

Fresh Lime Juice


Looking for a healthy lunch option that will keep you full and satisfied? Well I created the perfect one. It has such great flavor you will want to eat the whole thing. Between the tuna and the garbanzo beans you will not be hungry after eating this because both are packed with protein. Plus Garbanzo beans are a great source of fiber. I also have this fight between eating well and enjoying a great food. I think this recipe not only tastes good but it good for ya!

Tuna Garbanzo Salad

1 can of tuna {I used tuna in olive oil} drained

1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained

1-2 tsp of capers

1-2 Tbps of kalamata olives sliced

I Roma tomato

½ lime juice

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

I could tell you that it was really hard to put this together but it truly is a throw it all in and stir. But what I did before I threw it all in is some minor prep work. I took the tomato cut it into four pieces and spooned out the seeds and then cut it into pieces. Then I threw the tuna, garbanzo beans, capers, olives and tomato into the bowl. Stir it all together, squeeze the ½ lime over the bowl to add the juice and then add a splash of olive oil. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste. You will get the vinegar from the kalamata olives so no need to add vinegar. Watch the salt because the capers and olives have enough salt. I used very little salt.


Hearty Beef Noodle Soup

One of my favorite things to do on a cold raining November day is to make soup. My favorite memory of my childhood is when my mother would make her Beef Noodle Soup. Nothing beats coming in from outside and warming up to her soup. She always made her own noodles and it seemed like it took her all day to make it. It was the most delicious soup and it warmed you up the instant you tasted it. I have tweaked my mother’s recipe so I hope I did her recipe justice by my tweaks.  The only thing I really changed is the fact that I added mushrooms to the soup and used them as a garnish also. This soup is so earthy and has such a great flavor you will want to slurp up every last drop.

Put your soup bones in a soup crock and then fill it with water to cover the bones. Bring them to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.  After a few hours take out bones and let sit until cool. Then take the meat off.


While you are waiting for the bones to stop simmering chop your vegetables (carrots, onion and mushrooms) into a fine chop. I sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes to break down the mushrooms a bit.


Once you take out the bones skim the broth of all the fat then add your sautéed veggies.  Let the veggies hang out awhile in the broth simmering for a few minutes then add 2 spoonful’s of Better than Bouillon.


Usually I would make my own noodles but today I was not feeling it so I used my go to noodles. Now you can add your noodles and beef  then simmer for another 30 minutes or until the noodles are fully cooked.  Season with salt and pepper or with Morton’s season salt is always a great addition.


While the noodles are cooking sauté the remaining mushrooms for the garnish. Add the sauteed mushrooms on top of your soup and enjoy.  And as the French say “Volia” dinner is served.


Hearty Beef Noodle Soup

2 beef soup bones

3 large carrots

1 onion

7-8 cremini mushrooms

2 spoon full of Better than Bouillon

Salt and pepper

1 package Reame’s frozen noodles

6 cremini mushrooms to sauté for garnish

Olive oil


Put your soup bones in a soup crock and then fill it with water to cover the bones. Bring them to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.  After a few hours take out bones and let sit until cool. Then take the meat off.  While you are waiting for the bones to stop simmering chop your vegetables (carrots, onion and mushrooms) into a fine chop. I sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes to break down the mushrooms a bit. Once you take out the bones skim the broth of all the fat then add your sautéed veggies.  Let the veggies hang out awhile in the broth simmering for a few minutes then add 2 spoonful’s of Better than Bouillon. Now you can add your noodles and beef  then simmer for another 30 minutes or until the noodles are fully cooked.  Season with salt and pepper or with Morton’s season salt is always a great addition.  While the noodles are cooking sauté the remaining mushrooms for the garnish.  Top your soup off with the mushrooms and then enjoy.

Edited Garbanzo Bean Crunch

Here is one of my favorite healthy snacks.  Now I won’t lie it takes patience but after you taste them you will understand why I take the time to make them.  Garbanzo beans are so healthy for you.  They are rich in fiber and a great source of protein.  Because of that they will  keep you full between meals. So because I am trying to lose some weight and over all be a little healthier these are great snack.

So the patience part is rinsing the beans and shelling them. I take two cans of garbanzo beans rinse them and drain them. Drop them on a dry towel and fold over the ends and rub the beans dry. This will release some of the shells but you will have to take each one and take the shell off by rubbing the bean until it comes off. This is important because if you leave the shell on it will just steam the bean. With the shell off the heat will roast the bean.  So while you are doing this step preheat your oven to 425°.

Garbanzo Bean peeling

You will have a stack of shells by the time you are done.

garbanzo bean peelings

Once you are finishing shelling the beans put them on a cookie sheet. I use a silpat so that they will not stick to the pan. Pour olive oil over the beans until they are well coated. Sprinkle paprika over them until coated. Then sprinkle sea salt over top. Now I must tell you there are so many different ways of making Roasted Garbanzo beans. Try using your favorite spices. I love them just with sea salt or try them with lime and cilantro. Once you have the basics down play with different spices or maybe flavored oil.

garbanzo bean prepped Garbanzo bean close up

Now I don’t set a timer but I can tell you don’t walk away from this. I check mine every 5 minutes. After ten I take out and shake the pan a little to move them around.  Then I keep an eye on them when they are dark golden brown I take one out and try to see if it is still soft in the center. Put them back in if they are still soft. Give them a few more minutes.

Edited Garbanzo Bean Crunch

So instead of chips or ice cream try these out for a healthy snack.

Ham and Mushroom Tart

Need dinner quick and painless. I have the answer for you. This tart is so easy to make but packed with flavor. The almonds and rice gives this tart a great crunch. The ham, onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese gives it so great flavor. 30 minutes cook time and 20 minute prep. In the summer Jon works long hours and it is hard to get dinner ready for when he comes home. With this tart I can prepare ahead of time and then stick in the oven when he gets home. By the time he gets done cleaning up from work dinner is done.



1 pie crust

8 oz of shredded Swiss cheese

Ham Mixture

1 package of small diced ham

2 green onions chopped

6 cremini mushrooms sliced

2 tablespoons of slivered almonds

1 cup of brown rice and wild rice (I use the prepackaged cups from Minute Rice)

1 tbsp of butter

Olive oil

Custard Mixture

3 eggs

1 cup of sour cream

1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of black pepper

Dash of hot sauce


Preheat oven to 425°.  Place pie crust in pie pan. Place in oven at 425° for 10 minutes.  Take out of oven and let sit. Turn oven to 400°. While the crust is baking sauté your mushrooms in the butter and a dash of olive oil until tender and then add ham and green onions until cooked through.  Add almonds and the rice.  Take off the heat.  For the custard beat three eggs and then add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Take the pie crust and a half of the Swiss cheese to the bottom of crust and then put the ham mixture on top of the cheese layer. Pour over the custard mixture and then top with the other half of Swiss cheese.  Put in oven for 30 minutes. Take out and let sit for about 3 to 5 minutes then slice like a pie and dish.


Here is how I layer the tart. First layer half the cheese on bottom of tart.



Then add the Ham Mixture.


Pour the custard mixture over the top.


Take the other half of the Swiss cheese and sprinkle of the top.

017Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.







Enchilada Bowl

Tonight was one of those nights when I come home from work and look in the pantry and said hmmm.  I am limited to a few items because I really need to go to the store.  I pulled out two cans of enchilada sauce, can of black beans and a can of whole corn. Enchiladas sound great but I don’t have corn tortillas and then wham it hits me I should create an Enchilada Bowl.  So here is what I came up with and it was so good and a little bit spicy.

I started out by cooking the white rice following the instructions on the bag. Cooked my pound of ground beef and then added the chopped onions, green pepper and jalapeno along with a beef bouillon cube.  I have been blessed this year with an abundance of green peppers and jalapenos in my garden.

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After those cook down I add salt and pepper and the chili powder to the ground beef mixture. I drain the corn and the black beans then add those to the ground beef mixture.  Put in the two cans of enchilada sauce and then let it simmer until the rice is done or a little longer. In the last few minutes add a tablespoon of butter to the sauce. Sounds crazy I know but trust me it smoothes out the sauce. Next add some chopped cilantro to the sauce.

So now we must assemble this gorgeous creation.  I put down a layer of rice in the bottom of the bowl. Top that with some Mexican shredded cheese. Then add a layer of the enchilada mixture.  Top with sour cream and more chopped cilantro.  I enjoyed the spicy hints to this dish but if you don’t want spicy you can eliminate the jalapeno and use mild enchilada sauce.


Enchilada Bowl


1 pound of ground beef

2 cans of mild or medium enchilada sauce

1 can of black beans-drained

1 can of whole corn-drained

1 jalapeno chopped

½ green pepper chopped

½ onion chopped

Chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 beef bouillon

White rice-prepared

Mexican shredded cheese