Christmas Egg Nog Trifle

Ingredients:

1 box of yellow cake mix, I use Duncan Hines

2 8 ounce dairy topping, like Cool Whip, thawed

2 cans of whole berry cranberry sauce

2 Tablespoons hot water

1 bag of Bits of Brittle Toffee Bits

1 box of instant vanilla pudding

1/2 gallon of egg nog

Christmas sprinkles, optional

Gingerbread man cookie, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make cake according to package directions. Instead of adding water, use one cup of egg nog instead. Bake in a 13 x 9 pan for 23-28 minutes and cool.

Prepare pudding according to package directions. Instead of using milk, use egg nog instead. Beat egg nog and pudding together on high speed for about four minutes. Put in refrigerator to set. That should only take about 5 minutes but you can do this the day before.

Open a can of whole cranberry sauce. Put in a bowl and add 1 Tablespoon of hot water. Stir and this will become smooth and easier to spread. I just opened one can at a time. Easier for me to keep the cranberry layer even.

Cut up cake into pieces and make that the first layer of the trifle. Use the pudding for the next layer. Spread a layer of whip topping on top of the pudding. Add a layer of cranberry sauce. You will use the entire can for each layer. Next sprinkle on the toffee bits and repeat the layers. For the last layer I added a layer of whip topping on top of the cranberry sauce and covered the whip topping with toffee bits. I used a 1M tip to decorate the top of my trifle. Added sprinkles and a Pepperidge Farm gingerbread man cookie. This can be made a day ahead. Keep refrigerated until read to serve. Enjoy!

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Nana’s Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

I grew up believing my Dad’s favorite cookie was chocolate chip. My Dad loves those too but his mothers (my Nana) oatmeal cookies were his favorite. Recently I dug up her recipe and made a batch for my Dad. They were delicious, raisins and all. I am not a huge raisin fan so I did use my preference, golden raisins. I admit, I loved them too.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups packed brown

2 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg, room temperature

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups of rolled oats oats

1 cup of raisins, I used golden raisins*

1 cup of chocolate chips, optional if you do not to use raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Stir in oats and raisins or chocolate chips if you are not using raisins. Drop by tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 -10 minutes. Eight minutes will give you a chewy cookie and 10 minutes will give you a crunchy cookie. Cool for a minute on the cookie sheet and cool completely on a cooling rack before storing in an air tight container.

*Golden raisins are my personal preference. I think they are not as dried out as brown raisins. However, when golden raisins are baked, they do turn brown. 😊

Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Recently I made a delicious casserole from Plain Chicken. I made her Taco Spaghetti which is made with pasta. As I ate it, I thought I bet this would be delicious with spaghetti squash. My recipe is based on her recipe with just a couple of changes.

Ingredients:

4 – 5 large spaghetti squash

1 1/4 pounds ground chuck

1 onion chopped

Garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 envelope of taco seasoning mix

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1 can of Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, do not drain

1 8 ounce box of Velveeta, cut into cubes

2 cups of grated cheese, I used a Mexican blend

Sour cream, optional for garnish

Chives, optional for garnish

To cook spaghetti squash, I poked holes in it and microwaved each one for 2-3 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, I was able to cut them in half easily. Once in half, I removed and discarded the seeds. Next I placed the squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish with half inch of water. I cooked two halves at a time for 8 – 10 minutes.* Once cooked tender, and cooled, I shred the inside of the squash and placed it on paper towels to absorb the liquid from the squash.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 9 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Cook ground chuck with onions and season with garlic salt and pepper. Drain meat and onion mixture and place in a large bowl. Add cans of soup and Rotel, taco seasoning mix and the drained spaghetti squash. Mix and combine all ingredients. Place taco squash mixture into the baking dish and top with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and chives if desired. Enjoy!

*Cooking times will vary according to size of the spaghetti squash.

Recipe inspired by Plain Chicken’s Taco Spaghetti.

Sloppy Joe Chili

One day we had discussed Manwich on my page and Kathy mentioned she added a can of Manwich to her beef stew. I thought it sounded delicious. Then I thought of Manwich Chili! This is a delicious and meaty chili. A great flavor.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck

1 onion, chopped

2 cans kidney beans, drained

2 cans Manwich, 15.5 ounce each can

1 14.5 oz whole peeled tomatoes, do not drain

1 can tomato sauce

Chili powder to taste, I used 6 Tablespoons

Garlic salt and black pepper to season beef

Optional toppings:

Cheese

Sour cream

Scallions

Doritos or corn chips

Season meat with garlic salt and pepper. Add onion. Cook beef until brown, drain grease. In a large pan (Dutch Oven), add 2 cans of drained kidney beans, 2 cans of Manwich (I used a can of original and a can of bold, both of the same flavor is just fine). Add tomato sauce and season with chili powder and your favorite hot sauce if desired. Simmer for 30 minutes, an hour is better. I like to add Doritos or corn chips yo the bottom of my bowl and top with my favorite toppings. Chili tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!

Maple Toffee Cookies

I love fall baking. When I discovered Nestle had made new Maple Flavored Morsels, they hopped right into my shopping cart. What better way to embrace fall baking with Maple Toffee Cookies.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening, I used Crisco

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 extra large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 package of Maple Flavored Morsels

1 package of Heath Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. In a mixing bowl, beat sugars and shortening until creamy. Add vanilla, and add eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture gradually. Mix well. Stir in maple morsels and toffee bits. Drop by rounded tablespoon on an untreated cookie sheet. I did not use a silicone mat or parchment paper when I baked my cookies. I highly recommend using one.

Bake 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool in cookie sheet for 2 minutes and remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack. Once cool, store cookies in an airtight container.

Dinner In 30 Minutes

I really wasn’t trying to make a dinner in 30 minutes but when I did, I thought I would share it. This recipe isn’t written in stone, you can change the pasta to low carb or gluten free. Change the dressing to one of your favorites. My cost for dinner was under $20 because of the ingredients I already had at home. However, if you were to go buy everything from start to finish, it would still be under $25 in my area.

Ingredients for Main Course:

1 package of Bow tie pasta, or your favorite low carb, gluten free

*1 package of chicken tenders, cooked or rotisserie chicken, cut in bite sized pieces

1/2 cup pasta water

**Olive Garden Salad Dressing, or your favorite dressing, you add how much you like. I didn’t drown my pasta in dressing.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, make garlic bread. Cut chicken in bite size pieces. I also made my bag salad.

Garlic Bread:

Sliced bread

Garlic butter or spread

Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Spread prepared garlic spread or butter on sliced bread. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and sprinkle paprika on top of cheese. Broil under butter has melted. Timing depends on how close the rack is set close to the broiler. The closer it is, the faster your bread will cook or burn. You must keep an eye on it.

Salad:

I bought a Caesar Salad in a bag. No shame in that. The kit included dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons in the bag. The package I bought was two for five dollars. Can’t beat that. These salads literally take a few seconds to make. Cut open the bag, dump in the ingredients and toss.

*Believe it or not, chicken tenders I purchased were $9.00. A rotisserie chicken is under $5 at Sam’s Club, a little higher at my grocery store.

**Cant find Olive Garden dressing or like it, a good substitute a good Italian or Balsamic Italian Dressing, whatever you prefer.

Another helpful money saving hint, my grocery store often has buy one get one free pasta. I often stock up on pasta when that happens.

My cost:

Chicken Tenders $9.00

Pasta $1.69 (free from my pantry)

Bread $3.00

Garlic spread $3.60 (I used what I had)

Salad $2.50

Salad dressing $3.99 (already had in my pantry)

White Espresso Hot Chocolate

I was gifted delicious chocolate by Forte Chocolate. This is the recipe I made with their White Swan Black Swan Espresso Bar. Since I have developed this recipe, I can’t imagine making hot chocolate any other way. No more powdered chocolate hot chocolate for me! The opinions expressed in this recipe are my own.

Ingredients:

1 bar Forte White Swan White Chocolate Espresso Bar, chopped

l/2 cup milk

1 cup half and half

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream to garnish, optional

Chocolate espresso beans for garnish, optional

Chop chocolate bar and place in a microwave-safe container. Microwave at 30-second intervals and stir to melt chocolate. Heat milk, cream, and sugar on medium heat until milk is warm. Do not boil or scald milk. Once the milk is hot, remove from heat and add vanilla and melted chocolate. Garnish with whip cream and espresso beans if desired. Makes a 12-ounce cup of the best hot chocolate you have ever had!