Easy Strawberry-Cheese Danish


I’ve loved breakfast pastries for years, and especially cheese Danish.  Although I don’t remember ever eating the cream-cheese variety until an adult, they fascinated me immediately.  I enjoy the sweet, rich cream inside flaky, buttery dough, and I’ve always wanted to try to bake it.

I didn’t, though.  It seemed quite intimidating, and while I’ve pinned lots of recipes, I never went ahead and tried it.

Until this week.  I had some extra strawberry filling on hand and decided to throw some stuff together and see what happened. 

The result?   This is the best picture you’re going to get, because we fought over every piece until it was gone.  That didn’t take long.

Of course, the rich creaminess is my favorite, but in this Danish, it’s complemented by the sweet, full flavor of the strawberry sauce.  We’ll definitely be making these again – and soon!

Easy Strawberry-Cheese Danish


  • 1 tube crescent rolls
  • 1 8-oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. strawberries, washed, capped, and mashed
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 3 T. water


  1. Butter the bottom of a 8" baking dish.
  2. Spread 1/2 of the crescent rolls across the bottom.
  3. Soften the cream cheese. Mix in the powdered sugar.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crescent roll layer.
  5. In a small saucepan, stir together the strawberries, cornstarch, and water.
  6. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes, then chill.
  7. Spread the strawberry mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.
  8. Spread the last crescent rolls on top of the strawberry layer.
  9. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
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Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice

I was a super picky eater as a kid.  I didn’t like anything that had multiple types of ingredients.  I was rather happy about having eating patterns that resembled my great-grandfather’s, and we happily avoided things like vegetable soup. 

Then I went to college.  While it was still very possible to eat well with my former eating plan, I decided it was time to add some new things to my foodie repertoire.  Since it was rather limited, that wasn’t hard to do.

My very favorite new food quickly became something the cafeteria called “Minnesota Wild Rice Soup.”  I carefully picked out all the mushrooms, but the soup itself was amazing:  thick and creamy, full of flavor, and the rice varieties were amazing.  I loved it, and I ate it for every meal it was offered.

Since then, I’ve searched high and low for a recipe that might mimic that taste, but it’s surprisingly hard to find good wild rice soup recipes without chicken.  Nothing I’ve made has even come close – until now.

Honestly, it’s been so long since I tasted that yummy Minnesota Wild Rice Soup that this might be nothing like it; however, it has all the notes I remember, and I love it!  Best of all, it’s super easy to make, so we’ll be eating it often.

Why now?  When it’s warming up?  Because pollen.  It’s pollen season here in the south, and my sore throat and stuffy nose is enjoying this creamy, hot soup.  Give it a try – it might cure what ails you, too.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup


  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cans green chilis
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 boxes Zatarain's Wild Rice Pilaf
  • 3 cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese


  1. Heat oil in a stock pot.
  2. Saute the onions in the oil. Stir in the garlic and the chilis.
  3. Add the chicken stock.
  4. Add the rice pilaf with seasonings and the called-for amount of water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer fro 25-30 minutes.
  6. Stir in shredded cheese.
  7. Serve hot.
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Easy Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

I love finding easy recipes, and ones that we all like are even better.  My kids like this Easy Chicken Chili so much that they fight over who makes it – and I love any recipe that makes that happen! 

If you’re really in a hurry, you can use prepackaged ingredients that, while still whole, make throwing this together super easy. You know – a rotisserie chicken, boxed broth, and canned beans.  If you have a bit more time, you can cook your own chicken, broth, and beans, and still have a fast, easy, healthy meal on the table in a short amount of time.

One of my favorite things about this chili is its versatility.  The broth is really rich and thick, and it tastes great on it’s own.  I happen to love putting crunchy things into meals like this, though, and both crackers and tortilla chips work here. I like to top mine with a bit of extra cheese, too, but sour cream could also work if that’s your thing.

Even though the weather is getting warmer, with springtime allergies and runny noses plaguing us, we’ve been enjoying the fragrant steam from our bowls.  Give it a try – and let us know what you think.

Easy Chicken Chili


  • 4 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 small cans of diced green chilis
  • 3 cans white beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1.5 t oregano
  • 3 c. shredded Monterey Jack r cheddar cheese


  1. Heat oil in pan.
  2. Add onions and garlic.
  3. Sautee until clear.
  4. Add chilis and spices. Stir.
  5. Add broth and undrained beans.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Add chicken and cheese.
  8. Stir until hot and thickened.
  9. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, and your favorite chili toppings.
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Easy Cheesy Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice

I love being able to help people out, so when someone asked for our Easy, Cheesy Spanish Rice recipe, I excitedly said, “Sure!”

My kids love this rice.  They cheer every time I make it and fight over the leftovers – of which there’s never much.  It’s easy to throw together, full of flavor, and makes a great side dish.  We love to eat it alongside tacos, enchiladas, nachos, or just beside a big taco salad.

Everyone in our house loves rice, so I tend to make a double batch each time we make it.  That means we’re ending up with a large bowl of this Spanish rice, but that’s okay – it’s good and moist, so it reheats well.  Not that there is much of this left – we usually eat the majority of it.

I make this rice in my rice cooker; I bought this appliance at a great discount last year after struggling to cook different varieties of brown rice properly.  The procedure should work just the same, however, for preparing regular not-minute rice.

Easy Cheesy Spanish Rice


  • rice
  • chicken stock
  • water
  • olive oil
  • salsa
  • shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or cheddar)


  1. Measure your rice directed.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Replace 1/2 of the water with chicken stock.
  4. Add 1/2 c. of salsa.
  5. Replace the remaining missing liquid with water.
  6. Cook as directed.
  7. Stir in 1/2 - 3/4 c. of shredded cheese.
  8. Cover rice again, let sit for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Serve hot.
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Grandma’s Whoopie Pies

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I hear it’s long been a debate between Pennsylvania and Maine bakers as to who first created the whoopie pie.  My great-aunt even joined the fun and always told the story of one of her ancestors naming the treat at their family store; in my hometown they’re usually considered an Amish thing, but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from making – and loving – them.

They’re my absolute favorite baked treat, and I have many fond memories of them.  My mom used to bake large quantities of them, wrap them individually in waxed paper, and hide them around the house and in the freezer.  While she was at work, my dad and I would seek them out and enjoy them.  I even remember some emerging from the freezer and then dancing impatiently beside the woodstove, watching them as they sat on the brick barrier beside the stove, waiting for them to thaw just enough for us to nibble and gnaw on them.

My great-aunt seemed to bring them to every family get-together and often served them to visitors, too, and Aunt Mary was an excellent baker.  My great-grandmother, though she made them more rarely (at least by the time I came along) could bake absolutely anything, and when she offered you a whoopie pie, you happily sat down and enjoyed it with a glass of fresh milk – and maybe angled for an extra one.

whoopie Pies

I love having some of their recipes, and since we recently lost Aunt Mary and my kids never got to meet Grandma, it feels a bit like introducing them to my Big Helper and Little Man when we make their recipes together.

whoopie pies

Yesterday we tackled Grandma’s amazing whoopie pies.  It was hard not to be impatient as they danced around in excitement and flour flew, but in record time we had a finished batch of whoopie pies, ready for sharing consumption.

whoopie pies

Making whoopie pies is a bit more work than traditional cookies, as you have to making icing, too, (and I hate making icing) but they’re worth it.  Since the kids (and a visiting aunt) made the process happen speedily yesterday, I definitely see whoopie pies appearing – and probably disappearing – in my kitchen more often from now on.

whoopie pies

 Want to make Grandma’s Whoopie Pies?  Try her recipe here:

For the cookies:
1 c. Crisco
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. sour milk
1 c. hot water
For the icing:
2/3 c. Crisco
5 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 c. powdered sugar
Directions for the cookies:
Cream the Crisco and sugar until fluffy.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together.
Mix the dry ingredients alternately with the sour milk and the hot water.
Bake the cookies at 350 for about 8 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.
When the cookies are completely cool, ice the flat side and place a cookie of the same size and shape on top, flat sides together. 
Store in an airtight container or wrap well in waxed paper.
For the icing: 
Combine all ingredients and mix until fluffy.
What are your favorite treats?

Grilled Zucchini Pizza


I’m always trying to find new ways to get veggies in my people. 

Since My Little Man ate a head-and-a-half of Romaine for lunch yesterday – by itself, like an apple – it’s not that I’m worried about rickets or anything. 

I like expanding our palates, though, and it’s always fun to cook and eat a wider variety of foods.  Since everyone here frowns at the sight of zucchini on the kitchen counter, I decided to start with that – and I’m glad I did.

We like this best when the zucchini is sliced then.  Grill it long enough to soften it a bit and get the pizza toppings sizzling.  You can add whatever you’d like to make it your own perfect pizza bite.

While this may not be the *healthiest* way to eat your veggies, it’s certainly a tasty and healthier way to eat your pizza!

Grilled Zucchini Pizza


  • 1 zucchini
  • pizza sauce
  • shredded mozzarella
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • dried oregano
  • pizza toppings of your choosing


  1. Wash zucchini.
  2. Slice zucchini thin - about 1/4".
  3. Brush both sides of each zucchini slice with a light layer of olive oil.
  4. Layer each slice with a small amount of pizza sauce, cheese, herbs, and your favorite pizza toppings.
  5. Grill on a hot grill until toppings are sizzling and zucchini is cooked through.
  6. Serve.
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How do you eat your veggies?

Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes

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I’ve got this thing for pancakes.  I love fluffy, rich pancakes dripping with syrup.

Of course, I don’t actually like the huge amounts of empty calories that accompany those tall stacks of sticky goodness, so for years I’ve been trying to create a recipe that would keep the tasty goodness but put some nutrition back into those calories.

I think this one will do it. Pancakes

These are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever seen.  They beat out all those pancake-house offerings by far.  In fact, when I made them a few weeks ago, the batter rose so much that it spilled over the edge of my bowl and creeped down the sides!


The rising continues on the griddle.  These pancakes are definitely fluffy – and they’re made with white-wheat flour and ground flax seed, so they’re also full of fiber and nutrients. 

Topped with a bit of butter and some real maple syrup, and I’ll choose a stack of Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes over those empty restaurant ones any day.

Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 c. white-wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 T + 2 t. baking powder
  • scant 1/4 c. ground flax seed
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs


  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients and combine until just mixed.
  3. Fry on a hot griddle, flipping when pancakes rise and get bubbly on top.
  4. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.
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How do you like your pancakes?

This is my favorite pancake gear!

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R & R Wednesday


Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake


My husband took me out for Valentine’s Day about bought the most amazing piece of cheesecake for our dessert.  I’ve never had anything like it – it was the perfect chocolate food.  Smooth, silky, and rich, it was absolutely wonderful.

So color me thrilled when he decided later that he’d try to make one for me himself.

This is what he came up with.

The texture is a bit different than the restaurant version, but it’s no less amazing.  It’s chocolate-y and rich and completely decadent. 

I think that he needs to make these on a very regular, frequent basis – right??

If you like cheesecake or chocolate or dessert, grab your supplies and get baking.  You won’t be sorry.  (The extra-good news, besides the it’s-delicious part?  This cheesecake is easy.  No water baths, no foil bibs for the pans, no myriads of ingredients necessary.  All told, for a cheesecake, it’s pretty simple – which means you get to enjoy it sooner.)

Oh – and be prepared to hide the results.  You won’t want to share.

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake


  • 18 crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with the icing removed
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 3 8-oz packages of cream cheese
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. hazelnut liqueur
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet Baker's chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter.
  3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
  4. Bake crumb crust for 10 minutes.
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla with mixer until blended.
  6. Add melted chocolate and mix well.
  7. Mix in eggs individually.
  8. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes.
  10. Chill for 4 hours before removing from pan.
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Are you a cheesecake fan?  Try this amazing Black Magic Cake, which has a cheesecake center, or these Party Perfect Cheesecakes.  Yum!


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Tell It to Me Tuesdays

Menu Plan Monday – February 27, 2016

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Last week’s slow week?  It’s long gone. 

We’re back in business week with lots going on, so our meal plan is going to reflect that.  I’m also going to be picking up my first Zaycon chicken order and prepping all 40 pounds for the freezer, so  …. expect to see some chicken on the menu over the next few months.

Want more information about ordering hormone-free, fresh-from-the-farm meats from Zaycon?  Click here!

What do you have going on this week?


Cinnamon Almond Granola @ A Nest in the Rocks


Last week didn’t end up being as slow as I’d hoped, and I never did get these made.  I’m determiend to give these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies a try this week!

What are you eating this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Garlic Alfredo Pasta

Garlic Alfredo Pasta


Every night’s a good night for pasta, right?  When a meeting got thrown into the mix at the last minute, the meal I had planned wouldn’t work.  I was stumped – I had a beautiful, cook-and-serve-immediately dinner on the brain, and now we needed something that could be prepped ahead of time.

That’s where this Garlic Alfredo Pasta dish comes in. 

I’ve been hungry for some pasta fettuccini Alfredo, anyway, and this dish has all of those flavors.  Instead of serving it as individual dishes, though, as I normally would, I combined it into a casserole that contained all the food groups – and lest that sound ‘weird,’ trust me – these are delicious combinations.

It’s not exactly a one-dish dinner, of course, since each component needs to be prepared individually, but it’s definitely a cut above your typical casserole.  It would be a great dish to double and stick the second into the freezer or to gift one to a friend or neighbor. 

So what is Garlic Alfredo Pasta, anyway?

It’s marinated chicken with steamed broccoli and pasta smothered in a light, garlicky Alfredo sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese.


Garlic Alfredo Pasta
Serves 4
A decadently creamy take on Fettuccini Alfredo
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646 calories
77 g
83 g
19 g
42 g
10 g
465 g
725 g
9 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 646
Calories from Fat 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 10g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 83mg
Sodium 725mg
Total Carbohydrates 77g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 9g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 12 oz pasta
  2. 2 chicken breasts, cleaned, cut in 1-inch pieces
  3. Italian marinade
  4. 1 lb frozen broccoli
  5. 4 T. butter
  6. 4 T. flour
  7. 2 T. minced garlic
  8. 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  9. 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  10. 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  12. salt & pepper to taste
  1. Saute the chicken in the Italian dressing in a hot skillet. Toss frequently for 4-6 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook pasta. Add the broccoli to the pasta pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In the empty pasta pot, melt the butter.
  5. Stir in the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the flour.
  7. Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring constantly.
  8. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens.
  9. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. In a buttered casserole dish, layer the chicken, the pasta, and the broccoli.
  11. Pour the sauce over the top.
  12. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.
  13. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
  14. Serve immediately.
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