#TBT No Bake Cookies

nobake cookies1I literally have not made these cookies since Home Ec class in high school. And believe me, that was a very long time ago. Now my daughter is in high school and I’m passing the torch of culinary knowledge on to her. She was pleased to learn how easy these are to make and oh! how tasty they are – a guilty pleasure for sure. Enjoy!


No Bake Cookies

1 ¾ cups white sugar

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2014 Allrecipes.com

Printed from Allrecipes.com 4/10/2014

Deconstructed Lasagna

lasagnaWhat is it? It’s all the ingredients you use in lasagna without taking the time to layer and bake. Why do this? It’s easy – period. I think I like it better, too. Not as dry – and oh, so much better the next day.


The Sauce

1 lb. Johnsonville Hot Italian sausage – I love this sausage – it’s got kick w/o extreme heat

1-2 tbs. olive oil

1 medium onion diced

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 6 oz can of tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of Dei Fratelli Italian Sauce

Dry Oregano

Dry basil

Salt & Pepper to taste



Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage and crumble w/ potato masher (I find this works the best to crumble ground meat while browning it). Brown sausage and then add in onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring, crumble in dry seasonings (just eyeball 1-2 tsp. of the oregano and basil) mix and then clear an area in the middle of the pan pushing meat to the sides. Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes – this sweetens it. Then mix in with meat. Deglaze pan w/ vodka (I usually go around the pot 2x), let that cook off and then add the Italian sauce.


Put in crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours, mixing once in awhile.


Putting it all together…

1 lb. box of malfalda pasta (they look like mini lasagna noodles broken up). Creamette makes them.

1 16 oz container ricotta cheese

8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz of fresh grated parmesan cheese



Boil enough salted water to cook 1 lb. box of malfalda pasta

While pasta is cooking, add 2 -2 ½ cups of sauce to large sauté pan and heat thru.

Drain pasta, add to pan and toss with the sauce. Then dot with ricotta cheese (soup spoonfuls), sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. Cover and let cheeses melt. Dish it up and enjoy.

Tastiest Meatloaf I Ever Made

Nothing comforts you more than a meatloaf dinner on a freezing Minnesota day.  And believe you me, this year we’ve have plenty of below zero days here – 53 times this winter according to the MN DNR.  Always served with mashed taters, gravy and corn – it’s the ultimate home-style “TV Dinner”.  Even better the next day.


1 ½ lb. lean ground beef

1 egg

1 small onion finely chopped

1/8 cup ketchup

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, finely ground into crumbs


Dash of salt

½ tsp pepper

Glaze for Meatloaf

½ cup ketchup

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven to 375°.   Mix enough milk into stuffing crumbs to moisten.  Mix all meatloaf ingredients together.  Form into loaf on baking pan.  Mix glaze ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf.  Cover with foil, bake for 45 min.  Remove foil and bake again for 15 minutes or until glaze sets.  Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it to redistribute juices.


Shrimp Salsa

I posted thshrimpsalsa2is recipe awhile back, but making it again, it deserves its own spotlight. The recipe came from a friend’s wife over 20 years ago. She was one mean chica and this is the best thing that came outta that woman (but ya didn’t hear that from me)… This is so easy – chop a little, open a few cans, refrigerate overnight or a few hours. Voila! Wishing you all a blessed, happy and healthy New Year! Enjoy!

Shrimp Salsa
1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes drained
4 green onions/scallions sliced, white and green parts
½ 4 oz. can of diced jalapeños with some of the liquid – this can be adjusted more or less
Chopped fresh cilantro – again, base this on you taste
2 8 oz. bags of frozen salad shrimp, thawed
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yummy Alfredo Chicken Bake

AlfredoThis recipe, hands down, has become my daughter’s favorite to eat and to cook.  We discovered it when we had to go out of town and she was left with friends for the weekend. That was last weekend and she has had it twice since.  Originally posted on About.com, here is the recipe – what I like is you can be creative with it…add peas (her favorite), carrots, broccoli or asparagus.   We also topped with mozzarella/provolone cheese and decrease the amount of milk – ½ cup made it too soupy for us. Enjoy!

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

By Linda Larsen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6



  • 1 (16-ounce) package rigatoni pasta
  • 3 cups cooked diced chicken breast
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) container refrigerated Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than cooking time on package (the pasta will finish cooking in the casserole).

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, combine both containers of Alfredo sauce with the milk; heat until mixture begins to bubble. When pasta is almost cooked, add to sauce along with chicken and half of the Parmesan cheese.

Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour food into the dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes longer or until casserole is bubbly and cheese melts and begins to brown.

You can vary this dish in many ways: add 1 cup sliced frozen carrots, thawed, 2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed, 1 (10-ounce) package frozen asparagus, thawed, 2 cups frozen green beans, thawed. Top the casserole with 1/3 cup bread crumbs mixed with 3 tablespoons melted butter; add that after the casserole is uncovered.

©2013 About.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Peter Piper Would Pick These Pickles!

This summer I grew one – yes one – cucumber plant.  The first picking I haulepickle1d in 30 cukes off of it.  It was not a Kirby or pickling cuke plant, but a salad cuke that produces very few seeds in the cucumber and a nice thin outer skin.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t keep the plastic thingy that came with it saying exactly what type of plant it was.  I’m thinking it was somehow related to the English cucumber family.  They all average around 12 inches and are somewhat slender.  Knowing that I had to do something with them quick, I poked around on the internet and found this wonderful refrigerator pickle recipe from Cooking Light.  They turned out absolutely tasty and get better and the days go on.  I followed the recipe verbatim except I doubled the brine because it didn’t produce enough liquid to cover the cucumbers.  I also added sliced red bell pepper – because I really like them pickled, too and made it taste like my Mom’s bread and butter recipe.  It is a really easy recipe – I did three batches in one evening.  After three days of them sit in the fridge, I transferred to pint jars.  Enjoy!


  • 6      cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
  • 2      cups thinly sliced onion
  • 2      cups thinly sliced red, yellow or orange sweet bell pepper*

Brine* (doubled from original recipe)

  • 3      cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½  cup sugar
  • 1 ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1      teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1      teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1      teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1      teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8      garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days. At this point, you can keep in the bowl you have them in or transfer to pint jars.pickle2

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Kathleen Kanen, Cooking Light

*My addition/change

Cajun Fried Rice…Maybe?

It’s not quite a jambalaya nor is it red beans ‘n rice.  But it has a little of both in it – whCajun-chicken-sausage-pkgatever ya want to call it, it came out tasty and was a fast skillet meal to make on a busy week night.  What inspired me to make this was Johnsonville’s new Cajun Style Chicken Sausage.  It’s fully cooked, has 50% less fat than regular sausage, a little heat and nice spice.  It’s very tasty and I’m planning to try their other varieties.  I’ve never been disappointed with Johnsonville’s products.  Here’s what I threw in the pan to make this “fried-rice”-type dish – Enjoy!

 Cajun Fried Rice

2 cups cooked rice (I used minute rice)

2 links of Johnsonville Cajun-Style Chicken Sausage, diced

½ large onion diced

½ sweet red bell pepper diced

1 clove of garlic minced

1 can red kidney beans, drained (I used Bush’s low-sodium)

1 tsp. Cajun season  (more if you like)cajunfriedrice

Couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce (more if you like)

Salt & pepper to taste

1-2 tbsps. Olive oil

Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat.  Add the diced sausage and brown.  Then add the diced onion and sauté until translucent and starting to caramelize.  Next, toss in the bell pepper and garlic, sauté for a few minutes and then add the kidney beans.  Continue to cook and stir until the beans heat thru. Stir in the Cajun seasoning, the hot sauce and salt & pepper.  Mix in the cooked rice.  Heat thoroughly and serve…dat be it!