Jun 24, 2013

John Wayne Casserole

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Cooks Note: This is SUPER yummy! I have no clue why they call it John Wayne Casserole, I am guessing it is because it has sort of a Mexican/Southwest taste to it and he was a cowboy type? I may be reaching. I did change a couple things though, I did not use tomato slices, I used a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. And instead of jalapenos, I used additional green chilies (we are not a spicy family). And I have to say, the Bisquick was a pain in the butt, so I have to figure out how to make that easier. But the result was great! Try it, you will really enjoy it.


2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning
4 ounces sour cream
4 ounces mayonnaise
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cups biscuit mix
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (flavored with green chilies), drained
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies


1. Heat oven to 325. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning and water, according to packet instructions; set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, 4 ounces of cheddar cheese, and half of the onions; set aside.

3. Stir biscuit mix and water (directions on box) to form soft dough. Pat dough on the bottom and one-half-inch up the sides of an 9 x 13 in. greased casserole dish.

4. Saute' remaining onions and bell peppers until slightly tender.

5. On top of biscuit mix, evenly distribute ingredients in the following order: ground beef, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, chilies, sour cream mixture and end with remaining shredded cheese.

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned.

Jun 23, 2013

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

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Cook's Note: This recipe has been a family favorite for years and years. As a matter of fact, my 82 year old grandfather makes this dish at least once a month to take to church functions because "everyone loves it" he says! So... I introduce to you my grandfather's Strawberry Pretzel Salad... a SUMMER FAVORITE!

What You Will Need:
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted un-salted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip
1 package strawberry Jell-o
2 Cups of Boiling Water
1 (10-ounce) packages organic frozen strawberries
Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust: Crush up the pretzels (I put the pretzels in a Freezer Bag and use a blunt object to crush them all up... you can also use a food processor!)

Mix the crushed pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar.

 Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries  and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping. ENJOY!

This "Pinspiration" comes from my Grandfather

Jun 13, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

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Cooks Note: I have NEVER tried making donuts, for several reasons actually. One reason being they are terrible for me, but if they are here, I will eat them. Two, they seemed too hard, labor intensive and for some reason I assumed I had to have a thermometer that you can stick into the oil, and I just don't have time for all that nonsense, if that is how it has to be, DUNKIN it is. But these were scary simple, you can whip up a batch in about 10 min and they taste just as good as Dunkin. Everyone loved them, cause who doesn't love a hot donut, I mean come on. Enjoy!


1 Can refrigerated home-style biscuits
2 Inches Vegetable Oil for frying
1 Cup granulated Sugar
Cinnamon to Taste


Remove biscuits from can and punch hole in the middle using a cap (I used a wine bottle screw top)
Heat oil in Pan (until a drop of water sizzles when dropped in)
Place donuts in the pan and let cook for 1-2 min on each side (don't let them get too dark)
Place hot donuts onto a plate with a paper towel to absorb excess oil
Place sugar and as much cinnamon as you would like into a large gallon size zippered plastic storage bag and shake to mix
Place 2 donuts in the bag, seal and shake till donuts are coated
Serve with Coffee
This Pinspiration from Thoreau's Daughter

Jun 12, 2013

Three Musketeers Chocolate Pudding

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Cook's Note: A friend of my family is very ill and wanted chocolate pudding to cheer them up.  I didn't just want to make chocolate pudding to take, so I searched and I found this recipe on Pinterest after searching for a dessert made with Chocolate Pudding. I have modified it slightly, but it was a hit! My friend and their family raved about it! ENJOY! 

What You Will Need: 

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
5 oz neufch√Ętel cream cheese, softened to room temperature
⅔ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
8 oz Cool Whip (I used French Vanilla flavored), thawed and divided
About 3 Musketeer mini candies, chopped
1 small pkg instant chocolate pudding
2 cups skim milk
½ cup mini marshmallows
more 3 Musketeers candies sliced for garnish


Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Firmly press into a 8X8 pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Using your stand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar, until smooth. Add vanilla. 

Fold in ½ cup Cool Whip and chopped 3 Musketeer candies. 

In another bowl, combine chocolate pudding and milk. Let sit until thickened. Fold in marshmallows. 

Once crust is cool, gently spread cream cheese layer on top. This will be tricky because the graham cracker crumbs tend to loosen. Carefully spread pudding on top of cream cheese layer. Top pudding with remaining Cool Whip. Garnish with sliced candy bars.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve (at least 30 minutes).

This Pinspiration comes from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Jun 11, 2013

Toddler Raspberry Banana Smoothie

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Cook's Note: This is my original recipe that I make most mornings for my daughter. She calls it her "Ice Cream Drink" .... I call it getting Milk into her because otherwise she is not a huge milk fan! I hope you will all enjoy this SUPER SIMPLE 3 Minute recipe. And you can really use any berry you like - this recipe works for pretty much any fruit!

What You Will Need:

2-3 Ice Cubes
6 Organic Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 Banana
1/3 Cup Organic Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Yogurt


In a Blender mix all ingredients until smooth and pour into your toddler's favorite sippy cup.... trust me. they will love it and this is a great way to get milk and fruit into your toddler!
This is an Original Suburban Epicurean "Pinspiration"

Jun 4, 2013

Baked Apple Cinnamon Donuts


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Cook's Note: Just recently I was persuaded by a co-worker to try some amazing donuts from a Donut food truck near my office. I was hesitant because I've never eaten from a food truck... but they were AMAZING! So, that inspired me to try to make donuts on my own. So over the weekend, I gave it a whirl and these amazing creations were made. These donuts are BAKED not fried and very scrumptious. I am on a mission to try several different donut recipes over the coming months, so stay tuned dear followers !!

What You Will Need:

** First and foremost - you will need 2 donut pans (like the ones seen here) - spray those well with non-stick cooking spray.
1/4 cup of lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 cups (about 1 large apple) of cube size chunks of apple, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk

To Coat:
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugars salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the cold chopped butter. Rub the pieces of butter with the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In your stand mixer (if you don't have one by now and you love to cook, seriously get one!!) , beat the egg, then add in the milk and remove from mixer. Now, fold in the chopped apples. Now, you will add this egg mixture to the flour mixture by stirring with a rubber spatula, but do not overmix it! 
Place a spoonful of batter into each mold of a your donut pan.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the donuts are just golden. Remove from the oven, let them cool well for about 10 minutes. Next, gently remove each one from the donut pan and lightly brush each donut with the melted butter. Dunk in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon mixed in. Shake off excess sugar and serve immediately with some good coffee !!
Makes 12 regular sized donuts.
This Pinspiration comes from Chocolate Shavings

Jun 3, 2013

SKINNY Oreo Cookies and Cream Shake

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Cooks Note: YUM. Low-fat, low sugar, and scrumptious. Make one, you'll love it. Enjoy!

1 cup reduced-fat (1%) milk or ½ cup fat-free and ½ cup reduced-fat 2%
2½ reduced-fat Oreo cookies
1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding (dry mix) or Vanilla Protein Powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package Splenda or Equal
1½ cups ice cubes


1. Add all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add a few more ice cubes if the shake isn’t thick enough.
2. Garnish with Whipped Cream and Oreo crumbles if desired. Serve at once.
Makes 2 (1 cup) servings

for 1 serving
118 calories, 2.5g fat, 3g protein, 20g carbs, 0g fiber, 181mg sodium, 8g sugar

This Pinspiration from My Fitness Pal


Three Cheese Pasta Bake

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Cooks Note: If you like Alfredo, this is for you! This is really good, but wow is it rich. With 3 cheeses, Alfredo and sour cream, I felt my arteries clogging, but enjoyed every minute of it. The only thing I would do differently is to use a little less Ricotta cheese, instead of the whole container, I would use 1/2 or 3/4 so it melted down a little better. Serve this with salad, instead of bread, unless you have a manly appetite cause wow is this filling. Enjoy!
 1 (16-ounce) package ziti       
2 (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce  
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream 
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese      
2 large eggs, lightly beaten      
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese      
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese  

  1. Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
  2. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  3. Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.                   

This Pinspiration comes from Southern Living

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

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Cooks Note: This salad is perfect for Summer, it is cold, easy, and goes with almost any main dish. I added cubed Swiss Cheese to mine, and I included that in the Ingredients below. You could also add grilled chicken to this and make it a main dish. For me, the red onion really gives you a big bang for your buck. This is flavorful and delish, enjoy!

1 (16 ounce) package bacon, cooked and crumbled/cut up
1 (16 ounce) package tri colored pasta
1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes
16 ounces (1 container) sour cream
1/2 of a red onion, diced finely
1/2 C milk
1 (1 ounce) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
1 brick of Swiss Cheese (use about half-cubed)
pepper (to taste)
1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
2. Cook your bacon. When it is cooked through remove it to a plate and pat the grease off with some paper towels. Set it aside.

3. Slice the grape tomatoes and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Dice the onion. I used 1/2 of a red one. I diced it fine so I wouldn't bite into huge chunks of onion.
4. Strain pasta and pour your cooked pasta into the bowl.

5. In a small mixing bowl combine the sour cream, milk and Hidden Valley Ranch packet.

6. Stir it well to combine, making sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

7. Add bacon to the pasta mixture.

8. Pour the dressing over the top. Stir it well, making sure all of the ingredients are covered with dressing.

9. Chill for at least an hour, add diced Swiss cheese cubes before eating. 
This Pinspiration comes from RJ and Jesse