Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A "Big Easy" Meal

I decided that to take a trip down to the "Big Easy" for tonight's dinner, so I prepared some jambalaya. Ken has been asking for this dish for a while and I've just been forgetting to make it. But tonight, that all ended. Unfortunately, he didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped he would. His taste buds get off track sometimes as a result of the chemo, so tonight, he was extra sensitive to the cheese flavor in the jambalaya and didn't get to enjoy it as much. I thought it was quite tasty, but next time I make it, I'll be sure to omit the cheese flavor.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Dinner 2008

I have been anticipating Christmas all year because I knew it would be the first time Ken and I hosted Christmas dinner. I've spent weeks trying to plan every little detail...from the decor to the dinner rolls. LOL. But after all of my blood, sweat, and tears (smile), I am so happy to say that the day was perfect and so enjoyable! Although it was definitely a LOT of hard work, my first holiday dinner turned out to be a huge success. With a successful holiday meal under my belt, I think I can say that the baton has officially been passed from my mother down to me. =)

Christmas Dinner Menu
Baked Turkey Wings
Cornbread Dressing
Corn and Rice Casserole
Collard Greens
Potato Salad

Christmas Dessert Menu
Sweet Potato Pies (4 total - 2 deep dish, 1 shallow, and 1 shallow with pecan topping)
Red Velvet Cake
German Chocolate Cake

Holiday Family and Friends Dinner

Last Saturday, Ken and I hosted our First Annual Holiday Family and Friends Dinner here at our house. We decided on a pretty simple menu so that I wouldn't have to be stuck in the kitchen the majority of the day. So after much thought and consideration, we decided on the following menu:

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
Fried Asparagus with a Creamy Cajun Dipping Sauce
Deli Spirals
Apple, Pear, and Walnut Salad
Cheese and Grape Tray
Lime Punch

Italian Romaine Salad
Sweet Tea


The event was a big success and we had so much fun spending time with our friends and family. It was a great jump start to Christmas week and we look forward to doing it again next year! =)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pies for Santa!

Ken and I were so excited to have all of our family arrive on Christmas Eve to jumpstart the holiday celebration! In preparation for Santa's arrival, I decided to try my hand at making two sweet potato pies as opposed to the traditional cookies and milk. =)

Ironically enough, as much as I LOVE sweet potato pies, I had never tried to make one of my own. So for this being my very first time, I'm sooooooo pleased with how they turned out! I made a traditional one and one with a pecan topping. I hope Santa liked his late night treat! =)

Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping
Recipe Courtesy of Eagle Brand


1 pound sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 (6-ounce) frozen pie crust

Pecan Topping
1 egg
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. With mixer, beat hot yams and butter until smooth.
3. Add EAGLE BRAND milk, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt and egg; mix well.
4. Pour into crust and bake 20 minutes.
5. Prepare Pecan Topping (recipe below).
6. Remove pie from oven; reduce oven to 350°F.
7. Spoon Pecan Topping on pie.
8. Bake 25 minutes longer or until set.
9. Cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pecan Topping
1. Beat egg, dark corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter.
2. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.

Where's the Beef?

...why in the Beef Stroganoff of course! Ken and I have always liked beef stroganoff. But up until a week ago, we had only ever had the hamburger helper version (I know, I know). So after catching an episode of "Paula's Home Cooking", I decided to give a try at making an "authentic" version of the dish. My mom, dad, and Ken were all my taste-testers, and according to them, it passed with flying colors! =)

Beef Stroganoff


1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon cup salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
All-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and black pepper
1 cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles


1. Season the steak strips with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
2. Dust strips with flour.
3. In a large skillet, quickly brown them on both sides in the olive oil and butter.
4. Remove the steak from the pan and add the onion slices to the pan drippings.
5. Saute the onions for a few minutes, until tender.
6. Sprinkle onions with 1 teaspoon flour.
7. Put the steak back into the pan with the onion.
8. Add the mushroom soup and beef broth.
9. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered.
10. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed.
11. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve.
12. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sloppy Sunday!

Surprise, surprise! I decided to go a "non-traditional" route for dinner today! Instead of my usual Southern-style dishes, I threw caution to the wind and opted to prepare a simple and quick meal today. So what was it you ask? Well....(drum roll please)....it was good old fashioned Sloppy Joes!!! =)

I had some ground beef in the fridge that had been thawed in hopes that I would make this meal on Friday night, but that never happened. So in efforts to salvage the ground beef and not let it go to waste, I figured sloppy joes on Sunday night would be just as good as sloppy joes on Friday night. Bon appetite! =)

Sloppy Joes and Potato Chip Fries

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powderhttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=5640881567564468101
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
2. Stir in the onion powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly.
3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Southern Tradition

In keeping with the tradition of having a good old fashioned Southern dinner on Sunday, this evening I decided to make Creamed Corn, Green Beans, and Fried Pork Chops. The green beans and pork chops I've made many times. But the creamed corn was a first for me. I'm a HUGE corn lover, so I'm surprised it's taken me this long to take a stab at it. But now that I have, it is definitely something that will be a repeat performer! It was sooooo yummy and really simple to make.

Sweet Creamed Corn

1 large bag of frozen corn (thawed)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 tablespoons butter

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt and pepper.

2. Add the corn and stir to combine.

3. Add the heavy cream and water and stir to combine.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat bacon grease.

5. Add corn mixture and turn heat down to medium-low, stirring until it becomes creamy and the corn become tender, about 30-40 minutes.

6. Add the butter right before serving.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ken and I had planned to go home for Thanksgiving since we're hosting Christmas up here, but unfortunately our plans had to change at the last minute and we had to say here in Nashville. Luckily our parents were able to adjust their plans too and make the trip here. We were very grateful to have our family around us for another first for us in the new house. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to pull dinner off at such short notice on Turkey Day, but luck was on our side and we were able to crank out a pretty impressive meal if I do say so myself. =)

Our Thanksgiving menu included, braised collard greens, creamy macaroni and cheese, homemade cornbread dressing, ham, and potato salad. And for dessert we had homemade pound cake and sweet potato pie! It was all sooooo yummy! And the spread looked quite appetizing also wouldn't you say? =)

Parent "Thank You" Meal

My mom and dad drove up last weekend to bring us their Christmas tree and to help us get the house together for the holidays. They both worked really hard helping us declutter the house and get the tree up and decorated. So as a "thank you" to them, I cooked a hearty comfort food meal for them. Ironically, this was also the first meal they've had of mine since we've been married and in the new house. They normally are only here on the weekend for one full day, so until now, I've only been able to prepare breakfast for them. So I was sooooo excited to finally be able to "feed" them for real while they were visiting. I think they were very pleased and enjoyed the gesture. =)

Roast Beef with potatoes and carrots, Green Beans, and Mac and Cheese

Unsuccessful "Quick" Recipe #2

Over this past weekend, I decided to give another Rachael Ray recipe a try. Well sadly, it was another flop for me. This is the second 30 Minute Meal recipe that I've tried and unfortunately, neither one of them have turned out as expected. This was a recipe for her Grape Tomato Basil Pasta. The recipe called for it to be served on arugula, but I didn't want to do that and decided to serve it with grilled chicken instead. The chicken tasted great, but the pasta left a lot to be desired in the way of flavor/seasoning. Here's a look at how it turned out...

It looks somewhat appetizing in the presentation, but it just didn't pack any punch with it's flavor and taste. Oh well, maybe my third try will be a charm. :-\

Monday, November 17, 2008

Seafood Surprise

I was an adult before I had my first experience with Tuna Casserole. Ken was the first to introduce it to me. He makes a very good version of it that he learned from his mom. It's been a while since we've had any, so I decided to try my hand at it. I'm quite pleased with the results! Here's how it turned out.

Tuna Casserole


3 cups cooked egg noodles
1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sweet peas
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups French fried onions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, combine the noodles, tuna, sweet peas, and soup. Mix well, and then top with cheese.
3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with fried onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Broadening My Horizons

I decided to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit for dinner yesterday. I'm all for trying new things and experiencing new flavors. So while walking through the produce section at the grocery store the other day, I decided to buy some asparagus and incorporate it into a meal. So when I decided to prepare some roasted pork tenderloin (thanks to being inspired by the Food Network over the weekend) and mashed potatoes, I knew that the asparagus would be a perfect compliment! So, here's how it turned out. =)

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

I'm not a huge fan of pork roast, so I've never thought about cooking roasted pork. But thanks to watching the Food Network most of the day on Saturday, I was inspired by this quick and easy approach to roasting pork tenderloin.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin (with Apple Cider Reduction)

1 lb. pork tenderloin (cut in half crosswise)
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees F and arrange rack in the upper third.
2. Pat pork tenderloins dry with paper towels, brush with oil, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
4. Add 2 pieces of pork tenderloin and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes.
5. Place pork on baking sheet and place in oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle of the tenderloin registers 145 to 150 degrees F, about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place pan over high heat, add cider and vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until mixture is reduced by 2/3, about 8 minutes.
7. Reduce heat to medium, stir in maple syrup and remove from heat until pork is cooked.
8. When pork is ready, remove to a cutting board to rest about 5 minutes.
9. Warm sauce over medium-high heat, add pork and any accumulated juices and spoon sauce over meat to completely coat. When pork is warm, return pork to cutting board and slice thinly. Serve with pan sauce spooned over.

Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus spears
1 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and arrange rack in the upper third.
2. Trim the bottom 2 inches of the asparagus spears and arrange on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.
4. Toss the spears with your hand to fully coat them with the EVOO and salt and pepper.
5. Cook asparagus until tender, but not overly cooked (about 10-12 minutes).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Soul Food

It's been a while since we've had a good down home, Southern style meal. So, there's no better time to prepare such a meal than on a cozy, Sunday afternoon! Therefore the inspiration for today's meal, braised collard greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato yams, and fried chicken.

Everything was yummy and I was very impressed by the braised collards. I've never prepared them that way before, but it turned out to be very tasty and much less time consuming. Here's the recipe.

Braised Collard Greens

1 1/2 pounds collard greens, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped
4 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup minced sweet onions
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. When water boils, add greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Place bacon in a large frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and fat is rendered, about 3 minutes.
3. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
4. Add greens and turn to coat well.
5. Add broth - it should cover greens and let cook until broth is reduced and greens are very tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Need for Speed!

Tonight's dinner was all about ease and speed! So, with that in mind, the menu was hamburger steak with onion gravy, buttered rice, and stemmed broccoli.

Hamburger Steak with Onion Gravy


1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
salt, pepper, onion powder to taste


1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 4 balls, and flatten into patties.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties in the oil until patties are nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the beef patties to a plate, and keep warm.
3. Saute the onions in the remaining oil until they reach a translucent color.
4. Sprinkle flour over the onions and drippings in the skillet. Stir in flour with a fork, scraping bits of beef off of the bottom as you stir.
5. Gradually mix in the beef broth. Season with salt. Simmer and stir over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the gravy thickens.
6. Turn heat to low, return patties to the gravy, cover, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Long Time, No Update!

Wow, I have really neglected updating this blog! I feel so bad because there really is no excuse, but the fact of the matter is, I just haven't been doing as much cooking. =(

With it just being the two of us and with the hubby not having much of an appetite a lot of the time, I just don't have the motivation to cook for just me. Thus the reason for such a long break in updates.

So, this is just an update post on the last few dishes I've made. I'll have to update this post with the recipes a little later, so check back soon!

Pork Chops, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Sweet Potato Yams

Meatloaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sweet Peas

Beef Tips and Gravy over Rice

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Parmesan Remixed

I started dinner tonight with the intention of making Chicken Parmesan...

BUT, this is what I ended up with...

It was quite delicioso! I love Italian food!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

3 bonless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan, about 1/4 inch)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup French-fried onions
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg. fettuccine pasta
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 ounce tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup broccoli florets
parmesan cheese to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Flatten chicken breasts and season.
2. Heat olive oil in pan.
3. Place flour, egg, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls.
4. Coat chicken breasts in flour, then in egg, and then in bread crumbs.
5. Place chicken breasts in pan and heat on both sides until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes on each side).
6. Remove chicken and set aside and let it rest.
7. Heat water until boiling.
8. Boil fettuccine noodles until almost done and drain.
9. Return noodles to pot and add cream, butter, tomato sauce, broccoli, and garlic. Stir until well blended.
10. Simmer until noodles are done and remove from heat.
11. Cut chicken breast into small strips and add to noodle mixture.
12. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinke with parmesan cheese before serving.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meat and Potatoes

Today's Sunday dinner was inspired by my hubby's love for meat and potatoes. So with that in mind, I prepared cubed steak with mushroom gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday Italiano

I got a text from the hubby during work on Friday requesting that I make my spaghetti for dinner. Of course I was beyond flattered because he hardly ever makes special requests like that because of his lack of appetite these days. It's been a while since I prepared it, so I decided to change it up just a little and add in sauteed mushrooms. It was my first time cooking fresh mushrooms, so I was quite pleased with myself for trying something new. Oh, and the hubby enjoyed it, so all was good. :)

Eat All Your Veggies!

So in my attempt to get the hubby to eat more veggies, I decided to cook squash AND a veggie casserole for last week's Sunday dinner. So we ended up having cabbage, squash, veggie casserole, and fried pork chops. I'm so glad they both were a big hit. I'll have to keep this combo coming so he keeps getting his needed veggie nutrition!

So for those of you who aren't big veggie fans, but love a creamy, cheesy casserole, you may want to give this veggie casserole a try. It's quite yummy!

Simple Vegetable Casserole


1 bag of mixed veggies (I use brocoli, cauliflower, carrots, and peas)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 bag of shredded cheese
5 to 10 ritz crackers (for topping)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Stem veggies in pan just until slightly tender.
3. Drain veggies.
4. Combine hot veggies and cream of mushroom soup in a casserole dish until well blended.
5. Top with shredded cheese until fully covered.
6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
7. Remove and top with Ritz crackers (either whole or crumbled).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our First Cookout!

I've been meaning to post this for weeks now, but jus hadn't quite gotten around to it, but, there's no time like the present so here it is....better late than never right! =)

Here are pics of how our 4th of July meal turned out. This is from our Friday meal when we had grilled burgers, hotdogs, kielbasa, pasta salad, green salad, and pound cake. For this being our first cookout, I think we did a pretty good job!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Domestic Hiatus...

Wow, I guess the 4th of July had a bigger impact on me than I thought...I've been plan old exhausted ever since! So as my blog reflects, I haven't cooked anything since then. But all good things must come to an end and next week after we return from our little mini vacay, I've got to get back in touch with my domestic divaness! Until then, happy cooking everyone! =)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

4th of July Menu

The hubby and I are having a small gathering of family and friends up for the 4th of July. In keeping with the traditional BBQ theme, here is the menu we've prepared...

Pulled Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

Grilled Hamburgers, Hotdogs, and Kielbasa
Pasta Salad
Homemade Pound Cake

BBQ Ribs
Potatoe Salad
Baked Beans
Collard Greens

Monday, June 30, 2008

Chicken Divan

This past week, I finally put my menu planning skills to work and planned a pretty well-thought out menu for the week (see below). So by building upon the meal from the day before, I decided to use Sunday's Mushroom Chicken to make my Chicken Divan. This was my first stab at making Chicken Divan and I must say that Ken and I are now in love! We both enjoyed this casserole sooooo much! It's very easy to make and is extremely tasty! You should give it a try...here's how:

Chicken Divan
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Dean


2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cups shredded chicken, cooked
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish.

3. Add the shredded chicken.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine.

5. Whisk together to make a sauce.
6. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken.
7. Mix well with a spatula.
8. Place the mixture into an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish or 2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray.

9. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula.
10. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
11. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Food for the Soul

There's nothing like a good Soul Food meal on a Sunday afternoon. So in honor of that tradition, I try to cook a Southern, "down home" type meal most Sunday's. This past Sunday (June 22nd), I decided to make Collard Greens, Mac and Cheese, Mushroom Chicken, and Cornbread. Here's how it turned out!

Collards, Mac and Cheese, Mushroom Chicken

Friday, June 27, 2008

South of the Border

The hubby and I played host this past weekend to his two sisters and our niece. So in honor of their visit, I wanted to make sure I prepared meals that I knew they'd all like. Thus, this yummy creation! My hubby makes a delish casserole similar to this, but I decided to change it up a bit and put a Southwestern spin on it. Here's how it turned out...

Southwestern Mac and Cheese


1 pound ground beef
1 (14 ounce) can stewed tomatoes (chopped)
1 (12 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Seasoned salt and Pepper to taste

1 (16 ounce) package macaroni
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown hamburger. Drain fat.
2. Add tomatoes and corn and heat through.
3. Season with garlic salt, seasoned salt, and pepper.
4. Cook elbow macaroni in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
5. Top macaroni with meat mixture, grated cheddar, and a dollop of sour cream.

Bon App├ętit!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dinner Menu for the Week

Braised Collard Greens
Corn and Rice Casserole
Baked Mushroom Chicken

Chicken Divan
Green Salad


Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

Leftovers or Date Night

Sloppy Joes

Pizza Casserole or Take Out Pizza

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Being a true bred Southerner, Sunday just doesn't feel like Sunday unless you have a yummy Soul Food meal. So in keeping in line with that tradition, I try to make a full, Southern-style meal over the weekend for Sunday dinner. This past Sunday, we had braised cabbage, smothered yellow squash, mac and cheese, and fried pork chops. Yummmmmy! =)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cool Summer Dessert

I'm not a huge dessert person at all. I normally leave that to my hubby. So, when I find a dessert I really like, that means it's a knock out. Well, I've found a knock out...Stawberry Shortcut Cake. It's moist and light and a perfect dessert for the Summer months. And as the name suggests, it's pretty easy and quick to prepare. Give it a try!

Strawberry Shortcut Cake


1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons cognac
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Follow cake directions as written on cake mix box.
3. Remove from oven and cool cake completely.
4. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, cognac and sugar. Let strawberries macerate 20 minutes.
5. Mix gelatin as directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency.
6. Invert and release cake onto a decorative platter.
7. Using a straw, poke holes all over the cake.
8. Pour gelatin into holes and spread over the top of the cake.
9. Spread layer of macerated strawberries on top of cake.
10. Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip.
11. Spread layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries, making pretty swirls and ripples.
12. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Memorial Day Meal

We had a pretty low-key Memorial Day weekend. We didn't attend any cookouts nor did we host one of our own. However, my mother-in-law came up to visit, so I made a simple cookout inspired meal to celebrate the holiday. The menu included BBQ Pulled Chicken, Baked Beans, and Potato Salad. I prepared the chicken using my new love...my slow cooker! The chicken was so moist and tender and the best part is I wasn't in the kitchen all day preparing it! My mother-in-law liked it, so I think my mission was accomplished. =)

Slow Cooked BBQ Chicken


3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 can chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce


1. Place chicken in a slow cooker.
2. Pour chicken both over chicken.
3. Cook on High for 4 hours.
4. Drain broth from slow cooker and shred chicken.
6. Pour bbq sauce over shredded chicken.
7. Cover and cook another hour on High.