Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stuffed Pizza Meatloaf

I love creating new recipes using what I have left in the fridge.  This Stuffed Pizza Meatloaf has a few delicious surprises inside.

A while back I was looking for recipes using Ritz crackers for an article I was doing.  A neighbor gave me a recipe for Elvis' favorite meatloaf using Ritz crackers in place of breadcrumbs.  That's where the crackers come in.  This meatloaf was also made with sour cream instead of eggs.  I was really surprised that the sour cream makes for the most tender meatloaf!  I had everything for the Elvis meatloaf but I also had some leftover pizza sauce and cheese.  The last ingredient - frozen mozzarella sticks.  And the Stuffed Pizza Meatloaf was born.


1-1/2 lbs. 85% lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup Ritz or Town House crackers (about 20)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup pizza sauce, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
6 frozen mozzarella sticks
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In the bowl of a small food processor, add crackers, garlic and red pepper flakes and pulse into fine crumbs.  In a small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Add cracker mixture and toast lightly over medium heat.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, crumb mixture, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 1/3 cup pizza sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella and sour cream.  Mix well to combine.  Spray a large piece of foil with cooking spray.  Flatten out meatloaf into a 9" x 6" rectangle.  Arrange mozzarella sticks side by side.

Form into a loaf shape enclosing mozzarella sticks.  Place in 8 x 12 baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, top with remaining pizza sauce and return to oven for 20 minutes more.  After 20 minutes, add remaining mozzarella and return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

This a new family favorite!  I hope you'll give it a try!
Grandma's Tomato Soup Meatloaf
Cheesy Porcini Meatloaf

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pineapple-Banana Burst Smoothie #DoleRose

This Dole-icious smoothie captures paradise and the crisp winter holidays in one glass, with a flavor profile that includes Dole® Pineapple Juice, frozen Dole® Pineapple Chunks, cinnamon and nutmeg. What a great way to celebrate the Dole Packaged Foods participation in the first  "Live on Green" event in Downtown Pasadena, December 29-31, and its annual tradition of participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade—this year’s float will feature a zip line, with a rider “Soaring Over Paradise” nearly 100 times!

At “Live on Green,” Angelenos and visitors from around the world will explore 100,000 square feet of free entertainment, unique and rare exhibitions, and fun activities, as well as indulge in healthy snacks and beverages at the Dole Bistro. Dole California Cook-Off Champion Ally Phillips of Ally’s Kitchen will perform live cooking demonstrations and share quick and fun recipes featuring Dole Packaged Foods’ products. 


1 cup Dole Pineapple Juice
1-1/2 cup Dole Frozen Pineapple Chunks (partially thawed)
1 Dole Banana
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Garnish with banana sliced dipped in 
organic cane sugar and a chunk of frosty pineapple with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

More Pineapple Recipes:

Pineapple Upside Down Minis
Pineapple Avocado Salsa
Jalapeno Pineapple Preserves
Pineapple Pie Squares
Sweet & Sour Cocktail Meatballs

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Minis #dolerose

The idea of cooking a cake upside down, is an old technique that started centuries ago when cakes were cooked in cast iron skillets.  The idea of the pineapple came soon after 1911 when one of the James Dole's engineers had invented a machine to cut his pineapple into nice rings.  Soon the convenient and pretty rings were used in this age old technique of the skillet cake.
It's time to bring back this classic dessert - in mini form!
Perfect size for snacking or on your holiday table.

This holiday season, Dole Packaged Foods, LLC will be part of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.  Dole Packaged Food's float, "Soaring Over Paradise" explores the world's rain forests.  The float includes four waterfalls, a zip line that travels through the rain forest canopy and a flock of Macaws that appear to take flight over the floral gardens.  Featured thoughout the float are Dole's non-GMO fruits, including bananas, pineapples, strawberries and mangoes.  It's a celebration more than a century old - a festival of flowers, music and sports unequaled anywhere else in the world.  It's America's New Year Celebration!   

Dole Packaged Foods ‘Live on Green’ Food Blogger Blast Party 2016 Rose Parade

We are so excited to be part of the food blogger blast!  Alice Phillips of What's for Dinner - Ally's Kitchen will demonstrate this recipe and several others at the Dole Bistro where she'll be cooking "live on green" December 29 and 30th as part of the parade.  Dole recipes are easy there are so many delicious ideas for the holidays or anytime.


2 cans (20 oz. each) Dole Pineapple Slices
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 package (18.25 oz.) yellow or pineapple flavored cake mix
Maraschino cherries


Drain pineapple; reserve juice
Stir together melted butter and brown sugar.
Evenly divide sugar mixture into 18 muffin cups.
Press well drained pineapple into sugar mixture.  Place cherries in center of pineapple.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, replacing water with reserved pineapple juice.
Pour 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes (Important!)
Invert onto cooling rack.
Drizzle with any left over brown sugar syrup left in muffin tins.

Be sure to watch the parade and look for Ally and our recipes!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Spicy Buffalo Ranch Wingettes with Moore's Marinades

Moore's Marinades combines two favorite flavors into one!  Buffalo and Ranch!  
Making Buffalo wings couldn't be easier.  This wing sauce is mildly spiced, so I kicked it up by adding some dry Ranch Dip Mix and chili powder.  Use the marinade as is if the kids like it mild.
Either way, they are full of flavor!


12 chicken wingettes
1 cup Moore's Creamy Ranch Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 packet Ranch Dip, Dressing & Recipe Mix
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper


In a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, combine the wings and Moore's Cream Ranch Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Seal bag and toss to coat evenly.  Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place chicken on a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of Ranch Dip Mix and Chili Powder, salt and pepper.
Bake, uncovered 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown, turning half way through cooking time.
For some extra spice, add a few dashes of hot sauce on the hot wings.
Mix Ranch Dip mix according to package directions.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.

For more recipe ideas visit:

 I'm required to disclose a relationship between my blog and Moore's Marinades. This could include Moore's providing me w/ content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Marie Callender's Sweet Momements - Dutch Apple Pie & Holiday Sweepstakes!

"In the childhood memories of every cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, an apple pie and a mom."
With the holidays quickly approaching, it's time to start thinking and planning meals for the upcoming get-togethers with family and friends.  It seems that everyone is so busy these days, that sometimes holidays are the only times to bring everyone together for a delicious meal and spend some quality time together.
We all have many fond memories spent together with family.  It doesn't get much better than families gathering together around a big table, laughing over old stories, enjoying good times, hilarious tales of cooking misadventures and savoring nostalgic memories and the twinge of sadness for that special person who can no longer sit with us.
Meal planning and preparation can be exhausting for a large crowd, but when you begin to smell the familiar aromas coming from the kitchen, you are attached to the smells and tastes and sounds of those special days.
Apple pie baking has to be one of my favorite food memories that embrace the best of times.  We had an apple tree in our back yard and all of us would sit for hours (it seemed) peeling apples for pies.  Marie Callender's delivers homemade quality pies without compromise. Their special signature touches give you one less thing to think about when serving dessert at any gathering or special occasion.  The desserts take the stress out of preparing the sweet ending to your meal.
Marie Callender's Dutch Apple Pie is made with 100% Fuji apples, a made from scratch crust, and a brown sugar streusel topping that is baked to perfection.
As much as I love cakes, I have to admit that I prefer a piece of pie over cake any day.  There is just something about a perfectly flaky, buttery crust filled with cinnamon-spiked apple goodness that makes everything else right in the world.  And then, when you serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream......
Get that nostalgic and sentimental feels and savor every precious, sweet moment with
Marie Callender's Desserts.
Visit Marie Callender's on Facebook and Pinterest
What does the scent of fresh baked apple pie remind you of? 
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cran-Raspberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is here!   I know it's really not good to try a new recipe when your family is craving all the traditional dishes, but this relish is worth a try.    


1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries, picked over
1 (10 oz.) package frozen raspberries in light syrup, thawed
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar plus 1 Tablespoon
3/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail

Put all of the ingredients in a sauce pot; bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer until desired consistency, about 30-40 minutes.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Apple-Butternut Harvest Soup

Sweet Butternut Squash and tart Granny Smith apples are combined with a touch of ginger and nutmeg for this festive Autumn soup.  It's great by itself, or serve as a first course for a sit-down meal.  I've lightened up the soup by using fat-free half & half, but it is every bit as delicious!
Just enough to slightly curb everyone's appetite until the meal is on the table.
Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A and has no trans fat.  It's a staple for so many delicious fall recipes.


3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or Smart Balance Dairy-Free Butter)
3/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 lbs. butternut squash cubed, or 1 (20 oz. pkg) frozen
1 Granny Smith Apple peeled and cubed plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup fat-free half & half
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock


Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, celery and carrot and cook another 5 minutes.  Add butternut squash, apple, ginger, nutmeg and chicken stock.  Simmer, partially covered on low until vegetables are tender; 30 to 45 minutes. Turn off heat.  Add half & half.  Transfer hot soup to a blender and blend until smooth.  (Leave the blender lid open and cover with a towel!)

To serve, gently warm soup.  Divide into bowls and garnish with Granny Smith apple matchsticks and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The easiest way to peel Butternut Squash
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 mins.
Cook Time: 45 mins.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookie

One of my family's favorite cookie is an Oatmeal Craisin cookie from the recipe under the top of the container of oatmeal.  I've made them so many times, I know the recipe by heart - but they are not very heart-healthy.  I will be adding some Heart Healthy recipes to the blog for anyone who wants to lower cholestrol and fat naturally.

These cookies are a delicious grab-and-go treat.  They are low in fat and high in protein and fiber and make the perfect choice to grab something on the run.  This recipe makes 9 large cookies and one is plenty for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  I'm giving you a basic recipe - the rest is up to you!  You can add ground flax seed, chia seeds, raisins, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds or dried apples!  Whatever your family likes!

I freeze these in sandwich size zip-lock bags and either take one out the night before or in the morning if I want one for an afternoon snack.  You won't miss the butter or the oil!

Non-stick cooking spray or parchment paper
1 large banana, mashed
1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter (I used Smucker's Natural)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup Craisins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly coat two cookies sheets with cooking spray (or use parchment paper); set aside.  In a medium bowl, stir together banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla.  In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined.  Stir in dried cranberries.

Drop a 1/4 cup mound of dough 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Flatten and spread each mound into a 3" round.  Once baked, cookies will spread to about 4 inches.

Bake, one sheet at a time for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freezer for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pastina for One

This dish has to fall in to the category of Comfort Food Favorites.
Sometimes it's the only thing that will do when you are feeling sad or tired or just stressed out a little and need some comfort.  
You could also go back to some fond memories of childhood if you had this growing up.

Simply, pastina, butter and cheese and your favorite bowl and spoon.
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Pastina
Grated Cheese
Unsalted butter

Bring chicken broth to a boil over medium heat.  Add pastina and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the chicken broth is absorbed, 5-6 minutes.  Fill up your favorite bowl.  Top with a pat of butter, parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

So go ahead, make your self a bowl.  
You'll feel better!

Another comfort food favorite are my sister's meatballs!

Barb's Melt in your Mouth Meatballs with Gravy

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Monster Cupcakes #HalloweenFLIPZ

Halloween is so much fun for everyone!  Even if you don't get dressed up this year, dress up your Halloween cupcakes with Flipz!

Sweet and salty chocolate covered pretzels add a great crunch to holiday cupcakes.
Choose your favorite cake mix, frosting and sprinkles.  Grab some Halloween cupcake liners and picks and some Flipz!  Use the frosting to "glue" on some spooky eyes and  you have created a monster!
For more ideas visit Halloween for a chance to 
Learn more about Flipz!
Follow Flipz on Instagram!
Like Flipz on Facebook!
Disclosure:  received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 here!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Very Veggie Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

Trying to lower your cholesterol?  High cholesterol doesn't have any symptoms, so you won't know you have it unless you get tested.

Trying to make changes to your diet can be difficult, but lifestyle changes may help your cholesterol and improve your health overall.

With all the side affects that medication has these days, I would rather change my diet.
This is a delicious breakfast sandwich that will keep you full the entire morning!

1 tsp. Smart Balance dairy-free butter
1 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 Tbsp. chopped green or red pepper
1/3 cup Organic Valley egg whites
1 thin slice mild cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
1 Honey Wheat Sandwich Thins

In a small saute pan, melt Smart Balance.  Add onion and pepper and saute until softened.  Add egg whites and salt and pepper.  Stir egg white until set.  Top with cheddar cheese.  While cheese is melting, slice 1/2 avocado and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Add egg whites with cheese to sandwich bread and top with sliced avocado.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Barb's Melt-in-your-Mouth Meatballs with Onion Gravy

My sister gets full credit for this recipe.  She didn't feel like making meatloaf one night, and decided to make meatballs instead.  Wallah! (Her exact words).  These meatballs are so tender and moist - that they DO melt in your mouth.  Simmering in the flavorful onion gravy is the trick.  Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles for a delicious Fall dinner.
A Classic Comfort Food Favorite!

Barb's Melt-in-your-Mouth Meatballs

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

For the Gravy:

1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
2 heaping Tbsp. flour
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tsp. Gravy Master (optional)


In a large saute pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Combine ingredients for meatballs and mix by hand until combined.  Form meatballs (about the size of a golf ball) and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Remove meatballs from skillet.  

Add onions and garlic to drippings and saute until onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add flour to onion mixture and stir to combine with onions.  Cook until flour begins to brown slightly, about 2-3 minutes.  Add beef broth and Gravy Master.  Bring to a simmer until gravy begins to thicken.  Add meatballs to the pan, cover and simmer on low 25-30 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

~Barb's Creation

Monday, October 5, 2015

French Toast Mug

This French Toast could not be easier!  Perfect for a quick break fast for one.  Make your mug the night before and have it ready for the morning for a nice, warm, quick breakfast.
French Toast Mug

2 slices bread, cubed
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. milk
Pinch of salt

Rub softened butter inside bottom and sides of mug.  Add egg, cinnamon, vanilla, milk and salt and whisk with a fork.  Add bread cubes and let sit for 1-2 minutes for bread to absorb milk mixture.  Microwave on HIGH for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until center is set.  Serve warm with fresh fruit, maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Roasted Beef Bone Broth

There is nothing like a homemade broth.  Store bought simply can't compare.  It is richer and more flavorful and adds lip-smacking goodness to soups, sauces and gravies.  You know when you have a big pot of homemade soup on the stove, it's comforting and a nourishing meal for your family.
Bone broth is typically made with bones and contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones.  Bones are roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth.  

Bone broths are rich in protein, minerals and rich in gelatin which may support skin health.  Gelatin also supports digestive health.  

Bone broths are also inexpensive to make.  Using the bones from leftover roast chicken or turkey with some veggies, you can make quarts of stock for pennies!  If you have a pressure cooker, you 
can cut the cooking time in half.

Roast Beef Bone Broth
4 lbs. beef marrow bones (shank and marrow)
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion coarsely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch parsley 
1 bay leave
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Drizzle bones with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.  Cut carrots, celery and onion roughly into 3" pieces.  Add to pan along with the garlic cloves.  Roast an additional 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time or until bones and veggies and browned and caramelized.

At this point, your kitchen smells like you are roasting a Prime Rib Roast!

Transfer to a large stock pot and add cold water to cover (about 3 quarts).  Add 1/2 cup water and scrape up browned bit from roasting pan - Get every bit!  Add liquid to pot.  Add parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3-4 hours, skimming foam and fat from surface and add additional water if needed to keep bones covered.  Strain and cool.

Use Bone Broth for:

French Onion Soup
Make-Ahead Golden Turkey Stock
Next Day Turkey Soup with Crispy Stuffing Croutons
V-8 Vegetable Soup

Can be made 2 days ahead or frozen for 3 months.
Makes 3 qts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fruit & Nut Trail Mix

Packaged trail mix can be very expensive.  Make it yourself at less than half the cost!  Customize your trail mix!  Choose from nuts, dried fruits, sweets and seeds.  We all love snacking on this sweet and salty combination.  There are endless possibilities!  Add your favorite cereal, cheddar cheese crackers, cashews, almonds - whatever your heart desires!
1 16 oz. jar dry roasted salted peanuts
1 5 oz. bag craisins
1 8 oz. bag banana chips
1 12 oz. bag pineapple tidbits
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Store in glass jar or covered container.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Breakfast Burrito #backtoschoolbreakfast

One of the most common symbols in the lives of all moms is the need to feed our families.  Packaged foods and take-out are ruining our health and it's hard to fight to keep your kids from turning to those quick microwave meals when you don't have the time to prepare something.  Weeknight dinners are one thing - then there are lunches and most important - breakfast. 

  This is a simple mom/family friendly recipe that can be make in advance.  When your kids help prepare something, they are more likely to try it.  Kids can crack the eggs and stir them up for you.  It's a great cooking lesson! Don't hesitate to come up with your own combinations to best suit your family's taste.  When the mornings are hectic - pop a freshly made Breakfast Burrito into the microwave and feel good about feeding your family something fresh and nourishing.


2 tsp. canola oil
1 12 oz. package @Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage
1 cup frozen hash browns with peppers and onions
8 large eggs
Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper
4 taco size flour torilllas

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage links.  Cook for 12-16 minutes or until cooked through and browned, turning often.

Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.  Add the hash browns to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, about 8-10 minutes.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce (optional).  Pour the eggs over the potatoes and cook, stirring until the eggs are fluffy and just set.  Remove from the skillet and keep warm.

Wipe out the skillet and return it to the heat.  Warm the torillas one at a time in the skillet.  Build the burrito by layering the egg mixture, sausage and a sprinkle of cheese.  Fold up the two sides and roll up tightly.


Wrap burrito in paper towel and then in foil.  Freeze in zip-top bag, label and freeze.


Remove foil.  Place burrito with paper towel on a microwave safe plate and heat on HIGH for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, or until heated through.

Makes 4 Breakfast Burritos
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Avocado Deviled Eggs

These avocado deviled eggs are a great cocktail party appetizer.  Give deviled eggs some unexpected flavor with fresh avocado instead of mayo.  If you are not a fan of cilantro, simple swap with fresh parsley.  These would also be delicious topped with crispy, crumbled bacon!
1 ripe avocado
6 hard boiled eggs
1 tsp. cilantro
3 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Vidalia onion
1 Tbsp. pickled jalapenos
Salt and Pepper
Paprika or Chili Powder for garnish
Cholula Hot Sauce (optional)

Mash avocado with 3 egg yolks.  Reserve remaining 3 yolks for another use. You can make this mixture chunky or smooth.   Finely chop cilantro, onion and pickled jalapenos. 

Mix cilantro, lime juice, onion and pickled jalapenos into egg and avocado mixture.  Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Garnish with additional chopped pickles jalapeno if desired and a sprinkling of paprika or chili powder.

Add a dash of hot sauce to spice them up!

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...