Southern Baked Beans

Southern Baked Beans; Paula Deen

This recipe is from Paula Deen and it is sooooo good!!!    (and no, this is NOT a low fat recipe, LOL!)
1/2 pound bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 16 ounce can pork and beans
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
5 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons ketchup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a skillet fry bacon until crispy and crumble.  In the same pan using the bacon drippings, saute the onion until brown.  Mix bacon, onion and drippings with the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a baking dish and bake covered for 45-60 minutes.  
Yield:  4 servings

Frog in the Ditch – An Americanized Version of Toad in the Hole

*originally published in my cooking blog “One Bite at a Time: From My Kitchen to Yours”

When I first published this recipe my dear Mother In Law, Margaret, was still alive and well and happy.  Sadly, we lost Margaret six years ago to cancer.  This blog post is dedicated to her memory.  We still love and miss her so! 

toad in the hole

I love British food and having a British husband has opened all kinds of new food experiences and recipes to me!  My mother in law is quite possibly THE best cook in the world, when we visit England I live for her home cooked meals.  She makes an awesome Toad in the Hole, which, if you are not familiar with it, is basically sausage in a pastry like batter.  When my husband moved to America he brought some pretty good British cookbooks with him and I’ve had fun trying to replicate the recipes.  NOT an easy task though since American ingredients differ greatly from British ingredients!  Take sausage for instant.  In Britain they have the most wonderful sausage full of flavor.  It has a lighter texture than American sausage (their hot dogs are different as well).  Problem is you can’t find British sausage here, at least not where I live!  And believe me, we have looked!!!  The same with flour.  With American flour you get a tougher, flakier pastry than what you get with British flour, which gives you a softer, more substantial pastry.  This is why the bread you find in British grocery stores is soooo good!  Not the light squidgy stuff we get here.  British bread makes the best toast!  The closest I have been able to find here to British bread is Italian or the specialty bakery bread that costs $$$$.
It’s so disappointing that there is a common misconception that British food is bland and tasteless.  NOTHING could be further from the truth!  Trust me, I am just about THE pickiest eater you will find, and I love pretty much everything I’ve ever had to eat in England.  (exceptions being Branston, Marmite, Christmas pudding and Blood pudding! Ick!)  
So on to the recipe!  The traditional Toad in the Hole, prepared correctly, is delicious but it takes a lot more work and patience than I currently have!  Plus like I said, I don’t have the proper ingredients.  Still, Glen and I have managed to come up with what we think is a suitable substitute to have here in America.  When we visit England we get to have the real thing from Glen’s mom!  This recipe has been adapted by yours truly from Delia’s How to Cook Book One.  Hope you like it!
1 tube of breakfast sausage (I use the mild but it’s up to you)
3/4 cup white flour
1 large egg
3 fl oz. (75 ml) semi skimmed milk (I am guessing this means 2%)
2 fl oz. (55 ml) water
salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced and separated into strips
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 425.  Mold the sausage into links (I usually get 5-6).  Cut your onion.  Mix oil and sugar in a bowl and toss the onion to coat.  I use a small rectangular (glass) baking dish (sorry can’t remember the measurements, smaller than the 9×13).  Spread your onions on bottom of pan, place sausage links inside.  Cook in oven till done, I usually give them 30 minutes just to be sure they are done!  
Now you are ready to mix up the batter.  Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the flour with a large spoon, break the egg into it and add salt and pepper.  (I also had a sprinkle of onion powder).  Whisk the egg into the flour.  Measure your milk and water into a measuring jug and gradually add the liquid, whisking  until smooth.    When your sausages are done, pour the batter over them and return to the oven.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes, be careful or it will burn and you won’t be able to cut it!  
I make a brown gravy to serve over top (usually just the brown gravy packets).  A typical serving is two sausages in the batter.  It may be tough to cut so use a sharp knife (thanks again to American flour!)  Serve with mashed potatoes and for that authentic British twist baked beans on the side!    
Not sure how many this serves, it’s perfect for Glen and I so if you have a bigger family you will want to double the recipe and use a bigger pan.
Now I’m sure there are better American versions of Toad in the Hole out there, I haven’t looked, but this is the one we use and enjoy.  You can use a link sausage if you like, but in our experience it lacks that authentic British flavor.  Feel free to tinker around with your recipes, that’s what makes them fun!!!

Amish Friendship Bread – Minus the Friendship (starter)

*this post was originally published on my cooking blog, One Bite at a Time: From My Kitchen to Yours


Who doesn’t love Amish Friendship Bread, buttttt, you have to admit dealing with the “starter” mix is a bit of a pain! And you just get stuck with it going on and on and on, until you finally throw the stuff out, which always makes me feel a little bit guilty for some reason!

So not to sound “unfriendly” but I went searching for a non-starter Amish Friendship bread recipe and this is what I found. I just made this bread this morning and sampled it a little bit ago….soooo good!!!!! 



3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour


1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding (the smaller ones or 1 large one)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix “starter” ingredients, then add oil, milk, eggs and vanilla, mix well.  In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, vanilla pudding and nuts.  Add dry mixture to the liquid mixture and mix thoroughly.

Pour into two large well greased loaf pans, one bundt pan or 48 muffin tins.  Bake for one hour or until done, muffins will take 30-35 minutes.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese, Recipes

Classic Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Cooking is a form of “crafting” right??  I love to cook and mac and cheese is one of my all time favorite dishes.  This is my oven recipe, I also have a crock pot version but to be honest this is my favorite one.  I originally posted this recipe on a cooking blog I had back in 2010.  I’m reposting it over here for your viewing and cooking pleasure! (My kids LOVE this dish, well, not ALL my kids.  My youngest twin will only eat Kraft mac and cheese from a box and refuses to touch this, but the other two love it!)  


A little back story before I share the recipe.  My version of this recipe is based on the mac and cheese that the Michigan Cafe at the Henry Ford Museum (Greenfield Village) in Dearborn used to serve.  I – loved – that – stuff!  It was soooooo good!  For one thing they used Cellentini pasta which I’d never seen before and I thought that was mega cool.  But the best thing was all the cheese, big gooey, stretchy chunks of sharp cheddar cheese that clung to the swirly pasta.  Oh my gosh, I would go into a food coma!  


Back home I was determined to find a copy cat recipe and quickly started searching for one.  But I couldn’t find one, so I just took an old mac and cheese recipe and gave it a nice Henry Ford Museum twist (ha ha!) and this is what I came up with!  I’m happy to say it tastes just like what I got at the Michigan Cafe.  

That’s the good news.  Now for the bad.

On my last visit to the Michigan Cafe, after years of not visiting, I eagerly ordered up a nice big bowl of that classic mac and cheese.  I could not wait to dive in again and find all that glorious cheese.  Only to find…they changed the recipe!  Apparently the folks at the Michigan Cafe caved to the health food craze (which I think mac and cheese should be exempt from!)  and reworked the recipe and made it taste like….well… like blech!  

Now some people might like it.  It does still have the Cellantini, so that’s a definite plus!  But the ooey gooey stringy cheese chunks are gone, replaced with a soupy kind of white sauce with lots of pepper.  Yuck.  Even my eight year old son, who is a mac and cheese connoisseur, would not touch the stuff.  And my Kraft girl?  You don’t even want to know what her reaction was!  

So that’s my sad mac and cheese story.  You can’t get the good stuff at the Michigan Cafe anymore, so make this instead!  I promise you’ll love it!

The Recipe:


1 8 oz package of cellantani (or macaroni if you prefer) I sometimes add a bit more
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 8 oz block SHARP Cheddar cheese, shredded & divided (I actually shred a little more than 1/2 of the block, then cut the remainder in chunks.
Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain & keep warm. Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook whisking constantly for 5 minutes or until thickened. (It helps to have all your ingredients pre measured so you don’t have to keep stepping away from the stove) Remove from heat. Stir in salt & pepper and 1 cup of the shredded cheese, the chunks of cheese and the cooked pasta.
Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2 qt. baking dish, top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 2-3 main dish or 4-6 side dish servings.

* a lot of the time I double this recipe because it’s so good everyone complains that it’s gone too soon!
I hope you enjoy this classic mac and cheese recipe with a Michigan twist and will give it a try soon!

Dinner is Served!

Good evening everyone!  This is a different kind of post, not a crafty one, but a favorite recipe I wanted to share! My family LOVES this dish, it’s an awesome “comfort food” meal that doesn’t last long in this house.  Even my fifteen year old loves this and she is the pickiest eater ever!


So here is my recipe for Chicken and Dumplings!

First you need some chicken, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, whatever.  What I like to do is to take a couple boneless, skinless chicken breasts and poach them prior to preparing the recipe.  This is super easy to do and you can do this for other recipes as well.

Poaching chicken in the oven:Preheat your oven 375 degrees and place however many chicken breast you are using (for this recipe I do 2) into a glass casserole dish.  Sprinkle the chicken with chicken seasoning, or your favorite seasonings and cover tightly with foil.  Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes.   The chicken will poach in it’s own juices and be perfect!  Let the chicken cool then shred it to use in the recipe.


Chicken and Dumpling Recipe:


shredded chicken

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

2 cans Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can Campbell’s Chicken broth (do not mix with water, use as is)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13 glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray.  Open and unroll crescent rolls one at a time and place about 1 tablespoon of the shredded chicken on the widest part of the “triangle”.  Roll this up to form a little “biscuit” making sure to cover all the chicken with the dough.  Place seam side down in baking dish.  Continue with rest of chicken and rolls.


In a large mixing bowl whisk together the 2 cans of soup and one can of broth.  Pour this mixture over the dumplings, making sure to cover them all.


Place in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until done.  Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles.  Serves 4-6.

Your house will smell wonderful and your tummies will thank you!  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to dig in!!!

Have a great evening!