Friday, October 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Five Bean Casserole

We are going tailgating this weekend. It is Homecoming at my Alma Mater, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL, Go Huskies!  We haven't been tailgating in a few years.  My college friend is coming from Pennsylvania, and I'm excited.

There is something about tailgating in the Fall, in the crisp air with changing leaves, and lots of yummy food, and football.  It is so invigorating, and the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Our menu is pretty simple,  starting with Scott's Chili, using the 5 Bean Casserole.  We made the Slow Cooker 5 bean Casserole for Scott's 75th Birthday party, and froze the leftovers.  We had doubled the recipe, and lots of lefovers. The casserole is always a hit.  We are also having leftovers from the Crock Pot BBQ Beer Chicken, from Scott's Party, as well, Hummus, and Pita Chips, Chips and Salsa, Brownies, Peanut Butter Oatmeal MM Cookies, and Hot cider.  I can't wait!!

Slow Cooker dishes work well for tailgating, or when you are cooking for a crowd, because they not only can hold a large recipe, but they can keep the dish warm for a long time, even if not plugged in. This Five Bean Casserole turns out so well made in a slow cooker, and could go tailgating as well. Even the leftovers can be added to Scott's Chili recipe, and make it even better.  Happy Tailgating! Go Huskies!

Slow Cooker Five Bean Casserole


·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         1 green pepper, chopped
·         2 Tbsp olive oil
·         2C. BBQ sauce used Sweet Baby Ray’s
·         1/2 bottle  beer
·         1 (15 ounce) can butter beans drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can black drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can pinto, drained and rinsed
·         1 (28 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed


1.      Saute onion and green pepper in olive oil until soft.

2.      In a slow cooker combine the onion-green pepper mix and all of the beans.  Stir in beer and BBQ sauce, until well combined.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or 4-6 on high.

Cooks Tip: Because we are on a low sodium, low fat diet, I try to buy the low sodium, vegetarian beans, whenever possible.  To lower the sodium of this dish, I drain and rinse all of the beans. 

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #139

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms

Last week had to be the week from Hell for me.  What a week!  Had to get a new compressor tank for our pump for our well, something  went wrong with our phone lines, and my 3 yr old HP 5510 Photosmart printer, out, of warranty, is not printing black GRRR!.  When things go wrong, life suddenly becomes very stressful. The older I get, the harder time I have dealing with stress.  When I am stressed, I want comfort food!

 Besides oatmeal, meatloaf is my favorite comfort food.  Since it is Fall my favorite squash is Acorn Squash, and nothing pairs better with meatloaf than Acorn squash.  Don't give me any of those mashed potatoes with my meatloaf, give me Acorn Squash,  sweet, luscious, golden squash. I'm in heaven now!  I switched things up a bit this time with the meatloaf.   I added a couple of tablespoons of BBQ sauce to give the meatloaf a little zip. Then I  stuffed the meatloaf with sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms, and grated cheddar cheese.  And I topped the meatloaf with more grated cheese the last few minutes of baking, Cheesy Meatloaf heaven.  

I usually bake chopped apples with Acorn Squah, but I forgot theis time.  I love the cinnamon apples with the squash.  I will definitly be adding the apples to my next Acorn Squash. By the way the drama of last week has eased, and things are somewhat "normal" again.  We got our compression tank replaced the same day, and the short in our phone wire has been fixed.  The only thing that still isn't working is my printer.  I can print in color, just not black.   "My glass is now half full." Enjoy!

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms


  • 1 lb of ground turkey, I used 93/7
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  •  6 oz low sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite BBQ Sauce, I used Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • 1/2-1 cup oatmeal, uncooked  I used rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup grated cheese, divided in half (I used 2% milk cheese)
  • 1Tbsp, fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp, dried
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp dried

1. Combine ground turkey and egg in large bowl, and 1 tbsp of basil and oregano, and  mix until well combined. 
2. Add 6 oz tomato sauce amd BBQ sauce until well mixed
3. Stir in oatmeal until desired consistency.
4. Pat half of meatloaf mixture into a 9 x 5 baking pan**, sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Add the layer chopped mushrooms to meatloaf in pan.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese over the mushrooms
7. Pat remaining meatloaf mix over the mushrooms and cheese
8. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour-1 hr 15 min, 165 degrees on the meat thermometer or until juices are clear. Sprnkle remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese over top of meatloaf, and bake 2 ninutes longer, until cheese is melted.

9. Cool on rack for 10 min, before serving, Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #139

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake

Fall is finally getting here.  I still have a lot more apples, and that means more apple recipes, Yay! I love apples in baking, oatmeal, salads, main dishes, and desserts, and more.  When I saw Carla Hall's Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake on "The Chew", I knew that I would be making it soon. The cake is made from scratch.  You could also use a boxed spice cake mix to make this dessert even easier. I had never made cake in a slow cooker. let alone a spice cake. The cake is a cross between bread pudding and pudding cake, very moist and rich with all of the spice flavors, topped with cinnamony apples, which mix into appley cake.  Your kitchen will smell so good. Just scoop it out  when done, put it in a bowl, and enjoy!  I do have several things to watch on making the slow cooker cake, however.

The first one is to thoroughly grease with butter and dust the inside of the slow cooker with flour.  Be sure to shake out the excess flour. Do not skip this step. Also, I didn't have any molasses, so I used half honey and half maple syrup.  The spices in the cake are strong, so you can adjust the spices and strength to your family preferences.  I used part Gala and Zestar apples, for the topping, which cooks on top of the cake batter, making for an easy all in one cake, no mixer needed.

After preparing the slow cooker with butter and flour, you make the apple topping and set aside.  then you mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Next, the the dry ingredients are whisked in a separate bowl. Combine the  dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well, with a smooth batter.  Pour batter into prepared slow cooker, and top with apple topping. Cover cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, or until middle of cake is set. Be sure to watch the cake, and don't let the edges get too brown.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!  


Butter (for greasing)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Molasses ( I used part  Maple syrup, part honey)
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 large Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups AP Flour (plus extra)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Allspice
1 Lemon (zest)
1 Pinch Salt

Apple Topping
3 Granny Smith Apples (peeled, diced)  I used part Gala, and part Zestar )
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons AP Flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Lemon (juice)
2 tablespoons Butter (cut into cubes)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (chilled) optional

 Prepare inside of slow cooker by greasing with Butter and dusting with Flour. Shake out   excess Flour.

Prepare the Apple Topping in a large bowl. Combine Apples, Brown Sugar, Flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Lemon Juice. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together Sugar, Oil, Molasses, Eggs, and Vanilla until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, Lemon Zest and Salt until well combined and there are no lumps. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined and a smooth batter has formed. Pour directly into prepared slow cooker. Pour prepared Apple Topping on top of the cake batter. Top with cubes of Butter.

Cover and and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, until the middle has set. (When a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, it is done.)

Serve warm and drizzle with a little cold cream over the top. Or, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #138  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oatmeal Apple Cookies with Dried Cranberries and Cider Glaze

 I can finally get to some Fall Baking, now that Scott's Party is over, and I have more time to bake I have appples and cider calling my name. I love making cookies with rolled oats, which amp up the nutrtion and chew factor.  Add in chopped apples and dried cranberries  dressed up with a Cider Glaze, and you have a a soft, chewy cookie that screams and tastes of Fall. These cookies are good by themselves,  even if you don't want to put a glaze on them, You can make these to fill up your cookie jar, and your cookie monsters will thank you.

 These cookies keep in covered container for awhile, if you have any left.  I have always had trouble with my oatmeal cookies spreading too much, until I started refrigerating the dough for several hours, or even overnight,  Also, lining your baking sheets with parchment paper, and using a cookie scoop, helps as well. Now, I don't get alien shaped cookies, but cookies that are somewhat round.  Do you refrigerate your cookie dough before baking?  These are just a few of my cookie baking tips.  No matter how your cookies are shaped, they will taste soo good.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Apple Cookies with Dried Cranberries and Apple Cider Glaze

 Adapted from Quaker Oats

·        1/2 C (1 stick) butter, plus 6 Tbsp
·        1 C firmly Packed Brown Sugar
·        1/2 C Granulated Sugar
·        2 Eggs
·        1 tsp Vanilla
·        1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
·        1 Tsp Baking Soda
·        1 Tsp Cinnamon
·        1/2 Tsp Salt (optional)
·        3 C Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned, uncooked)
·        1 C Dried Cranberries
·        1 C finely chopped apples- I used Zestar apples

1.                 Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.                 Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.
3.                 Add eggs, and vanilla; beat well.
4.                 Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
5.                 Stir in oats and chopped apples, dried cranberries mix well.
6.                 Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
7.                 Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
8.                 Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire ra
9.                 Glaze cookies with Apple Cider glaze when completely cool.

Apple Cider Glaze
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp apple cider, or more

Combine powdered sugar and apple cider, until desired consistency

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #138  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd Filling for Scott's 75th Birthday

Hello!  I know that I have been MIA for awhile, but I was busy planning Scott's 75th Birthday Party, which was last week. ( I am not good at multi-tasking)  Whew!  What a job!  I've been planning the party for two months.  I wanted to do as much as I could ahead of time. There were still so many last minute details, and I was making all of the food, except for the appetizers that some of my friends brought, a daunting task for sure!  We were planning between 30-40 people, and outside would be perfect on our large patio and yard.  I apologize for lack of pics.  I was too busy to take pics, so my son was supposed to take pics, but I haven't gotten them from him yet. He didn't take that many.

 Here in the Midwest you can't count on the weather for sure, and in the Fall the bees go crazy, attacking people.   As it turned out showers were forecasted for the 20th, so we had an inside party.  After the showers stopped the sun came out, and then some people ventured outside.  All in all. it was a wonderful party with bountiful food and Cake, lots of Cake, including the Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd Filling.  I had ordered a Costco half a sheet cake with Vanilla Mousse Cake. For those of you who go to Costco, you know all about the decorated cakes for $17.99, Amazing!  the birthday boy also wanted a Lemon cake, his fav, too.  I apologize for lack of pics.  I was too busy to take pics, so my son was supposed to take pics, but I haven't gotten them from him yet. He didn't take that many.  Luckily I got pics of the Lemon Cake.

This Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd Filling was amazing, and the Birthday Boy was elated. The cake is bursting with lemon flavor from the sour cream batter and Lemon Curd Filling to the Lemon Frosting.  The  lemony cake is moist and dense.  This cake is a must for any Lemon Lover.
My neighbor watns me to bring the cake to our annual neighborhood Hallowwen party, will do. We also had Chocolate Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting with Peanut Butter Cups for my DIL, Cherise's birthday, which was 9/18, the day after Scott's. We also had mini bar cookies, that Cherise's Grandma made, so good. Lots of cake and cookies. Don't worry besides the cake we had, a full menu.

We had appetizers and drinks first.  Then the buffet had  BBQ Beer Pulled Chicken, Scott's 5 Bean Casserole in Crockpot, Red Potato Salad,  Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Creamy Cole Slaw, Broccoli Salad, and Fruit Salad, in addition to the  desserts. A good time was had by all.

 Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd Filling  Adapted from A Baker’s House
Adapted from Cooking Light recipe
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon curd (store bought or homemade) for the batter and 1/4 cup lemon curd for the filling
1/4 cup lemon juice plus 1 TB lemon juice for glaze
8 ounces sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray Bundt pan with baking spray and dust with flour.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a fork or whisk.
Using a mixer (hand held or stand mixer) beat the butter for 2-3 minutes, until it lightens in color and texture. Slowly add the sugar, then the eggs, Next add the lemon zest, lemon curd and lemon juice. Blend well.

Add the flour mixture and the sour cream in stages, alternating and mixing at low speed as you go. 

The batter will be thick. Put half of the batter into the pan and spread it around with a spatula. You can spoon the lemon curd filling around the batter but I like putting it in a ziploc bag, cutting the corner off and piping the filling around in the center of the batter. Avoid the edges so that the curd stays within the cake.

Bake for 1 hour, add an extra ten minutes if necessary.
Cool for ten minutes in the pan then invert the pan and remove the cake. Once the cake is cooled.

Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
2 C sifted powder sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/4 C fresh lemon juice and lemon zest

Beat butter with mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, and lemon juice and beat until desired consistency.   
Garnish with Lemon zest on top of frosted cake, if desired.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #137  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Rice Chex Cookies

 Late August and early September signals the time for your kiddos to go back to school.  Here in Illinois, most schools have been in session for a week or two. Now Mothers and Fathers are now scrambling to fill their kiddos lunchboxes with healthy options. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Rice Chex Cookies will certainly be a healthier option than Oreos, for example. I wish that I had this recipe, when my kiddos were growing up.

Whew! I know that Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Rice Chex Cookies is a long title, but these cookies are so good and deserve each ingredient in them.  They are sturdy, with healthy ingredients like peanut butter, oatmeal, and Rice Chex with dark chocolate.  These are the perfect cookies for your kiddos lunchbox and are great for dunking in milk.  Even adults like them, as my neighbor Tom, says that these are now his favorite cookie.  Thanks, Tom for the endorsement! And of course my "Cookie Monster", a.k.a. Scott loves these, too.  I'll chime in too, because there are more gluten free ingredients in the cookies, than the flour, and I could eat the whole batch.  I always try to give some of the  baked goods away, much to the dismay of my Cookie Monster.

What kinds of treats do you put in your kiddos lunchbox?  Cookies, granola bars, fruit?  This recipe is is very adaptable, and you can swap out various ingredients according to your family preferences or needs.  Various nut butters, or even Sunflower butter may be swapped out for the peanut, butter, and if your family doesn't like Dark Chocolate, use milk or semi sweet chips. Different types of cereal can be switched for the Rice Che cereal as well.  Whatever ingredients you add, these cookies are amazing, and you and your kiddos, or your neighbors won't be disappointed.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Rice Chex Cookies
Inspired by  Will Cook for Smiles
Yield: 24
  • 1/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of  dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup rice, wheat, or corn Chex

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with Beat butter and dark brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. It will probably take a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the peanut butter and beat on lower speed until all incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs, one at the time, beating until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract as well.
  4. On low speed, sift in the flour, baking soda and salt, mix until all incorporated.
  5. Add the old fashioned oats and mix it on low speed as well, until just combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips and rice chex
  7. Scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet, shape the cookies and bake for 9 minutes.
  8. Let rest on cookies sheet for several minutes.  Remove to rack to cool.
I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #134  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Southwestern Crostini

I am having a love hate- relationship with my computer at the moment. I'm sure that many of you can identify with me, right?  You know, one minute your computer is running fine, no problems, and Bingo, you have a hard disk error message , or something else affecting the health of your computer. That's where I am now. My Toshiba laptop is three years old, and everybody says just to get a new one, but I don't have the money for a new one right now  Scott and I have a good  friend that can replace the hard disk drive, and that is the way that I'm going. I have already backed up my files on the external hard drive.  Enough of this techie stuff for now,  on to the Southwestern Crostini, but I will keep you posted on ths state of my computer.  I may disappear for a few days, while my computer is being fixed.

Here in the Midwest, our window to purchase local produce is very small.  You have to take advantage of the local fruits and vegetables at almost every meal.  I have had several BLT's this week already. There is nothing like garden tomatoes and sweet corn, so I combined them in this Southwestern Crostini.  The Crostini  has fresh garlic gloves spread on the warm toasted bread, then add the fresh chopped garden tomatoes and sweet corn, mixed with a little cumin and olive oil, topped with Mexican cheese and sprinkled with a combination of fresh garden Basil and Mint.  Maybe this is really Fusion? Bruscetta? Whatever you call it, the flavors are wonderful, garlicky toast, earthy cumin, and the bright combo of Basil and Mint, all combined with the fresh tomatoes and corn.  I could eat these all day long! These Southwestern Crostini  would be a welcome addition to your Labor Day cookouts. Enjoy!

Southwestern Crostini- Serves 12

·                     2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
·                     2-3 whole cloves Garlic
·                     2-3 large garden tomatoes, diced or 1 pint Red Grape Tomatoes, halved   
·                     1/2-3/4 cup cooked sweet corn, cut off the cob
·                     1 tsp cumin
·                     1 whole Baguette, sliced 3/4” slices, and toasted
·                     1/2 cup Mexican Cheese blend, grated
·                     16 whole fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
·                     10 fresh mint leaves, rough chop
Add tomatoes and sweet corn, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and cumin in a bowl.Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if you have the time.

Cut the baguette into diagonal slices to allow for the most surface area possible.. Toast slices in toaster oven or a regular oven at 425 F for 5-6 minutes. After toasting, immediately rub bread with fresh garlic cloves. 

 To serve, give the tomato- corn mixture a final stir, the spoon generously over the slices of bread.  Sprinkle with Mexican Cheese. Top with Basil- Mint mix. Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #134  

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