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Praline Biscuits

Praline BiscuitsBring your family to the breakfast table with these marvelous praline biscuits!

1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
36 pecan halves
Cinnamon to taste
2 cups all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup milk

1. In each of 12 greased muffin cups, arrange 1 piece of butter or margarine, 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar and 3 of the pecan halves. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Place in a 400 degree F oven just until the butter and sugar melt.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the baking mix, applesauce and milk; stir 20 strokes. Drop mixture by spoonfuls over the butter mixture in the prepared muffin cups.

3. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Makes 12 biscuits.



I Miss My Pretty Birds

I had a rather upsetting start to my day this morning. While enjoying my first cup of coffee, I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a starlings on feederhorde of starlings (I call them black birds), swarming all over my bird feeder! Now, I don’t mind if they eat some seeds and suet too. After all, they get hungry just like everything else does. But do they have to eat it ALL and share nothing with their fellow birds? And to add insult to injury, they fight and squabble until they drive away all the beautiful birds I have so patiently worked to attract to my feeder; cardinals, finches and various woodpeckers, to name a few.

I first started bird feeding when my son Jason, his wife Christy and my granddaughter Portia gave me several different feeders and lots of seeds and suet for Mother’s Day last year. They even provided a color coded book detailing all the different birds common to the area where I live. It was so exciting and enjoyable to watch the various birds that came to feed. I was really having fun!

Then one morning after we had an ice storm followed by a couple inches of snow, the starlings discovered my feeder! They didn’t just eat; they devoured every single morsel, leaving nothing for the cardinals, woodpeckers or other pretty birds that would normally come to feed.

Needless to say, I was extremely upset. I even threatened to buy a pellet rifle and shoot them all!! I wouldn’t really; that was just anger talking. Besides, Jason, Christy and Portia are such nature enthusiasts, they would probably disown me for harming any of God’s creatures no matter how annoying they are!

Well, now I can’t get rid of the annoying starlings. The woodpeckers have all but disappeared. An occasional cardinal or other small bird will come to grab what they can from the ground under my feeder before the starlings chase them away. My bird feeding experience has lost it’s sparkle!

I really miss all the pretty birds and am looking for a solution to this problem. Jason has given me some suggestions to try and I am going to get started implementing them ASAP. I sure hope they work. If any of you readers have any helpful suggestions for getting rid of these annoying birds, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share them with me. I do so much want my pretty birds back!



Cheddar Chili Tots

cheddar-chili-totsSink your teeth into this hearty all-in-one dish for a real taste treat; not just once, but twice!!

1 pound lean ground beef
2 (15 oz) cans chili with beans
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (2-1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese,divided
1 (32 oz) package frozen Tater Tots

1. Cook the beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Add the chili, tomato sauce, olives, chilies and chili powder; stir to combine. Divide mixture evenly between two greased 8-inch square baking dishes.

2. Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese; top each with 1/2 of the Tater Tots. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months.

3. Bake the remaining casserole, covered, at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To use frozen casserole; remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until heated through. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Each casserole makes 6 servings.



Cheesy Hominy Casserole

Cheesy Hominy CasseroleLooking for an economical dinner to satisfy your hungry family? This tasty and filling casserole is just the thing! Makes a great breakfast too!

1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 (15-1/2 oz) can white hominy, drained
12 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces process cheese spread (Velveeta), sliced

1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet, drain and crumble; return to skillet. Add hominy; stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Stir into hominy mixture; cook until eggs are set, stirring frequently.

3. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish; top with cheese slices. Place under broiler until the cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.



Blue Cheese Stuffed Eggs

Blue Cheese Dressed EggsThese are not your ordinary stuffed eggs. Blue cheese and a touch of red pepper give them a uniquely different appeal.

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl; set whites aside.

2. Add the blue cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper and celery seed to the egg yolks. Stir together until well blended.

3. Stuff mixture into egg whites. Place stuffed eggs on a serving dish; sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen.



Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp GumboHot Italian sausage, shrimp and spicy seasonings give this gumbo a unique and satisfying flavor!

8 ounces bulk hot Italian sausage
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced celery
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (14-1/2 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound frozen uncooked medium shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
1 cup instant white or brown  rice

1. In a 4 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, cook sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until sausage is brown, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon; drain and return to Dutch oven.

2. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, paprika, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the shrimp; cook, covered, for 4 minutes longer, until the shrimp is opaque. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Makes 6 servings.



Deveining Shrimp

shrimpTo devein shrimp means to remove the black vein running down the back of the shrimp. To do this, make a shallow slit with a sharp knife along the back from the head area to the tail. Rinse shrimp under cold water to remove the vein.



Italian Beef Soup

Italian Beef SoupA rich, hearty and flavorful soup that’s quick, easy and ready to serve your hungry family in just minutes!

1 pound lean ground beef
2 (14 oz) cans beef broth
1 (16 oz) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (14-1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/2 cups tomato juice
1 cup dried rotini pasta
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the beef; drain well. Return beef to Dutch oven. Stir in the beef broth, mixed vegetables, undrained tomatoes, tomato juice, pasta, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 to 8 servings.