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Caramel Cheesecake

Caramel CheesecakeThis rich, creamy and delicious dessert is requested often at my house, especially for birthdays instead of the traditional birthday cake.

4 tablespoons melted butter
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs  (at room temperature)

1. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs; blend well. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.

2. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water; stir well. Stir over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Cover and cook until the sugar turns a medium amber color; about 3-1/2 minutes after the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir 30 seconds. Slowly stir in the cream, being careful to avoid splatters. Set aside.

3. Beat the cream cheese and both sugars at medium speed of mixer until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt. Add the eggs one at a time on lowest speed of mixer until incorporated. Pour 2/3 of the batter over the crust in pan. Beat the caramel mixture into the remaining batter; pour over the batter in the pan. Swirl the mixture with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until the edges are firm but the middle still wiggles. Remove from the oven; cool and then chill in refrigerator until set. Makes 16 servings.



Cheesy Potato Casserole

Cheesy Potato CasseroleMy best friend Judi shared this recipe with me and it has become a family favorite.

1 (32 oz) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 (16 oz) carton sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Arrange the thawed hash brown potatoes in bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the potatoes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir into the potato mixture.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. Makes 8 servings.



Smothered Chicken

Smothered-ChickenAnother delicious chicken recipe that’s simple, easy-to-make and incredibly good!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 (10-3/4 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Arrange chicken in bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish; top with the onions.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce and thyme; pour over the chicken.

3. Cover with foil; bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Top with the cheddar cheese; let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.




browniesThis simple brownie recipe has been a family favorite for many years.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and melted chocolate until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and sugar; add the vanilla extract.

Beat in the flour mixture a little at a time until well blended. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Spread mixture in an 8×8-inch greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 16 to 20 brownies.



Sausage Pasta Bake

dscn1886Warm your family’s hearts with this hearty dinner served hot and bubbly from the oven. A delicious way to chase away cold weather chills!

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1-1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped (from jar)
2 (15 oz each) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, green pepper and onion until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.

2. Stir in the oregano, salt, pepper, roasted red bell peppers, spaghetti sauce, sour cream and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.

3.Stir in the macaroni. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 4 servings.



Luscious Lemon Bread

Luscious Lemon BreadLuscious tangy-sweet lemon flavor in every bite!

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 7×4-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and lemon juice. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once; stir just until moistened. Fold in the pecans. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Stir together the lemon juice and sugar; brush top of warm loaf with the lemon sugar mixture. Cool in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on wire rack. Wrap tightly and store over night before serving. Makes 1 loaf.



One of Those Days!

One Of Those DaysHave you ever had “one of those days“? You know what I mean by one of those days! You wake up in the morning with a million things to get done, some of them really important things, and before you even have your first sip of coffee or whatever you start the day with, EVERYTHING starts going wrong!

You got up late because somehow your alarm got turned off, Johnny can’t find his shoes, Betty is upset because she forgot to do her math homework, hubby is grumpy because he won’t have time for breakfast (and he’s really hungry this morning!) and you just want to crawl back under the covers and go back to sleep until tomorrow!

Instead, you rush around like a mad-woman locating the missing shoes, reminding daughter that she has study hall before math class so she can do her homework then, and popping blueberry muffins, (thank goodness you made extra last week and froze some!), into the microwave.

Hubby is extremely grateful for the yummy muffins and heads out the door with a smile on his face. It’s only a few minutes later when he rushes back in the house, grabs the house phone (his cell phone is  dead!) and calls a co-worker to ask for a ride to work;  his truck won’t start! But the co-worker has already left his house and he forgot to take his cell phone with him!

It looks like you will be taking hubby to work this morning! Now you are grabbing the phone, trying to contact the office to let them know you will be late (again)! Can it get any worse? OH, YES! The school bus just went flying by!! Now guess who gets to take the kids to school after dropping hubby off at work?

You take one last look around as you head out the door. What a mess!!! A sink full of dirty dishes, blueberry muffin crumbs on the kitchen table and floor, clothes scattered everywhere, junk mail and unpaid bills littering the dining room table, a light left on in the family room, nothing planned for tonight’s dinner, etc., etc., etc.

Right then and there you decide, this is never going to happen again! No more rushing around like a mad-woman, no more being late! You are going to get organized, make up a chart of everyone’s responsibilities and assign chores to each family member, plan meals ahead and cook in abundance on the weekends and freeze extras, prepare shoes and clothing the night before so all is ready in the morning, etc., etc., etc. You’ve got it all under control!

You awake with a start! The alarm somehow got turned off! You are late! Johnny can’t find his shoes…………….!!!!!



Fiesta Corn Casserole

Fiesta Corn CasseroleThis delightful creamy corn casserole will truly “spice-up” your dinner entrée! And it’s so simple and easy to make!

Cooking Spray
1 (10-3/4 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 (10-3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 (16 oz) bag frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips or 1 cup French-fried onions

1. Spray an 11×7-inch (2 quart) casserole with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the soup, diced tomatoes and green chilies and corn. Pour into prepared casserole. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over the corn mixture.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.