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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesThese classic cookies are loaded with oats and raisins and they are so quick and easy to make. Taste wonderful with a cold glass of milk or, my favorite, a hot cup of coffee!

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups rolled or quick-cooking oats
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 baking sheets. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter on high speed of mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth.

3. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined; stir in the oats and raisins until blended.

4. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 1-1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten slightly with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 32 cookies.



Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Chocolate Surprise CookiesWhen your family, friends or guests bite into these chewy brown sugar cookies they will be surprised to discover a delicious kiss of chocolate hidden inside. Better make plenty because they will disappear quickly!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
25 solid chocolate candies (kisses)
1-1/2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
3/4 teaspoon cocoa powder

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar; beat with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon; add to the butter mixture and mix well.

3. Shape dough into twenty-five 1-inch balls; flatten each into a 2-inch round. Place 1-inch apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Place 1 chocolate candy in the center of each round. Enclose the candy with the dough being sure the candy is completely sealed in the dough. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa; sprinkle over the hot cookies. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 25 cookies.



Chipotle Ham and Cheese Dip


This rich and delicious, easy-to-make, dip is sure to be a winner at your next game-time or holiday get together!

2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, cubed
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
Tortilla chips or fresh vegetables

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 40 minutes.

2. Stir in the ham; cover and cook an additional 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables. Makes 7 cups.



Peanut Butter Snacking Cups

Peanut Butter Snacking CupsDSCN2585These delectable munchies are quick-to-make and are ideal for after-school snacks and late-night refrigerator raids.

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8 ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 (4-serving size) box vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
1/4 cup strawberry preserves

1. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press about 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each cup; top each with 1 tablespoon of the whipped topping.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, gradually add milk to the peanut butter, blending until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat at low speed of electric mixer until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in the remaining whipped topping.

3. Top each cup with 1 teaspoon of the preserves. Freeze for about 4 hours. To serve, peel off papers. Makes 12 snack cups.



No Bake Chocolate Cookies

No Bake Chocolate CookiesThe warmer weather months are just around the corner. This delicious no-bake chocolate cookie recipe is perfect for those times when you want to satisfy your family’s sweet tooth but don’t want to heat up the kitchen. Actually, my family enjoys these delightful little cookies any time of the year!

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 cups quick-cook oats

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often; cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, pinch of salt, peanut butter and oats; blend thoroughly.

2. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper; cool and then chill in refrigerator until set. Makes about 48 cookies.



Mexican Dip

Mexican DipWhether you are hosting a party, hanging out with friends, or watching a movie with your family, this dip is sure to be a favorite.

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 (8.8 ounce) package ready-to-serve Spanish rice*
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
16 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
Tortilla chip scoops

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, Italian sausage and onion until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is tender; drain. Transfer meat mixture to a 3 to 5-qt. slow cooker.

2. Heat the rice according to the package directions; stir into the meat mixture. Add the refried beans, enchilada sauce and cubed cheese; stir to blend. Cover and cook on Low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the cheese is melted. Serve with the tortilla scoops.

* I did not have the ready-to-serve Spanish rice so I substituted a 5.6 ounce package of regular Spanish rice. I prepared it according to the package directions and stirred it into the meat mixture before adding the remaining ingredients.



Pizza Dip

Pizza DipI have been playing around with finding some low-carb recipes to meet the dieting needs of some of my family members. This one just sort of “came together” and turned out to be really good.

1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon basil
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup pizza sauce
2 ounces pepperoni, chopped

1. In a small bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, oregano, parsley and basil; blend well.

2. Spread mixture in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

3. Spread with the pizza sauce. Top with the pepperoni and the remaining cheeses. Cover and microwave on High for 5 minutes; serve hot. Makes about 8 servings each containing less than 2 net carbs.



Fried Cheese

Fried CheeseYes, you read that right! I felt the same way the first time I found this recipe but I have since learned that this is really good! For all you low-carb dieters who are missing those cheese-flavored snacks, this is the treat for you! But you don’t have to be on a low-carb diet to appreciate this decadent snack!

Nonstick cooking spray
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar, JalapeƱo Jack or Monterey Jack cheese

1. Spray a small, heavy bottomed, nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat.

2. Add the oil and then the cheese. The cheese will melt, bubble and spread to fill the bottom of the skillet.

3. Let the cheese fry until it is crisp and brown around the edges. Use a thin spatula to lift up an edge; if the cheese is well browned, flip it over and fry the other side until it is also well browned.

4. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towel; allow it to lie flat to cool. Break it into pieces and it is ready to eat.

This makes 2 servings, each containing 1 gram of carbohydrate, no fiber and 11 grams of protein.