Simple Maple Syrup

This recipe is so simple and so delicious, you’ll never buy store bought syrup again.  All the ingredients used are things that most of us have in our cupboards.


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring/extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugars and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in maple flavoring. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 cups.

Note:  If you enjoy a more thick maple syrup, cut the water to 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup.  This is a recipe that can be experimented with also.  You can substitute the maple extract with other flavorings like cinnamon extract, or rum extract.  Enjoy!

Ranch Snack Mix

snackmix 1

Great kids snack….and I love it myself 🙂


  • 2 cups Chex cereal, any flavor
  • 2 cups oyster crackers
  • 2 cups cheese crackers, I used Cheese Its
  • 2 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 1 – 1 oz. package Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix
  • 1/3 cup canola oil, I use extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, add Chex cereal, oyster crackers, Cheese Its and pretzels.
  2. In a measuring bowl, measure out the oil and add a package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix and stir well.
  3. Pour mixture of the snack mix and stir well.  After stirring, I pour mine into a gallon size ziplock freezer bag and let sit overnight.  By it sitting over night, it has time to soak up the oil and the ranch mix.  Enjoy!

Herbed Skillet Chicken


  • 1 lb. white mushrooms, halved
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  1. Add the ingredients in a cast-iron or heavy skillet and top with 4 chicken-leg quarters.
  2. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  3. Roast at 450 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through (165 F).  Serves 4.

Santa Fe Potato Wedges

I made this a few days ago and it was a big hit with the family.  My husband and son loved it and there are different ways to season the potatoes.  It’s easy to make since there’s no peeling required.


  • 1 sheet aluminum foil
  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes, each cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, Italian seasoning or lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a shallow baking pan with foil.  Spray foil with cooking spray;  set aside.
  2. Stir mayonnaise, seasoning and garlic salt in large bowl until smooth.  Add potatoes; stir to coat.
  3. Arrange wedges, skin-side down, in baking pan.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and brown.
  5. Makes 4-6 serving.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf


I’ve tried more than one meatloaf recipe in my lifetime and I have found one that my family absolutely loves.   Personally, I give this a 5 star rating but I’ll let you be the judge of that.


  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 c. finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  3. Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf.
  5. Place on top of ketchup.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.

Optional:  I use diced green bell peppers and instead of using a small onion, I use
McCormick’s onion flakes.  I have a habit of not measuring so use as
much as desired.

Meatball Casserole

Who loves Italian?  I do! I do!  Well, actually the whole family does so I have been searching the internet for some recipes that I’ve never made before and found this one.  I have bought a bag of frozen meatballs but you can also use ground beef and make your own.  And you will also need a garlic spread, which I bought mine already made up but if you would like to try your own, make a blend of 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.


  • 2 cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 block (8 oz.) of light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon garlic spread seasoning
  • 1-1/2 to 2 lbs. meatballs (depending on size, cut in half or quartered)
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Unroll the crescent roll dough and press into baking dish, covering bottom of dish and pressing it halfway up the sides of the dish.
  2. Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and mash it with a fork.  Add in the garlic spread seasoning and thoroughly blend it in the cream cheese.  Spread the cream cheese in a thin layer over the crescent roll dough.  It may be easier to spread it out with your fingers instead of using a spatula.
  3. Combine the meatballs and spaghetti sauce in a large bowl and then carefully pour or spoon it over the cream cheese and dough.
  4. Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top and place it in the oven for about 30 minutes or until is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Canning Tomatoes

About 2 years ago, my husband and I started growing a garden so hopefully we could save money plus eat healthier.  Thanks to my Mom, my husband’s parents and Grandma Gladis, we’ve learned a lot about gardening and canning.  So when my Mom told me how to can tomatoes, I had to write it down because there are so many steps to be done.  Now I make homemade spaghetti sauce, chili and vegetable soup with the tomatoes that I’ve canned.  So here it goes…

I use a stock pot, fill with water and bring the water to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, I turn down the heat.  I put the tomatoes in the scalding hot water.  I let the tomatoes sit in the water for about 5 minutes or until the skin starts to loosen.  While the tomatoes are in the stock pot, I put ice in the sink and then carefully remove the tomatoes and place them in the ice.  Once the tomatoes have cooled, the skin peels right off and then I start cutting the tomatoes in a large pot.  Once I have them cut, I put one teaspoon of salt in the bottom of the mason jars.  Cook the cut-up tomatoes for fives minutes.

Pour the tomatoes into the mason jars with lids and place in a canner.  Cook 30 to 35 minutes.  When I hear the lids popping, that means that the jars have sealed and my job is finished, whew!  🙂

*Make sure to boil the jars, lids and rings before adding the tomatoes to them.  You can also substitute the salt with lemon juice or white vinegar.  This will assure the acidity of the tomatoes is high enough to keep them bacteria-free.

Organic food is healthy but can be expensive since we’re on a budget.  By having a garden and controlling what fertilizer we use and not using pesticides, I can say that we’re eating organically grown food.

Chess Squares

I have had this recipe for years, matter of fact, I’ve had it so long that I can’t remember where I got it from but I finally made it for my family and they loved it.  It’s so easy to make and if you make it once, you’ll get requests for it all the time.


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (Do not use the butter recipe)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 egg

Top Layer:

  • 1 (8ounce) cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 box confectioners sugar
  1. Combine cake mix, egg and butter.  Mix until smooth.  Put in oblong 13x9x2 pan.
  2. Combine cream cheese, eggs, and sugar.  Pour over crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Cut into squares when cool.

Slow Cooker Lasagne

This is the best lasagne recipe I’ve ever had and would highly recommend it to everyone.  It’s very easy to make using no-cook lasagna noodles.  We like it accompanied with either Parmesan bread or garlic cheese toast.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 package (8 ounces) no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) small-curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt and oregano; mix well.
  2. Spread a fourth of the meat sauce in an ungreased 5-qt. slow cooker.  Arrange a third of the noodles over sauce (break the noodles if necessary).  Combine the cheeses;  spoon a third of the mixture over the noodles.  Repeat layers twice.  Top with remaining meat sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Optional:  Instead of using an onion, I use McCormick’s chopped onions and if I don’t have any garlic cloves handy, I will use McCormick’s garlic salt or powder.  The recipe calls for the meat sauce to be the top layer and usually if I have any of the cheese mixture left over, I will sprinkle it on top of the meat sauce.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 6-8 large bell peppers
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Light brown ground beef ; drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Gently pack into peppers which have been capped and seeded.
  4. Spray slow cooker with a nonstick spray and place peppers in slow cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on low 9 to 11 hours or high 5 to 6 hours.
  6. The last hour add Mozzarella cheese to the peppers.

Note:  This recipe calls for cooked rice but I chose to use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice because it only takes 90 seconds in the microwave and Ta-Da….Cooked rice!  I also used McCormick’s onion flakes instead of an onion.  I didn’t measure the onion flakes, I just put as much as I thought was needed.  I also cooked our peppers on low for about 9 hours and they were perfect.  This was served with Twice Baked Potatoes and garlic bread.  Yummy!