Stuffed Acorn Squash

IMG_20180402_191817I’ve been trying something that I know others have had great success with. Avoiding sugar and pasta, etc. I tried this recipe and just fell in love with it. I wasn’t going to pass it on because it’s “diet food” but it’s so delicious, I had to!


  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 lb LEAN ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 sweet pepper (I used Enjoya…my new favorite!)
  • 1 apple, any variety
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Honey


Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet or dish with parchment paper,

Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Place on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, dice the apple, pepper and onion. Cut  bacon into pieces. (I actually use scissors)

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon. Add the onion and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the apple and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown. (I use super lean, so I don’t need to drain…use your best judgement) Add all spices and stir to combine.

Scoop out some of the flesh of the squash and mix into the beef.

Fill the squash shells with the beef mixture. Drizzle with a touch of honey.

Return to the 375º oven and bake another 15 minutes until everything is heated through.


Frosted Cauliflower with Peas


This recipe came from one of my FAVORITE cooks, Deanna House! I’m not sure when we tried this for the first time, because I’m SURE I would’ve turned my nose up at it, but I actually CRAVE it now! It is SO EASY and it is done in the microwave, since your oven is being used for so many other things during those family gatherings. Seriously, try this. You’ll LOVE it!


1 medium head whole cauliflower

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

1/2 cup reduced-fat salad dressing or mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

2/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese



  1. Remove leaves and wood base from cauliflower, leaving cauliflower whole.
  2. Wash until running cold water. Shake off some of the water. Leave some droplets remaining.
  3. Place cauliflower on 8 to 10 inch round microwave-safe plate. Cover with vented plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave on Full Power 6-7 minutes per pound. (A guideline to remember is that 1 small head of cauliflower weights about 1 pound.) Set aside and leave covered while you cook peas and heat the salad dressing mixture.
  5. Cook peas according to microwave directions on package. Set aside while finishing the cauliflower.
  6. In 2-cup microwave-safe measurer, mix salad dressing, salt and mustard. Microwave on Full Power 30 seconds to blend flavors.
  7. Remove plastic wrap from cauliflower. Spread salad dressing mixture over cauliflower. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese. Microwave on Full Power 45-75 seconds on Full Power to melt cheese.
  8. Sprinkle cheese, covered cauliflower with paprika.
  9. Surround the cauliflower with peas.

Spring Pretzel Bites


These are so SPRINGY and SO cute! They’ll look great at your Easter buffet! (oh, and the kiddos will LOVE to help make these!)


Windowpane Pretzels

White Melting Wafers

Pastel M&Ms


On a paper plate arrange 7 or 8 pretzels.

Place a melting wafer in the center of the pretzel.

Microwave and heat them until the wafer just starts to melt. (soft to the touch and melted enough to press a M&M down into it but not running off the pretzel.) About 45 seconds.

Using pastel M&M’s, place an M&M in the center of the melted wafer and surround with 6 M&Ms of a different color with the “M” side down.

Let them harden for a couple hours before storing them in an air-tight container.

Irish Shepherd’s Pie


Just about everywhere we went in Ireland, Shepherd’s Pie was on the menu. Yum. It’s so good! And PERFECT for St. Patty’s Day!


4 servings of mashed potatoes (yes, prepared from a box)

2 TBSP sour cream

1 pound ground beef (or ground lamb)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 TBSP fresh parsley

1 cup cooked peas

1/2-1 cup shredded cheese



Brown ground beef (or lamb) with onion and spices

Prepare mashed potatoes and mix in sour cream

Cook peas

Layer beef, peas then potatoes in 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Top with cheese. Bake another 15 minutes.

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies


These tasty cookies whip up quickly and work great for your kid’s St. Patty’s day  school party or to be the holiday hero at the office.


2 eggs

2 sticks butter

2 3oz pkgs (instant) pistachio nut pudding

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

12oz bag mini morsels chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Cream together first 3 ingredients until smooth. Add flour and baking soda. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls (about 1 inch apart) onto un-greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.


Tomato, Basil & Broccoli Chicken

tomato basil broccoli chickenThis recipe comes from long-time friends of ours. We had this at their house and I said I MUST have the recipe. She showed me the box of Rice-A-Roni! I couldn’t believe it came from there. We’re not sure if it is still featured on the box, so here you go! ENJOY! (and it is easy, too!)


One  6.9-ounce package RICE-A-RONI® Chicken Flavor

1 teaspoon dried basil

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

2 cups broccoli florets

1 medium tomato, seeded, chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese



  1. In large skillet, prepare Rice-A-Roni mix as package directs, adding basil with water.
  2. Top with chicken; bring mixture to a boil.
  3. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Top with broccoli and tomato.
  5. Cover; continue cooking 5 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese; let stand covered a few minutes before serving.



After Church Stew

stewGot this recipe from my FAVORITE cookbook! House Specialties by local author Deanna House! I’ve kind of tweaked it to how my family likes it.

You can cook it in the oven if you don’t have a crock pot.

And…you don’t have to only make it after church. You can make it any day of the week!



1 and 1/2 pound lean beef cubes (1 and 1/2-inch cubes from chuck or round)

2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed

2 stalks celery, cut in diagonal pieces (we skip this)

4 medium carrots, pared and quartered (we use mini carrots or carrot disks)

2 medium onions, cut in 1/4 inch slices (we only use 1/2)

1 (10 and 3/4-ounce) can condensed tomato soup

1/2 soup can water (we use a whole can)

3 medium potatoes (we use cubed frozen hashbrowns)



  1. Place beef (no need to brown it) in 3-quart casserole.
  2. Sprinkle beef with salt, pepper and basil leaves.
  3. Top meat with celery, carrots and onions.
  4. In small bowl, combine soup and water.
  5. Pour soup mixture over meat and vegetables, coating all pieces. Cover tightly.
  6. Bake in preheated 300 degree oven 3 hours. (or on low in crock-pot 5-6 hours)
  7. Add potatoes and bake 45 minutes longer.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

chocolate covered strawberries

For the last few years, I have been ordering Chocolate Covered Strawberries and having them delivered to my Valentine. (it’s a long story…but we have a running joke about chocolate and strawberries!) Anyway, I remembered a recipe I had used about 20 years ago and this year I dug that back up and made my own. Less than a quarter of the price! I put them in a cleaned out clear egg carton and it looked really pretty! Enjoy! (oh…and you don’t have to wait until next Valentine’s Day to make these!)



6 ounces Chocolate Chips

4 ounces White Chocolate Chips

Decorating Sugar


Wash and DRY (this is important) strawberries. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 2 minutes and stir. If not melted completely, put back in for 30 seconds at a time. Dip strawberries one by one in the chocolate leaving a small rim around the stem. Sprinkle with decorating sugar while they’re still wet. Drizzle white chocolate or wait 20 minutes and dip the tip in the white chocolate then sprinkle with sugar. It’s up to you! Place in refrigerator 10 minutes.

Hawaiian Chicken Cups


When I saw these on a pin, I just HAD to make them. Especially when everyone else will be shoving fat-full snacks into their mouths during the game this weekend! This is amazingly yummy and only 140 calories! WHAT?! Don’t delay! Make these today!


1 2/3 cups cooked shredded chicken

1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple

4 TBS barbecue sauce

1/2 TBS chives

12 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)

1/2-3/4 cup reduced fat 2% shredded cheddar cheese



Mix chicken, pineapple, BBQ sauce, and chives in a medium bowl until well coated.

Lightly spray cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray and press a wonton wrapper into each cup

Spoon about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture evenly into the cups, and sprinkle with cheese

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Let the cups cool for 5 minutes before popping them out so they keep their shape.