Macaroni Skillet

macaroni skillet

This is a great and EASY comfort food recipe! My family LOVES it!! The other GREAT thing about it for me is that it doesn’t have chunks of onion or tomato in it! But those flavors are still there!

It’s perfect for those crazy busy nights when your family is running in more directions than there are people!

1 pound ground beef

1 tsp onion powder

3 cups tomato juice

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 TBS vinegar

1 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup macaroni

Brown ground beef in like a 5 quart stock pot. Once it gets going, sprinkle the onion powder in and let that fry into the beef. Once the ground beef is no longer pink, drain the fat and keep the beef in the pot. Add everything else right into the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


Saw this recipe on Pinterest and made it IMMEDIATELY! Now…you must know from the title and the picture, these are NOT a low-fat veggie option. BUT…if you want a really tasty, gourmet-looking side dish. Cook these instead of the old green bean casserole for Thanksgiving! YUM!

And bonus…it is a way to get the pickiest of eaters to eat their green beans!


1 pound fresh green beans

5-6 slices bacon, cut in half

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1.Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a cooling rack on a large cookie sheet (or use a broiler pan like me).

2.Wash and dry green beans. Snap off the ends. Grab a small handful of beans (anywhere from 5-10 green beans) and lay them on a half-strip of bacon. Roll the bacon up and around the green bean bundle and place it in the pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining green beans.

3.Melt the butter in a sauce pan on the stove. Add the brown sugar and garlic powder and mix together until well combined. Remove from the heat and brush over the tops of the green bean bundles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4.Cover with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Remove foil and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until the bacon gets nice and crisp. Enjoy!

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


I love anything cheese-cakey, ya know what I mean? Chocolate Cheesecake, Cherry Cheesecake, Bailey’s Cheesecake, etc. But I don’t like all the fuss and trouble of baking it in a springform pan!! I found a SUPER easy way to make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. Ready? Go


1 Graham Cracker Crust (recipe below)

1 1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

2 tsps Pumpkin Pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 container of Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling

1 cup whipped topping



Mix everything together.

Pour into the graham cracker crust.

Top with extra whipped cream and dust with cinnamon.

Refrigerate for 1 hour and serve!





1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

Crush graham crackers and put crumbs in a bowl. (I put them in a large baggie and then use a rolling pin to crush them.) Mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press into a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes.

Death By Pumpkin Pie


I love pumpkin pie, but I wanted to shake it up a bit. This gives you all the flavors of pumpkin pie, but it serves WAY more people and you look like a super star!


1 spice cake mix made per directions

1 large box vanilla pudding (prepared per directions)

1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling (or some cans say ‘mix’)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 (12-ounce) container whipped cream


Bake the cake according to the package directions; cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside.

Stir the pumpkin pie filling and brown sugar together then into the pudding.

Crumble half the cake into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the cake then add a layer of whipped topping.



Refrigerate overnight.



Pumpkin Spice Pudding Shots

If you have a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering coming up, make a batch (or 3 of these for a little ‘party favor’! YUM!
  • 1 small Pkg. pumpkin spice instant pudding
  • ¾ Cup Milk
  • 3/4 Cup RumChata
  • 8oz tub Cool Whip
  • Whisk together the milk, liquor, and instant pudding mix in a bowl until combined.
  • Add cool whip a little at a time with whisk.
  • Spoon the pudding mixture into shot glasses, disposable shot cups or 1 or 2 ounce cups with lids. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours


Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. (The Captain likes to top with Red Hots!)


(almost famous) Peanut Clusters

This recipe is easy and makes MANY MANY MANY! Perfect for teacher gifts or hard-to-buy for friends on your list.


1 bar German Chocolate cooking chocolate

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

48 oz almond bark (24 oz  almond bark and 24 oz milk chocolate bark)

1 16 oz dry roasted unsalted peanuts

1 16 oz dry roasted salted peanuts

Place all ingredients in CrockPot. Cook on low for 1.5 hours or warm for 3 hours. DO NOT TOUCH. Turn CrockPot off and let it sit for 20 minutes. Cover counter top or table with waxed or parchment paper. Stir mixture completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto paper or into small paper muffin cups. Let harden and store in airtight container. Give away and save some or your family to enjoy. (they also freeze!)

Pumpkin Cookies

Been making this recipe for years! It really helps you turn the corner and say “Welcome, Fall!”

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy.

Mix in dry ingredients.

Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls and flatten slightly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then frost. (we use cream cheese frosting)

CrockPot Potato Soup

This is the BEST Potato Soup I’ve ever made and by FAR the easiest! There’s something about potato soup that makes you feel like you’re wrapped up in a warm blanket. This recipe came from my daughter-in-law’s mother. Thanks, Marcia!



  • 1 pkg southern style hash brown potatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 pound bacon cooked & crumbled
  • 4 1/2 cups hot water
  • 4 1/2 tsps chicken bouillon
  • 8 oz. cream cheese – softened and cut in chunks
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Sour cream
  • Extra crumbled bacon


Combine in CrockPot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkles of crumbled bacon. Sourdough bread on the side is a good choice!

30713194_10213757226819214_7957683773594664960_nThanks, Nancy for this photo! She combines shredded and cubed hash browns in hers.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


Pure vanilla is so expensive to buy. Have you been shocked at the price in the store so you just go ahead and buy the cheaper imitation version? Yep, me too. Well, at least I used to. Now I make my own. And I even make enough to give away for Christmas gifts! It takes a little time, so you need to start soon!  



A Fifth of 80 proof Vodka (or glycerin)

Tahitian Vanilla Beans (I get mine at

Glass bottles

A small funnel


The ratio is 5 beans per cup of vodka.

Use any glass jar that has a lid. Even a quart-sized canning jar. Pour three cups of vodka into the jar.

Slice the (15) vanilla beans in half lengthwise. You’ll see tons of what looks like brown goop. That’s actually the good stuff! Scrape that out with a knife and add to the jar of vodka.

Place the scraped out vanilla flecks and beans in the jar with the vodka and screw the lid on tightly.

Now wait. Give it a shake every now and then during the process.  It will become dark within just a few days, but it’s not really going to perform like vanilla until after about 6 weeks. And vanilla extract only gets better and stronger with age. I actually make 2 batches every year so I have enough to give and enough to use myself!

After at LEAST 6 weeks, pour into 2 or 4 ounce bottles.