Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Roll-Ups

For Huber's Christmas Breakfast Potluck, this was the second item I decided to bring - Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Roll-Ups.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Roll-Ups

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 8 fully cooked breakfast sausage links
  • 4 slices (sandwich-size) Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, beat eggs. Reserve 1 tablespoon beaten egg for brushing on tops of crescent rolls. Scramble remaining eggs.
  2. Unroll dough onto work surface; separate into 8 triangles. Cut cheese slices in half; place 1 half on each triangle. Top each with spoonful of scrambled eggs and 1 sausage link. Loosely roll up triangles as directed on can; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Brush reserved beaten egg on top of each crescent. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each.
  4. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
These ended up being tasty and quite popular.

Caramel-Banana-Pecan Bread Casserole

For Huber's Christmas Breakfast Potluck, one of the items I decided to bring was Caramel-Banana-Pecan Bread Casserole.

Caramel-Banana-Pecan Bread Casserole

Ingredients
  • Disposable slow cooker liner
  • 1 12 ounce loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
  • 2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
  • 3 eggs or 3/4 cup refrigerated or thawed frozen egg product
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1 recipe Caramel-Banana Sauce
Directions
  1. Line a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with disposable slow cooker liner.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bread cubes are golden, stirring once or twice; cool. Place bread cubes in prepared slow cooker.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together half-and-half, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour mixture over bread cubes in cooker. With back of a large spoon, press bread down slightly to moisten cubes completely.
  4. In a medium bowl, using a pastry blender, cut butter into brown sugar until pieces are pea-size. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over bread mixture in cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove crockery liner from cooker, if possible, or turn off cooker. Cool mixture for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve casserole with Caramel-Banana Sauce.
Caramel-Banana Sauce

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons light-color corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced
Directions
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, whipping cream, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour sauce into a small bowl; cool to room temperature. If desired, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight. To serve, let chilled sauce stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Stir in banana.
I thought it was mighty good.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

The question was, what can I make as a side dish that's new, and that Tom will eat? I decided that maybe Brussels Sprouts would be the answer. Broccoli is my go-to vegetable for holiday meals, but when I learned that Brussels sprouts were in season, I gave it a whirl.
Creamy Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
  • 4 slices peppered bacon
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through stem end
  • ¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • cracked black pepper
Directions
  1. In 12-inch skillet cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.
  2. In skillet add Brussels sprouts to drippings; cook and stir over medium heat 4 minutes. Add broth, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add cream. Cook 4 minutes more or until thickened.
  3. Transfer sprouts to serving dish. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and cracked pepper.
I really enjoyed this dish. It had good flavor, but it wasn't too creamy.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

A co-worker mentioned to me a few days ago that she was making Green Bean Casserole from scratch as her contribution to her family's Thanksgiving dinner, and I thought to myself that I'd never made that before. I decided that I would try out the traditional recipe to see how it worked for me.
Classic Green Bean Casserole

What You'll Need
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup or (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup or (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked cut green beans
  • 1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions
How to Make It
  1. Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Why haven't I ever included this staple in our Thanksgiving dinners in the past? Oh, wait, it's because Tom hates mushrooms and onions. Well then, I'll eat it all myself.

Butter-Basted Roast Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

This holiday dinner was full of new things to try out. My experiment with turkey started out with looking for new ideas for side dishes. This recipe looked like it would be delicious, so I gave it a go. This was a new experience because normally, we season the turkey and put it in an oven roaster bag to cook, and it self-bastes - no muss, no fuss. At the last minute, Donnie requested that I stuff the turkey. So I took the usual stuffing recipe that I use from Betty Crocker, and stuffed the bird. I've never cooked a stuffed turkey before - I've always left that experience for when Mom and Dad visit.
Butter-Basted Roast Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients
  • 2½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1¼ tsp. fresh-ground pepper
  • 2 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh turkey
  • 6 carrots
  • 3 onions
  • ½ c. red wine
  • ½ lb. assorted wild mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Directions
  1. Make basting liquid: Combine 1 cup chicken broth, the butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, thyme sprigs, rosemary, and bay leaf in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat to low and keep the mixture warm.
  2. Prepare the turkey: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Season the turkey cavity and skin with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Truss the turkey and place breast side up in a roasting pan fitted with a wire rack. Arrange the carrots and onions around the bottom of the pan, place in the oven, and roast for 30 minutes. Baste the turkey with the basting liquid, covering all surfaces. Continue to roast, basting every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thigh meat reads 175 degrees F -- about 3 hours. Remove the turkey from oven, reserve pan drippings, and let rest 30 minutes before carving.
  3. Make the gravy: Pour the drippings and solids from the roasting pan into a measuring cup. Skim off any fat, reserving 2 tablespoons. Return the drippings and the solids to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, add the red wine and cook until any bits of vegetable or meat are loosened from the bottom of the pan -- about 2 minutes. Strain, discard solids, and set aside. Heat the reserved fat in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until cooked through -- about 8 minutes. Add the strained drippings, 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 1 teaspoon thyme, sage, remaining salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until slightly reduced -- about 10 minutes. Combine the remaining chicken broth and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the gravy and continue to cook until slightly thickened -- about 2 minutes. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve warm.
The turkey turned out really well, even by Tom's standards. The basting liquid smelled wonderful, the fresh herbs added wonderful flavor to everything, the skin was browned just right from the basting. I was concerned that the wine in the gravy would be overpowering, but it wasn't. I would definitely use this recipe again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cranberry Sauce

Something I've wanted to try out for a while now is making Cranberry Sauce from scratch. This upcoming holiday seemed like a good time to try it out, since it would just be Donnie, Tom and myself for dinner.
Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups (I used a 12 oz bag)
Directions
  1. Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.
  2. Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.
Well, I think it was delicious. Not too sweet, not too tart - it was just right!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Caw: Ray Lewis Literally Marched Into M&T Bank Stadium

Read the official account here.
How cool would it be to be in this band? A lot cooler if you were marching in the front block of the band and knew what the heck was going on, unlike me :-(

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Luncheon

For the Halloween luncheon, JoAnne (my partner in crime) found an idea on Pinterest, pitched the idea to me, and we made it happen. We made a dead guy!

I got the from the waist up, and she got legs. I started out by making a meatloaf "head" the night before - my standard meatloaf recipe, wrapped in bacon, with strategically placed chunks of onion.


Before Baking


After Baking

Then, before the luncheon, I cooked up two racks of ribs (for the chest), and kielbasa with peppers and onions (for the intestines). JoAnne did two flavors chicken wings and chicken tenders for the legs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

A while back, Wanda sent me the recipe for Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. It sounded like it would be a great idea for the Halloween luncheon at Huber, so I made it tonight.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Crust
  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
Filling
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together with electric mixer the cake mix, egg, and butter. Pat mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
  3. For the filling beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth with an electric mixer. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and mix together. Slowly add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mixing well. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the unbaked crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t overbake. The center should be a little gooey. You can see I over did mine and the crust was a little overdone. The cake was much easier to cut after refrigerating.
  4. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
I needed to bake it for longer than the recommended time (when I tried to cover it in order to put the cake in the refrigerator, it stuck to the aluminum foil), but overall, it tasted good and was well received by my co-workers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Drip Beef

I have been wanting to try out this recipe for a while, and tonight seemed like a good time to make Drip Beef.

Drip Beef

Ingredients
  • 2.5-4 lb chuck roast
  • 1 can beef consommé
  • 1 16-oz jar pepperoncinis
  • 4 T Italian seasoning
Directions
  1. Put chuck roast in oven safe pot.
  2. Pour in can of beef consommé.
  3. Add pepperoncinis and juice from half of the 16-oz jar.
  4. Top with 3-4 tablespoons of Italian seasoning.
  5. Cover pot and bake in 275° oven for 5-6 hours.
I split this in two by cutting the meat in half, and splitting most of the items between two pots. The only difference between Tom's pot and my pot was that my pot got all of the pepperoncinis as well as all of the leftover juice from the jar (why waste it?). I also misread the recipe, and only used a total of 4 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning. I must say, my drip beef was quite tasty, and has a nice zing to it. Tom hasn't tried his, yet, but I tasted it and I think it'll be good enough for him.

Friday, October 23, 2015

APG Oktoberfest

Tom and I enjoyed APG's Oktoberfest celebration last year, so we decided to attend this year, too. I was able to be cut from work tonight, so we headed over after I got off of work. I tried the weinerschnitzel and bratwurst that were being sold, and well as two beers (Victory's Festbier and Shock Top's Twisted Pretzel Wheat).

Of everything I tried, the Shock Top beer was my favorite. It was dark, which I didn't expect, and had a slightly salty flavor. Delicious! We stayed until the Edelweiss band finished playing for the evening. Tom was a little disappointed, because there weren't a huge amount of people there, but I rationalized that it was Friday night, and last year we attended on a Saturday night.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Trip to Gettysburg

Tom and I had planned a trip to Gettysburg to go on a paranormal investigation, and on the way there, we did a little geocaching. After finding the first cache, I got the Pennsylvania souvenir.

Polly Want a Cracker?

Survivor - No Survivor - White Church

Inn and Out, Out and Inn

First Killed at Gettysburg, pt 1

CINMAR South Mountain: Smithsonian NMNH GeoTour

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Jeff told me a few weeks ago about a recipe his wife had made that was baked, but tasted like it was fried. I just had to try it.

PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
  • 4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with Mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  3. Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes.
So, in my opinion, it didn't taste like fried chicken. But really, why did I try to fool myself? It was good, though, and Tom enjoyed it more than I would have imagined.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

EASY Maryland Crab Soup

How easy is it to make Maryland Crab Soup? This easy:
EASY Maryland Crab Soup

Ingredients:
  • 3 cans Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
  • 1 8-oz container crab meat
  • 1 t Old Bay (or to taste)
Directions:
  1. Dump all three cans of soup into a pot, and add 1 1/2 cans of water to soup.
  2. Warm over medium heat until almost boiling.
  3. Add crab meat and Old Bay.
  4. Stir and continue to warm.
  5. Serve.
I had to experiment with the amount of Old Bay, but if I ever get a craving for Maryland Crab Soup, I now have a go-to recipe!

Roadside Trail

Roadside Trail

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

America's 15 Best Football Cities

Fodor's published an article about America's 15 Best Football Cities, which acknowledged the band! Check out the article here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Porto Caelestis

Porto Caelestis

I'm a little proud that I found this cache, in that it was a "lonely cache" - it hadn't been found in over a year.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Geocaching Proving Grounds

Today was a good day for me. Tom agreed to go to Cedar Lane Regional Park (aka Geocaching Proving Grounds) with me to go in search of several geocaches there. After looking at the map of the area on Geocaching.com, it looked like there were several Premium Geocaches there. I couldn't access the descriptions or coordinates of those caches, since I'm not a Premium member (Premium Membership is a pay feature, and I'm not ready for that purchase, yet), but I did print out the map, with the intention of doing a cursory search, but nothing too intensive. In the end, we found three regular geocaches, we located the fourth, but I need a ladder to get at it, and surprise, we found three of the five premium geocaches! I definitely want to take Dad and Dodo there, both to show them the area, and to get the last couple of caches!

Hello & Goodbye

Well Excuuuse Me! (premium)

Scuba Divers Delight

51 Cards? Not Playing With A Full Deck Revisited (premium)

I spotted the corner of a plastic bag hanging out, but I need a ladder for Ghost to the Post. I'll get to it another day.

________ Stanley

Give that Fan a Contract (premium)

Friday, September 25, 2015

I 95 Park and Fry

I 95 Park and Fry

I actually found this one last night, but there was no log in the box, so I wasn't sure if it was the correct location. After messaging the cache owner, he confirmed that this was the correct location, and allowed me to log the cache as found.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blythedale Guard

Blythedale Guard

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Last of all, dessert.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and pat dry
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Graham cracker crumbs, optional
Directions:
  1. With a paring knife, cut off the strawberry stems. Cut around the inside of the strawberry, hollowing out slightly and creating a well for the cheesecake. (You can also do this with a small melon baller). Cut off a small portion of the pointy strawberry tip, so that each strawberry can stand. Place each on a large baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, with a standing or handheld electric mixer, beat cream cheese , sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Place mixture in a pastry bag and pipe into each strawberry, adding a little extra to the top. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  3. Optionally, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of each stuffed strawberry.
Enjoy!
TIP: Don’t make more than 5 hours in advance , or your strawberries will sweat and may become a bit soggy.

I slice the strawberries in half, cut a little off so they would lay flat, then topped them with the cheesecake mixture. Too good.

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

The epitome of finger foods, the deviled egg. Who doesn't love a deviled egg? This is the one I chose to make for this event.

BACON JALAPENO DEVILED EGGS

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled
  • paprika
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Slice the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise
  2. Remove the yolks and put them in a mixing bowl
  3. Mash the egg yolks with a fork
  4. Add the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, ground mustard, and sugar to the mashed egg yolks and stir until well combined
  5. Mix in the jalapenos and bacon
  6. Put the mixture in a ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag
  7. Fill each egg hole with the mixture
  8. Sprinkle with paprika
  9. Chill until ready to serve

Yum!

Cucumbers with Herb Cream Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes

Between Mediterranean Stuffed Cucumbers and this recipe, this won out with the co-workers.

Cucumber Bites with Herb Cream Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients
  • 1 (4 oz) block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 3-4 cucumbers, skinned and cut into 1 inch slices
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Sprinkle of dill for garnish
  • Sprinkle of paprika or Cajun spice mix for garnish
directions
  1. Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing and dill.
  2. Pipe into cucumber slices.
  3. Add a tomato half to the top of each round.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, dill, and paprika/Cajun spice mix.
They were beautiful, and tasty. The tomatoes were grown right here!

Ham Roll Ups

After polling some co-workers, this was a popular choice.

Ham Roll-Ups Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 pound deli sliced ham
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • 1 jar of Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles in Hot Mama or Mrs. Pickles Spears variety
Directions
  1. Lay each slice of ham flat and spread a dollop of cream cheese around the center. Place a pickle spear in the middle and roll the ham around the spear. Cut in half. Serve using toothpicks.
I used sweet gherkins, not bad.

Crab Stuffed Celery

A bunch of us at work have been planning a surprise wedding shower for JoAnne and Johnny. We found out last week that our initial date for the shower was no longer a surprise, so we had to scramble, change the date, let everyone know, and still find a way to pull it off. It was planned for right after the safety meeting, and the food and gifts would be wheeled in on carts. We decided on finger foods, and this was my first offering.

Crab-Stuffed Celery Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) whipped chive cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed or imitation crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 6 celery ribs, cut into serving-size pieces
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Transfer to a small resealable plastic bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag; pipe mixture into celery sticks. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 dozen.
Good stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015