Gluten-Free Christmas Sugar Cookies

1       Cup Sugar

1/2    Cup Shortening

1/2    Cup Butter (softened) 

2       tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1       Egg

2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Rice Flour

1/2    tsp. Baking Powder

1/4    tsp. Salt

1   Cup Powdered Sugar

2   Tbsp. Milk

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, shortening and softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl often, until creamy. On low speed, beat in vanilla and the egg. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm.

Heat the oven to 375 degree F. On work surface lightly sprinkled with rice flour, roll each half of dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2 inch cookies cutter(s). Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 2 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Stir together the Glaze ingredients. Drizzle on cookies. Sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired. Let stand 30 minutes until glaze is set. Store covered in airtight container at room temperature with wax paper between layers. Makes 24 cookies.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4    Cup (1 1/2 sticks) Butter (melted, cooled)

1/2    Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1/2    Cup Sugar

2       Large Eggs

2       tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 3/4 Cups Almond Flour

1/2    Cup Cornstarch

1/2    tsp. Baking Soda

3/4    tsp. Salt

1 1/4 Cups Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Fold the almond flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
For cookies that hold a better shape when baked, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are golden and center is just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 30 cookies.

Rum Balls

11   oz. Vanilla Wafer Cookies

3/4 Cup Desiccated Unsweetened Coconut (divided)

2    Cups Pecans

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/4 Cup Coconut Rum

2    Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Pulse the vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor until they are the consistency of coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of cookie crumbs and set aside. leave the rest of the crumbs in the food processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup coconut and the pecans to the processor and continue holding the pulse until the entire mixture is crushed to crumbs. Add in sugar, cocoa powder, rum and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.

If the mixture seems dry, add a bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture seems too wet and/or sticky, add in additional cookie crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time.

Use a cookie scoop to form the dough into balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the balls in the extra coconut and cookie crumbs. Makes 24 balls.

Special Notes:

You can use graham crackers, shortbread cookies, digestive biscuits or chocolate wafers instead of the vanilla wafers.

If you want a sweeter ball, use sweetened coconut instead of the desiccated coconut.

If desired, you can use a different nut, such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios for a different flavor.

You can use plain rum instead of coconut rum for a less strong coconut flavor, or try brandy or cognac.

You can use honey or corn syrup instead of the maple syrup.

If you do not have a food processor you can crush the cookie wafers with a rolling pin and chop the nuts very fine.

Keep the dough very chilled for easier rolling.

Spray your hands with cooking spray to keep dough from sticking to your hands.

Store rum balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Instantpot Honey Baked Ham

8    Quart Instant Pot

6    to 7 lb. Spiral Ham (bone-in, fully cooked)

2    Cups Apple Cider or Apple Juice (divided into two 1/2 cup portions and one 1 cup portion)

2    Cups Brown Sugar (divided into two 1 cup portions)

1/4 Cup Mustard (coarse ground, divided into two 2 tablespoon portions)

1/4 Cup Honey (divided into two 2 tablespoon portions)

Non-stick Cooking Spray

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard and 2 tablespoons honey.

Place the ham in a rimmed dish and pour the apple juice mixture over the entire ham. Rub it in and around the ham, be sure to get in between the slices of ham as much as possible.

Spray the pan insert with cooking spray and pour 1 cup of apple juice in the bottom. Place the ham in the Instant pot and pour the any leftover juices that drained off the ham back over the ham. Cover and lock the lid in place with the vent closed. Set the Instant pot on manual and on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally, unless you are in a hurry, then do a quick release of the steam.

While the ham is cooking, cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray. Set the oven to broil.
Remove the ham from the Instant pot and place it on the prepared baking sheet.

Combine 1/2 cup apple juice, 2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard and 2 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Brush the apple juice mixture over the cooked ham. Rub (and press) 1 cup brown sugar into the top surfaces of the ham and place the ham under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes or until the glaze is bubbly and caramelized.

Transfer the ham to a cooling rack and cool for a few minutes. Serve warm or cold. Serves 10.

Seafood Lasagna

4       oz. Cream Cheese

1 1/2 Cups Ricotta

1       Cup Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)

2       Large Scallions (thinly sliced)

1/4    Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)

3       Tbsp. Butter

3       Tbsp. All-purpose Flour

1 3/4 Cups Milk

1/4    tsp. Dried Oregano

1/4    Cup Dry White Wine

3/4    lb. Shrimp (peeled)

1/2    lb. Crab Meat

9       Lasagne Sheets (cooked)

1       Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Blend the cream cheese and ricotta together in a bowl. Stir in the mozzarella, scallions and parsley and set aside.

Heat the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat add the flour, stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in oregano, salt, pepper, wine, shrimp and crab meat.

Lay three lasagne noodle sheets side-by-side in a 9x13 inch greased baking dish. Top with one third of the cream cheese mixture and one third of the seafood sauce mixture (it won’t cover it completely). Repeat this twice and then top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree F. oven until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


1/4  oz. Package Yeast

1/2  Cup Warm Water

1/2  Cup Milk (scalded)

1/4  Cup Sugar

1/3  Cup Butter (melted)

1     tsp. Salt

1     Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree

1/2  tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4  tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4  tsp. Ground Clove

1     Egg

4     to 5 Cups All-purpose Flour


1/2 Cup Butter (softened, plus more for the pan)

3/4 Cup Sugar (plus more for the pan)

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2    Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1    tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

4       oz. Cream cheese (softened)

1/4    Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)

1 1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2    tsp. Vanilla

1/2    tsp. Maple Extract

1/4    tsp. Salt

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.  In a stand mixer bowl, combine milk, sugar, melted butter, pumpkin puree, spices, salt, and egg with a spoon. Attach the bowl to the mixer with the dough hook attached. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead with dough hook for about 5 minutes. (If not using a stand mixer, knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes.) Place in well-greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter all over dough. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Then sprinkle over buttered dough. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of 13 x 9 baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, maple flavoring, and vanilla until smooth. For a thicker icing, add more powdered sugar. Spread over slightly cooled rolls. Makes 12 rolls.

Easy Apple Pie Twists

For the Dough:

2     Cups Flour

2     tsp. Baking Powder

1/2  tsp. Salt

1/4  Cup Sugar

3/4  Cup Warm Milk

1/4  Cup Soft Butter

For the Filling:

2     Cups Diced Apples

1/2  Cup Brown Sugar

1     tsp. Cinnamon

1/4  tsp. Nutmeg

1     Tbsp. Cornstarch

1/2  Cup Water

Combine all ingredients for the dough in a bowl. Mix until evenly blended. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a pan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Take each portion and roll to about 1/8” thick. Spread the apple mixture onto one sheet of dough, then top with the other sheet. Cut into strips using a pizza cutter. Take each strip and twist from one end to another. Arrange twists on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve with a side of caramel syrup. Serves 8.

Easy Apple Fritters

1      Cup All-Purpose Flour

1      tsp. Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

1/2   tsp. Cinnamon

1      Egg

2      Tbsp. Sugar

1/3   Cup Milk

2      Apples Peeled and Diced

Vegetable Oil for frying

1      Cup Powdered Sugar

2      Tbsp. Milk

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk in egg, sugar, and milk. Fold the apples into the batter. Heat oil in a pan. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the batter into the oil and fry until golden on both sides. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Blend together powdered sugar and milk in bowl. Drizzle over the fritters. Serves 4.

Cranberry Mulled Wine

6    Allspice Berries

3    Whole Cloves

2    Cinnamon Sticks

6    Thin Slices Fresh Ginger

1    (750 ml) Bottle Dry Red Wine

3/4 Cup Sugar

1    Cup Fresh (or frozen) Cranberries

1/2 Cup Brandy

Pear Slices (for garnish)

Place the allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger slices in a saucepan. Add the dry red wine, sugar and fresh or frozen cranberries and bring to a simmer. Let simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove the spices with a slotted spoon. Stir in the brandy. Ladle the mulled wine and cranberries into mugs and garnish with the pear slices. Serves 6.

Slow-Cooker Drip Beef Sandwiches

1    (2.5 lb) Beef Chuck Roast

1    tsp. Fresh Rosemary (minced)

3/4 tsp. Salt  

Black Pepper (to taste)

1    (12 oz.) Jar Pepperoncini

1    Cup Beef Broth

6    Tbsp. Salted Butter (softened)

1    Large Onion (sliced)

6    Soft Hoagie Rolls (split)

12  Slices Provolone Cheese

Potato Chips (for serving)

Place the beef roast into a 6 to 8 quart slow cooker with the rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Add the pepperoncini with their brine, along with the beef broth. Cover and cook on low until the meat is very tender and easy to pull apart, 7 to 8 hours.

When the slow-cooker has about 15 minutes left, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of paper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Remove the roast from the slow-cooker and place it in a bowl. Use 2 forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the slow-cooker. Keep it warm.

Preheat the broiler. Place the rolls on a baking sheet and spread with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Broil until toasted, about 2 minutes.

Heap a generous portion of meat on each roll, then spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat. Top with a few pepperoncini from the slow-cooker and plenty of caramelized onions. Put 2 slices of cheese on each sandwich and return to the broiler  just long enough to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. Serve with potato chips and the extra cooking liquid on the side for dipping. Serves 6

One-Pot French Onion Pasta

5    Tbsp. Olive Oil (divided)

2    Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

4    Medium Yellow Onions (thinly sliced)

2    tsp. Salt (divided)

1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

8    oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced)

5    Sprigs Fresh Thyme (plus more to garnish)

5    Cloves Garlic (minced)

1    Cup Dry White Wine

4    Cups Beef Broth

1    Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1    lb. Farfalle Pasta

2    oz. Cream Cheese

1    Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

5    oz. French Bread (thinly sliced, torn in half, about 3 1/2 cups.

1    Cup Low-moisture Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)

1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese (shredded)

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil and the butter in a wide braiser pan or large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft and deeply golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme and garlic and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the wine and cook until it is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes. Pour in the beef broth, 3 cups of water and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently until al dente, 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from the thyme sprigs. Stir in the cream cheese and red wine vinegar.

Turn the broiler on high. Brush or drizzle the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Top the pasta with the bread and sprinkle with the mozzarella and Gruyere cheese. Broil until the cheese is deeply golden, 2 to 5 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pasta. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with extra thyme sprinkled on top. Serves 6 to 8.

Dutch Apple Cake

3    Medium Tart Apples (peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices, about 3 cups)

3    Tbsp. plus 1 Cup Sugar (divided)

1    tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2/3 Cup Butter (softened)

4    Large Eggs (room temperature)

1    tsp. Vanilla Extract

2    Cups All-purpose Flour

1/8 tsp. Salt

In a large bowl, combine the apples, 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon; let stand for 1 hour.

In another bowl, cream the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and beat until smooth.

Transfer to a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Push the apple slices vertically into the batter, placing them close together.

Bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yields 12 servings.

Caramel Apple Dip

6    Tbsp. Salted Butter

3/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

3    Tbsp. Heavy Cream  

8    oz. Cream Cheese (room temperature)

1/4 Cup Roasted, Salted Peanuts (chopped)

3    Apples (assorted colors, sliced)

Make the Caramel: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and heavy cream and bring it to a simmer, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved and the caramel is bubbly, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.

When the caramel is warm (not hot), beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in three-quarters of the caramel until incorporated. Spoon it into a serving bowl.

Microwave the remaining caramel until it is pourable, about 20 seconds, then drizzle it over the top of the dip. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Serve immediately with sliced apples or refrigerate for up to 4 hours; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

German Apple Cake

Nonstick Cooking Spray

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder 

1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon (divided)

1/2    tsp. Salt

1/4    tsp. Ground Nutmeg

3/4    Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)

1       Cup Sugar (for the cake)

3       Large Eggs

2       tsp. Vanilla Extract

Fruit Layer:

2       Sweet Apples (Honeycrisp or Gala, peeled and sliced about 1/3 inch thick)

2       Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (melted)

1       Tbsp. Sugar (for topping)

Sweetened Whipped Cream (optional, for  serving)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack set in the center. Coat a 9 inch springform pan that is 3 inches tall with cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Place 3/4 cup softened butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until the yolk disappears. Add the flour mixture on low speed and mix until combined, making sure there are no lumps. Beat in the vanilla.

Spread the batter into an even layer in the prepared springform pan. Arrange the apple slices on top in two concentric circles. Gently press the slices into the batter slightly. Brush apple slices with the melted butter. Stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture evenly over the apple slices.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and release the sides of the pan. Serve cake warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 10.

Savory Turkey Meatloaf

Cooking Spray
1    Tbsp. Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1    Large Onion (chopped)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3    Cloves Garlic (minced)
1    Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
1    tsp. Thyme Leaves (chopped)
2    lbs. Ground Turkey
3/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Milk
2    Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1    Large Egg
1/3 Cup Ketchup
2    Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and lightly grease a large, deep baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then stir in the garlic and herbs. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire, egg and cooked onion mixture until combined. Season with salt and pepper (remembering you added a bit of salt and pepper to the onion mixture, so be careful not to over-do it). Form into a loaf and place in the baking dish.

In a small bowl, stir the ketchup and brown sugar together until combined. Spread this mixture over the top and sides of the meatloaf. Bake until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Serves 6.

Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

1    Boneless, Skinless Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt (about 6 lbs)
20  Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Olive Oil (divided)
2    tsp. Cumin
1    Tbsp. Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
3    Tbsp. Oregano Leaves
1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1    Serrano Pepper* (seeded, diced, optional)
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
White Rice (for serving, optional)

*Serrano Peppers are hotter than Jalapeno peppers so use your judgement on this.

Dry the pork shoulder off with paper towels. Score with a sharp knife, all over in a crosshatch pattern.
Pulse the garlic, 1/4 cup oil, cumin, salt, pepper and oregano in a food processor until a paste is formed. Remove 2 tablespoons of the paste and set it aside.
Rub the pork shoulder all over with the remaining paste, pushing some of it into the crosshatching cuts. Place the pork in a slow-cooker, cover and cook on low until meat is fork tender but not yet completely falling apart, 7 1/2 to 8 hours.

To make the sauce, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add reserved 2 tablespoons of garlic paste and let it sizzle, stirring continuously until fragrant, just about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool before whisking in the orange juice, lime juice, Serrano pepper (if using) and cilantro.

To serve; Remove the pork shoulder from the slow-cooker and slice. Serve the sliced pork over rice with the sauce drizzled on top. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

Mini S’mores

2    Cups Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1    Pkg. (14.4 oz.) Graham Crackers (quartered)
1    Cup Marshmallow Creme
14  oz. Dipping Chocolate (milk chocolate)

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips and stir with a whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature or until mixture reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.

Spread a bit of chocolate chip mixture on each half of the graham crackers. Spread a bit of marshmallow creme on the other half of the graham crackers and then press each one together with a chocolate sided graham cracker to make a sandwich. Gently press the sides together so they stay in place.

Melt the dipping chocolate according to package directions. Dip each s’more sandwich halfway into the dipping chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until dipping chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 4 dozen mini s’mores.

Shrimp Pasta Salad

3    Tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. Salt (divided)
12  oz. Uncooked Orecchiette Pasta
3    Tbsp. plus 3/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning (divided)
1    lb. Medium-size Raw Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (from 2 lemons)
1    Tbsp. Coarse-grained Dijon Mustard
1    Tbsp. Honey
1    Cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1    tsp. Garlic (minced, from 2 cloves)
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
2    Cups Fresh Sugar Snap Peas (sliced)
2    Medium Shallots (thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup)
1/2 Cup Celery (thinly sliced)
1    Cup Fresh Dill (roughly chopped)
1/2 Cup Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley (roughly chopped)

Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside. Bring 12 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add orecchiette pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes. Using a spider skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the pasta from the boiling water to a paper towel-lined baking sheet; let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Do not remove the boiling water from the heat.
Add 3 tablespoons of the Old Bay seasoning to the boiling water (from the pasta) and boil for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp. Let cook until pink and  just cooked through, about 2 minutes; drain. Immediately transfer shrimp to the ice water; let shrimp cool completely, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and honey in a medium size bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until smooth and combined. Whisk in minced garlic, crushed red pepper, black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning until combined.

Place the pasta, shrimp, sugar snap peas, shallots, celery, dill and parsley in a large bowl; add the vinaigrette mixture and toss until well coated. Serve or cover and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Serve cold. Serves 6

Peach Popsicles

3/4  Cup Buttermilk
1/2  Cup Honey
1/4  Cup Heavy Cream
1/4  tsp. Salt
3     Ripe Peaches (peeled, diced, divided, about 2 1/2 cups)

Process the buttermilk, honey, cream, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the peaches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth, about 1 minute.

Finely chop the remaining 1 cup of peaches; stir into the buttermilk mixture. Divide peach mixture among plastic frozen pop molds, leaving some room at the top to allow for expansion.

Cover with lids and insert wooden craft sticks. Freeze until pops are completely firm and sticks are set, 6 to 8 hours. To remove pops, run outside of molds under hot water for a few seconds and remove the lids. Yields 10 popsicles. Keep frozen.

Peach Lemonade

2       Cups (12 oz.) Fresh Ripe Peaches  (unpeeled, sliced, about 2 peaches) plus more to garnish
4 1/2 Cups Water (divided)
1/2    Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4    Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (from 4 lemons)

Bring the peaches, 2 cups of water and the sugar to a gentle boil, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Continue to gently boil until peaches are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the peach syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a small pitcher, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Stir in the lemon juice and remaining 2 1/2 cups of water. Serve the peach lemonade over ice and garnish with extra peach slices. Serves 4.

Notes: You can make the peach syrup up to two weeks before you plan to use it. Store in an airtight container.

Battered Fruit Ring Pancakes

12  Apple, Pear and or Pineapple Rings (fresh or canned)
1    Cup Original Bisquick Mix
1    Egg
1/2 Cup Milk

Heat a 10 to 12 inch skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, beat the Bisquick mix, egg and milk with a whisk until well blended.
Dip the fruit rings, one at a time, into the batter; place in the hot skillet.

Cook until a deep golden brown on each side (like a pancake). Serve hot fruit rings with warm maple syrup. Serves 4.

Note: If you are using apple rings, if desired, you can add a bit of cinnamon to the batter for a nice apple pie flavor.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Ham and Peppers

8    oz. Baked Ham (cut into 1/4 inch dice, about 2 cups)
1    Bell Pepper (chopped)
8    Green Onions (chopped)
8    oz. Cheddar Cheese (coarsely grated, about 2 cups)
10  (8 inch) Flour Tortillas
6    Large Eggs
2    Cups Half-and-half
1    Tbsp. All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt

Fill Tortillas: Lightly spray a 13x9 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the ham, bell pepper, green onions and 1 cup of the cheese. Place 1/3 cup of the ham mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place them seam side down in the baking dish.

Make the Egg Custard: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, flour and salt. Pour over the tortillas. Bake or cover and refrigerate overnight to be baked in the morning.

Bake the enchiladas: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. If made ahead of time, uncover the enchiladas. Scatter the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top of the enchiladas and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until set and the cheese has melted. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Note: Equal parts whole milk and cream can be substituted for the half-and-half. For a slightly less rich custard use all whole milk.

Best Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
1       Cup Sugar
3/4    Cup Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder(sifted)
1       tsp. Baking Soda
1       tsp. Baking Powder
1/2    tsp. Salt
8       Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (melted and cooled)
2       Eggs (lightly beaten)
1       Cup Strong Black Coffee (room temperature)
1       Cup Buttermilk (or plain yogurt)
1       tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2    Cup Raspberry Jam

3/4 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips (or roughly chopped semisweet chocolate)
3/4 Cup Sour Cream (room temperature)
1    Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Fresh Raspberries and Chocolate Curls for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the bottom and sides of two 8-inch cake pans, then line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and set the pans aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk and vanilla, whisk until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until the cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cakes, in their pans, to a wire rack and let then cool completely.

Once cool, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the sides of the pans and invert them onto a work surface. Peel and discard the parchment paper.

For the frosting: Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until smooth and melted. Stir in the sour cream and maple syrup. The frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting until the cakes have cooled, about one hour. The frosting will thicken as it cools.

Once cooled place one layer upside down on a serving plate and spread with raspberry jam. Place the second layer on top, again upside down so the top is flat. Use a small spatula and spread the frosting all around the sides and top of cake. Garnish with raspberries and chocolate curls if desired. Let cake sit for 1 hour before serving.

Keep refrigerated. Makes 1 8-inch 2 layer cake.

Raspberry-Mint Lemonade

1/2   Cup Sugar
1/2   Cup Water
1/2   pt. Raspberries
1/4   Cup Fresh Mint Leaves
2/3   Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
3      Cups Water
Vodka (chilled, optional)

Garnishes - optional
Sprigs of Mint
Slices of Lemon

Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, just until the sugar melts, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place raspberries and mint leaves in a pitcher. Using the end of a spoon or a muddler, crush until pulpy and smashed. Add lemon juice, the simple syrup and 3 cups of water, stir to combine. Add enough ice to fill the pitcher. Serve over ice and garnish if desired. Add vodka if desired. Serves 8.

Raspberry Sweet Tea

8       Cups Water
2       Family Size Tea Bags (or 6 regular size)
1/2    to 1 Cup Sugar (to taste)
1/4    tsp. Baking Soda*
1 1/2 Cups Chambord Liqueur
1/2    Cup Vodka (optional)

Fresh Mint Sprigs, Raspberries, Orange Slices

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then pour it into a pitcher. Add the tea bags, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, add the sugar and baking soda. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Chambord and (if using) the vodka. Let the tea cool. Pour into ice filled glasses. Garnish with raspberries and orange slices and a sprig of mint if desired. Serves 8.

Notes:* Adding baking soda to sweet tea neutralizes the tannins in tea, giving it a smoother taste.
Use more or less tea bags to make the tea as strong or weak as you desire.
Use more or less sugar to achieve the sweetness you desire.
Use filtered water for best tasting results.

Smashed Buttermilk Potato Salad

3 1/2 lb. Baby New Potatoes
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4       Tbsp. Olive Oil (divided)
1/2    Cup Buttermilk
2       Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1       tsp. Pure Honey
2       tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
2       Scallions (sliced)
1       Red Pepper (roasted, chopped)
1/4    Cup Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley (chopped)

Place the potatoes in a large pot; cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain.

Arrange the oven rack approximately 6 inches from the top of the oven and pre-heat to 450 degrees F. Rub 2 tablespoons oil on 2 large rimmed baking sheets, dividing evenly. Divide the potatoes between the 2 sheets. Working one at a time, gently press potatoes with the bottom of a glass or your palm, until crushed but still intact. Brush potatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, dividing evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, one pan at a time, turning the potatoes once, until golden brown and crisp, 22 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, honey and thyme in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add warm potatoes and toss to coat. Fold in the scallions and red pepper and parsley. Serve warm or cold. Serves 10.

Mojito Watermelon

2    Tbsp. Olive Oil
2    Strips Lime Zest (sliced)
2    Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1    tsp. Sugar
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Small Watermelon (rind discarded, sliced)
1/3 Cup Fresh Mint (torn)
Flaky Sea Salt

Whisk together the oil, lime juice and sugar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice and seed the half watermelon and toss in the dressing until coated. Arrange on a plate and garnish with lime zest, mint and sea salt. Serve chilled. Serves 8.

Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispie Treats

1/2    Cup Butter (1 stick) plus more to grease pan
1        (12 oz.) Bag Marshmallows
8        Cups Rice Krispies
2 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips (divided)
2 1/2 Cups Freeze Dried Strawberries (divided)

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with butter. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.

Fold in 2 cups white chocolate chips and 2 cups of freeze dried strawberries. Pour into the baking dish and smooth the top, being careful not to pack the Rice Krispies into the pan too much.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, until smooth. Drizzle over the top of Rice Krispies then sprinkle the remaining strawberries across that. Let sit until cool and the chocolate has hardened. About 30 minutes. Makes 15 servings.

Mexican Corn Salad

6    Ears Corn
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise  
1/4 Cup Cotija Cheese (or Feta*) plus more for garnish
Juice of 2 Limes
2    Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro** (chopped) plus more for garnish
1    Tbsp. Chili Powder plus more for garnish

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add about 1/2 inch water to a medium saucepan and salt well. Bring to a simmer. Add the corn, cover and cook until corn is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a serving bowl, toss corn with mayonnaise, cotija, lime juice, cilantro and chili powder. Season  generously with salt. Top with more cotija, cilantro and a sprinkle of chili powder before serving. Serves 4.

Notes: *If you are not a fan of Cotija Cheese you can use Feta Cheese instead.
** Not a fan of Cilantro? Well, you can use Basil or Parsley and scallions or chives would also be a delicious alternative.
Love spice? Heat this dish up a few degrees by adding fresh or pickled jalapenos and tossing them in with the rest of the ingredients.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

8  Chicken Thighs (bone in, skin on)
1  Tbsp. Olive Oil
2  Tbsp. Salt

For the Chicken Rub:
2  Tbsp. Black Pepper (coarsely ground)
1  Tbsp. Chili Powder
1  Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
1  Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1  tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1  Tbsp. Cornstarch

For Basting:
1  Cup Barbecue Sauce

Trim excess skin and fat off of the chicken thighs. Pat them dry with paper towels and place them on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath.

Sprinkle salt on both sides and place into the refrigerator, uncovered for up to 24 hours.

Remove chicken thighs from the refrigerator and pat dry again to wipe off any excess moisture.

Mix together the chicken rub ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

Drizzle olive oil onto the thighs then season all over with the chicken rub.

Smoke the chicken at 225 degrees for the first 30 minutes and then increase the temperature of the smoker to 375 degrees and continue smoking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 - 185 degrees.

Baste the thighs with barbecue sauce 10 minutes before removing them from the smoker.
Let the chicken thighs cool for about 10 minutes before eating. Makes 8 servings.

Grilled Corn w/Spicy Bacon Butter

4    Slices Bacon
1    Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter (room temperature)
1    Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1/2 Cup Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (chopped)
Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)
6    Ears Corn (shucked)

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Reserve the bacon fat.

Place the butter in a mini food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the parsley, jalapenos, bacon and 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and pulse until the butter is light green but still slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

Place each ear of corn on a separate sheet of foil and spread each one with about 1 tablespoon of the bacon butter. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and grill, turning halfway through, until corn is tender, about 6 minutes. Unwrap and spread with the remaining bacon butter. Makes 6 servings.

Grilled Baby Potatoes

20 Small/Baby Potatoes
Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Butter (melted)

Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until you can just pierce them with a knife. Make sure not to over cook them. They will finish on the grill.

Light the grill and prepare it for direct cooking, spreading the coals evenly (if using charcoal).

Drain the potatoes and place on a cutting board. Use a hard, flat surface (like the bottom of a jar) to lightly press down on each potato. Smash them so they are even but not too thin.
Drizzle the smashed potatoes with oil and season them to taste with salt and pepper. Flip them over and repeat. Top them off with finely chopped rosemary.

Place the potatoes on the grill and cook until the skin becomes golden and crispy, about 5 minutes per side. These potatoes are great straight off the grill or you can add a drizzle of melted butter before serving for extra flavor. Serves 4.

Beef Kebab Marinade

For the Marinade:
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
2    Cloves Garlic (grated)
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
2    Tbsp. Honey (divided)
2    Tbsp Dijon Mustard (divided)

For the Kebabs:
1 1/2 lb. Sirloin or New York Strip Steak (cut into 1 inch cubes)
8       oz. Baby Portobello Mushrooms (large stems removed)
1       Red Onion (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1       Green Bell Pepper (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1       Yellow Bell Pepper (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1       Red Bell Pepper (cut into 1 inch pieces)
Fresh Parsley (chopped, for garnish)

For the Marinade: Whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon each of honey and mustard in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to a small bowl; whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey and mustard to make a glaze. Set the glaze aside.

For the Kebabs: Add the marinade (not the glaze) and the meat to a plastic zip-lock bag. Seal the bag and massage it gently to coat all the meat with the marinade. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 to 450 degrees). Thread the meat, mushrooms, onion and peppers on the skewers, alternating as you like.

Grill the kebabs uncovered until grill marks form, about 4 minutes. Turn the kebabs and brush the grilled side with half of the glaze. Continue grilling until grill marks form on the bottom side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn the kebabs and brush with the remaining glaze; grill to desired degree of doneness (about 135 degrees for medium) about 1 minute more.

Let kebabs rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

2    Ears Fresh Corn on the Cob (shucked)
1    (16 oz.) Box Medium Shell Pasta
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1    (1 oz.) Packet Ranch Seasoning Mix
2    to 3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo (seeded)
1    tsp. Lime Zest
1    Tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1    Pint Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
1    (15 oz.) Can Pinto Beans (drained, rinsed)
2    Avocados (diced)
1    Orange Bell Pepper (seeded, chopped)
1/2 Medium Red Onion (chopped)
1    Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
1    Cup Mexican Cheese Blend (shredded)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the corn until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and rinse with cold water to cool. Add the pasta to the same pot of boiling water and cook for 1 minute longer than the package directions indicate. Drain, rinse with cold water and let cool.

In a blender, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning mix, 2 chipolte peppers, lime zest, lime juice and cumin. Blend until smooth. Taste and blend in a third chipotle pepper if desired.

Cut the corn off the cobs. In a large bowl, combine the corn, cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, pinto beans, avocado, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and cheese. Fold to combine. Gently fold in the dressing. Serve chilled. Serves 8 to 10.

Notes: If fresh corn is unavailable, substitute 1 1/2 cups of thawed frozen corn.

There is about 1/4 cup of ranch seasoning mix in a packet.

Sweet Chili Chicken & Veggie Foil Packs

4    16x16 inch Sheets of Heavy-duty Foil
4    (6 to 8 oz.) Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
2    Tbsp. Olive Oil 
1    tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3    Medium Zucchini (thinly sliced)
1    Large Red Bell Pepper (cut in 1 inch pieces)
1    Large Green Bell Pepper (cut in 1 inch pieces)
3    Large Ears Corn (cut into 12 even pieces)
1    Large Red Onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 Cup Asian or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1/3 Cup Pineapple Preserves
3    Tbsp. Brown Sugar
3    Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce
1    tsp. Apple Cider or Rice Wine Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray the center of each of the 4 foil sheets with cooking spray. Divide the zucchini between the 4 sheets in a single layer. Arrange the bell pepper over the zucchini. Season with additional garlic salt and pepper to your taste.
Rub the chicken pieces with oil and season with garlic salt and pepper on all sides. Place one piece of chicken in the center of each foil sheet of vegetables. Arrange 3 pieces of corn and some onion slices around the chicken.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the chili sauce, preserves, brown sugar, teriyaki and vinegar. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Brush over each piece reserving about 1/4 cup for later.

Bring 2 edges of foil together and fold leaving an air pocket around the chicken. Crimp the edges to seal. Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Then carefully open each packet and continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until juices run clear from the thickest part of the chicken. Turn oven to broil. Brush with remaining sauce and broil for 3 to 5 minutes to char. Let rest for 5 minutes then serve. Serves 4.

Fish and Veggie Foil Packs

2    Cups Fresh Asparagus (trimmed, halved)
1    Cup Sugar Snap Peas (trimmed, halved)
1    Cup Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
4    Cod Fillets
1/4 Cup Kraft Lite Zesty Italian Dressing
2    Cloves Garlic (minced)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine vegetables; spoon onto centers of 4 large sheets of heavy-duty foil. Top with a cod fillet.

Mix the dressing and garlic until blended; drizzle over the fish. Fold the foil to make a sealed packet for each of the 4 sheets. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Cut a slit in the foil to release steam before opening the packets. Makes 4 packets.

Grilled Pork Chops

1/4 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
2    Cloves Garlic (minced)
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
4    Boneless Pork Chops

Mix together the honey, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add the pork chops, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Heat the grill over medium-high heat and cook until seared and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Corn, Tomato & Gnocchi Foil Packs

1    lb. Gnocchi (store-bought, uncooked)
4    Ears Corn (shucked, kernels cut from cob, or 3 cups frozen corn, thawed)
2    Cups Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes)
2    Cloves Garlic
Salt (to taste)
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine (such as SauvignonBlanc)
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil (chopped)
Parmesan Cheese (grated, for serving)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Cut 4 sheets of heavy duty foil about 12 inches long. Divide the gnocchi, corn, tomatoes, butter and garlic evenly between the foil sheets. Season each packet with salt (to taste) and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Drizzle the white wine evenly among each packet.

Fold the foil packets crosswise over the mixture to completely cover the food. Roll the top and bottom edges to seal. Place the packets on the grill and cook until tomatoes burst and gnocchi is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle each packet with basil, Parmesan and black pepper and serve. Makes 4 packets.

Breakfast Rolls

1       Cup Warm Water
1       Tbsp. Yeast
1       Tbsp. Sugar
1       Tbsp. Oil
1       tsp. Salt
2 1/2 to 3 Cups Flour
2       Tbsp. Butter (melted)
2       Cups Cheddar Jack Cheese (shredded)
12     to 15 Slices Bacon (thin, cooked, chopped)
6       Breakfast Sausages (cooked, chopped)
4       Large Eggs (scrambled)

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and let sit for about 3 to 4 minutes, until yeast is bubbling. Add in the oil, salt and flour. Start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, mix together, then add more until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the mixing bowl. Continue mixing for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray the countertop with non-stick cooking spray and roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush the dough with the melted butter then spread with scrambled eggs. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, reserving about 1/2 cup for later. Spread the bacon and sausage over the cheese.
Starting with one of the long sides of the rectangle, roll dough up tightly, working from one end to the other end horizontally. Pinch the seam closed.

Use a sharp knife to cut 1 1/2 inch slices of dough from the roll. About 15 slices in all. Set the slices on a large, grease baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and top slices with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and rolls are just beginning to turn golden brown. Brush with melted butter again, if desired. Makes 15 rolls. Serve warm. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.

Grilled Pineapple Sundaes

Cooking Spray
4    Slices Fresh Pineapple
4    Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream 
1    Cup Whipped Cream Topping
1/2 Cup Caramel Ice Cream Topping (warmed up)
1/4 Cup Shredded Toasted Coconut

Heat a grill pan on medium heat and coat it with cooking spray. Grill the pineapple slices for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until heated through and grill marks appear.

Place each slice on an individual serving plate. Top each slice with a scoop of ice cream and whipped topping. Drizzle with the hot caramel ice cream topping and sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

2    Cups Bisquick Mix
1    Cup Milk
2    Large Eggs
1    tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1    Tbsp. Butter (for the pan)
10  Rings Pineapple Slices
10  Maraschino Cherries
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)

For Serving:
1 Cup Whipped Cream (or more to taste)
Maple Syrup

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Bisquick, milk, eggs and vanilla.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and drop about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Top the pancake with a pineapple ring and add a cherry in the center of it. Sprinkle with some of the brown sugar and cook until the edges start to bubble, about 1 minute. Flip the pancake and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 3 minutes or until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Hold cooked pancakes in a warm oven until all are made. Serve immediately with whipped cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. Makes 10 pancakes.

Grilled Breakfast Pizza

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1    lb. Refrigerated Pizza Dough (at room temperature)
8    oz. Bulk Breakfast Sausage
2    Bell Peppers (1 red, 1 green, chopped)
1    Small Onion (chopped)
2    Cups Frozen Shredded Hash Browns (thawed, squeezed dry)
3/4 tsp. Salt Black Pepper (to taste)
2    Cups Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
6    Large Eggs Fresh Chives (chopped, for topping)

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Brush an upside-down sheet pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Shape the pizza dough into an 11x14 inch rectangle and place on the oiled, upside down sheet pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet on the grill. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces and stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a plate. Add the bell peppers and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the hash browns, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring until the hash browns soften and start turning light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hash brown mixture to the plate of sausage. Remove the skillet from grill.

Carefully slide the dough off the pan and onto the grill. Cook, uncovered until bubbles start to form on top and the bottom is marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a large spatula to flip the dough, marked side up, back onto the upside-down sheet pan.

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese all over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top evenly with the sausage, hash brown and vegetable mixture. With the back of a large spoon, make 6 small wells in the toppings and carefully crack an egg into each well. Slide the pizza off the pan and back onto the grill. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 12 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the grill to a cutting board. Season the eggs with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Garnish with the chives. Serves 6.

Strawberry Glazed Baby Back Ribs

1  Rack Baby Back Ribs
3  to 4 Tbsp. Balsamic Glaze
2  Large Sweet Onions (sliced into thin rings)

Dry Rub:
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1    Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
1    Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1    tsp. Cumin
1    tsp. Flaky Sea Salt (or just salt)
1    tsp. Freshly Cracked Black Peppercorns
1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the onions down the center of the foil.
Combine the dry rub ingredients into a small bowl and mix using a small whisk or a fork.

Rinse and pat dry the slab of baby back ribs. Brush the ribs with 3 to 4 tablespoons of balsamic glaze, rub half of the rib rub on the bottom of the ribs. Lay the seasoned side of the ribs onto the sliced onions. Rub the remaining rib rub onto the top of the ribs.
Place the ribs into the 350 degree F. preheated oven, on the center rack. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. After 2 1/2 hours brush the ribs with the strawberry simple syrup mixture and continue to bake ribs for 30 minutes longer.

Remove the ribs from the oven and brush them using the strawberry bbq sauce. Allow the ribs to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the 1 cup of sliced strawberries, and serve with remaining strawberry bbq sauce.

Strawberry Simple Syrup:
2   Cups Fresh Strawberries (divided)
1   Cup Granulated Sugar
1   Cup Water

Remove the stem and clean the berries. Cut 1 cup of the berries into quarters, cut the remaining  1 cup of berries into half slices, set aside for garnishing the ribs.

Add the quartered berries to a saucepan, add sugar and water and heat over medium-high heat until it comes to a low boil. Use a potato masher to break up the strawberries. Continue to stir and cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes, then strain the mixture into a jar (mason jar or similar) and screw on the lid. Set aside.

Strawberry BBQ Sauce:
6 oz. Bottle Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
6 oz. Strawberry Preserves

In a small bowl, combine the bbq sauce and the preserves and stir to combine.

Glazed Strawberry Bread

2       Cups All-purpose Flour
1       tsp. Baking Soda
1/2    tsp. Salt
1/4    tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1       Large Egg (at room temperature)
3/4    Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4    Cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
1       Cup Buttermilk
1/3    Cup Vegetable Oil (or Canola)
2       tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Strawberries (rinsed, dried, chopped)
1       Tbsp. Flour (for strawberries)

1 Cup Confectioners’  Sugar
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream (or milk)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make Bread: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk the egg, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until combined. Make sure there are no brown sugar lumps remaining. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk until there are no more lumps. Do not overmix or your bread will be tough.

After you clean, dry and chop the strawberries, toss them with the 1 tablespoon of flour. Carefully fold them into the bread batter. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cover the bread loosely with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excess browning. Check the bread with a toothpick poked in the center of loaf  for doneness at 50 minutes. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done. If not, bake a few minutes longer. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before glazing and slicing.
Make the Glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and cream together until combined and creamy smooth. Drizzle over the bread immediately before serving. Bread stays fresh, covered tightly at room temperature for up to 1 week. The breads’ flavor and moisture intensify on the second day. Makes 1 - 9 inch loaf.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Loin

1    Tbsp. Oil
1    (3 to 4) lb. Pork Loin (excess fat removed)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1    Large Onion (sliced in thin rounds)
4    Cloves Garlic (chopped)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2    Tbsp. Soy Sauce

Season all sides of the pork loin roast generously with salt and pepper. Place sliced onions in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and sear the pork loin on all sides until golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and place on top of the onions in the slow cooker.

Turn off the heat on the skillet and add the garlic, water, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir together the ingredients, making sure to scrape up any brown bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the pork loin and then pour the soy sauce mixture over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees F.
Once cooked, remove the pork loin to a plate and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. While the pork loin is resting, pour the sauce and juices from the slow cooker into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow the sauce to thicken, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve over sliced pork loin. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuscan Roasted Veggies

2    Small Zucchini
1    Red Onion
1    Red Bell Pepper
1    Yellow Bell Pepper
1    Orange Bell Pepper
3    Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt (to taste)
3    Garlic Cloves (unpeeled)
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1    tsp. Fresh Oregano (or dried flakes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash, dry and clean all the vegetables, then cut them in half. Toss the vegetables in the oil and a pinch of salt.

Place all the vegetables, including the garlic, on an oven grill, pizza pan or parchment lined baking sheet.
Place the grill into the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through but not overcooked. Remove from the oven and let cool just enough for handling.

Slice all vegetables to desired thickness (about 1/2 inch to 1 inch), and peel and slice garlic cloves.

In a large bowl or serving dish, combine the vegetables with the parsley and oregano. Mix well and season to taste.

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

1/4    Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4    Cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1/4    Cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)
2       Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut crosswise in half)
1/2    Cup All-Purpose Flour
2       Large Eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 Cups Marinara Sauce
1       Cup Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
2       Tbsp. Fresh Parsley (chopped, for garnish)

For the Spaghetti Squash:
1   (2 to 3 ) lb. Spaghetti Squash
2   Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat it with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise from the stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the squash, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create long strands.

Place flour in a small bowl, set aside. Place beaten eggs in another small bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Working one at a time, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat.

Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool before dicing into bite-size pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a large oven-proof skillet or baking dish or coat it with non-stick spray.
Add the spaghetti squash strands to the prepared skillet or baking dish and layer with chicken and marinara sauce; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Then set the oven to broil and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Watch closely so as not to burn it. Serve immediately, garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serves 4.

Chocolate Potato Cake

1    Cup Butter (softened)
2    Cups Sugar
2    Large Eggs (room temperature)
1    Cup Mashed Potatoes (cold, without added milk or butter)
1    tsp. Vanilla Extract
2    Cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
1    tsp. Baking Soda
1    Cup Milk
1    Cup Walnuts or Pecans (chopped)

Caramel Icing:
1/2 Cup Butter (cubed)
1    Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1/4 Cup Evaporated Milk
2    Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extra

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add potatoes and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition, Stir in the nuts. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to  wire racks to cool completely.

For the icing: In a saucepan over low heat, cook butter and brown sugar until butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in evaporated milk; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread between layers and over top of cake.

Makes 1 - 9 inch round, 2 layer cake, serves 12.

St. Patrick’s Day Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa (plus a bit more for dusting tops of finished cupcakes*)
2    Cups Sugar
2    Cups All-purpose Flour
1    tsp. Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1    Bottle Stout Beer (recommended: Guinness)
1    Stick Butter (melted)
1    Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
3    Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1    (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese (softened at room temperature)
3/4 to 1 Cup Heavy Cream
1    lb. Confectioners’ Sugar (1 box)
* Or use St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease or line 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake for another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of pan.

To make the icing: In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled.

Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa or festive sprinkles.
Yields 24 cupcakes.

Vintage Butter Cake

2    Cups Sugar
4    Large Eggs (room temperature)
2    tsp. Vanilla Extract
3    Cups All-purpose Flour
1    tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1    Cup Buttermilk

Butter Sauce:
1       Cup Sugar
1/2    Cup Butter (cubed)
1/4    Cup Water
1 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees F. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and center tube of pan. Invert cake onto a wire rack over waxed paper.

For the sauce: Combine the sugar, butter and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in the extracts.
Poke holes in the top of the warm cake; spoon 1/4 cup of sauce over the cake. Let stand until the sauce is absorbed. Repeat twice. Poke holes into sides of cake; brush remaining sauce over the sides. Cool Completely.

Yields 1 cake, 16 servings.