Creamy one-pan Mac & Cheese

DSC00751-2Who can resist ooey, gooey, cheesy macaroni and cheese? The only thing that could make it better, in my mind, is that it gets on my fork faster.  Enter Barilla Pronto elbow macaroni.  I didn’t even have to drain water from this pasta.  You throw it in the pan, cover it with water, the water simmers off, and you throw in the rest of the ingredients and mix. Delicious, and seriously only 10 minutes from the time I dumped the noodles in the pan until the time I was sitting down, making myself take pictures while I really wanted to get it in my mouth.  So good!

Get the recipe for Cheesy One Pan Mac & Cheese, featuring Barilla Pronto elbows

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Sweet & Spicy St. Louis Ribs

Sweet & spicy St. Louis RibsSummer time means grilling, and nothing is better on the grill than a rack of fall apart, melt-in-your-mouth ribs from Smithfield.  Messy, sticky goodness.  There are lots of opinions when it comes to ribs, but for me Midwest is best. Not too much vinegar, not too much fire.  Just a nice balance of sweet and spicy.

Grab a lemonade or a beer – or a shandy for two birds with one stone, and throw these on the grill and let them go low and slow.  Your patience will be rewarded.  Easy to make, delicious to eat, get the recipe here and get grilling.

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Brown Sugar Sour Cream Pound Cake

Brown Sugar Sour Cream Pound Cake

We take a small break from our regular AllRecipes programming to bring you this special recipe from King Arthur Flour.  I made this tonight because it sounded good and…it is.  I had to share.

So imagine a sugar cookie in cake form.  That’s what this one tastes like.  Light and tender, this has a beautiful crumb, and pairs well with fruit and whipped cream.  It’s simple ingredients that I had on hand, but the flavor is surprisingly complex.  A little brown buttery, and the vanilla really shines through.

Be a little careful when you de-pan this one – it’s a little more delicate than it looks.  I flipped mine out of the pan and it cracked in a couple places.  But if that happens, just let it cool, slice it up and arrange the slices nicely on a tray.  No one will know the difference.  Or care – it will taste the same either way and that taste is delicious!

Get the recipe at King Arthur Flour and make this one soon!

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Heavenly Lemon Cake


Love lemon?  This is the cake for you.  A delicious pound cake, it’s dense, tart, and the glaze just puts that lemony goodness right over the top.

I made a few changes to the main recipe but I think it would also be great as is.  Instead of cooking granulated sugar with the lemon juice, I used powdered sugar.  And I used Meyer lemons which both give this a slightly milder, sweeter flavor.

Give it a try – you won’t be sorry. I think this cake would be delicious with different fruits, also.  Orange is one I want to try.  Or just almond flavoring.  Or vanilla.  Or orange and vanilla.  Or…

Get the recipe for Heavenly Lemon Cake at

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Cookies from Across the Pond

Shanny's Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the assignments for this month was an optional one – make something from the AllRecipes UK site.  Clearly I’ve stepped WAY out of my comfort zone here to make something so quintessentially British…chocolate chip cookies.

Ok maybe not, but I really wanted some chocolate chip cookies and was curious how these would turn out.  The recipe itself seemed a little bit off – a lot of flour and not as much sugar as I’m used to using in ratio.  But I must admit these cookies turned out great.

Not like Tollhouse cookies, these got a bit of a crinkle on top, and they are not quite as sweet as the chocolate chip cookies I’m used to.  They also didn’t spread much at all. But they baked into cookies that are lightly crispy around the edges, softer in the middle…very bakery like.  I’m looking forward to trying this recipe with my large cookie scooper.

In any case I’d seriously recommend giving these a go.  They’re delicious and I think with a few inevitable tweaks they could be even better :)

Get the recipe – Shanny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Dark Chocolate Guilt Free Banana Bread


I love banana bread.  And I’m very particular about banana bread.  It needs to be the right texture, the right density, the right flavor.  So I don’t like to mess with my tried and true banana bread recipe.

However, I work with a group of people with some particular dietary requirements and restrictions.  Some by choice, some by necessity, but I respect them all.  And as a picky eater, it’s always frustrating when there’s food but nothing I like or can eat.  So I try my best to be inclusive when I bring treats to work.

This recipe was born out of a challenge I made for myself – bring a treat everyone could eat and enjoy.  Often I find myself bringing “normal” brownies for most people and bringing something that’s healthier (no processed sugar, etc.), and something gluten-free.  This time I wanted to bring a single thing for everyone.

Tampering with the banana bread recipe was a seriously risky move, but no guts, no glory right?  This one played to rave reviews.  It contains no added fat, no processed sugar, and is gluten free.  I think with a few tweaks you could also make it vegan. It’s packed with flavor, the texture is even better than my standard banana bread, and I was asked several times for the recipe, which you can now find here, or you can add it to your recipe box at


Dark Chocolate Guilt Free Banana Bread


: 8-10

  • 1 cup over-ripe, mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 4 oz apple sauce (1 single-serve cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C agave
  • 1½ C all purpose, gluten-free flour
  • ½ t salt
  • ¾ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1½ T King Arthur cake enhancer (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (reduce to 325 degrees for dark non-stick pans).
  2. Line a large loaf pan with parchment, or spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, eggs, bananas, vanilla and agave. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add cinnamon, soda, powder, salt and flour and mix until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top of the loaf, and with a knife, gently stir into loaf, leaving some chips visible on top.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean (except maybe for melted chocolate on it).


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Movember shortbread cookies


Now that it’s late November, there are quite a few moustaches walking around our office.  So since I can’t grow one, and if I could I would not show it off…I decided I’d make a few of my own.

These Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies are delicious if a little delicate.  I think I shouldn’t have tried using cookie cutters on them – they spread like mad, but I just cut and stamped them after the fact.  So they’re a bit thinner than was intended, but they’re delicious. The addition of Diamond Crystal Salt really brings out the butter flavor in these easy to make cookies.

Get the recipe here.

To learn more and support Movember causes, click here.

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

PAM Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

I hadn’t posted for months, and tonight I post two things.  Work has been extra-special crazy lately, and today I had a couple assignments to knock out for  It’s an awesome excuse to actually take a breath, go to the store, and make something good.

Today’s second offering is a really decadent but so simple dessert/pastry.  This one reminds me of a coffee cake my mom used to buy.  I used to have a slice then take sliver after tiny sliver.  The slivers don’t count, do they?  I hope not because I’ve had about 5 slivers of this beauty tonight.

Think cheesecake meets danish.  And all it takes is some crescent roll dough, cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, butter and honey.  Half the dough goes on the bottom layer, with a nice spray of PAM under it to ensure it doesn’t stick to the dish.  Then a layer of cream cheese whipped with sugar and vanilla, another layer of crescent dough, then spread cinnamon butter on top and bake it for about a half hour.  Then when it comes out, drizzle it with honey if you like – I didn’t and it tasted like danish.  If you do, it will taste like sopapilla.

What makes this one great is how completely simple it is.  A handful of ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now, and about 5 minutes of effort.  The hardest part is the waiting.

Get the recipe at

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Johnsonville Sausage Balls

Johnsonville Sausage Balls

This weekend has been ideal Fall weather – my favorite time of year.  And that always inspires heartier dishes, slightly heavier flavors.  Comfort food.  This recipe really fits the bill as a warm appetizer on a nice Fall day that you’ll have trouble walking away from until they are all gone. And better, they were really quick and easy to make.

Johnsonville provided the sausage, and I provided the appetite.  I’m a picky eater, so I left out the mushrooms and onion and just filled in with a little extra cheese (cheddar makes everything better).  And they didn’t have the ground spicy sausage at my store so I got mild Italian.  It’s my favorite sausage, and it made these just spicy enough.

The flavors mix well, they’re so easy to make…and I think I may try changing this recipe up with a few variations.  I could see making these with mozzarella instead of cheddar and dipping them in marinara, for example, or a breakfast sausage variation.

Happy Fall!  Get this Johnsonville Sausage recipe at


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The Cookie Jar


This is a quick, affordable but personal gift for anyone who likes cookies (who doesn’t like cookies)?  Just grab a quart jar and layer in the ingredients, tie the directions to the jar and it’s ready to go.  Makes a very cute combo gift for a first apartment housewarming tied up with a wooden spoon.  Or extend the gift by giving everything needed to bake them – a cookie sheet, spatula, wooden spoon and bowl.

And don’t be afraid to customize it for the person you’re giving it to.  Layer in nuts, change to milk chocolate chips.  Try peanut butter chips with chocolate chips.  Mix it up!

Use the recipe below, or get it at AllRecipes.

The Cookie Jar


: cookies
: 24 cookies

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Whisk flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, white sugar, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Stir butter and egg into flour mixture until dough is just mixed; drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until edges of cookie are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.


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