Category: Recipes

Stuffed Baked Artichokes – Omg…this is heaven


This is heaven…

I loooove all things artichokes!  I use artichoke hearts in salads and dips and pasta dishes. There is just mysterious and wonderful about this thing called an artichoke.  They are a bit like life…hard to read from the outside and yet once you’ve unsolved their mystery they are yours to do with as you wish.  You just have to get to know them at a deeper level than meets the eye.  Okay…perhaps I’m getting a little carried away and dramatic…all to drive the point of my passion for these wild creatures.

In truth, (more…)

Suzi’s – make it in seconds…tastes like you slaved all day…Secret Salsa Hack!

I’m not kidding when I say this is the easiest and best salsa ever!  It’s almost embarrassing to share the recipe but share I must.  I just can’t keep things like this to myself. AND I want you to get all the credit when you serve it!  It’s your recipe now…

Suzi’s – make it in seconds…tastes like you slaved all day…Secret Salsa Hack!

Category: quick recipes, Recipes, Salsas and Sauces, Snacks

You can serve this salsa immediately or make ahead a few hours or even the day before to allow flavors to blend. Store covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • 1 8 oz. can Herdez brand Salsa Casera, come in mild, medium or hot (choice is yours)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 green onions chopped or 2 tablespoons or so of diced red onion


  1. Open can
  2. Pour into a serving dish
  3. Add cilantro and green onion
  4. Stir and serve!
  5. Or...
  6. If you prefer you may put all ingredients in a blender or food processor
  7. The choice is yours!
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Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball – faux pas and all!



Soooooo Easy…only 4 ingredients and it is awesome!

One night this flavor combination just popped in my head so I quickly wrote it down…a few weeks later I had the opportunity to try it out and serve it at a luncheon.  It was a hit!  I originally served it as a spread with crackers and also with celery sticks for a gluten-free option.  I’ve made it several times since and it is always well received.  I hope you’ll give try it out and taste for yourself.  Enjoy!

Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball ~ AKA CBP Cheese Ball

Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball ~ AKA CBP Cheese Ball

Quick and easy cheese ball or spread! Only 4 ingredients!


  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Additional 3/4 cup chopped pecans for rolling


  1. Place cream cheese in microwave safe bowl
  2. Heat in microwave on 50% power for 1 minute to soften
  3. Add cranberries, bleu cheese, and pecans
  4. Use electric mixer to mix together
  5. Form into a ball and roll in chopped pecans or you can serve it as a spread
  6. You may serve immediately or even better make ahead and refrigerate for flavors to blend
  7. Before serving, remove from fridge 30 minutes or so to soften
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Easy Toffee Pretzel Bark – A fabulous gourmet snack!


Toffee Pretzel Bark

Toffee Pretzel Bark

This makes a great party snack. Serve in baskets or put in small treat bags tied with ribbons. You can also use colored candy melts to coordinate with the occasion. I sometimes use colored sprinkles in place of the toffee.


  • 5 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 1 1/2 white chocolate candy melts (approximately 10 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits


  1. Line a 1/2 sheet baking pan (13" x 18") with parchment
  2. Spread pretzels evenly over the parchment, they will overlap slightly
  3. Pretzels on parchment
  4. Heat white chocolate candy melts in microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, heat for an additional 30 seconds, stir until smooth
  5. With a large spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the pretzels
  6. Sprinkle toffee bits evenly over the chocolate
  7. Allow to cool
  8. Break apart and serve or store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag
  9. Toffee Pretzel Bark in bags
  10. Enjoy!
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How to make “Apple Dumplings” an Easy and Classy Dessert!

Don’t be fooled…these Apple Dumplings look difficult….. but they are soooooo easy!  Just watch and see….

Apple Dumplings close up

Apple Dumplings with Raspberry Sauce

*Raspberry Sauce In a small saucepan, mix 1 12 oz. package frozen raspberries (unsweetened) and 2/3 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until boiling...mix 1/3 cup water and 1 Tablespoon corn starch together, stir into boiling raspberries and sugar, stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.


  • 6 Rome Beauty Apples (or other)
  • 2 Packages refrigerated pie crust rolls (4 crusts total)
  • 1 cube (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water


  1. Remove crusts from the refrigerator
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Peel and core apples - cut the bottom of the apple about 1/4 inch so it will sit flat
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon
  5. Fill the hollowed cores with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon mixture
  6. Cut 3 of the crusts in half, roll each into a ball, knead until until mixed together
  7. Using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface (granite counter works great), roll out to about 8 inches in diameter (so it will cover the apple completely)
  8. Cut 6 small pieces of the remaining crust, about 1 1/2 inches square, place on the top of each filled apple, covering the core
  9. Place apple upside down in center of dough circle
  10. Carefully wrap and pinch dough around the apple making sure dough overlaps a the bottom
  11. Place apples, pinched side down, on a baking sheet
  12. Using a pastry brush, brush with egg wash (egg/water mixture)
  13. Using a sharp knife, cut out 12 leaves, "score" each leaf with a line down the center and marks to resemble leaves
  14. Roll 6 small pieces of dough to resemble stems, pinch and flatten at one end
  15. On top of each apple, place a "stem" and 2 "leaves"
  16. Brush leaves and stem with egg wash
  17. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
  18. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes until apples are soft and crust is golden
  19. Serve with
  20. *Raspberry Sauce and vanilla ice cream, if desired
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I hope you will push out of your comfort zone and make these “Classy” Apple Dumplings!  Remember, if you can dream it… You can do it….and I just showed you how!  You can do this!  Confidence comes with practice!  You’ve heard the saying….If at first you don’t succeed….try, try, again!

Helping people gain confidence in the kitchen is my dream!  I’ve put off doing this because I was scared 🙁  I may look confident but to be honest….putting myself out there like this is SCARY!  I’m taking my own advice and just doing it!

My greatest desire is that you find your passion and “just do it”

Yours in living your passion,



How to make…Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Milk, mayonnaise and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix…It’s really that easy!  You will never buy the stuff in the bottle again!

1 pint (2 cups) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
  • Will keep 1-2 weeks depending on the freshness of your milk.
  • Variations:
  • For Bleu Cheese Dressing: add 1/3 cup of crumbled bleu cheese
  • For Creamy Dill Dressing: add 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tablespoon of fresh dill weed
  • For Creamy Bacon Dressing: add 1/4 cup of crumbled bacon bits


  1. In a 1 quart (4 cup) measuring/mixing bowl:
  2. Pour in milk up to the 1 cup line
  3. Add mayonnaise to the 2 cup line
  4. Add in the 3 Tablespoons of Ranch Dressing Mix
  5. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add fresh ground pepper, if desired.
  7. Pour into a 1 pint mason jar, or other, and refrigerate until ready to use.
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It’s Finally Here! “Nana’s Family” Cookbook available in digital format! Buy today!


Buy Now

Nana's Family Cookbook - New eBook format! Buy now


“Nana’s Family” Cookbook was originally created in 2004…

I created this special cookbook as a way of honoring my beloved grandmother, “Nana”.  “Nana” was mother to 5 children, grandmother to 17 grandchildren and great-grandmother to more than I can count.  “Nana” always had room at her table to feed whoever came to her door. “Nana’s Family” extends far beyond her natural born offspring. “Nana” taught us that there is no stranger and everyone was welcome to be a part of her family.   This cookbook is a collection of recipes collected from “Nana’s Family” they are sure to wow and delight your family!  Only 250 copies were ever printed… has never been available to the public until now!

I know you will enjoy the recipes and stories that await inside to delight you and your family!

“Nana’s Family” Cookbook contains more than 200 Beloved Family Recipes including “Nana’s” Southern Chicken and Dumplings and “Nana’s” Sunday Roast Dinner  And can be delivered to your inbox today for only $12.00  

 Buy NowNana's Family Cookbook - New eBook format! Buy now

Also, if you haven’t already joined me on my blog journey, I hope you will sign up today. Each week I will be sending out recipes as well as fun instructional videos straight to your inbox. I will be sharing my cooking and creative ideas with you and encouraging you to try them out for yourself.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of your life’s journey!  I’m delighted we have crossed paths!

Yours in cooking and creativity,






Do you stress over what to take to a potluck? Learn how you can save time and energy with a “signature dish”

What's your -Signature Dish--Tis the season for potlucks and parties….

The truth is … much as I enjoy cooking and entertaining ….. thinking about what to make and take for picnics, BBQ’s, and potlucks used to stress me out.  Now I don’t have to think about it or stress about it because I take the same things over and over.  Yep….it’s true!  That doesn’t mean that I never switch it up… means if I am in the mood to switch it up I do, and if I feel stress coming on over it I rely on my tried and true dishes that I can make quickly and easily and that still have the “wow factor”.  I even have a couple of recipes saved on my computer to print and give out to guests upon request.

In the beginning I felt a bit guilty about rotating the same recipes….

Then….. one day…… I realized this HUGE TRUTH…… musicians, magicians, comedians and motivational speakers do this very same thing!!!!!! They play the same songs, do the same tricks, and tell the same jokes and stories over and over again.  That’s how they get good at it and that’s how this idea saves time and energy!   They play to different audiences so their content is fresh to each new audience.  And yes there might be a bit of overlap from time to time but even that has its place.  Just like they don’t have to learn new songs, tricks, jokes and stories for every new gig… don’t have to learn a new recipe every time!!!!!  Repetition is now my friend and I am guilt free!

So….what is a signature dish?

 Wikipedia’s  definition of a signature dish is a recipe that identifies an individual chef. Ideally it should be unique and allow an informed gastronome to name the chef in a blind tasting. It can be thought of as the culinary equivalent of an artist finding their own style, or an author finding their own voice. In practice a chef’s signature dish often changes with time or they may claim several signature dishes.

Suzi’s definition of a signature dish is…any dish that you enjoy making and taking often.  It can be one that people look forward to you bringing because it’s not one of their signature dishes.  Or, it can also be one that you take to new or different groups.    As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t have to be one that you created on your own, though of course it can be. For me it is dishes that have received rave reviews when I’ve taken them and I love rave reviews 🙂

May your Holidays be stress free days!

Here are a two of my signature dishes…..feel free to adopt them as your own.  They are yours now 🙂


Tropical Cole Slaw for a Crowd RecipeApple Oatmeal Crunch

Save time and money with these easy recipes for ground beef…

Let’s face it….we are all very busy and sometimes getting dinner on the table can seem child eating spaghettilike a huge task.  We are often tempted to run through a drive-thru AGAIN! 🙁  Fear not….   I have some great time and money saving Prep Ahead Ground Beef Meals for you to try.  I promise, you will be able to get dinner on the table in about the same time as it would have taken you to get through the dreaded fast food restaurant.  And….best of all you will feel good knowing you saved money and fed your family a much more nutritious and delicious meal.

Bon appetit!