Another Year Gone By

Another year is coming to a close. This year has been a roller coaster ride to say the least for many, myself included. Through the highs and the lows, one of the things that have remained constant is my love of cooking for my family and friends and sharing them with you.

To wrap up this year, here are some of my favorite dishes, and yours as well it seems, that I had posted throughout the year,

This was a breakfast hit:

Cheesy Egg In A Hole With Bacon

Who can resist some hearty toast with gooey cheese, bacon and a sunny side up egg.

Beef Tips In A Marsala Wine Sauce

How can you go wrong with tender, flavorful beef tips that is cooked in a wine sauce. This little gem was in the top 5 for you guys as well when I looked at the numbers.

Bacon Cheese Chorizo Burger with Whiskey Sautéed Onions

Chorizo, bacon, cheese and whiskey sautéed onions…..need I say more?

This burger will definitely satisfy all of your burger cravings.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is a great snack for those hot summer days, or even all year around if you are a lover of ice cream like me. This one was easy to make with pre made cookie dough, but looked and tasted like the cookies were made from scratch.

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Pancetta

These have become one of my go to favorite side dishes. Many of you seemed to like the blend of rosemary, butter, sage and pancetta as well. This is such an easy side dish that that can be put together and tossed in the oven. We all like easy that’s for sure.

Baked Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

This was one of those dishes that was a personal accomplishment for me, making empanadas from scratch. My mother in law had taught me a while back how to make homemade tortillas. These make a great meal or even lunch. They are filled with seasoned chicken and smothered in cheese. But as noted in the recipe, don’t fret about having to make homemade tortillas, that was more of my personal goal. Pizza or pastry dough work just as well.

Chicken Parmigiana

Last but not least, this is one of this years most favorite comfort foods both mine and yours that I had posted. What could be more comforting than crispy breaded chicken with marinara sauce and smothered in melty cheese.

So those are the most popular and some of my favorite dishes and side dishes of the year.

I hope you ring in the new year with laughter, love, positivity and some great food. Whether you will be celebrating it with a group of family and friends, or like me and my hubby, having a nice evening in devouring some Chinese food all night long.

I wish you all the best. I hope you continue this journey with me and my little blog in the next year. I can’t wait to see what new ideas it will bring.

See you all in the next year my friends.

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Apple Cake

Original Date: December 24, 2021 Revised Date: December 20, 2022

Christmas is only a few days away. You probably already have your meal planned, everything carefully thought out for your family and friends to sit around and enjoy. But if you’re like me, dessert might be the second thought and you’re still unsure of what to serve. Look no further because this one is defiantly a crowd pleaser.

Last year my mother in law stayed with us for a few months and we were all able to celebrate the holidays together. She made this beautiful apple cake. This cake was such a delicious delight and a perfect ending for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I think this lasted maybe another day before it was totally devoured. It’s so easy to make and you never would guess that it starts with a box cake mix….and there is a lot of love in there as well of course.

This cake is so moist and tender with the taste of apples throughout. The cinnamon sugar adds the perfect touch and a little crunch on the bottom. It’s also amazing with fresh whip cream or vanilla bean ice cream… or why not add both, after all it’s for a celebration. While this cake is the perfect ending to any holiday meal, it also makes a great dessert for anytime.

Here is what you need:

*1 box yellow cake mix; use ingredients listed on the box but instead of water use milk

*1 cup sour cream

*3 red apples; peeled and thinly sliced

*1 cup sugar

*1 tsp. Cinnamon or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray a Bundt cake pan with no stick flour baking spray; set aside.

Prepare yellow cake mix according to box directions but add milk instead of the water; mix in the sour cream.

Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Pour some of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Place some of the apple slices on top then sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar mix. Pour another layer of the cake batter on top of the apple mix. Place more apples around on top of the batter then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.

Pour on the rest of the cake batter. Top with the rest of the apples and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.


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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Original Date: January 28,2021 Revised Date: December 16, 2022

This is one of my favorite comfort foods to make for those long cold winter evenings. What I like even better, is throwing it all in the slow cooker and let it do all the cooking…not to mention the delicious smell wafting from the kitchen for most of the day. There is a bit of prepping involved, but it is so worth it. The meat in this stew comes out so tender and flavorful from the herbs and spices, while the potatoes and tender carrots makes this a hearty meal. It’s even better served with some crusty bread to help soak up all of that rich, delicious stew.

Here’s what you need:

*3 TBS or more of olive oil

*2 lb. stew meat or a chuck roast cut into bite size pieces.

* 3 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices or more if you prefer more carrots

*2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks; I prefer using russet potatoes because it has more starch which helps thicken the broth, but you can use any other potato if you prefer.

*1 small onion chopped

*1/4 cup flour

*2 tsp. dried Thyme

*2 tsp. paprika

*1/2 tsp. celery seed

*2 tsp. dried rosemary

*2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. onion powder

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*cracked black pepper to taste

*1 large bay leaf

*2 cups water

*2 tsp. or more to taste Better Than Bullion Beef Base or 2 beef bullion cubes

*3 TBS. tomato paste

*2tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*cornstarch and water if needed

In a large bowl, add beef, Thyme, paprika, celery seed, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. I find it easier to just use my hands,  it’s messy but what can I say, I like playing in my food. Add the flour and toss to coat all of the beef pieces.

In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat to medium high heat; add some of the beef to the pan. Do not over crowd the pan or the meat will not brown properly. You will need to do this in small batches.

Cook about 2 minutes then turn the beef over and cook another 2 minutes. If needed, add more oil to the pan.

I will be honest and say that at times, this is my least favorite part.  I did leave this step out once and the flavor was just not the same. So with love, patience and tongs in hand, I will brown the beef.

When the beef is seared on all sides, add them to the slow cooker. Next, add in the carrots, onions and potatoes.

Stir everything together.

In a large bowl, add the water, beef bullion base, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce; mix to combine. Pour over the beef and vegetables.

Add in the bay leaf, cover and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low.

Remove the bay leaf and stir. If the broth is not thick enough stir together 1 1/2 Tbs. of cornstarch to 1 1/2 TBS. of water and stir into the stew. Cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until broth thickens.


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Pan Seared Herb Pork Chops In A Creamy Marsala Wine Sauce

These delicious pork chops are sprinkled with a few herbs, seared to perfection in butter and olive oil, then bathed in a rich, creamy marsala wine sauce. All of this is done in less than 30 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just crave a good pork chop. Whether it’s fried in a parmesan crusted coating (future post perhaps?) or seared in a pan with some simple herbs and a nice sauce that lets the pork shine through. I choose the latter. This was definitely a hit with hubby, who isn’t always keen on pork chops. The only thing that I would have loved to add to this dish are mushrooms, but considering how hubby reacts to mushrooms as a vampire to sunlight, I had to forgo those little morsels of delight. But even without them, this dish is one of those that makes you close your eyes and savor each bite. And the sauce…..oh my the sauce…I could drink it with a straw it’s that tasty.

This is a great dish when you want a quick, but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen, kind of meal. Serve it over rice, mashed potatoes or even buttered egg style noodles. Make sure you have some nice, crusty bread to soak up all of that delightful sauce since licking ones plate might not go over to well if you have company at the table. But if it’s just you and your significant other….lick away my friend….lick away.

Here’s what you need:

*Boneless pork chops; you can do this with bone in as well but cook a little longer

*Rosemary, fresh or dried to taste

*Thyme, fresh or dried to taste

*Tarragon, fresh or dried to taste ( I used a little since tarragon can be a little over powering)

*salt to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*1 TBS. olive oil or more if needed

*2 TBS. butter

*1/2 cup Marsala wine

*1 cup chicken stock

*1/2 cup cream or half and half

Sprinkle both sides of the pork with the herbs, salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast iron pan to medium high and add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter is melted place the pork chops into the pan. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pork over and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. While cooking, tilt the pan and spoon the butter mixture over the pork.

Take the pork out of the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and carefully pour in the marsala wine. Let it cook for about 1 minute while scrapping the bottom of the pan to loosen any seared bits on the bottom of the pan. Those are indeed little chunks of flavor.

Pour in the chicken broth.

Turn the heat back up to medium high and let the sauce continue to cook until the sauce starts to reduce and thickens slightly; about 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce heat down to medium and stir in the cream. Place the pork chops back into the pan with the sauce.

Cook until the pork chops are warm and are cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes (145F minimum).

Serve and Enjoy!

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