Category Archives: All Recipes

Ranch Oyster Cracker Snack

We watch every race there is on Memorial Day Weekend – Formula 1, Formula 2, Indy 500, and Nascar 600 – and I was looking for a quick and easy snack to take to a race-watching party. I’ve made these Ranch Oyster Crackers in the past and they’re always gobbled up really quickly. These crackers are crunchy, salty and tangy and perfect for a grab-me party snack.

My friend was dipping them in a bacon sour cream dip and loving them! You could use different seasonings, too, for a change, like a packet of taco seasoning or dry Italian dressing in place of the ranch flavor. Watch out, though. They’re addictive!

Ranch Oyster Crackers

****Crunchy, salty and tangy oyster cracker snack.  Easy to throw together and a party favorite!

  • 1 pkg dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • 1/4 C canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 bag (9 oz) unsalted oyster crackers
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°.  In a small bowl, stir together the ranch dressing and oil.  Put the oyster crackers in a large plastic ziplock bag and pour the dressing mix over the crackers.  Seal and shake the bag until all crackers are lightly coated.

  2. Put parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spread out evenly into one layer. Sprinkle with garlic salt.  Bake the crackers for 10 minutes, then stir lightly.  Bake another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on the pan.  Store in a tightly sealed container.

Buttery Mushroom and Jalapeno Quesadillas for One

I’m working down to the bottom of the giant basket of mushrooms that Bret brought home and besides the Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms, Cheesy Mushroom Burger, and Buttered Pasta with Mushrooms and Sausage, I came up with these savory, buttery Mushroom and Jalapeno Quesadillas.

This particular recipe is for one, but I made them last week for two and just doubled the recipe. They’re sauteed in a little butter to create the golden brown, crunchy outside and they’re filled with a cheesy and savory mushroom jalapeno mixture. I used fresh jalapeno that wasn’t really that hot but if you prefer, you can use pickled jalapenos or leave them out. The fresh jalapenos give them a nice extra crunch, though.

I loved these served with creamy sour cream, chunky salsa, and a little green onion. The flavors were perfect and we’re adding these easy quesadillas to the weekly dinner routine!

Buttery Mushroom and Jalapeno Quesadillas for One

****These were terrific with the buttery outside crunch and cheesy mushroom jalapeno filling.

Servings: 1
Author: Susan Blades
  • 4 tbsp diced fresh mushrooms (about 4 large mushrooms)
  • 1 tsp fresh jalapeno
  • 1 ½ tbsp shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 2, 6” flour tortillas
  • 2 to 3 tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream and Salsa (for condiments)
  1. Melt about a tsp of butter in a medium skillet on medium. Add mushrooms and jalapeno and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper to taste. Put mushroom mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly on one side of one tortilla. Sprinkle all of the mushroom mixture on top of the mozzarella, spreading evenly to about ¼” near the edges. Sprinkle the Mexican cheese over the mushroom mixture and place the second tortilla on top.
  3. Melt about 1 more tsp of butter in the skillet and turn heat to medium. Carefully place the quesadilla in the skillet and leave for 2-3 minutes. While it’s cooking, dot a little butter on the top tortilla. Carefully flip the quesadilla, using a spatula and your other hand and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and place on a dish – use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the quesadilla into six triangles. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:

Be sure and flip the quesadilla with both hands so the filling won't fall out.  Press down on it lightly with a spatula to bind the ingredients a little.



Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup

It was hard to choose among this month’s Cake Slice Bakers challenge choices. Besides this Pineapple Coconut Cake, there was a Lime and Poppyseed cake, Genoise with Raspberries and Cream, and a Sacher Torte. I’ve already made a Sacher Torte, so my next choice is the Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup. I was sure the pineapple-coconut-lime combination would be wonderful – and it was!

The recipe calls for “eight small fluted petit-Brioche pans,” so of course I used my 8 oz. ramekins instead. Raise your hand if you have fluted petit-Brioche pans in your cabinet. That’s what I thought. They worked fine in the ramekins, although I did find you have to fill them only about two-thirds full or they’ll overflow. It took about 12 minutes longer to cook, but they came out so fluffy and flavorful.

The cakes were so soft and wonderful, but the real show stopper was the pineapple-lime syrup you pour over them while they’re still warm. You let them cool, then serve will a little more of that sweet-tart syrup and the result is heavenly. One of those wow moments. These little cakes would be perfect a dinner party – your guests would swoon.

I’m so happy I chose these cakes for the Cake Slice Baker’s May challenge and having peeked at the June recipe choices, I know you’ll want to stay tuned! Be sure and visit the other Cake Slice Bakers’ May challenge results (see below).

Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup

Outstanding!  From Roger Pizey's World Class Cakes book.  

Servings: 8
Author: Roger Pizey
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 3/4 C superfine sugar (I used regular granulated)
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 C buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 2/3 C self-rising flour sifted
  • 1 C dry unsweetened coconut
  • 5 1/2 oz fresh or canned pineapple diced
  • For the Syrup**
  • 26 oz fresh or canned pineapple diced
  • 1 1/3 C superfine sugar
  • juice of 6 limes
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 C white rum
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.  Grease or spray eight small fluted petit-Brioche pans 41/2"x2" and place on a baking sheet.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Slowly add the eggs and buttermilk and combine well.

  3. Stir in the sifted flour, coconut and pineapple, then spoon the batter into the prepared pans.

  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  5. Meanwhile, make the syrup by combining the pineapple, sugar, lime juice and water in a pan.  Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until syrupy.  Cool, add the rum (or leftover pineapple juice) and pour through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding solids.  Cool completely.

  6. Remove the cakes from the oven when done and carefully drizzle half of the syrup, then turn them out of their pans and cool on a wire rack.

  7. Serve with the remaining syrup and some sliced pineapple on the side.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:

If you don't have self-rising flour, you can take 1 cup of flour and add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder as well as 1/4 tsp. salt.  Do that for each cup you need.

I used regular granulated sugar and sweetened coconut.  The batter seemed a little salty and I can't figure out why because there's no added salt.

I used ramekins, but you could use a loaf pan or muffin pan - just grease well and adjust the baking time accordingly.  My ramekin cakes took about 12 minutes over the original bake time.

Also, don't forget the baking sheet in case they overflow.

**I only made half the syrup and it was plenty.  I didn't "throw out the solids" because it tasted wonderful and I'll use it on ice cream or in plain yogurt.  I used canned pineapple, so used leftover pineapple juice in the syrup instead of the rum.

I couldn't turn out mine from the ramekins because they overflowed a bit, so I ate it right out of the container.  It was wonderful!  Don't forget to serve with the extra syrup.


Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms

I came into a giant tub of mushrooms (a la Costco via Bret) and am frantically looking for mushroom recipes since you can’t really freeze them for later. So far I’ve made this Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms, Cheesy Mushroom and Jalapeno Quesadillas, and Homemade Cheesy Mushroom Burgers.

I feel like I have mushrooms coming out of my ears, but haven’t gotten tired of them quite yet! So far, this Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms has been one of my favorites.

The mushrooms are cooked in a combination of olive oil and butter until softened, then the chicken breast is pounded thin, lightly dredged in a nice flour/herb mixture and lightly sauteed. The mushrooms are simmered in a balsamic mustard mixture and then ladled over the tender chicken. The sauce is nice and tangy – you can dial down the balsamic vinegar if you want it a little milder.

This was a fairly easy dish to throw together and makes a nice weeknight dinner along with a side vegetable and salad.

Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms

*** 1/2  Good , fairly quick weeknight meal.  Nice tangy sauce.

Servings: 2 -3
Author: Susan Blades
  • 1 1/2 C mushrooms , thick sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts , pounded thin
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp pureed garlic
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  1. In a nonstick pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of butter and saute the mushrooms until soft, 3-4 minutes.  Remove mushrooms from the pan into a bowl and keep warm.

  2. Combine the flour, basil, thyme, salt and pepper on a plate and dredge the chicken breasts until lightly coated.

  3. Add a teaspoon or so more of olive oil and the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan and turn heat to medium-high.  Saute the chicken, browning on each side, until done - about 6-8 minutes total.  Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm.

  4. While the chicken cooks, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard and garlic in a small bowl.  

  5. Add chicken stock to hot pan and deglaze, stirring up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium-low for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms back into the pan along with the balsamic vinegar mixture.  Stir and reduce sauce for 1-2 minutes more.  Pour over chicken and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:

We only use one chicken breast because when it's pounded thin it makes enough for us to split.




Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

These Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Oat Bars were created because I wanted a snack bar that has the best combination ever – peanut butter and chocolate chips. The oats add a great texture and the bar ends up chewy and chunky, and are an all-around great snack bar.

They were easy to throw together with ingredients you probably have in your cabinet. You can leave the cinnamon out, but I liked the added subtle spicy flavor. I had to taste test them while I was taking the photos (it’s a hard life) and liked them both warm with those gooey chocolate chips, and cooled off. I think the kiddos or grandkiddos would enjoy making these as well as eating them!

5 from 2 votes
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

These bars are full of peanut butter, chocolate chip and oatmeal goodness!  Great for a snack or dessert.  Base adapted from A Taste of Madness.

Servings: 20 -24 bars
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C butter , softened
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease or spray a 11 1/2" x 7 3/4" baking dish.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Scrape down sides of bowl if needed.  

  3. Add the egg and vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat together until well combined.

  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, oats, and cinnamon.  Add to the wet mixture, one cup at a time, until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

  5. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish and  bake for 25-30 minutes, checking at 25 minutes.  The bars should be a medium golden brown when done.  Cool bars in the pan on a rack before cutting.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:

If you don't have the size of baking dish indicated, go ahead and use a 9x9" square pan.  You could use a 13x9", but they come out rather thin and break apart easily.

Cinnamon is optional.  It's good either way.