Fall Favorite #4

Growing up in Tennessee, family gatherings were not sparse. We got together for any occasion and then just to get together. With sixteen, grandchildren I can only imagine the chaos we caused my grandmother.

My Aunt Sue always had a Christmas morning breakfast. It wasn't just family, it was neighbors and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday. As kids that was the best morning. We opened presents, then got dressed to head to her house for the most amazing breakfast.

She has gorgeous Christmas china. I have had a fascination with it ever sense. Maybe that's why I now have not one set, but three. She had powdered donuts on the tiered platters. I know it doesn't seem that special, but when those little white rings are on Christmas china, they look pretty darn good.

One thing she always had was sausage balls. My mom didn't like them, so she never made them. Aunt Sue always had them. She would make them ahead of time and freeze them. So they are ready in a jiffy.

This is one of those foods that bring back memories, smells, and feelings of Christmas morning at her house. Try them today

You can find a ton of different recipes for sausage balls on the web. The pioneer woman has a spicy variety that is delicious. This time I just made the basic. To be honest, I don't measure. I just dump it in. Here is my best guess.

Sausage Balls
1 of of sausage
1 -1.5 cups bisquick
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all in a large bowl. Using a cookie scoop to make them the same size, scoop out a ball and roll with your hands.

Bake at 375 until brown and the sausage is cooked.


Hot and Creamy Jalapeño Dip

I found a recipe Saturday morning to take to a little party friends where having. It was a jalapeño Dip that was served warm with bread.

Having never made it before, I had no idea what to expect. It was okay! Nothing great, not really terrible, but not what I wanted.

Today I made it again and added all the things that I thought would amp it up and make it an amazing Dip.

It turned out perfectly spicy and delicious. I put it on allrecipes as my first submission. Check it out.



Fall Favorites #2

The air is cooler, the grass is getting crunchy, and the leaves are turning. That can only mean fall is here!

In Wyoming fall isn't only cooler, sometimes it is downright cold. There has been rain and drizzle for three days. So there is only one thing to do, make soup!

I love making soup. Any kind will do. There is something about chopping and mixing that creates a soulful concoction.

Today it was chicken noodle. This is the easiest soup to whip up in no time at all.

Frozen peas
Frozen noodles
Watkins chicken broth mix

I don't really measure this out. It's more of a toss and see what it looks and tastes like.

In a large pot mix the chicken mix and water. Add the mix according to the package directions for the amount of water you added.

Let it come to a boil. At this point add the chicken. You can use any kind you like. I sometimes you leftover rotisserie chicken shredded. If using fresh, you can chop and sauté in a pan, boil in water then shred, or bake breasts in the oven sprinkles with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Either way works, just chop or shred and add to the broth.

Next add the carrots and peas. I use dehydrated carrots. They are one of my top pantry items. Just drop a handful or two into the pot. They will plump up to perfect pieces. If using raw dice to bitesize pieces and add. Also add peas to your desired tastes.

Finally add the frozen noodles. Let them thaw on the counter until they are soft. I sometimes put them in the microwave for 25 second bursts. Drop one at a time into the soup. It is time consuming, but if you drop the whole thing it will be one big lump.

Let cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer. When the noodles are plump and thick, taste the broth. Watkins contains no salt. So you will need to adjust to taste with salt and pepper.


It’s what I dreamed about!


I woke up the other day with a craving for this soup inside a delicious bread bowl. Luckily for me the local grocery store carries fresh made bread bowls, and I found a recipe for the soup.  Within minutes, yes minutes I had mouth watering soup steaming inside a delicious bread bowl.

My picky eater son would not touch the soup. However he would dip the bread into my soup and eat that.  Weird!!

This was perfect on a snowy blowy morning.  I think it will freeze well to be enjoyed many times through the winter.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



1/2 cup butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1-2 pkgs (16 ounces each) frozen chopped broccoli

7 cups of hot water mixed with Watkins Chicken soup base or 4 cans of chicken broth

1 pound (1 box) of processed cheese, cubed. (I used 1.5 boxes)

1-2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste


1. Melt butter in a large soup pan. Toss in onions and sauté until tender.  Stir in the broccoli (depending on how much broccoli you want add 1 or 2 bags)  and cover with the chicken broth.  Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Reduce heat, and stir in the cubed cheese. Stir until completely melted. Paying careful attention that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

3.  Add the cream. Stir to combine.  Next mix the cornstarch and the water. Add to the soup mixture.  Stir to incorporate. Stir often until thickened to your liking.  Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

4. Pour into bread bowls.  Enjoy





Sausage Pinwheels! A breakfast Must


I am from the south and one thing that you find everywhere around the holidays is sausage balls. These are made with sausage, cheese, and Bisquick. Then rolled into balls and baked. They can be stored in the fridge and popped in the microwave whenever you need a little snack or a quick breakfast.

My mother always detested these creations. She mentioned more than once that they tasted like flour. I however adore them. Mom changed things to her liking.  I don’t remember when she started making these pinwheels, but they are really delicious. When I make either this recipe or the sausage ball recipe I make a double or triple batch so that I can freeze them. If you have to make a mess it might as well be a big mess!


Sausage Pinwheels

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 1 tube crescent roll dough
  • 6-8 Swaggerty’s sausage patties
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Unroll the package of crescent rolls. Pinch all seams to create a large rectangle.Place and flatten the sausage onto the dough


Sprinkle the cheese all over the sausage. Beginning at the long side roll it up. Go slowly and pinch any seams that are ripping open as you roll. Pinch the last seam to the roll securing it.



Slice it using a serrated knife about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown about 10-15 minutes.


Mandy’s Shepard’s Pie!

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have this great friend Mandy who can do everything. I swear if it amazes me sometimes. I am beginning to wonder if she is human. No normal person can know or have knowledge of that much criteria. I mean really. What is up with that!

Anyway I was never a fan of the Shepard’s Pie meal until I tried her recipe. Actually I was not even aware of her recipe until my husband wanted to it made for dinner one night and remembered when Mandy cooked for hunters one year and made her version. So I texted her right away and got the recipe.

Yes, it is good. Okay it’s not good it is amazing. The can of tomato soup adds a sweetness to it and it is just fabulous. I would love to take credit for it, but alas I can not. It’s hers. But I make it often and the kids insist on taking it in their lunches to school and then all the other kids tell my kids how they have the best mom who makes all the best meals and I feel awesome.


Here is the recipe. The picture above was right before I put it in the oven to do its magic and heat up wonderfully. I was going to take a picture afterwards, but after everyone dug in, it wasn’t as pretty, plus i didn’t get it sealed on one side with the mashed potatoes and it kind of sprang a leak which wasn’t as pretty anymore. So you only get the pretty half cooked picture!

I also doubled the meat because our packages come in 2 pounds or 2.5 pounds. So I just cooked it all, added 2 bags of frozen mixed veggies, and 3 cans of tomato soup. Maybe 2 would have been plenty, but I love to just make things bigger and bigger. It is what I do. Not sure how or why, but I always end up with my pans filled to the top with whatever I am making. They just always seem to grow.

Mandy's Amazing Shepard's Pie

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 5-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • milk or cream
  • butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef and onion.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the mixed vegetables and the can of tomato soup.  Pour into a casserole dish.

Mash the potatoes. Add milk, cream, or butter to taste. Season with salt and butter.  Drop by large spoonfuls across the top of the casserole. Then spread to cover completely. Make sure edges are sealed with mashed potatoes. Top with the cheddar cheese.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.


The Best Breakfast Casserole! Did I mention the BEST!!


Okay here is the deal. I am a very picky eater. I know comes as a surprise huh?  I would never guess that as much as I like to cook that I am actually very picky. I like things just right and I like things to cook just right. Well when it comes to breakfast casseroles I have a great dislike for them.

I have had my fair share of having to cook them for different reasons. One is that it is an easy dish for serving to lots of people at once. It is a one dish meal, which means less mess and less clean up.  However I hate some of the ingredients when they cook together in a 13×9 inch pan. I know, I’m weird.

My first big pet peeve is that with the usual casserole it is eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, and shredded potatoes or hash browns. Well I can never get it right. They eggs are either still runny and the edges are brown, or the eggs are done and the potatoes are not finished. You get my drift it is just such a variance in cooking.  Plus here is the biggie, I hate eggs! I know it is almost un-country of me. I grew up raising chickens and gathering eggs. However after my son was born. I can’t stand them. So runny eggs in a casserole almost makes me loose last nights ice cream and cookies.

One of my dear friends gave me this recipe and I must say it is my FAVORITE!! Not only is it good, but it comes out perfect every time. It also tastes awesome heated up for leftovers. You simply, No you MUST try this ASAP. You will be amazed at how easy and how good it is.

For the record I use Swaggerty’s Sausage because: 1. it is amazing, and 2. it is made near my home town. So I have to use it and I enjoy using it. Ever since they brought it to Sam’s Club in Casper, Oh my I buy like 8 boxes when I go up. Love this stuff.

I have also made this with bacon. I added cheddar and Monterey cheese  it was divine.

So hurry. Start cooking it. Make it for lunch, or supper, Just make it!

Flawless Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 container of Grands biscuits, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small can of chilled or jalapeños
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cook and crumble the sausage until no longer pink.  Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Arrange the biscuit pieces over the bottom. Mix up the eggs and milk.  Add the salt and pepper to the eggs and stir.

Layer the sausage and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese over the biscuits. Sprinkle the chilled or jalapeños next. (These can be left out.)  Pour the egg mixture over the casserole.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Cook for casserole at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy! You will trust me!

Sometimes I need a little taste of Summer.

Here in Wyoming we are still in the dead of winter. I know that the first day of spring is just around the corner, but I am not sure Mother Nature has gotten the memo.  I am one of the few who enjoys the continuous snow, the cold mornings, the frost on the car windows. I will stop now. It is getting close to calving and we need a little warm weather. So I will appreciate a little rise on the thermometer.

Every now and then, when the wind is howling and the snow is still blowing,  I get a craving for a little piece of summer. You know that dish that will remind you that warm weather is not so far away. Well last week I was browsing through my recipe program and came across an all time favorite. I couldn’t resist. I had to make it. My husband had been complaining that I we did not have any lettuce or fresh veggies. So the next time I  was in town I purchased all the ingredients to whip up this summer time salad.  It is so fun to put together and even prettier to look at. But the taste, is amazing. Everything just mixed together to make a fabulous dish.  Let me say that my husband and I devoured this salad.   So run to the store and whip this baby up. You won’t regret it.

You can almost feel summer when you bite into this salad.

Southern Layered Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups swiss cheese, shredded, 8 oz
  • 1 package frozen peas, thawed, 10 oz
  • 1 medium purple onion, diced
  • 6 hard cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups turkey, bacon, or ham, chopped or crumbled
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

Mix together mayo, salad dressing, milk, dry mustard, salt and pepper. In a large bowl or 13×9 inch pan layer 1/2 lettuce, and 1/2 of the cheese, peas, eggs, turkey or bacon. Spread 1/2 of the mayo mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and chill 8 hours.


Dawna’s Taco Salad


You know sometimes when you are getting hungry, you yearn for something from home. Or maybe it is when you yearn for home you get a little hungry.  Either way memories and food seem to go hand in hand.

I’ve noticed for myself that when I am especially homesick for Tennessee that is when I crave my mom’s cooking the most. I want those smells to linger in my house. I want to taste the food and savor that memory of the last time I had this in my mom’s kitchen.  I bet we all have those certain recipes that just take us home. No matter where we are in the world, or where we are in life, we can smell that aroma or taste that food and we are back with in our childhood homes enjoying home.

Well that is what I believe this recipe is for my husband and his sisters.  For several years we would celebrate Thanksgiving down in gorgeous Craig, Colorado. Erica, my husband’s middle sister, lived in spectacular cabin placed on the hillside. Just being there over the holiday made you feel like you were in a movie. The crisp air, the cabin atmosphere, and the food. Oh my the food.

After Thanksgiving, my husband’s younger sister would whip up their mom’s taco salad. This recipe makes a ton. The girls would go shopping early in the morning and come home to this for lunch.  It will fill you up and hit the spot. Let me just say I have never settled for just one bowl. I always seem to over stuff my self again on Friday, rather than giving my gullet a break.

Today my husband asked me to make this recipe for our day tomorrow gathering cows on the mountain.  It is a long day and this salad will be a great meal.  (Although my son, who is the pickiest eater in the free world, will have none and a PBJ will be calling his name.) This was a meal from my understanding their mom would make up for large crowds and for cow work.

So Enjoy!

Dawna's Taco Salad

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lbs of hamburger
  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 lrg onion, diced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 lrg can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 family size back of Nacho Cheese Doritos

Cook the hamburger meat and drain. Add salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and allow to cool.  Mix together mayo and taco seasoning. Once the meat is cool add the mayo mixture and mix well.  Add the beans, lettuce, onion, cheese, to the meat mixture. Stir to combine.

Crush up the Doritos and add to the salad just before serving.

This is my 2nd bowl. I was trying to downsize and only have a 1/2 cup of mix before I added my chips. That makes a second bowl better right?

Notes:  I have used pepper jack cheese and it was great. Also I don’t add the chips because it makes soggy leftovers. Instead I place the crushed chips in a large serving bowl and let guests add them to their bowls.  There is always leftovers and it keeps it crunchy. I like it better, it’s a texture thing for me I think.