July 4th Cookie Bars

Well hello there!  Today I’m sharing a classic cookie bar recipe from Nestle Toll House® !  These chocolate chip and pecan cookie bars coated with a fluffy buttercream icing are a yummy treat for any Independence day celebration.

I love the sweet and salty flavor of these treats!  Try them out!

Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookie Bars

  • Servings: 20-25
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cookie Recipe by Nestle Toll House®


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar (packed, light or dark)
  • 2 sticks of Butter, softened
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking SODA
  • 2 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 cups of Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Chips®
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped (I used 1/2 cup chopped pecans, then 1/2 cup of finely chopped)


  • Cream the butter and sugars together.
  • Add the eggs and mix.
  • Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Mix in the flour combo a cup at a time.
  • Add pecans and chocolate chips until fully combined.
  • Grease a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. (pan with approx 1 inch edges)
  • Spread dough evenly across the pan filling in all areas.
  • Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes.
  • Let cool on a cooling rack. (You can either flip it out on a baker’s rack or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that then just leave it in the pan to cool.)

Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of Crisco Shortening
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups of Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Milk (in an emergency you could use creamer, I used Coconut Creamer 😀 lol!)
  • Sky Blue Gel Food Coloring


  • Cream the butter and shortening.
  • Add in vanilla and milk.
  • Whip adding 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time.
  • Add desired amount of blue food coloring.  I used 4 drops of Sky Blue.

To Finish:

  • Spread icing across the top of the cookie until it’s an even surface.
  • Top with festive themed sprinkles.
  • Slice in small squares and enjoy!

Photos are property of Katy from http://www.redbirdrecipes.com


Strawberry Habanero Jam


Howdy!  It’s been awhile since I posted an actual recipe!  Today I’m sharing a Strawberry Habanero Jam recipe that I found online.  It tastes yummy with ice cream, biscuits, and cream cheese!  This jam is not really spicy but it does some heat in every other bite.  I recommend putting 5 habaneros for a spicier taste instead of just 3.

Strawberry Habanero Jam

  • Servings: 8, 8oz jars
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Author: Jenny B – Honey and Birch



*Gloves are recommended when using Habaneros.


  • 3¾ cups crushed strawberries
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 3-5 habanero peppers, chopped
  • 1 pouch of liquid pectin
  • 8, 8 ounce canning jars with lids and bands


  • Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer.  (water canner=your pot)
  • Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water.  Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat.  Let stand in hot water until ready to use.  Drain jars well before filling.
  • Mix strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and habanero peppers in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. When you cannot stir down the foam, gradually stir in the pectin. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
  • Ladle the hot jam into the jars leave 1/4 inch space at the top.
  • Wipe rims clean and place lids on jars.  Apply screw bands.
  • Process in boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.  Remove jars and let cool/sit for 24 hrs.  The lids will make a ‘tink’ sound and the button on top of the lid will cave in showing that it has sealed properly.  If it doesn’t seal during that 24 hrs you can still use the jam just put in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Katy  from http://www.redbirdrecipes.com

All photos are property of Katy from http://www.redbirdrecipes.com



Jalapeno Cream Cheese Sliders


Howdy!  Here’s what I’m whipping up for the Super Bowl this Sunday!  Jalapeno Cream Cheese Sliders!  Make these in small or large batches!  This is expert pub grub right here!  I was inspired by a burger I had here in town at Harvey Washbangers.  It’s safe to say I have surpassed their burger with this slider!  😀  ::toots own horn::

Try it out!  Let me know what you think!

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Sliders

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 6 Slider Buns
  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sriracha Mayo (Mayo with desired amount of Sriracha)
  • 1 whole Vidalia Onion, diced
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1-2 large Jalapenos
  • Spinach Leaves
  • Butter (for toasting buns)


  • Form beef into 6 small patties.
  • Season patties with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder.
  • Cook patties in skillet until done.  Set aside wrapped in foil to stay warm.
  • Toast buns in a skillet using butter. Set aside.
  • Caramalize onions: Cook on medium high heat for 15 minutes uncovered.  Stir onions then cover and cook for another 10 minutes.  Uncover onions and add 3 tbsp water and cook for another 5 minutes or until water is cooked out.
  • Melt cream cheese in a covered container using the microwave.  It will only take about 15 seconds.  Be careful or it will explode if you microwave it too long.
  • Put Sriracha mayo in a zip lock bag and clip corner.
  • Build the burger in the following order: meat, dollop of cream cheese, scoop of onions, 2 jalapeno slices, a drizzle of Sriracha mayo, and finally 2 spinach leaves.
  • Serve immediately!

Katy from http://www.redbirdrecipes.com



Mixed Berry Cream Cheese Pies



This is one of those successful concoctions that came about whilst trying not to waste ingredients.  I had extra pie dough and cream cheese that needed to be used and a bowl of fresh mixed berries.  These three things were a great combo!  These little pies were delicious!

Mixed Berry Cream Cheese Pies

  • Servings: 4-6 mini pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Mixed berries ( I used blue berries, black berries, and raspberries)
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 sheet of Pie Dough


  • Select a circle cookie cutter of your preferred size.  Cut dough into circles.
  • Place 1oz of cream cheese in each circle and about 3-5 berries.
  • Close circle and fold edges up to prevent leaking.
  • Bake at 375*F for 6-8 minutes until light golden brown on top.



Garden Quiche with Bacon and Goat Cheese

Garden Quiche with Bacon and Goat CheeseHowdy gang!  My kitchen has been quite busy the past two weeks.  The poor hubs has had a lot of non-home-cooked meals on account of all the baking orders I’ve been filling.  😀  Alas, we can’t all be June Cleaver 24/7!  Am I right?  My goal is to cook most of our meals from scratch but that goal is not always achieved.  I was finally able to whip up a special quiche for the hubs.  He absolutely loves quiche.  However, he refuses to use that word.  He insists on calling it an “egg pie” .  Men.  Though, I guess technically he is correct, right?  lol 😀  Whatever!

I call it a Garden Quiche because it has such a huge variety of garden veggies in it!

Anyhoo!  Here’s the recipe!  Enjoy!

Garden Quiche with Bacon and Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 refrigerated Pie Crust, par-baked in a glass pie dish
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Scallion, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 2 cups fresh Spinach
  • 3-4 small Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 really small Jalapeno, sliced
  • 4 slices of Thick Cut Bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1 small package Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese, chopped
  • 1 Roma Tomato, sliced
  • 6 Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  • Par-bake the crust in a glass pie dish using pie weights for 3-4 minutes at 400*F.  Set aside to cool.
  • Layer the tomato slices on the bottom of the pie shell.
  • In a skillet, saute the peppers, scallion, spinach, garlic, mushrooms, jalapeno, and bacon until bacon is fully cooked. *You can add the spinach at the end.
  • In a large bowl beat the eggs.
  • Add cheeses and sauteed veggies into the eggs.
  • Pour egg mixture into pie shell.
  • Bake for 30-32 minutes at 400*F.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Southwest Potatoes with Bacon and Bell Pepper

Southwest PotatoesHowdy gang! Summer is in full swing this week in my part of Texas.  It’s been hot, hot, hot!  In the absence of rain this week we were able to use our beloved grill!  Sunday night the hubs grilled up some blackened chicken and I whipped up a new recipe for semi-homemade southwest potatoes!  There are a few tex mex joints around town that serve a similar side dish.  The dish is simple and has bacon, bell peppers, and other spices.  I wanted to replicate this without doing a ton of work.  I combined some fresh ingredients with one of the emergency instant mashed potato pouches that I had in the pantry!  I try to only use those when I’m strapped for time.  Oh my!  It was delicious!!!  It tasted better than the at the restaurant!

Here’s the recipe:  😀

Southwest Potatoes with Bacon and Bell Pepper

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print


  • 3 slices of Thick Cut Peppered Bacon, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, grated (optional)
  • 1 Packet of Idaho Instant Red Potatoes
  • 2 cups of Water (for the potatoes)


  • Cook the bacon, bell pepper, and onion in a skillet in a medium skillet until bacon is fully done.
  • Pour 2 cups of water in the skillet and increase heat to high until water begins to boil.
  • Stir instant potatoes into the boiling water/bacon and remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle cheese over potatoes and cover with a lid.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.  Serve!


Shrimp, Sausage, Mushroom, and Saffron Rice Casserole

Shrimp, Sausage, Mushroom, and Saffron Casserole

I’ve got an easy family dinner for you today!  This dish is one that my mom always made when I was growing up.  Well, I guess I’m still growing up, right?  😀   The leftovers get better and better as the flavors meld together.  Besides the taste, I love this recipe because I can throw it together and eat on it for a few days.

Shrimp and Sausage just belong together.  Celebrate their union with this dish! 😀

Shrimp, Sausage, Mushroom, and Saffron Rice Casserole

Shrimp, Sausage, Mushroom, and Saffron Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Mahatma Saffron Rice, 10 oz. package
  • 2 tbsp Butter (for the Rice)
  • 1 can of Tomatoes with Green Chiles
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom
  • 1 lb of Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4-5 Link Sausages, precooked and sliced
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 cup of Mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Cook rice as directed on package.  In my experience it always cooks faster than the time mentioned for the microwave AND on the stove.  So I’d knock off like 2 minutes of the cook time to avoid drying it out.
  • In a skillet cook sausage and onion for 6 minutes on medium high.
  • In a large bowl mix all ingredients together.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour mix into a large glass casserole dish.
  • Bake uncovered at 350*F for 30 minutes.


Easy Parmesan Meatballs- Guest Post

Parmesan Meatballs

Howdy gang!  We had another large storm last night.  Good ole’ tropical storm, Bill.  Luckily he didn’t stay too long!  🙂  It uprooted some of my plants but nothing a little top soil couldn’t handle! 😀  Also found time to work on another cookie!  I’ll post about that tomorrow!

Today’s topic is meatballs.  More specifically one of my dear friend’s recipe for easy Parmesan Meatballs!  😀  This was my first time to make meatballs.  My husband and I do not typically eat meatballs.  In fact, I can honestly say in the years we’ve known each other I have not had or thought about eating meatballs.  It’s just something we’ve never really desired.  That being said, a friend gave me her meatball recipe to try a few weeks ago.  Monday I finally got around to trying her recipe.  I will say these were incredibly easy and are totally family friendly!  It also makes a TON.  I froze half of the meatballs for future use!  These would be great for parties!

The hubs and I enjoyed the heck out of these!  I used a reduced fat pork and a ground venison in place of the beef just because that’s what we use and they were great!  We topped these off with our guilty pleasure….Kroger Brand Bell Pepper Mushroom Sauce!  If we are going to use a jarred sauce this is our favorite one!  It’s filled with sugar and absolutely a guilty pleasure of ours lol!

Try these delicious meatballs out!!! 😀  Put them on a meatball sub, serve with pasta, stuff them inside garlic cheese french bread, or just eat them plain!  Who doesn’t love a recipe that involves mixing and throwing it in the oven??  Easy and delicious!

Parmesan Meatballs by Haylee

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb ground Beef (I used deer)
  • 1 lb Pork (I used reduced fat)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 cup dried Parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Basil
  • Splash of Milk
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil for coating


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Make 1-2 inch balls and set on a jelly pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each meatball to keep moist.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Enjoy with sauce or stand alone!


Parmesan Meatballs

Meatballs- Original Text

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

3 cloves garlic, chopped/minced

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup breadcrumbs (recommended: Progresso Italian)

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil Olive oil (Just eyeball it. It’s mainly to make sure they are moist. Plus you can splash some on the baking sheet and coat it so they don’t stick as bad.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Splash of milk

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Roll meatballs about 1 or 2 inches in circumference.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla

Spinach and Artichoke Quesadillas

What a sunny week we’ve had out here!  Huzzah!  The past few days have been filled with outdoor games, swimming, and trips to the park!  Delightful times!

I even had a little time to practice my cookie skills!  Here’s a fox that I did!

Royal Icing Fox Cookie

Anyways, here is what went down in my kitchen for lunch the other day.  Spinach and Artichoke Quesadillas!  I have been wanting to concoct this recipe for awhile and finally got around to doing it.  It was absolutely delicious!!!  One thing I loved was the fact that it is decent on calories if you substitute reduced fat ingredients!  It’s stuffed with spinach and artichoke which makes it a filling meal!  These would go great with a prickly pear margarita!  😀 😀

This recipe will be making a regular appearance in our household each month!  Yum!  Try it out!

Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla Filling

Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla

Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 8 oz. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 4 cups of Baby Spinach, fresh
  • 1 can of Artichoke Hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1 small bunch of Chives, chopped
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 5 Burrito Size Tortillas
  • Cooking Spray (for crisping)
  • Grilled Chicken (optional)


  • In a skillet on medium low, cook spinach, artichokes, and bell pepper until wilted.  Cover with lid to speed process.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, chives, pepper jack, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Add the spinach, artichoke, and bell pepper to cream cheese mix.  Stir until fully combined.  The heat will make everything melt and combine.
  • Scoop desired amount of spinach filling onto half of each tortilla and fold over to close.  Add grilled chicken if desired.
  • Spray tortilla with cooking spray on both sides.
  • Cook quesadilla in a sandwich press or skillet at medium heat until crispy on both sides.