Recipes · Uncategorized

Perini Ranch Meatloaf

Growing up, we would make the occasional trip to Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap, TX, just outside Abilene. Everything they have on the menu is fantastic, but their meatloaf, yum! I have never been a big fan of meatloaf, but this recipe is delicious! My husband and I make a big batch of these every Fall and freeze them to eat throughout the winter. This recipe makes 8 mini loaves, which serves 4 people, and they are even better after freezing them.

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Perini Ranch Meatloaf


8 lbs. ground beef

2 large baking potatoes, skinned and grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2- cloves garlic

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

4 tbsp. yellow mustard

4 tbsp. worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground pepper

2 eggs, beaten

3 strips of bacon per loaf

1 bottle bbq sauce to brush on the top


Mix all ingredients, except bacon and bbq sauce, in a large bowl with hands. I separate the ingredients into thirds and mix in three bowls since there is a large amount. You can also mix these in your Kitchen Aid mixer but may need to finish by hand. Prepare to get messy! Form into 8-mini loaves on a sprayed cookie sheet. Top with strips of bacon and bbq sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, check to see if these are done, you may need to cook a little longer. Once they are finished, let them cool a little and double-wrap each one in foil. Label and freeze! When cooking from frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight and remove one layer of foil. Loosen the last layer of foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated, add extra bbq sauce, slice and serve.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Christmas Toffee


toffee 1toffee 2For the past two years, I have made this toffee recipe at Christmas time. It’s a favorite for my Dad and me, maybe we eat most of it by ourselves and leave very little for the rest of the family. It’s a super easy recipe but you do need to pay attention to the color of the butter and sugar mixture, make sure it comes out the color of caramel. I use this pan to make my toffee bites, I have found it to be the easiest and you can peel the toffee out after it sets, plus it’s under $10! This recipe makes 24 bite-size pieces


Christmas Toffee

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. vanilla extract

12 oz. milk chocolate, melted

1 cup crushed almonds


In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until butter melts, stirring constantly. Really stir constantly, don’t just come back to the pan every few minutes. Bring mixture to a boil, and continue boiling (and stirring) for 5-7 more minutes, until the butter mixture is the same color as caramel. Pour the toffee mixture into the silicone pan. I use a cookie scoop and fill each hole about 1/3 full of the toffee. This process should be done quickly because the toffee hardens fast! Cool toffee in the silicone pan completely. I put mine in the fridge for 30 minutes to expedite the process.

When the toffee has set and cooled, spread the melted chocolate over the top of the toffee. Immediately sprinkle with the crushed almonds. Allow the candy to set, I expedite in the fridge for an hour. When the candy has set completely, push each bite out of the silicone carefully. Store in an airtight container. These can also be frozen for up to two months to enjoy later.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Cowboy Stew

This is one of my favorite winter stew recipes to make for my husband, and for myself. I don’t know why I call it cowboy stew, but it is a variation of a Perini Ranch recipe I used to make and I started making one of my own. This stew is so easy to make, it’s light because of the broth base, and it goes perfectly with homemade skillet cornbread! It also freezes well, which is great for meal prep or saving for the holidays when your family comes into town.

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Cowboy Stew

1 cup diced white onion

1 package cubed tender stew beef, or cubed brisket



1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. Onion powder

1 tbsp. garlic powder

2-32 oz low sodium containers beef broth

1 small can hatch green chilies

1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 package frozen sliced okra

¾ package of frozen sweet corn

Peel and dice one cup, or one half, of a white onion. Saute the onion on low, in a large stock pot for 5 minutes with 1 tbsp. oil, until tender.  Add in the stew meat or brisket, make sure the meat is cut into bite-size pieces. Brown the stew meat and add salt and pepper. Add the beef broth, and the rest of the spices. Add the green chilies and diced tomatoes, simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. Add the okra and sweet corn, cover, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Serve with skillet cornbread.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Fresh Apple Pie

apple pie picture

Two weeks ago, I posted the Thanksgiving Menu I serve each year to my family. My fresh apple pie recipe was included in the long list of items I posted. But, it’s so tasty, I felt like it deserved its own post. The pie is a very simple recipe and doesn’t take a lot of time. I will admit, if I’m making it for Thanksgiving, I cheat a little and use a store bought pie crust. I have people ask me for the recipe all the time and I’m always willing to share! I also sometimes make it for Christmas Eve with my mother’s side of the family, when we have Mexican food.

Fresh Apple Pie

½ cup sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

7 cups thinly sliced mix of granny smith and gala apples (6-8) apples

1 double pie crust (Pillsbury)

1 tbsp. butter

1 egg white

Additional sugar

In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apple slices with sugar mixture; toss well to coat. Line a 9-inch pie plate with half the pastry. Prick the bottom with a fork. Place apple filling into crust; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Cut a few slits in the top or add fun leaf shapes for Fall. Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, increase temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 10-15 minutes more until golden brown. Be sure to watch the edges for browning, and cover with foil if needed.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

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This breakfast casserole recipe is perfect for the holidays when you are hosting family overnight. It’s super easy and you can make it ahead and freeze it which is the best part. The best part is that it’s gluten-free for those of us who have an allergy, or a family member with one.

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2 lbs. breakfast sausage

1 30 oz. package of shredded hash browns

6 large eggs

2 cups milk

2 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese



Sautee the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove from pan and drain. Cook the hash browns in the same skillet according to package. Turn off the heat and add sausage back into the skillet, and stir. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add salt and pepper and whisk again. In a greased 9×13 casserole dish, spread out the sausage and hash brown mixture. Pour the milk and egg mixture evenly over the hash brown and sausage. Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Mama Great’s Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

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For as long as I can remember, we’ve had this recipe at my Grandmother (Po’s) house during Thanksgiving, and sometimes on Christmas Day. Traditional dressing is one of my favorite dishes because it’s a special once-a-year treat. This recipe came from my Great Grandmother, Isla Huett. I was blessed to know her for the first 6-7 years of my life and she was funny, beautiful and eccentric. I was fortunate enough to inherit her recipe box from my grandmother a few years ago, since she doesn’t really cook as much anymore. I treasure each of the recipes in that box, although most of them don’t have titles so you never know if it’s a chocolate cake or a casserole until you read it. Most of the recipes are handwritten in her pretty cursive, and I was so happy to find the recipe that means so much to me. I framed it and it hangs in our kitchen today. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do. It takes some time to make, but it’s very easy. This recipe makes 2-9×13 deep dishes. You can freeze them after baking and save for Christmas or and additional Thanksgiving meal.

4 packages yellow cornbread mix, crumbled

4 cans low sodium chicken broth, or 32 oz container +extra to add moisture

6 biscuits, crumbled

1 onion, chopped

1 package (2 bunches) celery, chopped

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

½ cup, or 1 stick, of butter

1 tbsp. poultry seasoning



2 raw eggs, beaten

Make the cornbread mix according to package, I double up two packages per pan. Crumble and spread out on a baking sheet to dry out overnight. You can also make these 2-3 days in advance and let dry out. Make the biscuits according to package, follow the same as the cornbread above by crumbling and spreading out on a baking sheet to dry out.

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The day you bake the dressing, boil the chicken broth and add in the chopped onion and celery. Add in 1 each tsp of salt and pepper. Boil until tender, each will be semi-translucent. Turn off heat, add in cream of mushroom soup, butter, poultry seasoning and stir until well combined. Add in crumbled cornbread and biscuits and stir well until combined. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the eggs. The consistency should be like a really thick stew, so you may need to add a little more chicken broth to achieve desired consistency. Spray 2-9×13 pans with cooking spray. Your pans should be somewhat deep because this makes a lot. Bake at 400 degrees for an hour, to an hour and fifteen minutes. Or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. If it starts to brown too much before the middle is set, cover with foil to finish baking. Enjoy!

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Recipes · Uncategorized

My Thanksgiving Menu


To continue the Thanksgiving post from last week, this week I’m posting my go-to Thanksgiving menu. I will change the side dishes or desserts from time to time, but this is typically my favorite menu to have each year. Some recipes are borrowed, some are from family members and some are my own. Recipes are also linked or included below except for my Mama Great’s dressing recipe. You’ll get that one next week! Happy cooking.

Dry Brine Herb Butter Turkey

Herb Turkey Gravy

From Scratch Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)

Mama Great’s Dressing (recipe coming next week)

Green Bean Casserole

Whipped potatoes (recipe below)

Homemade Hot Rolls (recipe below)

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Fresh Apple Pie (recipe below)

Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie


My Recipes:

From Scratch Cranberry Sauce

1 cup pulp free orange juice (I use Simply Orange because it has less sugar)

1 cup sugar

1 -12 oz. package fresh cranberries


Dissolve the sugar and orange juice in a medium sauce pan, on medium heat, stirring constantly. Add in cranberries and stir constantly until they begin to pop, about 7-9 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes to thicken. Stir and serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled. The sauce can be made ahead by 2 days and stored in the fridge in an airtight container, or frozen for 2 weeks. Thaw by leaving in fridge for 2-3 days.


Whipped Potatoes

1-lb red potatoes, peeled and diced into big chunks

1-32 oz container low sodium chicken broth

¼ cup half and half, plus an extra splash or two

2 tbsp. Butter


Black pepper

Boil the peeled and diced potatoes in the chicken broth, supplement liquid with water if the broth doesn’t cover the potatoes. Boil until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain the liquid from the potatoes in a strainer and add ¼ cup half and half. Mash the potatoes really well and add a few more splashes of half and half as well as the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Finish them off by whipping them with a hand mixer until smooth.


Homemade Hot Rolls

This is my Mother’s recipe which I believe came from her grandmother.

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 cup boiling water

2 eggs, beaten

2 pkgs. dry yeast

1 cup warm water

6 cups sifted flour

Pour boiling water over shortening, sugar and salt. Blend and cool. Add beaten eggs. Sprinkle yeast into the warm water and stir until dissolved and add to mixture. Add flour. Blend well, cover and place in the fridge for at least four hours. Dough must be in a large mixing bowl as it rises slightly in fridge. Dough will keep for a week to 10 days and may be used as needed. About 3 hours before using rolls, roll into desired shape using enough extra flour to make easy to handle. Place in a greased pan and allow to rise at room temperature for about 3 hours until they double in size. Bake in hot oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.


Fresh Apple Pie

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pack brown sugar

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

7 cups thinly sliced mix of granny smith and gala apples

1 double pie crust (pillsbury)

1 tbsp. butter

1 egg white

Additional sugar

In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apple slices with sugar mixture; toss well to coat. Line a 9-inch pie plate with half the pastry. Prick the bottom with a fork. Place apple filling into crust; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Cut a few slits in the top or add fun leaf shapes for Fall. Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Increase temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 10-15 minutes more or until golden. Be sure to watch the edges for browning, and cover with foil if needed.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Mama Rich’s Kentucky Butter Cake

Kentucky Cake 9

This week, I’m posting my husband’s absolute favorite cake in the world – Kentucky Butter Cake. I make this cake for him a lot, he deserves it after all. This recipe came from our very close family friend, Mama Rich, so I’m sharing it with all of you with her permission of course. It’s perfect for holidays, birthdays or just a regular Sunday when you want something sweet. It’s an easy recipe, so don’t feel overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a cake. Pictured below is my brother-in-law, this picture shows you the family excitement when they receive a butter cake from Mama Rich. He and my sister-in-law had just had their second baby girl. Mama Rich came for a visit and brought them a cake, we received this picture as a brag. I think he was just as excited about his cake and he was his new daughter.

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Mama Rich’s Kentucky Butter Cake


For the Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

3 cups sifted flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup buttermilk


For the Butter Sauce

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

3 tbs. water

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Cream the butter in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer on low for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat well. Add in the vanilla and eggs and blend well. Add the flour and all remaining ingredients and blend until moistened, about 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake about 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

While the cake is baking and almost finished , make the sauce in a small saucepan. Add in the sugar, butter and water and heat on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. When cake is done, remove from oven and use back of wooden spoon to poke holes all around the cake. Pour half of the butter sauce on the cake and let it absorb into the holes. After ten minutes, remove the cake from the Bundt pan, turning over onto a cake stand or plate. Brush or pour the rest of the butter sauce onto the cake. My husband makes sure I use every last drop so I pour excess into the middle where the hole is from the pan. Let cool and serve that baby up! Mama Rich says you can add a little powdered sugar if you want, and she also likes to serve it with fresh berries in the summer.

Note: I hardly ever have buttermilk on hand, so I add 1 tbs. white vinegar to a cup of milk and stir, let sit 5 minutes before using. Stir before adding it to your recipe.

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Recipes · Uncategorized

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie 5

I’m starting to prep for Thanksgiving already (I’ll be posting my Thanksgiving prep timeline in the coming weeks), and this weekend I made and froze a bourbon Pecan Pie. Now I have to admit, pecan pie is not my favorite, but the men in my family love it so I make it for them. This recipe is a quick and easy pie and you can make it the day of, or freeze 2 months prior to baking. I use store-bought pie crust for this recipe and mostly all of my Thanksgiving recipes to save time since I host each year. I save the good homemade crusts for Christmas, and also found that those don’t freeze as well.

Bourbon Pecan Pie


1 Pillsbury pie crust

5 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup dark corn syrup

½ tsp. salt

2 cups chopped pecans

2 tbsp. bourbon

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 eggs, beaten


Form the raw shell into a 9-inch pie plate, don’t forget to prick the bottom with a fork so the shell doesn’t puff up when baking. Pinch the edges of the dough around the top of the pie plate, set aside. DO NOT BAKE THE PIE SHELL PRIOR TO FILLING. If you are baking right away to eat, set oven to 350 degrees.

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In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside and let it cool for 10 minutes. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. If baking right away to eat, bake for 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the edges and cover to prevent burning. Cool on a rack and serve warm or room temperature.

Notes for freezing:

Always freeze an unbaked pie shell, bake from frozen for 20 minutes on 425. THEN, reduce heat to 350 and bake for at least 20 more minutes. You may need to cover the edges of the crust while baking to prevent burning.

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Recipes · Uncategorized

Prosciutto & Arugula Farfalle

This week I had a craving for a pasta dish different from the every day. My husband is a big fan of bowtie pasta so I chose this recipe which I rarely make, but should more often! It’s a super easy weeknight meal and great for a date night at home too. It takes less than 30 minutes.

pasta2 10-3-17

Prosciutto & Arugula Farfalle

1 lb. bowtie pasta

1 stick unsalted butter

4 oz. prosciutto, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 ½ cups loosely packed baby arugula

1 ½ cups cooked peas

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

Splash of chicken broth

Cracked pepper

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water 10-12 minutes, drain pasta

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in skillet on low heat and saute’ prosciutto until slightly crisp. Add in arugula, cooked peas, and tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Add in cream and simmer until bubbly, reduce heat to low and season with cracked pepper. No extra salt is needed between the prosciutto and parmesan you will add later. A splash or two of chicken broth might be required if you prefer more sauce. Just be sure to stir it in and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. Toss the pasta with the sauce and top with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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