Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Here!!!

I'm so pleased to announce the launch of The Cooks Next Door! Many of these recipes will appear over there over time but with pictures and hopefully better details and more accuracy. :) I'm teaming with a good friend of mine on this brand new website - please check us out! I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coming Soon...

There are some things in the works...therefore I'm not going to be adding very many recipes here at least for now. Stay tuned for some exciting things in the coming months! If you are looking for a particular recipe or have a question, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment! I'm still cooking and still creating. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Orange Julius

This is a delicious, icy drink that will forever remind me of my childhood. :)

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
6 oz. water
1 c. milk
1/8-1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 ice cubes

Chill glasses in freezer.

Combine all ingredients in blender or smoothie machine and blend until ingredients are mixed and ice is pulverized. Makes 3-4

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes

These are so quick and easy - perfect for showers and pitch-ins! I found a recipe but changed it. :)

1 c. crushed vanilla wafers
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh fruit - strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, whatever you like tossed with a little sugar and citrus juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line miniature muffin tins with miniature paper liners.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of the crushed vanilla wafers into each paper cup.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each miniature muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool. Top with fruit just before serving. Garnish with whip cream.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

This is from but adjusted for us. :) These are even better frosted with a lemon cream cheese frosting.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick).

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel and milk; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

Carrot Cupcakes

I found this cake recipe on and altered for our tasted and then I made them into cupcakes. Toasting the pecans and coconut would enhance the flavor even more!

3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, pecans, and pineapple.

Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.

Divide batter evenly between the 24 cupcakes, and bake at 350 degrees F 20-25 minutes. Check with toothpick.

Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting. Garnish with a whole or chopped pecans and or toasted coconut.

Dinner Rolls

My friend, Becca, gave me this recipe and they are seriously the best! These are especially great served hot!

3 ½ to 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter 1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon)
½ cup very warm water
½ cup very warm milk
1 large egg

Mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, ¼ cup butter, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water, warm milk and egg. Beat with mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping the bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Knead the dough about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double.

Grease 9x13 pan.

Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Pull off small portions of dough (enough to make one roll), shape into balls and place in pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.

Heat oven to 375.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cranberry Couscous Salad

Cranberry Couscous Salad

1 (5.8-ounce) box instant couscous
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 orange, juiced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Freshly ground pepper

Stir the couscous, cranberries, curry powder, salt, and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Bring water (amount will be listed on package directions) to a boil and pour it over the couscous. Add the orange juice. Give it a big stir, cover the bowl tightly and let it stand, giving it a big stir once or twice, until the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the olive oil, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, and walnuts. Stir around until everything is distributed evenly throughout the couscous. Make up to 2 hours ahead of time and keep at room temperature until you're ready to serve. Check the seasonings just before you serve the salad and add salt and pepper, to taste.

Note: To toast the walnuts, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven until they turn a shade darker, about 8 minutes.

Caramel Corn

This is an AMAZING caramel corn recipe - from We prefer it without nuts.

7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.

Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


From foodnetwork and Gourmet magazine.

Expresso Syrup
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup strong brewed espresso coffee
1/4 cup Italian or domestic brandy, optional

Mascarpone Filling
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pound mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 pound savoiardi (imported Italian ladyfingers), domestic ladyfingers, or sliced sponge cake

Cocoa powder for dusting the surface

For the syrup, combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool and add coffee and optional brandy.

For the filling, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into softened mascarpone.

To assemble, place a layer of the savoiardi, ladyfingers or sponge cake slices in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Sprinkle with half the syrup. Spread with half the filling. Repeat with remaining savoiardi, syrup and filling, spreading the top smooth, using a metal spatula.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving. Immediately before serving place cocoa in a fine strainer and shake a light coating on surface.There you have it! Enjoy!


Adapted from

4 eggs, separated
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
7/8 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line two 17 x 12 inch baking sheets with baking parchment. Fit large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch round tube.

Place egg whites in bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

In another bowl beat egg yolks, vanilla extract and remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color.

Sift flour and baking powder together on a sheet of wax paper.

Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour, and then add the remaining egg whites. Transfer mixture to pastry bag and pipe out onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Overnight Coffee Cake

2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. butter
2 beaten eggs
1 c. yogurt, buttermilk, sour milk, or sour cream

Cut butter in into dry ingredients. Add liquids and stir until blended. Pour into a 9x13 greased pan. Cover and refrigerate

Crumb topping:
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. nuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over the top before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Corn Bread

1/2 c. sugar (or sucanat)
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 c. cornmeal
1 1/4 c. flour (can be whole wheat)
1 Tb. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. milk

Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs and beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Pour into a greased 9-in. pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 min.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Butter Pecan Fudge

This is from Taste of Home. I first made it maybe 2 or 3 years ago and now we make it every year - it's very rich but absolutely delicious!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, sugars, cream and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Stir in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in pecans. Spread into a buttered 8-in. square dish. Cool to room temperature. Cut into 1-in. squares. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 1-1/4 pounds.

Double Chocolate Fudge

This is my version of another recipe. It makes SO much - great for giving as gifts. I often cut the amount of nuts in half and only add them to half the mixture so I have with and without nuts.

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup butter, divided
2 3/4 c. milk chocolate chips
4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 jar marshmallow creme
1 can evaporated milk
4-1/2 c. sugar
2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil and butter the foil with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside. In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the chocolate chips and marshmallow creme; set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk, sugar and remaining butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 4-1/2 minutes. Pour over chocolate mixture; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 6 pounds.

Sugar Cookies (Best Ever!)

We've been making this recipe for as long as I can remember!

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tb. cream or milk
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Add dry ingredients. Divide into 3 or 4 rounds and roll out. Cut with seasonal cookie cutters. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 min. until barely golden. Ice with your favorite frosting and top with sprinkles. Make 5-6 dozen.

Sweet Potato, Sausage, & Kale soup

This is my version of a recipe I found.

1-2 Tb. olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (may want to omit if using a spicy sausage)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. kielbasa sausage, chopped (can use less)
5 c. sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 c. water
1 qt. chicken stock
1 bunch kale, washed and torn
1 can cannellini beans or white beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender and almost translucent. Add salt, pepper, red pepper, and garlic. Cut sausage into bite size pieces and add to pan. Cook until sausage is lightly browned. Add sweet potato, water, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. Gradually add kale and cook until tender. Stir in beans and cook until thoroughly heated.

Raspberry Coffee Cake

This is a favorite from Light 'n Tasty. I often make it for Christmas.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, yogurt, butter and vanilla; add to dry ingredients just until moistened.

Spoon two-thirds of the batter into a greases 8-in. round baking pan (I use a springform pan. Combine the brown sugar and raspberries; sprinkle over batter. Spoon remaining batter over the top. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched and is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over coffee cake. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


2 3/4 c. - 3 c. flour
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. buttermilk (or sour milk)
1/4 c. oil or butter
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. dried currants, raisins, or cranberries

Combine dry ingredients and fruit together and wet ingredients separately. Add together. Drop by Tb. on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees fr 12 -15 min.

Italian Butter

1 stick softened butter
1 Tb. Italian seasoning

Combine and chill 1/2 hr.

Delicious on baked potatoes, hot cooked pasta, or garlic bread.

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

1 - 6lb. turkey breast, frozen
1 can cranberry sauce
1 c. orange juice
1 tsp. rosemary

Combine all and put in greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 9 hrs. or until internal temp is 170 degrees. Remove from crockpot and let stand 10 min. before slicing.

-Turkey breast, onion, and garlic
-Turkey breast, 4 strips bacon (layed on turkey), onion, 2 c. chicken broth, 1 clove garlic, pepper to taste, 1/2 c. honey
-Turkey breast, 2 c. water, 2 stalks chopped celery, 1 onion, 1/4 c. butter, 1/2 - 1 tsp. seasonings (salt, pepper, rosemary, whatever desired)


8 slices rye bread
1/2 lb. deli style roast beef or turkey
1/2 c. sauerkraut, rinsed & well-drained
4 slices swiss cheese
1/4 c. thousand island dressing

Butter outside of all bread slices. On 4 slices of bread, layer the meat, sauerkraut, cheese, and salad dressing. Top with remaining bread. Grill sandwiches in griddle on both sides until cheese is melted.

Chicken Finger w/Honey Sauce

12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast
2 beaten egg whites
1 Tb. honey
2 c. crushed corn flakes
1/4 tsp. pepper

4 tsp. prepared dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into strips about 3 in. long and 3/4 in. wide. In small mixing bowl combine egg white and honey. In a shallow bowl combine the cornflake crumbs and pepper. Dip chicken strips into egg mixture then roll in the crumb mixture to coate. Place on an ungreased baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake at 450 degrees for 11-13 min or until no longer pink.

For sauce - combine all ingredients. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
2 Tb. butter
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper OR 1 - 4 oz. can jalapenos
3 Tb. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 c. plain yogurt OR sour cream
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
12 - 6 in. tortillas

In lg. saucepan cook onion and green pepper in the 2 Tb. butter until tender. Combine in a bowl with chopped chicken and jalapenos (if using). Set bowl aside

In same saucepan, melt 3 Tb. Blend in flour, coriander, salt, and cayenne (if using). Stir in chicken broth all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt and 1/2 c. cheese. Stir 1/2 c. sauce into the reserved chicken mixture. Dip ea. tortilla into remaining hot sauce to soften; ill each with about 1/4 c. of chicken mixture. Roll up and place in greased 9x13 pan. Pour remaining sauce over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 25 min. or until bubbly.

Smoked Sausage Cheese Soup

This is my Grandma J.'s recipe - such a yummy treat.

2 c. water
1 c. corn
1 c. chopped potato
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 beef bouillion cubes
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubes
1/2 lb. smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

Place all ingredients except cheese in lg. pan or crock pot. Stir gently; bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Just before serving, bring soup back to a boil and add cheese. Stir until blended and cheese is melted. Do not boil after adding cheese. Serves 4-6