The Cheeseball

I make this cheeseball for almost every occasion. I’m a modern girl and it suits my on-the-go lifestyle by being yummy and fast. Everyone loves it so much I always make sure to have the ingredients on hand.

1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz.)
1 Good Seasonings Italian Dressing packet (dry)

Mix cheese and packet together and form into a ball. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with crackers.

DaMomma’s Fake Caramel Bars

My friends call these “Crack Bars” because they’re so addictive

1 Package of Vanilla Cake Mix
1 stick (1/4 lb.) Butter softened
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1 8oz. package Cream Cheese

Mix cake mix and butter until crumbs form. Pat into the bottom of a greased 9 x 11 pan to form the crust. Mix together brown sugar and cream cheese. Spread mixture over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes.The outside will bubble and get dark, don’t worry it’s supposed to. Bars are done when middle looks done. Warning: Gooey as can be. I serve cut bars in mini paper cups.


Cherry Oatmeal Dreams

(These are a sacred tradition in my family so act accordingly)

Preheat oven 350°

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or Crisco
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tbl maraschino cherry liquid
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chopped cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, add oats and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add cherry liquid and vanilla, blend. Add eggs and mix again. Stir in dry ingredients, cherry pieces and nuts.

Shape dough into ½ inch balls and roll in oats. Place ball onto ungreased cookie sheet and gently smush a cherry half on top, so it sinks in a bit. Bake 10-12 minutes in 350° oven.

Veggie Bars

2 cans crescent rolls
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (dry packet)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese softened
1 cup mayonnaise
¾ cup diced green pepper
¾ cup chopped broccoli
¾ cup grated carrots
¾ cup diced tomatoes
¾ cup chopped cauliflower
¾ cup chopped mushrooms
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese

Cover bottom of a jelly roll pan with rolled out crescent dough. Bake dough in a 350° oven for 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool. Beat cream cheese, mayo and dry dressing until smooth. Spread over crust. Mix vegetables and sprinkle over the top. Sprinkle cheese over vegetables. Refrigerate (preferably overnight) Cut into bars and serve. Don’t store in an airtight container as this will make the bars mushy.

White Chicken Chili

When the weather starts to cool off (Mid December here in Florida) I love to make this and invite over friends. Don’t forget a nice crusty loaf of bread to sop out the bottom of your bowl.

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, chopped medium
2 jalapeno chilies (1 large, 1 small), ribs removed, seeded, minced (set the small one aside)
2 onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons ground cumin
8 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cans (15-oz each) cannellini (white kidney beans) or navy beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh lime juice (3 limes)
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear on the second side until browned, another 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove and discard the skin.

Add all of the chilies (except the small jalapeno), onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt to the dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half of the chile mixture to a clean plate and set aside.

Stir in the broth, chicken, and beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate. Continue to simmer the chili, uncovered, until it has thickened, 35 to 40 minutes.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones. Stir the shredded chicken, reserved chile mixture, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and small jalapeno into the chili. If the chili is too thick, stir in water, if it is too thin, stir in corn meal one teaspoon at a time until desired thickness is achieved. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.