Pepperoni Pizza Dip

We are half way through January!  I always feel like if we can get past that half way mark, we are doing good.  It’s no secret that Winter is not my favorite, especially once we get past the holidays.  The one thing that makes it tolerable is football!  There are some college games early in the month and then NFL playoffs carries us through the rest of the month.  And what is football without some good food like pizza, wings and dips.  This Pepperoni Pizza Dip checks two of those boxes at once!

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Hot Brie Kisses

We are under the two week mark until Christmas! How does the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas go so fast but the rest of Winter drags on?    I am nowhere near ready.  I thought with very few activities and social gatherings that I would be ready and bored waiting on Christmas but that has not happened.  If you are like me, you are starting to finalize your Christmas menu.  If you are looking for the perfect one bite appetizer, these Hot Brie Kisses are perfect.  Heck, they are perfect even if you weren’t looking for that kind of recipe.

If you love to do the brie en croute for an appetizer, then you will love this recipe.  This is kind of a take on that appetizer but they are individual bites.  They really are perfect this year since we want to be extra careful about spreading germs!

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Cowboy Cookies

I can’t let the Christmas season get by without sharing a cookie recipe.  After all, that’s what everybody leaves good old Saint Nick!  I feel like December is the month of baking.  I would guess there are more cookies baked in the month of December than possibly the rest of the year combined.

It is hard to beat a chocolate chip cookie but I think these Cowboy Cookies do!  It’s like a twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe.  The addition of coconut, oats and pecans really make this cookie good.  But there is a secret ingredient that you wouldn’t expect.  Cinnamon.  These Cowboy Cookies don’t taste cinnamon-y but it does give the cookie a flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on.  It is very subtle.

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Captain’s Cheese Bake

It’s December!  I know I say this with each month, but where has time gone?  We have officially entered into the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”  I love Christmastime so much!  There is something magical about the decorations, lights, music….just everything!  Today, I’m kicking off  my holiday recipes with one of my favorites.  Captain’s Cheese Bake is a delicious appetizer that would be the perfect addition to any holiday party or Christmas Eve!

This baked dip is a great combination of salty, slightly sweet and just a little kick of heat.  Cream cheese, mayo, green onions and cheddar cheese are the base of this dip.  But what really sets this recipe apart from others is the Captain Rodney’s Original Boucan Glaze that goes on top.  This glaze is sweet with a slight bit of kick.  People that don’t do spice still really like this recipe, so don’t let that scare you!  You can find this glaze at specialty stores and gift shops.  In SO ILL Dream Baskets in Harrisburg carries it. Make sure you check out all of their cute merchandise and grab some lunch while you’re there !

Captain’s Cheese Bake recipe is great to take to parties because you can mix it up ahead of time and it is ready to pop in the oven whenever you need it.  If you are going to make it up ahead of time, just crush up the crackers that go on top and place them in a ziplock.  If you put them on the dip and then refrigerate it, I’m afraid they would be a bit soggy.

This dip is great for last minute company as well because I almost always have the ingredients on hand.  It’s easy to whip this up and your guests will think you’ve really gone all out.

You are going to want to pick some of this Captain Rodney’s Original Boucan Glaze up or order it to have on hand to make this great appetizer.  It’s seriously one of my favorite and most requested appetizers!  I think you’ll love it!

Captain's Cheese Bake

This warm cheese spread has the perfect sweet/savory balance with just a little kick of heat!

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12


  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 15 butter crackers, crushed
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled or 1/2 c. real bacon bits
  • 1/2 c Captain Rodney's Boucan Glaze (aprox)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray

  2. Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar and onions until combined. Spread in prepared pie plate.

  3. Top with cracker crumbs and bake for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven and top with bacon and drizzle with glaze. You want the glaze to cover the whole dish but you don't want it too thick.

  5. Serve with Club Crackers.

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Triple Layer Skillet Apple Pie

One week from today is Thanksgiving!  I am so ready.  I know most of us have our menus planned, but you are going to want to make room for this dessert!  This Triple Layer Skillet Apple Pie is to die for!  Seriously, it is so, so good!  I think my regular apple pie is great, but I’m telling you this one beats it!  There’s just something about a sweet, gooey treat baked in an iron skillet that says comfort!

I know I’ve preached numerous times about homemade pie crust but I am going to make an exception for this pie.  By all means feel free to use homemade pie crust if you have it but I don’t feel like it’s absolutely necessary for this Triple Layer Skillet Apple Pie.

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Cranberry Salsa

Two weeks from today we’ll all be eating turkey!  Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays!  No gifts to worry about, just a relaxed day full of good food and family!  If you’re searching for a last minute easy recipe to round out your Thanksgiving menu, look no further than this Cranberry Salsa!

When I first heard of Cranberry Salsa I couldn’t quite grasp the concept.  But then I tasted it and was hooked!  Think cranberry relish married a fruit salsa.  You will not find any tomatoes in this salsa, just tart cranberries. 

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Savory Pecan Pumpkin Butter Spread

We are down to three weeks until Thanksgiving!  There are times I can’t believe how fast time is going and then sometimes it feels like we are standing still.  I guess that’s 2020 for you!  Anyway, Thanksgiving will be here soon.  I know some family’s celebrations will look different this year and some won’t.  No matter what your celebration looks like, you will still want good food.  This Savory Pecan Pumpkin Butter Spread will fit the bill.

Every year I go shopping a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving in Nashville and always hit up Williams Sonoma.  I love to see what they are featuring for the holidays and what new products they have each year.  But the best part is that they always have samples of food and it’s always good.  That’s where this appetizer recipe came from. 

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Pasta e Fagioli Soup

It seems like we’ve hit winter weather here in So ILL even though we are clearly smack dab in the middle of fall!  The only thing that this weather is good for is eating soup.  That’s probably my favorite part of fall and winter.  I love, love, love soup!  This Pasta e Fagioli soup is one of my family’s favorites!

Have you ever enjoyed Pasta e Fagioli at Olive Garden?  This is a great copycat version of that soup.  It is such a hearty and delicious soup that it can easily be a meal.  My best description of it would be an Italian version of chili.  It starts with a ground beef base with lots of vegetables, beans and tomato flavor.

All of those delicious flavors simmer together for nearly an hour, then the pasta is cooked separately and added at the end.  If I know the entire pot of soup won’t get eaten, I leave the pasta out of the soup.  I feel like the pasta soaks up all the liquid when the soup is reheated.  Just place desired amount of pasta in each individual bowl before serving and ladle soup over the top.

Give this soup a try this weekend!  It would be a perfect way to warm up after Trick or Treating!  Happy Halloween!

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

This delicious Italian soup is a cross between vegetable soup and chili.

Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 1 c julienned carrots
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz. V-8 or tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 lb ditalini pasta


  1. Brown and drain ground beef.

  2. Add onion, carrot celery and garlic. Saute 10 minutes

  3. Add remaining ingredients expect the pasta and simmer for 1 hour.

  4. After 50 minutes, cook past. Drain

  5. Add pasta to pot and simmer 5-10 minutes.

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Pumpkin Bread

It’s been a while but I’m back today with a quintessential fall recipe.  When I think of fall and baking, pumpkin bread is the first thing I think of.  It is my favorite kind of quick bread. I’ve been eating this recipe of pumpkin bread since I was in elementary school.  I vividly remember making this in second grade with Mrs. Walker’s class.  She had us all bring in a soup can that was washed and dried and that’s what we baked the bread in.  Clearly, I love cooking and eating so this was probably one of my favorite activities in school ever!

Now that we’ve taken a stroll down memory lane, let’s talk about this Pumpkin Bread Recipe!  It is the perfect bread.  It’s moist, sweet and just the right amount of spice.

I need to tell you that cinnamon is the only “fall-ish” spice I like.  You can keep the nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  I just find that I don’t like those flavors in my foods.  The original recipe calls for a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg.  If you love those flavors, feel free to use them!

This recipe could not be easier to put together.  Literally measure your ingredients, add them to the bowl and mix it together and in an hour you will have delicious pumpkin bread. This makes 3 medium loaves or 2 large loaves.  I have used the mini loaf pans before and taken to neighbors.  It’s the perfect size to share!

If you want to bake something that makes your whole house smell like fall, this is the recipe.  Make a loaf for yourself and a couple to give away.  Spread some fall cheer!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Pumpkin Bread

This delicious cinnamon infused pumpkin bread is like fall in loaf form. So comforting!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 24


  • 3 1/3 c flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon, to your taste
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c oil
  • 2/3 c water


  1. Sift dry ingredients together

  2. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in eggs, sugar, water, oil and pumpkin. Mix well.

  3. Pour into 3 well greased loaf pans and bake at 350° for 1 hour.

  4. Let cook before turning bread out of pan.

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Crazy Jane’s Salad

We are down to our final unofficial weekend of summer.  Where did it go??? I feel like just a week or so ago we were celebrating Memorial Day.  I know everyone’s mind is starting to transition to fall, but I like to hang on to summer as long as I possibly can.  And there isn’t much I love more in summer than a good salad.

Today I’m bringing you an easy, crowd pleasing salad recipe.  This Crazy Jane’s Salad is a family favorite.  I like to make it when we have family dinners or a potluck.  Everyone loves it and there is never any left.

This salad is a lettuce salad with a home made vinaigrette that really sets  it apart.  It’s a sweet dressing that you cook on the stove and the special ingredient is Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt.  You can find it in the spice aisle in your supermarket.

The dressing definitely is the highlight of this salad, but I love the combination of other ingredients that go in.  You get  crunch from cucumber, rice noodles and toasted almonds, a nice chew from the Craisins and the zippiness of the green onion.  These ingredients pair so well with the sweet and sour flavor of the home made dressing.

Make this salad for a get together this weekend and watch it disappear!

Crazy Jane's Salad

This sweet and tart lettuce salad is a great addition to any meal.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 8


  • 3 Romain hearts, chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c craisins
  • 1/3 c toasted, slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c La Choy rice noodles


  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt


  1. Heat sugar, oil and vinegar in saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add salt and poppy seeds. Set aside and let cool.

  2. Place lettuce, onions cucumber, Craisins, almonds and noodles. Toss with dressing and serve.

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