Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ranch Pasta Salad

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day!  I know I did....  Now back to business...This is the easiest pasta salad and so very tasty....I could make a meal out of it!

FYI:  If you are interested in being a guest blogger on this blog and have some wonderful recipes you would like to share, contact me at countrycookdebi@gmail.com.

Ranch Pasta Salad

2 cups uncooked spiral noodles (or your favorite type)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. whole milk
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. real butter
1 tsp. sea salt + 1/2 tsp.
1 tsp. Dijonnaise (mustard/mayo blend)

Bring about 2 quarts of water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil and add the pasta. Boil for about 8 to 10 minutes until pasta is done.  Note, the spiral noodles will be a little tougher than some noodles and may take a little longer.  Remove from heat and drain the noodles.   Put the noodles back in the pan and add the butter, just long enough to melt it.  Pour into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir well and cover.  Place in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.

Serve and Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Breakfast WonTons

These small, crispy breakfast wontons are so good and so easy to make.  Kids will love these!  Give them a try.

Breakfast WonTons

8 to 10 WonTon wrappers
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
6 Echrich sausage links (I like maple flavored)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
oil for frying

Separate and lay out the WonTon wrappers on a board.  Beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Slice the mini sausage links into small rounds.

Melt the 2 Tbsp. of butter in a pan and add in the eggs and the sausage pieces.  Scramble the eggs and meat with a spoon.  Put a Tbsp. or so of the egg/sausage mixture onto the wonton and put a tsp. of cheese on top.  Wet the edges of the wonton with water using your fingertips.  Fold the corners over and press down with a fork.

Drop the wontons a few at a time into oil that has been heated to 350 degrees.  They will fry quickly, so keep an eye on them.  Turn once and when they are crispy on both sides, remove to drain on a paper towel.

Serve hot!  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cabbage Pot

This dish is so easy and has been a favorite for a very long time.  Just put it all in one pot and let it cook.  How much easier can it get?

Cabbage Pot

1 small head of cabbage
1 pkg. of smoked sausage (your favorite brand)
5 medium potatoes
enough water to cover the ingredients
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. salt

You will need a very large stock pot for this recipe.  Cut the cabbage into small pieces.  Slice the smoked sausage into thin rounds.  It is not necessary to peel the potatoes.  Just quarter them.  Add all of the ingredients to the pot, including onion and spices.  Cover ingredients with just enough water to be at the top.

Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.  The cabbage will wilt down and the potatoes should be done.  Remove from heat and serve.

Good stuff!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets

What kid doesn't love chicken nuggets?  What parent doesn't love BBQ?  Why not please the entire family with these Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets.....mmmm mmmm mmm

Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
Oil for frying

1/4 cup catsup
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ginger paste
6 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Step 1:  Fry the chicken nuggets

Cut the chicken breasts into chunks.  Place the flour into a bowl and add salt and pepper.  Dip the chicken nuggets into the flour mixture and drop into hot oil (375 degrees).  Fry until golden brown and remove to a paper towel to drain.

Step 2:  The sauce

Mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour the sauce ingredients into a skillet over medium-low heat.  Bring up to heat (but not boiling).  Add in the chicken nuggets that have already been fried and lightly toss them in the sauce to coat.  Allow them to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes in the sauce (or until it thickens and sticks to the nuggets).

Remove and serve!  Enjoy...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Zucchini Fries

I am so excited that warm weather is here and soon it will be garden season!  Here's my favorite recipe for zucchini (besides zucchini bread of course)....  These are so tasty and your kids will love them.

Zucchini Fries

1 small zucchini, peeled
bowl of water - enough to cover the zucchini fries + 1 Tbsp. salt
Oil for frying
Ranch dressing for dipping

bowl 1 = 2 cups flour, 1 Tbsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. pepper
bowl 2 = 2 cups whole milk or evaporated milk
bowl 3 = 3 cups of Panko bread crumbs

Peel zucchini and cut in half across the center.  Cut each section in long, thin strips, similar to French Fries.  Soak the zucchini strips in water for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the bowls as above.  Bring oil up to about 375 degrees for frying.  To fry:  dip in bowl 1 and toss until zucchini is covered;  dip in bowl 2 with the milk;  drop into the bowl of Panko bread crumbs and press down on each side to make sure they are covered and the Panko sticks to the fries.

I prepare most of the fries first and lay them out on a board, so that I can easily drop them in bunches in the oil and fry them.  They only take about 3 to 4 minutes to fry.  Remove to a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.  Serve along with Ranch Dressing for dipping.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Big Fat Baked Taquitoes

Okay, it's no secret I love Mexican food!  I don't like it really spicy, but I can eat Nacho's at least once a week....just ask my husband!  He probably gets sick of them... This recipe is really good, fast and hearty!  Give it a try......

Big Fat Baked Taquitoes

1 lb. lean ground beef
6 to 10 flour tortillas 10"
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 diced bell pepper
3 diced green onions
1/4 diced whole onion
1/4 + 1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. Taco Seasoning
1 small can green chilies
3 cups shredded mozzarella or mild cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef, 1/4 diced whole onion, bell pepper and Taco seasoning, salt and pepper in a skillet.  Drain well and put mixture back into the pan.  Add 1 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup cream cheese, green chilies, the green onions and about 1/4 cup of evaporated milk to the pan.  Stir well to combine.

Ladle the mixture into 10" flour tortillas, reserving about 1 cup of the mixture in the pan.  Top with about 4 Tbsp. cheese and roll up.  You don't have to tuck in the ends like a burrito, just roll them up.  Place them in a rectangle baking dish 9x11 or so that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes (or long enough to brown the tortillas).  Remove from heat and plate.  Top with some of the remaining sauce below.

To the remaining sauce in the pan, add an additional 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk to thin it out to a sauce and ladle over the top of the Taquitoes.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Open-Faced Sloppy Joe

Once in a while you just need an easy dinner....maybe it's been a long day and you want something that will satisfy everyone but it won't take your entire evening!  Well, kids and adults love this one and it is an easy fix!

Open-Faced Sloppy Joe

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
6 cherry tomatoes - finely chopped
2 green onions
1/4 small white onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 can of petite diced tomatoes (juices drained)
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

Brown ground beef in a skillet.  Drain the grease and put it back in the skillet.  Chop 6 cherry tomatoes up into small pieces, finely dice 2 green onions, chop 1/4 small white onion and add all three to the pan.  Add the seasonings.  Open a 15 1/2 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes and drain off the juices.  Add to the pan along with the sugar.  Simmer all ingredients for about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, toast 4 to 6 pieces of bread.  Place the bread on plates and top with the Sloppy Joe mixture.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and serve.

Note:  If you like your Sloppy Joes a little sweeter, you can add 2 Tbsp. sugar.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

White Chocolate Brownie

This recipe was a fluke!  Honestly, I was trying to make something else and it just turned out to be a delicious brownie!

White Chocolate Brownie

1 stick real butter
2 squares Almond Bark (White chocolate)
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. evaporated milk
3/4 c. walnut pieces

Topping:  6 Tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla)

Melt butter and chocolate together over low heat (or in a microwave).  Beat eggs, sugar, 1 tsp. of the hazelnut and evaporated milk flavoring together in a large bowl.  Temper by adding just a Tbsp. or two of the butter/chocolate.  Mix together and then add the rest of the butter/chocolate.  (Doing this keeps your eggs from cooking)...

Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl and then slowly add into the wet mixture.  Pour into a 9x9 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Mix the 6 Tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring and beat with a fork.  Drizzle over top of the warm brownies.

Mmmmm  these are addicting!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baked Potato Salad

I love good potato salad....this recipe is the best I have ever made!  Give it a try...

Baked Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 strips of bacon or turkey bacon (finely chopped and fried)
1/4 white onion, diced
1 Tbsp. dill
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 tsp. sugar
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Peel, cube and boil potatoes until almost done (you don't want them totally fork tender).  Chop up and fry bacon or turkey bacon in a skillet.  Drain on a paper towel.  Hard boil eggs using the 10 minute method

Place potatoes into a bowl.  Allow them to set for about 30 minutes to cool completely, or put them in the refrigerator for a quick cool!  Add remaining ingredients - adding the hard boiled eggs last.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

10 Minute Egg Rule:  place eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, allow to boil for 10 minutes, turn off heat and let set 10 minutes - drain water and shake vigorously in the pan - shells will practically fall off.

Amazing!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fried Zucchini

I am always so excited when garden season comes around.  There is nothing like fresh vegetables.  I'm not a big vegetable eater, but with a little creativity, I can get my dose of veggies!  These little crispy nuggets of goodness make my belly go to a happy place!

Fried Zucchini

1 whole zucchini, peeled and sliced into very thin pieces
2 cups of evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (more or less)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. dill
Oil for frying (375 degrees)

Wash, peel and slice the zucchini into very thin slices.  I use a mandolin, which makes it much easier.  Set out two bowls.  In one bowl pour the evaporated milk.  In the second bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and dill. 

Start by dipping the zucchini slices into the flour first, and then the milk and then back into the flour.  (If you prefer, you can have a 3rd bowl for the second flour dipping)  I like to make up several and put them on a plate ready to drop into the oil.  

Drop into the hot oil.  How do you know if it is hot without a thermometer?  Drop a sprinkle of the flour into the oil.  If it sizzles, it is ready.  Turn the zucchini once so that they are browned and crispy on both sides.  Remove onto a paper towel to drain.  Add additional salt if desired.  Serve


Monday, May 16, 2016

Dill Fried Potatoes

I love potatoes, I'm not usually big on fried potatoes, but I really love dill, so the combination makes these awesome.

Dill Fried Potatoes

4 to 6 medium sized potatoes
1 Tbsp. dill
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper

Peel and slice potatoes.  Add oil to a deep skillet and once the oil is hot, add the sliced potatoes.  Add seasonings.  The key to great fried potatoes is not to turn them too often.  Spread them out in a thin layer and allow them to brown on one side before turning.  I also cover them with a lid for the first 4 or 5 minutes to allow them to cook all the way through.  Then remove the lid and brown.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Crab Pockets

Crab meat is my very favorite seafood.  Now, I know this is made with Imitation Crab Meat, but it is still excellent and very easy to make.  Give it a try!

Crab Pockets

1 pkg. of imitation crab meat
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup real mayonnaise (more or less)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
1 tsp. Dill
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar

Shred crab meat by placing it into a food processor and pulsing it just 3 or 4 times.  If you don't have a food processor, you can just finely chop it.  In a bowl, mix crab meat, mayonnaise and seasonings.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  Mix well.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and lay out the crescent rolls.  Put about 2 heaping Tbsp. on each of the crescent rolls on the wide part of the triangle.  Add a little bit more cheese to the top.  Begin folding up the corners with the wide ends and then bring the long part of the triangle up and over and tuck it under the opposite side, making a pocket.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crescent rolls are a golden brown.  Serve immediately. 


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Crispy Fish Breading

I love seafood, but I'm not a big fish eater.  I do slip it into my diet now and then and this breading is fantastic.  Gives the fish some crispy without being overly heavy.  Try it, you'll like it!

Crispy Fish Breading

3 to 4 pieces of white fish (your choice)

1/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 cup of milk

Dip fish in milk and then coat it in the flour/cornmeal mixture.  For extra crispy fish, put it back into the milk again and then back into the flour/cornmeal for a second coat.  Fry on each side until crispy, do not turn it more than once on each side because you want the breading to hold fast.

This is so good, Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Baked Spaghetti with No Marinara Sauce

It's no secret that neither my husband or I like Marinara sauce.  I love this dish because it is so cheesy and good.  I was never a big fan of spaghetti because of the sauce, but this one, I love.

Baked Spaghetti with NO Marinara Sauce

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 cups spaghetti noodles
1/4 of a white onion, finely chopped
2 green onions, diced
1/4 of a bell pepper, finely chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped into very small pieces
1 Tbsp. sugar
6 cherry tomatoes, diced into 4ths
2 Tbsp. salt + 1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I use an entire block)

In skillet, brown the ground beef with the white onion, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and bell pepper.  Add salt and pepper. 

In a separate pot, bring 2 quarts of water with 1 tsp. salt to a boil.  Cook until completely done and drain well.  Once the ground beef is done, drain well and pour into the noodles.  Toss well and then add the green onion and 1/2 of the cheese you have shredded.  Mix well and then pour into a baking dish (I use my cast ironed skillet).  Add the remaining cheese on the top. 

Bake in a 375 degree oven just long enough to brown the cheese on the top.  About 10 to 12 minutes.

PS:  If you like it saucier and do like Marinara, just add a 15 1/2 oz. can of crushed tomatoes.

Serve with Sour Cream & Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Steaks on the Grill

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, as mouth-watering as a steak cooked to perfection in the outdoors!   As summer is approaching, I thought I would share our (mine and my husband's) recipe for grilling a good steak.  And that, my friends is the first step:  BUY GOOD STEAKS!

Steaks on the Grill

4 to 6 bone-in Ribeye Steaks
4 Tbsp. Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp. coarse Sea Salt
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. melted butter

In a medium-sized bowl, mix Worcestershire sauce, Soy sauce, water, salt and pepper.  Melt butter in the microwave and add it to the mixture.  Stir well.  Place steaks in a large baggie or covered bowl and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (overnight is even better).

When ready to grill, remove the steaks, but do not throw the marinade away.  Place steaks on the grill and using a basting brush, brush it on the steaks when you turn them.  Cook to desired temperature.  We like them medium-well...just a little pink!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Steak & Potato Soup

Nothing makes a soup heartier than to add some left-over steak.  As you all know, I'm a soup junkie!  I love the stuff.  This is just a natural combination that you will love.

Steak & Potato Soup

1 leftover steak of any type (preferably from the grill)
6 potatoes, peeled
6 baby carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, finely diced
1 can evaporated milk
1 green onion, finely diced
2 quarts water (appr)
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt

1/4 cup water + 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch for thickening

Wash, peel and boil potatoes, chop carrots, celery, green onion and white onion.  Place in a heavy stock pot with enough water just to cover the potatoes.  Chop steak into small bite-sized pieces and once the potatoes come to a boil, add the steak, salt and pepper.  Boil about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender, but not over cooked. 

Reduce heat and add 1 can of evaporated milk.  Do NOT drain the water from the potatoes.  The water from the steak, potatoes and veggies cooking together has all that flavor.  Bring back up just to a boil.  In a small cup, add 1/4 cup water and 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Drizzle this mixture into the soup while stirring until it is the consistency you want.  It may or may not take all of the mixture.

Remove from heat and Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2016


Most kids love Hamburger Helper.  My granddaughter, Kaitlyn used to call this Debi-Burger-Helper because I made it up myself and it is very similar to the boxed stuff.  Give this a try!


1 lb. lean ground beef
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (15 1/2 oz.)
1/2 soup can of water
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Basil
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Boil noodles in salted water until almost done.  Drain well.  In the meantime, while the noodles are boiling, in a very deep skillet, brown ground beef with onion.  When meat is done, drain well.  Put back into the skillet and add the Worcestershire sauce and seasonings.  In a bowl, mix the Cream of Mushroom Soup with 1/2 soup can of water and add it to the skillet.  Bring to a boil and add in the cooked macaroni.

Saute' for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I love anything Mexican.  Tostada's have long been a favorite of mine.  They are easy to make and easy to handle.  I like the addition of the refried beans now and then. 


6 to 8 Tostada Shells (premade or make your own)

To make your own:  6 to 8 corn tortillas.  Deep fry them at about 375 degrees turning once until crispy.  Drain well on a paper towel  Note, do not use flour tortillas, they are not the same.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) refried beans
4 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning
1 tsp. Oregano


1/4 head of lettuce, finely shredded
2 green onions, finely chopped
Finely diced tomatoes
Sour Cream

In a saucepan, combine the refried beans and 4 Tbsp. water.  Heat on low and stir often to prevent scorching.  Remove once it is hot.  It doesn't need to cook, just head up.

In a deep skillet, brown the hamburger and regular onion together.  Drain completely and readd to the pan, adding in the Taco Seasoning and Oregano. 

To Layer:  Lay out the Tostada Shells and spread the refried beans thinly over the shell.  Next, layer the hamburger and then add whatever toppings you want.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tomato Basil Soup with Chicken

I am a soup junkie!  I love it.  I make soup probably at least once a week...twice a month at the least.  Even in the summer, I make soup!  This is a hearty soup with plenty of protein and wonderfully rich broth.

Tomato Basil Soup with Chicken

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 can of Great Northern beans
2 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1 15 1/2 oz. can of chicken broth
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. basil
2 Tbsp. evaporated milk
2 Tbsps. real butter

In a deep stock pot, add real butter.  Cut chicken breasts into small bite-sized chunks and add to the butter in the pan.  Saute' until the chicken is almost done.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Boil for 6 to 8 minutes.  Reduce heat and add the crushed tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, beans and seasonings.  Bring back up to a slow boil.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes and remove from heat.  Quickly stir in the 2 Tbsp. evaporated milk. 


Monday, May 2, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I'm not a big fan of Broccoli, but I am a big fan of SOUP!  When you pulse the broccoli until it is fine and put it in a good cheddar soup, even I love this!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

2 cans Chicken Broth (15 1/2 oz.)
2 cups cubed Velveeta Cheese
1/2 head broccoli - tops only
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 can evaporated milk

In a heavy stock pan over medium heat, add chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  In a food processor or by hand, finely chop just the heads of the broccoli.  If you like to leave them thicker, chop by hand.  Add broccoli pieces to the chicken broth and boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add evaporated milk and cheese chunks.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until all of the cheese has melted.  Remove from heat immediately. 

Serve and Enjoy!