Easy Reese’s Peanut Butter Fudge!

My favorite candy…in FUDGE! Life just doesn’t get any better than Easy Reese’s Peanut Butter Fudge!1512437_551268514957278_802166974_n


  • 2 (10 oz) bags Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
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  • 10 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, quartered
  • 1/4 cup Reese’s Pieces for sprinkling on top


  1. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Melt peanut butter chips and sweetened condensed milk in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat until fully melted.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared dish.
  5. Nestle the peanut butter cups into the fudge.
  6. Spread remain half of fudge mixture over Reese’s peanut butter cups.
  7. Sprinkle Reese’s Pieces on top and press into the fudge with the palm of your hand.
  8. Let cool completely before cutting into pieces and serving.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.




Holiday Cut-Out Cookies


Makes 80 cookies (depending on the cookie cutter size; you can halve or quarter the recipe)


1 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Finely chopped walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)
Sanding sugar (optional)
Dried citron or candied cherries, finely chopped (optional)


1. A day before baking the cookies: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or by hand, in a bowl with a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition, then the vanilla. Gradually work in the flour until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


2. Heat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Cut the dough into quarters and keep three-quarters cold while working with the first quarter.


3. Generously flour your work surface. Lay down the dough. Flour again. Roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/8-inch thick — and no thicker! Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. It helps to dip the cutters into flour between every 2 cookies; this will prevent sticking. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash and decorate with chopped nuts, sanding sugar, or diced citron — whatever you like!


4. Bake the cookies until they are lightly browned on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes — I like to turn the baking sheet 180 degrees after 5 minutes to help them bake evenly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. (Repeat with the rest of the dough.) Place the cookies in a tin or storage container with a tight lid and let age 1 to 2 weeks to bring out the flavor. (I have eaten them at Easter, 4 months later, and they were still delicious.)



Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

 I love my mom’s family thumbprint recipe but how to change it up.  The base is great so let’s change where the nuts go and the kind of nuts from walnuts to pecans.  A-ha!  One of my favorite pies in a cookie.

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

2/3 cup butter
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, beaten

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup (light or dark)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans 

Beat butter until creamy. Add half of the flour with sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

While you dough chills make your filling.  In a small saucepan, combine powdered sugar, butter and corn syrup. Stir until melted and just boils on the edge.
Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Set in fridge on a hot pad, cooling for at least 30 minutes.
Roll in egg whites or you could brush it on.
Press center down with your thumb.
 You can smooth the edges a little with your thumb and finger.
Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven so you can fill centers.
You may need to make your dent again.  If it weren’t holding a caramel type filling I wouldn’t worry about it but this one can ooze out.
Add a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of your pecan pie filling. Don’t add too much or it will bubble over your cookie.  That little guy in the left has too much! They are still edible just not as pretty.
Bake for 5-7 more minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on sheet for 2 minutes.  Remove to rack to cool.

Makes 28-30 cookies.
I came out with extra filling but it’s yummy as is. Almost like a caramel pecan candy. Enjoy!


Cowboy Meatloaf and Potato Casserole

Wow, am I behind in blogging! Sorry, but life has been really at me lately! Lots of issues to work through…ugh…
However, I thought I would share a recipe with you all today that we tried last night. I found it on…yep…you guessed it…Pinterest 🙂
It’s called Cowboy Meatloaf and Potato Casserole and Pinterest got it from over at Simmer for 10.
It was delish!


1 pckg of steam n’ mash potatoes
1 lb ground beef
3/4 c onion, finely chopped
1/3 c Italian bread crumbs
1/4 c Sweet Baby Rays original bbq sauce
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 c evaporated milk
1 tbsp butter
1 c crumbled bacon (I used real bacon bits)
1/3 cup crispy fried onions, crumbled
2/3 c shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°. Coat a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray.  In a bowl, combine the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, bbq sauce, egg, chili powder and salt until mixed well.  Press into the bottom of the baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.  Pour of the excess fat.  Adjust the oven to broil and place oven rack 6-8″ from heat source.

Meanwhile, microwave the potatoes according to package instructions. In a large bowl, mix together potatoes, butter and evaporated milk with a mixer until smooth.  Stir in bacon and fried onions.  Spread evenly on top of beef mixtures and sprinkle with cheese.

Broil for about 5 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.

This serves about 6 people.  Delicious.


5 Easy Baked Pasta Recipes

With so much of our time taken up by work, carpools, and extra activities, we are always on the hunt for easy weeknight meals. But so you don’t get stuck with the same dishes set on repeat throughout the week, the Cook editors at The Daily Meal want to introduce new quick and easy recipes for your rotation. Pasta bakes are a weeknight essential. They incorporate meats, vegetables, and cheese, which make them hearty and satisfying. And the best part is that they are even more delicious as leftovers when the flavors have additional time to meld.

All of the recipes featured can be made at home for about $20 or less, excluding the cost of small amounts of basic ingredients such as butter, oil, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and other dried herbs and spices.

With the simplicity and deliciousness that baked pasta recipes offer, this week we put the Culinary Content Network and our staff to the test to come up with tasty baked pasta recipes that are anything but ordinary. Here are some of the highlights:

Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta Recipe

Add some bacon and winter squash to your baked pasta dish for a new and tasty twist.


Butternut Squash + Bacon Pasta
adapted from Cooking Light magazine


  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray (don’t forget the cooking spray like me, haha); sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.
  • Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onions to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and onions; set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to the package directions, drain well.
  • Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add mozzarella, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Baked Ham Penne Pasta Recipe

 Use leftover ham in this easy baked ham penne pasta recipe.


Creamy garlic pasta with ham and cheese baked to perfection.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  It’s pretty simple too.  You can make it ahead, refrigerate it,  and pop it in the oven when you’re ready.  This is a great way to use up leftover ham.  I always love pasta with ham and this is a tasty  alternative to ham and potato casserole.

Baked Ham Penne Pasta


16 oz penne pasta

2 cups ham, chopped into small bite size pieces

4 oz Swiss cheese, shredded

1 cup milk

1 cup half and half

1 cup sour cream

3 green onions, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cooking Directions:

Cook penne in boiling water until it just starts to get tender, about half way and drain.  (The pasta will continue to cook in the oven.)  In a dutch oven, or pan that you cooked the pasta in, melt butter.  Add green onion, garlic, and red pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, add flour and stir well and cook additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Add milk, half and half and half of shredded cheese.  Cook, stirring constantly over medium high heat until sauce becomes thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat, stir in sour cream until well combined.  Add ham and pasta, stirring until pasta is well coated with sauce.  Pour into an oven safe baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.   Serve with warm crusty bread.


Easy One-Skillet Lasagna Recipe

This recipe couldn’t get much easier. The dish is cooked in one skillet for easy cooking and clean-up.



1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I like to use the tomatoes with onion and garlic)
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 c. water
10 oz. wide egg noodles
4 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c. shredded Italian cheese blend


  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-low heat.
  2. Drain grease from ground beef, and return it to the skillet.
  3. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning, and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and egg noodles.
  6. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until noodles are al dente.
  7. Stir in ricotta, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from heat, and top with Italian cheese blend.
  9. Let the lasagna sit for about 5 minutes for cheese to melt. If I already have the oven on, I just pop the pan in (make sure it’s oven safe first, though) and let the cheese melt. It takes about 3-4 minutes.

Finnish Macaroni Casserole (Makaronilaatikko) Recipe

This hearty macaroni casserole is easy to make and very family-friendly. Prepare it the night before and reheat in the owen for a quick, weeknight meal.



  • 2 cups cooked macaroni
  • 3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper


Heat oil in skillet and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease or spray oil in an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the cooked macaroni and meat/onion mixture. Whisk together milk and eggs; add about half of the cheese. Pour the mixture over the macaroni and meat in the casserole. Top with the remaining cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and the casserole is heated throughout.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Crumbled Bacon Recipe

 Add a salty flavor to your macaroni and cheese with this recipe that adds crumbled bacon to a classic pasta dish.



4 cups rotini or curly pasta
1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
Cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the dry elbow pasta in a pot for about 10 minutes or until soft. Pour the cooked pasta in a baking pan. Sprinkle cheese and cooked bacon over the pasta. Place the pasta in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes or until the pasta is crispy. Once ready, remove the pasta from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


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