Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Layer Cake

This year, our school did not have an official eighth grade promotion celebration due to COVID-19 restrictions.  However, I wanted to have a small celebration with close family at our house to celebrate my oldest son's eighth grade promotion.  I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, and he requested a chocolate chip cookie dough cake.  My sister-in-law had made one for my nephew's birthday a while back, and it was a hit!  I made the recipe that my sister-in-law used with a few tweaks.  Since some of my other children have already asked me to make it again, I wanted to get everything down in my blog for future reference.

The original recipe can be found here, and it uses a boxed cake mix.  I have no problem with that, but I decided to use my friend's homemade chocolate cake recipe.  I think it produces a little denser cake that holds up better to that thick cookie dough layer.  I also used the option to bake two 9 inch round cakes instead of 6 inch rounds.  That variation…

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

My oldest daughter ran cross country this year, and every Friday one of the moms would provide breakfast after their early-morning practice.  One Friday, she told me that they had a biscuit and gravy casserole that was so good that I had to get the recipe.  I did, and I also looked up several variations on Pinterest.  Here is my version.

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole:  (adapted from this recipe)

2 cans refrigerated biscuits
12 pre-cooked sausage links, halved and chopped (or you can use 1 pound sausage, cooked and drained)
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste (I find that with using the pre-cooked links that I don't need any.)
1 -2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Press one can of biscuits into the bottom of the pan and bake about 8 minutes or until browned.  Meanwhile, whisk milk with flour and seasonings.  Place mixture and sausage into a large skillet and heat on medium-high heat un…

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

My friend Michelle gave me this recipe several years ago.  I forgot about it until I found it in a bin in my kitchen recently.  I decided I needed to get it on my blog so that I wouldn't lose it again.  My second daughter, Anna, is a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, so we made them today.  Here's the recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt (I omit)
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients--flour through salt.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.  Gradually mix in flour.  Then stir in the raisins.

Bake on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet for 10 - 12 minutes.  (I use a medium cookie scoop) Transfer t…

BBQ Meatballs

I have made this recipe more times than I can count!  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law years ago, and I finally am getting it onto my blog.  It calls for onions, but I always omit those since my family doesn't care for them.  I included them in the recipe, though, because I know many of you out there like them in your meatballs.  This is a great recipe for the freezer, too!

Here's the recipe:

BBQ Meatballs

1 can evaporated milk
3 lb. hamburger
2 c. quick oatmeal
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. chopped onion (I omit)
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

2 c. Ketchup
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. yellow mustard (I added this to the original recipe because that's what my mom always put in our BBQ sauce)
1/2 c. chopped onion (I omit)
1-2 Tbsp. liquid smoke (I omit)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (I omit)

    For meatballs, mix ingredients (I put them in my Kitchenaid mixer--so much better than using your hands!) and form into size of walnuts. Place in flat p…

Paleo Breakfast Casserole

Paleo Breakfast Casserole
1/2 pounds sausage (can use Italian sausage or make your own)
5 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large or two small sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded (I use the food processor for this)
10 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
Set the instant pot to saute and put on the medium setting.  Add the sausage, bacon, and peppers and cook until sausage is no longer pink.  While this is cooking, mix eggs and milk in a large bowl and use a hand held mixer or immersion blender to beat up well.  With coconut oil, grease a 2 quart round casserole dish that will fit into your instant pot.  When meat is done, drain if needed/desired.  Add meat mixture and shredded sweet potatoes to eggs and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Place 1 1/2 cups water (or whatever is the required minimum amount for your instant pot) into the bottom of your instant pot crock.  (I use the one I have alre…


Sometimes the best recipes happen a little by accident.  In my family, my grandma was legendary for having to make substitutions in recipes because she was out of something.  Once when making jam, she didn't have enough wild grape juice or sand hill plum juice left to make a batch of jelly.  She and my brother decided to combine the remaining juices together to make one last batch.  They called it "grum," and it was a family favorite.

Another time, when making a chocolate pie, she had to improvise.  She always said that it was the best pie she ever made.  The problem was, she couldn't remember what she had done differently, so she was never able to recreate it.

Fast forward several years to my kitchen. . .

My husband was getting ready to take my older kids in to the high school basketball games one night.  My oldest son, ever the sweets connoisseur, happened to mention, "They have the best scotcheroos there.  And they're really big!"

My husband, who ha…

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

This is one of my favorite go-to weekday lunches!  It's fast, easy, and full of flavor.  It also makes me nostalgic, because when I was pregnant, I used to crave Chinese food.  This dish doesn't rival an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet (I may have needed a few of those for each pregnancy!), but it comes close.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken (adapted from this recipe)

2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I use four ounce chicken breasts from Schwan's, partially frozen)
1/2 C. coconut aminos or soy sauce
1/2 C.  honey
1/2 C. Water
2 T sesame oil
1/4 C. Tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic if desired
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Tapioca starch or cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 C. cold water
Sesame seeds for garnish if desired

Place chicken in instant pot liner and season with salt and pepper (I probably use about 1/4 teaspoon of each).  Whisk next five ingredients together and add garlic cloves and a few shakes of red pepper flakes if desired.  Pour sauce over chicke…