Amy’s Pecan Sausage Dressing

This is a recipe I will be making during the holidays every year for the rest of my life!   I based this off a different dressing recipe , and added the things that I like best!  I hope you make it this holiday season & love it as much as I do!

Amy’s Pecan Sausage Dressing

3 carrots, rough chop

2 large yellow onions, rough chop

8 stalks celery, 4 large chop, 4 small chop, keep separate

¾ bunch fresh sage

3 apples, small chop

Craisins 10 oz.

3 lbs. Jimmy Dean Sage sausage or loose sweet italian sausage

1.5 lbs. Cubed sourdough (crust removed)

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter a very large baking dish. If you aren’t worried about it being in a “pretty” dish, you can get a large aluminum disposable one. In a food processor puree the rough chopped carrot, onion, celery and sage until you have a fine pulp. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage in a little olive oil. Once you have a nice brown color and the fat has rendered – about 5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the vegetable pulp to the pan and saute until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the mixing bowl with the sausage and also add the bread cubes, pecans, apple, celery, and craisins.

Mix together chicken stock, cream and egg. Pour this wet mixture over the dressing mix. Season and fold everything together. Pour out into the roasting dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on the top (if it gets too brown before the 30 minutes is up, tent with foil).


November 19, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Eat your heart out







Well, needless to say… Well, maybe I do need to say it. This year has been CRA A PPY.  Not ALL of it, but a lot of it. Leukemia is not a word you want to hear mentioned in the same sentence with you child’s name.  Since I am a control freak, and life being so out of control, the only thing that I could control is my food, my baking. That’s when I go to my world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A couple months ago I wrote in my journal:

“Nothing can touch me here… The smell of the oven warming, the feel of cold butter between my fingertips as I toss in into the flour. Baby sleeping, the dryer running, shadows flickering on the table from the turning leaves outside, dancing in the wind. I breath out. I can make it through another day.”

Sooo, there you have it.

November 17, 2010. just me. Leave a comment.

Nielson-Massey Vanilla

Nielson-Massey Vanilla!

This is the best.

Yes! It’s what Ina uses & I completely agree with her, use “Good” vanilla in your baking!

November 17, 2010. Baking, Dessert!!!. Leave a comment.

Adrienne’s Banana Bread from Heaven

My sister in law, Adrienne Sandvos, created & perfected this recipe. She is a genius, try it. Really. You will thank me, and then I will thank her for you.

Banana Bread from Heaven

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup honey

2 large eggs

3/4 cup unbleached white four

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbl ground flax (optional)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Note: You can also do all white flour if you don’t have whole wheat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a bread loaf pan. Mix together butter, bananas, brown sugar/honey, yogurt, vanilla and eggs. Make sure you add the eggs last. Separately mix together flours, baking soda, salt and flax. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just incorporated, then stir in the walnuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for a little over an hour.

November 17, 2010. Breakfast, Dessert!!!, Snacks. Leave a comment.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

This recipe comes from my BFF Ashley. I like to call her SmAsh, among other nicknames 😉 She is one of the only people (besides my sis in law Adrienne) that gets as excited about cooking & food as I do.  This is a great recipe to serve along with some steak, or I like to put it over some green salad, crumble some tortilla chips & add a little shredded cheddar cheese… yum!


Black Bean & Corn Salad

3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans corn, drained and rinsed

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jicama, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red onion, chopped


1 c. olive oil

½ c. red wine vinegar

¾ c. honey

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. pepper

2 tbsp. Tabasco

1 tbsp. salt

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

In a medium, bowl whisk dressing ingredients together. Add the remainder of the ingredients and chill for 1 hour before serving to let flavors infuse. This salad is best served the second day.

November 17, 2010. Side Dish. Leave a comment.

Suzie’s Peanut Butter Balls

These always make me think of Christmas parties! These are like home made peanut butter cups, but better! This recipe is from my dear friend Suzie.

Suzie’s Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 lb butter

2 cups peanut butter

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla


Mix and form into 1″ balls. Chill 1/2 hour or up to overnight.

For Chocolate: 1 package chocolate chips

1/2 bar paraffin wax

Melt in double boiler.

Dip pb balls in chocolate using toothpicks, set them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cool and enjoy!

Some tips… I like using natural peanut butter (I like Trader Joe’s) but any kind will work. And I typically don’t need quite so much butter and end up needing to add more powdered sugar to make it the right consistency. So I would recommend starting with half the amount of butter and adding as needed. You can test the dough by rolling it into balls and if it holds and rolls well, you’re golden. (You can also taste test too!). The wax you can buy at grocery stores, usually in the baking aisle or at craft stores near the candy making stuff. I always just ask around. It comes in big blocks though, use small chunks at a time. You just need a little extra wax to make the chocolate chip consistency work better.



November 17, 2010. Dessert!!!. Leave a comment.

Ina’s Mac N Cheese

Have I mentioned my love for the food of Ina Garten? ( a.k.a The Barefoot Contessa) I really do LOVE her food. This year for Nolan’s 2nd Birthday, I made this Mac N Cheese (Mac N Cheese is his fav) This recipe changed my life. No other Mac N Cheese can compare… so far…

Ina’s Mac N Cheese


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni o
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


November 17, 2010. Dinner, Lunch, Pasta. Leave a comment.

Naan Bread Pizzas

This is something my room mate Bethany made for us & it was sooooo good! If the toppings in this recipe aren’t your favs, just replace them with one’s that you like better! A flavor combo that has become a favorite for us is Mushroom, Pancetta & Shallot, mmmmm.

4-8 pieces of Naan (depending upon how hungry you are & how thick you lay your toppings)

Olive oil

Jar of your favorite tomato sauce (optional)

3 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)

16 oz ball of mozzarella, grated

1/2 of a large Red Onion, thinly sliced

1-2 Bell Peppers, any color, thinly sliced

1/4 lb. of mushrooms, sliced

1 Can of olives, sliced ( or you can buy them pre-sliced)

Salt & Pepper

Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into a bowl, add the minced garlic and mix together (if you have time to let it sit for a while, the flavors will infuse more).

Place the Naan on a baking sheet & brush or drizzle the olive oil over it and sprinkle with salt, then spread the tomato sauce if desired. Sometimes I like it without sauce.

Sprinkle some cheese, add desired toppings, top with more cheese & place into a 400 degree oven until cheese is melted & a little bubbly.

You can also do these on a grill!

After brushing the Naan with oil, place on a low heat grill until warmed through, then add sauce and toppings. Keeping the grill on low, watch the pizzas until they are melted & crisp.

If your grill has an upper rack, place the pizzas there to insure they do not burn before the cheese has time to melt.

June 3, 2010. Dinner, Menu Number 1, Pizza, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Grilled Chicken with Corn & Tomato Salad

The Tomato Salad with this meal in incredibly simple & delicious! It’s perfectly refreshing and it definitely beats feeling guilty about having two helpings of potato salad!

6 chicken Breasts  (4 will be for this dinner, you will save 2 for the Chicken Cobb Salad)

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped (optional)

Salt & Pepper

1  pint grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, chopped

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

3 cups Frozen Corn

Chicken- Mix the garlic, thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper in a gallon ziplock bag. Once combined add chicken and let it marinade for at least a half hour. The longer the better. If you have time you could even do it the day before. When you are ready to cook, place the chicken on a medium-low heat grill and cook until done. If you have a meat thermometer, the correct temperature is 165 degrees. If you’d rather not mess with the grill you can just put them in a pan on the stove, medium heat.

Corn- You can microwave the corn or simmer on the stove.

Tomato SaladIn a bowl, toss the tomatoes, scallions, orange zest, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Tomato Salad Recipe by Sara Quessenberry

June 2, 2010. Chicken, Dinner, Menu Number 1, Salads. Leave a comment.

Quesadillas, Black Beans & Spanish Rice

The rice recipe is a family favorite introduced to us by my brother in law Vincent, we eat it at least twice a month, if not more. Vincent uses Jasmine rice for his, but I started using Basmati rice because it is better for you and I like the texture.

4-6 small Flour tortillas

Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Black Beans, 3 cans

1 tsp.Ground Cumin

Salt & Pepper

Olive oil

1 yellow onion, small chop

2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

Basmati Rice, 2 cups

Stewed Tomatoes, 1 can

2 Tbsp. Chicken Bouillon

3 cups of water (if you don’t want want to use Bouillon, you can replace the water with chicken stock & add a little salt)

Store bought Salsa & Guacamole

Sour Cream

Rice- Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a pot, turn to med-high heat, add garlic and onion, sautee until soft. Add 2 cups Basmati rice and cook for 5 minutes while stirring constantly ( you want the rice to lose the translucent look ). Add the can of tomatoes, bouillon and water. Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling put a lid on the pot and turn to LOW. Set the timer for 20 minutes. DON’T OPEN THE LID UNTIL THE TIMER GOES OFF! Turn the heat off, and fluff the rice with a fork.

Black Beans- With the heat on low add the 3 cans of black beans to a small pot, add cumin then salt & pepper to taste.

Quesadillas- On a large pan or skillet, on medium heat place tortilla,add jack cheese and another tortilla on top. Cook until cheese is melted and tortillas are crisp. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges with pizza cutter, serve hot.

Garnish with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

May 31, 2010. Dinner, Menu Number 1, Mexican, Tortillas, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Next Page »