Every family has their personal meatloaf recipe. It’s the one you equate with comfort food meals your Mom made when you were a kid. This is one that my Mom made and it’s always been in my personal family recipe notebook. However, I guess I hadn’t made it in a long time because when I recently started using this recipe again everyone reacted like it was something brand new and exciting. So, without further adieu, here is my Mom’s “New” Old BBQ Meatloaf.


For the meatloaf:
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cracker crumbs ( I like to use a butter cracker like Ritz. If I’m making a GF version, I use plain GF bread crumbs.)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

For the sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard


Mix all meatloaf ingredients together. Work gently to incorporate all of the ingredients, but don’t overwork. Make a loaf in a 9×13 baking dish, shaping by hand. Try not to pack the mixture too tightly or it will create a dense and tough meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Top with the sauce mixture and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Let stand for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing into serving pieces.

This can be made ahead and reheats well. It is also a freezer friendly dish.


This bread is super easy and really tasty. It’s only got a handful of ingredients and is the perfect accompaniment to a pot of soup or stew. I found this one on Taste of Home.


3 cups self-rising flour (if you don’t have self-rising flour, see below for instructions on making your own)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Stir in honey and beer, just until moistened.

Transfer to a greased 8×4 inch loaf pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Self-rising flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt.


This recipe is a cold weather staple in our house. It’s one that even those people who claim they can’t cook can manage to put together and for a working Mom, this is a nourishing meal that is a real time saver and budget stretcher.

When my Dad retired, he took an interest in cooking. My Mom showed him how to make this recipe and he mastered it. It always makes me think of them when we have it. It’s literally 5 cans, some onion and smoked sausage. You can’t get much easier than that.


1 smoked sausage (I use Eckrich either beef or turkey), cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cans navy beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes


Using a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and smoked sausage, saute until the onions begin to soften and the sausage begins to brown slightly. Add the cans of beans and the Rotel tomatoes, mixing well. Continue to simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.

If you can use a can opener, you can make this soup. If you want to make it even easier, use chopped frozen onions.


This was a great recipe my Mom made when I was growing up. She worked and had to be an industrious and budget conscious meal planner for our large family. Luckily for us, she was a great cook. I’ve taken so many of my best planning techniques from her and, as the mother of six, those habits have served me well.

This is a dish she would make ahead of time and refrigerate. When we got home from school, Mom would leave instructions about how much liquid to add, what temperature to set the oven and when it needed to go in. This kind of meal planning and finishing were cornerstones of my education as a cook. Savory Sausage and Rice Casserole is still one of my go-to meals when I’m cooking for a crowd. (Note: I usually double this recipe for my family, but a single batch should serve about 4-6 people. Unless they eat like my family. Which means it probably will feed 4…or maybe 3.) 🙂


1 pound pork sausage
1 cup rice, uncooked
2 envelopes Lipton dry chicken noodle soup mix
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce


Brown and drain the sausage. Mix together the sausage, rice, soup mix, onion and celery and place in a 2 quart casserole dish. Mix soy sauce with the water and add to the casserole. Mix gently. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Great make-ahead dish that reheats well. I tend to add a little extra soy sauce because I like the extra flavor, but I always use low sodium because there’s already plenty of salt in this dish.


I am trying to find interesting and tasty ways to eat healthy and use up my leftovers. As the mother of 6 and the Grammy of “almost” 13, I have a lifelong habit of cooking things in large batches. This has become problematic for me as I struggle to cook as well for 2 as I once did for 8.

A frittata is a great way to incorporate some of those meatless meals into my diet, while at the same time using up leftovers in a flavorful and interesting way. It’s always a challenge to make leftovers taste like you’ve just cooked them!


8 eggs
1/3 cup milk or cream
3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice (mozzarella or cheddar are great options), plus about another cup for topping
kosher salt
black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups filling of your choice (choose pre-cooked veggies, meats such as ham or bacon, etc.)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, cream and 3/4 cheese. Season with salt, pepper and other seasonings of your choice. (Note: Be cautious about how much salt you add. You may need to adjust the salt used if you choose a variety of cheese, such as parmesan or feta, that are naturally salty cheeses.)

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add and heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to look translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Add any raw mushrooms that need to be cooked according to how much time they will need to become tender (for instance, broccoli will need longer than spinach, for example.) The point is to ensure that most of the water has had a chance to cook out of the veggies and that they’re fork tender before adding the egg mixture.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the prepared filling ingredients. Add the remaining cheese to the top. Transfer skillet to the oven.

Bake until eggs are just set 12-15 minutes.

It’s important that you have your ingredients prepped so that you can move quickly while putting the frittata together. You can have ingredients pre-chopped or pre-cooked in your refrigerator and have a ready to finish meal for a busy weeknight.


I wanted to do something exciting this weekend to mark the beginning of fall weather. I found some inspiration by combining pumpkin and chocolate – what’s not to love about that, right? And this combination was made even more special because I was able to use gluten free chocolate cookie crumbs, making this seriously decadent dessert something that was legal for folks in my family who have gluten allergies.


For the crust:

8 ounces chocolate cookie crumbs ( used this brand of GF crumbs for mine)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, melted

For the filling:

3, 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
2 teaspoons pie spice
3 eggs, at room temperature

Combine the crust ingredients. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together, mixing until smooth. Add the pumpkin, pie spice and eggs, blending until all ingredients have been incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Pour into springform pan over the cookie crust, smoothing the top so it is even.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove from the springform pan and place cheesecake in the refrigerator and chill completely.

Serve topped with whipped cream.

You can add another layer of flavor by topping this with cinnamon whipped cream: 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Whip until soft peaks form.


I love all the flavors of Tex-Mex food and am always on the lookout for something new and different to serve alongside some of our favorite entrees. I found this recipe in my email this morning from one of my favorite bloggers at CallMePC.Com. Although I had to make an adjustment or two to fit the ingredients I had on hand, the result was successful and, as my husband said, definitely a “do again.” I served this alongside another favorite recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. The Green Chile Cheese Rice Casserole was a perfect pairing with her Tequila Lime Chicken.

This recipe is a great way to use leftover cooked rice and can be reduced for a smaller batch. It’s also gluten free if you’re looking for something that suits special dietary needs.


4 cups cooked rice (I used Basmati)
1 cup sour cream
6 ounces green chiles, diced (I used the canned green chiles)
3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, or any other appropriate shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, pepper-jack)
10.8 ounce package frozen corn (if you don’t have frozen, you can use canned corn, drained)
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh, minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper like cayenne, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, reserving 1 cup of shredded cheese for topping.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve immediately.

This is a great dish to make ahead and pop into the oven while you’re prepping the rest of your meal.


One of the nice things about fall is pumpkin spice and mums. I got both of these as gifts in one week. I’ll focus on the pumpkin spice related gift here. My little sister is a wonderful baker and she often finds fun and unique recipes to make. She is also very kind to “share the calories” with her big sister. She sent a bag of this awesome Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix over to me and I fell in love with it. It’s easy, it tastes amazing and, oh my, it SMELLS SO GOOD! The recipe came from The Novice Chef Blog.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 (12 oz.) box Cinnamon Chex cereal
1 (12 oz.) box Honey Nut Chex cereal
4 cups pretzels
1 (21 oz.) autumn/harvest candy mix or plain candy corn


In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla.

In an extra large bowl, toss together both boxes of Chex cereal and the pretzels. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal and toss to distribute.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide mixture on the two baking sheets and spread out to even layers. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on wax paper to cool.

Add candy and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container.

The best thing about this type of recipe is the ability you have to make it your own. I think it would be terrific with the addition of roasted peanuts, or Reese’s Pieces. Maybe add some pecans or some dried apple. So many options and they’re all SOOOOOOOOO good!


My husband is an avid follower of competition BBQer, Malcolm Reed. In his most recent blog post, he shared a Cast Iron Steak Recipe and said it was the best steak he’d ever eaten, and this was from a guy who has won steak events in competition. Challenge accepted. PaPa went to his Big Green Egg this evening to test this claim and, I have to admit, Mr. Reed did not lie. BEST STEAK I’VE EVER EATEN.

The original recipe and demonstration used Wagyu chuck eye steaks. We used our standard thick cut ribeye steaks, well marbled. We also lacked the fresh thyme and used an appropriate amount of dried thyme in the butter. Otherwise, we followed his instructions to the letter. The result was a steak that had a beautiful sear, a perfect medium rare and was truly unctuous and deeply flavorful.


2 – thick cut ribeye steaks (or use the favorite cut of your choice)
6 Tablespoons Butter divided into pats
2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (do not substitute another oil – this is necessary for the high heat tolerance of grapeseed oil)
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
8–10 Cloves Fresh Garlic
6 Fresh Thyme Sprigs (or substitute about 1/2 teaspoon dried ground thyme)

Prepare your Big Green Egg or other grill for direct cooking at 500°F.

Season each steak on all sides with Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. Let rest for about 30 minutes while the grill comes up to temperature.

Place a cast iron skillet on the cooking grate and add 1 Tablespoon of grape seed oil.  Allow the pan to heat until the oil starts to slightly smoke.

Place one steak in the skillet and press down for good surface contact.  This helps get that wonderful crust you want to see. Set a timer for 3 minutes.

Flip the steak and add the butter and half the garlic and thyme.  Continue to cook for another 3 minutes basting the steak with the butter mixture several times.  

After 6 minutes the steak should be medium rare, remove it from the skillet and rest on a platter.  Pour the juices from the skillet over the steak.  (if you want it more well done – continue cooking until it reaches your desired doneness)

Wipe out the cast iron skillet with paper towel and repeat the process for the next steak.


  • You’re going to be cooking at an extremely high temperature and safety is important. Make sure you have heavy silicone grilling gloves to use when handling the cast iron skillet during this process.
  • Grape Seed Oil isn’t an ingredient most cooks commonly have on hand. But, for this type of cooking process at this heat level it is critical you use it as it has a very high smoke point and won’t burn like other oils will.
  • Use a long handled spoon to work with the butter. It keeps your hands further away from the flames and intense heat.
  • Gather all of your ingredients and have all materials and ingredients prepped and ready BEFORE you start to cook. This process produces a perfect steak, but it is unforgiving. You can’t leave the grill for any reason once you start cooking.

There’s nothing more wonderful than being married to a man with a grill and knows how to use it!


This is my favorite basic waffle recipe and the one I used to make when “some” of my kids were younger. The elder children probably don’t remember me making homemade waffles. I don’t even think I owned a waffle iron when they were little. But my youngest son did and loved them. One of my favorite memories was sitting next to one of his friends’ moms at a baseball game and having her tell me she was “mad” at me for blowing it and teaching her son that there were waffles other than Eggos. She also said I was making the other moms look bad because I also played video games with the kids, but, that’s another story.

These waffles are wonderful right off the waffle iron, but you can also make them, cool them and freeze them to use during the week. After all, this is what we call a “homemade Eggo” waffle! 😉


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 eggs (separate into 2 separate dishes the yolks and the whites)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing on the waffle iron


Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the milk and melted butter. Beat the yolks and incorporate into the batter. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Heat your waffle iron per the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a pastry brush, grease the iron with some of the melted butter. Add the batter to the waffle iron using about 3/4 – 1 cup at a time. NOTE: The amount you use will vary depending on the size and design of your particular waffle iron. If you overfill, the batter will overflow from the edges while baking.

Bake waffles until golden brown. They should release easily from the waffle iron. Keep waffles warm by placing on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until all waffles are finished. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Makes 4-6, 6 inch round waffles.

I love the beaten egg whites in this recipe. It’s a little more trouble, but they make the waffles light and tender.