Crockpot Reuben Dip

by admin on September 14, 2014

An excellent choice for the Reuben lovers on your list, this snack sized portion of the classic Reuben casserole recipe comes with a little twist…cream cheese! I made this dip many times and have received rave reviews. You can too…so simple and easy!

1/2 pound of deli corned beef, coarsely chopped
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed, well drained, and coarsely chopped
1 8-oz. size cream cheese (can use low fat), softened
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing

Mix all ingredients in 1-1/2 – 3 quart crockpot. Cover crockpot and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Stir to combine and scrape down sides. Dip will hold for 2 hours on LOW. Serve with party rye bread slices, pretzels, toasted beer bread, or French bread cubes.

Make it a Gift:One of my favorite ways to give a prepared warm dip is in a mini crock pot. The can easily be found at your local Walmart, Big Lots, or online here…especially just prior to the holidays. Look out for themed crock pots as well. I purchased one that was shaped like a football and gave it to the hostess at one of our many Steeler parties. I believe it was only $12! Here is one I found online for around $15
Rival 16-oz. Little Dipper Slow Cooker

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Thank you to Wendy Cibula from the Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant for submitting her favorite recipe! Wendy writes:

“This Cilantro Jalapeno Vinaigrette was created by my father-in-law, Hank Cibula. This is the signature salad dressing at the Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant. Whenever I show up to a church potluck with a salad I take along this salad dressing and receive rave reviews even from those initially afraid to give it a try. It tastes good on everything. Toss it in a salad, dip your favorite veggies in it, or use it as a marinade on grilled chicken for your spring grilling. It’s one of my favorites because it is so simple to make, people enjoy it, and I get soooo many compliments on it. Folks love it and I love the look of tasty delight on their faces when I share it.”

Here is what you’ll need:
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 medium-size jalapeno peppers, stemmed and cut up (seeds included)
1 large bunch fresh cilantro with stems, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
For extra heat, add more jalapeno

Directions: In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the red wine vinegar, jalapenos and cilantro. Blend until pureed. Add the sugar, salt and olive oil. Blend until emulsified. Enjoy!

Make it a Gift: Search your favorite discount department store for decorative cruets that you give along with the salad dressing. Remember…leave the dish! Here’s a beautiful and affordable idea…

Norpro Grape/Oil/Vinegar Cruet
available online for only $15.95. Don’t forget to search for those secret coupon codes, too for additional dollars off and/or free shipping. My favorite resource for these codes is Tell my friend Kyle that I sent ya!

Norpro Grape/Oil/Vinegar Cruet

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Transform Your Leftovers

by admin on July 14, 2014

Clean out your refrigerator lately? Do you dread it? I love it…it’s often when I feel most inspired! What I used to see as needless waste, I now see as the new raw materials for my newest creation…and the artistry begins! Here are a few ways that I reduce waste and create some fun and affordable dishes that look like I’ve spent hours in the kitchen…shhh…they are my secret!

Salad Dressing: Nearly empty bottles of salad dressing have many possibilities! Combine two or more vinegar based dressings to create one new flavor and microwave before serving. Top off a beautiful salad with the warm dressing for an elegant wilted salad. For creamy dressings, add approximately 2 Tablespoons of milk to the bottle and shake. Drizzle over steaks or poultry for extra zing!

Garlic Bread: This is a no-brainer! Reheat or toast the bread and cut into cubes. Use as croutons (see salad above!) or grind up for breadcrumbs. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.

Jelly or Jam: I can’t remember when I discovered this, but try this and you’ll never buy ice cream topping again! Simply microwave the jelly, jam or preserves at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until warm and smooth. Add this scrumptious topping to ice cream, pound cake, CHEESECAKE or waffles for an elegant twist. If you have fresh fruit on hand, mix up what you have left and serve it on angel food cake, a drizzle of the warmed preserves and whipped cream…YUM!

Cooked Veggies: Get out your crockpot and throw them all in with a can or two of your favorite chili or beef stew. Perhaps you have some of your own in the freezer? Simmer on low for approximately 2 hours until steamy! Top off the chili or stew with the leftover shredded cheese you have in your cheese drawer!

Raw Veggies: Don’t have enough for a healthy snack tray? Slice what you have and use as additional pizza toppings! Or saute on the stove with olive oil and serve with rice or a baked potato!

Cooked Meats, Poultry and Fish: Not enough for a second meal? Stretch one steak into two servings by making a pasta dish or rice casserole from the leftovers. Try recipe sites like for a great selection of free and creative recipes!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Chilled Broccoli, Cheddar and Bacon Salad

by admin on June 27, 2014

With the 4th of July picnics and potlucks just around the corner (um…NEXT WEEK!) here is my favorite tried and true summer salad that always gets rave reviews.  In addition to the mild cheddar cheese, I always add a handful or two of sharp white cheddar.  Just a personal preference…you really can’t mess this on up!  Happy fireworks everyone!  Enjoy!


6 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled


1.In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cheese and onion. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the bacon.

Make it a Gift:  Tell the hostess to “just keep the dish”…purchase a picnic fare cookbook and a unique tupperware-like (travel friendly container).  I love these stars and stripes bowls!!!  One for you, two for me!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Fast and Easy Cranberry Meatballs

April 24, 2014

The holiday entertaining season is here! And everyone should have a few essential ingredients in their freezer to prepare for last minute gifts or to take along on your upcoming holiday visit. Always add your favorite frozen meatballs to the list! Or make and freeze for future nibbling. This recipe is always a hit in [...]

Read the full article →

Think Spring with an Iced Mocha Latte

April 5, 2014

The weather here is Southwestern Pennsylvania has been truly amazing over the last week with temps in the high 70′s- low 80′s for the past five days or so.  This screams “spring” to me!  So it’s time to put the hot chocolate back in the pantry and save it for a chilly evening by the [...]

Read the full article →

Heavenly Beef Brisket

March 28, 2014

Cooking beef is definitely not my expertise, but my friend Rickey Gold sends this recipe for beef brisket with enough detail that I just may give it a whirl! Rickey notes that you may leave out the potatoes if you are serving this dish for Passover Here we go! Tips Buy “first cut” beef brisket. [...]

Read the full article →

The Best Hot Dog?

February 4, 2014

In the spirit of the 4th of July, nothing says holiday picnic like the infamous hot dog. Love them or hate them, we all share great memories around this American institution but with various cultural preferences and unique twists to the traditional. Just for fun, I wondered how everyone liked their “dogs”…so I asked my [...]

Read the full article →

Southwestern Black Bean Soup: Fast and Fabulous!

January 7, 2014

Thanks to my friend Anne who shared this recipe with me and I just couldn’t wait to make it. I have to tell you that it is fabulous!  And only 2 weight watchers points for one cup! Anne writes: “This is a zippy Southwestern-flavored black bean soup. We make it with canned beans so it comes together in [...]

Read the full article →

Cheesy Beer Bread Recipe

November 22, 2013

This is one of my favorite beer bread recipes that I have tried. It tastes very similar to the beer bread served at our local Rock Bottom Brewery. I will have to research and post the recipe for the Asiago Cheese Dip recipe later….YUM! Here is the beer bread recipe: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. [...]

Read the full article →