Four of our Favorite Soup Recipes

pasta e fagioli soup

There are some recipes that are meant for sharing. The kind that make the perfect dinner on a cold winter night. The kind that I'd cook for you if you were coming over. So, I'm pulling four of our favorite soup recipes out the archives to share with you these chicken and dumplings that have been my daughter's favorite meal since she … [Read more...]

Sweet Potato Casserole the Way Momma Makes It

sweet potato casserole recipe

  Sweet potato casserole.   It's hard to believe that something that looks kinda gross can taste so good. But it does.   Not the kind with a blanket of melted marshmallows covering it.     No, I'm talking about the way momma makes it, with a streusel topping. Any time you mix butter and … [Read more...]

cherry nut drop cookies

cherry nut drop cookie

Cherry nut drop cookies.   They are my favorite cookie and Mom has been baking them for as long as I can remember. It's become a holiday tradition; one that I want to pass down to my daughter.     So, today my daughter and I spent the afternoon chopping     and … [Read more...]

my copycat olive garden salad

olive garden salad

  I used to make every salad the same, no matter what we were eating for dinner. Some lettuce. Definitely tomatoes. Possibly red onion. They were certainly nothing fancy.   But as my confidence grew in the kitchen, I started experimenting with making different types of salads. Last Fall I created the Farmer's … [Read more...]

My Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese 2

This summer's menu has been very tacos, sandwiches, hamburgers... but the other night, we needed some good old comfort food.  And in my mind, macaroni and cheese = the perfect comfort food. I still enjoy the occasional blue box, but when I'm craving macaroni and cheese, I want my homemade macaroni and … [Read more...]

How to Make a Cuban Sandwich


  A few months ago, we went to see the movie Chef.  It was an endearing story of a man who is a chef but was forced to quit the restaurant and start a food truck.  His estranged son came along for the ride, watching and learning as his dad made sandwiches.     Their first stop was in Florida where they made a Cuban … [Read more...]

warm spinach salad


  Thinking back on it fills me with contentedness;     my parents working alongside me to make the warm spinach salad; Dad helping me drain off the hot bacon grease, making sure to reserve just enough for the warm vinaigrette dressing, As I called out the measurements, Dad held the tablespoon or teaspoon while I … [Read more...]

Shrimp Boil Recipe

shrimp boil 3

I love shrimp.   I like it fried. I like it steamed. I like it grilled. I like it sautéed. But most of all, I like it boiled. In fact, I love boiled shrimp so much that my friends threw me a shrimp boil for my 40th birthday. That labor of love ( they boiled A LOT of shrimp for a lot of people ) inspired me to make my favorite dish … [Read more...]

3 Ingredient Guacamole Recipe

guacamole 2.jpg

We love guacamole at the Hines house.   In fact, we eat it at least once a week. I confess that I went through a phase of buying ready-made guacamole at the store.   But, I got over it. And  hearing Mr. Hines say "I love that we make our own guacamole," was all the motivation I needed to keep making this easy, 3 ingredient guacamole at … [Read more...]

Five 15 Minute Meals

tilapia scappolini

Today, I'm taking the stress out of dinner time by sharing 5 meals that are not only simple to prepare but are ready in 15 minutes or less.   My daughter and I love this recipe for Tilapia Scappoline. ~Suggested Sides: roasted asparagus and a salad.   Fish tacos are a fun way to eat fish and one of my family's favorite … [Read more...]

bloody mary steak recipe

bloody mary steaks cooked on a cast iron grill

I hadn't planned on having steak this week until I tasted a sample of the Bloody Mary Steak at the grocery store. The next thing I knew I was buying bloody mary mix, steak seasoning and a couple of rib eyes. Grilling would have been my first choice for cooking the steaks, but the weather didn't permit.   So, I googled how to grill indoors and … [Read more...]

tilapia scaloppine

tilapia scappolini 3

I love capers. I eat them in my Greek Salad and love them in white wine sauce. White wine sounds so gourmet.     Cooking meals like tilapia scaloppine make me feel so grown up, sophisticated even.   But it's not a sophisticated recipe.  In fact, this tilapia recipe is really simple to make. Every now and … [Read more...]

chicken thighs with sauteed onions and wilted baby spinach

chicken thighs11

Yesterday on Facebook, Anna VosKamp asked fans to name three things they were grateful for right then in that very moment.   One of my three things was knowing what I was cooking for dinner. Can I get an amen? I've said it before and I'll say it again, my house never feels more like home than when I'm cooking.  Thankfully after all the over … [Read more...]

pasta e fagioli: an Olive Garden copykat recipe

family potluck

The house is quiet but the whirring of the dishwasher.   You'd never know that just an hour earlier, the house was full of activity; laughter, conversation, and the hushed whispers of cousins sharing secrets.   At one point in the evening,  I confided in my dad, "I love these get togethers." "Family is what it's all about," he … [Read more...]

how to cook spaghetti squash


I told you about my first spaghetti squash I put off cooking it because I'd never cooked one before.  Once I finally did I discovered a new favorite! So many times we let "I don't know how" keep us from trying something new.  That's really a pitiful excuse, isn't it?  So today, we're going to learn how to cook a spaghetti … [Read more...]

Easy Enchilada Dinner


    Yesterday as I wandered aimlessly around the grocery store, I bought the ingredients for enchiladas, at my daughter's request.     It's a family favorite that I've shared here before, but today you get the printable version.  And there a few variations from the original recipe. Serve this dish with a side of … [Read more...]

Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad


If all I do in a day is make my bed and cook dinner, then I feel like I've had a fairly productive day. Yesterday, I came close to doing neither.   Motivated by my 31 Days to Finished series, I made my bed even though it was already 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Knowing my husband was on his way home, my thoughts turned toward dinner.  Tomato … [Read more...]

My Prize Winning Chili Recipe


My husband and I disagree.  He says foods like chili, taco soup and chicken and dumplings should be served year round. I say they are seasonal foods, best enjoyed during the cooler months.   Much to Mr. Hines' dismay, I hold out and wait til the first cool front before I cook a warm, hearty meal like chili. I've actually shared my chili … [Read more...]

tomato basil chicken with spaghetti squash

tomato basil chicken, chicken recipes

I love spaghetti squash!  Who knew? I'd seen it around on blogs and Pinterest. I'd heard about how good it is. Curiosity won, and I found myself buying a spaghetti squash at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.  I love shopping at local farmer's markets.  It somehow binds me together with the farmers and brings about a real sense of … [Read more...]

Madell’s Blueberry Cobbler

blueberry cobbler

It's been nine or ten years since I took my then preschooler blueberry pickin'. We'd get up early, put on some old clothes that could handle the inevitable blueberry stains, and make the thirty minute drive to Moorhead's Blueberry Farm.  We turned down the dirt driveway, scrambled out of the car, and made our way into the old house now serving … [Read more...]

the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had

cookies and milk

I don't think I've ever told you that  a few years ago, I was diagnosed with an insensitivity to gluten. People often ask, "what is gluten?" It is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is also used as a thickener in sauces and soups. I had been craving warm cookies and milk,  when I stumbled upon a simple recipe for Peanut Butter … [Read more...]

10 tips for being more efficient in the kitchen


Is your kitchen just a room that you pass through? Are you intimidated by the thought of cooking? If you answered yes, then I'm here to help with 10 tips for being more efficient in the kitchen. ~Organize your kitchen Set your kitchen up in zones to save you time while cooking.  For example, a prep zone, a baking zone, etc. Having an … [Read more...]

Simple Banana Smoothie Recipe


You go down the aisles with the little gun, scanning everyday dishes, silverware, stemware, pots and pans, utensils, a toaster, and a blender. Because that's what people do.  They register for blenders...and quesadilla makers and omelet flippers. And then, someone actually buys you the blender off of your registry, and you thank them as you … [Read more...]

The “Kitchen Sink” Recipe

kitchen sink 11

Beck's Prime was just around the corner from our last house, and we frequented it so much that as soon as we walked in the door, the manager would call out an order for chips and queso. We would enjoy sipping our sodas and munching on the chips while we waited for our main entree, "The Kitchen Sink." We've since moved from that house, and the … [Read more...]

pasta cobb salad


  A Mother's Day luncheon seemed like the perfect time to make my favorite salad.   I first found the recipe for this Pasta Cobb Salad in a circular ad for Skinner in the summer of '99, and  it's been a family favorite ever since. This flavorful dish is always a hit at luncheons, showers, and potlucks.   Be prepared to share the … [Read more...]

a simple side dish- spanish rice

latin food, side dish, mexican food, recipe

My go to meals weren't quite hitting the spot when Mr. Hines and I were newlyweds.  So, I asked my Mother-in-Law to jot down some of her recipes for me. Lately, I've been using her Spanish Rice recipe that she penned all those years ago.  It is a big hit with family and friends alike.  And it goes really well with my beef enchiladas. Buen … [Read more...]

Creole Sausage with Rice and Beans

creole sausage with red beans and rice slow cooker recipe:

  It was a dinner disaster.  Okay, not quite a disaster, but definitely disappointing. I was really looking forward to having my favorite slow-cooker recipe, and I was so proud of myself for preparing a hot, home-cooked meal after having been on a cooking hiatus the past couple of weeks. It was dinner time, I removed the lid on the … [Read more...]

the perfect baked potato

recipe, home cooked, side dish, meal planning

    "So, this is pretty much a normal day for y'all?"  Our friend asked.  To which my husband replied,  "there's not a normal day around here." But, setting up a miniature photography studio on the kitchen island while cooking is my normal.  I wasn't going to let another opportunity to share the perfect baked potatoes with you … [Read more...]

yes, you can boil an egg

perfect boiled eggs, best method for boiling eggs

I had an unconscious smile across my face as I rinsed the remnants of egg yolk and paprika sprinkles off of the deviled egg tray and loaded it into the dishwasher, recalling the fond memories that were made just a little while before: Friends gathered around in the kitchen, all leaned over ballots checking off our predictions on who would take … [Read more...]

Ideas to Make Your Valentine’s Day Special

Screen shot 2014-12-23 at 11.42.51 PM

  I'm so excited for "After Class" today!  I've teamed with some fabulous bloggers to bring you fun ideas for making your Valentine's Day special. Yvonne from Stone Gable is going to join us live from her kitchen as she prepares seared steak with a shallot wine sauce and a to-die for dessert! Cyndi from Walking in Grace and Beauty … [Read more...]

Lasagna Rolls

home cooked meal, menu plan, italian food, dinner ideas

Oh, hey.  Come have a seat in the kitchen while I finish making dinner.   I had some leftover spaghetti sauce in the freezer and decided to use it for lasagna tonight.   Would you like a glass of wine while we visit? So, what have you been up to? Me?  Well we were supposed to go to a play last night, but … [Read more...]

a family favorite casserole dish

recipe, cook, side dish, meal plan, dinner ideas

Dinner is ready.  I hope you like it. We're having Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Arkansas Green Beans and Au Gratin Potato Casserole. This casserole dish is a favorite in our household and it's always a crowd pleaser with family and friends. Enjoy! See  you in class, Mrs. Hines     … [Read more...]

15-minute meal – fajitas and frijoles

quick dinner ideas, meals under 30 minutes, meal planning

You've got a meal plan and everything on hand, but you lack the energy to make it happen. Do you ever have those nights? I did last night. I was just too dang tired to cook, but it was 5:30 p.m., and I needed to figure something out, quick. I was about to give in to the temptation to eat out when I remembered one of my quick, go-to meals. … [Read more...]

Ray’s country style pork ribs


"These are the best ribs I've ever had." "These ribs are really good." "I'm going to get some more ribs." Hearing those words were like music to my cook's heart.   I cannot take all of the credit though.  The recipe comes from my friend's Dad who is a caterer. So without further ado, here's how to make Ray's ribs: rays … [Read more...]