Recipe: Buttermilk Ranch Cheese Ball

Cheese balls show up on every Christmas sideboard, don’t they?  And no wonder.  They can be made ahead, kept in the fridge and just set out with absolutely no fuss…and they are delicious.  Truly one of the world’s perfect foods.  I enjoy them as a midnight snack with a few crackers, as well.  This one is so simple it is crazy, but yummy!

 photo RanchCheeseball_zpsa6a30d67.jpg

Buttermilk Ranch Cheeseball


  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Mix the sour cream with ranch dressing mix in a bowl until smoothly combined. Add the cream cheese and Cheddar cheese to the bowl, and mix together with your hands until thoroughly blended. Chill the mixture for 5 minutes, then shape into a ball.
  2. Place the pecans into a shallow bowl, and roll all sides of the cheese ball in the pecans to coat. Serve immediately.


Spinach Artichoke Dip

Dips.  Is there anything better than a good hot, cheesy dip for your party?  Easy to whip up, and slap out on your sideboard with a sliced load of some yummy French bread from the bakery.  This one will make you friends.


Spinach Artichoke Dip


  • 2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts.

  3. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.

  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.


Garlic Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin

This recipe is dedicated to my precious grandfather, Newt Strength.  He loved pork more than anyone I know, except for maybe my father.  He came to visit me once in North Carolina before he passed away and I made him this pork loin.  He loved it.  It’s one of the last things I was able to do for him.  I love and miss you, Newk!

Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin
Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin


  • 2 lbs boneless pork loin roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Crush garlic with rosemary, salt and pepper, making a paste.

  3. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings.

  4. Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture and olive oil.

  5. Place pork loin into oven for 2 hours, turning and basting with pan liquids.6

  6. After 2 hours remove pork roast to a platter.

  7. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom.

  8. Serve with pan juices.


Garlic Shrimp

Seafood is my passion.  I love it, LOVE IT.  I need to cook it more often, but it does intimidate me at times.  This recipe is simple and delicious.  Not low calorie, but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Garlic Shrimp


  • 8 fresh Texas toast thick bread, slices
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs peeled large raw shrimp (2 0/25 count)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots or 2 tablespoons sweet onions
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Garnish
  • lemon zest
Garlic Shrimp
Garlic Shrimp


  • Preheat grill to 300° to 350° (medium) heat. Drizzle 1 side of bread slices with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Grill bread slices 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted. Cut bread slices into triangles. Place on a serving platter.

  • Devein shrimp, if desired. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shrimp, thyme, and next 2 ingredients, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately over grilled bread. Garnish, if desired.

Source: Southern Living


Three Cheese Enchiladas

My people love some Mexican food.  And this specific recipe is very special to me because a long ago friend from Osceola, Arkansas brought it to a church potluck once and I asked for the recipe.  She wrote it out by hand, and photocopied it since there were so many of us who wanted it.  I found it tucked away in my files the other day and my brain just flooded with memories of that sweet family!

Three Cheese Enchiladas and the recipe :)
Three Cheese Enchiladas and the recipe 🙂

Three Cheese Enchiladas


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (3 ounce) package softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 (7 -8 inch) flour tortillas
  • shredded Lettuce
  • chopped tomato


  1. Combine 1 cup each of jack and cheddar, and the cream cheese, 1/4 cup picante, peppers, onion, and seasonings; mix well.
  2. Spoon 1/4 cup mix down the middle of each tortilla.
  3. Roll and place seam side down in 13×9-inch baking dish.
  4. Spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover with remaining mixed cheese.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  6. Top with lettuce and tomato and serve with additional picante sauce.

Here’s a version that’s easy to print:  3 Cheese Enchiladas


Frozen Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mud Pie

I’m always keeping my eye peeled for a recipe that looks complicated, but is actually very easy.  This is one of those recipes.  Suzanne Z’s Semi Homemade, if you will.  Next time I have a party, I’m making this.  I’ll unmold it out of the springform pan right in front of my company’s face and lap up the compliments.  Sigh.  I miss entertaining.

Frozen Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mud Pie

  • 1 (7 1/4 ounce) package pepperidge farm nantucket dark chocolate chunk cookies, any crispy variety
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 (11 3/4 ounce) jar hot fudge topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted* or 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping
  1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F Lightly grease 9″ springform pan. Place cookies in zipper plastic bag. Close and crush with rolling pin until crumbs form. Combine cookie crumbs with butter. Press into bottom of pan.
  2. BAKE 10 minute Let cool in pan.
  3. SPOON ice cream onto cookie shell. Freeze 1 hours.
  4. SPREAD fudge topping on top of ice cream. Top with pecans. Cover and freeze 3 hours or overnight. To serve, cut into wedges. Top with whipped cream.
  5. TIP: To toast, spread pecans or walnuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 8 minute or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally.



Sous Chef Spooky


Behind every good chef is a great sous chef, right?  I always have company beside my “prep bar”.  She sits patiently on my stool that I use when my feet begin to hurt.  My only problem is finding the gumption to kick her off 😦

In honor of my feline sous chef, I offer you a recipe shared with me (and the rest of the world) by another cat loving chef named KITTENCAL.  We love this homey chicken casserole!


Kittencal’s Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole


Servings: 8

  • 2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (or any cheese of choice) or 3/4 cup swiss cheese (or any cheese of choice)
  • 1/2 cup  whipping cream


  • 4 ounces cream cheese (very soft)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (very soft but not melted)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped (can use green onions)
  • 2 large cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped (or use about 2 cups, can use cooked turkey)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (or use 1/2 teaspoon white salt or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 -4 tablespoons mayonnaise or 2 -4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 -2 cup grated cheddar cheese (for topping)
  • Set oven to 350°F.
  • 2 Butter a casserole dish (any size to hold crescent rolls).
  • 3 In a saucepan, mix half and half cream, 3/4 cup grated cheese (can use more cheese if desired) and undiluted chicken soup (can season with black pepper if desired).
  • 4 Heat just until the cheese melts (do not boil).
  • 5 For the filling — (make certain that the cream cheese and butter are very soft) in a bowl, mix the soft cream cheese with butter until very smooth, then add in garlic powder (if using).
  • 6 Add in the chopped chicken, onion and cheddar cheese; mix well until combined.
  • 7 Add in 2 tablespoons whipping cream or mayonnaise; mix to combine (add in a little more if the mixture seems too dry).
  • 8 Season with seasoned salt or white and black pepper to taste.
  • 9 Unroll the crescent rolls.
  • 10 Place 1 heaping tablespoon chicken mixture (or a little more) on top of each crescent triangle, then roll up starting at the thicker end.
  • 11 Drizzle a small amount of soup mixture on the bottom of the dish.
  • 12 Then place the crescent rolls seam-side down on top of the creamed mixture in the casserole.
  • 13 Drizzle the remaining sauce on top (you don’t have to use the full amount of cream sauce, just use as much as desired) and sprinkle with 1 cup (or more) grated cheese, or amount desired.
  • 14 Bake for about 30 minutes.