99 Flavors of Soup: #1 Lasagna Soup

The coming of fall and winter means it’s time to pull out the soup pot (even though it’s still close to 90 degrees in Georgia).  This Lasagna Soup is flavorful and hearty, full of ground beef, cheese tortellini, tomatoes and spices.  Bonus – it can be made in about 30 minutes.  My daughter declared it one of my best recipes yet.

You start by sauteing some onions, then adding spices, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Your kitchen will start to smell amazing while it is simmering.


simmering lasagna soup

Using high quality tortellini is important.  I used Buitoni brand from the refrigerated section of the supermarket, not dried tortellini.

Lasagna Soup

Of course, what would lasagna be without cheese.  Once ladled into the bowl, I topped this soup with a slice of mozzarella, which melts right into the soup.  Yum!

Lasagna Soup with Cheese

Lasagna Soup

  • Servings: about 8
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A hearty soup full of ground beef, cheese tortellini, and tomatoes, topped with mozzarella cheese


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cups cheese tortellini (fresh refrigerated, not dried)
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 ts basil, dried
  • 1 ts parsley, dried
  • 1/2 ts garlic, minced
  • 1/2 ts Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 ts sugar
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced


  1. Crumble ground beef in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned.  
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onions and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the basil, parsley, garlic and Italian seasoning.  Pour in the chicken broth and stir.  Crush the whole tomatoes (using your hands works best) and add to the soup.  If the stewed tomatoes are large, chop them into smaller pieces and add them to the soup.  Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the cheese tortellini.  Boil for 3 minutes or until the pasta is soft.  Drain the grease from the ground beef and stir the meat into the soup.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a slice of mozzarella cheese.


99 Kinds of Bread: #4 Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

Monkey bread doesn’t have to be sweet.  Nor does it need to be baked in a bundt pan.  These monkey bread rolls are cheesy and savory and baked in a muffin pan.  They make a nice addition to an Italian meal, pizza, or soup.

Using refrigerated biscuit dough helps this recipe become quick and easy.  Simply start by cutting each biscuit into 6-8 small pieces.  Then toss them in a large bowl with melted butter, seasonings, and cheese.


biscuit pieces with seasoning and cheese

After that, you smoosh several of the biscuit pieces into each opening of a muffin pan.  Make sure you smash them down a little bit, so that the pieces with stick together once baked.

savory monkey bread muffins ready for baking

Once they come out of the oven, they are puffed up into cheesy, golden bread muffins.

Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

You can either take a big bite outta these or tear off the little chunks of biscuit one by one.  Enjoy!

Savory Monkey Bread Mufins

Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Monkey bread in muffin form with seasonings and cheese


  • 1 16 oz. tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1/4 mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup colby monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 ts dried parsley
  • 1/4 ts seasoning salt
  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cut each biscuit into 6-8 pieces.  Place biscuit pieces in a large bowl and pour melted butter on top.  Stir/flip biscuit pieces to coat.  Add seasoning salt and parsley.  Stir to coat.  Finally add both cheeses and toss the biscuit pieces until they are covered in cheese.  They will be sticking together, which is ok.
  3. Smash several biscuit pieces into each well of the muffin pan.  The biscuits should come to the top of each opening.  Fill until all of the biscuits have been used.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the muffins are golden brown.


99 Flavors of Muddy Buddies: #1 Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

For some bizarre reason, I have not had muddy buddies, aka puppy chow in years.  Many years.  Then I happened to buy a bag of the pre-made stuff at the grocery store because it was buy one get one free.  I thought they’d be a good snack for my daughter’s school lunches since she’s had to eliminate some other snacks due to getting braces.  Well, she thought the muddy buddies were awesome and suggested we make some different flavors at home.  Thus, the beginning of 99 flavors of muddy buddies has been born.

We started with fruity pebbles.  My daughter is the official smasher.

fruity pebbles and rice chex

Adding white chocolate and powdered sugar makes this snack super addicting.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

I love that muddy buddies are no bake and can be made in just 15 minutes.  I can tell this is going to turn into a new obsession.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

The fruity pebbles add such a wonderful pop of color to this snack.  I may need to add this to my Christmas Eve menu.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

  • Servings: 6
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Chex mixed with white chocolate, fruity pebbles, and powdered sugar


  • 3 cups rice Chex
  • 3/4 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal, finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal, not crushed
  • 4 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. In a large bowl, gently stir the crushed fruity pebbles with the rice chex, being careful not to break the chex.
  2. Melt the white chocolate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  I use Baker’s chocolate, microwaving it for 30 seconds and then 10 second intervals until melted.  Stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth and has no lumps.
  3. Pour the white chocolate over the chex mix.  Stir and add the powdered sugar and un-crushed fruity pebbles.  Mix until the chex pieces are coated.  Store in an airtight container.


99 Types of Cookies: #5 Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

These cookies are so pretty; I may need to add them to my Christmas cookie platter this year.  This is a small batch recipe, so be ready for them to be gone.  Half chocolate cookie and half caramel cookie – the caramel cookie half is especially yummy!

Look at this cookie dough with melted caramel ready to be mixed in…I wanted to eat this right out of the bowl.  I’ll definitely have to come up with an edible caramel cookie dough.

caramel cookie dough

You don’t need to swirl the cookie dough together.  Simply scooping a small amount of each kind of cookie dough into a cookie scoop will result in a partially marbled cookie.

chocolate caramel cookie dough blob

As I mentioned, this is a small batch recipe.  I only had one dozen delicious cookies to eat.

chocolate caramel swirl cookies ready for baking

So here is how these cookies turn out: beautiful, swirled, soft, chocolately, and slightly sweet.

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

They are a nice change to the typical cookie contenders.

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookie

Enjoy a stack of these delicious cookies.

stack of chocolate caramel swirl cookies

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

  • Servings: about 1 dozen cookies
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Half chocolate, half caramel cookies


  • ½ cup butter, softened but still cold
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup caramel bits
  • 1 Tb heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add 3/4 cups of flour, the baking soda, and salt, and beat on low speed until mixed.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the caramel bits over medium-low heat.  Stir in the heavy cream and a dash of salt.  Cook and stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Divide the cookie dough in half.  To one half, stir in the cocoa powder.  To the other half, add 1/4 cup more flour and the melted caramel.  Stir until well mixed.
  5. With a cookie scoop, scoop up a little bit of each dough (chocolate and caramel).  Drop on the parchment lined cookie sheet several inches apart.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.



99 Types of Chicken: #2 Chicken Cordon Bleu

We eat a lot of chicken at our house, so it’s good to have a lot of chicken recipes on hand.  This is my version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, which is relatively simple.

First, I bread chicken cutlets and brown them in a cast iron skillet.

breaded chicken cutlets in cast iron

Next, I dot the chicken breasts with a pat of butter, so that the chicken doesn’t get too dry and the swiss cheese gets extra melty.

chicken cutlets dotted with butter

Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, and more Swiss cheese top it off,

chicken cordon bleu pre-baking

A brief transfer to a hot oven and the cheese melts to blanket the chicken.


Chicken Cordon Bleu


Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • Servings: 4
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Breaded chicken cutlets topped with Swiss cheese and Canadian bacon


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tb milk
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.  In a shallow bowl, beat the milk with the egg.  Dredge the chicken cutlets in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and then coat both sides with breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add  the chicken to the  skillet.  Cook the chicken on both sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cook the Canadian bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until slightly browned.
  4. Top each chicken cutlet with a small pat of butter.  Lay a slice of Swiss cheese on each cutlet, followed by a piece of Canadian bacon, and another piece of Swiss cheese.  Transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven and bake for 3-5 until the cheese has fully melted.  Remove from the oven and serve.

99 Kinds of Bread: #3 Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

I keep feeling like it should be cool out, but when I step outside it is still hot and humid.  That is what September is like in the south.  However, it’s football season, and these cheese bombs are great football food.  Soft and cheesy, with a crunchy top, they are quite tasty.

Using refrigerated biscuit dough makes this recipe easy.  Simply flatten the biscuits, add some mozzarella, and pull all the edges up to seal.  Make sure you pinch the dough tight so that the cheese stays enclosed.

flattened biscuit dough

biscuit dough with mozzarella

closed cheese bombs

Next comes a butter bath and the crunchy, garlicky topping.

parmesan-panko crusted cheese bombs ready for baking

Upon baking, these cheese bombs turn a beautiful golden color.

a parmesan-panko crusted cheese bomb fresh from the oven

My family just loved these.  They also make a great accompaniment to pizza or pasta.

Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

  • Servings: 8
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Fluffy mozzarella filled cheese bombs topped with a parmesan, garlic, and crunchy panko breadcrumbs


  • 1 16 oz. tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1-2 Tb butter, melted
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tb grated parmesan
  • 1/8 ts garlic salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a shallow bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, and garlic salt.
  3. Lay the biscuits on the parchment paper and press to flatten.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella onto the center of the each biscuit.  Pull the edges up and over the cheese and pinch to seal.
  4. Roll each cheese bomb in the melted butter, then press the top side (without the seam) into the breadcrumb mixture.  Lay seam side down on the parchment paper.
  5. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.


99 Kinds of Bread: #2 Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

Sometimes you want an extra bite at dinner that doesn’t take too much effort.  These mini cheese cornbread muffins are just that.  They can be whipped up quickly and easily and add a tiny bit of something to your dinner plate.

Using a mini muffin pan produces a whole bunch of these little guys, so you have a big family there’s plenty for everyone.  Or if you’re just cooking for one or two, the leftovers save nicely and can be popped in the microwave.

mini cheese cornbread muffins pre-baking

I used sharp cheddar cheese in these, which complements nicely with the cornmeal.

Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

Since these were so simple, and tasty too, I’m sure they will become a new staple to my family’s dinner rotation.

Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins


Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

  • Servings: about 24 mini muffins
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Mini muffins made with cornmeal, buttermilk and cheddar cheese


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in the buttermilk and egg.  Beat until smooth.  Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and stir until fully mixed.

3. Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling each hole about 2/3 full.  Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes.


99 Flavors of Bars: #3 Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Amazing.  Blondies, double stuffed golden oreos, and gooey butter cake topping, all layered together.  These bars are chewy, sweet, and satisfying to bite into.

My daughter evenly layered the double stuffed oreos on top of the blondie base.  By using double stuffed oreos, the actual flavor of the cream comes through in the bars.

golden oreo blondie base

Next comes the layer of gooey-ness.  This layer is based off of the topping for gooey butter cake.  The lumpy goo laying on top of the oreos doesn’t look appealing at this point, but it sets up nicely in the oven.

gooey golden oreo blondies pre-baking

Like traditional gooey butter cake, a heavy dusting of confectioner’s sugar tops these bars off.

baked gooey golden oreo blondies

These bars are so amazing and also easy to make.

stack of Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Look at that golden oreo cream in the middle…

gooey golden oreo blondie minus a bite

Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar topped with golden oreos and gooey cream cheese


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 9 double-stuff golden oreos

Topping ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tb confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into the melted butter.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt until fully mixed.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.  Lay the golden oreos in rows over the batter.

3. In another bowl, stir the cream cheese with the powdered sugar.  Beat in the egg.  The mixture may be lumpy, which is ok.

4. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the oreos.  Spread evenly to cover.

5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.  Dust the top of the bars with the remaining 2 Tb of confectioner’s sugar.


99 Flavors of Sundaes: # 1 Cherry Almond Crunch Sundaes

Even though school has already started here in the South (we’re already in the third week), it is still summer, which means there is still plenty of time for ice cream desserts.  Since cherries are in season, I made a fresh cherry sauce to pour on top of vanilla ice cream, topped with some sticky almond crunch.

To chop my almonds, I used my nifty hand-grinder for nuts.  It makes chopping just a handful of nuts really simple.  You could also use a food processor or pre-chopped nuts.

chopped almonds

Now on to the cherries.  Cherries are so pretty, especially while they are cooking, which makes them turn a brighter hue of red.

cherries & almonds

Depending on the tartness of your cherries, you can opt to add more sugar.  Or, if you just want your cherry sauce sweeter, go ahead and increase the amount of sugar.

cherry sauce

I found my cherry sauce was just sweet enough when combined with vanilla ice cream.  The sticky, crunchy almonds on top added a special touch to my sundae.

Cherry Almond Crunch Sundae


Cherry Almond Crunch Sundae

  • Servings: 4
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Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh cherry sauce and chopped sticky, sugared almonds


  • vanilla ice cream
  • 3 cups whole cherries, pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1 ts cornstarch mixed in 1/8 cup cold water

Almond crunch ingredients

  • 1/4 chopped almonds
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb water
  • 1 ts almond extract
  • dash salt


1. Place cherries in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with sugar and flour.  Stir in lemon juice and water.  Cook over high heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Pour in the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until combined and thickened. Remove the cherry sauce from the heat and let cool.

2. In another small saucepan, add all of the almond crunch ingredients.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the water has cooked off.  Immediately transfer the almonds to a piece of wax paper to cool.

3. Scoop vanilla ice cream into a bowl and top with cherry sauce.  Break the almond crunch into pieces and place on top of the cherries.  Enjoy!


99 Flavors of Bars: #2 Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

I just love blondies.  I love oreos too.  So why not combine the two into a wonderfully gooey bar?  These Oreo Cheesecake Blondies have a wonderful caramel, brown sugar flavored base topped with soft, pillowy cheesecake and crunchy oreo pieces.  Yum.

I used the same blondie base as my Peach Streusel Bars, just omitting the extra egg white so these aren’t as cakey.


Next comes the layer of oreo cheesecake.

oreo cheesecake brownies before baking

Of course you can’t go wrong with more oreos, so why not add some to the top?


These bars turned out ooey, gooey, and delicious.

Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar topped with oreo cheesecake and crushed oreos


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt

Cheesecake topping ingredients

  • 8 oreos, crushed
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into the melted butter.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt until fully mixed.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.

3. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for another minute until the mixture is smooth.  Fold in half of the crushed oreos.

4. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the blondie mixture.  Spread to cover, then using a knife, gently swirl through the cheesecake mixture.  Sprinkle the other half of the crushed oreos on top.

5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool and cut into squares (you can use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan).  Store leftovers covered in the fridge.