Monthly Archives: April 2015

Crescent Roll Ups – really easy and yummy!


These delectable bites make an easy appetizer and are good right out of the oven, or even cold.  I highly recommend buying the whole crescent roll sheet as the first time I made them, it was a little sketchy.  However, things have improved:

spinach roll up

It took all of 10 minutes to put these together and another 15-20 in the oven.  I went a little easy on the ingredients, but next time I’m planning to use a little more mustard, green onions and maybe toss around some bacon bits.  The girls watching me make these turned their noses up at the spinach and onion idea, but you literally could put anything in these and they would be good.  If you have other fillings that are tried and true, please share in the comment section below!

Happy Hump Day!


Easy Crescent Roll Ups


Crescent roll dough (full sheet preferable)
Frozen spinach (thaw, drain and pat between towels to remove water)
Dijon mustard
Diced green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Crumbled cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll dough, and brush on dijon mustard.  Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.  Roll up starting with long edge.  Slice into 1/2″ to 3/4″ inch slices and place on baking sheet.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned.   Eat up!


Another birthday, and STROMBOLI!!!!!


Twenty-nine years ago today, I was just a tad tired and stressed, which translates into the fact that my daughter, Brandi, didn’t just come bee bopping into this world easily.  However, it’s been all good since then – some unbelievably good times, with someone who I love “as big as the world”.  (You’re supposed to outstretch your arms when you say this).     Meet Miss Brandi Lynn:


A little vacay to Belize!

So it started like this – note that she had a good working relationship with the phone waaay back then:

brandi pink_Page_1

Her first horse show at Mound City KS. Cannot remember which one of my barrel horses she rode, but she won FIRST. (she was well known for riding the variety of moms barrel horses)  One of my good friends in Oklahoma painted our matching shirts….I still have them.  And Yes, that’s one of my retired helmets 🙂

brandi phone_Page_2



Kickin’ some butt in the barrel race on Ace. He turned out to be an AMAZING barrel horse for me, at first, and then won a TON of buckles, a saddle, etc., for Brandi & Brice.B & C C & B

So my little girl grew into this gorgeous young woman, and as I said on a previous birthday, hug ’em and hold ’em, cuz they grow up fast and don’t fit on your lap anymore!

My amazing friend, Linda, introduced me to stromboli (Linda McAdam style) many, many years ago.  And.  It’s.  Awesome.  In fact, Brandi and Brice would take it for lunch the following day, and finally the cooks at the school kitchen asked if they could have the recipe.  Wow…now, that’s a compliment!   To this day, it’s one of our family favorites so I am happy to share the “Connie Kaye” version here.  Unfortunately the subject of this post is in Washington, DC, so we are currently unable to enjoy it together.   Whah.  Whah.   That was my sad voice.

Stromboli is super easy and you can add what you like.  We use pepperoni, and I like to buy turkey pepperoni because of the lesser fat content, and a good sliced lunchmeat ham.  Layer away and it will be superb.  I always offer up spaghetti or marinara sauce for dipping but I like it as is.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  And if the recipe below works out for you it will somewhat mirror this, and oh man, grab it quick!



I use frozen bread dough and some simple yummy stuff inside.  My hubster  loves the all meat version so we are flexible on our strombolis 🙂 And, it evens warms up well in the microwave.  Happy birthday to my stromboli-lovin daughter, and I hope you enjoy this family favorite!

~Connie Kaye


  • Servings: 4
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Frozen bread dough
Choice of meat fillings (sliced ham, pepperoni, browned sausage)
Shredded mozzarella and/or Italian blend cheese
Garlic Salt

Spray a deep casserole dish or large bread pan (something with high sides works best) with cooking spray.  Place frozen dough in pan an cover with plastic wrap.  Let it defrost and rise at room temperature for approx. 8 hours or so.  Remove from pan and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Stretch to make a rectangle, being careful to not rip or get dough to thin in places.  Layer ham slices, then garlic salt, cheese, pepperoni/sausage, and a last layer of cheese.  Bring sides together and pinch to seal, fold ends in and seal.  Flip this over so it’s seam side down.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned to your liking.  I remove it about 10 minutes before it’s done and brush with melted butter.  Return it to the oven to finish and you’ll have a beautiful crust.





Mike & Mike Jalapeno Poppers

Mike & Mike Jalapeno Poppers

We like mexican food, and experimenting with recipes.  So, we’re always looking to invent new recipes and steal some from friends (thanks Heather & Mike).

MB (for you new followers, that’s the hubster, Mike) has a hankerin for making variations of jalapeno poppers, stuffed jalapenos, etc.  We had these recently and have made them a few times since.  I’m sharing the method and ingredients for this version but obviously you can change them up as desired.  (Note….I can hear MB sneezing outside as he is grilling, due to the fact that I think he inhaled a little too much jala jala while cleaning them, even though he had on Connie-Recommended cheap, but critical, plastic gloves.)   Here’s the ingredients, minus the bacon, which I’ll introduce to you in a sec:


The making of the jala jalas!

I realized a little too late that I didn’t have any automatic (real) bacon bits, and knew we needed them, so I fried up a little bit of bacon, in my NEW GUY FIERI SKILLET.  @GuyFieri  I bought this little gem on the sale aisle while browsing on a weekend, and love it.  Bought a little bit bigger one also, and the first person that uses metal in one of these is MINE.  Well….in a nice way, of course.  Here’s the new addition to my cooking family:


Sorry, I just don’t spend a ton of money on expensive cookware, and I really like this….nice and heavy and cooks amazing.  Am going back for more!  These are my jalapeno friends, headed outside for a nice evening on the new Weber:


We also do several bacon wrapped versions, but these are a little easier and less messy (grease, etc.).   They key is the seasoning that Heather hooked us up with….McCormick’s Grill Mates Chipotle & Roasted Garlic seasoning salt.  Really good, and I’ve not tried it in other dishes, but I’m thinking some grilled chicken would be amazing!


The delicious final product!

Enjoy and don’t hesitate to add your own personal touch, as we do!

~Connie Kaye


Heather's Famous Jalapeno Poppers

  • Servings: depends on number of jalapenos
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1 Cup Whipped Cream Cheese Spread
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp McCormick’s Grill Mates Chipotle & Roasted Garlic seasoning salt
1/8 cup (or more to taste) crumbled cooked bacon

Don some plastic gloves to wash, slice and remove veins and seeds from jalapenos.  Mix cream cheese and all other ingredients, then stuff jalapenos halves.  Place on grill proof baking sheet or foil pan and grill until cheese is melted and jalapenos are delightfully charred to taste.  Enjoy.

A new twist on BACON!

A new twist on BACON!

Everyone likes bacon, right???  Once in awhile for something different, or if having guests, I like to make this spiced bacon, and boy does it go over good!  You can even make it ahead and refrigerate, microwaving briefly when you’re ready to serve.  Adjust the cayenne to your liking, and voila, an easy and delicious treat!  Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or those times when breakfast seems like the perfect thing for dinner 🙂

Photo credit

Photo credit


Spiced Bacon Twists

  • Servings: 6-8
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1 C. packed light brown sugar
2 T. dry mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 lb regular bacon (not thick sliced)

Mix dry ingredients together.  Press sugar mixture on both sides of each individual bacon strip, and twist several times.  Place on rack over foil lined baking sheet.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool on additional plate or rack.

An Amazing (Chocolate) and Easy Dessert!

An Amazing (Chocolate) and Easy Dessert!

My career in higher education administration began at a community college that happened to be my alma mater, and one of the best things that happened during my time there (other than meeting my future husband), was meeting my friend Kari.    We embarked on many productive projects during our time there, many with some very significant, positive results.  (Hey…we invented on a whim)   I cannot remember which one of us came up with this, but we told someone one day that “fun follows us.”  That’s kind of stuck with us throughout the years and still remains true I’m proud to say.  Here’s my buddy Kari:

Kari west

Meet Kari!

I don’t get to see her often, but as with forever friends, we’re always there for the other person and when we do get time together, it’s like it was just yesterday.    She shared a recipe for Hot Fudge Pudding Cake that sounds really delicious, and I plan to make it soon.  Coming from the Hershey’s website, it cannot be anything BUT amazing.   Ironic that when I was little, you could buy this on the cake mix aisle – I cannot remember who made it, but it was really good and it frequently appeared in the Baker household.  So, no pic yet, but if you make it, please return to this page and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.   Enjoy!


Photo courtesy of

~Connie Kaye

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

  • Print

1 ¼ C sugar, divided
1 C flour
½ cocoa, divided
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ C milk
1/3 C butter or marg, melted
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (or I use the real thing)
½ C packed light brown sugar
1 ¼ C hot water
Whipped topping (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar, flour, ¼ cup cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk, butter and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Spread batter in ungreased 9” square baking pan.  Stir together remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining ¼ cup cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter.  Pour hot water over top, do not stir.

Baker 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set.  Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.  Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over the top.  (You can use a spoon to remove from the pan, and just flip it upside down in the dessert dish).  Garnish with whipped topping if desired.

The BEST Fried Rice Ever!!! Click here to save some $$$$

The BEST Fried Rice Ever!!!   Click here to save some $$$$

On an airplane once again, with time to share the yummy meal that we had after a long Monday following a really fun weekend.

We all know how easy it is to grab Chinese (or anything from the deli) to go from your local grocer.  And, it’s not really that expensive, so admittedly we do that occasionally.   However, we enjoyed grilling some amazingly delicious pork chops on Sunday night, and I made sure that at least one of them (they were big) was just seasoned with salt and pepper – MB gets a little crazy in the seasonings cabinet sometimes.  Well, all the time.   My game plan was to use the leftover pork chops to make pork fried rice on Monday night.  BTW – I love fried rice, especially with lots of crunchy onions, sweet carrots, scrambled eggs, etc., so I would rather make it than buy it.

The pork chops were out of this world so were the perfect starter to delicious pork fried rice.   One key step – I chop the pork into bite size pieces and then add at the very end just to warm it up.  Adding at the end ensures that you won’t cook the meat longer.

I did swing by the grocery store Chinese kitchen and scored some egg rolls and crab rangoon which bumped the price of my meal by $3.00!   I’ve shared the recipe below, and since I personally don’t like to drown out the flavors with soy sauce I go easy, and let my guests add to their liking.  The finished product……oh, and one other note.  I had a little bit left over, so I ate it for breakfast at 6 a.m.  Yummo!!!!  Here’s the finished product which I quickly inhaled:

fr rice

Pork Fried Rice


1 cup white rice
5 TBSP butter or margarine
1 C diced onions
1C diced carrots
2/3 C diced green onions
4 eggs

Cook rice according to package directions.  Melt butter in large skillet.  Add onions and carrots, sautéing until carrots are almost translucent, then add green onions.  Lightly grease another skillet and add beaten eggs.  Cook until scrambled.  Combine rice, veggies, eggs and pork, stirring well to warm pork.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and soy sauce.

Want juicier pineapple??


I didn’t learn this little trick until a few years ago, so if you’re way ahead of me, apologies.  A friend, Alyson (an awesome Occupational Therapy instructor), told me to twist, yes TWIST off the top of the pineapple.  (I had always chopped it off with a knife).  Like this:

photo 1

One  you have removed the top, show your pineapple how to do a headstand, and ask that it remains that way for an hour or so, like this:

photo 2

Turns out this allows all of the juices that have been sitting at the bottom redistribute, thus making the whole shebang tastier!  Much, much cheaper than buying already cut-up pineapple, and much better!


A great restaurant, with friends, and an awesome find!


By now you probably know that I LOVE blue cheese.  When MB grills steaks, I frequently brew up a little blue cheese “butter” which may consist of either a little butter or cream cheese with blue cheese mixed in.  When you put a dollop of that on top of a perfectly seasoned fillet or ribeye, no words can describe as it delectably melts over the steak, then subsequently melts in your mouth.

Earlier this week I mentioned that I was on the way to Washington, DC.  Wednesday night was my only “free” night, so I joined some friends and set out to find dinner.  My pal Lori and I:

connie and lori

A restaurant called The District turned out to be the winner, and ended up as an extremely good choice.  The first question once we entered was “do you have reservations?”  In looking around, the obvious answer was “can we sit at the bar?”  A really interesting menu was presented but several of us settled on steak with a caramelized onion and blue cheese sauce. Seriously, I could have just drank the stuff, or jumped in the little bowl if I would have fit inside.

I asked the guy if he would share how they made it.  The answer was “caramelized onions and blue cheese”.  Wow.   Not really that dumb dude – a better answer would be have been “not gonna tell you.”  So while stranded in the airport waiting on a Southwest taxi to get me back to Toto land, I did a little surfing to determine what my ingredients might be (besides blue cheese and onions), and this is what I came up with upon my return to the casa.  Here’s the prep part, and the finished product:

photo 3

Oh so delicious on steak!

photo 1

And, if you don’t like blue cheese – hint, hint, you really should give it a whirl.  You never know 🙂

~Connie Kaye

P.S.  I sat next to a 6th grade science teacher on the way home, and he was taking pics since he had just finished a unit on clouds with his students.  Here’s a pic his wife took for me, and although I got a fairly quick lesson, I cannot remember which type of clouds they are, but pretty cool:


Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Sauce


One large onion, sliced
½ stick butter
¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
½ to 2/3  cup blue cheese, to your liking
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cook sliced onions in ¼ cup butter until nice and caramelized.  Reduce heat and add heavy cream.  Simmer until reduced and thicker.  Add blue cheese and Worcestershire sauce, and stir.  If too thick, add a little beef broth.

Delicious and Easy Salad and Sandwich Recipe

Delicious and Easy Salad and Sandwich Recipe

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get my friend Gina on here, so in lieu of that, I’m posting a couple of my favorite things she has made recently.   Not a huge fan of raw broccoli, but the ingredients in this salad are sweet and crunchy, and who doesn’t love ANYTHING with bacon in it.   It’s a taste treat!

I did want to share that I’m on a plane to Washington, DC at the moment, watching the NFL Network and blogging away.  You’ll notice that some of the passengers were enjoying a little shut eye (don’t know this guy.)  Also, I’m pretty excited to use a free drink coupon, so if the plane would quit jolting through the air, they might show up with my Bloody Mary.


Here’s the end result of the Broccoli Salad:


I’m also sharing a recipe for sandwiches that Gina brought for snacks one night.  Don’t have any idea what to call them (Ginawiches?), but you’ll think yummo!  And really different!  I’m not familiar with a lot of the various sausage or salami brands in the deli sections, but I know these are available at your local Hy-Vee, and probably any other large grocer.

The sandwiches are made on the little cocktail or potato/egg rolls and use both Dijon and honey mustard.  Add sausage, cheese and sweet pickle chips, and wow, do you have a tasty delight!!  Specifics below and apologies that I didn’t get a pic before they were all gone L  And, if there’s any weird words in this blog, it’s due – not to the Bloody Mary, which I finally got, but the fact that the airplane is doing a gymnastics routine at 557 miles an hour.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and flowers blooming!!!!

~Connie Kaye

P.S.  On a side note, amazing that sleeping dude woke up for snacks.  Hmmm….maybe he wasn’t really asleep

Broccoli Salad


Wash and cut stalks off of 2 heads of broccoli.  Separate into bite-size pieces.


1 chopped red onion
1 cup craisins
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
3 TBSP sugar

Mix well and refrigerate before serving.



Butter/egg or cocktail rolls (or Hawaiian rolls)
Havarti with Dill sliced cheese
Lebanon sausage
Sweet pickle chips
Dijon mustard
Honey mustard

Spread one side of the roll with honey mustard, the other with Dijon mustard.  Layer sandwich ingredients and ENJOY!

Delicious Mushroom Pea Risotto

Delicious Mushroom Pea Risotto

I had always wanted to try my hand at risotto (arborio rice) because I love it in the few restaurants that I’ve partaken of it.  I ran across a version of this recipe, and with a little hesitation, MB and I decided to try it one night.  It was one of those things that we figure we would dump if things went south.  However, this little skillet of yummiliciousness turned out amazing, and friends have since also devoured it.

In reading the recipe, it appears that it takes quite a while to make, but if you sip on whatever white wine you didn’t put in the rice, it makes the time pass quickly. 🙂  This was delicious:

Photo courtesy

Mushroom and Pea Risotto


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EVOO
1 qt vegetable stock
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 tbsp each minced shallots and garlic
3/4 arborio rice
1/4 C  white wine
1/3 cup thawed frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Parmesan cheese

Pour stock into a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and keep at that temp while making risotto.

Melt butter and olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and shallots; saute until soft approx 5 minutes or so.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  Add the rice and stir well.  Let the rice toast for a few minutes.  It will start to smell nutty (be sure to stir so it doesn’t burn) and start to absorb some of the liquid in the pan.  Add the white wine, stirring well.  Cook until wine is reduced and pan is almost dry (approx 2 min(.

Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 cup of the hot stock to the rice, using a wooden spoon to stir vigorously.  Once the rice has absorbed the broth and pan is just about dry again, repeat process with another 1/2 cup of stock.  Continue this process until you have used all of the stock (this is where drinking the extra wine comes in handy.)  This will take 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and add peas.  Stir very well and serve ASAP.   I like to serve with a little shredded parmesan cheese on top.