Cheater Ravioli

 Cheater Ravioli – Just boil water! 



1 big frozen bag of mushroom stuffed ravioli

1 Jar Prego Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage and Peppers

1 Pkg. Ham Steak, cubed

1 Pkg. Fresh Mushrooms (optional)

1/2 Pkg. Frozen, Drained Spinach (optional)

Parmesan  Cheese, Shaved into big pieces like when you peel carrots.


Cook Ravioli and drain.

To pot add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir to mix.

Top Dinner Plate with slivered parmesean cheese (big pieces).

Some crusty french bread, a store bought Ceasar Salad, and you are all set.

McSoup! Ten Nugget Trick to a Full House


I’m a fan of cheater recipes ONLY if they deliver a gourmet taste, save lots of time, and only dirty up one pan.  Make this soup out of Chicken Nuggets from McDonald’s!  It cooks up in 10-15 minutes, feeds six hungry people, and doesn’t disappoint.

Mmmm… something smells good!

“If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t winnin’.”   

Oh wait…that’s what I think when I try to steal the deal in Euchre. 

The first rule of cheater cooking is to get all your crap ready to go.  In this case, you’ll want to have your onion diced, your carrots sliced and blanched and your McNuggets cut down to size.


 It’s your deal now, I’ll open and raise you two. 

To a dutch oven melt and simmer until softened:

1/2 stick butter

1 small diced onion

Add in this order:

1/4 cup flour, stir to make roux and then add:

3/4 cup of white wine (a flavor booster)

3 cups of chicken broth

Bring to boil and add:

Two handfuls of Dumplings or Reames Frozen Noodles, let them boil and soften, then add:

1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley (or 1 TBL dried)

10 McDonald’s McNuggets, cut in thirds.  Tyson Frozen Chicken Nuggets work too!

1 cup sliced carrots (I dump mine in a measure cup filled with water and nuke for 3 minutes, then drain)

1 cup of heavy cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

When I made this McSoup, I used some frozen dumplings that I had.  If you don’t have carrots, use peas.  If you don’t have chicken, use shrimp.  This is a very flexible soup base.  — I will post my dumpling recipe below.

The ONLY noodle that has a chance to trump my dumplings is Reames frozen noodles.

I can’t make fresh any better.

Use Reames Frozen Egg Noodles to really cheat your way through this recipe!



Dumplings are about the easiest (and cheapest) way to stretch any dish.  These little devils put the home in home cooking.  Here’s how I roll:

2-1/2  Cups King Arthur all purpose flour

1 large egg

3/4 cup milk

2 Tbl. softened butter (not margarine!)

Seasonings to taste…can add some salt or chopped parsley if you like.

Mix ‘em up in a bowl and pinch them into little balls. They don’t have to be pretty.  Roll ‘em in flour and keep flour on your hands so the dough doesn’t stick.  Don’t make a mess:  put some flour on a paper plate and roll them and stack them on it.  Remember, these dumplings grow bigger when they are cooked!  Use what you need, ziploc the rest, and freeze them.  To eat, just boil them in water, sauce, or soup bases.

The kids will eat their peas and carrots if you toss in some dumplings boiled in water or chicken broth.  Just drain, add nuked (frozen, never canned) veggies and butter…makes a side dish they will gobble right up.

So put on your game face and win some points with McSoup!





Kelly’s Clam Chowder

This is not a recipe for sissies.  It is a lot of work but the payoff is huge.









Boil, drain and set aside

  • 1 lb. of baby yukon gold potatoes (unpeeled) and halved or quartered to bite size

To a dutch oven (5 qt. casserole pan)  add

  • 6 slices of bacon, diced

and cook until transparent.  Add

  • 1 large diced onion
  • 3 large diced stalks of celery
  • 2 diced garlic cloves
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 3 tsp. FRESH chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

and cook until tender.  All these seasonings make this dish aromatic and mouth watering.


  • 3 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup flour

and cook for another 3-4 minutes over LOW heat until it thickens and forms a roux.


  • 4 cups of heavy cream
  • 4 bottles of clam juice (sold near tuna in supermarket)

Heat until just boiling and Add

  • potatoes that were set aside
  • 2 bags of FROZEN clams with their juice

Bring to a boil slowly, stirring, and Add

  • 1/4 cup chopped FRESH parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped FRESH dill

At this point I like to throw in 6-8 live clams and leave the shells in the soup pot for added flavor and to add interest when serving the chowder up.

Oyster crackers on the side and you’ve got about four quarts of soup that feed 12-14 people as a starter to a meal or 6 people as a main course.

My family truly loves this dish.   Please, please, please use fresh herbs and the frozen (not canned) clams.  It makes all the difference!



Cherry Bombs


 Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world,

had cookies at three o’clock in the afternoon and then

lay down on our blankets for a nap.

STEP 1:  To mixing bowl add dry ingredients:

2-1/2 Cups      Flour

3/4 Cup            Hershey’s Cocoa

1 Tsp.                Baking Soda

1 Cup                Sugar

1 Cup                Packed Brown Sugar

Mix dry ingredients, then add and mix until smooth:

1 Cup              Softened Butter

2 Tsp.             Vanilla

2                       Eggs

Step 2:  Roll into 1″ balls and press your thumb into center of each ball to make a little spot to hold a red cherry.  Drain a jar of Cherries, reserving 2 Tbl of liquid.  Drop a cherry into each chocolate cookie.

Step 3:  Microwave the reserved cherry juice, 1/2 bag of milk chocolate chips, and 1 Tsp. butter or oil until soft enough to drizzle chocolate mixture, with a spoon, over the top of the cherry-cookie.

Bake 350 for approximately 15 minutes, more or less.  You want the dough to just “set” so you have a soft, chewy cookie.

  • I divide the batch up and make some with cherries and chocolate sauce and some with M & M’s.
  • The cookie dough is a great base for just about any candy treats you want….kisses, heath chips, white chocolate drizzle.
  • You can get two or three “looks” out of one base batch.

appy H












Camping Cake

  Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards 

 Coincidence?  I think not.

I’m about to share with you, my friend, a super secret super easy single serving cake recipe perfect for your next camping adventure.

Bake it using caution:  at minimum have a frosty mug of creamy, whole milk at the ready.

Shopping List:

1 – box  angel food cake mix

1- box any other cake mix (I used strawberry cake mix)

1- gallon size Ziploc bag


Toss the two dry cake mixes into a Ziploc bag and knead until mixed.  Stow it in your camper or your cabinet until you are ready for a single serve of sweetness.


3-2-1  Recipe:  (Trust is a must or your game is a bust)

To a coffee cup or paper bowl add:

3   tablespoons of cake mix

2  tablespoons of water

–Microwave this for

1  minute!


You can top your cake with some powdered sugar, some canned frosting, a dollop of whipped topping or fresh fruit.  The possibilities are endless.

Always remember that one of the cake mixes has to be angel food.  Experiment with other cake flavors like pineapple, lemon, carrot, chocolate, or red velvet for the second choice.  Storage of the mix is simple:  toss it on a shelf–no need to refrigerate because it is dry.


Rootbeer Pulled Pork

Louie, my naughty lobster, sneaked into the frame.    He watches everything I do in the kitchen.


  •   3 – 5  pound pork roast
  •   black pepper
  •   salt
  •   2 liter bottle of  root beer soda
  •   Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce




 Cooking Instructions 

Put a liner in your crock pot.  (Optional)  Otherwise, spray with PAM to make clean up a breeze.

Take a fork and deeply stab the roast all over (front, back, sides) so it will absorb the juices.  (click on movie at end of blog)

Mix up some black pepper and salt into the palm of your hand and rub it on all sides and ends of Wilbur.

Place the roast in the crock pot and pour in all the root beer soda that will fit.  Turn on the TV and catch up on the latest edition of “Fashion Police.”






Cook on high for 4 hours then reduce the crock pot setting to low and cook another 2 hours.  DO NOT REMOVE THE LID.

Pour the root beer soda out and discard.  Keep the roast in the crock pot.

Cut and remove the string from the pork roast and discard.

With two forks, flake and shred the pork.  It will literally just fall apart.

Add a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and mix it into the pulled pork.

Pulled Pork movie

 To Serve 

Throw a heaping serving spoon of this schweeeet deliciousness on a hamburger bun to create the best pulled pork sandwiches you’ll ever taste.  This is just too easy to make.  There is nothing to clean up–especially if you use paper plates–and every bit is gobbled up.  Your guests will think you are Houdini in the kitchen.

What I love most is that a main dish like this gives me lots of time to prepare some fancy extras, like a corn and black bean relish and a big bowl of mustard potato salad made with Michigan potatoes and my farm fresh eggs.  For dessert, nothing but chewy gooey chocolate brownies will do!

Remember to stop and smell the flowers!

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