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I was really looking forward to seeing an amazing lady and sweet friend following her extensive surgery. I prepared dinner for her and her husband, and was deeply touched by the warm welcome and wonderful visit so soon after her difficult time!!


creamy artichoke dip

8-ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese, grated

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, chopped

Heat oven to 350F. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper, stir until well blended. Stir in artichoke hearts. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until artichoke mixture is hot and begins to brown.



apple brandy glazed pork tenderloin

3 cups apple cider

1/2 cup brandy

3 thyme sprigs

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 pork tenderloins

Combine apple cider, brandy, thyme and shallot.  Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat, discard thyme and shallot. Stir in butter and mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 475F. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place pork in a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 9 minutes. Turn pork over, brush with 2 tablespoons of cider mixture. Bake an additional 8 minutes or until thermometer registers 140F. Let pork stand for 10 minutes. Slice pork and serve with remaining sauce.


Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, December 2013



orange spiced carrots

2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

In a 3-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, brown sugar, orange juice, butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or until carrots are tender.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth, gradually stir into carrot mixture until sauce is thickened.


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, December 2015



cheesy loaded grits

1 pound pork sausage

1 onion, chopped

4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking grits

3 cans (5-ounces each) chopped green chilies

1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Heat oven to 325F. In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles.

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cook, covered, about 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add green chilies, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, butter and pepper sauce, stir until cheese is melted. Stir in eggs then sausage mixture.

Transfer to a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses, sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and set. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, February/March 2015



apricot white chocolate blondies

1/2 cup butter

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels, divided

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 325F.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring just until melted. Remove pan from heat, and add 1 cup white chocolate morsels.

Beat eggs with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Stir in white chocolate mixture and almond extract, stirring until blended. Spread half of batter into a lightly greased and floured 8-inch baking pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Melt 1/2 cup apricot jam in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Spread evenly over partially baked blondies in pan. Stir together coconut, remaining 1 cup white chocolate morsels, and remaining half of batter, spread over melted apricot preserves, spreading to edge of pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living, November 2006