Diva Tasting: Complete Menu for Group….

So Cassie and I are cooking for the whole High School this week.  I thought I’d share our menu and shopping list.  These recipes are for 6-8 not for the large group we are serving.
3 Rotisserie Chickens
3 Bags Frozen Peas And Carrots Thawed
6 Large Alfredo Sauce
1 Large Ricotta Large
4 Teaspoons Spices
4 Cups Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
4 Cups Heavy Cream
4 Boxes Pasta
Garlic Bread\TEXAS TOAST
Cook Pasta in salted water
Bone Chickens
In a large bowl mix Alfred sauce, ricotta, cream and spices blend well. Fold in shredded chicken, cheese, fold in pasta and spread evenly in baking dishes. Pour into a 9x13x3 baking pan. Bake at 350 Degrees until Cheese is bubbling. About 1 Hour.
TURKEY BREASTS 10 Lbs feeds 8-10
Garlic Powder
Wash turkey and pat dry. Season with butter and spices. Place in large cooking bag and cook on 300 degrees for about 3-4 hours.
1 Jars Gravy Mix
1 Packs Dry Gravy Mix
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Pinch Salt
4 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
8 Cups Chicken Broth
Sea Salt And Pepper To Taste
  1. In a large pot pour gravy mixes and jars and bring to a low boil on medium heat.
  2. Stir in fresh rosemary. Place flour in a lidded jar with half cup of the chicken broth…shake well to combine. Add flour mixture to pot and cook and stir for about 3 minutes.
  3. Whisk in broth, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
  4. Turn heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer a few minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Skim off any extra fat from the surface of the sauce.

1 Cup Salted Butter

1 Box Self Rising Cornbread Mix

2 Med. White Onions, Chopped

2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
1 Bags Of Herb Dressing
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Teaspoons Dried Sage
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
6 Cups Chicken Stock
Prepare corn bread as directed on package. Cool, and crumble.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, and celery in butter until tender, but not brown.
Place corn bread and bags herb dressing in a large bowl. Season with sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper remaining herbs and spices. Mix in chopped parsley, cooked vegetables and. Stir in  chicken stock. This mixture should be a bit mushy. Transfer to a greased 9×13 inch pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour until brown on top.
2 Large Packages Frozen Green Bean Cuts
1 (10.75 Ounce) Cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup More to Taste
1 Pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
1 (6 Ounce) Can French-Fried Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; add green beans and cook just until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Mix green beans and cream of mushroom soup together in a bowl; spread into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over green been mixture and top with French-fried onions.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and browned, about 30 minutes.
3 Bags Frozen Mash Potatoes Thawed
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 (8 Oz) Pkgs Cream Cheese Softened
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Cup Half-And-Half
Ice Cream Delight
22 Ice Cream Sandwiches Cut in Half
1 (16 Oz. Cool Whip Thawed
2 Large Pkgs of Instant Chocolate Pudding
4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 (8 Oz ) Cream Cheese
1 Jar Chocolate Sauce
2 Cups Pecan Nuts Chopped
  1. In a large bowl mix pudding, cream, cream cheese until well blended. Fold in whipped topping and blend.
  2. Cut ice cream sandwiches in half. Place along bottom of a high-sided 9×13-inch serving dish. Repeat until bottom is covered.
  3. Spread with half of the whipped topping. Pour chocolate sauce on top. Sprinkle with half of the nuts.
  4. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping, and nuts. The pan will be full. Cover and freeze. Will last for up to 2 months. Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.
Pineapple Dump Cake
Basic Dump Cake dessert Queen Version
Serves: 8-10
1 Box Butter Cake Mix
1 Can (about 20 Oz) Crushed Pineapple
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup (2 Sticks) Butter, Melted
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease or spray, baking dish.
2. Empty the cans of pineapple (even the juice) in a medium bowl with brown sugar; mix well. Dump pineapple mixture into the 9×13 baking dish.
3. Distribute dry cake mix evenly over fruit in the 9×13” baking dish. Pour melted butter evenly over the dry cake mix (you can help this by using a rubber spatula to spread the melted butter).
Top with chopped nuts.
4. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until fruit begins to bubble up through the cake mix and the top is golden brown. Serve warm or chilled. Ice Cream is nice poured on top.
Cake Mix Peach Cobbler 
2 Cans Sliced Peaches In Syrup Or 24 Ounces Fresh Or Frozen Fruit Of Your Choice
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Box Butter Cake Mix
1 (12-ounce) Can Of Ginger Ale or Mellow Yellow, (A Flavor That Complements The Fruit Of Your Choice).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Arrange cut-up fruit on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle Brown Sugar on Top and fold into fruit.
In a medium bowl, mix the dry cake mix with the soda of choice until batter is smooth. Spread over the fruit evenly.
Bake for about 1 hour, until cake tests done in the center. Serve while warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Diva Tasting: Yogurt Coffee Cake…

Yogurt Coffee Cake
Pecan Topping:
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
Coffee Cake:
1 Serving Nonstick Cooking Spray
1 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Applesauce
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  1. Stir together pecans, white sugar, and brown sugar for the pecan topping in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a fluted tube pan (such as Bundt(R)) with cooking spray.
  3. Combine brown sugar, applesauce, coconut oil, and butter for the coffee cake in a large bowl. Mix with a spatula until butter is almost completely mixed in, with some chunks remaining. Mix in yogurt, sour cream, and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda, and salt; stir until batter is well mixed and a light brown color. Stir in raisins until evenly distributed in the batter; batter will be thick.
  4. Scoop 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out evenly so it is flat. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the pecan topping. Repeat with remaining batter and pecan topping.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 48 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and then flip carefully so the sugary pecan-topped side remains on top. Serve warm.

Diva Musing: British Holiday Perspective….

British Holidays

Many American Christmas traditions trace back to England, like the main staples of decorating your home, putting up a tree, exchanging presents and having a mid-day dinner. Why not British it up a bit more this year? 

1. Letters
It is very common for school age children to write letters to Santa Claus. But, the Brits take it a step further and burn the letters in the fireplace so the ashes fly up the chimney and Father Christmas can read the smoke. If, like many, you don’t have a fireplace/chimney … surely you can find alternative means. Just be safe!

2. Stockings
Rather than hanging stockings above the fireplace, British children hang them at the end of their bed hoping they will be filled by Christmas morning. That would be a nice surprise to wake up to. At the same time it might be difficult for “Santa” to fill without waking the wee ones.

3. Crackers
cracker is a paper tube, covered in foil, twisted at both ends. It’s shaped like a large sweet with hidden treasures inside. Each person crosses their arms, using their right hand to hold their cracker, and pulling their neighbor’s cracker with their left. POP! The cracker will make a bit of a  bang with the contents spilling out which usually is a joke to be read at the dinner table, a small trinket and a paper crown.

4. Crown
Everyone is a king on Christmas! The paper crowns are made of tissue paper and unfold into an actual crown. Adults and children alike don the crown making it a colorful sight. The paper hat was added to the crackers in the early 1900s and the tradition has carried on.

5. Mid-Day Dinner
Christmas dinner is similar to that of the U.S. with a roast turkey, goose or chicken and trimmings. But, there are some specialty items that aren’t as common such as parsnips which are a root vegetable similar to a carrot. It’s a familiar taste but it’s fun to incorporate a new veggie to the table. Brits love their pudding but Yorkshire Pudding isn’t pudding-pudding like you would think. It’s more like a flakey, deflated biscuit with the center just waiting to hold your gravy. Does a trifle sound familiar? Oh boy, Rachel on Friends tried to make a traditional English trifle but the recipe pages stuck together and she mixed together a trifle with sheperd’s pie. It is indeed a layered cake but strictly no beef.

6. Wassail
Wassa-what? Wassail literally means “good health” or to “be healthy” and in this case is a hot, mulled drink. There are different ways to serve it like a hot cider but it may also be made with a base of wine. It was originally topped with slices of toast as sops (piece of bread to soak up the liquid.) Mmm, wonder why wine drenched bread went out of style? Well, Brits may question Americans’ craving for eggnog over the holidays.

7. Royal Christmas Message
The tradition of sending out a Christmas Message to the public began in 1932 with George V. Current day the Queen gives a speech on Christmas Day at 3pm in England. You can gather around the tele with your loved ones and watch it on BBC America … that’s about prime Christmas present opening time on this end with the time difference. BBCA will air it later in the day to allow family time. Check your listings for exact times as the day approaches.

8. Tea
Christmas tea usually rolls around 6pm and it is round two of a sit down with family and treats. Pretty much, any proper English event involves tea. Mince pies or sausage rolls might accompany the tea party. Rather than breaking out the Lipton, which would be spat at by any visiting Brit, we suggest PG Tips that originated in the UK in the 1930s. If you can’t find them at a local shop you can do a quickie order from Amazon.com.

9. Boxing Day
Boxing Day follows Christmas day and is a nationally recognized holiday in the UK, also called a bank holiday. It was originally the day for servants and tradesman to receive presents from their employers but it’s now basically a big shopping day for Brits. It’s similar to Black Friday in the U.S. Your boss may wonder why you didn’t go into the office as it’s not an official holiday in the U.S. Maybe celebrate this one after work and get your shop on?

10. Next Year
Brits say you need to take your tree and decorations down within 12 days of Christmas or you’ll have bad luck for the next year. Don’t be that house on the street with blinking lights that go on through Valentine’s Day! Get that stuff down and get on with the New Year!


Diva Tasting:

Broccoli Casserole
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 Teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
3 Tablespoons Cold Butter
1 Head Broccoli
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Small Onion, Sliced
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cups Sour Cream
1 Cup Half n Half
2 Cups Grated Cheddar Cheese, Divided
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Mix flour, bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and five-spice powder together in a bowl. Cut in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter using your fingers until mixture resembles pebbles. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Cut the stem off the broccoli and use a spiralizer to cut into ribbons. Cut the head into florets.
  4. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add cornstarch, pepper, and nutmeg; mix well until roux begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk, stirring continuously, and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes more. Mix in 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Stir in broccoli until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
  5. Top mixture with remaining Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the top. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the crumble has browned and sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Diva Tasting: Banana Bread…

Banana Bread II
1 Cup Butter, Melted
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Coated with flour for even distribution)
2 Medium Bananas, Sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Diva Tasting: Muffin Recipes for the Holidays Or Any Day …

Muffin Recipes for the Holidays Or Any Day 
Fall Muffins
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Cup Butter, Melted
2 Eggs, Beaten
1 1/4 Cups Half n Half®
1 Cup Chopped Cranberries
1 Cup Diced, Peeled Apple (Optional)
1/2 Cup Fig Jam
1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin pans or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Make a well in the center, and add the melted butter, milk and eggs, mix until smooth. Stir in the cranberries, apple, figs, and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Cups should be at least 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast
1 1/2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Cups Canned Shredded Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin tins to hold 12 muffins.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and grated sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture, gradually incorporating it with the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins and walnuts
  4. Spoon the batter into the tins. I like to fill each tin to the rim to make a large cap. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the oven and run a paring knife carefully around each muffin, then invert the pan, and knock one edge against your work surface to release the muffins. Serve the muffins right away.


Not everyone loves cranberries I get it.  But here are some unique ways to enjoy them for you holiday season. AND they are very good for you we hear.
Cranberry Salsa starters
1 (12 Ounce) Bag Cranberries, Fresh Or Frozen
1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
1 Bunch Green Onions, Cut Into 3 Inch Lengths
2 Limes, Juiced
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Pinch Salt
  1. Combine cranberries, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a medium blade. Chop to medium consistency. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature. Serve with pita chips or corn chips
Cranberry Bread dessert
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Cups Cranberries
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Butter, Melted
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts, and toss to coat. Stir in the butter, beaten eggs, and almond extract. If you are using frozen cranberries, the mixture will be very thick. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Cranberry Orange Cookies
1 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Chopped Cranberries
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
1 Teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 1/2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.
Orange Cranberry Loaf
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
1/2 Cup Pecans, Coarsely Chopped
1/4 Cup Margarine, Softened
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Orange Juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and pecans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together margarine, sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in orange juice. Beat in flour mixture until just moistened. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Wrap in plastic when completely cool.
Cranberry Chutney
3 Cups Fresh Cranberries
2 Cups White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Water, Or More As Needed
1 Large Granny Smith Apple – Peeled, Cored And Diced
1 Stalk Celery, Diced
1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
1 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Pecans Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Pinch Salt, Or To Taste
  1. Place the cranberries, sugar, and water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until all the cranberries have popped, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the apple, celery, orange zest, orange juice, pecans, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the celery is tender and the sauce is reduced, about 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let the chutney stand to thicken, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.