Monthly Archives: March 2013

Grilled Fish with Grapefruit Avocado Salsa

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I have decided that I am going to will spring to start. Sort of like a rain dance during a drought. Except I am going to will the spring by making bright, light meals that beg for it.

Like this Grilled Fish with Grapefruit Avocado Salsa 

This meal was “Party In Your Mouth” good.

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Season Salmon.

I think Tilapia, or a “thinner” whiter fish would have been good with this too.

During the summer, I will make this on the grill instead of roasting.

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As a short cut, I used these instead of a whole grapefruit. Slacker.

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The flavors of sweet and tangy grapefruit and lime juices went together so well with the jalapeno, onion and cilantro!

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Gently fold it all together.

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Top Salmon with salsa.

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Grilled Fish with Grapefruit Avocado Salsa


4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets

olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon chile powder (more or less to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (more or less to taste)

1  grapefruit cup, drained (or one large grapefruit, segmented)

1 small, firm but ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed

1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 instructions and directions: 

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a glass baking dish, place the fish and brush on both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin and  chile powder. Place in the oven and roast until almost opaque in the center, about 12-14 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine  grapefruit segments, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime juice in a small  bowl. Season the salsa to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve salsa over salmon.

adapted from williams sonoma 


Angel Hair with Meatballs and Mushroom Marinara

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This is what I like to call a Sunday meal. First of all, I made it on a Sunday.

Though it isn’t complicated, it isn’t ready in 10 minutes either.

Sundays are good days to have lots of people over for dinner and this makes a good bit of food.

If you don’t have people over and you have leftovers, you have lunch for Monday.

Sunday for the win.

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Gather meatball ingredients

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Knead to combine

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Make like Ludicrus and “Roll out” your meatballs.

You read that right.

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Meanwhile, assemble your marinara

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And get the big pasta bowls ready!


Top angel hair with meatballs and sauce

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Top with plenty of salty parmesan

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for the meatballs: 

1 pound lean ground turkey (93/7)

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

1 egg

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

20 grinds fresh pepper

1 teaspoon salt

3 ounces of fresh mozzarella, grated

1/2 cup panko seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons tomato paste

instructions and directions: 

Heat oven to 375

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, knead thoroughly  Roll out  approximately 18 large meatballs and line on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Test a meatball by cutting it in half, to make sure it is cooked through.


for the marinara:

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounce package of fresh mushrooms

small yellow onion, diced

a 16 ounce and 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce (unless you can find a 24 🙂 )

2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

10 grinds fresh pepper or 1 tsp pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

additional ingredients:

1, 16 ounce, box angel hair pasta (cooked separately according to package instructions)

grated Parmesan cheese

instructions and directions: 

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Saute onion and mushrooms until the water has evaporated from the pan. Around 8 minutes. Add all the ingredients from the sauce thorough celery salt. Simmer on low for 20 minutes while the meatballs are cooking. When meatballs are done, nestle in the pan of marinara to stay warm.

Cook angel hair according to package instructions, until al dente. Serve sauce and meatballs (we did 3 per person) over angel hair. Garnish with Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was relaxing. It started off at this new-ish brewery in Franklin with their delicious Portly Stout and a pleasantly hoppy Another Way to Rye. Yum. Check them out if you haven’t already.

In other eventful domestic  exciting news, I’ve gotten rid of another packet of seasoning!

I’ve always been a fan of a certain fajita seasoning packet but as usual, I didn’t like what was in the ingredient list.

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Now, at my house,  fajita seasoning is homemade and I control the spices. After you mix these guys together, you’ll have a fast meal ahead of you.

I served ours with Cheesy Mexican Rice

Gather the spices and mix together

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Saute onion and bell pepper

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Set aside

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Thinly slice chicken and cook

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Bring back the bell and onion and add your homemade seasoning

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Wrap in a tortilla

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Top with cheese and sour cream



1 teaspoon dried oregano

10 twists freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon onion flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon chicken or beef bouillon (optional but recommended)

3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

instructions and directions: 

Mix together all ingredients. Two tablespoons is equivalent to one packet. Add more or less to taste with cooked: 1 pound thinly sliced chicken and bell peppers.  Add 2 tablespoons of water at a time, until well combined.

Ranch Dressing “Packet”

photo 4Who likes Ranch Dressing? Me! Who likes to make it with a powder packet? Me! Who likes the ingredients in the packet? Hmm? Anyone?

Me neither.

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So I figured out how to make it.

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Here you have it.

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Ranch Dressing


1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon onion salt

1⁄4  teaspoon dried parsley

1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄4 teaspoon  salt

15 twists freshly ground white pepper

a pinch of dried thyme

a pinch of dried oregano

3/4-1 cup of milk (buttermilk would be delicious and a little thicker, but I used 1%)

instructions and directions: 

in a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients, except for milk. beat those ingredients on low for 30 seconds. slowly pour in milk and continue beating (slowly increasing speed) for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate (overnight if possible). Dressing will thicken in fridge. Keep covered up to two weeks!

Roasted Salmon With Yogurt Sauce

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous!

We did lots of fun things! We went hiking, fired up the grill and attended the 10th Annual Main Street Brew Festival! It was great! I had heard mixed reviews about the festival but I give it two thumbs up. The check in (we bought our tickets on line) was easy, there was plenty of beer and the weather was great!!


These were the tasting glasses.

The whole weekend really got me in the mood for Spring. Too bad the weather is going to cool off again later this week.

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If you are in the mood for a springy dish, you should try this Roasted Salmon with Yogurt Sauce. The sauce and salmon are made with an orange and while orange is technically a winter flavor, this meal was light and flavorful and perfect for spring.

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The base of the sauce is yogurt! So it is super healthy and you don’t have to feel bad for having a little extra.  I tried to find full fat yogurt but fat free was all my store had.

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Just mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and set aside while you get the salmon ready.

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The seasonings for the salmon rub are really simple. They are just olive oil, salt pepper and orange peel.

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Roast the salmon for 10-15 minutes

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Meanwhile,  I sauteed some brocollini with shallots and garlic. If you have never had broccolini you should look for it. It is sort of a combination of broccoli and asparagus and I love the texture.

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Top the roasted salmon with the orange caper sauce.

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Roasted Salmon with Yogurt Sauce


2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish

4 salmon filets, 6 ounces each
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more if desired)
freshly ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
Instructions and directions: 
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly oil a glass baking dish.

Arrange the salmon skin side down on the baking dish, drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the orange zest, the salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Gently rub the seasonings into the fish. Let sit at room temperature while the oven heats.

Combine the yogurt in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp. orange zest, and the parsley, capers, and orange juice. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Roast the salmon until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes depending on how you like yours cooked. Serve immediately, drizzled with the yogurt sauce.

recipe adapted from fine cooking

Someone’s Grandma’s Mexican Cornbread

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I call this Grandma’s Mexican Cornbread for a reason but it has nothing to do with my Grandmother.

Here is the story.  You see, I had this cornbread a few years ago after a funeral. [I didn’t say it was a cheerful story.] Somebody’s, cousin’s, husband’s, grandmother  (how’s that for a family tree?) sent it over to the house of the grieving group.   Since clearly, I know people, see: am probably related to them twice-they call that “double kin”,  I got the recipe.

So to you, when you make this recipe, it will be Someone’s Grandma’s Mexican Cornbread.

To me, the only good thing about a funeral, is the food. People want to make you feel better so they cook their favorite feel good food and bring it on by. Especially in small towns. People in small towns,  in my experience, send the best and greatest amount of food.

I have never been one to enjoy pot luck, unless it was at a funeral because let’s face it, people don’t always practice safe cooking, hand washing or four legged friend discipline-at home.   However, the way I see it, at a funeral,  you have already had a lot of bad things happen recently, so food poisoning can’t be added to the list.

Funeral Logic.

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Don’t be confused by this group of ingredients picture. Chicken broth is slick and snuck in for a photo-op but the recipe doesn’t call for chicken broth.

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These guys give this cornbread a welcomed kick!

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So fold in these

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Pour in this

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And here’s what you get.

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Slather with butter (optional and recommended)

The old lady makes a Carrot Cake worth posting too.

Someone’s Grandma’s Mexican Cornbread


2 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil (plus more to oil the skillet)

1 cup cream style corn

1 cup of milk (i used 1%)

1 1/2 cups self rising meal

1/2 medium onion, diced small

4-5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined, finely diced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions and directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cast iron skillet with some oil. Place in the oven.

While the skillet is getting hot, in a large bowl, mix eggs, oil corn, mil and meal. Mix well. Add onion, jalapenos and cheese. Stir to combine.

Carefully remove skillet from the oven and pour in the batter.

Bake for 30-45 minutes.

St. Patrick’s Day-Shepherd’s Pie

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As Winter winds down, I find myself scrambling to make my favorite cozy meal before Spring and grilling season begins.

Among my favorites are chili’s and spaghetti and this recipe, Shepherd’s Pie. 

Shepherd’s Pie is stew like, satisfying and gives me the warm fuzzies. This  recipe tastes fresh and comes to you just in time for St. Patrick’s day!


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 Turkey or lamb would be just as good. You could use any ground meat that you like.

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Time for the peas!

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Boil your potato cubes and mash them up

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Spread your potatoes over the filling in an even layer.

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Bake for 15 minutes until bubbling and the gravy starts to creep up onto the potatoes.

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This recipe is chock full of savory flavor

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And a side of mashed potatoes is built in!


Shepherd’s Pie


1  pound ground sirloin

1 large onion, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1  (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 beef bouillon cube

1/2 cup water

1 can beef broth (or sub 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes-pictured)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

15 twists of  freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

salt, to tasted

for potatoes: 

2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons butter

a few splashes of milk

salt, to tasete

instructions and directions: 

In a large nonstick oven proof skillet or dutch oven, brown beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium and add in mushrooms, carrot and garlic. Stir frequently, about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water until potatoes easily break up with a fork. Drain and return to hot pot. With beaters, stir in butter, until melted, sour cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.  (For cheesy potatoes, mix in 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar)

Back to the meat mixture: Stir bouillon, salt, pepper, thyme and  parsley into meat mixture. Add peas . Sprinkle flour over meat mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in water, beef broth (or tomatoes), Worcestershire and vinegar. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  At this time, if you didn’t have an over safe pan-transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-qt. baking dish or pan. Spoon mashed potatoes evenly over meat mixture, smoothing with back of spoon.

Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Veggie and Cheese Pasta Skillet

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After staying out too late Saturday and helping my little brother move Sunday a busy weekend I am always looking for an easy Monday meal.

Read: takes little effort but still eating dinner at home.

Try this one.  Veggie and Cheese Pasta Skillet. One skillet and you’re done.

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Saute onion and mushrooms

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Add cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, pepper, milk, broth, tomatoes and pasta (i used shells)

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Fold in cheese and spinach

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One skillet makes for easy cleanup!

Veggie and Cheese Pasta Skillet


1 tablespoon olive oil

one medium onion, finely diced

8 ounce package, fresh mushrooms

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

15 twists of freshly ground pepper

2 cups small pasta, uncooked (i used shells)

1 can of diced tomatoes

3 cups fresh spinach

1 cup Monterrey jack cheese

1 cup rotisserie chicken (optional)

instructions and directions:

heat oil in a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms over medium heat until onions are softened and mushrooms have lost most of their water. About 8 minutes.

to the skillet, add cornstarch, garlic powder, pepper, salt, pasta, broth, milk and tomatoes. bring to a boil and simmer on low until noodles are al dente, about 10 minutes.

fold in cheese until it is melted. fold in spinach until wilted. add chicken, if using. season with salt and pepper.

100th Post-The Disaster Edition

Today Marks my 100th post! Can you believe it? Well, you probably can, since you are not the one who is constantly taking pictures of your food and writing short stories about them. It’s probably gone by rather quickly for you. Still, I can hardly believe it.

I started this blog as a way to document and share my recipes while hoping that my humor doesn’t get lost in translation while people are [hopefully] reading it. Now it has become my favorite hobby. Sure, I liked to cook before but now I REALLY  look forward to entertaining you and making myself seem like a gourmet chef!

Over the past 6 months I have had lots of people tell me that they like to cook but they get discouraged when they fail and they tell me that it must be nice to successfully make so many meals. This is when I know that the facade I am creating is paying off.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have decided to share my most miserable failures since I started the blog. As you will see I could easily start a blog about failed cooking attempts. It might be funnier but probably a little less useful.

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No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls.

Biggest failure to date.

I was so impressed with myself. I woke up early on a Saturday to surprise everyone with a homemade batch of freshly prepared cinnamon and sugar magic. “This Saturday I will not be popping open a can of Pillsbury’s” , I thought to myself. I carefully made the dough and rolled it out. I tucked all the rolls neatly into a pan and before long everyone  in the house was awakened by the smell of freshly baked bread and all the noise I was making with all the dishes I dirtied.

Too bad those bundles of bread tasted like raw dough. They were cooked through but they were so sugary that they made your teeth hurt. Gave a whole new (and very bad) meaning to the term Sweet Roll.

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Artichoke Lasagna.

AKA “Noodles with Chicken Broth and Green Clumps”

This recipe sounded promising. A savory lasagna, with no cheese (healthy!) and a homemade roux to make you not miss the cheese. I love artichokes so I though it would be a win for sure.

As I tried to choke it down,  I knew something had gone awry . I actually thought it was o.k.  but 3 other people voted no so I called it a loss.

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Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Twas to be the dessert on the night of Angel Hair with Bacon and Egg.  Cranberries were in season and I had never cooked with them. I was trying to impress you guys.  It wouldn’t turn upside down like Martha Stewart said it should either. We had company and I think they ate it to be sweet but it was definitely a fail.

The whipped cream on top was delicious and so the night wasn’t a total loss.

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Prosciutto with Grilled Watermelon

Some of the prettiest pictures in blog history. This recipe took prosciutto (salty) watermelon (summery) blue cheese (creamy)  balsamic reduction (a kick) and basil (a burst of freshness) and combined them into a disgusting mess. I was actually sorry that I wasted the ingredients. The watermelon was not good warm. Nothing else mattered after that.

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Tofu Stir Fry

I like to think I am diverse so for this recipe I wanted to appeal to the meat substitute fans of the world. I like tofu!  I could never really put my finger on what was so bad about this but it went into the failure column just the same.

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Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas

Maybe the sauce just didn’t agree with the whole wheat tortilla and that is what made it taste like the paste in a 3rd grade art project? Whatever it was,  I threw up in my mouth a little.

and last but certainly not least……

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Sausage Egg and Cheese “Muffins”

Sure, they tasted o.k. But I think I should have used a different “crust” and I overfilled the cups with egg which resulted in a very dirty oven and 3 very loud smoke alarms.

So, there you have it, my cooking failures.

If nothing else, stay with me for 100 more to find out what else I screw up!

Too Easy No Bake Cheesecake (by request)


This weekend we celebrated a birthday and this was the request for “cake”.

Obviously this is not a fancy recipe but it is a house favorite and since it is so easy I am sharing with you!

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This recipe is not healthy or natural (clearly I am not a salesperson)but it was the request of the birthday haver and I obliged.

It is a treat and that is what birthdays are all about. Yes?

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You start off by whipping the cream cheese in a standing mixer or with beaters.

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To that, you add sweetened condensed milk.

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Lemon juice and vanilla.

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You could get fancy if you like baking and make a homemade graham cracker crust but I took a helping hand from the Keebler elves.

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After you have let it set up in the fridge, you just top with your favorite fruit topping.

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The time I chose cherry. (i use Comstock brand).

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Here’s to health and happiness through another year. Enjoy!

No Bake Cheesecake


1 (8 ounce) bar of cream cheese (room temp)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice (3 small lemons)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 prepared graham cracker pie crust

1 can fruit pie filling (or fresh fruit)

instructions and directions:

beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until well combined. pour into pie crust and cover. let the pie set in the fridge for two hours. top with fruit.