I will admit to never having had a calzone before I made these, but I'm so glad I did! I found this recipe in my favorite Betty Crocker cook book and just had to give it a try. These are pretty easy to make and SO yummy. You can fill them with whatever you have handy and you've got a really yummy dinner ready to go. This filling recipe came from my Betty Crocker cookbook, but we've also used cottage cheese (instead of ricotta), pepperoni, sausage, and pretty much anything else you might put on pizza). Here's a whole page of ideas for ways to make this yummy dinner treat your own. 
What you Need (crust):
2 1/2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg regular dry or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 TBS olive or veggie oil
1 cup very warm water (120-130 degrees F)

What you Need (filling):
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1/4 lb salami, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
ground pepper
1 large egg, slightly beaten

What you Do (crust):
In large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast. Add oil and warm water. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl requently. Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes. (At this point you could just use this dough to make pizza, but why stop here when you could make calzones?)

What you Do (calzones):
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 cookie sheets.
Divide dough into 6 equal parts. On lightly floured surface, roll each part into 7-inch circle with floured rolling pin.
Top half of each dough circle with mozzarella cheese, salami, ricotta cheese, basil and tomatoes to within 1 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Carefully fold dough over filling; pinch edges or press with fork to seal securely.
Place calzones on cookie sheets. Brush with egg. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

We like to warm up some marinara (or whatever pasta sauce we have handy) and serve it as a dipping sauce. YUM!

Balsamic Glazed Rosemary Pork Cutlets

These were SO yummy, they taste like something you'd pay good money for in a restaurant. They were also really quick and easy to make! We ate ours with baked potatoes and some fruit cocktail (fancy, I know) and they made a great dinner. I found the recipe here.

What you need:
2 tsp oil
1 TBS rosemary leaf, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBS honey

What you do:
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. While that is warming up, sprinkle the cutlets with rosemary, salt, and pepper. 
Add the pork to the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side, or until done. Remove from pan and keep warm. 
Combine broth, vinegar, and honey, stirring with a whisk. Add to the pan. You want to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the yummy browned bits from the meat stirred in. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes, or until reduced to 1/3 cup and is thick as syrup. While the vinegar is cooking down, it smells pretty strong. Ethan walked in during this time and asked what the heck I was doing with all the vinegar. I told him it was dinner, and you could tell by his face that he wanted to refuse to have anything to do with whatever I was cooking, but he wisely bit his tongue. He didn't regret that decision. 
Once the sauce is reduced and thickened, return the pork to the pan and cook until heated through.

I thought I'd share my favorite trick for speeding up the cooking time for baked potatoes. It's fine to bake potatoes for an hour when you've also got meatloaf or something baking that is going to take just as long, but I hate running the oven for that long when the rest of dinner's only going to take 20 minutes. So, I heat my oven up to at least 400. Scrub the potatoes, and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully score the potato (see above picture), being careful not to cut through the peel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (also yummy to add garlic or onion powder, or whatever herbs would complement your main dish) and put a few dabs of butter on top of each potato half. 
Bake on a baking sheet until cooked through and enjoy! 

Cigares au Chocolat

I recently tried out a french recipe I found online. Making the conversions and figuring this out took a few tries, but I finally got it! These cookies are super yummy and once I had the right amounts and consistency figured out, they weren't too hard! I used a post on to help me figure out my conversions (it was incredibly helpful!). Here's my Americanozed version of the original recipe.

Cookie Ingredients:

7 TBS of soft butter 
3/4 c + 1 TBS + 1/4 tsp powdered sugar (or a heaping 3/4 c.)
1/2 cup + 3 TBS + 1 1/2 tsp flour (or a scant 3/4 c.)
2-3 eggs worth of egg whites
Room temperature water
Chocolate or dark chocolate (I used 2 1/2 squares of almond bark, so maybe 3/4-1 c. chocolate chips worth)
Something to roll the cookies on (I used a pen).

Filling Ingredients:

1 oz cream cheese
2 TBS powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp cocoa powder*
2 large spoonfuls of melted chocolate*
2 TBS caramel syrup*

small amount of cocoa powder for dipping the end

*Choose whatever flavors you want for the filling. Raspberry would be yummy in this too!

  1. Mix together the butter and powdered sugar for 2 minutes. Mix in the flour, then add the egg whites one at a time. Mix until smooth. If your mixture looks like the picture below, it's too thick:

    Add water, 1 TBS at a time until the mixture is just thin enough to pour. Chill for at least 2 hours. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray with Pam. Using a spoon, pour 2 1/2 to 3 inch circles of batter on the prepared parchment paper. Only pour 4 cookies at a time (more than that will not give you time to roll them before they have cooled and hardened). Bake for 5-6 minutes. The edges will be golden brown. 
  3. Upon removing the cookies from the oven, immediately roll them around the pen (or whatever round object you're using) so there is a hollow in the center. Place them to the side to cool. If they try to unroll, place them with the "flap" on the bottom and brace them on either side (I put a cup on either side of the cookies that wanted to unroll, which was only a few of them really, you won't have to do this with all of them hopefully). Let the cool and set up. 
  4. Mix the filling ingredients until smooth. Scoop into a plastic bag, cut the corner, and squeeze the filling into the cooled cookies.
  5. Melt the chocolate according to package instructions. I added about 1-2 tsp of shortening to my melted chocolate to make it a little more smooth and thin. Place a small pile of cocoa powder to the side. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and gently tap off the excess chocolate. Dip the end in the cocoa to resemble ash. Place on a flat surface to cool (I let mine cool on the now cool pan/parchment paper). 

These were a gift for a friend who loves cigar boxes, so I found a fun cigar box at the local Antique Mall, cleaned it out, and used it at the gift box for the cookies. The cookies don't look exactly like cigars, and they don't look as good as the original cookies on the French site, but they tasted amazing and were a lot of fun to make!

Pirate Theme Snacks

This last Saturday I had the assignment to provide snacks for 100 people for our stake camp clinic. Our camp theme is "Embark" this year and each unit has a theme ship. Our YCLs ship is The Black Pearl, so I used the theme of pirates for the snacks. The menu was cheese sticks, grapes and carmel corn with water to drink. The sign says: "Aarggh! Be Best Mateys This Year at Camp! It worked very well. At least the girls thought it all was cute. Naturally there were a few fingertip sword fights with the plastic picks.

Thanks to Marquette and Cameron for naming the grapes! One can always go to them for a cute idea.

Spicy Prickly Pear Glazed Chicken

I found a recipe online that sounded good, but it made 24 chicken thighs and used bourbon, which we don't have and didn't want to figure out what to do with the extras. I wanted to make this in much smaller portions and leave the bourbon out so I used the recipe as my base and then tweaked it. This turned out really really yummy! It was incredibly moist and tender and the sauce was perfect. I sautéed some canned green beans to go with this and tasted excellent with the sauce as well. Here is how I made it:

Spicy Prickly Pear Glazed Chicken:


  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 2 seeded and chopped serrano chile (use more to give this more kick, or less for a more mild kick. 2 chiles gave it just barely a detectable pinch of spice without making this too hot)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • juice from one lime (not key lime!)
  • zest from one lime
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. prickly pear juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 6 Chicken thighs (we used boneless, skinless)
  • Chopped cilantro as garnish


  1. In a sauce pot, heat the oil. Saute the onion over medium heat until browned. 
  2. Add the chile and garlic and saute until softened. 
  3. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the lime juice and zest, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. 
  5. Transfer the mixture to an electric blender and puree until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. 
  6. Add the prickly pear juice, salt, and butter. Return to a boil. Cook until the mixture has thickened. You almost want a paste, but not too gummy. 
  7. In a large resealable bag, combine the thighs with 1/3 of the sauce. Toss to cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 375. 
  9. Lightly oil a baking pan (or I just lined mine with tin foil). Lay the thighs in the pan, and brush 1/2 the remaining sauce over the top.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes. 
  11. Turn the thighs over and brush on the remaining sauce. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  12. Broil the thighs for 3-4 minutes to finish off. 
  13. Top with cilantro

Peanut Butter and Yogurt Fruit Dip

I had this for the first time yesterday at our weekly play group. One of the other moms brought this to share with everyone and it was SO yummy! It's really easy to make and so good!

What you need:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt, which has half as many carbs and twice as much protein)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 TBS honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

I actually just kinda guessed at the amounts when I made this. The lady who brought this to play group told me the ingredient list but I didn't ask how much of each. You can adjust any and all the these ingredients until it tastes yummy to you. 

What you do:
Warm up the Peanut Butter and the Honey. I used a small pan on my stove top but a microwave would work great too.
Add all the ingredients together and stir until well mixed.
Serve with apples or anything else you might like (we also tried graham crackers and that was yummy too). This makes enough for 1-2 apples, depending on how big the apple and how much you pile on each bite.  :)

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

3 cups oatmeal (quick or rolled oats)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar - make it a scant 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Mix together. Pour batter into a well greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with milk.

I like to serve it with sliced bananas and soft whipping cream. Garnish with toasted coconut.
Truly, it is yummy!

I first saw this recipe on Pinterest - the link took me to Rachel's recipe at and I adjusted it from there. Thanks Rachel! I'm sure you all are going to enjoy it - Kathleen

(many thanks to Marquette for the pretty pics.)

Fun Santa Pancakes

These were so simple to make and cute! Just use regular Bisquick pancakes, spread some raspberry jam across the top part to resemble a Santa hat and squirt the pressurized whipped cream for the fur around the hat and Santa's beard. A maraschino cherry makes the nose. We didn't do eyes, but I imagine a couple of chocolate chips would work. I was happy with the way these turned out and they were tasty besides! An easy Christmas win!

Peppermint Cake Batter Truffles

I took a recipe I found on Pinterest and "Minterized" it to fit the holidays better. I turned confetti cake batter truffles into Peppermint Cake Batter Truffles.


  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. white cake mix
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 3-4 TBS milk
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • 1 pkg vanilla/white almond bark or white candy coating
  • crushed mint candies for topping


  1. Cream the butter and the sugar until mixed well. 
  2. Add the cake mix, flour, salt, and extracts and mix thoroughly. 
  3. Add in the milk 1 TBS at a time until the mixture reaches a doughy consistency. Add in the sprinkles. It will be slightly sticky, but still be able to be rolled into balls. 
  4. Roll the dough into one inch balls and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. 
  5. While dough is chilling, melt coating as per directions on the package. If using a 2lb block of almond bark, I usually use 2/3 of the block. If needed, add 2-4 TBS of shortening to the candy coating to make it more smooth and thin. 
  6. Prepare a pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. 
  7. Dip the truffle balls in the candy coating. I usually drop 2-4 balls in the coating at one time, and then I scoop them out one at a time with a fork to help drain off the excess coating. Place on the papered pan. Immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy (you must do this before the coating sets!). 
  8. Allow a few minutes for the coating to set. 
  9. These are great freshly made, but are especially good after a few hours when the flavors have had a chance to mix and meld.