No Chocolate Brownies Recipe


So, I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t really like chocolate.

I know. I’m weird.

Despite that, though, I have always appreciated the gooey goodness of a tasty brownie, so when I stumbled on a recipe online for no-chocolate brownies, I was all over it! Johnna had tasked me with bringing something sweet for a shindig she threw, so along came these delish lemon brownies and strawberry brownies! Enjoy!


Lemon or Strawberry Brownies Recipe

  • 1 box of flavored cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (or water)

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your square pan – I prefer the dark metal pans for more even cooking. If nothing else, toss some parchment paper in the bottom to make removal easier. The throwaway pans were a cheat for the party… Mix the cake mix, eggs and oil with a beater – the dough will become VERY thick. Carefully transfer it to the pans, then pop in the oven for 15 minutes – no more! Cool for 10 minutes, then spread with icing. To make the icing, carefully mix the powdered sugar and milk into an icing-like consistency. Yum!

Breakfast Burritos Recipe


I’m a big fan of breakfast.

Breakfast foods, eating in the morning, eggs and bacon, I love it all.

I’m definitely a morning protein girl – none of this sugary stuff that most people gravitate towards. But…I also know that mornings can get busy, so I’m all about having something ready to pop in the microwave before work that doesn’t cost me 8073450873 calories or hours of time.

Enter the humble breakfast burrito.

Typically, I make a batch for the whole week on Sunday morning, tightly wrapping them in foil so they are ready to go all the way through Friday. A couple of burritos, a mid-morning piece of fruit and I’m good to go. Plus, the version I make only comes to 410 calories for two burritos. Yum!


Breakfast Burritos – Makes 10 burritos (two a day for the week)

  • 10 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 package of Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles
  • Fajita size Mission tortillas (but use your fave brand, if you like)
  • 5 slices of Kraft 2% American Deli Deluxe (or your fave brand, if you like)
  • Your favorite add-ins – could be onions, green peppers, etc

Scramble up your mess of eggs – while they cook, lay out your tortillas and put half a slice of cheese and a handful (okay, a quarter of a cup) of sausage crumbles onto each one, as well as your add-ins. Once the eggs are done, evenly distribute onto each tortilla, then wrap each one tightly in foil.

To serve, simply pop two burritos in the microwave for about a minute, eat and enjoy!

Quick Chicken and Dumplings


What is better than chicken and dumplings on a rainy day?


Quick Chicken and Dumplings

1 (32 ounce) container chicken broth

1 rotisserie chicken cubed

1 onion, chopped

1 package baby carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 1/4 cups Bisquick

2/3 cup milk

Combine chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper in a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add chicken.

Mix Bisquick and milk in a bowl until dough is sticky; drop golf ball-sized pieces of dough into the soup. Cover pot and cook until dumplings are cooked through, about 10 minutes. I like to add a little chopped parsley to my dumplings but that is up to your taste.

Wontons A La Maria Recipe


The first food I can remember learning to prepare by myself is ramen soup.

Cliche, but true.

I remember Mum trusting me enough to boil the water, dunk in the packet, and feast on the noodly goodness five minutes later.


Ramen was the quick lunch option, the afternoon snack, the lazy weekend bowl for Mum when things got busy – odd, since she was such a renowned and prodigious cook, which is WHY, I think, she embraced the ramen.

It gave her a bit of a break from the stove, and could be cooked by a kid without much intervention.

She always contended, and rightly so, that ramen on its own didn’t have much in the way of stick-to-your-ribs-ness.

Thus, many years ago, she invented her own wontons – a frozen bag of which has resided in either her freezer – or mine – since then. In fact, one of the last things I remember us making together before she passed away was a stock of wontons for the freezer. In retrospect, I think she was making them so Dad had something he could make on his own, without her.

These aren’t traditional wontons you would find in a Chinese restaurant, but I would argue they are better…both because of the yum factor, but also because they are Mum’s.


Wontons A La Maria Recipe

  • 1 roll of breakfast sausage – I like Bob Evans or Jimmy Dean. Get a good one, without too much fat…
  • Spring onions, diced
  • water chestnuts, diced small
  • soy sauce, garlic powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper…the amount is entirely to your taste
  • wonton wrappers
  • one egg, whisked with water for an egg wash

In a bowl, combine your sausage, onion, water chestnuts, and seasonings to your taste. I usually include a healthy dash of soy sauce, garlic salt and garlic powder, salt and pepper, but use your own judgement. If ginger is your thing, toss that in there as well. Mix until well combined.

IMG_7894Lay out a mess of wonton wrappers, and spoon a small amount of the mixture into the center of each wonton. Then, lightly brush egg wash around all four edges of the wonton. Fold into a triangle, sealing tightly, then fold again to make a dumpling. Shape is highly subjective – if you find a good method, go with it!

IMG_7895Place the folded dumpling onto a piece of wax paper. When you have a bunch of them made and all as one layer, pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours to harden. Once they are well frozen, you can gently remove them from the wax paper and store them together in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer. Will last several months, though mine never last that long…

To cook, boil your water with the seasoning packet with the ramen. Toss in the desired amount of wontons (straight from the freezer – no need to thaw) and allow to cook for a few minutes. Then, toss in your ramen noodles and cook a few minutes more. Serve hot!

Banana Pudding Recipe


Banana pudding is a delicious dessert that reminds me of being a kid.  I was reminded of this when my stepdad’s sister-in-law brought banana pudding to a 4th of July party.  It was so good I have to admit I ate a bowl, and then hid a bowl in my Mom’s refrigerator for later.  I finally got the recipe and made a few little tweaks.  This is the final result and I have to say, it is pretty good.  Enjoy!


One of the first times Johnna and I hung out after meeting each other, we decided to have dinner at my place with a couple of our mutual friends. When Johnna showed up with this banana pudding, I knew we were destined to be friends. *smile*


Johnna’s Banana Pudding Recipe

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
2 cups cold milk
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 container cool whip
2-3 sliced bananas
1 box vanilla wafer cookies
1tbsp lemon juice

Mix pudding and milk; refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Add condensed milk and blend well; refrigerate again for 5 minutes.

Slice bananas and toss with lemon juice (prevents browning).

Alternate layers of vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding and cool whip. Finish with a layer of cool whip and garnish with crushed wafers.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Potato and Chorizo Stew Recipe


I love, love, love, soup! The colder it gets the more my soup making ramps up.

On this particular day, it is 24 degrees outside and I wanted something that would be warm and hearty.   I searched through my recipes and found this one. With a few tweaks I made it mine and it was delicious.

If you think about it, soup really is a one pot wonder. I don’t need to make sides or a salad: everything I need is in that one pot.

So this will be one of my many soup recipes. I hope there are some other soup fans out there, or a twelve step program for soup addiction! Either way, enjoy!


Potato and Chorizo Stew Recipe

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
Kosher salt
3 fully cooked chorizo sausages, sliced
3 cloves of garlic
3 yellow potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 small bunch rainbow chard, stems removed, leaves chopped
Chopped parsley and drizzle of olive oil, for garnish
Serve with crusty bread

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add, the onion, season with ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly browned. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned around the edges. Add the garlic and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add the potatoes, ½ tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and paprika. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and cook 12 minutes. Add the chard; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and the chard is wilted. To serve, season with salt and pepper to taste, parsley and drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.

Chocolate Pudding Pizza Recipe


Everyone who knows me knows this is true: I’m not much of a dessert person.

In fact, while I love to cook, I HATE to bake.

Cookies, cakes, pies…ugh.

So, when tasked with “oh honey, can you bring a dessert?”, I shake off the panic and turn to my go-to recipes…and I’ve just stumbled on another. It’s no harder than some mixing, some spreading and a wee bit of oven time. If I can do it, you can too!

(Plan ahead – it needs to chill. But really, who doesn’t?)


  • 1 roll of peanut butter cookie dough
  • 1 container of room temperature whipped cream cheese (if you can’t find the whipped kind, just buy the usual brick and give it a quick whip with your mixer)
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounce) of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 carton of whipped topping (thawed)
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips, a squeeze of chocolate sauce, or a twizzle of caramel

Spread out the rolled cookie dough, keeping it all in one big piece, and making your desired shape (circular like a pizza is popular – mine tend to take on a sort of squarish, “rustic” shape). Bake the cookie according to package directions, then allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine the pudding mix and milk and set aside, and unwrap your thawed cream cheese.

Once the cookie is cool, spread overall with the cream cheese, then layer on the pudding, then finish with the thawed whipped topping. Top the “pizza” with your favorite topping – chocolate chips, a drizzle of sauce, or even crushed candy bars or caramel sauce.

Chill the entire “pizza” so it sets (an hour should do the trick), then enjoy!