Category Archives: Cooking

New Website

Today I posted my first new post at the new web address. It is also the blog’s one year anniversary!! Come over and celebrate with Snickerdoodles!

Remember to renew your subscription on the new website so you can continue to receive updates when I post new content.

Love ya, and thanks for all the support over the last year! And your patience while  was launching the new site over the past few weeks. I know it has been boring for you but I was supper busy behind the scenes and I am still working out all the bugs.


Start Packing…. We are moving!

I have been working away at the new Hopefully Homemade website. It is coming along slowly because I am doing it all myself. I hope to have things sorted out and up and running in about a week.

Exciting new changes are going to take place. With a new homepage and easier navigation, all to make your Hopefully Homemade web experience better. There might be some hiccups but please stick with me. Thanks for your patience!!

Mexican Dip

Cheese, peppers and beans. Surprisingly good considering the cheese source on this one. I must say I am very, very rarely in possession of processed cheese-like products. I was raised on them, as was everyone I grew up with. It was odd if my friends didn’t have individually wrapped, formed cheese squares(“slices”) in their fridge. Memories of my favorite grilled cheese experiences revolve around fake cheese. My best friend’s, Jacob, dad once made a grilled cheese with two pieces of cheese inside and gave me a bite. It was life altering, two pieces of cheese. Why had I never thought of that?

I grew up eating a lot of queso dip that my mother made with Velveeta. It was very common. However upon growing up, I got a little snotty and turned my nose up at processed cheese. It is understandable as there has since been a realization that you are essentially eating what amounts to plastic, I don;t know how true this is but it weirds me out enough to keep away from processed cheese for the most part.

That is until I cam across something that, I must admit, made me too curious than weirded out.

Yep. Velveeta went Mexican.

And I love Mexican cuisine. (Wow, Velveeta and cuisine in the same thought process, this is getting weird!)

This has also reminded me just how beautifully processed cheese melts. It is quite spectacular in the level of smoothness that you can easily achieve with a little gentle heat. So it you are ready for some shameful processed cheese excitement, here goes:



1 can refried beans
1 green bell pepper, julienned (I would have used Rotel or salsa but didn’t have any on hand)
about 3-4 inches of a brick of Velveeta Queso Blanco
couple of splashes(1/4 cup) of milk

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Lightly char the bell peppers. I had these left over from making enchiladas,

Chop’em up!

Empty the can of refried beans into the bottom of a baking dish.

Take the cheese…

and cube it into 1/2 inch pieces.

Place the peppers and cheese into a microwave-safe bowl.

Add about 1/4 cup of milk.

Microwave in one minute increments.

Stir well in-between.

Until everything is smooth. It took 3 or 4 turns in the microwave for this amount of cheese. At this point it is a good idea to test the thickness with a taste test. If the cheese is too thick and sticks in your mouth, you will want to add more milk. I would err on the side of too thin as it will only thicken more when you bake it off.

Pour the cheese mixture over the beans.

I love pictures of saucy food being poured; its like food porn. (Did I just share too much? I did? Well, it’s the truth.)

Pop this into the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the how the oven cycles its upper heating element.

Its ready when the cheese is browned and bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips or scoop it on top of your enchiladas or anything else that you might desire.

Chicken Enchiladas/Burritos

Are they enchiladas because you  cover them with “enchilada sauce”?

Are they burritos because they are made with flour tortillas?

Are they either when you roll them without tucking in the sides?

No one is actually going to answer these questions, are they?

All I know is that enchilada or burrito, these things are delicious. Cheese and chicken rolled inside a flour tortilla, covered with spicy red sauce(ok, mild red sauce because I am a baby). Heck yeah! And leftovers are just as good.


flour tortillas
can of enchilada sauce
grated cheddar
cooked, shredded chicken
green bell pepper, julienned

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cook  the bell pepper over medium heat just until the edges brown.

Pour about 1/4 of the can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.

Place a tortilla down and pile in the chicken.

Add a healthy amount of cheese.

I added a spoonful of the enchilada sauce on top of the cheese. The chicken I used was boiled and leftover from another dinner, so it was pretty flavorless.

Insert a pepper here^^^^^^^

Roll it up!

Then repeat until pan is full.

Make sure the seam is to the bottom of the pan.

Pour on the remaining sauce.

All over….. mmmmmm

Get it fully covered.

Throw on some more cheese. Yep, deliciousness!!

Bake until heated all the way through and the cheese is melted and starting to get crusty.

Simple Hasselback Potatoes

Who doesn’t love potatoes? Potatoes are humble yet always steal my attention when served as a dinner side dish. Potatoes are simple, delicious, versatile and make me feel only slight guilt about all the carbs and starch. My solution is to try to enjoy them only on special occasions. That way I can savor every buttery, or cheesy, or creamy, or garlic-y bite knowing I don’t get to have them often.

Well, the other night I was making salmon. Growing up my mother rarely bought fresh salmon, probably because us kids only liked fried catfish or fish sticks. So whenever I have salmon it feels like IS a “special occasion”. Not to mention salmon is pretty healthy, so throwing buttery potatoes on the menu seems to balance out the meal well. And the only potatoes that could stand up to the distinguished salmon was the Hasselback Potatoes.

Not only are these potatoes just as fancy as “special occasion” salmon, they are really simple to make.


as many small potatoes as you can stuff in your mouth in one sitting
enough butter to cover these potatoes
a sprinkling of salt

*note: Pick small potatoes with thin skins, as you will eat the skin with the prepared potato. If you want to use regular sized baking potatoes, peel them first because the thicker skin get tough and leathery.

Preheat oven to 425°. Scrub the skins of the potatoes well.

Partially cut the potatoes along one side, as if slicing off thin disks but do not cut all the way through. If you do accidentally cut all the way through, don’t worry  it all tastes the same in the end.

One trick I have heard is to place your potato on a wooden spoon to cut. The idea is the bottom of the potato nestles inside the spoon and the knife is stopped by the edges of the spoon. I can never bring myself to hack away and leave knife marks all over my big wooden spoon.

Pour melted butter all over the potatoes.

Gently persuade the butter in-between all the potato cuts.

Sprinkle the tops with salt.

Bake the potatoes about 25 minutes, then check and rotate pan. Bake another 20-30 minutes until the potato edges are crispy and the insides are tender.

The potatoes will fan themselves out, looking beautiful and delicate.

Devour these cuties while still hot. Try not to let the guilt of eating butter soaked food deter from the potato enjoyment, I certainly don’t.

Apple Crumb Cake

I used to live in a great little apartment complex. Everyone was really friendly and we’d all gather and let our dogs run around(against the rules) off their leashes after work . We would have dinners and checked on each other after Hurricane Ike.

The best thing about the apartments is that we lived across from one of the most amazing friends I will ever have. I can say that now but that was not exactly what I was thinking a few years ago when she brought me Amish Friendship Bread Starter. Shea handed me a ziplock bag with a bubbling, yeasty, liquid concoction that I was told to “feed”  every couple of days and keep out on the countertop for 10 days.

Really? In March? IN TEXAS?

And then make a cake with it? Are you crazy?

Yep, and it was the most delicious cake I ever made.

I followed the feeding directions and recipe, and when all was said and done and the cake was out of the oven and cooled I ate one piece… and then another. I got up the next morning and had another piece. I called my friend, Shea, and told her I couldn’t stop eating this cake. Shea laughed and said she ate it every morning for breakfast until it was all gone.

We have all moved away now and when I miss Shea, I miss the cake too. The other day I found the directions/recipe with Shea’s handwritten dates. I figured that I could make the cake even if I didn’t have the starter. I did a lot of calculations and came up with a recipe. I also added one extra ingredient to the cake, apples, and of course a topping.


1 1/3 cups milk
1 cup oil
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
2 small apples, diced

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch baking dish or a bundt pan.

Make the topping by smashing together those ingredients.

Mash them with a fork into pea-sized chunks. Set aside.

Mix together the oil, sugar, eggs yolks and vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and pudding mix. Set aside.

In another separate bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Working quickly, alternate add the flour and milk to the oil mixture, stir until just combined.

Gently fold in the stiffened egg whites, trying not to deflate them too much.

Pour a little less than half the batter into the prepared baking dish. Top with the apples and pecans.

Top that with the remaining batter. Finally top with topping.

Bake for 1  to 1 1/2 hours. Cake is done when a toothpick is inserted in middle and comes out clean.

I have to admit my version is much more dense and moist that the more bread like texture of the original Amish Bread recipe. But it is still so good.

Chicken and Dumplings

Winter is in full swing here in Texas. Its cold and rainy. In the middle of summer when the temperature is over 100°, I can’t wait for winter and cold, snuggly nights. Now that winter is here, I snuggle up with Theo and love making big pots of hot, thick food, like chicken and dumplings.  The following recipe is my variation of my Aunt’s chicken and dumplings that she taught me how to make in high school. Its rich, creamy and hot, perfect for cold chilly nights.



3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon oil
4-6 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 box chicken broth
dry minced onion
salt and pepper
1 batch biscuit dough, homemade or refrigerated can

In a large pot, brown the outside of the chicken breast in the oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.

In the meantime, wash and peel the carrots and celery.

Dice the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces.

Remove the chicken from the pot and pour in the chicken broth, making sure to get any little browned morsels of deliciousness up off the bottom of the pot and stirred into the broth.

Replace the chicken  and add as much water as needed to submerge the chicken. I usually end up with about 2 cups broth and  just under 2 cups water. Bring broth to a boil and allow the chicken to boil until cooked through.

Remove cooked chicken from the boiling broth and allow to cool slightly on a cutting board.

Add the carrots and celery to the chicken broth and cook about 10 minutes before  adding the chicken back in.

Dice up the chicken breast into 1 inch cubes and add back to the pot with about 1/2 teaspoon of dry onion(more or less to taste).  Season with salt and pepper to taste and depending on the salty-ness of the chicken broth used.

Roll out the biscuit dough and cut into squares, rectangles, triangle or strips.

Add the biscuit dough into the pot and stir. When the biscuit dough floats to the top, is it cooked through. Allow the soup/stew to continue to cook until thickened. It should be pretty quick, 5-10 minutes.

Serve piping hot is a huge bowl. Then take a nice long nap.