Geoff’s Brisket

In honor of the Fourth of July, I thought I would share a recipe that the Hugheys have been making  for many years.  We serve this brisket whenever we have a large crowd to feed or just want to experience the wonderful leftovers!  This is about the easiest recipe you will ever make.  All you need is 2 ingredients and a large  pan.  Cook this all day in the oven and your house will smell amazing when you walk in from work!


1 large lightly trimmed brisket (about 10-12 lbs)

1 bottle of Claude’s Brisket Sauce (Found in BBQ sauce aisle)


Marinate Brisket overnight according to the directions found on the bottle.  Place brisket fat side up in a large pan and pour sauce over the brisket.  Cover with lid or tightly with foil.  Cook for 1 hour at 350 and then lower the temperature to 250 and cook for another 8-10 hours.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff


This recipe comes straight off Pinterest.  It has several things going for it.  It is unbelievable easy, it is quick to put together, and best of all it is delicious!


2 lbs stew meat

1 onion, diced

2 cans Golden Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup water

2 Tbs Worsteshire sauce

1 8 oz package of cream cheese.


1.  Place stew meat into crockpot

2.  Throw in the onions on top

3.  Mix together the soup, water and worstechire sauce and pour over the meat and onions

4.  Bake on low all day or on high for about 4 hours

5.  During the last 30 minutes add the creams cheese until it is melted and creamy

6.  Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes

Refried Beans

I’ve been trying to make refried beans that taste just like my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants for years.  I’ve searched the internet  for a recipe that gives me the flavor I am looking for, but I’ve had no success.  This weekend, Jessica’s boyfriend, Michael made these beans to go with our breakfast enchiladas that we were having for Jessica’s birthday brunch and he graciously taught me the secret to delicious, authentic, homemade refried beans.


2 can of black beans (or pinto) drained with liquid reserved

2 Tbs bacon grease (or olive oil)

2-4 oz of queso fresco cheese (crumbled)

salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat grease in a medium sized skillet till it is very hot (if you drop a bean into the pan, it should sizzle)

2.  Add beans to skillet and fry (about 5 – 10 minutes).  Stir frequently

3.  Mash beans while adding reserved liquid

4.  Add cheese to taste and stir while it melts

5.  Add salt and pepper to taste

Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo

This meal is easy enough for a weeknight but delicious enough for company.  The key to this recipe is use the best ingredients possible.  Fresh basil and high quality tomatoes (such as Campari or Champagne) are key here.  If you don’t have a foil oven bag, make your own!

1  regular-size foil oven bag

Cooking spray

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 cup diced tomato

3/4 cup sliced green onions

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Coat inside of oven bag with cooking spray. Place the bag on a large shallow baking pan.

Cook the pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon oil and next 7 ingredients (1 teaspoon oil through pepper). Place the orzo mixture in prepared oven bag. Combine shrimp and basil. Arrange shrimp mixture on orzo mixture. Fold edge of bag over to seal. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Cut open bag with a sharp knife, and peel back the foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.

Spicy Brisket Tacos

Here is a perfect weekend recipe.  Put it in the oven in the morning and forget about it.  You can spend your afternoon doing chores and running errands and when you get home, you will have a delicious, spicy meal waiting for you.  Just be sure and pick up some refried beans from your favorite Mexican restaurant before you get home!  This brisket is a little spicy so adjust the heat level if you are feeding kiddos.

The ingredients:

2-3 lbs. of brisket

1 tablespoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cups beef stock or water

2 cups tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoon ground ancho chili powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke

12 warm tortillas

Cilantro, lime wedges, and chopped onion for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 325. Season the meat with salt and pepper all over..
  2. In a dutch oven, heat oil over high heat.  Brown meat for about 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Add tomato sauce, broth, and onion.  Cook covered for four hours in a 325 degree oven.  Check the meat.  If it is starting to get tender, it is time to add seasonings
  4. Add seasonings and more water if the brisket is dry.  Cook the last hour uncovered so that the gravy will thicken up.
  5. Shred the brisket with a fork.

6.  Serve on warmed tortillas with lime, cilantro, and onion.

World’s Easiest Pot Roast

This is a foolproof way of making a perfect pot roast in your crockpot. You can make this recipe before church on Sunday  and it will be ready when you get home if you cook it on high.  Or you can cook it all day while you are gone to work if you cook it on low.  Either way, the result is delicious!!!!!


2 (10.75 ounce) cans  condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix

1 1/4 cups water

4 pounds pot roast


  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.    (I usually brown my roast before placing it in the crockpot, but you don’t have too)

2.  Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

Basic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs 5

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t make these very often, but Geoff and the kids love them.  They are great to take to a summer gathering and always seem to get gobbled up quickly!

12 large eggs

1/3 cup mayo

3 Tbs sweet pickle relish

1 Tbs mustard

1/4 tsp salt

dash of pepper

paprika for garnish

1.  Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches.  Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes.

2.  Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Tap each egg firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell.  Peel under cold, running water.

3.  Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks.  Mash yolks with mayo.  Add relish, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well.

4.  Sppon yolk mixture into egg whites.  Garnish with paprika

Creamy Italian Dressing aka Olive Garden Italian Dressing

I am not a big fan of Olive Garden, but I love their Italian Salad dressing.  This recipe allows you to make your own dressing and control what goes into the dressing.  I make mine in the blender and then store it in a mason jar. 

2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper (or more or less to taste)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2c. plus 1 tbsp. water

Mix all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Store in a container with a tight fitting lid so that you can shake it well before each use.

Perfect Apple Pie

Many years ago, I bought this little contraption at a Pampered Chef party called an apple, peeler, corer, slicer.  The Hughey kids had a blast peeling apples with this little gadget because the peel would come off in one big, long, strand.  They thought it was hilarious to turn this apple peel strand into a jump rope.  Needless to say, I had to find a use for all those cored, peeled, and sliced apples, so I began making this recipe.

1 15 oz Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (or make your own for a healthier version)

6 cups thinly sliced granny smith apples

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tbs lemon juice


1.  Heat oven to 425. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for two crust pie using a 9 inch pie pan

2.  In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, mix lightly.   Spoon into crust-lined pan.  Top with 2nd crust and flute the edges.  Cut slits in several places.

3.  Bake at 425 for 40 to 45 minuts or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.

House Salt

I keep this in a shaker by my stover and use it almost everyday.  We put it on steak, chicken, pork, vegis, you name it.  It literally makes everything taste better!This is the shortest recipe I will ever post here, but one you will thank me for over and over.  I think this recipe came from Paula Dean, but I’m not sure because I have been making it so long.

1 c. kosher salt (don’t use regular salt)

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup good quality pepper

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle on just about everything!



Baked Ziti

This is a recipe that Geoff and I have prepared often on a Sunday afternoon.  We prepare it in 2 square foil pans instead of a 13 x 9 and then put one in the freezer.  It is such a great feeling when you are having a busy week to know that all you have to do is take this frozen meal out of your freezer and cook as soon as you get home. 


1/2 cup chopped onion

1 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1 26 oz jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

3/4 tsp salt, divided

16 oz box of ziti pasta

3 tbs butter

3 tbs all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp pepper

8 oz  shredded mozzarella cheese


1.  Sautee chopped onion in hot oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat 5 minute sor until tender.  Add garlic, and sautee 1 minute.

2.  Add beef, and cook, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink.  Drain beef mixture, and return to pan.  Stir in pasta sauce and 1/2 tsp salt.

3.  Cook pasta acccording to directions.

4.  Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

5.  Whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in parmesan cheese, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper.

6.  Pour sauce over pasta in dutch oven, stirring until pasta is evenly coated.

7.  Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Top evenly with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

8.  Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.




Texas Sheet Cake

I don’t know how this recipe got its name, because I think everyone in America has a recipe for Texas Sheet cake in their recipe box. I think the name probably has something to do with the fact that it is baked in a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan instead of the traditional 9 x 13 pan.  I clipped this recipe from a Cooking Light magazine many years ago.  It was in their “Lighten Up” section where readers sent in their favorite recipes and the staff at Cooking Light made them lighter.

My favorite thing about this recipe is how time efficient it is.  Mix up the batter and cook.  While cake is cooking, mix up frosting.  As soon as the cake is done (in only 15 minutes), pour the frosting over the hot cake.  You don’t have to wait for the cake to cool before you frost it.  This means that I can prepare this huge cake in less than 30 minute and be out of the kitchen!


Cooking spray

2 tsp flour

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs


1/2 stick of butter (no margarine please!)

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375

2. To prepare cake, coat a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray, dust with 2 tsp flour

3.  Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.  Combne 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stir well with a whisk.

4.  Combine water, 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.

5.  Add buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and eggs, beat well.

6.   Pour batter into pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

7.  To prepare icing, combine 1/2 cup butter, milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and graudually stir in powdered sugar, pecans and vanilla.  Spread over hot cake.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

Here is a great weeknight meal that I made often when my children were younger.  It is easy to throw together and has all the flavors kids love.  It is also great if you ever need to take something to a potluck.  I cringe when I read all of the processed foods in this recipe and I’d probably have to revamp it if I made it these days, but for a busy mom, I think it is a great dish as long as you don’t serve it too often!

1 lb chicken breast, cooked and chopped up

1 16 oz pkg thin spaghetti, cooked and drained

1 medium bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 15 oz can cream of chicken soup

1 15 oz can cream of mushroom soup

1 lb velveeta sliced for easier melting


1.  Boil chicken until done.  Cool and chop up.  Reserve 2 cups of liquid

2.  Sautee vegetables in butter until limp.

3.  Add soups and 1 cup of reserved broth.  Stir well and add velvettea and more broth if needed to make a smooth consistancy.

4.  Simmer on low until cheese is melted.  Do not burn!

5.  Break spaghetti into pieces and cook according to pkg directions

6.  In large pot combine cooked spaghetti, sauce and chicken.  Mix well

7.  Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake 20 minutes until bubbly

Cameron’s Macaroni and Cheese

My son, Cameron, loves macaroni and cheese.  After Ryan (the cheese hater) left home, I made this macaroni and cheese for Cameron.  He especially loved it after a tough swim workout.  It was his idea to add the cayenne pepper, and I think it really adds a nice flavor.

8 oz. of shells (or any other type of pasta you would like to use)

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups milk

4 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (don’t use pre-shredded) divided use


  1. Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Over medium heat, melt the butter.
  4. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the milk.
  6. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

7.  Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.

8.  Pour the sauce over the noodles and mix well

9.  Add 1/2 the noodles to a 9 x 13 dish and sprinkle 1/2 the remaining cheese over the top

10.  Add the other half of the noodles and the rest of the cheese

11.  Dust the top lightly with paprika

12.  Bake 20 minutes at 350

Cauliflower Alfredo

I have never really cared for cauliflower.  I’ll eat it, but I don’t enjoy it.  In 2011, Geoff and I went on the South Beach Diet and I learned that you could make cauliflower taste just like mashed potatoes!  One night, Geoff suggested that we use our alfredo sauce on the cauliflower.  The result was delicious and I’ve been making this side dish ever since.

Cauliflower photographed in Woolworths store i...

Image via Wikipedia

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 stick of butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup of half-n-half

1/2 c to 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (get the kind in the little plastic container found in the cheese section)

salt and pepper to taste

Remove the cauliflower from the stem and break apart.  Place in a microwaveable bowl, cover, and cook about 6-8 minutes until tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Add the 1/2 and 1/2, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly so that it won’t burn.  Sauce should thicken slightly

Drain cauliflower and mix with the sauce


Slow Cooker BBQ Sandwhiches

If you have to feed a crowd or would like to cook once and have enough left to freeze, this is a great recipe.  The meat is very economical.  You can find a nice size pork roast for under $10 and that should be enough to make 20-30 sandwiches.    If you make Geoff’s BBQ rub, you will have enough rub to make this recipe several times.

1 7-8 lb pork butt roast

Geoff’s BBQ Rub

Worcestershire sauce

1.Splash worcestershire onto all sides of roast.

2.  Press rub into all sides of meat.  It will look kind of like a paste.

3.  Place roast into crockpot and cook on high for 6-8 hours

4.  Remove roast from liquid and shred meat.  Add your favorite BBQ sauce to taste.

Boulevard Bowl Artichoke Dip

Our friends, Kim and Gary, brought this wonderful Artichoke dip to our New Year’s Eve Party.  It has an amazing crusty top that you don’t usually find in an artichoke dip.  I asked Gary about the recipe and he said that he got it from his mother.  It seems someone brought this bowl of deliciousness to their Bowling League’s Christmas potluck and that is how it got its name.

1 – 14oz can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and squeezed out to remove excess water.

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded soft mozzarella (the pre-shredded bag kind works best)

1 cup shredded parmesan (again, the pre-shredded bag kind works best)

3 to 4 fresh garlic cloves

2 to 3 whole green onions, beards removed

Put all ingredients into the Cuisinart and blend until smooth. Spread evenly into a casserole dish and bake at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes, or until browned on top. Finishing on broil yields the best crusty top.

2011 New Year’s Eve Menu

The Hughey family celebrated the end of 2011 with a shindig at our house.  We live in a great neighborhood where there is never a shortage of people who love to get together for drinks, food, and fun!  We are usually very casual in our get togethers.  Everyone brings a snack and something to drink, we crank up the music and at some point dancing will usually break out.  This year was no exception!

Cranberry Margaritas

Ham and Swiss Party Rolls

Spicy Corn Dip

Bacon-Jalapeno Cheese Ball

Jessica’s Guacamole

Boulevard Bowl Artichoke Dip

Tortellini Salad

Black Eyed Pea and Sausage Stew

Spicy Corn Dip

My mom, aka “Bonka”, made this recipe for our New Year’s Eve party.  This dip tastes great when served with Fritos!  Although I don’t really care for corn, this dip was quite tasty and a big hit with our guests.

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

2 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn

4 green onions, chopped

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles

4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, corn, green onions, jalapeno chile peppers, green chile peppers and cheese.  Ready to serve!