Rachael Ray’s Cracked Corn & Cheese Squares

Cracked Corn & Cheese Squares

  • 1 pkg (8 1/2 oz) corn muffin mix, mixed to package directions
  • softened butter, to grease baking dish
  • 1/3 lb Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack Cheese, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8″ square baking dish with butter. In a mixing bowl, stir cheese, corn, and scallions into corn muffin batter. Pour batter into baking dish and bake until golden, 15-18 minutes.

Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2Yield: 6 squares

From Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals 2

Katie: To me, this is like corn pudding with a kick! I didn’t want to buy a package of frozen corn only to use 1/2 cup, so I bought the smallest can of whole kernel corn I could find and used the whole can. That seemed to work fine. In order to get 1/3 lb of cheese, I had them cut me a chunk off at the deli counter and then I diced it. I think I personally prefer shredded cheese instead of diced, but if you like nice gooey chunks, stay with the dice. Overall, this was delicious! I will probably be making this again soon!

Gray: These were outstanding and we’ll definitely be doing them again.  They turned out to be a touch spicy, but not real hot, with a perfect balance of savory, sweet and cheesy.  I think these would be a hit on almost any table.  Enjoy

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Rachael Ray’s Rio Grande Spice Rub Strip Steaks

Next up is our 30-minute Meals 2 cookbook by Rachael Ray. This cookbook details lots of menus, and we decided to try one. The first recipe, shared below, is the main course. The two additional recipes she recommends serving these steaks with will be shared in the coming weeks.

Rio Grande Steaks

  • 4 sirloin strip steaks, 1-inch thick (8 to 10 ounces each)
  • 1 1/2 T ground ancho chili or dark chili powder (a palmful)
  • 1 1/2 T ground cumin (a palmful)
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 4 thick slices
  • Extra-virgin olive or vegetable oil, to coat onion
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove steaks from refrigerator and let them rest for a few minutes to take the chill off.

Preheat grill pan or indoor electric grill to high heat. Combine spice rub ingredients: ground ancho chili, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and rub well into steaks.

Coat red onion slices in a drizzle of oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill steaks and onion slices, 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Let meat stand 5 minutes for juices to redistribute. Season with salt. Top with separated rings of grilled onions. Serve with hot Cracked Corn and Cheese squares and Mexican Fiesta Salad.

Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2Yield: 4 servings

From Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals 2

Katie: I wanted to make a recipe pick and do most of the cooking this week. I have been studying hard and not taking as much time to cook as I would like. I decided on this menu (this recipe plus the two following ones) in order to make a nice dinner. Gray helped me by grilling outside since we don’t have an indoor grill, but this was primarily my dinner! The rub for these steaks was easy to make and we ended up actually having everything on hand. I had bought some ancho chili powder for some cookies that I wasn’t very fond of some time back. This is a much better use for that spice! I loved the flavor that the rub gave the steaks. Simple grilled steaks are one of our favorite things to make, and this mixes up the flavors a bit without getting too complicated. I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Gray:  This was really neat.  It is a similar to a steak that we grill fairly often.  The chili rub gives a different twist, so it was nice to “spice things up” for a change.  It was really good with the other dishes that are part of this menu.  I hope you enjoy them all.

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Wild Willy’s Number One-derful Rub


  • 3/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepperNumber One-derful Spice Rub
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne [ground pepper]

Smoke & SpiceMix the spices thoroughly in a bowl. Store covered in a cool, dark pantry.

From Smoke & Spice

Gray: This is my favorite rub so far.  This recipe is from a smoke cooking book, and it has a good amount of sugar, so it is prone to burning if get it too hot on a grill.  I typically cook my chicken slowly on the grill so it should work nicely for that.  I can’t wait to try it on pork chops too.  I’m curious to see how that goes.  This really has a good balance of sweet and heat and the spices are just right to boost the flavor of any grilled or barbecued meat.  Enjoy!

Katie: This was a great rub! The sugar in the rub caused the chicken skin to get a little blackened while grilling, but it still tasted delicious. We will be happily using this rub to make delicious chicken until it is too cold to grill! I don’t know if it is my favorite rub, but it sure is wonderful!

Sorry we missed a week! We were traveling and ended up stranded at an airport, so things didn’t really work out like we planned. Don’t worry though, three new recipes are in the works and will be coming up soon!

One-derful Rub on Grill

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Grilled Chicken Wings with Hong Kong Spices

Chicken Wings with Hong Kong Spices

  • 12 whole chicken wings (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  1. Rinse the chicken wings under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Make 2 or 3 deep slashes, to the bone, in the meaty part of each wing. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, scallions and five spice powder in a large bowl and whisk until the honey is dissolved. Set aside about half the marinade in a small covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to grill. Add the wings to the remaining marinade and turn to coat completely. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for at least 6 hours but preferably 24, turning the wings occasionally.
  3.  Preheat the grill to medium high.
  4. When ready to cook, drain the chicken wings, then thread each wing on a skewer, running the skewer through all three sections to hold the wing open as wide as possible. Oil the grate and arrange the wings on the hot grate. Grill turning with tongs until the thicker wing sections are no longer pink near the bone.  12 to 16 minutes in all, brushing the wings as the cook with the reserved marinade.  Don’t baste during the last 3 minutes of grilling.
  5. Transfer the wings to a a serving platter and serve at once.

The Barbecue BibleYield: 12 whole wings; serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

From The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen

Gray: These were good, and the marinade helps to give them a really nice golden color.  I think it would make a great chicken kabob with pineapple and onions too.  they were pretty easy to put together and we had a great time sharing them with friends.

Katie: While chicken wings aren’t my favorite thing, I was excited to try these with the unique spice combination! The marinade smelled so delicious! When I came home for lunch the day they were marinating the whole kitchen smelled wonderful. The marinade gave the chicken a delightful flavor that managed to keep the chicken wings fairly light. I still had trouble eating them, but only because I don’t like to yank the meat off with my teeth. I would prefer this on some chicken breasts, but if you like chicken wings, give this recipe a try!

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Hershey’s Design Your Own Chocolate Cookie

Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.

3. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Add 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Mini Chips Semi-Sweet Chocolate OR 2 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Chips to basic chocolate batter.

MINI KISSES CHOCOLATE COOKIES: Add 1-3/4 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S MINI KISSES Milk Chocolates to basic chocolate batter.

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Add 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Mint Chocolate Chips to basic chocolate batter.

CHOCOLATE COOKIES WITH WHITE CHIPS: Add 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Premier White Chips to basic chocolate batter.


( 10-oz. pkg.) REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips to basic chocolate batter.

CHOCOLATE COOKIES WITH TOFFEE: Add 1 to 1-1/4 cups HEATH BITS ‘O BRICKLE Toffee Bits or HEATH Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits to basic chocolate batter. Lightly grease or paper-line cookie sheets.

From: HERSHEY’s Kitchens website: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/

Gray: I really like these.  We searched for a good chocolate cookie recipe and couldn’t find one in our cookbooks, so we looked on the Hershey’s website.  I wanted to make a plain chocolate cookie, so we didn’t add any stuff to them and they were delicious just like that.  If you are craving a chocolate cookie, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

Katie: Gray has really been wanting plain chocolate cookies. I wasn’t super excited because I really like brownies and didn’t think cookies would be better. While I don’t know if they were better, they sure were delicious! I preferred them baked at 350°F for about 6 minutes, taking them out when they are still dough-y in the middle. That results in a chewy cookie, which I like. Gray likes following the original instructions, which gives you a crisper cookie. Either way, they are great!

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Lemon Glow Chiffon Cake

Lemon Glow Chiffon CakeThis cake offers the lilting flavor of lemon, balanced by the moist, light texture found only in a chiffon cake.

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 7 large eggs, separated, + 3 additional whites
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T grated lemon zest
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 1/4 t cream of tarter

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking soda, and salt and beat 1 minute to mix. Make a well in the center. Add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat 1 minute or until smooth.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tarter, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Beat in the 2 tablespoons reserved sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer, or angel food cake folder until just blended.

Pour into the tube pan (the batter will come to 1 inch from the top), run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets, and bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Invert the pan, placing the tube opening over the neck of a soda or wine bottle to suspend it well above the counter, and cool the cake completely in the pan (this takes about 1 1/2 hours).

Lemon Glow Chiffon Cake 2Loosen the sides with a long metal spatula and remove the center core of pan. Dislodge the bottom and center core with a metal spatula or thin, sharp knife. (A wire cake tester works well around the core. To keep the sides attractive, press the spatula against the sides of the pan and avoid any up-and-down motion.) Invert onto a greased wire rack and reinvert onto a serving plate. Wrap airtight.

Equipment: One ungreased 10-inch two piece tube pan

Store: 3 days room temperature, 10 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen

Serve: Room temperature or lightly chilled. Cut with a serrated knife.

The Cake BibleYield: 14 servings

From The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Katie: So I’ll start with saying that I didn’t have safflower oil (I used vegetable oil) or a 2 piece tube pan. The cake was still so delicious!!! It was a friend’s birthday and I didn’t know what her favorite cake was. I asked her boyfriend and he said that she really liked lemon cake and angel food cake. When I found this recipe in The Cake Bible, I decided that it was just perfect and that I had to make it for my friend! I had problems with it sticking to the bottom of my pan, so if using the same pan again I would grease just the bottom in order to make it easier to get out. The center of my tube pan would not fit over a wine bottle, so I suspended the cake upside down by placing it between two cooling racks with just the handles of the pan on the rack. See picture below. I really like lemon, and I think this cake could be more lemon-y, but everyone said it was delicious, so I was happy with how it turned out. I would definitely make this again!

Gray: This was perfect slightly chilled.  I think serving that way improves the flavor quite a bit.  I love how this had a hint of lemon to give it some character, but not overpoweringly so.  If you like the texture of an angel food cake, but wish for more flavor then give this a try. Enjoy!

Lemon Glow Chiffon Cake-Cooling

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Jell-O Chiffon Marble

Jell-o Chiffon Marble

  • 1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime Gelatin
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 cup Birds Eye Cool Whip Non-Dairy Whipped Topping, thawed

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add ice cubes and stir constantly until gelatin starts to thicken- 2 to 3 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup gelatin mixture; set aside. Fold whipped topping into remaining gelatin. Alternately spoon plain gelatin and whipped topping mixture into 4 dessert glasses. Carefully zigzag spatula or knife through mixture to marble. Chill.

The New Joys of Jell-OYield: about 2 cups or 4 servings

From The New Joys of Jell-O

Gray:  This was very tasty, but it didn’t turn out as pretty as the item pictured on the cover of the book.  However, everyone really enjoyed it and I would like to try it again.  It is my first time working with Jell-O in a long time and I think that I needed to let it set up longer before combining it.  In the end that is what this is all about, learning.  This is a fun dessert that isn’t too heavy and it is very enjoyable.  Give it a shot and enjoy!

Katie: This was delicious! None of us cared that it didn’t look like the picture, and ate all of our serving. I think I forget how much I like Jell-O when I haven’t had it in awhile, but it is really a nice and light dessert. We are excited to make more things from the Jell-O cookbook!

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