NFL referee cookies

Well, football games are on television almost every day of the week now, so I love to serve my husband some fun treats during the season.  I found this recipe on the Wilton candy website, and thought they were so cute and irresistible.  The technique requires both patience and practice, but the outcome is super delicious.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGather these ingredients to make 18 cookies.  4 ounces of black chocolate candy melting wafers, 8 ounces of white chocolate candy melting wafers, 9 black candy wafers cut in half for the referee caps, and 18 white vanilla wafer cookies

Melt the candy in two separate double boilers.  When melted, remove from the stove top and dip the wafer cookies or paint the chocolate on the lower two-thirds of each cookie.  Allow the cookies to dry on waxed paper on a tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.


Next dip the top of each cookie into the black chocolate mixtures. Attach the cap piece of chocolate on each cookie. Chill again in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Pipe the eyes, the mouth and the stripes on each cookie and chill again for 15 minutes.

Store separated with waxed paper in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  Perfect for football snacks.


spicy party poppers

Using a few jalapeno chilies from the garden, I put together this recipe for a party offering. I used some cooked chicken breast from a dinner the previous evening, and had a great easy appetizer or dinner side to spice up that Mexican meal. This recipe was adapted from Southern Living magazine, May 2016.

Assemble these ingredients to make the poppers:  12 jalapeno halves, 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, 1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon lime juice, black pepper to taste, 5 slices of fresh bacon, and some toothpicks.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice open the chilies. Place on a half sheet pan with a rack.  Mix together the other ingredients and place inside the jalapenos.  Slice the bacon and half and secure with a toothpick.


Bake in the oven until the bacon is crispy.  It will take about 25 minutes.  Broil to really crisp the bacon if desired, at the end of cook time, for about 2 minutes.  These poppers refrigerate well, and can be re-heated for a party.  So, this is a great make ahead dish that can be ready for a game day the next afternoon. Remove the toothpicks for serving on an attractive plate or a bed of arugula.

Dad’s Frito Pie

We lived in Houston for less than one year, but I still have a fondness for some of the regional foods and dishes that I experienced while living in Texas. Since today is Father’s Day, here is a salute to dads, as they seem to love this dish any time of year.

Keeping with the theme of a Texas chili, this recipe adds baked beans and crunchy corn chips for serving. If your dad doesn’t like beans in his chili usually, I bet he likes baked beans instead.

Here is how to make this simple dad-style favorite:  Brown one pound of ground round.  Add 2 small chopped white onions and soften for a few minutes.  I did both of these steps in my multi-cooker.  If you have a slow cooker without a browning option, just use your stove top to begin the recipe.

Next, in the slow cooker, add one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green onions and one can of Grillin’ beans.  I used a 25 ounce can of Bourbon and brown sugar beans.


Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  When ready to serve, use Fritos at the bottom of the bowl or plate, and add the chili mixture.

I offered toppings of shredded cheddar cheese, chopped black olives, chopped green onions and sour cream.

Perfect for those sports parties, winter meals, or any time dad desires. Leftovers freeze perfectly for dad.

Oscar’s awards appetizer: Taco dip

Just like the big sporting events broadcast on television, we celebrate the awards shows with a few appetizers while watching the Red Carpet coverage.

Here is a great appetizer for one of those types of parties. It is a compilation of many recipes I have collected over the years from Internet websites.


I use 4 ounces/ 1/2 block of Philadelphia low-fat cream cheese at room temperature mixed with 1/2 to 1/3 cup of low-fat sour cream. Mix well and spread on a flat dish.  Refrigerate.  When ready to serve, top with shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped black olives, and 1-2 chopped green onions. All of these ingredients can be ‘sized-up’ for a larger party.  This recipe will serve 6 people at an appetizer party.

Serve with tostito chips.




pizza bread appetizer

Many variations of this recipe are featured in the online cookbooks including Pinterest.  These round appetizer breads remind me of the 1970’s spinach dip in a bread round era. Those dips, served with the surrounding bread cubes, were popular for more than ten years, and this pizza bread recipe seems very similar to those popular dishes. In fact, I have already shared a recipe for an appetizer herb and cheese bread called cheesy herb bread during the month of December, 2012.

If you have an upcoming football or other sports party where an easy quick appetizer is needed, try this one.  I promise you that your guests will enjoy it as much as those seventies bread dips.

This recipe is for pepperoni pizza bread, but the pepperoni could very easily be omitted and other sautéed vegetables added instead, or even bacon could be used for another meat-lover option.   I purchased regular sized turkey pepperoni and chopped them in small stacks which took very little time and is a cost saver.

To make the appetizer:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using a medium-sized round loaf of bread, slice the bread into cubes without slicing through to the bottom crust.  Place the bread loaf on a silicone mat or a foil lined baking sheet.  This is an important step, as some of the cheese will ooze out of the bread during baking.

Insert one package of small-sized or chopped turkey pepperoni into the cubes.  Follow with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Make certain all of the openings/cubes are filled.  Next, melt 3 tablespoons of margarine and add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon oregano.  Pour these ingredients over the loaf into the slices.  If desired, sprinkle the loaf with sesame seeds or Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and unwrap and return to the oven for 10 more minutes until the cheese is completely melted and the loaf is golden brown color.  Serve with your favorite pizza sauce for dipping.


Searching for more ideas? Check out Baking with Blondie on


tomato cheese bruschetta



appetizer time.  here is an old standby that i haven’t made in years.  toast some crusty bread with seasoned garlic butter for about ten minutes.  add some mozzarella cheese and tomato topping in a jar.  i sprinkled the tops with chopped parsley and baked at 350 degrees for another ten minutes.  delicious!

this can be served as an appetizer to a pasta meal or along with a baked fish entrée.  the garlic flavor is a nice match for the tomato topping. the cheese is a perfect addition.

this is a ideal appetizer to serve at any type of party, including any sporting events.  other options could be to use Gruyère or Monterey jack cheese for a different taste profile.


easy crock pot macaroni and cheese



making macaroni and cheese in a crock pot can be a bit tricky.  the challenge comes from using milk and cheese in a crock pot.  these ingredients tend to curdle when not treated properly. i have been researching recipes, as i have wanted to have a fool-proof way to make this dish without running into soggy noodles or poorly blended cheeses.  i found the technique and the perfect recipe.

the recipe comes from the six sisters cookbook.  actually, i own a couple of their books and really like their easy to make recipes.  if you haven’t checked them out, i would recommend trying a recipe or two from one of their books.



the macaroni and cheese recipe comes from this book and worked perfectly in my crock pot. i followed their ingredients and suggestions exactly as written in the book.  this recipe could easily be doubled or tripled.  i used my smaller crock pot, and could have easily doubled the recipe for a larger crowd in this pot.  i would say that the recipe given makes six servings.  i had leftovers for another couple of days that i easily stored.  here is how to make the macaroni and cheese:

boil 2 cups of elbow macaroni only 6 minutes and drain. this shorter cooking time helps the noodles from becoming soggy in the slow cooker. in a medium sauce pot, melt 4 tablespoon butter or margarine and add 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese to melt.  stir until soft and melted. watch this carefully and don’t walk away.  spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.  add the following ingredients and stir:  1/2 cup sour cream, 1 can cheddar cheese soup, 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, salt and black pepper to taste.  add the melted cheese and the drained noodles.  stir very well and cook on low heat.  this recipe will be perfect in 2 to 2/12 hours.

this is not an all day slow cooking recipe.  but, this recipe can be used when you don’t want to be baking a casserole of macaroni and cheese, but would like to serve on a buffet or for a sports party.  guys love this recipe and will enjoy having a scoop with just about any other sandwich or dish on a buffet.