Homemade Croutons

I love homemade croutons!

Homemade Croutons

4 hamburger buns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut up the hamburger buns into crouton size pieces and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

Toss together with clean hands.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes. Remove and cool before using.

Oven Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of the easiest macaroni and cheese recipes I have come across! There is no boiling and draining the macaroni and everything is just simply layered and baked. Shoutout and special thanks to my Aunt Stacey for sharing this recipe!

Oven Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
6 oz. sliced processed cheese, torn
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. shredded colby cheese
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
5 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Layer in the uncooked elbow macaroni, sliced unsalted butter, torn sliced processed cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded colby cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Pour milk over all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and return to oven and bake 15 more minutes.

Carefully remove and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before cutting.

CHEW THIS! Family Secret Potato Casserole

Family Secret Potato Casserole 

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 19th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Sharing Family Secret Recipes
Blaise Doubman

I am sharing family secret…recipes! Ha! I try to check my email messages at least once a day that are filtered through from my website, http://trailblaise.com and lately most of the messages have been wondering if I have any “secret family recipes” that I would be willing to share. Well, I have written two cookbooks, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and “Blaise the Baker Celebrates” that share quite a few “secret family recipes” but there are a few that I just cannot, for whatever reason, to get myself to share! Mocha brownies, my brown sugar and ketchup glaze for meatloaf, cinnamon toast with vanilla drizzle, butterscotch pie, chocolate pudding pie and cheesy potato casserole are just some of the few recipes that have made an appearance nowhere in my recipe collections. I figure, what is the joy in having “secret” recipes if I am not going to share them? So, I am going to start sharing them with everyone so that everyone can enjoy the “secret” recipes and wonderful flavors the recipes bring!

The first “secret” recipe I want to share with everyone is a recipe that I am positive everyone has tried at their family reunion at one time or another and wondered what it was and more than likely tried the recipe themselves and failed. Most of the time people forget that one essential ingredient that makes this dish work on a flavor profile level. Now, do not get me wrong, there are a few people out there who know what I am talking about and do add it to their dish and if you are one of them, good for you! What am I talking about? Dijon mustard! Yes! Dijon mustard must be added to this cheesy, party, fabulous potato casserole! Why? The secret here is the Dijon mustard makes the cheese taste more like cheese! True story. Same thing goes for coffee bringing out the flavors of chocolate. Add the Dijon mustard to this dish and be prepared to be blown away and be prepared to share with others this “secret” recipe.

Family Secret Potato Casserole

This can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for reheating later. The best thing about this dish is that it can be served hot, room temperature or even chilled. It lasts for days and reheats wonderfully!

32 ounces southern-style hash browns
2 cans condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, diced fine
Grated parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the hash browns, cream of potato soups, sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped onion, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with diced butter. Sprinkle top with grated parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and remove aluminum foil. Place back into the oven and continue to bake, at the same temperature, for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve hot. Can also be served room temperature or chilled.

Ask and Answer: Lots of people wonder what my favorite cookbook is, and I usually tell them that would be like picking a favorite child! Ha! I do have a few favorite cookbooks though that I always recommend. Anything by Ina Garten is a must! Her “Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks are by far my most used cookbooks of any other collection. Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart are also some of my favorite and often used cookbooks. “Butter and Chocolate” by Shelia Maines and any of the cookie cookbooks written by Elinor Klivans are also fabulous.

Corn Griddle Cakes

These are delicious made and served hot with butter and lots of maple syrup!

Corn Griddle Cakes

1 can corn, drained
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl combine the drained corn, white all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, large egg, whole milk and melted butter.

Warm a large skillet over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Dollop large tablespoon amounts of batter onto preheated and prepared skillet leaving about 3 inches between each.

Once the cakes start to bubble, carefully flip them over with a spatula and cook another minute or two depending on desired doneness.

Work in batches.

Serve warm.

CHEW THIS! Sharing Recipes

Grandma Mary’s Graham Cracker Treats

Grace’s Cap’n Crunch Treats


Grandma Mary’s Cheesy Chicken Casserole

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 17th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Celebrating Love with Recipes and Memories
Blaise Doubman

I love recipes that have a history of family and memories attached to them. The recipes I am sharing today come to me from a very good friend of mine, Theresa Pierce. We got to know each other by working together a few years ago and have been close ever since. A lot of people know Theresa as a smart, hardworking, caring person who would go out of her way for any of her friends. But guess what? Not that many people know that she is also very talented in the kitchen! Do not let her tell you otherwise, she really is a talented and very creative person in the kitchen! But she is quick to mention that all credit for that would go to her Mom and Grandma. Over the last few years she has gone from not wanting to enter the kitchen much, to baking muffins, cakes and pies! She even made a pumpkin roll a couple years back and ever since I still cannot use cheesecloth without thinking of her. She did, however, say that she would never make another pumpkin roll again… and so far she has kept that promise! Ha!

Over the course of knowing her, I also got to know her family – her husband, Rick; her Mom , Grace and her Grandma Mary. She loves and respects her family and her friends and I really admire that. I’ve admired her for years and even though I have only told her a time or two, I really think she knows how I feel. The recipe I am sharing today comes from her late grandmother, Mary (Matney) George. Even though I never got the chance to meet her, I feel like I knew her very well. She was kind, funny, warm and caring. I loved telling Theresa stories about my latest kitchen adventures, or misadventures, so that she could go and relay them to her Grandma Mary. I think one of Mary’s favorite stories was the one where I was cleaning green beans for the first time and I was using craft scissors to cut them off the vine and to cut the ends and snap their middles. Theresa said her Grandma Mary laughed and laughed over how I got them off the vine! I can only imagine some of the other stories that Theresa told her Grandma over the course of the several years we worked together! Grandma Mary is missed but her recipes, such as the ones I have shared here, will live on. That is what I love about sharing family recipes! Shout out and special thanks to Theresa Pierce for sharing with me her deliciously memorable family recipes for all to share and for all to enjoy.

Grandma Mary’s Graham Cracker Treats
Cover a 17-inch x 11 ½-inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil (Grandma Mary was VERY specific on size). Arrange graham crackers on the baking sheet, filling the sheet fully. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a saucepan melt 1 stick of butter, 1 stick of margarine and ½ cup sugar. Bring to rolling boil and stir for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers, being sure to cover evenly. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts – pecans work well here. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and remove treats from sheet but leave on aluminum foil. Cool completely and break into pieces. Do not try and make these on a humid day – they will not get crispy!

Grace’s Cap’n Crunch Treats
Theresa’s Mom, Grace, adds broken up pretzel sticks to the following mixture. If using the pretzels add them at the same time you add the cereal and nuts.

16 2 oz. blocks white almond bark
1 box Cap’n Crunch peanut butter flavored cereal
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 16oz. jar dry-roasted peanuts

Start by lining two large baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly spray evenly with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the white almond bark and the smooth peanut butter in a large microwave safe plastic bowl in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

Stir in the cereal and dry-roasted peanuts. When well mixed, spread evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Allow the mixture to cool and set up for about 30 minutes.

After it has set, break up into pieces and store in plastic food storage bags at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: I have had questions about quick and easy casseroles so I thought I would share a recipe that Theresa’s Grandma Mary would make her frequently. Theresa said her Grandma’s “Cheesy Chicken Casserole” is delicious and whenever it was made she would polish off most of it! Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine 2 cups chopped cooked chicken with 12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup Quaker 100% natural cereal, 1 10 ¾ oz. can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup milk and sprinkle of pepper. Spread into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Combine 1 cup Quaker 100% natural cereal with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle over top of chicken mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before enjoying.