Never discount a good cookbook. And despite some of the comments made by chefs I’ve known, I would have not eaten well as a child had it not been for the original Better Homes and Garden cookbook. Now, if you’re like me, you have a ton of cookbooks. I have specialty ones, general ones, and ones you’ve probably not seen before. Below is the “shelf” that they are kept on for the most part. I say shelf, but really it’s the top of the cabinet that is above my refrigerator. (If you look carefully, there’s even a ‘unofficial’ Harry Potter one too.)

Don’t be intimidated by a recipe in a cookbook! Sometimes the directions seem daunting, but once you do it, it’ll be easier the next time or for the next recipe. Have confidence in yourself! As the great ‘chef’ Gusteau says – ‘Anyone can cook!’

The cookbooks I always come back to time and time again are these three:



The Joy of Cooking

There are no pictures to refer to at all, but there are good descriptions and plenty of definitions you can refer to in the beginning of the book if you are unsure of something. There are several dog-earred pages in mine, as I go back to those recipes a LOT.


Better Homes and Gardens

Absolutely great recipes in here that are for the most part easy to do. Start here if you are new to cooking. My recipe for snickerdoodles comes from here and they are super good!


Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

This is the woman who I watched as a kid (I’m old) on PBS, who showed me what a love of cooking looks like. She laughed a lot and taught me that drinking while cooking is okay too! LOL  I liked that she was 6′ 2″, about an inch taller than myself.

These recipes are from a time where healthy was defined … differently, but they are simply delectable! You can’t beat her Coq Au Vin recipe and you CAN’T make it in a fucking “instant pot” have it taste as good.

I’ve never gone through and made every recipe from a cookbook, mainly because there’s lots of things I won’t eat, but it’s an interesting notion that I may take on when I don’t have a job. If you’ve seen the movie Julie & Julia, this cookbook was part of the premise.

While I would never advocate writing in a book – WRITE IN YOUR COOKBOOK! Notes on recipes like things you’ve changed, ones you found you didn’t like, etc., is an excellent idea. I recently found an old cookbook from somewhere, with notes throughout it. Next to one recipe (cantaloup pickles?) all it said was “lousy”. Noted. 🙂

Cinnamon Roll Bake

I love cinnamon rolls and the lovely smell that fills the house when they are baking. At one point, I saw a video on Facebook somewhere for this recipe and then saw a Pinterest pin on it.

Giving this a try, I can tell you that I altered the recipe a bit. Pretty much end up doing that with a lot of stuff, but I digress. This turned out better than I expected but I predict that I’ll add more maple syrup next time.

Before baking:

Read to eat!

Print Recipe
Cinnamon Roll Bake BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Great brunch dish!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 pan
  3. Cut up cinnamon rolls into quarters. When fresh out of the refrigerator, they are easy to cut. Spread them out in pan.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
  5. Pour mixture over roll pieces. Be sure to coat them all well.
  6. Pour maple syrup over rolls.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Oven temps vary.
  8. Put icing that came with rolls into a microwave safe, easily pourable bowl. Microwave for roughly 30 seconds.
  9. Pour icing over bake when it comes out of the oven.
Share this Recipe


Ambrosia is the food of the Gods. Seriously, look it up. Now, ambrosia “salad” has been around since the late 1800’s and any “true” ambrosia recipe includes orange (of some variety) and coconut. After that, add whatever the hell you want. I was first introduced to this decadent salad by my late grandmother, Astrid. As a kid, of course I looked forward to summer time and being free of school and homework. But more importantly, it meant fresh corn on the cob from the farm across the street and my grandmother’s Ambrosia salad that she would bring to the house when we had a bbq.

I literally would have been happy to just eat the corn and the ambrosia. Pretty sure you can’t live off of it, but I would have tried! It was one of the most delicious things I ate as a child and brings back all the happy memories I have of summers and my wonderful grandmother.

I don’t have her exact recipe (I don’t think the woman used any) but I do remember exactly what ingredients she used. Going off of that and making it taste as close to hers as I can, this is my personal recipe.


Print Recipe
Ambrosia BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Great for summer time bbqs!
Course Side
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 3 hour
Course Side
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 3 hour
  1. Whip up your fresh whipped cream or take your softened Cool Whip and go directly to step two!
  2. Add in the sour cream and whisk together.
  3. Using a spatula, stir in all the fruit, mini marshmallows, and coconut.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I prefer to let it sit overnight. Technically, you can eat it right away, but it is better chilled.
Recipe Notes

There really are so many varieties to this. One common substitution is using plain yogurt instead of the sour cream. A lot of people also like to add some kind of nut - best suggestion is almonds or pecans, preferably toasted first.

Share this Recipe


I’m in the process of updating the site! It’s halfway to it’s new look! Once it’s completed, there will be new features – the recipes will be easily printable with a click of a button, along with a new button to add it to your own  BigOven account, which I highly recommend. It works on all platforms, all devices, and is fairly easy to use.

Now I’m really going to have to work at taking better pictures. LOL

Loaded Potato Casserole

I snagged this recipe off of Pinterest but of course altered it. If a recipe calls for “packaged bacon bits”, I am going to ignore that and make real bacon. 🙂



  • 2 (16oz) containers sour cream
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1lb bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 packages Ranch Dip mix
  • 1 large (28 – 30oz) bag frozen hash brown potatoes, cubed style or shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400°f.

Grease/spray 9×13 pan

Combine first 4 ingredients well.  Mix in hash browns.



Spread into a 9×13 pan.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

The Man loved this. You can also substitute the frozen potatoes for fresh, just make sure you cook them but only lightly, so they don’t become mash when mixing.


Super good the next day too. This didn’t last long in our house!


Can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. Good news, spent yesterday trying new recipes from Pinterest – not always the greatest place to find stuff, but at least one was pretty good after I altered it a bit. LOL

Will get those published in the next day or two.  I even remembered to take a picture or two!!

Nothing New

There have been no posts here in exactly one year.  Just when I thought things were going to give me more time, the Man and I started a business.  You can imagine the lack of time I’ve had for anything. I’m currently determined to post more, but this particular blog is going to have to wait a bit.

See, I broke my ankle at the end of May and had surgery to put in pins and plates to stabilize it.  I’m sitting here, not able to do much of anything, least of all spend time in the kitchen making anything. I cannot tell you how utterly frustrating it has been for me. For someone to go from full tilt, do all the things, to a full and complete stop?  Fuck my life.

Oh well, life moves on and I’m hoping to get a bit more active in the next few weeks. I will definitely be posting my recipe for Ambrosia, which I’m making for a cookout next Saturday. There’s a story there, which you’ll find out later.


Potato Salad

Okay, there are a million ways to make potato salad. Everyone has their preferred method, tricks, secret ingredients, etc. And while I would *never* claim to have the best, it’s pretty damn good. 🙂

I will recommend making it a day early. It tasted way better the second day, but isn’t that the way with a lot of things?


  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds); cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  •  2 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a sheet pan to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, relish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and the mayonnaise. Fold in the potatoes and scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Side Notes:  I don’t peel my potatoes … ever. Partially due to laziness and partially due to the fact that it is unnecessary. It is a matter of what you like – just make sure they’re clean. I find cutting them and tossing them into a pot of cold water not only keeps them from turning before cooking, but it also helps get the dirt off. I drain them before putting them into a pot to cook.  Also, this original recipe called for eggs, but I don’t like having eggs in my potato salad – macaroni salad is another story.  🙂

Stir Fry Ginger Chicken

Yup, another chicken recipe! Honestly, it’s an incredibly versatile protein and I’d rather have chicken than steak. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of ginger – mainly because it is such a strong flavor and when I have had it, it seemed to overpower everything else. So I was wary of this recipe but wanted to do something different. I was very happy with the results – so happy that it is going on my regular rotation of dishes. It was fricking EXCELLENT!


  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons cooking wine or dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cool water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided (see directions)
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil

In a bowl, combine the egg white, 1/2 the salt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix well and add the cubed chicken. Coat well and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, combine the sugar, the remaining salt, ketchup, white vinegar, cooking wine, and soy sauce. Set aside. On a small plate, combine the ginger and scallions. In a small cup, combine the water and remaining cornstarch. Now you are ready to cook!

In a wok or large skillet, heat on high until hot. Add the peanut oil, making sure to swirl the oil around the sides of the wok. Toss in the chicken and stir well in the oil to make sure all of them are coated and cook lightly. This won’t take long. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a small plate and set aside. There should be a couple of tablespoons of oil left in your pan.

Toss the ginger and scallions in the oil. Stir around in the oil for roughly 45 seconds. Then add in the soy sauce mixture. Stir and allow to heat through. Then add in the small cup of cornstarch and water – be sure this is still mixed well before pouring it into the sauce. This will thicken your sauce well.

Once thickened, add the chicken into the sauce. Stir thoroughly and all the chicken to heat up well. Serve any way you wish, but it was really good over rice.

Ignore the cat – she is the poison tester of the house. 🙂

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes. I love them and have yet to find a way to make them that I don’t like. Well, unless you add something nasty like broccoli. Yes, I have a few foods I don’t like. *grin*

These are a different way to use mashed potatoes – either leftovers or what I did recently, for a potluck I was heading to – and they went over very well.


  • 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (around 6-7 large baking potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon crispy cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Peel, quarter, and boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper – these are to taste. Beat at a medium-high speed until nice and creamy.

Spoon into a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

2013-06-28 07.23.08

Top with cheddar cheese and bacon. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

2013-06-28 08.02.57