Sarah Jo

I'm a working mother of two. I've been with my husband for
ten years. I'm pretty content with my life. With two young boys and a husband who works a lot of the time, I work at not only to keep them satiated, but for a stress relief as well. Since having kids, I've gotten out of shape and never lost my baby weight. Now,I'm learning to cook a little lighter, use organic when it's financially feasable and cut out all excess processed foods at all costs. I remain positive that I'll eventually return to the weight I was when I met my husband....though
the sugar monster inside threatens to take me down. So far, I'm down eight pants sizes already and hope to eventually get down to my pre-baby weight. I've cut out all diet sodas, most sweeteners, and recently, sleep aids. I try my best to incorporate exercise every day.
Cornbread Casserole
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

I changed the recipe to suit my family. I used two boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix and added a cup of buttermilk. I also peppered the batter. I also greased the pan with bacon grease. Very good. We like this with chili or warmed the next day with eggs and bacon.

Cut-Out Cookies in a Flower Pot
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

Not only did this recipe taste wonderful, the cookies stood up to the kids' decorating fun. And, this recipe also divides fabulously. EDITED: This is our go-to decorating cookie. This is the dough I make for Bumpa to come over and bake cookies with the kids. They hold up well while rolling out/cutting, bake up beautifully and they hold icing well, if that makes sense. Plus, they taste FANTASTIC.

Tater Nuggets
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

This was inedible. I don't often say that, but it really was. I made it just like the recipe was written and the balls flattened and the cornflakes were just wrong. This was a waste of time and ingredients.

My Kid's Favorite Pork Chops
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

This recipe was loved by the whole family. I did salt/pepper, then sauteed the meat in garlic oil before adding to the crockpot. I also added worchestershire sauce and red pepper flake. When it came to serve, I added cornstarch dissolved in cold water to thicken it. Works both on rice and on hamburger buns. Easy recipe.

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Special Buttercream Frosting
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

Really good frosting. Not too sweet. I halved the recipe and did half butter and half shortening. Came out perfectly and was super easy to spread. I paired this frosting with a dark chocolate cake I also found on this site.

Dark Chocolate Cake I
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

Really decadent cake. Not too difficult. I made this cake in a 9x13 pan. It was hefty, but came out perfectly. I will say that it got better the next couple days as it added even more moisture. So. Good.

Homemade Croutons
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

Easy recipe for garlic croutons. I used day-old bread, which made even crispier croutons. Used them in a casserole and it worked out great for me. EDITED: You can make this to suit any kind of salad or recipe you need it for. I like to use homemade seasoning mixes to season these croutons, anything from italian seasoning to cajun seasoning. If you cool them and throw them in your food processor and grind them down, you instantly have homemade breadcrumbs that are excellent in meat loaf or meat balls!

Oven-Baked Country Fries
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

This recipe did not turn out for me. At all. I did it just like the recipe specified, but it just wasn't palatable. The seasonings were good on their own, so if I choose to make potato wedges again, I'll toss them in EVOO with the seasonings, minus the flour/breadcrumbs.

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Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

Probably the best macaroni and cheese we've ever had. I made some adjustments to the recipe, some that were suggested by other testers and some of my own. I added in 3/4 c. milk and 6 oz. shredded pepperjack cheese in with the other cheeses. I also sauteed half of a sweet onion and four large cloves of garlic and added that in, too. I didn't have packaged breadcrumbs, so I made my own out of stale bread, butter and garlic powder. I plan on making this again. Really, really good.

Louisiana Sweet Potato Pancakes
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

I made a couple changes, just for my tastes. I made the milk sour, using a tablespoon of vinegar per cup. This was not a good addition. If I made them again, I would stick with just plain whole milk. I used canned sweet potatoes, with the juice drained off, about half of a 28 oz. can. I also used about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and added a half cup of brown sugar. It wasn't sweet enough for my tastes, so I might add in the couple of tablespoons that the recipe calls for. I also will add pecans next time. I didn't this time because I didn't have any. I also made this batter the night before and didn't overmix. The pancake batter was incredibly fluffy. This batter is also moist, which required a little more cooking time than your usual pancake batter. The kids loved them, and I liked the change from the usual weekend pancake recipe.

Blooming Onion and Dipping Sauce
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

I did almost exactly the recipe directed EXCEPT add oregano.I also added a bit more cayenne, as I wanted it HOT. Really close to the Burger King zesty sauce than anything else I tried. This sauce is also great with homemade chicken nuggets and deep fried fish. I'm hoping to try this as a burger sauce, adding in chopped jalepenos OR pickles. Fabulous recipe.

Honey-Garlic Glazed Meatballs
Rating: Unrated
Sarah Jo's rating

This has got to be the best meatball recipe I've ever tried. The only changes I made was eliminating the excess salt, adding a couple cloves of garlic into the meatballs as well as the sauce, and I used homemade garlic-butter breadcrumbs. I also doubled the ingredients for the sauce because there seemed to be more meatballs than sauce. The sauce for the meatballs is similar to sweet and sour, but better. I paired it with this fried rice: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fried-Rice-I/Detail.aspx My kids and husband inhaled it and asked for seconds. I plan on doubling the recipe next time and freezing half to cut down on time on easy nights. GREAT RECIPE!

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