pillsbury pull-aparts

IMG_2067In a three-way (minds out of gutter) text between myself and two of my oldest and dearest friends, Lisa asked for Easter recipes. Meg and I dove right in to provide some. Lisa used none of them and Meg and I proceeded to add to our collection. I see why this is a go-to for her when she has house-guests. Meg, thanks for sending it! And Lisa, thanks for asking–next time, try this one! Enjoy!

While I got the recipe from Meg, it originated on the Pillsbury site.

1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers Refrigerated Original Biscuits
1 (2.1-oz.) pkg. precooked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)IMG_2061

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 11×7- or 12×8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat egg and milk with wire whisk until smooth.

2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange IMG_2063biscuit pieces in single layer.

3. Bake at 350°F. for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.

tara’s tips: I used an 8×8 square baking dish from Pampered Chef. Make sure the biscuits ‘stuffed’ into the pan. I fried 5 slices of bacon and drained it instead of using precooked.



cheesy grits casserole–updated!

IMG_1898I posted the original cheesy grits casserole a while ago. But since it’s one of my go-to recipes that I make regularly, I started to tweak it. I now think my updated recipe makes a big difference and is even more delish than the original. Enjoy!


4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 1/2 blocks of grated cheese (I used mild and sharp)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 pieces of bacon, fried, drained, and chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced

1. Cook bacon in pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, drain, chop, and set aside.
2. Chop green bell pepper and onion and salute in pan bacon was cooked in, until tender. Then set aside.
3. In a 2-qt. pot, heat water and salt to boiling.
4. Gradually add grits and return to boiling.
5. Reduce heat.
6. Simmer uncovered, stirring for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and allow to cool, slightly.
8. Add cheese, butter and eggs, mix well to ensure all of the grits are incorporated.
9. Stir in bacon bits, green bell pepper, and onion until combined.
10. Bake at 350 degrees until a light golden brown, about 50 minutes.

Recipe Roundup: Cheesy Grits Casserole

cheesey grits casseroleRemember the grits of old, or even of now I guess? When we had grits they had milk and sugar and were everything sweet and yummy.  I may have to make that version soon now that I think about it. But I digress… This recipe is much more savory and it involves one of my all-time favorite ‘food groups,’ cheese (don’t judge me).

Originally, I had seen a similar recipe from one of my most beloved cooking shows/celebrity chefs Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. But then I found this one. I heated up a square a day for breakfast during the week and was ready to rumble. Enjoy!

Original Recipe from Food.com

4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 (16 ounce) package sharp cheddar cheese*
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. Heat water and salt to boiling.
2. Gradually add grits and return to boiling.
3. Reduce heat.
4. Simmer uncovered, stirring for 5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool, slightly.
6. Add cheese, butter and eggs, mix well to ensure all of the grits are incorporated.
7. Bake at 350 degrees until a light golden brown, about 50 minutes.

(Tara’s Tips: *It goes without saying, NO pre-shredded cheese was used in the making of this recipe. I shredded two 8oz.-blocks of cheddar cheese.)

Recipe Roundup: Sausage-Swiss Muffins

sausage swiss muffinsI’m someone who needs a quick breakfast during the weekdays. I mean really quick. Like, cereal isn’t fast enough–understand what I’m saying, now? So when I came across this savory and super fast breakfast, I had to give it a try. It’s like brunch in a muffin–yum!

This originated on Plain Chicken

1/2 lb sausage
1 3/4 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
3/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles. Drain well.
  3. Combine sausage, Bisquick and next three ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine egg and milk.
  6. Add to dry ingredients (pouring into the well) stirring just until moistened.
  7. Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 22 minutes or until golden and serve warm.
  9. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or let stand at room temperature.
Tara’s Tips: I put a paper towel in a colander to drain the sausage, nothing slipped through–it worked like a charm. I’ve stated before that I’m part mouse, so I used a cup of swiss cheese instead of half. And I always, always, ALWAYS shred my own cheese–I do NOT believe in pre-shredded cheese for any reason. And I used a whisk to combine my egg and milk, after all–it is a breakfast muffin.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

IMG_0476I love bananas! I was gonna say something like, ‘I’m banana for bananas,’ but decided it was too corny for even me–alas, I spared you, sort of. But I do love bananas, so please do not let my blatant neglect lead you to believe otherwise.

Last week, I bought a bunch of bananas with the intention of eating one each day. Out of 6, I had 4 left. Instead of letting them go bad, I decided to bake. Because really, what’s easier and more delicious than just about any banana recipe? So, in my quest not to be wasteful I came upon this recipe for chocolate chip banana muffins. They are divine, enjoy!

From: Michelle Pegram at Smart Savvy Living
Serves: 24 Regular-sized muffins


  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened or melted)
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4-6 bananas)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and flour/grease or spray with non-stick spray 2 12-cup muffin tins. You can also use liners, if desired.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and chocolate chips and nuts, if using. You can add chocolate chips and nuts at the end if you want some muffins without them, but coating in flour helps to evenly distribute them and keep them from sinking to the bottom.
  3. In large bowl, combine butter (you can use softened or melted – the muffins turn out great with either), sugar, mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla until well blended. You can do this by hand or with a mixer.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet mixture in 2-3 batches until well blended. However, be careful to not over-mix or your muffins may have tunnels. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon or with a hand or stand mixer.
  5. Pour evenly into 2 12-cup muffin tins. I like to use a large scoop as I do for cookies for equal-sized muffins.
  6. Bake for 12-17 minutes until dark golden brown – stick a toothpick in the middle and it should remain clean. If your oven has a hot spot, you may want to rotate pans halfway through.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in tins for 1-2 minutes on cooling rack.
  8. Take a spoon or knife and carefully lift muffins up and set them on their sides until completely cooled. This is so the bottoms don’t steam and stick to the pan.
  9. Store at room temperature in air-tight container or bag for up to 3 days or longer in fridge or freezer.

– My butter was semi-melted/softened in a microwave-safe dish.
– Using a potato masher to mush the bananas was super easy and made for quick clean up.
– To mix the wet ingredients I used a Kitchen Aid standing mixer and when I poured the dry into the wet, it was set on either ‘stir or 2’ because I wanted to be mindful not to break up the chips.
– This was the first time I used a spoon to get muffins out of the pan and it worked perfectly. This was also the first time I set muffins on their side to cool–worked like a dream. Such simple but incredibly useful tips for the future!

*This recipe can also be made into a 9×13 cake, varying muffin sizes, or 2 loaves – just alter the baking time as needed.