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Menu Plan

It is the first week of 2021. I do not think that there is anything magical about the calendar turning to a new year.

Many of the problems of 2020 will follow us into 2021. But let’s hope that 2021 involves life returning to something that looks a little bit more like life pre 2020. Including fewer masks and more travel.

I am not one to make a big change when a new year starts. Even when it comes to eating and kitchen life. I pretty much continue to do what I always do which is make quick and easy homecooked meals for my family.

Here is this week’s menu plan.

Breakfast Recipes

Greek Scrambled Easy

Greek Eggs

banana oatmeal breakfast cookies

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

Instant Pot Boiled Eggs

Cinnamon Roll Muffins Recipe

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Dinner Recipes

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup

Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup

easy migas

Easy Migas

Refried Bean Soup

Refried Bean Soup

ground beef stir fry

Ground Beef Stir Fry

Cheesy Fajita Chicken

Cheesy Chicken Fajitas

Dessert of the Week

Chocolate Covered Dried Fruit

Chocolate Covered Dried Fruit

Gluten Free Menu Plan

It is the first week of 2021. This week’s gluten free menu plan is full of quick and easy gluten free meals.

I know I say that almost every week, but I really do love to share gluten free recipes that are quick, easy, and so you good that you won’t know that they are gluten free.

Gluten Free Breakfast Recipes

Nut Free Larabar

Homemade Nut Free Larabars

Overnight Oatmeal Muffins

Overnight Oatmeal Muffins – Use gluten free oats and a gluten free flour blend

Scrambled Eggs with Sausage Onions and Peppers

Scrambled Eggs with sausage, onions, and peppers

Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

Cheesy Fajita Chicken

Crock Pot Beef and Beans

Fried Cabbage and Kielbasa

Fried Cabbage and Kielbasa

Bacon Salmon

Easy Pork Tacos

Pork Tacos

Gluten Free Dessert of the Week

Homemade Vanilla Pudding without Eggs

A Year of Martha Stewart Cooking

2021: A Year of Martha Stewart Cooking. Yes, that is what I am calling my 2021 cooking challenge. After 2020 I decided that I needed a cooking challenge for 2021.

A Year of Martha Stewart Cooking

It probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you that I had a large cookbook collection. It is well over one hundred cookbooks. 

What you might not know though is that within that cookbook collection is about twenty Martha Stewart cookbooks and stacks of Martha Stewart magazines.

I know a lot of people find Martha Stewart a bit gourmet. The younger generation might even find her a bit out of date. But mixed in with all those out of date gourmet recipes are some great classic recipes.

Recipes for basic dinners and desserts. Classic recipes with simple ingredients that you almost always have on hand.

Martha Stewart One Pot Cookbook

Sometimes you have to weed through a bunch of recipes to find them, but they are there.

Martha Stewart recipes are some of my tried and true favorites.

2020 changed me in many ways. One of the ways it changed me was it forced me back to the basics. The simple things in life, including recipes.

I found that I was pulling out cookbooks that I had not used in years. I was turning to simple recipes that used ingredients I had on hand or could easily get.

Many of the recipes I was turning to were from my Martha Stewart cookbooks.

Martha Stewart's American Food Cookbook

I wanted to find a way to share some of the recipes with you. I also decided that I needed a cooking challenge or at least a way to bring more variety to my cooking in 2021.

I thought about cooking through one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks and sharing the recipes I tried and how they turned out with you.

There are a few issues with cooking from only one cookbook. Our family deals with a lot of food issues. I can change up many recipes, but not all of them.

A Year of Martha Stewart Cooking Cookbook

I also know that I would get bored cooking through just one cookbook. I need more variety than that.

I am doing a backlist book challenge over on From Our Bookshelf and I decided it would be fun to have a similar cooking challenge.

Instead of cooking from just one Martha Stewart cookbook though I am going to cook from them all.

Cooking Through Martha Stewart Cookbooks and Magazines

I am going to pull all my old Martha Stewart cookbooks and magazines off the shelf and I am going to cook from them. Yes, even the really old ones from the early 1990’s.

Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine

Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Anyone remember Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine? I actually enjoyed it more than her Martha Stewart Living magazine. I found the recipes in Everyday Food more my style.

Everyday Food stopped publishing quite a few years ago, but do you know what? I have every issue of Everyday Food. Or at least close to every issue. I subscribed the entire time the magazine was published and have stacks of them on my shelf.

Not only will I be cooking through Martha Stewart Cookbooks, but I will also be cooking through some of my Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazines too.

Martha Stewart Cookbooks

A Year of Martha Stewart Living

I think I might need to call my challenge a year of Marth Stewart cooking instead of a year of Martha Stewart living, but you get the idea.

I am going to make 2021 a year of Martha Stewart Cooking. And I will be sharing the journey with you.

If you are not a fan of Martha Stewart, don’t worry. I will be sharing plenty of other recipes as well. My goal is to make one of her recipes a week and share the results with you.

I will share the disasters along with the successes. I will share what we liked and didn’t like. I will share how I changed them up or what I did to make them gluten free.

Want to join me in cooking from your cookbooks? I would love to hear from readers that are cooking from their cookbook collection.

Christmas Breakfast Recipes

You can make Christmas breakfast special with these easy Christmas Breakfast Recipes.

Christmas Breakfast

Growing up my mom always made a special breakfast for Christmas morning. It is one of the things that I remember the most about Christmas when I was a kid.

Breakfast Casserole

Gifts or breakfast first? 

We would get up and eat breakfast. Then the kitchen had to be cleaned up before we would open presents.

Yes, my parents never let us open presents the minute we got up. We had to be dressed, breakfast had to be over, and the kitchen had to be cleaned up, before we opened our gifts.

I didn’t like it as a child, but as an adult, I totally understand why my parents did it that way. It stretched out the joy of Christmas and it helped teach us patience.

It is a tradition my husband and I have carried on to our kids. We always have a special Christmas breakfast before opening gifts.

My mom usually served the same recipe every year. For my family I change it up, but I always try to make it special by serving something a little nice than our weekday breakfast.

Sometimes it is a special waffle or pancake and sometimes it is a breakfast casserole. Other times it is eggs with a couple of different homemade muffins.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

If we have company for Christmas breakfast I love to make several flavors of baked oatmeal and set them all out for everyone to have. This way everyone gets their favorite baked oatmeal. 

This year might look a little different, but you can still make Christmas special by serving a nice Christmas breakfast or brunch if you open presents first.

Because I love to make Christmas breakfast special and I thought I would share a few of our favorite Christmas breakfast recipes with you. 

A few of these recipes are gluten free, others include gluten free instructions. All of them are delicious! 

Christmas Breakfast Recipes

Make Christmas breakfast special with these easy Christmas breakfast recipes.

Do you do a special Christmas Breakfast?

Originally posted December 2011. Updated December 2020.

Chocolate Pudding Muffins with Gluten Free Option

Chocolate Muffins are made even better with this Chocolate Pudding Muffin Recipe. It includes a gluten free option.

Chocolate Pudding Muffin Recipe Gluten Free

Why are they called pudding muffins?

I have a pumpkin bread recipe that has cook and serve pudding in it. It is my all time favorite pumpkin bread. It works well regular and gluten free.

Over the years I have tried adding pudding to other recipes with mixed results. Sometimes it makes the recipe better and sometimes it doesn’t.

I recently tried adding pudding to a chocolate muffin recipe and it made the muffins better!

These chocolate pudding muffins are moist and delicious.

What kind of pudding do you use in muffins and quick bread?

When you add pudding to muffins and quick breads you use the dry mix. You don’t make the pudding as directed. You simply add the dry mix to the batter.

For some recipes you use cook and serve pudding and others work better with instant pudding.

This muffin recipes uses cook and serve pudding.

Chocolate Pudding Muffin Recipe

Can I make pudding muffins gluten free?

Yes! These pudding muffins work great gluten free.

I have made them with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free blend and it works great. You also need to make sure your pudding mix is gluten free. Many pudding mixes are gluten free, but not all of them.

Chocolate Pudding Muffin

Can you freeze muffins?

Yes, muffins freeze great. I love to keep muffins in the freezer for easy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.

Need more muffin recipes?

Chocolate Pudding Muffin Gluten Free
Yield: 18 muffins

Chocolate Pudding Muffins

Chocolate Pudding Muffin Recipe Gluten Free

Chocolate pudding muffins are chocolate muffins made extra special. They can also be made gluten free.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 3.4 ounce box cook and serve chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tins with liners or grease well.
  3. In a bowl whisk together rice flours, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar. This takes about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Add vanilla.
  8. Add ½ of the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
  9. Add buttermilk and mix just until combined.
  10. Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until well combined.
  11. Stir in chocolate chips.
  12. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups filling each cup about ¾ full.
  13. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  14. Cool on a wire cooling rack.
  15. Enjoy!


Other gluten free flour blends may work, but I have only tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g

Cherry Double Chip Cookie Recipe

Cherries and chocolate combined together in this delicious Cherry Double Chip Cookie recipe!

Cherry Double Chip Cookie Recipe

I have decided that December 2020 is cookie month. It is a month for baking and sharing cookie recipes. 

I recently shared five cookbooks that I bought in 2020. It is no secret that I love cookbooks and have an extensive collection. 

Years ago I did a cooking through my collection series. Each week I would share a cookbook I loved. I would try a recipe from the cookbook and share what I liked and didn’t like about it.

It was a fun series and a way to share cookbooks I loved and why I loved them.

One of my goals for 2021 is to use my cookbook collection more and I want to bring you along for the journey.

I am going old school back to my early days of blogging for this series. I will be sharing what I am cooking and what works and what doesn’t work. 

One of the cookbooks that I bought in 2020 was The Southern Cookie cookbook. It is a cookbook by Southern Living. 

I love Southern Living cookbooks and have quite a few of them. Today I decided to start my 2021 cooking goal early and I am highlighting my new Southern Living cookie cookbook and a recipe from it. 

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies The Southern Cookie Book

The Southern Cookie Cookbook

If you love baking cookies or know someone that does this is a great cookbook!

It includes recipes for rolled cookies, drop cookies, filled cookies, and more. It has classic recipes and modern takes on classic recipes.

(And for those that are gluten free, this cookbook is not gluten free. My plan is to work on adapting some of the recipes to gluten free. When I do that I will try to share both versions like I am today.)

The recipe I am sharing today is for the Cherry Double Chip Cookies. I love the combination of chocolate and dried cherries so I knew that this was a recipe that I needed to try.

The results were delicious! My family loved them.

The recipe calls for almonds, but I think they are optional. Add them if you want them or leave them out if you don’t want them.

Gluten Free Cherry Double Chip Cookie Recipe

If you are gluten free be sure to check out the gluten free version that I shared. You can find my recipe for Gluten Free Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies over on GF Kitchen Adventures.

You can use a gluten free for these cookies, but they really do turn out better with the individual gluten flours so be sure to check out my gluten free version.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 5 dozen

Cherry Double Chip Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cherry Double Chip Cookies are a delicious cookie filled with two kinds of chocolate and cherries.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Microwave 1 tablespoon water and dried cherries in a bowl for 15 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 15 seconds more. Let stand 10 minutes. This helps soften the cherries.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  5. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture.
  6. Stir in chips, cherries, and nuts if using.
  7. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  8. Bakie for 9-12 minutes. Or until the desired degree of doneness.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g

Menu Plan Freezer Meals

This week’s menu plan is all about freezer meals! The holidays might look a little different this year, but we still want/need easy dinners.

Make December meals easy by cooking extra this week. If you make one freeze one you will have a freezer stocked with meals for later this month.

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Recipes

homemade frozen breakfast burritos

Homemade Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Bowls Freezer

Breakfast Bowls

Freezer Friendly Dinner Recipes

Freezer Burrito Casserole

Freezer Burrito Casserole

Slow Cooked Chili without Beans

Gluten Free Meatballs

My Favorite Meatballs that are also gluten free

gluten free freezer friendly meatloaf

Meatloaf that is also a gluten free meatloaf

Slow Cooked Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooked Sloppy Joes

Five Ways to Cook Shredded Chicken

Shredded Cooked Chicken and Cooked rice – These are great for keeping on hand in the freezer for using in soups and casseroles.

Freezer Taco Meat

Freezer Friendly Dessert

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Holiday Cookie Recipes

Gluten Free Menu Plan

This week’s gluten free menu plan is full of easy gluten free recipes.

I made not next to ingredients that needs to be gluten free, but as always read labels to be sure that the ingredients are gluten free.

Gluten Free Breakfast Recipes

Gluten Free Banana Pancake Muffins

Cinnamon Roll Muffins Recipe

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

Instant Pot Boiled Eggs

Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

Beef and Bean Bake

Beef and Bean Bake

Sausage and Potatoes

Potatoes and Sausage – use gluten free sausage

slow cooked baked potato soup

Slow Cooked Baked Potato Soup

gluten free biscuits and gravy

Gluten Free Biscuits and Gravy

Tuna Melt Quesadilla

Tuna Melt Quesadillas

Gluten Free Dessert of the Week

Snow Buddies Chex Mix

Is the Instant Pot with Air Fryer worth it?

Ask the Readers

I need your help. Or actually one of my readers needs your help. Do you know if the Instant Pot with the Air Fryer feature is worth it?

Some of my favorite posts over the years have been my Ask the Readers posts.

When I needed help finding the best breakfast sausage you gave me so many suggestions. You have helped me find new favorites at Trader Joes.

We have talked about the price of eggs and the price of milk. We have talked about appliances, kitchen remodels and so much more over the years for my Ask the Readers posts.

When I have a question or a reader has a question that I can’t answer I love to turn to you for help. Last week when a reader asked me a question about Instant Pots I knew that my readers could probably help.

Is the Instant Pot with an Air Fryer worth it?

It is no secret that I love my Instant Pot. Instant Pot boiled eggs are my favorite way to make boiled eggs.

I have a huge list of Instant Pot recipes and a huge list of Gluten Free Instant Pot recipes that I have shared. I really do love my Instant Pot.

However, my Instant Pot is several years old. There have been some updates to Instant Pots since I bought mine.

A reader recently asked about Instant Pots with Air Fryers and food dehydrators on my Facebook page and I had no clue those features even existed for an Instant Pot.

Did you know they now sell Instant Pots with lids that turn them into an air fryer or food dehydrator?

If you have an Instant Pot with these features can you help me out? Do you like it? Does it work? Does the Air Fryer on the Instant Pot really crisp food up?

Here is the question I got from a reader:

I am thinking about getting an Instant Pot. Does anyone have the kind with the crisping lid or the dehydrating feature? Does the air fryer lids on Instpot cook frozen french fries and chicken nuggets to a crisp, what extra accessories do I need to buy right away, or do I need the accessories? There are so many options and accessories that I am not sure what to get or if an Instant Pot is even worth it. Thanks!

What are your thoughts? Are the extra features on the Instant Pot like the air fryer and dehydrator worth it?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. And if you have a question that you would like featured in an Ask the Readers post just submit it here and I will try to feature it in the future.

Holiday Cookie Recipes

Nothing says holiday baking quite like cookies. Since I love baking and I love cookies I am sharing my family’s favorite holiday cookie recipes.

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

During the Holidays, it is always great to have the smell of something baking floating around the house. I wish there was a candle out there that truly captured that scent.

This year the holidays are going to be different, but I can still bake. I can fill up my house with the joys and scents of the holidays. 

We can still spread cheer during these holiday times. Make a batch of cookies. Fill up your house with the scent of the holidays and share a plate of cookies with a friend or neighbor. 

I have a feeling that cookies will be my go to holiday food this year. 

For my family, I can make them in smaller batches. I can also freeze them for when I am not in a baking mood or for when I need something quick.

I can also freeze them to share with others later on. Or I can package them up easily and leave them on a neighbor or friend’s door step. 

Because I love to bake cookies and I love to share cookies with others I have decided that December will be cookie month!

I will share all kinds of recipes this month, but there will be a lot of cookie recipe sharing going on too.

I have several new cookie recipes that I plan to post over the next few weeks, but today we are starting it off with some of my favorite cookie recipes that I have shared over the last eleven years.

These are all tried and true favorites. They are the cookies my family has made for years. They are cookies that will work for the holidays or for any day of the year.

Are the cookie recipes gluten free?

Many of the recipes can be converted to gluten free, but if you eat gluten free be sure to check out my list of great gluten free holiday cookies that are all so good that no one will know that they are gluten free!

Does it make a difference if I make cookie dough with a mixer or by hand?

Before I get to the recipes let’s start with a tip. Years ago I shared my thoughts on if it makes a difference when you mix your cookie dough in a mixer instead of by hand.

I shared my thoughts and readers shared their thoughts in the comments.

If you love cookie making tips and have ever wondered if it makes a difference to stir your cookie dough by hand, be sure to check out my post on if it makes a difference if you mix cookies with a mixer or by hand.

The comments on that post are great so don’t skip reading them.

Now for the cookie recipes!

Holiday Cookie Recipes

Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Brownies

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Double Chocolate Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

 Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Flourless Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Double Chocolate Pudding Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Macaroons 

Cake Mix Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Covered Nutter Butters

Two Ingredient Rice Krispies Cookies

My Grandma’s Rice Krispies Crunch Cookies

Four Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

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