Amye’s Top Recipes from 2016




One of my favorite post each year is my top picks. I’m running a little late this year, but I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to share my favorite recipes from 2016 with you!

It’s obvious at first glance that I enjoy cheese, chipotle peppers, sugar, and food with a Mexican flair. Because I am trying new recipes much of the time, I often prepare a recipe only once. However, my top picks for 2016 are recipes that I make over and over again! These are all dishes that my family and I enjoy. These are the foods that I crave.

I think it would be fun to sit down one day and figure out my ALL-TIME favorite NJSD recipes!! Maybe that will be an upcoming post!

In the meantime, visit or revisit these fabulous recipes from 2016. Simply click on the recipe title below to be redirected to the original post.












The Varsity has nothing on these delicious Crispy Onion Rings!  They are fast and easy to prepare and worth the effort!


My cousin’s recipe for this Garden Dill Veggie Sandwich is simply the best!


Maybe it’s a little cold outside for these fabulous Peaches and Coconut Cream Popsicles, but they will be on the menu here soon!


The Cilantro Sauce takes these Fajita Kabobs over the top!  This is a must try recipe!


Sweet Potato bread is amazingly moist!  I seldom make the pineapple butter but for special occasions it’s a wonderful addition!


Not only does this Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake look beautiful, it also tastes great!


This homemade enchilada sauce is so simple you will wonder why you haven’t been making it all along!  Make these tasty Chicken Enchiladas for an easy weeknight dinner!


Customize this recipe with as many chipotle peppers as you like.  I love the wonderful smoky flavor of chipotle peppers in Amye’s Smoky Cheese Dip!


My aunt’s recipe for Heirloom Carrot Cake is THE best carrot cake I’ve ever had.  I love this frosting!


Here’s another super easy recipe, Fried Chicken Tacos with Buttermilk Jalapeno Sauce.  I simply pick up chicken tenders at Zaxby’s then make the sauce for a delicious and simple meal for the family!


This smoky, spicy barbecue sauce adds tons of flavor to this yummy Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwich!  I keep this sauce in the fridge all of the time!


These wonderful Peanut Butter Fingers are the first recipe I ever cooked on my own as a teenager.  They are a great treat to this day…many years later!


I love the taste of pickles and olives.  This Olive Bruschetta is a sure winner for your next party!


Notice this is the third family recipe that I picked for a 2016 favorite.  Make my aunt’s Tea Cake recipe and you may never make another cookie!  They are just that good!


You will not find many casserole recipes on NJSD but this one is a keeper!  This ooey, gooey Cheesy Onion Casserole is high on the list of comfort foods in our house!


Now I am craving all my favorites!   I always enjoy your comments and I would enjoy hearing from you now.  Do you have a favorite recipe from NJSD that you have tried and you make it over and over again?  Leave a comment on NJSD or email me at  My goal for 2017 is to have more reader involvement.  So please, if you enjoy NJSD or you have a favorite recipe, or you just want to say “hi”, let me hear from you!







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Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

meatballs with marinara sauce

Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.

With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.

These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.

Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ¾ c. bread crumbs
  • ½ c. grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
  2. Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
  3. Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce
Makes 2 quarts
  • ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaves
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.


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Italian Beef Stew

Italian Beef Stew 002

Does the weather have you longing for county fairs, bonfires, and soup? I can hardly wait to unpack my things that have been tucked away for the summer like boots and sweaters. I have the same excitement about the dishes I will prepare during the cooler weather. Just a few days of cooler weather and I was in the kitchen not only making a big pot of chili, but I also made this fabulous Italian Beef Stew!

I have always loved the change of seasons, but I think living in “gnat country” has me favoring fall a little more these days. We had a busy weekend cleaning up around the farm.  It was nice to have dinner in the crock pot and ready when we came in after a hard day’s work. The addition of tomatoes and Italian herbs was a delicious change from my traditional beef stew. I use chuck in my stews because it cooks up so tender and flavorful. I would also recommend a good aged Parmesan cheese for serving. Do not buy pre-shredded or that awful stuff in the green container!  This is delicious served with garlic bread!
AAA Amye Signature for blog

Italian Beef Stew
  • 2 c. carrots, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 lg. yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tsp. minced garlic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2½ lb. chuck roast, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 c. low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ lb. potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add the carrots, celery, and onion and sauce until lightly golden. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Add to your crock pot.
  2. Add a little more oil to the skillet.
  3. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Sear in the skillet in batches, adding to the crock pot after each batch has browned.
  4. Add beef broth, wine, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, and potatoes to the crock pot. Stir, cover and cook on high for several hours.
  5. Just before serving stir in the basil and parsley. Top each bowl of stew with Parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.




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Chicken and Dumplings Stew

chicken and dumpling soup

Just one more stew recipe before spring…I promise.  You may be getting tired of seeing soups, stew, and chowders on NJSD.  I’m sorry, it’s cold and rainy in my part of Georgia today and this is just too comforting!  I made this Chicken and Dumpling Stew for the first time earlier in the winter.  It was so, so good that I sometimes crave it!  So using the weather as an excuse to make it again today.

The dumplings are drop dumplings, exactly what I have always said I do not like.  Somehow they work in this though.  I don’t make them very big and they are fantastic!  Remember they will grow so remember that when you drop your dough into the stew.  They will actually end up about twice as big as the dough ball you drop.

Enjoy this stew while you can and I promise that I’ll be bringing you spring type recipes soon!


Chicken and Dumplings Soup
  • 3 lb. chicken
  • 8 c. water
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • 10-oz. bag frozen green peas
  • 10-oz. jar mushrooms, drained
  • 4 to 5 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 c. half and half
  • Dumplings:
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • ¾ c. milk
  • ¼ c. minced fresh parsley
  1. Place chicken in a large Dutch oven. Add water and cook until done. Remove to a plate to cool when done. Reserve water that the chicken cooked in.
  2. Add celery, carrots, onions, salt, white pepper, peas, mushrooms and thyme to reserved chicken broth. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender. Remove thyme stems and add half and half. Lower the temperature to a simmer.
  3. Pick chicken from the bones and add to the vegetable mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until mixture is the size of peas. Stir in milk and parsley. Drop dough into simmering stew. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until dumplings are tender.



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Carrot Muffins




Occasionally, cake for breakfast is essential!  Do you agree?  For example, on birthdays (not subject to just your own), or holidays, or maybe when we’ve worked hard all week and simply need to treat ourselves.  Okay…maybe not.  It could be that I’m looking for excuses.  However, you will need no excuses for these delicious carrot muffins!  They are moist and delicious with the perfect hint of spiciness.

These muffins are great warm or served at room temperature.  They remind me somewhat of zucchini bread.  They freeze well, which is great because this recipe makes between 22 to 24 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin pan.

Mix ingredients only to combine.  Muffins tend to be tough if the batter is over mixed.

Carrot Muffins
Serves: 22 to 24
  • 1½ c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2¼ c. grated carrots
  • 1 c. chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. raisins or dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and then line with muffin papers. Place muffin pan on two stacked baking sheets and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine oil, sugar and eggs at medium speed until mixed well.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture and mix only to combine.
  4. Fold in carrots, nuts, and raisins or dried cranberries.
  5. Fill each muffin cup ⅔ full.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.





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