Wednesday, April 8, 2015


     We had a lovely Easter - I hope you did too!  Today I'm going to share with you an old family favorite that we usually have on Easter, Father's Day, and other special occasions. 

     This cheesecake is my husband's absolute favorite - which is kind of sad, because he didn't get to even spend Easter with us this year, due to a business trip.  Alas, we endured the hardship and enjoyed the cheesecake anyway.

     This is a simple cheesecake with very few ingredients.  Someone asked me - is it New York style or French?  Well, it's not tall, and it's not heavy.  It's not too sweet, either.  I think maybe that just makes it a West Virginia cheesecake, since that is where we live.  But, it is SUPER yummy, you've gotta try it!

     See how loved this recipe is?  Years ago, back in the dark ages of 1987 at my wedding shower, all the ladies showered me with their favorite, hand written recipes.  Do they still do that anymore?  Is that still a thing?  Because it really should be.  I still have them all, and I recognize the handwriting of each one - thumbing through them brings special memories to mind. 

     And so, right away I put this one to good use.  Over the years, I eliminated the topping, though, and added cherry pie filling.  So that is just our preference, and you can try it both ways and see how you like it!

  • 1 package honey graham crackers, crushed (I do this in my food processor for nice, fine crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (the original recipe calls for regular sugar, but I prefer to use brown)
  • 2-8 oz. packages softened cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
{For optional topping}:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

     Stir graham crackers, melted margarine, and brown sugar together.  Pat into a 9 inch pie plate.

     Cheesecake:  Mix rest of ingredients well, then pour into pie crust.  (I always let my mixer run a good 3-4 minutes until it's all nice and fluffy - no lumps.)
     Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

     After this, I just let it cool and then pop in the fridge until ready to serve.  As I serve each piece, I top it with the cherry pie filling.

{Optional topping directions}:

     After cheesecake comes out of the oven, increase oven temperature to 475, and cool cheesecake for 5 minutes while mixing optional topping ingredients by hand.  Spoon on top; Bake 4-5 minutes.

     Makes 8 servings.  YUMMO!!!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015


     This is a low fat, clean, flavorful way to get your Lo Mein fix without going overboard!  I just fixed this tonight and oh my...even the hubs was wowing the dish.  That's a BIG deal! The inspiration for this scrumptious-ness is from a combination of and her Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein and - Easy Lo Mein.  I used ideas from both of these to come up with a recipe that worked well with what I had on hand.

     Pardon the semi-lousy picture.  My photographer was unavailable at the moment, and I was in a hurry to scarf this up - so the iPhone pic will have to do.  Please take my word for it - it's heavenly, and oh, so easy to throw together!
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Sriracha
     Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds.  Lay halves flat on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and bake for 30 minutes.  When done, remove from oven and turn over so insides can cool.  Set aside.
     In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, ginger and Sriracha; set aside.
     Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook for a minute.  Stir in red pepper and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until done, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in cabbage and cook for about 5 more minutes. 
     With a fork, scoop out flesh of spaghetti squash so it breaks apart into strings, add to cooked vegetables in skillet, pour soy sauce mixture over all.  Stir until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


You may have noticed the Kozi Kitchen looks a bit different today!  Kudos to my wonderful web designer, Connie DeMille from for all her hard work (and unlimited patience) with this not-so-tech-savvy gal!!!

The goal is to combine the Kozi Kitchen and my family blog,  so that all you wonderful people have one main web page to access! 

For all of you Kozi Kitchen fans, be sure to check out The Family Table, which will be the main web site of  Live/Laugh/Love.  As mother of four almost grown and out of the house children, I want to give some perspective from the "other side", now that all the blood, sweat, and hard labor years are done!  The Gray family is always "cooking" up something, and yes, that picture at the top of the page is our family table, where the magic happens.  (Or not.)  The main goal of The Family Table is to give you a giggle and a bit of parental perspective.  Laughter helps to get you through the hard stuff, you know?

For all you Live/Laugh/Love fans - keep coming back, we designed the Kozi Kitchen so that even the male reader should not be intimidated by any frilly girly colors (like pink and baby blue, even though I wanted to)!  Check out our family recipes, tips and tricks (soon to come), or just keep reading the family post, I don't care, just please keep coming back!

One more thing.  If you are a regular reader, please take the time to leave a comment and let me know you're out there!  I love to hear from you, questions, suggestions, and if you click "become a follower" I won't be mad.  PROMISE!!!

So please be patient with us as we continue to tweak and upgrade.  It won't be much longer now!

Thanks for visiting Live Laugh Love @ Ruthie's Kozi Kitchen!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


     I love a nice, thick beef stew, nothing dissapoints me more than when I order it in a restaurant and it's watery and soupy.  That is not this!  The secret is quick cooking tapioca, you can find it on the jello isle at your local grocery.  This wonderful recipe can be either baked in stove or in a crock pot.  I combined some ideas from a couple of  my recipe books, the fam gave their stamp of approval, and the rest is history!

  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed golden mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1/4 onion, cut into chunks
  1. In a large bowl, combine tapioca, sugar, soup, broth, water, salt and pepper. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
  3. Pour into crock pot and bake on low 5-6 hours.
  4. If you prefer to use your oven, bake in a greased 13x9 covered pan at 375 degrees for 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until done.
Serves 6-8

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


     Ever need to make something sweet but you don't have much time?  Here's your solution.  A peanut butter cookie with a powdered sugar glaze.  The men in my family think we need cookies in the house 24/7, and this has been my life-savor for many, many years!  It whips up quickly, bakes in 15 minutes, and BAM.  You're super mom.

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup margarine, softened (not melted)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbs. milk
  1. Mix first 7 ingredients with mixer.
  2. Pat in ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes until edges start to brown.
  4. Mix last 3 ingredients for glaze and drizzle over cookies while still warm.
     Good luck - they won't stay around long!

Sunday, December 30, 2012



     Gotta tell ya, Taste of Home is my favorite resource (next to my 25 year old Betty Crocker cookbook), I get the magazine every month because everything in it is super simple.  I have so many pages dog-eared it's not funny.  I stumbled across this little gem about a month ago and it was one of those go-to recipes that got me through the busyness of the holidays.  Five ingredients.  Delicious.  Better make two pans.

  • 2-8oz. tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/2 cup hickory smoked barbecue sauce (or any kind - I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used canned, you can also use left over chicken)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Press the two tubes of crescent rolls onto bottom and sides of a 15x10 in. baking pan.
  3. Bake crust for 10 minutes. 
  4. Mix together 1/4 cup each barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, spread over crust.
  5. Toss 3 cups chicken with additional 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and arrange over top and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese melts.
My girls and I like to add slivers of onions when our men aren't around.  My husband likes for me to add olives, pepperoni and bacon to his slices.  Get creative and make it your own!

Serves 4-5 (makes 8 large slices)

Friday, August 10, 2012


Baby potatoes, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, vidalia onions, fresh broccoli, green peppers and mushrooms - oh yes! Don't you just love summer? I hate to see it go. My mom is keeping me supplied with plenty of fresh veggies and this is one great way to make use of them! Get creative with it, use the veggies I listed or select a few from the variety. Also use your own ideas for seasoning. Enjoy the last bit of summer - flavors and all!


Any summer vegetable such as:

New or baby potatoes, halved
Cherry tomatoes (whole)
Summer squash - any kind, diced
Onion - any kind, sliced lengthwise
Fresh mushrooms
Fresh broccoli
Green peppers

Any seasoning such as:

Steak dust
Celery salt
Smoked paprika
Use your imagination! I used a few dashes of all of the above except steak dust.


1. Coat a large 9x13 roasting pan with cooking spray.

2. Add vegetables and spray generously with cooking spray.

3. Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables and toss.

4. Bake @ 170 for 4 hours or 350 for 1 hour.

The vegetables are so tasty and true to their flavor! This is obviously a heart healthy dish, no butter or cholesterol here!

Serves 8

Thursday, August 9, 2012


     I told you my son loves all things taco so when I found this in a Taste of Home cookbook and it mentioned Cheezits, cheese stix, and green chilis, I just had to go for it!  YUMMY!!!!

     One thing - get a meat mallot, it'll make your life a lot easier.  And schedule this on a day when you have time to pound meat, or pound it as soon as you buy it and then refrigerate it, freeze it, hang it out to dry if you want (kidding) - but just plan on POUNDING that MEAT!!!

     Oh and get some toothpicks.  Don't let that be an afterthought.  In fact, I'll just add that to the ingredients.  I think I had about 7...

  • Toothpicks
  • 1-2 cups finely crushed Cheezits (or other brand cheese crackers)
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 6 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese - just use some version of that in cheese sticks - cut into six 2 inch sticks.  In other words, 2 cheese sticks cut into 3 sections.
  • 1 can (4 oz.) green chilis
  1. In a ziplock gallon bag, combine the cracker crumbs and taco seasoning; set aside.
  2. Flatten chicken between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/4 inch thickness (you can use a rolling pin, a liter of pop, a brick, or a meat mallot - use whatcha got!)
  3. Coat chicken with crumb mixture by shaking in bag - you may want to dip chicken in milk first to get crumbs to stick (hind sight is 20/20), my crackers kept rolling off.
  4. Place chicken in a greased 13x9 in. baking sheet and do next two steps:
  5. Place a 2 inch cheese stick and about 1 Tbsp (or less according to taste) of chilies on each piece of chicken.
  6. Tuck ends of chicken in and roll up; secure with a couple toothpicks
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. My chicken was still thicker than 1/4 of an inch so it took about 15 minutes longer.
  8. Remove toothpicks and save for after dinner!
                                                   Serves 6-8 and WOW, was I in love!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


     Old Taste of Home magazines are my inspiration -  I have one that features several squash recipesc so I decided to combine them.  That was a few years ago - and my girls ask for this dish every summer.  Don't ya just love one dish meals?  Yeah, me too.  Oh, my son - the non-vegetable lover?  He picks out the polish sausage and I supplement with mashed potatoes or mac-n-cheese (or both!

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 3 cups yellow squash, cubed
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper (as you can see, I didn't have one that day)
  • 2 tsp. dried basil (can use fresh too!)
  • Polish Sausage - 1, diced
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in oil util tender.  Stir in squash, peppers, basil, and polish sausage.
  2. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.  Add cooking wine and cook about 10 more minutes (or until vegetables are tender).
  3. Remove from heat, sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.
Serves 6.  Ahh, love it!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


       Squash running out your ears?  I've got a couple of new recipes that are gonna knock your socks off!!!  This is so great my whole family LOVED it!  Think squash with a "chip" twist.  Kinda crunchy, potato-ie - so good you can't eat just one! 

  • 1 cup instant potato flakes
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cocoled
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 cups raw bite-size squash
  1. In a small bowl, combine potato flakes, Parmesan cheese, celery salt, garlic powder, and butter.  Transfer to a gallon size ziplock bag.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs.
  3. Dip squash into egg, then drop into gallon bag and...shake, shake, SHAKE!!!
  4. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 miutes. 
Serves 8.  Can be served with Ranch dressing or dip.  Can also substitute or supplement squash with other vegetables - such as mushrooms, peppers, brocooli, cauliflower, and zucchini!