3/4 c butter
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/3 c water

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat one minute at medium speed. Combine flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. Add alternately with water to creamed mixture. Pour batter into 3 prepared layered pans. Bake at 350*F in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans about 10 minutes. Turn out of pans and cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
6 T butter, softened
3/4 c cocoa
2 2/3 c confectioner’s sugar (10X)
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c milk

How to make it :

Cream butter in small bowl. Add cocoa. Alternately add sugar and milk. Beat until desired consistency. Additional milk may be needed. Blend in vanilla.

1.5 lb Brussels Sprouts – stems cut off, then quartered
1/2 Cup Italian Dry Salami – coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup Honey
2-3 tsp Siracha (or more if you want more spice)
1 tsp Lime Juice
1 tsp EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the honey, Siracha, and lime juice. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat your EVOO over medium-high heat.
Add the salami and b-sprouts to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing every few minutes, until the salami is crisp, and the b-sprouts are nice and tender. 10 minutes or so.
When the goodies in your pan are looking nice and yummy, pour everything into the bowl with your honey sauce. Toss and serve immediately!

Feel free to alter any of these amounts according to your family’s taste buds!


1 lb. Italian Sausage
20 oz. Frozen Three-Cheese Tortellini (The Buitoni kind is in the specialty refrigerated case in the deli area of the grocery store. I pop them right in the freezer when I get home.)
32 oz. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes – The kind that are seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano. If you don’t have the seasoned ones, you’ll need to add in your own seasonings.
8 oz. Cream Cheese or Neufchâtel Cheese – We use the low fat kind when using cream cheese.
Grated Parmesan Cheese for topping!


Take your cream cheese or Neufchâtel out of the fridge, and let it sit while you quickly brown your meat.
Add the sausage and tortellini to your Crock Pot. 
Pour the tomatoes, liquid and all, and broth over the top. 
Add your cream cheese to the Pot in chunks.
Give your Crock Pot a good stir to get everything evenly distributed, making sure the liquids are adequately covering the tortellini.
Cook on LOW for a total of 3 1/2 – 4 hours. 
Stir at 1 1/2 hours, and again at 3 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking. 
This will give the sauce some time to thicken up. You can leave the lid off longer if you need more thickening time, but stir every so often.

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