Monday, March 30, 2009

Ranchhouse Pork Chops

6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup

Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours. Serve over creamy mashed potatoes.

*These are SUPER good! I ate it up and I don't like meat, let alone pork. The gravy is SO good! I also love how it's so easy. She served them with parmesan mashed potatoes, but I felt like the combo was a little overwhelming - too seasoned. Next time, I will serve them with normal mashed potatoes...maybe with a little garlic. I only used 3 pork chops and there definitely wasn't enough gravy. Next time I will use half of the ranch packet and 2 cans of cream of chicken. If you are going to make all 6 pork chops, I would double or even triple the gravy recipe...that's if you like a lot of gravy. SOOOO GOOD though!

*Picture and recipe from Picky Palate.

Pound Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) package Duncan Hines brand butter recipe cake mix
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, oil, sour cream and sugar. Add eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Stir in vanilla.
Spray or grease bundt pan and sugar coat the inside of pan (this creates the crisp crust found on the old fashioned pound cakes). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake test is done.

* SUPER MOIST! We ate it with strawberries and whipped cream - like a strawberry shortcake. It was perfect. You can substitute other flavor mixes using same added ingredients as this one, and they are just as good.

* Recipe is from

Friday, March 27, 2009

Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla and about 1 t cinnamon, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

*These are DEVILISHLY delicious!!!! Don't get duped by the picture or name of this dessert! When I was making these, everyone was like...those look weird and that's a weird combonation. And then they all shut up when their mouths were full of the apple goodness! I DON'T like fruit desserts AT ALL, but these are my ALL TIME FAVORITE dessert on this ENTIRE PLANET!!! Don't be skeptical and GO AND MAKE THEM!!!...PS: I think mine look better than this picture...but don't tell the Pioneer Woman!

*Picture and recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman...remember my camera is in the camera graveyard.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

**WARNING: This makes a TON, so unless you have a huge family, plan to give a lot away.**

1 lg. can (29 oz.) pumpkin
4 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cloves
5 eggs
1 ½ tsp soda
4 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp ginger
3 ½ cup sugar
2 cups oil

Mix all but chocolate chips. Add chips. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Makes 4 medium loaves.

*If you like Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, you HAVE to try this!!! It tastes just like the real thing. And don't even think about halving the recipe because how are you going to half a egg?? I made 3 GINORMOUS loaves and they all weighed about 40 pounds each! Everyone that I gave a loaf too loved it and it was gone soon after they got it. When I was mixing it, I was a little worried about how much stuff was going into my Kitchen Aid and it was almost topping the bowl! I added about 2 cups of chocolate chips instead of 1 (pretty much one entire bag of Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips that I dredged in flour so they don't sink to the bottom of the loaf.) I also was out of cloves, so I just added a tad more nutmeg and cinnamon. After an hour, I just poked a sharp knife into the center of the loaf and if it came out doughy, I added 3 more minutes and did this until it came out cakey on the knife. SOOOO GOOD!!!!

*Picture and recipe courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen...remember my camera is dead and buried.

Potato Casserole

*My camera is DEAD! It's on it's way to the Cannon hospital and I'm out of a camera!!!! I tried to steal a picture from the internet, but they all were stupid, so just imagine how wonderful this is!
36 oz. frozen hash browns (or fresh if you are that ambitious!)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
2-3 T dry miced onion (you can also use fresh here too...finely minced)
2 c sharp cheddar cheese
2 c corn flakes, crushed
2 T butter, melted
In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter, onion and cheese. Add hash browns and coat evenly. Place in a 9 by 13 pan and smooth the top. At this point, you can top with a little bit more cheese, or not...of course I ALWAYS do! Coat corn flakes in 2 T melted butter and crumble over the top of the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Onion Strings

1 large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 scant tablespoon salt
Lots of black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Canola Oil

Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk for at least one hour. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tab to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone. Eat before your family sees them. Repeat with another onion, because they’ll be really mad they didn’t get any.
*These are SUPER good! I got all fat and happy eating them and then almost puked because I ate too much. We ate them on burgers with some BBQ sauce and ranch dressing...there really is no other way. I also didn't have Cayenne Pepper, so I used chili powder. Oh Bessy...these are my new favorite!!!! Next time I would definitely half the recipe because there's only 2 of makes a TON!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

This cheesecake consists of 4 parts: fudgy brownies, chocolate cookie crust, rich velvety cheesecake, and a chocolate ganache glaze.
For the Brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
13/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs (be careful not to over bake). Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
For the Crumb Crust(if you like a lot of crust, go ahead and double this)
11/2 cups or 5 ounces finely ground Oreos, or other chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir together ingredients and press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10″ springform pan. Fill right away or chill for up to 2 hours.
For the Cheesecake:
3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make crumb crust as directed above for 10-inch cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.Beat together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
When completely cool, top with following glaze.
For the Ganache Glaze:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan (or in the microwave on high for 1 minute). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill the cheesecake until ready to serve.
*OK...this is a pretty labor-intensive dessert! But you better believe that it is TOTALLY worth it!!! You HAVE to make this!!! OK...for the crust, I bought 5 or 6 chocolate, chocolate chip cookies from Smart Cookie (if you haven't had these, you are TOTALLY missing out!). That's what I suggest for the crust. When I made the brownies, I didn't put them in foil and they were fine. It makes A LOT of brownies, so beware! Next time, I would half the recipe. I just used the inside of the brownies and not the crunchy edges. I made the basic cheesecake the night before and let it chill in the fridge. Then about 3-4 hours before we were going to eat, I made the ganache so it could harden. When cutting the cheesecake, i used a large knife and ran it under scalding hot water and without wiping the water off, I cut it and it made the perfect cut without damaging the ganache. Make sure to wipe knife and run it under water with each cut, or it will have a tendency to squish. PLEASE make this!!

Spanish Rice

2 cups chicken broth (about 1 full can)
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 packet taco seasoning
1/3 c salsa
1/3 c corn
1/3 c black beans

Boil chicken broth and taco seasoning. Once it comes to a boil, add rice, salsa, corn and black beans. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook on low, undisturbed, for 25 minutes. Toss and serve.

*This is a really yummy recipe! I doubled the recipe and used a full can of corn and black beans, both drained. It's VERY important that you leave the rice alone or it won't cook all the way through! Once you put the lid on, put the timer on and DON'T TOUCH IT! We won't talk about who opened the lid...


Chicken Enchiladas

5-6 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
1 small jar Pace Picante salsa
1 small can red enchilada sauce
1 can cream of chicken
1 1/2 c sour cream
cheddar cheese
12-13 tortillas
Coat a 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray. Mix salsa, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, and sour cream together...this is your sauce. Put enough chicken to your liking down the middle of a tortilla. Top with a few spoonfulls of sauce and then cheese (you get to decide how much of each because you know yourself the best!) Roll up and place in baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are filled and rolled. Top with the rest of the sauce and then cheese. You can also add some olives and chives to the top for extra color. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!
*These are divine! They are SO easy too, it's actually ridiculous how easy they are. If you like enchiladas with more chicken, add more...if you like them with less, do's really up to you. I made these last night for our cousins dinner and it made like 13 or 14 enchiladas which is a lot. I ended up using a full pound of sharp cheddar cheese (and then some monterey jack too.) Sorry if this is so vague...this is an original recipe and I NEVER measure anything when I'm makes it really hard to translate onto paper!
*Serve with Spanish Rice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I am SOOO annoyed with blogger right now! For some reason it keeps putting some of my picures sideways and it's making me CRAZY!!! So that's why the next picture is sideways...

2 T butter
2 c milk
3 T flour
½ t onion salt
Pepper to taste
2 c cubed Velveeta cheese
½ c grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb elbow macaroni (or mini shells)
1 c Monterey jack cheese
1 c sharp cheddar cheese
Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil

Boil water with salt for macaroni and only cook about 3-4 minutes and drain. Melt butter in saucepan and add flour to melted butter. Mix in 1 cup milk. Mix in onion salt and pepper. Add 1 more cup of milk; keep heat about medium. Add Velveeta and cheddar cheeses. Stir constantly until all cheese is melted. It will seem thin, but it will get thicker as it cools. Pour over macaroni. Pour half of the mixture in a baking dish (smaller than a 9 by 13, but that has higher sides.) Sprinkle ½ c Monterey jack cheese and ½ c sharp cheddar over top. Pour remaining macaroni over top. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top. Top with Panko bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until bread crumbs are brown and toasted. Now go on a 3 day fast.
*If you don't want to bake it, you can just eat the macaroni and cheese after you pour the velveeta and cheddar sauce on. That's how this recipe started...I just decided to make it a baked ooey, gooey goodness. I love how the bread crumbs give it a crunch. If you have a complex with Velveeta cheese, you can go ahead and add whatever cheeses you like...I think an extra sharp white cheddar cheese would be delicious!
*The basic mac and cheese sauce is from The Grandma Lyman Family Cookbook and is under "Homemade Macaroni and Cheese" by my I basically grew up on it. DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup Alfredo sauce
3/4 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, saute the chicken, mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in flour until blended; stir in Alfredo sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning and parsley.

Spread 1/2 cup Alfredo mixture in an 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Layer with two noodles (trimmed to fit pan), half of the cottage cheese mixture, 3/4 cup Alfredo mixture and 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 3 servings.

*Justin and Bryce LOVED this! Keep in mind this is a recipe for "cooking for two". If you have a larger family than 3, I would at LEAST double this and put it in a larger pan. I also doubled the alfredo sauce because it didn't seem like enough and used 2 more noodles - making 3 layers instead of 2. I think it definitely would have been too soupy without the extra 2 noodles. Next time I think I would use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, although it still was good. And of course, I used asiago cheese instead of parmesan, just because that's all I had. I also added Italian style diced tomatoes on the top because I love the combo of tomatoes with alfredo...and I didn't use the mushrooms. When making baked pasta dishes, I also don't cook the pasta beforehand because they become too squishy. I like my lasagna to be al dente, so I either don't cook them before AT ALL or just for, at the MOST, 3 minutes. This is such a great meal for a small family because there really isn't any leftovers.

*From Taste of Home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cheesecake Brownies

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.
Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

Melt butter with the remaining cup of chocolate chips; stir until just melted and blended together. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into chocolate until evenly blended.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn't need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 to 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.
*I only used half of the flour and it was sweet fudgy goodness! I used chocolate Almond Bark for this because it was the only chocolate I had, which I was a little worried about, but it turned out fabulous. I'm pretty sure you can't mess these up...use any sort of chocolate you have! If you want cheesecake and don't want to put in the HUGE effort for a real one...make might as well be a chocolate cheescake in itself!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
chicken boullion
2¼ c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk (approximately)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup milk
2 T flour

In a large pot, add enough water to boil chicken breasts (about 8-10 cups.) Add enough chicken boullion for the amount of water (usually 1 teaspoon or 1 cube per cup of water.) Boil chicken for about 30-45 minutes or until completely cooked. Remove chicken from pot and shred. Next, mix the Bisquick and milk until a manageable ball of dough is achieved. Roll the dough out until VERY thin then cut into ¾ inch wide strips. Gradually drop full strips of dough into boiling water that chicken was cooked in (now basically chicken broth.) Fold in shredded chicken. Add salt & pepper to taste. To thicken the sauce, mix 1 cup milk with 2 T flour and whisk into pot. Allow to simmer to thicken.

* Don't worry about cutting the dough into small pieces, just drop the full length strips into the boiling water and then stir. They will just divide up themselves. You can also use straight up chicken broth instead of boullion and water if you want...just whatever you have. This is SO easy and SOOOO cheap!!

*From Jami's Recipies

Thursday, March 12, 2009

French Dip Sandwiches with Au Jus

1 rib roast (enough for 1/2 lb per person)

1/2 c salt
1/4 c pepper
1/4 c garlic powder
1/2 T paprika
1 T marjoram
1T thyme

Mix together and rub a generous layer on meat. In a VERY hot pan with a dribble of olive oil, sear the outsides of the roast till nice and caramelized. Place in a roasting pan along with 5 cups water. Cook at 450 degrees for 20 minutes and then turn down to 200 degrees for 6-7 hours (or just in the crock pot.) Take out and cut. Meat will be VERY tender and will pretty much shred. Put on toasted buns with or without cheese. The water you put in with the roast creates the most AMAZING au jus!

*OK, DON'T put the entire rub on the meat that you bought!!!!! That would be way too much and just crazy! This is meant for like a 15 lb roast...and unless you're having a HUGE party, you aren't making that much. What you want to do is just mix this up and use enough to cover the roast in a generous layer. You will NOT use it all!! Just save's GREAT as a rub for any meat.

*I put mine in a crock pot for 6-7 hours...or longer. Every once in a while I would baste the meat just to make sure the top wasn't getting dry...even though it never was...but it was for my peace of mind! I also used like a 4-5 pound roast and only used like 3 cups of water. Don't be makes enough au jus for the crowd. If you're worried about it (like I was) just add a little beef broth at the end to beef it up...get it!! HA!


1 (14 piece) box manicotti noodles
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
2-3 c shredded mozzerella cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1/2 c asiago cheese
1 (28 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 can Italian diced tomaotes, drained
1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with a little seasoned salt and italian seasoning. Drain fat from meat and add spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes. Heat through. In the meantime, boil water with 1 T salt for the manicotti noodles. Only cook them for 3-4 minutes max and drain. You want them to still be hard so they won't tear when you fill them. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 c mozzerella, parmesan and asiago. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill manicotti with cheese mixture being careful not to tear noodles. In a 9 by 13 pan, put enough sauce in the bottom to cover with a thin layer. Place filled manicotti in pan side by side. Pour the rest of the sauce over top of manicotti. Top with remaining mozzerella. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

*This is another one of my original recipies...YEAH! I use SO much more asiago because in my opinion it's the BEST cheese there is out there! If you haven't used it I HIGHLY recommend it. I use it in ALL of my italian dishes. It's a lot like parmesan, but is a little sharper and adds such great flavor. You can also make a meatless sauce instead if you prefer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pizza Melts

2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
¼ c. pizza sauce
1 (3.5oz.) pkg. sliced pepperoni
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg, beaten
2 T parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 c. pizza sauce, for dipping

Heat oven to 375º F. Grease cookie sheet. On cookie sheet, unroll 1 can of dough into 1 large rectangle. With floured rolling pin or fingers, roll or press dough into 12”x9” rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread ¼ c. pizza sauce over dough to within ¼” of edges. Top with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. On 14” length of parchment paper, unroll remaining can of dough. Press to make 12”x9” rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. While holding paper with dough, turn dough upside down to cover cheese. Remove paper. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and oregano. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Move to cutting board. Using pizza cutter, cut into 16 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally. Serve with 1 c. pizza sauce for dipping.

* I put a lot more sauce inside because that's the way we like it. Actually, I would put even MORE sauce next time! I topped it off with shredded parmesan cheese and italian seasoning instead of just oregano.

*Picture and recipe courtesy of because my pictures have been deleting from my camera every so often and it's SOOOO annoying!! I even got some good ones of this! AHH!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 pint fresh strawberries
1 (8 0z) package cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t almond extract
Wash strawberries. Cut tops off to make flat bottom. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture into the corner of a ziploc bag. Wash strawberries. Cut tops off to make flat bottom. Quarter strawberries from tip to stem end without cutting through stem end. Cut corner off ziploc bag. Pipe cream cheese mixture into strawberries. Chill until ready to serve.

*These would be SO cute for a shower or party! There are so many ways you can do these too. You can add orange zest or juice to make a citrus filling, top with shaved or melted chocolate, or my favorite idea...actually make a no-bake cheesecake and then put it in a food processor (or just kitchen aid) and have a ACTUAL cheesecake stuffed strawberry. You really can be creative with whatever you want to do!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies

1 1lb bag of Jet Puffed marshmallows
1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter
1/4 c peanut butter
8 cups rice krispies
12 oz chocolate, melted
1 (10 oz) bag Reeses Peanut Butter Chips

In a large pot, melt butter and marshmallows until creamy. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended. Add rice krispies and stir till coated. Add half of the bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Chips to rice krispies. Put in a 9 by 13 pan and smooth top. Melt chocolate until smooth and cover the top of the rice krispies. Sprinkle the rest of the bag of Reeses Peanut Butter chips over the top. ENJOY!

*This can actually go in the recipe box as one of only a few of MY original recipies. I've made them so many times and so many different ways and this is the conclusion. You can use creamy or chunky peanut butter, either one is great. Of course I usually melt a bag of Guittard milk chocolate chips for the topping cause they are THE BEST, but you can use whatever you like best...some people like darker chocolate better. You can serve them right away - ooey gooey - or several hours later after the chocolate has cooled and hardened. They are amazing either way. If you are making them for a large group, you can also put them in a sheet cake pan and melt more chocolate and it makes more servings with a thinner rice krispies layer. I DEFINITELY recommend trying these!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quick Pizza Dough

1 package of yeast
1 C warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T oil
2 1/2 C flour
1 t Italian Seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
2 T cornmeal (optional for sprinkling on cookie sheet)

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add sugar. Let yeast sit about 10 minutes (you want it good and foamy). Stir in remaining ingredients until blended. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. (I did this all in my kitchen aid) Allow dough to rest 5 minutes in a bowl with saran wrap or a towel over it. Preheat oven to 425, spread dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal (optional). Top with desired toppings and bake for 20 minutes. This makes 1 (14 inch) pizza.

*I upped the oven to 500 degrees and baked it for 10 minutes flat. It cooked it perfect (thanks to Eileen's sister, Mary!) The cheese was nice and bubbly when it came out. I thought this was a pretty good dough for how fast it was. I don't have a pizza baking sheet or stone, so I just put it in a sheet cake pan and had it extend to and up the it was a rectangle pizza, but who cares anyway...IT'S PIZZA! VERY easy and VERY good.

*From Real Mom Kitchen.

Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

For some reason some of the pictures are going sideways and it's driving me CRAZY!!! In my opinion, this is THE BEST recipe out there for Cafe Rio salads! The dressing is EXACTLY the same as Cafe Rio...TRUST ME...THESE ARE AMAZING!! Tortillas:
4 c flour
1 t baking powder
3 t salt
½ c shortening
1 ½ c hot water

To flour add baking powder and salt. Add shortening, blend with no lumps. Add water. Knead for 15 minutes. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes (or more if you have the time.) Roll out 1 ½ inch balls. Put in frying pan with NO nonstick spray. Then place shredded cheese on one side to melt.

*You can use store-bought tortillas...but do yourself a favor and MAKE THESE! To make them stay thin and big, roll them out on a VERY lightly floured surface and leave them stretched out for a few minutes so they don't shrink back up when you lift them from the counter. Put in the frying pan and only lightly brown both sides. The one in this pictures is almost too overdone. The less you cook them, the softer they stay...or if you like a crisper tortilla, leave it on longer. To melt the cheese, I put a lid over then frying pan for about 30 seconds or less and it melts instantly.
Lime Rice:
2 T butter
1 yellow onion chopped
4 cloves minced garlic

Bring to a boil:
6 2/3 c water
8 t chicken bullion (or 8 cubes)
½ bunch cilantro chopped
2 t cumin
2 small cans diced green chilies
1 T lime juice
½ t salt

Add onion and garlic to boiling water. Add 3 cups rice of your choice (not instant). Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 min.
5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
1 cup salsa
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
3 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients in a large crock pot and cook for 10-12 hours. I usually just put the chicken in frozen. Right before serving stir and chicken should shred itself. Make sure not to shred chicken too early because it soaks up all of the juices too soon. Shred it right before serving.
Tomatillo Dressing:
1 package Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Dressing mix
1 c Buttermilk
1 c mayonnaise
1-2 tomatillos
1 clove minced garlic
½ bunch cilantro chopped
½ t lime juice
1 small jalapeno, seeds and core removed

Blend ingredients in a blender till smooth. I ALWAYS double this recipe (except the's enough for me!)
* Layer salad in this order: tortilla with cheese, black beans, lime rice, chicken, romaine lettuce cut thinly, dressing, pico de gallo, guacamole, lime wedge, and cilantro and parmesan to top it off. This makes enough for at least 10-12 people...and you'll even end up with leftovers! But that's fine with me because Justin and I have this salad for dinner about 3 more times after the first makes A LOT! Trust me...MAKE THIS won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Magic in the Middle Cookies

Chocolate Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling:
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.

To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

*When I made the chocolate dough, I added some chopped almond bark that I had (chopped REALLY small.) I Just felt like there was a lot of peanut butter and it would be good to add a little more chocolate. It worked great! I also didn't press them as flat, so the peanut butter center was thicker and creamier, which was AMAZING! I baked them for exactly 8 minutes.

Pork and Green Beans in Hoisin Sauce

1 pound pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper
4 medium garlic cloves, smashed
12 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish, optional
Steamed rice, for serving, if desired

Trim excess fat and silverskin from tenderloin. Cut into 1-inch pieces, pat with paper towels, rub with some sesame oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a medium skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. When oil shimmers, add pork and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove pork to a plate, return skillet to stove, and 2 T olive oil and add garlic. When garlic is fragrant, add green beans and stir occasionally until browned, about 3 minutes. Add apple juice and hoisin, stir to combine, and cook until beans are tender and sauce is reduced slightly, about 4 minutes. Return pork to pot, turn to coat in sauce, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, if using, and serve over rice.

*I watched this on the Food Network and my mouth was watering so bad I immediately jumped in the car and raced to the store. To get an exact pound of tenderloin, I went to the meat counter and asked the butcher for an even pound. Then I cut it into large chunks. When smashing the garlic, leave the clove in it's skin and turn it on its side and smash it with a large bladed knife. It pretty much pops out of it's skin and instantly "chops" the garlic. The original recipe calls for sherry, but I just substituted apple juice instead - it was all about adding a sweeter bite to the dish. You don't taste apple at all...if you were wondering. I used fresh green beans because in my opionion, nothing else is better...but when it came down to it - I knew Justin would have liked it better with canned. Just use what you are comfortable with. I had never cooked with hoisin sauce (because I never cook oriental food) and I was VERY pleasantly surprized! The glaze it creates is delicious! I would recommend trying this. It's different, but SO good!
*Adapted from The Food Network

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar

In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 VERY large rolls.
Now hit the treadmill...cause you're going to need it!
*These are the most AMAZING cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted! They are INCREDIBLY moist and no need to warm them up in the microwave several days after you make them because they stay super moist and soft. And don't even get me started on the frosting!!! The dough is VERY soft and kind of hard to work with, but don't give up because they are SOOOO worth it!
*Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.

Chicken Spaghetti

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced onion
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into two inch pieces
chicken broth
2 cups reserved chicken broth from pot
1 t seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 additional cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Cook spaghetti in enough chicken broth until al dente (remembering to save about 1/2-1 cup of broth it's cooking in.) Do not overcook. Saute pepper and onion in olive oil for a few minute. Add cooked chicken and cream of chicken soup. Turn heat to low. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with chicken mixture. Add reserve chicken broth to thin mixture to desired consistancy. Add the rest of above ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, or bake immediately at 350 degrees for 30-40 mintues until bubbly and cheese is melted.
*This is a staple in our house...and I guarentee EVERYONE will LOVE it! When I make it, I usually use 1 chicken breast per cup it says to make (2). That way I can half it and only use 1 chicken breast because I'm only feeding 2 people and it ends up leaving us almost no leftovers. I ususally boil frozen chicken breast in enough chicken broth (I usually use granules in water) to cover the chicken significantly for about an hour until chicken is done but not dry (the chicken will have a little yellow tint from the broth.) Then you can just use this remaining chicken broth for boiling the spaghetti. It flavors the chicken and spaghetti perfectly and it's so easy!
*Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Caramelized Apple Puff Stackers

1 sheet thawed puff pastry

4 Tablespoons real butter

4 Tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 large apple, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced

1 (8oz) package cream cheese

¼ Cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Carefully unfold pastry onto a lightly floured counter. Cut into 9 equal size squares and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt butter and honey until bubbly. Reduce heat to low and stir in cinnamon. Let simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in apples and simmer for an additional 5-8 minutes or until apples are tender. The thinner the apples are cut, the faster they will cook!

Spread divided cream cheese over 4 pastry squares (flat side). Spoon apples and honey sauce over mascarpone layer then top with 4 more pastry squares. There will be one left over. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve warm, Enjoy! Makes 4 stackers.

*Slice your apples paper thin and they will cook much faster. These are SUPER easy and OH MAN...DELICIOUS!!!!
*Adapted from Picky Palate.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you don't want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish)
3/4 cup quick oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. Serve over rice or by themselves.

*These were REALLY good and I don't even like meat! I would recommend doubling the sauce because it doesn't make that much.
*Picture and recipe from My Kitchen Cafe. (Because my pictures were STRUGGLE CITY!!!)