Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Sorry I've been posting so many desserts! My mom has been here since the baby and has been taking care of all the dinners :) I couldn't be more grateful! I found these on Tasty Kitchen and knew that I needed to make them just for the fact that they had peanut butter cups in them. I can NEVER pass something up with a peanut butter cup in it!! The cheesecake part is super creamy and delicious. In the original recipe she used a graham cracker crust, but whenever I make any sort of cheesecake I use crushed up Chocolate Oreo Cookies. You should definitely try these!

15 Chocolate Oreo Cookies, crushed
5 T butter, melted
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla
12-14 whole Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, cut into 6 pieces each

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by lining the pan with aluminum foil, leaving 3-4 inches of foil draping over the sides of the pan.

The crust:

Mix Oreo cookies and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of prepared pan.

The filling:

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is very smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape the beaters and sides of bowl frequently. Gradually beat in granulated sugar until the mixture is combined, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, one a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated. Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract until fully combined, about 30 seconds.

Unwrap and cut 12 Reese’s peanut butter cups into 6 pieces. Gently fold into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the cream cheese mixture into the baking pan, over the top of crust. Spread evenly. Sprinkle over top 2 more peanut butter cups.

Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken slightly, about 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Turn off oven and leave inside for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Remove from oven and place the pan on a cooling rack and allow the bars to cool for 1-2 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Using the overhanging foil, lift the bars from the pan. Gently remove the foil and cut into 16 bars.

If you like, you can melt some chocolate to drizzle over the top of the bars for a little added dazzle!

*From Tasty Kitchen

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lemon Cake Like Olive Garden

My sister-in-law-to-be, Alayna, introduced this treasure to me. While she was staying with us a few weeks ago she made it and I think I died! This cake is dreamy!! It's so light, fluffy and delicious. Don't be deceived by the "lemon" in the cake. It's such a small amount and the first time I had it I couldn't even tell there was lemon in it. You can add more or less depending on your taste for lemon. I can't describe to you how amazing it is. Supposedly there is a cake at the Olive Garden that it's supposed to be like, although I've never had dessert there before. Either way it's out of this world!

For the Cake:
1 box French Vanilla cake
1 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

For the Lemon Cream Filling:
1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4 t lemon juice
1 cup heaving whipping cream

For the Crumb Coating:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 cup cold butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark nonstick pan). Grease 10 inch round cake pan (or 2 8-inch rounds). Make the cake according to box directions. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 40 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Make lemon cream filling: with an electric mixer mix whipping cream on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in lemon juice. Fold in whipped cream.

Make crumb topping by combining flour and powdered sugar in a bowl. Add butter and dribble in the vanilla (you can use more lemon juice here if you want a more "lemony" flavor.) Use your hands to mix the cold butter into the flour and sugar. Break butter into smaller and smaller pieces as you incorporate it into the dry ingredients. Be sure not to press the mixture together. You want to end up with a very crumbly consistency with pieces no bigger than a pea. (If you have trouble making small crumbs, pop the bowl into your fridge for a few minutes.) Chill the crumb topping until you're ready to use it.

When the cake is cool, slice it in half through the middle and remove the top. Spread all but 1/2 cup of the lemon cream mixture onto the bottom half of the cake. Then carefully replace the top half of the cake.

Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of cream filling over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the cake and press it onto the sides all the way around the cake.

Now chill the cake for at least 3 hours before you serve it. I didn't do this because we were all too excited to eat it and it was still divine! It is really good though when it's been in the fridge because the filling sets up and is just out of this world delicious!

When you cut it you can garnish with some powdered sugar for some added wow...especially if you're making it for a party.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Magic in the Middle Cupcakes

I started out wanting to make these cupcakes that I saw on Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice that were chocolate with a caramel frosting...but I remembered that I've been wanting to try "The Best Frosting I've Ever Had" from The Pioneer Woman. It just seemed so peculiar...I had to try it to see what the whole fuss was about! So I decided to half both frostings and try them both. I used the cupcake recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice (and the idea to hollow out the middle) and then used the frosting recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I ended up making both frostings, but the caramel one was just WAY too sweet for our tastes!! We LOVED the recipe for the cupcakes though! They were a little crisp on top but very moist in the center. Now let me just tell you...this frosting is UNREAL!!! I swear I've never had anything better! I first tried it when it had only been whipping for like 30 seconds and's not that good, but kept it whipping in the mixer. I let it whip for like 5 minutes on medium-high and the end result is just indescribable! You really can't know unless you try it. It's fluffy and the flavor is delicious. This frosting is definitely going to be my ONLY go-to recipe for vanilla frosting. It's just that good.

Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups flour
1/3 cup coca powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used chocolate chips)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cupcake pans by greasing or placing paper liners in them.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In a mixer on medium beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl occasionally. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in cooled chocolate.

Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth on low.

Fill cupcake wells 3/4 of the way. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.


1 cup milk
5 T flour
1 t vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (NOT powdered sugar!!)

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If in a hurry, place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools or just place in the fridge.) Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream (I let it go about 5 or more minutes with the whisk attachment on the mixer.)

To hollow out cupcakes, use a small sharp knife to cut out the center at an angle so the piece you cut out looks like a cone and is about an inch long. Fill in the hole with frosting (I just used a butter knife.) Cut the end off of the "cone" and put the lid back on top of the cupcake. Then frost as usual!'s such a fun twist on normal cupcakes!

*Cupcakes from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
*Frosting from The Pioneer Woman

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beef Pot Pie Wedges

I saw these on the Rachael Ray show and immediately wanted to make them! I'm always looking for new ways to use beef, since I usually opt for chicken. I actually changed them a lot, but her original recipe also looks great. She used steak and peas and we can't afford the luxury of steak and Justin can't stand peas, so I had to change it a little. When I was trying to figure out how to change it, I remembered this little Chilean restaurant that we go to with Abby and they serve these MARVELOUS empanadas there that have beef, onion and olives. Odd I know, but they are AMAZING!! So I tried to re-create those as best I could and here's what happened...AWESOMENESS!! These are TO DIE FOR!! And I don't even like beef. You should definitely try these!

2 T olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
seasoned salt
2 T butter
8 white mushroom caps, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 T flour
1-2 cups beef broth
1 small can chopped olives
2 T Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper
1 package (2 pieces) prepared pie crusts
1 egg, lightly beaten
shredded Mozzarella cheese
Sour Cream

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.

In a medium size skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and a generous dash of seasoned salt and cook until browned. Drain off fat and transfer to a plate. Add the butter to the skillet to melt, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the beef stock, olives and Worcestershire sauce. Return the meat to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens. Let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and mixture is thick. Season with salt and pepper; remove from the heat.

Unroll the piecrusts and halve them. Divide the meat among the four piecrust pieces, placing a mound on one side of each piece and leaving a small border. Top with a little dash of shredded Mozzarella cheese. Brush the edges of each piecrust piece with some of the egg. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, pressing down on the edges; crimp with a fork. Brush the tops of the dough with more of the egg and transfer the pies to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until golden-brown, about 15-20 minutes. Top with sour cream...ENJOY!

*From Rachael Ray.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fudge Revel Bars

Very easy and perfect warm straight out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream on top! I ended up doing it in a 9x13 pan and it turned out perfect. If you want a thinner cookie bar, do them in a sheetcake pan.

1 cup butter, plus 1 T divided
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t salt, divided
1 t baking soda
2 1/2 cup flour
3 cups quick oats
1 (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

Cream together 1 cup of butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Add the vanilla. Add 1 teaspoon salt, baking soda, and flour. Mix. Add oats and mix well. Press 2/3 of the dough into a greased cookie sheet.

Put sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute and stir. Keep cooking at 30-second increments and stirring until melted (I did this on the stove in a saucepan.) Pour over the dough and spread out. Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the fudge.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*From Tasty Kitchen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Twix Cookies

I saw these a while back on Tasty Kitchen and wanted to make them, but never had the right opportunity. I wasn't just going to make them for Justin and I because they were just way too involved for me not to show anyone :) So my Aunt Pam called and asked if I would bring a dainty little dessert for our dainty little luncheon and I automatically thought of these! The PERFECT opportunity!! And we all know how I love all things dainty when it comes to parties! Despite what you think, they are actually very easy to make and were absolutely delicious! Try them because you definitely won't be disappointed.

1 cup plus 2 T butter room temperature, divided
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
2 cups flour
1 jar (about 1 quart) Dulce De Leche, homemade or store-bought (found in the Mexican isle at the grocery store)
1 T heavy cream
12 ounces chocolate chips (I used half semi-sweet, half milk chocolate)

Cream 1 cup of the butter, salt, sugar and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and blend until the mixture resembles sand with pieces the size of peas scattered throughout. If you take a small handful and squeeze it, the mixture should hold together well.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Lightly butter (I lightly buttered with crisco) or spray a 36 mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mound the dough mixture into each mini-muffin cup. Use a small wooden tamper or your hands to press down the dough. When all have been firmed, use the tamper carefully to push a well into the center of each cookie. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden around the edges. Do not over bake. Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing. Allow cookies to cool completely before filling.

When the cookies are cooled, fill each well with dulce de leche. Place each filled cookie on a clean rimmed pan lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. When all the cookies have been filled, transfer the tray to the freezer for two hours.

Before removing the cookies from the freezer, put the remaining butter, heavy cream and chocolate chips in a microwave safe container. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir with a silicone or rubber spatula and microwave at 10-second increments, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Remove cookies from the freezer and work quickly to dip the bottom half of each cookie into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip away before replacing on the tray. When they have all been dipped, return the pan to the freezer for thirty minutes.

If the chocolate has set up, microwave in 10-second increments, again stirring after each, until the chocolate is fluid and smooth. Take the cookies from the freezer. Drizzle chocolate over each cookie or pick cookie up and dip half of it into the chocolate. You need to work quickly if you’re dipping the cookies, as the dulce de leche will return to room temperature rather quickly, which will make the process a great deal messier.

* From Tasty Kitchen

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baked Broccoli

I'm always looking for new ways to eat vegetables since Bryce and Justin both STRUGGLE with eating them! This was just the ticket. The broccoli was perfectly cooked...not to crisp but not too soggy - perfection. The flavor is just so awesome. Trust me...just try it!

2 heads broccoli
3 T olive oil
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried garlic powder or 1 t fresh minced garlic
15 whole Ritz crackers
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut broccoli into florets and rinse. Place crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush. Add the oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to the bag. Mix around. Add the broccoli and the olive oil to the bag also. Mix around until the broccoli is evenly coated. Place in a baking dish or cookie sheet. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. If the broccoli is still too firm for your taste, keep in oven in 5 minutes increments until your preferred crispness is reached. Enjoy!

*From Tasty Kitchen

Pasta Carbonara

Such a yummy pasta dish that's just a little bit different. I doubled the sauce cause the hubs and I like things saucy! Bryce also thought this was fabulous! The website I got it from also said it would be a great for a base sauce on a pizza...SUCH an awesome idea!

5 strips of Bacon, diced (I use the center cut bacon, less fat, more meat.)
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 Cups Milk (or half and half for an even richer sauce...I used a 2% and skim mix)
1/2 cups Sour Cream (low fat or regular)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped (I used dried parsley to taste)
Black Pepper

Cook the bacon over medium low heat, until crisp. Remove from pan to a drain on a paper towel and then crumble into small pieces. Add the onions and garlic to bacon grease and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the onion begins to caramelize.

While the onions and bacon cook whisk the sour cream, milk, cheese and 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper together, set aside.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion/garlic mixture and cook for another minute.

Stir in the milk/cheese/sour cream mixture. Allow to simmer, stirring to prevent burning, until thick. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Stir in parsley and bacon and remove from heat. Serve over pasta with additional parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

*From The Open Pantry

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

These truffle cookies are AMAZING!!!...who am I kidding...they ARE truffles!! If you are craving that smooth, creamy, decadent truffle taste look no further. They are very simple and extremely delicious. There was a note on My Kitchen Cafe (where I discovered these) about making sure your butter isn't too soft otherwise they might spread instead of staying round, plump and delicious. If your dough is too soft, place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes so that you are able to roll into a ball easily.

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
approximately 1/3 cup cocoa powder (for rolling)
approximately 2/3 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar, adding the sugar in slowly so that it doesn’t puff everywhere and transform your kitchen into a white mess. In a fine mesh strainer/sieve, place the cocoa powder and salt and sift this mixture into the butter/sugar and mix until well combined. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, blend in the flour until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.

If your kitchen is very warm and the dough is hard to handle, refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes before rolling.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball lightly in the cocoa powder and place on the baking sheet. Do not flatten the cookies. The cookies will not spread very much if the dough is chilled, so they can be placed fairly close together.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. They will just barely be set but you don't want to overbake or they will be dry. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cookies have reached room temperature, after about 30-45 minutes, roll each cookie in powdered sugar until completely coated. Store in an airtight container.

*From My Kitchen Cafe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

So I'm not going to pretend that this is my picture...I was just too lazy, hungry and pregnant to take a picture of my own. I first saw this on The Pioneer Woman and I have since seen them on several other cooking blogs that I follow. I wasn't going to make them, but gave in. Now this is a bad thing because they possibly could be the best things I've ever eaten! MUST eat them with the Maple-Butter icing. They are TO DIE FOR!!!

1 1/2 cups flour
3 T white sugar
1/2 t salt
4 t baking powder
1 T cinnamon
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 T corn syrup ( I didn't have corn syrup, so I used honey and it was FABULOUS!)
1/4 cup melted butter

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and whisk together until well combined.

In a separate bowl (I used the Kitchen Aid) mix eggs, milk, corn syrup and butter. Stir in flour mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle to medium/low heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle and brown on both sides. Serve immediately with Maple-butter icing.

Maple-Butter Icing: (Definitely double the recipe)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
dash of salt
1 T maple syrup
1/4 cup milk (more if needed)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve over warm Cinnamon Bun Pancakes...or any other pancakes, waffles or french toast.

*Picture and recipe from The Pioneer Woman.