Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Brittle

I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it. More importantly, I love Christmas FOOD! I like making special little treats too. My kids call them “goodies.” We LOVE receiving goodies and we also LOVE making our signature goodies to deliver to people over the Holidays. I’m a brittle person. I basically like any kind of brittle. Rich, crisp, crunchy, chocolaty brittle.

My all time favorite is the California Brittle from See’s. You can go ahead and buy me a 2 pound box of that for Christmas:) I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I originally decided to make a brittle this year at the request of Justin’s Boss. He gave me his specific specifications of his perfect brittle, which happened to be mine too!! There MUST be almonds. There MUST be a thick layer of chocolate. Now get the good stuff…none of this Nestle chocolate chip business. The best is Ghirardelli or Guittard, which you can find in almost any grocery store. Splurge…believe me

. I have to admit, it was extremely easy and by far the best brittle I’ve had. Even the hubs loved it and he doesn’t like almonds OR brittle. So there you have it. It’s easy AND delicious therefore you must make it. Now get to work!

1 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 (12oz) bag milk chocolate chips (4 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 3-5 minutes (stir after each minute).  On foil-lined baking sheet, arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 13x9 inches. I do this by getting a jelly roll pan and lining half of it with foil, folding the foil up in the middle of the pan to create an edge.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry wooden spoon till butter is melted.  Continue cooking and stirring for approx. 7-10 min. until candy is the color of the brown skin of the almonds; it will start smoking slightly. You need to work quickly at this point so that the toffee doesn’t burn. As soon as it reaches the almond color, immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts.  Sprinkle 2 cups of chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy.  Cover with another baking sheet and wait 1 minute. The chocolate should be completely melted. Spread the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula until it is smooth over top of the toffee.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans.  Let cool completely. 

After the toffee is cool and the chocolate is hardened, Pick it up (it should be a solid piece now), remove the foil, and turn it over. Melt 2 more cups of chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second increments and pour over top of the bottom of the toffee. Immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of pecans. Wait until the second layer of chocolate is cooled and solid and break into pieces. You can only do 1 layer of chocolate, but it’s best with both layers:) Then wrap it up and pass it out to your friends for the Holidays and they’ll be begging you for the recipe! The first time I made it I think I literally ate half of the pan. It’s TOO DANG GOOD!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snickers Cupcakes

I love a good Snickers now and then. So then I though…why not a Snickers cupcake?!
So I made some. And they’re my new favorite:) A moist, fluffy cake filled with caramel then topped off with a light, whipped peanut butter buttercream.

1 box devil’s food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 t vanilla

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 t vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 T whipping cream

1 can Dulce de Leche

2-3 regular sized Snickers bars for garnish

For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, combine all cake ingredients except the cake mix and mix until smooth. Stir in cake mix. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake about 17 minutes or until cupcake springs back when tapped. It’s RARE that I bake mine longer than this. Make sure you know your oven and DON’T over bake!!

Once cooled, open the can of Dulce de Leche. Microwave in a bowl until warm and loose. Pour into a piping bag, fitted with the fill tip. Fill the cupcakes with the Dulce de Leche.

For the Frosting:
With the whisk attachment, beat the butter until basically white – about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides often. Add the peanut butter and beat another 2 minutes. Add vanilla and slowly add the powdered sugar until frosting becomes thick. Add whipping cream until desired consistency is reached. You want to make sure you add enough whipping cream to get the frosting nice and fluffy and not dense. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Use the rest of the Dulce de Leche and drizzle over the frosting. Top with a small piece of Snickers. Enjoy!!!

*From Your Cup of Cake

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crockpot Barbeque Ribs


I’m not much of a meat eater. I enjoy a little here and there and I’m good with that. My hubby on the other hand…LOVES MEAT. Naturally, I cook it for him:) He’s always ordering some ribs or burgers or steak when we go out so I decided I would look for a delicious rib recipe I could make at home. I wasn’t counting on the first one I tried to be SOO delicious, but I got lucky. These are literally fall off the bone delicious. You can barely get them out of the crockpot, they’re so tender. And we all know I’m into anything that’s super easy for dinner. You want moist, tender, delicious, EASY ribs? Make these.
3 lbs. pork or beef ribs (I buy the pork ribs from Costco – 6lb pack so you can have these TWICE!!!)
1 cup beef broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Rub ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Place ribs standing upright in the crockpot. Mix together beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and pour over ribs. Pour barbecue sauce over ribs. Cook on low for about 6 hours. You’ll know they’re perfect when you go to pull a bone out and it pops right off. Serve with additional barbeque sauce for dipping.
*From Team Hess

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Perfect Buttercream

I’m not much of a buttercream kind of person. They’re always too sweet. I’ve tried several and have been equally disappointed every time. Then I found this new recipe. Guess what’s different…nothing. Still all the same ingredients, but used in a different way. This knowledge has changed my life!! Ha. Well maybe not my life…but it’s changed my cupcake life:) So follow these simple rules to the greatest buttercream your lips have ever tasted!!

Before you start, here’s some tips for the fluffiest, richest buttercream:

* REALLY whip the butter. Whip it with your whisk attachment and whip it till it’s white. Pay super close attention to the color. Butter is yellow to start, but by the time you’re done whipping, it should be white or very, very pale.

* Use heavy cream. Cream makes it creamier and whip up fluffier.

* Use salted butter. People might say I’m crazy, but salted butter cuts the sweetness of the frosting. No one wants a frosting that hurts their teeth it’s so sweet. Don’t EVER EVER EVER use margarine in your frostings!! Make sure it’s REAL butter!!

* Don't overdue it with the vanilla, add no more than 1 1/2 tsp. If anything reduce the amount. The beauty of the flavors of the buttercream comes from the butter. By whipping the butter so long, it makes it basically taste like ice cream. This is the flavor you want to shine through, not the vanilla.

* Take the time to whip it more once you’ve added the cream. Whip it for at least as long as directed. This is what makes it so decadent and fluffy…almost like the consistency of a whipped cream.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 T heavy cream
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the whisk attachment whip butter on high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Add in powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 - 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Immediately spread over cooled cake or cupcakes.

**If you want an alternate flavor of frosting, coconut or almond extract would be a great substitute for the vanilla extract, just add it to taste.
* From Cooking Classy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Calzones

I love pizza, I love calzones, I LOVE alfredo. These are the perfect dinner…all packaged into one little pocket. And making it with the Guiltless Alfredo makes it even more delicious. You won’t be disappointed with these delicious calzones!!

8 Slices of bacon
2 chicken breasts
3 green onions, chopped
1lb fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1 recipe pizza dough (found here)
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo (found here)
2 T flour
2 T butter
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Start by frying the bacon.  Once cooked, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
Carefully remove the bacon fat from the pan and wipe with a paper towel to remove the excess.  Measure 1 T of bacon grease and put it back into the pan. 

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the pan seasoned side down.  Season the other side of the chicken and let cook on medium high heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and chop into bite sized pieces.  Set everything out for assembly.

Take a large jelly roll (or cookie sheet) pan and dust  with flour.  Take 1/4 of the pizza dough and shape it into an oval. Add a layer of fresh Mozzerella to half of the dough, leaving enough space on the outer edge so you can seal it later. Add the chicken to the top of the cheese.  Add the bacon, green onion, Alfredo sauce and a bit of the parmesan cheese.  Pull the other half of the dough over the ingredients to make a pocket.  Using your fingers pinch and seal the edges.

Take a sharp knife and cut three small slits in the top.  Melt the 2 T of butter in the microwave and brush over the top.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  Check to see if it is golden brown, if not add a few minutes at a time.  Ours took about 25 minutes.
Serve with additional Alfredo sauce and enjoy!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Banana Bars with Brown Butter Frosting

CSC_0287 - Copy
I always have over-ripe bananas. Does this only happen to me? I don’t eat the things anyway. The kids and hubby love them, but if I get an off batch…they are left to rot. So I’m always looking for new banana recipes. These are by far the best things I’ve ever made with bananas! The thing that makes them so delicious is the brown butter frosting. Sweet and a little salty, with a deep, dark flavor. DELICIOUS!! The frosting would be to die for on a cake – that might be my next adventure:)
So if you have over-ripe bananas, try these!! You won’t be disappointed!

Banana Bars:
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk (I use buttermilk)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.  For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy.  Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.  Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Spread batter evenly into pan.  Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until top springs back.

Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Butter can go from browned to burnt VERY fast.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk to the browned butter.  Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting).  Using a rubber spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

*From Life’s Simple Measures

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pizza Rollups

I had this genius idea one day. ANYTHING can go in a crescent roll:) So lately I’ve been trying all sorts of things!! My favorite combo is the pizza one. I made it once and then made it 3 more times. It’s also a KID FAVORITE. Is so easy, so delicious and perfect for those nights that your short on time and patience for dinner. I also recommending making more than you think you need because I ran out VERY quickly all the times I made them with people wanting more.

Crescent rolls
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese

Unroll the crescent rolls into each individual roll. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the whole triangle except for the very tip. Then add cheese and a few slices of pepperoni. Rollup and place on a cookie sheet and bake as directed on the package of crescent rolls. ENJOY!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IHOP Pancakes

I love trying new recipes for pancakes. I haven’t bought a premade pancake mix in probably over a year. Over that year I’ve probably tried about 10 different pancake recipes. These are by far the best! And just like the title indicates…they taste JUST like IHOP pancakes! No joke. I’ve had several guests comment on how great they are too. So if you’re looking for an easy, delicious pancakes and don’t want to go out, try these!

1 1/4 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
2 T melted butter
1/4 c. sugar

Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder,and salt. Mix the egg with the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture, stirring only until incorporated. Add the melted butter and sugar. Fry on a greased griddle.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Butter Shrimp

This is my new favorite dish. I’ve been on a crazy seafood kick lately and this just hits the spot! YUMM!! It’s also so easy and fast to make, which this momma ALWAYS loves. It goes perfect atop warm, parmesan noodles also…just FYI.
Do you want to splurge and make a decadent meal that super quick, but delicious? Then make this. Oh, and it was DIVINE as leftovers the next day for lunch!!

1 pound medium raw shrimp (fresh or frozen, but thawed – I like to buy the frozen at Costco)
1 lemon
1 stick butter
1 packet Italian Seasoning Mix
1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked
parmesan cheese

Line a jellyroll pan with foil. Slice a whole lemon VERY thinly. Place a layer of lemon slices over an entire jellyroll pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.

In the meantime, add a layer of shrimp to the top of the lemons, making sure they aren’t overlapping.  After the butter is melted, add the seasoning mix and stir. Pour over shrimp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Either eat alone or with spaghetti. After I cooked my spaghetti, I added a dash of olive oil and then about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Don’t forget to pour a little butter sauce on top of the noodles…TO DIE FOR!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homemade Twix Bars

Remember how I made that 6-Minute caramel? It has it’s purpose now – inside these Homemade Twix Bars.
I love a good Twix every once in a while, don’t you? And since finding this faster than fast caramel, they are beyond easy to make! Crumbly, light cookie crust with a chewy, gooey caramel, topped with delicious chocolate. You’ll love these!

Cookie Crust (recipe follows)
1 recipe Homemade 6-Minute Caramel (recipe found here)
2 cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet, whichever you prefer)

Cookie Crust
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
2 T milk

Cream together your butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add this to the butter mixture. Finally, at low speed, add in the milk and vanilla.

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning the baking sheet half-way through baking. Remove and cool completely.

After crust has cooled completely, make the caramel and add it directly to the top of the crust. Let caramel completely cool and set.

Melt chocolate chips in 15 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between. Top the caramel with the melted chocolate. Allow to completely cool by placing it in the fridge. After cookies are solid, they’ll just pop right out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Southwest Salad Dressing

This salad is the best. EVER. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Alyssa. She changed my life with it when I visited a few months back. It’s the dressing that makes it super-duper good. It’s a southwest dressing with a little bit of a kick. It’s like nothing I’ve had before and I’m completely addicted. 
And besides the dressing being AMAZING, you can make the salad what you want! Put whatever the heck you want in there. I usually always do fresh corn and black beans, but I’ve put quinoa in there, blue cheese, sliced almonds, crushed up tortilla chips, avocado, red peppers, you name it – I’ve done it. That’s what I like about it! My favorite thing to do right now is marinate some shrimp in the dressing itself and then grill them for a great salad topper. YUMMMM. The key to the salad is the dressing. Get creative!!
I've made this for 2 parties so far and have been asked countless times for the recipe. It's SOOO good!!!

Southwest Dressing:
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2t chipotle chili powder
2T honey
1/2t sea salt
1 cup cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour on your favorite salad or use as a marinade.

For the Salad:
1-2 heads romaine lettuce
1 bag baby spinach
2-3 ears fresh corn, cooked
1/2 c black beans
1/4 cup cotija cheese (or any kind of mexican cheese)
1-2 avocado, diced
tortilla chips, crushed (I like to use Tostitos Roasted Garlic and Black Bean chips…or you can use southwest tortilla strips)

Toss your creation into a large salad bowl and top with the Southwest Dressing.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade 6-Minute Caramels

Who doesn’t want caramel in 6 minutes? Who doesn’t want SUPER delicious, SUPER soft, perfect caramel in 6 minutes? This is my new favorite thing to make. It’s just too easy! Would you believe that it’s made in the microwave in 6 minutes? Nope, you wouldn’t. I was super shocked at how perfect they came out.  It makes such a great gift too. And look in the next couple of weeks where I turn this delicious caramel into homemade Twix bars…YEEESSSS!

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 

Combine all ingredients.

Cook 6 minutes, stirring every two minutes. 

Stir and pour into lightly greased dish – I like a 9x13 because it gives a thin layer. Let cool completely. 

Cut, wrap in wax paper & store in air tight container. I like to cut big squares and then roll them up slightly into a log, then wrap them in wax paper. If you want it thicker, just pour into a smaller dish to cool and then cut. Enjoy!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Rattlesnake Bites

These were a fun, easy option for dinner. You also could whip these up for an appetizer, lunch or a snack. The filling is so scrumptious! I had a lot leftover because I only had 1 tube of the crescent dough, so I just added some Pepperjack cheese and we ate it as a dip for chips. Yum!

1 pound ground beef (I use ground turkey)
1 (4oz) can diced green chilies
1 (80z) package cream cheese, cubed
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t chili powder
2-3 tubes refrigerated crescent dough

In a large skillet, cook beef and chilies over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, then drain. Add the cream cheese, cumin and chili powder.

Separate crescent dough into triangles. Place 1 T of beef mixture in the middle of the triangle roll up, pinching it closed so no filling is showing.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-14 minutes or until golden brown.

*From Taste of Home

Friday, August 24, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I’m all about a new twist on an old classic! These were delicious and extremely fast and easy.
The kids and hubby LOVED them. It tastes exactly like a Cheesesteak. The flavors were spot on. This made just enough for my little family of 4 (well 4 that eat real food:) So if you have more than 2 adults and 2 small children to feed, you’ll have to double it. You want the peppers good and stuffed…like I pressed the filling down into every crevice of the pepper. Also, if you don’t like a super firm pepper (like me…I don’t) then just blanch the peppers before you fill them – it’ll soften them up a bit. Enjoy the yumminess of comfort food, low carb style!

8 oz. thinly sliced Roast Beef
8 slices Provolone Cheese
2 large green bell peppers
1 medium onion
6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 T garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds.

Mince onions and mushrooms.  Saute over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Saute until onions and mushroom are nice and caramelized.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop roast beef into small pieces and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook 5 minutes
Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese. Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing (REALLY press that mixture in:)

Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.

*From Peace, Love and Low Carb

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

These little babies gave me my first paid cupcake job:) I made them, someone tasted them and then asked me to make them for a birthday party. I filled a few with the lemon curd, then decided they were better topped with the curd because the blueberries made the cake so moist.
And plus, the cupcakes don’t rise so much, so fill those babies full! The whole batter should fill a 24-cupcake tin.
But see how pretty and summery they are?! Perfect for a non-chocolate option. Then top them with my new absolutely favorite fluffy and delicious whipped cream cheese frosting. I’m loving the frosting because it’s still cream cheesy, but it doesn’t have butter so it holds up REALLY well at room temperature and isn’t as heavy.  The end result is a pretty heavenly cupcake! The tang from the curd, the moistness from the blueberries, the lightness of the frosting…who wouldn’t pay for these?!

Lemon-Blueberry Cake
2 cups plus 6 T flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
3 cups fresh blueberries (reserve 24 blueberries if you want to use them for garnish)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 t vanilla
1 t lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tin with cupcake papers.  Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 T flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.

Stir whole milk, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among cupcake cups.

Bake until toothpick inserted into center of a couple cupcakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then put onto racks until completely cool. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemon Curd
*If you’re going to fill the cupcakes, I suggest doubling the recipe. But if you’re just going to top them with the curd, one batch is plenty.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one large lemon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 t cornstarch
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and zest.

Mix together the sugar, salt and cornstarch and add it to the pan.  Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth and return to heat. Cook over medium-low heat for roughly 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Once thickened, strain the mixture though a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Allow to chill in the refrigerator completely before using. Stir before using.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
16oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, cold

Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks. Fold the whipped heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture. Do not over beat. Pipe onto cupcakes topped with lemon curd. Enjoy!!

*PS: I added about 1-2 t of lemon juice to this frosting for this particular recipe. It gave it a hint of lemon, without overpowering. You don’t want to add too much because the lemon curd is VERY lemony.

*Cake and curd adapted from
*Frosting from Not So Humble Pie

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thai Chicken AKA: The Best Chicken EVER

I had this for the first time at my Aunt Mara’s house. I’ve gotten A LOT of my awesome recipes from her and her recipe collections. She suggested we make this chicken and said her family dies over it. When I read that it had peanut butter in it, I was EXTREMELY skeptical. I’m not really into savory dishes with peanut butter in them. Not at all. Well this chicken broke the mold. I LOVE THIS CHICKEN. That’s a fact. After I had it at my aunts, I made it 3 more times in the next 2 weeks. It’s THAT GOOD. Flavorful, moist and perfect. If you’re having people over for a summer BBQ, make this your main dish…people with beg at your feet for the recipe. If you’re having a lot of people over, definitely double the recipe. I actually double it every time because the chicken is perfect chopped up and cold on top of a salad.

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless  chicken (either tenderloins or breasts cut in half)
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
2 limes juiced and zested
3 cloves garlic
3 T soy sauce
3T brown sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced or 1 t ground ginger
1 T sesame oil
skewers, soaked in water

Combine all ingredients besides chicken in a bowl and whisk together. Combine marinade and chicken and put in a ziploc bag. Marinate in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours. Place each chicken piece on a skewer and grill on a BBQ. Enjoy the best chicken you’ve ever had!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicken With Tomato-Basil Sauce

I came across this recipe and knew it was one I wanted to try. I’m always on board for a new, simple chicken recipe. The hubbs LOVED this and licked his plate clean. I just sat and spooned the sauce into my mouth...yummmmm. A great recipe for something different to put into your chicken rotation. 

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (you can use dried)
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup regular cream (I just used milk)
1/2lb spaghetti

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken & grind fresh pepper on each side. Cover & cook until done, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and set aside, keeping covered. (You can also grill the chicken.)

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking 1-2 minutes, just until soft.  With a whisk, add flour and stir. Add tomatoes; stir.  Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking constantly to remove any lumps.  Add cream, still whisking. Continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let sit; it will continue to thicken, feel free to stir every so often as you cook the spaghetti.

Add fresh basil to sun dried tomato sauce and give it a good stir.
Place spaghetti noodles on serving plates, placing chicken directly on top of noodles.  Spoon as much sauce as you would like over chicken and noodles. Enjoy!  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This is one of the first recipes I put on this blog when I first started it. Have you ever had risotto? If you haven’t, YOU MUST!! It has to be one of my most favorite foods. It is a little labor-intensive, but man is it worth it! I usually save it for special occasions, or when the hubby requests it. For instance, it made an appearance on Father’s Day. It’s so rich, creamy and perfect. Here’s to remembering old recipes!!
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Arborio rice
7 to 8 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
2 cups (total) grated Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or Swiss cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chopped chives

Heat oil and butter in large skillet, then add chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft. Dump in 1 pound dry Arborio rice, and stir to coat. Then add the broth, in 1-cup increments, stirring after each addition until liquid is absorbed (add one cup broth, stir until liquid is absorbed, then add another cup, etc.) This takes about 20-30 minutes. Rice is done when it no longer has a hard bite. After all liquid is absorbed, add cream, cheese, salt & pepper, and stir to combine. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

*From The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

I’ve been on vacation for 5 weeks now, so that’s why my posts have been non-existent! But don’t worry because on my travels I’ve discovered several recipes that are sure to grace your recipe box!

Now I’m not much of a mint person. In fact I usually won’t even try things if I know they have mint in them. Just not my style I guess. I do, on the other hand, don’t mind a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream every once in a while. When I saw this cake it was just so beautiful and since the frosting is supposed to taste like the ice cream I thought I’d better try it. WOW! So delicious!! The cool, melt in your mouth frosting with the rich, thick ganache is just too delicious to describe! The thing I liked most about it is that instead of using regular mint extract you use peppermint extract. I didn’t think there would be much of a difference, but that’s what made it taste JUST like the ice cream. Yummy!

Your favorite chocolate cake cooked in 2 8inch baking pans and cooled

1 cup butter, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t peppermint extract
1/2 cup milk plus 2T
11 oz dark chocolate chunks
1/8t green food coloring gel

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 t peppermint extract (optional – I didn’t put it in cause I didn’t want it to be too overwhelmed with mint)

For the Frosting:
Chop chocolate chunks into smaller bits (not powder!!). Set aside. In a mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar and milk for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add in extract and food coloring gel. Mix until fully blended. Add more milk if necessary to get desired consistency. Fold in chopped chocolate chunks. Frost the first layer of the cake then top with the second layer of cake. Completely frost the top and sides of cake. 

For the Ganache: 
Heat 3/4 cup heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Place chocolate chips in a bowl then slowly add in hot cream and extract (if using). Stir until smooth and completely melted. Pour over frosted cake. 

I kept my cake in the fridge because the frosting was so fluffy it almost melted when I put the ganache on. Once it set up though it was fine. Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Perfect Pork Tenderloin

This is definitely something I’m putting in our dinner rotation. It’s so incredibly easy and so moist. I just buy the tenderloins from Costco and they do great. So moist, juicy and flavorful. I definitely recommend it. 

1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dry mustard (I used 2 t Dijon mustard)
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1-lb. pork tenderloin

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet over high heat, sear each side of tenderloin for 2-3 minutes until good, golden color is reached. Place in a baking dish lined with tin foil. Dump majority of the marinade over top of the tenderloin then put in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the meat has reached 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

*From Chef Mommy

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pizza Casserole

Well, this immediately became our new family favorite. It is DELICIOUS!! And it’s so easy to just throw together at the last minute, which I love. It also can feed an entire army, which was OK because we just ate it for leftovers day after day after day…DELICIOUS. 

1 can Pillsbury uncut crescent roll dough (Top crust)
1 can Pillsbury pizza dough (bottom crust)
Pizza sauce
Basil pesto in olive oil (homemade or store bought)
Jimmy Dean Sausage
diced onions
sliced mushrooms
diced green peppers
Shredded pizza cheese - blended Italian cheeses
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray clear 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small skillet, saute mushrooms, onions and green peppers until they begin to soften.
While the veggies saute, line the casserole with the pizza crust. Brush on a layer of basil pesto. followed by a layer of pizza sauce. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
Add a layer of pepperoni, then sausage crumbles, sauteed veggies, and shredded Italian cheeses. Repeat the layers.

Add the top crust of uncut crescent dough. Stretch it out carefully to cover the casserole. Add a little sauce to the top and another light layer of pepperoni, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, I used a glass casserole dish so I could visually check the bottom crust for doneness. If the top starts to over brown, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top until it finishes cooking.  Let stand for a few minutes and then slice and serve.

*From The Shady Porch

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Toasted Sesame Salmon

I’ve been craving a lot of fish lately, mainly Asia salmon. Weird, right? I had that craving almost every other day while I was pregnant and never had the energy to make it or pay for it at a restaurant. I found this recipe and knew it was going to be perfect. All the ingredients just go together, you know? And it comes out PERFECT every single time. I even buy the frozen salmon filets from Costco (SHHH, don’t tell anyone:)) so I don’t feel guilty about eating 5 times a week cause it won’t break the bank. Ha! I LOVE THIS FISH!!

1 1/2 pounds raw salmon (I use about 3-4 filets)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (I use about 1/2t ground ginger)
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat your outside grill, indoor grill pan, or George Foreman (this is what I use.) Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes (George Foreman obviously will cook super fast), depending on the salmon’s thickness, until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. Flip the salmon halfway through cooking. Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, green onions and the glaze below.

Sesame Honey Glaze
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I use a dash of ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon. ENJOY!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meatball Lasagna

I saw a version of this on Weight Watchers and thought it looked intriguing and delicious. One of the lasagna layers is just a straight layer of meatballs. Justin thought it was genius. It actually seemed a lot easier than regular lasagna because there’s only 1 layer of each of everything instead of layering the same thing over and over and over. This was so delicious and the perfect twist on a classic. 

12 lasagna noodles
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 t Italian seasoning
2 cups favorite pasta sauce ( I use Aunties Spaghetti Sauce, here)
24 meatballs (I use my turkey meatballs found here, but frozen is fine)

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and then lay flat on wax paper until ready to use. 

For the filling, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. On top place a layer of lasagna noodles. Then arrange a single layer of meatballs over top of noodles. Pour  more sauce over top of the meatballs. Then layer with another layer of noodles. Then spread the ricotta cheese mixture over top, then some more sauce and then about 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Then another layer of noodles. Finish it off with the rest of the sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and browned, about 40 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Asian Pasta Salad

I LOVE salads like this. You don’t have to cook a dang thing and it’s so refreshing. I’ve really been on this Asian kick too…loving the toasted sesame oil. And the best part is that it gets better and better as the days go by. The perfect salad to make and have for lunch the next day…and the next…and the next…
1 lb bowtie pasta
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-3 T sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 cups of rotisserie chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (put more chicken if you want it meatier)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seed
3 cups washed baby spinach

Boil and cook pasta. Make sure to salt the cooking water. Drain pasta and set and rinse with cold water. In a separate bowl combine oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and rice vinegar until well blended. In a large bowl combine pasta, peppers, onion, chicken and spinach. Toss with the sauce until well combined. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Keep in fridge until ready to eat, or serve immediately, either way is delicious.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fish Tacos With Avocado Cream

I like to make fish about once a week if I can. The kids have really come to like it. This recipe is so easy and is perfect for those nights you don’t feel like cooking – it can be whipped up in no time flat…like literally 10 minutes. It’s so flavorful and super delicious, not to mention healthy:)

2 Tilapia filets
1 T taco seasoning
1 lime, juiced
1 small avocado
1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)

In a Ziploc bag combine the lime juice with the taco seasoning. Shake the bag to mix, then add the Tilapia filets. Marinate for about 10 minutes while you heat your grill (I use a George Foreman grill.)
Place the fish on the hot grill and cook fish, turning once, until white and flakey.

While fish is cooking make the avocado cream by mixing the avocado with the sour cream. Add finely chopped cilantro to taste.

To serve, spread warm tortillas with avocado cream and top with flaked tilapia. Top with more cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

* From

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tostada Casserole

I was wanting something Mexican, but not the typical stuff like tacos, enchiladas, etc. So I came up with this little recipe. We all loved it. And then we had it for leftovers for like 4 days after:) It’s a nice change to the same-old, same-old.

1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 taco packet
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup corn
2 cups rice of your choice (I used Knorr Fiesta Sides Mexican Rice packet because it was easy)
2 cups cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
6-8 tortillas

Brown meat with onion and garlic. Add green pepper and taco packet. Cook for several minutes. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let simmer for several minutes. Add black beans and corn and simmer until thick and most of the liquid is absorbed. 

While that’s simmering, make the sour cream sauce by mixing the sour cream with the salsa. 

In a 9x13 pan, spread half of the meat mixture evenly in the bottom. Spread 1 cup rice over meat mixture, then spread half the sour cream mixture over top of the rice. Sprinkle half the cheese over top of the sour cream mixture. Put approx 3-4 tortillas over top of the cheese, tearing them to make them fit into corners. Then layer the rest of the meat mixture, then the rest of the rice, then the rest of the sour cream mixture. Put the rest of the tortillas over top and then top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and top is browned and slightly crisp, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Homemade Biscuits

Perfect, easy biscuits. They were even extremely delicious the next day. Definitely one to go in the recipe box!
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 stick butter
3/4 c. buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use 3/4 cup milk + 2T lemon juice.I
1 egg
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and butter until crumbly. Mix in buttermilk, egg and just enough water to make a workable dough. Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (don't over mix). Roll the dough onto a floured cutting board about 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter, or a 2 inch round cup. Place on a greased baking sheet (touching each other) and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12-15 biscuits, depending how thick you make them.

Tips to making awesome biscuits:
*ONLY hand mix your dough. Don't mix in a Bosch or with a hand mixer. The dough will be too tough and the dough will become dry if you use a mixer. You don't want to over mix this recipe. The best way to mix this dough is with a pastry cutter or using two knives and cutting the dough back and forth. This method takes a little longer but will ensure the perfect biscuit. You want pieces of butter left in your biscuit, that is what keeps the dough light and flaky.
*Next tip is to keep your biscuit dough fairly thick. You want a tall and thick biscuit more than you do a thin and hard biscuit. Keeping the dough thick will ensure a chewy and soft biscuit. I keep my dough about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (cooking times may vary depending how thick you make them).


Monday, April 16, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks


I’m always looking for a new twist on pizza and/or bread sticks. These hit the spot! They were even really good as leftovers. These are how I like bread sticks: cheesy, garlicy and pretty much like pizza without the sauce. If you’re not up for making this dough, go ahead and use your own or just buy one from the store…but this one definitely is delicious!

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity}

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands. Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes. Turn a timer on and walk away! Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with and the bowl should be clean. Lightly grease the bowl & the dough with olive oil so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. Roll out dough onto the back of a cookie sheet.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Pizza Dough
2 tablespoons softened salted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 pound grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone inside. {If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet}
Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
Spread pizza dough out into cookie sheet or stone.
Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake 9-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and cool 1-2 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, with marinara.

* From Laurens Latest

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crispy Cheddar Chicken


This is definitely too easy for how good it is. The mixture of crackers with the cheddar cheese is to die for! I think it's a new family favorite.


4 large chicken breasts

2 sleeves Ritz crackers

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/2 C milk

1 egg

3 C cheddar cheese, grated

1 t dried parsley


1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup

2 T sour cream

2 T butter

3 oz cream cheese

Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. Grind up the Ritz crackers. I do this in a food processor, but you can easily put them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin, or put them in a bowl and crush them with a bottom of a cup.

Whisk the milk and egg together. Pour the milk mixture, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture to combine.

Dip each piece of chicken first into the milk, then into the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Some of it will fall off when you add it to the cracker crumbs, but it all eventually ends up in the same place, so don’t worry about it.

Press the cheesy chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. After you have coated all of the chicken and placed it in the baking dish, dump the remaining cheese and cracker crumbs over top of the chicken. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter and cream cheese. Stir over medium heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over crispy chicken and garnish with more dried parsley. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites


I like a good, healthy recipe sometimes. And it makes it a lot easier to eat healthy when it’s this good too:) I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed these. It was hard to not eat like 8 at a time. They’re just such a good combo…not too sweet, not too salty, but the right balance for a mid morning or afternoon snack. My kids even love these! Surprisingly they were calling them candy balls and kept asking for more. So if you’re looking for something healthy to snack on to keep in the fridge, try these!

1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/2 cup chocolate chips (any dried fruit or nuts can be substituted)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until completely combined. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you like (I chose to do about 1 inch in diameter.) Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Marshmallow Fondant


I’m not a huge fan of fondant. Although fondant is a lot prettier than regular frosting, it doesn’t compare taste-wise to me. I especially refuse to use the store bought…YUCK. When I want to make a beautiful fondant cake for a special occasion I like to make my own. And it’s made from marshmallows…A LOT yummier than regular. This recipe makes enough to cover a regular sized 2 tier cake with decorations. It’s just as easy to make as it is to head to the store and buy it and it tastes SOOO much better. I also opted to frost the cake with cream cheese frosting instead of a stiff buttercream because I think vanilla buttercream is yuck. This combo was AWESOME. It’s result was a SUPER moist cake and delicious frosting. I definitely suggest doing this.

16 oz mini marshmallows
2 lbs powder sugar, sifted
4 T water
1 t Vanilla

Grease a large microwaveable bowl very well with shortening. Pour in the mini marshmallows and water. Microwave the marshmallows for 1-2 minutes, just until the top marshmallows are shiny and begin to puff. Remove from microwave and stir with a greased rubber scraper, add vanilla and stir again to combine.

Grease counter top with shortening. Pour powder sugar into melted marshmallows and stir with greased rubber scraper until it is too stiff to continue stirring. Pour marshmallow mixture onto greased surface and knead the fondant with greased hands until all of the powder sugar is mixed in and the fondant is smooth. If this process gets too sticky, add more powdered sugar. Shape fondant into a thick disc and store fondant in greased plastic wrap allowing the fondant to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before using. If the fondant is still too soft, put in the fridge to firm.

To color fondant, I recommend using coloring gels because they have better color. Just use a toothpick to get out the desired amount of coloring gel and place it in the center of the fondant. Then fold and knead until all the color is distributed.

Grease a flat surface with shortening and or sprinkle a large flat surface with powder sugar to roll out fondant. Be sure to move fondant around on surface to prevent sticking and to keep surface sprinkled with powder sugar or lightly greased.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant: Substitute 1/3 cup cocoa powder for 1/3 cup powder sugar for a lighter color and lighter chocolate taste. Substitute 1/2 cocoa powder in place of 1/2 cup of powder sugar for a "tootsie roll" taste and darker chocolate color. Also add 2 teaspoons more of water to fondant.

Tips for working with Marshmallow Fondant:
- Make sure that everything is well greased to that the fondant does not stick to your hands, bowls, spoons, surfaces, etc.
-Keep fondant stored airtight to prevent it from drying out.
- If after resting for at least an hour fondant is too soft, add a little more powder sugar to make it more stable.
- Microwave fondant for 5-10 seconds to make it a little more pliable if needed, but remember that microwaveing it can dry it out too.
-Knead the fondant to make it more elastic, but don't over do it or you will have a melted sticky mess.

*From The Open Pantry

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ultimate Brownies


I’ve always looked for a homemade brownie recipe that will be just as scrumptious as the Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate mix that I get from Costco. In my opinion NOTHING compares. Till now. This is the first homemade brownie recipe that has a deep chocolate flavor and chewy inside. They are perfection. I've already made them 3 times and only found the recipe about 3 weeks ago. I did add my own frosting, because everything is always better with a chocolate cream cheese frosting, right? Feel free to top them with a chocolate buttercream or just a chocolate glaze. To be honest, they don’t need a topping. But…put the chocolate cream cheese frosting on there:)

In a bowl, combine and stir until thickened:
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup boiling water

Add in order listed:
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Then add:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Stir in a little less than 1 cup chocolate chips. (no more or brownies may fall apart when cut)

Pour into greased 9x13 inch cake pan. Bake 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until brownies begin to pull away from sides or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not over bake. Cool in pan.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

3 heaping T cocoa powder

2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 T sour cream

Cream cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Add sour cream to thin (you want the frosting to be creamier than an icing…and the sour cream adds just the right amount of creaminess without thinning it out.)

*Brownie recipe from

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oven Omelette


I got this recipe from my Aunt Pam. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made it. It’s SO simple and SO delicious. I get rave reviews every time I make it. I usually like to make it when I have a lot of people visiting or am going to a brunch. It usually makes an appearance for Christmas day brunch or on General Conference Weekend. I recently made it when a bunch of family came into town and thought about making it because General Conference is coming up this next weekend. If you’re having family over, make it! I usually put ham in it, but you can easily substitute breakfast sausage or bacon…whatever you like!

1 dozen eggs

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

3T dry minced onion

2 cups sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1-1 1/2 cups diced ham (I use leftover ham if I have it, otherwise I use deli ham)

Salsa for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat with a whisk eggs, salt and sour cream until foamy. Fold in cheese , onion, pepper and meat. Pour into a 9x13 pan sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake for 40 minutes until eggs are set and edges are slightly browned. Serve with salsa.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homemade Play Dough


I found this recipe and since I had all the ingredients I decided to try it. Boy am I glad I did! It was so easy and a perfect recipe for the kiddos to help on. They had a great time pouring ingredients, stirring and picking out the color they wanted their dough to be. It’s so much better than store bought play dough that I’m POSITIVE I will NEVER buy play dough again! It’s a lot more soft and pliable than store bought also. Definitely try it and include your kids!

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
1 T vegetable oil
2 t cream of tarter
Food Coloring (regular food coloring, or coloring gels)
Sparkles (If you wanna be a fun mom!)

Pour all ingredients into a saucepan. Stir until everything is mixed well and mostly clump free. Heat over MEDIUM heat. Stir. Don’t EVER stop stirring. After a few minutes it will start to clump up. Stir and stir some more until the dough clumps into a large ball. Remove from heat and dump onto cold counter. Knead by hand until a smooth texture is formed.

Once cooled, it’s ready to play! This took me about 5-10 minutes. I stored mine in empty Play Dough containers that I had left over from dried out Play Dough. You can also use the plastic baby food containers (either Gerber or Parents Choice.) Or you can just store them in a good ole fashioned sandwich bag. This would make such awesome party favors! Enjoy playing!


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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Delicious Crock Pot Roast


I love using the crock pot. It just makes my life SO much easier! I also have to admit that crock pot meat is my favorite kind of meat. This recipe calls for a beef roast, but all I had in the freezer is a pork roast and it turned out great…so use whatever you’ve got! Perfect Sunday dinner!

1 (4 -5 lb) beef roast, or pork roast

1 package brown gravy mix, dry

1 package dried Italian salad dressing mix

1 package ranch dressing mix, dry

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 onion sliced thin

3 large carrots, peeled and cut

7-8 red potatoes washed and quartered

Add vegetables to the bottom of the crock pot. Place roast on top of the vegetables. Mix the dried mixes together in a bowl with water and pour over roast. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. To serve, remove roast to a platter to cut. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Pour sauce left in the crock pot through a strainer and serve as a gravy – you can thicken it with flour/water if you want the gravy thicker. Enjoy!

*From Maries Cooking Adventures

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

French Spaghetti


Oh gosh…please forgive this picture! It has to be one of the worst I’ve taken. I’m a little embarrassed to put it on here. But listen…don’t judge this recipe by the picture! YOU WILL LOVE THIS DISH!! It’s so delicious. A combo of red sauce and white sauce – don’t pass this one up. I’ve actually made this a lot lately. It’s the perfect dish to have when you are expecting a large group cause it goes a long way. And the leftovers are to die for! Every time I make it for a bunch of people I get requests for the recipe. It even freezes very well. We made it one year for our family reunion – made it several days before and froze them and reheated them in the oven. I also have made it early in the day, put it in the fridge and then baked it later that night. Now of course it’s going to be the best using my homemade spaghetti sauce and guiltless alfredo, but if you’re in a bind, you can sub whatever you need. So we agree…you’re not going to judge the recipe on the picture and you WILL make it!

1 lb spaghetti

1 recipe Aunties Spaghetti Sauce found here (Or your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce) – which I definitely recommend because it has ground beef in it and the combo of beef and sausage is a awesome.

1 lb Jimmy Dean ground sausage

1 recipe Guiless Alfredo Sauce found here (or your favorite recipe)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta and place in a 9x13 pan. Pour Guiltless Alfredo Sauce over pasta. Sprinkle sausage on top. Spread spaghetti sauce on top and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. If you’re on the ball, you’ll already have some of Aunties Spaghetti sauce in the freezer, ready to go. Then it’s just as easy as whipping up the Alfredo sauce, layering up the casserole and baking it. ALWAYS a family favorite.

*Adapted from the Highland 23rd Ward Cookbook

Thursday, March 8, 2012

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake


I don’t know where I originally saw this, but the concept seemed SO delicious to me. We LOVE German Chocolate cake around our house. In fact it’s my husbands favorite cake…and my dads…and my father-in-laws. It’s also my husbands boss’s favorite. Guess it’s a guy thing:)


So naturally I had to try it. It was SO good! It’s the perfect alternative to making a whole layered cake and it even stayed moist and delicious the next day! When I sent it with Justin to work (after taking a slice for myself) I found myself thinking about it hours after he took it…then I called him later that day and told him to hightail it into the office kitchen and save whatever was left for me. It’s lick your lips good!

1 cup flaked sweetened coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 package (18.25 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

eggs, water, and oil as directed on package

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Grease and flour a 9x13 baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

Spread coconut and pecans on baking sheet and roast in oven until evenly toasted, stirring every so often.

Sprinkle coconut and pecans evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Prepare cake mix with the appropriate measurements of water, oil, and eggs, following the package directions. Pour the cake batter over the coconut and pecans. Beat together the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Drop by spoonful's over the top of cake batter. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center of the cake portion.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 10-15 minutes. To remove from pan, place the bottom side of a cookie sheet on top of the cake in the baking dish. Carefully turn over to release cake from the dish. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. You can enjoy it warm or cool…it’s divine either way!