Thursday, November 10, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

 Here's a cake out there for all of you Reese's Peanut butter Cup lovers. This is rich, dense, moist and DIVINE. My favorite combination is peanut butter and chocolate. They're just so perfect together. And this peanut butter ripple that's in the middle of the cake really reminds me of a peanut butter cup.
So if you're like me and love everything peanut butter and chocolate, you need to try this cake!

1 standard size chocolate fudge cake mix 
1 package (3.9 oz. - 4 Serving Size) chocolate pudding - DRY MIX 
1 cup sour cream 
1 cup vegetable oil 
4 eggs 
1/2 cup warm water 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Filling:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate Glaze:
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1/3 cup heavy cream 
For Peanut Butter Glaze:
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup heavy cream 

For the cake: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Combine all of the cake ingredients and mix with a mixer until combined.  Do not over mix, but make sure all dry ingredients and wet ingredients are well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and mix well with a mixer. 
4. Spoon half of cake batter into a bundt cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon peanut butter filling on top of the cake batter.  Top with remaining cake batter. 
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Remove from bundt pan and allow to cool till not hot. Top with glazes.

For glazes: 
In a large microwave safe bowl combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Do the same in a different bowl with the peanut butter chips and heavy cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave for another 15 seconds.  Remove from microwave and whisk together until smooth (stirring will help melt chocolate).  If needed, heat for an additional 15 seconds, then whisk until smooth.  Spoon or pour over cake. ENJOY!!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I just LOVE one pot dinners or casseroles. They're just so much easier with kids busy schedules. And I also can make them ahead of time, put them in the fridge or freezer then pull them out and bake them whenever I need it. Cause sometimes after the kids come home, there's no saying if I'll have time to spend 30 min to an hour in the kitchen.  This way you get it out of the way and be organized for the rest of the day. 

And besides, this casserole is SOO yummy. And really, who has time to make ACTUAL Chicken Cordon Bleu...definitely not me. It combines chicken, ham and delicious swiss cheese into a perfect marrying of flavors that you get from the real dish, just A LOT easier. I REALLY like this sauce too. I love that it's not a canned soup base. Just so much better. This is also a way you can use your trusty Costco rotisserie chicken. Remember how I never leave Costco without one? It's like my secret weapon that I can whip out at any time for a quick and easy dinner:)

1 rotisserie chicken, cut into cubes (about 5-6 cups)
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli honey ham, cut into smaller pieces
1/3 pound swiss cheese, shredded

4 T butter
4 T flour
3 cups milk
2 T lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard
3/4 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t pepper

1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 T butter
1/2 t seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Put cooked diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle most of the Swiss cheese on top of the ham, leaving about 1/4 cup to spare.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, paprika and pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Stir in leftover Swiss cheese until melted and smooth. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

For the topping:
Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, crushed dried parsley and seasoned salt. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!

*Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hershey's Chocolate Cake with a Mousse Filling

 I'm definitely not going to take credit for this cake. I'm just making sure everyone is aware of how delicious it is:) I put a little twist in there, but for the most part, this cake is Hershey's. They add 1 cup boiling water at the end to stir in. I add boiling hot coffee. You might think this is weird. Well it is kind of weird, but it makes it SO much more chocolatey. And despite what you may think, you can't taste the coffee at all. It just brings out the natural richness of chocolate. I really challenge you to try it!

If you're wanting the BEST chocolate cake there is out there, look no further. This is the definition of the perfect chocolate cake. Dense. Moist. SUPER chocolatey.
 I will, however, take credit for this wonderfully easy chocolate mousse. The best part about it is you can put it in the middle of anything and everything. I sometimes like to fill my chocolate cupcakes with it. It puts them right over the edge.
Anyway, this is a knock-your-socks-off kind of chocolate cake. 

Hershey's Chocolate Cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling hot coffee (or boiling water) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-in round baking pans. I also like to line the bottom of my pans with a parchment paper. It guarantees that it comes out clean. In the bowl of your mixer, add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Turn it on a few times to stir the ingredients together. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat until well combined making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in boiling hot coffee.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Cool completely. Fill with the Chocolate Mousse Filling then frost with Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Mousse Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Beat heavy cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir in melted chocolate until completely combined. Lay one layer of cooled chocolate cake on a cake stand. Top with mousse filling. Top with the other layer. Frost the whole cake with Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.

Perfectly Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stilck) butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to a spreading consistency. You may want to add more cream to get to your desired consistency. Beat in vanilla. 

ENJOY your chocolate coma:)

*Adapted from Hershey's

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Halli's Perfect Guacamole

You know how you're always trying to find the perfect balance in a guacamole? Haha, or is that just me? I swear when I go to make a guacamole, I can never get the proportions right. Well this search ended when my cousin magically made me the perfect guacamole one day. She had been working on it for months, trying to perfect it. And that she did. It's DIVINE and PERFECT. I can eat the entire bowl. Make it, but then be prepared to eat the entire thing:)

2 large avocados
almost 1/2 tsp garlic salt
almost 1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp regular salt (you can adjust this for your own saltiness)
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs sour cream

Mix it all up in a bowl with a fork, smashing the avocados. Then eat the BEST guacamole you've ever had!! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mexican Pizzas

 This is my new favorite dinner! Just look at how delicious it is. And your kids are sure to love it too, which is a top priority for me.
They go like hot cakes, so be sure to make enough! And they're easy to whip up quick, which is the kind of recipe I need for these soccer nights:) This also easily makes 2 nights of meals too, which I LOVE!!

Mexican Pizzas 
1 (16oz) can refried beans
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I use Costco rotisserie chicken. One recipe uses 1/2 of the chicken. I cut up the other half and freeze it to make this recipe again later.)
1/2 cup salsa
8 flour tortillas
1 recipe enchilada sauce (Recipe to follow. You can also use canned sauce, but homemade is just SO delicious! I make a full recipe and use 1/2 of it, then store the rest in the fridge to make it again with the other 1/2 of the rotisserie chicken)
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Warm up bean in a small bowl in the microwave. Combine chicken and salsa in another bowl and warm in the microwave.

Toast tortillas by spraying a large skillet with cooking oil spray and fry both sides of the tortilla until browned and a little crisp. Lay 2 flour tortillas each on 2 cookie sheets, top each with 1/4 of the beans, then 1/4 of the chicken mixture (remember, you're making 4 total pizzas). Then top each with another toasted tortilla. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, tomatoes and green onion.

Bake in oven for about 7-10 minutes until heated through, then broil until bubbly and crispy. ENJOY!!!

 Enchilada Sauce:

2 T olive oil
2 T flour
3 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t salt (if using boxed broth taste first before adding)
2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minutes. Add all of the spices and stir. Gradually and slowly add the broth, whisking to prevent lumps. Simmer while stirring for 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Use immediately or store in the fridge.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mint Brownie Trifle

 I made this by accident once. I think those are the best kind of recipes:) I was going to make a mint cake, but it turned out weird, so I turned it into a trifle. Cause, you know, you should improvise when things don't go as planned. 

1 recipe of my homemade brownies (found here) baked in a sheet cake pan so they are thinner
1 recipe Fluffy Mint Buttercream (recipe follows)
1 bag chopped Andes mints (found in the baking section)
1 jar hot fudge

After baking brownies, let them cool completely. Then cut them into small 1 inch cubes. Put a layer of brownies in the bottom of a trifle bowl (or any bowl or container you choose), drizzle 1/4 cup of hot fudge over brownies, top with a layer of Fluffy Mint Buttercream, then sprinkle a layer of chopped Andes mints. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. Enjoy!!
Fluffy Mint Buttercream
2 sticks butter, at room temperature 
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
2 T heavy cream 
1/2 t peppermint extract (more if you like it strong)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

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, 2 T heavy cream and peppermint 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. In a separate bowl whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the buttercream. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

 Whenever I go to Costco, I never leave without a rotisserie chicken. My mom taught me this. It's SO much chicken meat for only $5. Can't beat it. So when I get home, I take all of the meat off, cut it into chunks and put it in the freezer. There's just so much you can do with that meat! Enchiladas, soups, casseroles, paninis, chicken alfredo...literally endless possibilities.
This casserole is one of my favorites. It's so easy and SO good. It's super good as leftovers too, which is crucial in my opinion:) So head over to Costco and get yourself a chicken!

1 rotisserie chicken, cut into chunks (3 chicken breasts can be substituted)
3-4 small zucchinis, cut into chunks
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 box chicken Stove Top stuffing
1 stick butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix together chicken soup and sour cream. Add chicken and zucchini and mix until everything is evenly coated. In a separate bowl mix dry stuffing and melted butter. Add half of this mixture in with the chicken and zucchini. Pour that into a 9x13 dish. Top with the rest of the stuffing mixture. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. At this point the stuffing might be getting really brown, but the zucchini may not be cooked through as much as you'd like, sometimes this happens to me. If that's the case, cover the dish with foil and return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, until the zucchini is soft enough. Enjoy this delicious easy dinner!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

The best thing about this cheesecake is that it's a no-bake cheesecake. Well, I guess you have to bake the brownies. But COME ON! Look at this! It's divine, delicious and indulgent. It's also pretty fancy, but doesn't require any kind of fancy. No brainer folks. You HAVE to make this!

For the Brownie Bottom:
* I usually just make my homemade brownie recipe and don't put all of it in, baking the rest in a small pan along side the actual dish. This also gives the kids a little something to snack on:) If you don't want to use a homemade brownie recipe, you can buy an 8x8 size box brownie according to the package and bake it in a 9in. springform cheesecake pan. Before you put the brownies in the oven, make sure you wrap the outside of the pan with tin foil so there isn't any issue with it dripping.

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 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Stir in a little less than 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. Pour a little more than half into a greased springform pan. Pour the rest into another small, greased dish. Bake about 25 minutes at 350 degrees until the sides pull away from the pan or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Your baking times may vary depending on your oven or baking dishes. Cool brownie base completely.

For the Cheesecake Top:
16oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese in a mixer with sugar and vanilla until blended and very smooth.  Using a separate electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the filling to the cooled brownie crust and spread it evenly.  Top with ganache.

For the Ganache Top:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it boils, pour it over chocolate chips and let it sit for about 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is incorporated into the cream. Drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Pop open the springform pan, releasing it from the bottom. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Taquitos

 I always need an easy, on-the-go dinner. With kids in sports it's a must!
This is the perfect dinner for spring-time baseball games and the kids LOVE them! They're basically mess free for the car too:) 


Olive oil
12-16oz roast beef deli meat, chopped small
2t Worcestershire sauce 
1 green pepper, finely chopped (or whatever color pepper you have on hand)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
10-12oz provolone cheese (I usually buy the deli slices)
10 flour tortillas

In a large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil, beef and onion. Cook until tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce and pepper if desired. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or silpat liners) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the beef mixture and cream cheese until thoroughly combined.

Spoon 2-3 tbsp. of the beef mixture onto each tortilla. Tear up provolone cheese and put a layer on top of the beef mixture. Roll the tortilla around the filling as tight as you can. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Make sure the taquitos are not touching.

Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the taquitos are crisp and golden brown. Enjoy!!

*Adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cowboy Lasagna

 Once again, another twist on a classic. I love this recipe because it's chock full of meat, just the way my hubby likes it. And the variety of meats give it a great flavor. I also love recipes in a casserole dish because I can make it early in the day, put it in the fridge, then just pop it in the oven. Perfect!!

2T olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Regular sausage)
1/2 pound pepperoni, cut into quarters
16oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (regular can be substituted if you don't like fire roasted)
12oz can tomato paste
1T dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
16oz lasagna noodles
16oz ricotta cheese
16oz mozzerella cheese (or any other grated cheese you like. I like to use a medley of mozzerella and cheddar)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, add the oil and lightly brown the ground beef and sausage with the onion and garlic. Be sure to keep the meat chunky, not finely separated, while cooking. Add the pepperoni, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (You can always use your own tomato or marinara sauce here, or use a canned sauce to save time. We all know we need a time saving option every once in a while.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and then lay out flat on parchment paper or foil so they don't stick.

In the bottom of a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan, spread a layer of the prepared sauce. Top with a layer of the lasagna noodles and the ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat, ending with the sauce, noodles and cheeses.

Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cut and serve. Enjoy the rustic goodness!!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

I thought I had the whole cinnamon roll thing figured out. I had a recipe that was no-fail and tasted great. And THAT is the reason why you should always be trying new recipes. You never know what you're going to miss!! For some reason I wondered if there was a better recipe out there for cinnamon rolls. I found this one and I will NEVER go back. They're absolutely perfect!

 I mean look at them! Have you ever seen a yummier cinnamon roll, besides Cinnabon?! They're so soft, buttery and the perfect ratio of bun to cinnamon gooeyness.

 Don't pass up this opportunity to make and eat amazing cinnamon rolls at home!

For the dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
4 and 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the whipped cream cheese frosting:
1 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
1T powdered sugar


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar ( I measure the 1/2 cup sugar then take 1T from that.) Stir together, then let the yeast rise for about 5-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and oil until well-combined. After 10 minutes, the yeast should look frothy and bubbly. At this point, pour in the buttermilk mixture, remaining sugar, and salt, and stir together for 10-15 seconds.

Pour in 2 cups of the measured flour, and stir on low speed until incorporated. Continue to pour in flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and bowl starts to look clean. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to your fingers when touched.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size. I usually heat my oven up to 100 degrees then turn it off.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch until combined. 

Butter an 11x15 inch glass baking dish (or 1 9x13 and an 8x8 square pan or pie dish).

Once dough has risen, liberally flour a large, clean work surface. Punch down the dough to remove air bubbles, then transfer it to the work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, roughly 20x30 inches wide. Spread softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip on the edge of the dough farthest from you untouched. Spread the room temperature butter evenly over the dough. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter, then use a rolling pin to gently roll over the mixture and slightly press it into the butter. This can get the rolling pin really messy, but necessary for the filling not to fall out after you've rolled it up.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, gently roll up the dough into a tight log, sealing it with the strip of dough you left untouched. Cut off any uneven ends. Score dough every two inches, then use those marks to evenly slice your dough into rolls.

Place rolls into parchment paper lined baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise 1-2 hours, or until rolls have doubled in size and are almost touching each other. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Do not overbake!

While rolls are baking, prepare your frosting. In a bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Pour in powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Then, increase speed to high and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until frosting turns white. In a separate bowl, whip the cream and 1T powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold it into the cream cheese mixture.

Once you remove the rolls from the oven, spread half of the frosting on top of them. This layer will melt into the rolls. Once they've cooled down, spread on the remaining frosting. Serve warm or reheat before serving.ENJOY!!
*Adapted from Culinary Couture
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