Monday, December 30, 2013

Grandma's Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

My grandma made the best homemade chocolates.  I have a few of her recipes, but I will never be able to make chocolates like her.  They were amazing.  I came across her recipe for peanut butter filling and pulled out the chocolate molds that I inherited a few years ago and made these.   My kids enjoyed them and I enjoyed the memories they brought back.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 cups powdered sugar

Blend all ingredients together.  Spread chocolate in bottom and on sides of molds.  Cool and add filling.  Cover with chocolate.  Chill.  Remove from molds. 

And since it was Christmas when we made these I also used her Christmas tree mold:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dill Veggie Dip

This is my FAVORITE veggie dip!  I got the recipe from my friend, Julia. 

1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp dill weed
1 Tbsp bon appetit
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp onion powder

Mix and chill

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Punch

One of our favorite holiday drinks:


Recipe from: Dessert Now, Dinner Later

2 packets Tropical Punch Kool-Aid
2 cups sugar
4 cups cold water, chilled
4 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 liters club soda, chilled

Mix kool-aid packets with sugar, water & juice.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Chill in fridge.
Just before serving add cold club soda & give it a light stir to keep the carbonation.  *Makes 4 quarts. 

(We usually buy enough to make this twice for a crowd and use my big punch dispenser)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turkey Parmesan Rotini Bake

I will now share with you one of my favorite dishes for using up leftover turkey.  The sauce is incredible and it is cheesy.  Although it may look like a lot of steps, it comes together pretty quickly.  

Recipe adapted from: Rock Recipes

1/3 cup butter
3 tbsp flour
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt

2 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes

Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan.  Whisk in flour, add salt and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Whisking constantly, slowly pour in milk and water, add chicken bullion cubes. Bring to a boil.

Add to sauce:
1 tbsp dry summer savoury
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Continue to cook until thick.  Remove from heat and add: 
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups grated low fat mozzarella cheese
3 cups uncooked rotini pasta

Cook, just to al dente. Drain and set aside.

3 cups leftover cooked turkey, cut in chunks
1 large roasted red pepper, chopped
8 slices precooked bacon, cut in small pieces (I used turkey bacon)

Now mix the drained noodles with turkey, bacon, red pepper and sauce.  Mix to coat.  Pour into large casserole dish and top with the grated mozzarella cheese. 
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Homemade Tortillas

I decided to try making my own tortillas.  Turns out they really aren't that hard to make! 

Recipe from: The Taste Tester

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp hot water
Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, add in the olive oil just until it makes the dry ingredients crumbly. Add the hot water little by little until your dough is soft and shiny but not sticky (you may even need a little more than 3/4 cup depending on humidity). Divide the dough into eight balls of the same size.  
Lightly flour a clean surface and a rolling pin. Use the rolling pin to roll each ball of dough into a 6-8" tortilla. Or if you own a tortilla press use that....I don't-yet.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook each tortilla for 1 minute on the first side. It should bubble up. Flip and cook for about 30 seconds on the second side. Remove to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm. For best results store tortillas in a ziploc bag at room temperature (they stay softer this way) though you can also refrigerate them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Apple Crumble Bars

The short bread version of apple pie...

Recipe from: Annie Eats

For the base:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:
4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and coarsely diced
5 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice

For the topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Prepare the filling, in a large skillet combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until apples are tender but still firm.  In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice.  Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease an 8×8” baking dish.

To make the base, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two forks or your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Spread the cooked apple mixture evenly on the base.

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients for the topping.  Mix well until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apple layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut into squares and serve.  (If desired, refrigerate before cutting to firm up a bit for easier slicing.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Apple Danish

We loved this more than apple pie....and since I'm not great at making a beautiful pie, this is better all around for me!

Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg yolk (save the egg white)
1/2 cup milk

6 cups sliced, peeled apples
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. flour (I used instant gel because I had some)
1 tsp cinnamon

Egg White *Before baking
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp Water  

In a bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine egg yolk and milk; add to flour mixture. Stir just until dough clings together. Divide dough in half. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle; transfer to a greased 9x13 baking pan. Set aside. 

In a bowl, toss together filling ingredients; spoon over pastry in pan. Roll out remaining dough into another 9x13 rectangle. Place over filling. Brush with egg white (about 1/2 of it, not all). Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. 

For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and enough water to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm pastry. Cut into squares. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

How to make it

  • 1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of flour and the yeast. Set aside.
  • 2. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the 1/4 cup butter, and the salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Then, add the egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  • 3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that's smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape the dough into a ball. Place dough in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled (45 to 60 minutes).
  • 4. For filling, in a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the 1/4 cup flour, and the cinnamon. Cut in the 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • 5. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
  • 6. Roll the dough into a 24x16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with filling, apple, and nuts. Roll up from long side, jelly-roll style. Pinch to seal edge.
  • 7. Prepare Caramel Syrup. Pour into baking pan. Cut dough, crosswise, into 12 rolls and place, cut sides down, into prepared pan. Cover and let rolls rise until nearly doubled (about 45 minutes).
  • 8. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and rolls sound hollow when lightly tapped. (Place baking sheet under baking pan to catch any drips.) Invert onto serving plate while warm. Makes 12 rolls.
Recipe from: group recipes

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

These have a strong banana flavor, my boys love them, so much so, that they asked for them the next day.  Kyla (who hates bananas and anything that tastes like bananas) hated them. 

Recipe adapted from: Minimalist Baker

2 very ripe medium banana, mashed
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tbsp melted butter
6 Tbsp milk
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup wheat flour
mini chocolate chips

Preheat griddle to 325 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies

I know I already posted a pumpkin cookie recipe, but I found this one and liked it better....In fact, we even liked them without frosting. They had a great amount of spice and were super moist. Of course cream cheese frosting would be fantastic on these, too. We just skipped it this time. I also just made a half batch and it gave us lots of cookies.

Recipe from: My Baking Addiction

1 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup unsalted butter; softened
2 cups white sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin (solid; not pie mix)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Cream shortening, butter, white sugar and pumpkin. Add eggs and mix well.
2. Sift together the baking soda, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, salt and flour. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
3. Drop from spoon to cookie sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees

Friday, November 1, 2013

Jello Jigglers

1 cup boiling water
1 (3 oz) box of jello

Mix jello in boiling water until dissolved.  Pour into molds and place in refrigerator until set.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Banana Ghosts

Here is another fun Halloween treat that is more on the healthy side: Bananas decorated as ghosts:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Strawberry Ghosts

A Halloween twist to the chocolate covered strawberry:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Melt in Your Mouth Chicken

Simple.  Delicious.   The original recipe called for mayonnaise instead of greek yogurt, but I used greek yogurt. 

Recipe adapted from: Food

4 boneless chicken breast halves (I used 4 chicken fillets from Costco)
1 cup greek yogurt (I used Kirkland brand)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings.  Spread mixture over chicken breast and place in baking dish. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheesy Pesto Pasta Bake

Recipe adapted from: Pixi Wishes Forehead Kisses
1 pkg Italian Pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup fresh basil pesto
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Boil your pasta until al dente. In a saucepan melt your butter. Gradually sift in your flour a bit at a time while alternating and pouring in the milk and stock. Whisk until the flour has fully dissolved and the liquid has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in your pesto.  Mix the sauce with the drained pasta. Top with the grated cheese. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.  

Serves around 8.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

This is a recipe you need to plan ahead for, but they are great!!  The dough needs to refrigerate overnight and then after you frost them, they taste best if they sit overnight.  So on the plus side, you can make these ahead for a party :)  This recipe makes a lot, so sometimes I freeze some of the dough for later use, then just thaw in the fridge works great!

Recipe from: The Novice Chef

For the cookies:
6 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light sour cream

For the frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream


For the cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk 5 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough needs to obtain the right consistency for rolling, so add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until this is achieved (up to 1 cup more flour). Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
Generously flour a work area and rolling pin. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting:
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is achieved.
Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit overnight before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Chicken Broccoli Supreme

This casserole was fairly easy to assemble and had great flavor.  Our family loves ritz crackers, so it seemed like a good fit.  I cut this recipe in half to make an 8x8 pan for us. 

Recipe from:  Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake

  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli Break in pieces, and steam for 2 minutes.
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breasts  – Break up in small pieces
  • 3 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese divided
  • 2 tubes Ritz Crackers
  • 1  stick melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • SAUCE:
  • ⅓ cup Butter- melted
  • ¼ cups Cornstarch, dissolved in ½ cup COLD Water
  • ⅓ cup Chicken Broth
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1½ cups of the above Cheddar Cheese
  1. In greased 13×9 pan, layer the broccoli and chicken, then set aside.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce has thickened.
  3. Turn heat down to low, and add 1- ½ cups grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Pour over the chicken and broccoli.
  5. Top with 1- ½ cups grated cheddar cheese.
  6. Melt the butter, and add the poppy seeds, and stir well.
  7. Crush Ritz crackers in large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.
  8. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cajun Chicken Pasta *Light version

This version of cajun pasta is so good!!  It does not taste like a *light version recipe, it is full of flavor and has a pleasant mix of textures with the peppers, chicken and noodles mixed in a light version alfredo sauce.

Recipe from: skinnytaste

8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 pound chicken breast strips
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste) or some Montreal chicken seasoning works great
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp light cream cheese
fresh cracked pepper, if desired

Prep all your vegetables. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour, chicken broth and cream cheese. Set aside.   Start cooking pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt.  Cook chicken until done, then add peppers, garlic, and onion.  Once veggies are tender, stir in sauce and tomatoes.  Cook until sauce is thickened. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Fantastic muffin, perfect as fall settles in.  My kids enjoyed them. 

Recipe from:  Sprinkle Some Sunshine

Yield: 12 muffins plus 12 mini muffins

1 15 ounce can pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.

2. Bring pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until puree thickens about 5 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl & allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Whisk in brown sugar and oil, then slowly whisk in eggs.

3. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just combined.

4. Stir in chocolate chips.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Disneyland's White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie

Mmmm...these were great!!  Chocolate and Raspberries together in a cookie....yum!  I don't know how they compare to Disneyland's, one day I will have to do a taste test, but they were well liked here.   I used some seedless, freezer jam I made from our raspberries.

John's Rating: 10!

Recipe from: My Baker Lady

2 1/2 C Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Raspberry Jam (I used about 4 TBSP)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream the butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg/yolk, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add white & semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2. Scoop out about 1/4 of the dough into a smaller bowl. Add about 1 T of jam and cut it in using a butter knife. Be careful not to MIX it, or your dough will turn pink, you want more of a swirl.
3. Take the jam swirled dough and scoop by spoonfuls  (I used a large melon baller/ice cream scoop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or spatula and place in a 350° oven for 12-17 minutes. *Your bake time may be less depending on the size of cookie you make. I wanted mine big and bakery sized, so they took a little longer. Take them out when the edges are set but the center is still puffy and soft. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all the dough is used.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cookies and Cream Muddy Buddies

These reminded me of the white chocolate cookies and cream candy bars I had occasionally growing up, but these were better with the crunch of the chex.  My whole family loved them. 

Recipe from:  Chef in Training 

6 cups Chex cereal
3/4 lb White melting chocolate

20 Oreos
1/2 cup powdered sugar, (I used less...they were plenty sweet!)

Pour measured Chex cereal into a lage bowl.  
In a food processor, or in a sealed ziplock bag rolling a rolling pin over it, finely grind Oreos.
Put chocolate  into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted.
Pour melted almond bark over Chex cereal and stir carefully to cover cereal.
Immediately after cereal is covered, pour ground Oreos and toss/stir to coat.
Next toss on the powdered sugar until coated.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bubbly Cheese Garlic Bread

Recipe from:  Gooseberry Patch

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2  creamy Italian salad dressing
1 loaf Italian bread, halved lengthwise
2 c. Mozzarella cheese
2 t. dried parsley

Blend butter, garlic and salad dressing together in a small bowl. Place bread on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Spread butter mixture over both halves. Top with shredded cheese and parsley. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice each half into 8 pieces; serve warm. Makes 16 servings.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fudgy Brownie Cookies

The beloved cookie form...yum.  My kids love them!
John's Rating: 8

Recipe from: Tasty Kitchen
  • 1 package (18 To 21 Oz. Box) Fudge Brownie Mix
  • 1-¼ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ½ cups Butter, Melted And Cooled
  • 2 Tablespoons Water, Or More As Needed (2 worked for me)
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks (I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips) 
Whisk together brownie mix, flour, and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients.  If the batter appears like there is too much flour, add 1 more tablespoon of water. Batter will be very thick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet.  Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on the cookie sheet. You want pretty thick cookies here to get the brownie feel, about 3 inches apart. Press down slightly. Don’t flatten completely. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool 2 minutes and move to a cooling rack. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hot Potato Salad

I had a potluck to go to and decided to try this recipe. John really liked it!! It really wasn't too bad to put together, but it does take some time to cook so it's not a last minute idea.

Recipe from: French Knots

5-7 medium size potatoes ~ chopped and cooked
8-10 links of sausage or slices of bacon ~ cooked (I used bacon)
4 green onions diced ~ green and white parts
3/4 cup real mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
1 package hidden valley ranch dry mix
2 tablespoons fat/grease from sausage or bacon
dice and boil potatoes until tender

Dice and chop green onions. Combine green onions, ranch, mayonnaise, sour cream and fat.  After mixing sauce add potatoes and bacon. Pour into a 9x13 pan and cook uncovered at 375 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes - until dish is cooked through. Serve Immediately.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

My kids loved these cookies.  I let Nathan do a lot of the cooking, stirring, and scooping.  He did a great job!  They were very easy and was not an outrageous amount of cookies.
Recipe from:Seeded at the Table

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup Nutella
2 cups rolled oats

Using a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the sugar, milk and cocoa powder until well incorporated. Continue to stir and heat on medium-low until sugar is dissolved, then add the peanut butter and Nutella. Heat and stir until melted and fully combined. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the oats. 

Use a small or large cookie scoop, depending on the size cookie you want, to drop dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. (After 20 minutes, you can use your hands to reshape the dough into more perfectly round shapes, if desired.) Store at room temperature in a resealable bag or air-tight container.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Healthy Banana Oat Bars

I had three ripe bananas and was out of nutella, so instead of making my go to banana muffins, I looked to my pins for a new way to use them.  Now these aren't a cookie or granola bar that you'd rave about, they taste like a healthy food, but they were ok.  My boys liked them and were excited about them, so they are making it to my blog...

John's Rating: 5 "I'd eat them if you made them again, but could live the rest of my life without eating them again"

Recipe from: The Farm Girl Recipes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal, like Rice Krispies
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup plain yogurt ( I used greek yogurt)
1/4 cup peanut butter or nutella (I used peanut butter this time)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving a slight overhang on each of the long edges. Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, rice cereal, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring well to combine. In a second large bowl, whisk the banana, honey, yogurt, nut butter, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and well incorporated.

3.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir until they come together, being careful to not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer to the prepared pan and flatten down lightly with a spatula or your clean hands. Bake for 20 minutes for soft bars (I baked mine 20 minutes)  If you want them firm and golden, continue baking until they are starting to brown on the top, more like 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

"Utah" Scones

These are the kind of "scones" I grew up knowing.  They are so good and make fantastic Navajo tacos. Then we finish with one for dessert with honey butter.  Mmmm....

Recipe from: Make it Do
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 Tbsp. salt
5 – 6 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Combine warm water and warm milk.  Stir in the sugar.  Add dry active yeast and stir lightly.  Allow yeast to activate, about 10 minutes.  In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, add milk mixture and melted cooled butter.  Add the salt.  Start the mixer and add the flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Dough should be slightly sticky but workable.  Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel.  Set in a warm place and allow raise until double, about an hour.

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares or triangles. 

Heat oil to 375 degrees and cook scones until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chili's Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers

This is John's favorite dish at Chili's, so I gave it a try at home.  It made enough to freeze some and he ate it at work later, he said it was obviously not as good as freshly cooked, but still tasted great and kept most of it's crispiness. 
John's Rating: 9
 Recipe from: Food

12 chicken tenderloins
shortening (or vegetable oil, 6 cups for frying)

Honey-Chipotle Sauce

2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chicken broth (Swanson)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


 Make honey-chipotle sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 
Heat shortening or oil in fryer or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together all ingredients for the batter, excluding flour, in a shallow bowl for at least 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour.  Make the breading by combining all ingredients in another shallow bowl or pie pan.  When you are ready to fry the chicken, dip each piece of chicken into the batter. Lift the chicken out of the batter and let some of the excess drip off.  Toss the chicken into the dry breading and coat completely.  Repeat with 2-3 other pieces.  Carefully drop the breaded chicken into the hot oil and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.   Remove chicken from oil and allow to drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the chicken tenders have been cooked. 
When all the chicken tenders are done, drop them into a large glass or metal bowl.  Pour the sauce over the top, and toss gently until all the chicken tenders are coated with sauce.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Pie

This was the first fresh strawberry pie I've ever made, it was so easy and so good....why have I not tried this before??  It does need some planning ahead because it needs to set in the fridge.

John's Rating: 9

Recipe adapted from: With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart

1 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cold water

Cut shortening into flour and salt until crumbly.  Stir in cold water.  Once a ball is formed chill in freezer 10 minutes, then roll out and bake.

Strawberry filling:
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 oz box strawberry Jell-O
2 cups sliced strawberries or a little more if needed to fill pie dish

Pre-bake a 10" pie shell.

Line bottom with the sliced strawberries

Combine cornstarch, sugar and water in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Add the Jell-O and stir until dissolved.  Pour over the strawberries and refrigerate until set.

Serve with whipped cream

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sonic's Grape Limeade

 John really liked this drink.  I thought the grape/lime syrup was too intense and would add more sprite for me.  My boys loved it!  I may play around with some different koolaid flavors this summer. 

1 {12 oz.} can limeade concentrate, thawed
2 pkgs. grape kool-aid
1 {2 liter} bottle sprite (I used sprite zero)
Fresh limes {optional} 
Ice, Sonic's Pebble Ice preferably

Combine limeade and koolaid until no koolaid lumps exist.  In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the limeade/grape mixture and the sprite until well combined. {Don't stir too vigorously, or the carbonation in the Sprite will all go away.}Slice your limes and add it to the mix.  Serve over lots of ice. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo with Bacon

A nice twist on Alfredo, esp. since I love red peppers.  The bacon pairs great with this pasta, so don't leave it out.

John's rating: 8

Recipe adapted from: Bakeaholic Mama

1/2 lb of fettuccine, cooked to package directions 1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk 4 oz of room temperature cream cheese 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup cheddar cheese 1 clove of garlic 1 1/2 roasted red peppers diced (I roast my own) 
4 strips of crispy cooked bacon

In VitaMix, blend cream, milk, garlic and roasted red peppers until smooth, pour in a med. sauce pan and add cream cheese.. 

Cook over medium heat until cream cheese has melted into the cream and is smooth.
Mix in Parmesan and cheddar cheese until smooth. Continue to simmer over low heat until smooth.

Pour over your cooked pasta. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Miami Vice Frozen Limeade

John told me he wanted a Miami vice, Brazilian limeade drink, so did some mixing in my VitaMix and made what he claims is his "favorite drink".  My boys all loved it, too.  It is super refreshing and he claims better than any drinks we had down in the Caribbean.

John's Rating: 10

1/2 bottle of Cream of Coconut (I buy the Coco Real 21 oz squeeze bottle)
Juice of 4 limes
4 large strawberries
2 trays of ice cubes
Enough water to fill 1/2 cup below the max line on the blender, yeah real precise, huh?

Blend until smooth.  Drink slowly to savor...and to avoid a 'brain (or chest) freeze'

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crispy Chicken Tortilla Rollups & Spicy Avocado Creme

What a perfect blend of flavors! The garlic oil added a fantastic flavor and helped make them nice and crisp on the outside and then there was this great creamy chicken filling.  The Avocado Creme has a little kick to it and compliments the sweetness from the corn in the roll ups.  Then top it off with the fact that this meal that can be assembled quickly on a busy night (or a lazy night, I have those, too)

 John's Rating: 10

Recipe adapted from: The Weekend Gourmet

Preheat oven to 400. 
Make the chicken filling by combining the following ingredients in a bowl: 

2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
1 cup colby jack cheese
1/2 cup corn kernels
1-2 sliced green onions (I used fresh chives instead this time)
2 minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
the juice of  half a lime
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup light sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil and two grated garlic cloves in a small saucepan over med heat. When the oil is hot, turn off the heat and let the garlic infuse into the oil for 5-10 minutes. 

Assemble the tortillas by adding about 3 Tbs. of the filling down the center and sprinkle with cheese.    Roll up and place seam-side-down on a baking sheet lined with foil.
**I filled 8 flour tortillas  

Brush the tortilla rollups with the garlic oil and sprinkle with dried cilantro and chili powder. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking so both sides are able to brown and crisp. 

While the rollups bake, make the avocado creme. 
Add one large ripe avocado to a bowl and mash until creamy. 
3/4 cup light sour cream or plain greek yogurt
the juice of half a lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder

Stir well to thoroughly combine and scoop into a pretty serving bowl.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Strawberry and Cream Pie

I made this pie for Father's Day.  It was a hot day, so I tried this one since there was no baking required.  John really liked it.  It has a really creamy texture and it not overly sweet.  

Recipe adapted from:  Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 sleeve or about 9 full/long cracker, crushed in my VitaMix)
4 Tbsp butter, melted

8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
Strawberries, sliced into thirds or halves
Melting chocolate (enough to drizzle on top)


In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until a crumbly, moist mixture forms.  Gently but firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom/sides of a pie dish. Place in freezer.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixture to beat your cream until it holds firm peaks. Set aside.

In a separate, larger bowl, mix cream cheese, almond extract, and sugar until smooth and creamy.Gently fold in whipped cream until incorporated and smooth.

Spoon filling into your cooled pie crust, and spread it out in an even layer.  Layer sliced strawberries in an overlapping rows around the top of the cream.  Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the strawberries.

Stick the pie in the fridge for a few hours to allow the creamy filling to firm up.  Slice and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Frozen Coconut Limeade

Super refreshing for a hot day! 

Recipe from:  Dessert Now, Dinner Later
  • 5 cups ice
  • 3/4 cup Lite Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut (found in the alcoholic mixers aisle at the grocery store)
  • 4-6 Tbsp frozen Limeade concentrate (more or less depending on desired level of tartness)
  • 3 Tbsp water
Place all ingredients into a blender & blend on high until smooth.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

My banana-loving boys enjoyed this pancake recipe!  It's also a perfect way to use up some ripe bananas :)

Recipe from: Minimalist Baker

  • 1 very ripe medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup whole wheat or unbleached flour
  • 3 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat a skillet to medium heat or about 300-325 degrees.
  2. Mash your very ripe banana with baking powder.
  3. Add egg, oil, salt, vanilla, butter, milk and stir.
  4. Stir in oats and flour until just combined.
  5. Sprinkle in chocolate chips and fold gently.
  6. Scoop scant ¼ cup measurements onto lightly greased griddle.
  7. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side – until golden brown.
  8. Serve plain or with a small drizzle of maple syrup.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

My new favorite dressing...It's been so long since I've eaten at an Olive Garden, that I'm not sure if this is a perfect match, but it is REALLY good!! 

Recipe from:  The Country Cook
1 packet Good Seasonings Italian Dressing
(Ingredients needed to make dressing; oil*, water, vinegar)
½ tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
½ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tbsp. mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip, please)
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs. white vinegar
1 ½ tbsp. water
*I used half canola and half olive oil

Prepare Good Seasonings Italian Seasonings Dressing as it states on back of packet. Add remaining ingredients. Whisk all together, let sit 30-45 minutes, then shake to stir it again and serve.

Store unused dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. 
Be sure to give the bottle a good shake before using.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Coconut Cream Fruit Dip

John reminded me that it has now been a year since we were basking in the sun and walking on white sandy beaches on a resort in the Caribbean.  So I figured I'd make him this fantastic fruit dip with a pina colada flavor.  Although it is a great dip, esp. with fresh pineapple and stawberries, a trip back to the Caribbean would have been way better, but this little bit of summery tropical goodness is much easier on the budget :)
Recipe from:   Dessert Now, Dinner Later!

*This recipe makes a lot, could easily be cut in half 

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (15oz) can Cream of Coconut (Not coconut milk! Find this in the aisle with the margarita mix & other mixers.)
1 (8oz) tub Cool Whip

Whip the cream cheese with the cream of coconut in a stand mixer until all lumps are gone.
 Remove paddle, & fold in cool whip.  Serve with fruit or graham crackers.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grilled Chipotle-Rubbed Steaks with Lime Butter

Loved the flavor of this steak:

Recipe from:  Serious Eats

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • Two thick, boneless steaks, such as ribeye or hanger, 10- to 12-ounces each

Combine the butter, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, and a salt to taste. Set aside. Combine the paprika, cumin, and chipotle powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the steaks with plenty of kosher salt, then evenly sprinkle the spice mixture over them and rub into the meat.

Grill Steak until center of steaks register 125°F on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare, 135°F for medium, or 145°F for well done. Transfer to a platter and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, adding the lime butter after a few minutes to melt from the residual heat.

Slice the steaks and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Dip

This is a recipe from my mom.  It has a sweet flavor from the corn, but has a spicy kick from the jalapenos.  It does make a lot, so it's perfect for a large gathering or party....or you can cut it in half.  

48 oz corn (frozen) about 6 cups
3 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded monterey cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 half pint jar of chopped jalapenos, plus 1/4 cup juice from jalapenos

Mix and melt the cheeses & then mix in jalapenos and juice.  Mix in corn (thawed) and adjust again with cheese and spices to taste.

 Put in crockpot until hot OR bake in oven at about 350º for 30 min or until hot/bubbly. You can put a little extra cheese on top and broil for a minute or two at the end if you desire.

Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Butterfinger Rice Krispie Treats

Another fun way to make a Rice Krispie treat.....

Recipe adapted from: Cookies and Cups

  • 5 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 (16 oz bag) mini marshmallows
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 Fun Sized Butterfinger candy bars, chopped
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
How to Make
  1. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Using your microwave,  melt your butter.
  3. Add in your marshmallows and stir to coat, then microwave 2 minutes on power level 4.  Stop and stir.  Continue microwaving on power level 4 in 1 minute increments until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Pour over your cereals and stir until almost combined.
  5. Pour in your chopped Butterfinger bars.
  6. Stir until distributed evenly and press into your prepared pan.
  7. In a microwave safe bowl combine your chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between each until melted and smooth.
  8. Drizzle on top of your krispies.
  9. Let the chocolate set and cut into squares.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Key West Grilled Chicken

Warm weather and grilling...I also like that it can be a tasty, easy meal.  I froze some chicken in this marinade.  It  was great!  John and the kids liked it!  It has a great flavor to eat by itself, but we have also used the grilled chicken for chicken tacos.

**Try this served with grilled pineapple on top!

Recipe from: Grocery Budget 101

* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 Tbs. honey
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* Juice of 1 Lime
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic.

If you want to have grilled breasts, Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.

**If you prefer kebabs, cut the chicken into large chunks, skewer onto kabob sticks.

**For a slightly zestier version, add a teaspoon of Freshly Chopped cilantro to the marinade.

Grill on medium high heat until chicken is done.

Monday, May 20, 2013

No Bake Berry Oreo Cheesecake

  A simple, indulgent dessert my whole family loved....

 Recipe from: The Farm Girl via Lil' Luna

2/3 pack crushed up Berry Oreos (2 sleeves)
1/4 cup melted butter

1 sleeve of crushed Berry Oreos
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar (next time I'd reduce to 1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 oz. tub cool whip
Red Food coloring (optional)

1.  Prepare crust by adding melted butter to crushed oreos, mixing until well combined. Spread mixture on the bottom of you pan, pressing down evenly.  Set aside.

2.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with mixer until well blended. Fold in cool whip and remaining chopped cookies. You can also add food coloring to make it a little more pink. Spread over crust.

3.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours until firm before serving.  If wanted, top with more cool whip. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

Burgers happen often at our house, so I thought I'd shake up Burger night with these rolls at buns, they weren't very spicy (but had a kick of spice that lingered in our mouths)  and had a fantastic a great texture.  John was super excited about these buns and liked them much better than my 40 minute version.
John's rating: 9

Recipe adapted from:Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1 Tbsp yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large jalapeños (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped (I used 1 Tbsp of dried powder)
1 cup water water (100-110 F)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg

Add the yeast and sugar to warm water, let sit 5 minutes.  Add flour, salt, oil, egg, cheese and jalapenos to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Beat briefly on low speed to combine.  The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and cling to the bottom - you may need to add a little flour or water to achieve the right consistency.  Knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 75-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

Transfer the dough to your work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Space the rolls about 1/2 to 1-inch apart - you want the edges to bake together in the oven.

Allow the rolls to rise for 35 minutes.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are deep golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes. Store in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature, or wrap tightly and freeze.

Makes 8 rolls.