Thursday, December 25, 2014

Candy Cane Cookies

I was actually surprised at how good these turned out.  I found myself with a ton of extra candy canes this year, so I looked for a cookie recipe that used candy canes.  So glad I did, these were a great holiday treat.  (My kids liked them plain, so no chocolate and definitely not sprinkled with more candy cane, so if you want a simple cookie, they are also good without the chocolate)

Recipe from: My Baking Addiction

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 drops pure peppermint extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, butter extract and peppermint extract.
Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in crushed candies.

Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Use a cookie scoop to form cookies.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets, flatten dough a little. Bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
If desired, dip the cooled cookies in melted chocolate and garnish with more crushed candy canes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Reindeer Corn Dogs

This is another simple, fun idea I found on Pinterest that made lunch a little more fun this Christmas. 

Cheese slices for the eyes (with black edible food marker).  Pretzel antlers.  Ketchup noses. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reindeer Pudding Cups

So this isn't really a recipe, but it's food :)  Fun food.  I packed these in my kiddos lunch boxes.  They were pleasantly surprised. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Great Harvest Cinnaburst Bread Copycat Bread

This bread is amazing!  And it made my house smell fantastic!  We enjoyed it warm out of the oven, toasted with some butter and we even made some into french toast--so good!


Recipe from: raegun Ramblings

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1/3 cup oil (I used veggie oil)
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cinnamon chips

In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and milk; let bubble for about 5 minutes.
Add in oil and egg.
Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.
Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl. Add the cinnamon chips when it gets close to the right consistency. The dough will be very sticky but the softer the dough the lighter the bread. So use the least amount of flour you can handle.
Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes.
Form into loaf (or whatever shape you want).
Let rise and additional 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
* Makes 2 loaves

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookes, with Sprinkles

These cookies are super festive, filled with colorful sprinkles.  They had a wonderful cake batter flavor and the sprinkles added a fun texture to the cookie.  

 Recipe from: Sally's Baking Addiction 

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix (I used yellow cake mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I used a blend of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup sprinkles (I used a little less, still turned out very colorful)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)
Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes (mine took 11 minutes using my purple handled cookie scoop) until edges are slightly browned.  The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You may also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I got 37 cookies from this recipe.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Twinkie Mummies

I made some homemade Twinkies and made them into mummies by drizzling white chocolate on them and adding some candy eyeballs.  My kids loved them! 

Twinkie Recipe here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cilantro Jalapeno Dip

This dip is seriously addicting!  It has a spicy kick from the jalapenos, a creamy coolness from the ranch and a wonderful Mexican flavor from the cilantro.  It's best chilled for an hour or two before eating to let the flavors blend. 

Recipe adapted from: I save A to Z

6 jalapenos, seeds removed
1/2  a bunch of cilantro (meaning a huge handful)
1 packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Mayonnaise

Puree the jalapenos and cilantro in a food processor until it looks like a paste.
Mix together the cilantro and jalapeno puree mixture with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 cup of sour cream mix.  Chill for about an hour and serve

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hulk Cake

Hulk face cut with sugar sheets and set on green frosted cake. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pasta Shells with Zucchini

Recipe from:

1 lb jumbo pasta shells
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
FILLING 1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium zucchini
1 bunch spinach (about 1/2 lb)
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/4 cup basil
1/4 cup unsalted butter or 1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 FILLING: Melt butter over medium heat in a large, heavy dutch oven.
2 Add onions& garlic; cook until onions are tender& wilted, stirring occasionally.
3 PREPARE ZUCCHINI: Wash well, taste a bit of the skin from each& peel only if it tastes bitter.
4 Grate& place in a colander in the sink.
5 sprinkle with about 2 tsps of salt& let excess liquid drain for 30 minutes.
6 Rinse with cold water to remove most of the salt& then toss on a clean tea towel (or paper towels) to dry before cooking.
7 Add drained zucchini to dutch oven& cook until any moisture evaporates.
8 PREPARE SPINACH: Wash well& trim off tough stems.
9 Place leaves, with water from washing still clinging to them, in a large pot.
10 Cook for a few minutes or just until leaves have wilted.
11 Let cool, then wring dry in a clean tea towel& chop.
12 Add spinach to the dutch oven and combine thoroughly.
13 Remove from heat& allow the mixture to cool.
14 Drain off excess liquid.
15 Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl; add ricotta& beat until smooth.
16 Add Parmesan and seasonings; mix well.
17 Combine with vegetable mixture in the dutch oven, mix thoroughly; set aside.
18 SAUCE: Melt butter in large, heavy pot; cook onions& garlic until tender and wilted.
19 Add tomatoes, including their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
20 Cook for 30- 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
21 Purée and test for seasonings.
22 Set aside.
23 Pasta: Cook shells in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions until"el dente".
24 Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and prevent sticking.
25 Using a colander, gently shake shells to drain excess water.
26 Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish.
27 Spoon some of the filling into each shell& arrange, stuffed side up, in the casserole dish.
28 Pour sauce over the shells& sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
29 (If you can only find small shells, just layer them on the bottom of the casserole dish, cover with a layer of filling, a layer of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan).
30 Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Copycat Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

We've enjoyed this salad a couple of times this summer.  I love how light and refreshing it is. The dressing is so good!  I used cabbage from our garden, so I used green cabbage for all the cabbage in the salad.  This made enough for us to eat for 2 meals, but there were no complaints here.

Recipe adapted from: Tastes Better from Scratch

Honey Oriental Dressing

6 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp sesame oil
For the Chicken

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 chicken breasts
oil, for frying
For the Salad

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped napa cabbage
2 carrot, shredded
2 green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Blend together all ingredients for the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the salad: Combine the romaine, red cabbage, napa cabbage, carrots, and green onions.

Preheat oil for frying.  In a small bowl beat the egg and milk together. In another bowl combine the flour, cornflake crumbs and salt and pepper.
Cut chicken breast into several long thin strips. Dip the strips in the egg mixture, and then into the flour mixture, coating completely. Add chicken strips to the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and coating is dark golden brown.
Add chicken pieces on top of salad and sprinkle with almonds. Serve with the honey oriental dressing. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Skinny version of Wendy'd frosty...

3/4 cup Almond Milk
about 15 ice cubes
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
1/3 of a Banana

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken

Recipe from:  Favorite Family Recipes

1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
1/4 c. chicken broth
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. sesame oil, divided
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
3 heaping Tbsp. chile paste
3 tsp. distilled white vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 green onions, chopped
1-2 handfuls peanuts

In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 Tbsp. chicken broth, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. sesame oil and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Add chicken pieces to mixture. Toss to coat. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and peppers and saute for a minute or so (don't let them get too soft or they will become soggy). Add garlic and saute another minute. In a small bowl, combine remaining broth, soy sauce, oil and cornstarch/water mixture. Stir in chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Add sauce mixture to skillet with the sauteed veggies. Add green onion, water chestnuts, peanuts, and red pepper flakes. Heat sauce slowly over medium heat.
Remove chicken from marinade and saute in a medium skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. Add sauteed chicken to sauce and simmer together until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of chicken broth a little at a time until sauce reaches desired thickness.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Homemade Icees

We have enjoyed this homemade version for years.  It is a perfect cool down when it is hot.  Just don't sip it too fast :) 

Recipe from: Mostly Homemade Mom

1 packet Kool Aid (any flavor but cherry is our favorite)
2 cups seltzer or club soda (I use club soda)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups ice

Dissolve sugar and kool aid packet in one cup of the club soda, you can do this right in the blender. Add ice and pulse until all ice chunks are gone. Add remaining one cup of club soda and blend. Pour into glasses and serve.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Simple Marinated Chicken

I loved how simple the ingredients were and how fantastic this chicken tasted.  John was also happy with this chicken, it is likely to be appearing for dinners often throughout the summer. 

Recipe from: Mix It Up

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine mix with oil and vinegar and add raw chicken.  Marinade chicken at least 2 hours in the fridge a day if possible. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cilantro Lime Guacamole

This guacamole was fantastic for Chili's Tortilla Soup.

Recipe from: Craftaholics Anonymous

2 Ripe Avocados
1/2 fresh Lime
3 Tablespoon Diced Jalapeño pepper, I used ground up Jalapeño powder I made from dried Jalapeños
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4Cup Cilantro, chopped {about 1/4 bunch}

Remove the peel and pit from each avocado and place in a medium bowl. Gently mash with a fork, leaving it a little chunky. Squeeze the juice and some pump from one lime onto the avocados. Then sprinkle on salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then fold in cilantro and jalapeño peppers. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup

So I've never actually had this soup at Chili's, but this recipe it is so good!  The cilantro lime guacamole really adds to it, don't skip it!

Recipe adapted from: 52 Ways to Cook

2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Fresh ground Black pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 pint enchilada sauce
12 Corn tortilla Chips (soup thickener)
1 Cup Frozen Corn, thawed by running hot water while straining
1 pint black beans
2 Cups Meat from a Rotisserie Chicken (I used one pint of canned chicken)

8 OZ Colby Jack Cheese, grated
8 OZ Cheddar Cheese, grated  

1 cup half and half
Juice of 1/2 a Lime
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Garnish with Sour Cream, Cilantro Lime Guacamole and crunchy Tortilla Strips

This is a crock pot recipe made in two stages. First can cook all day while the final stage will take an hour before it is ready to serve... First, set your crock pot to high.

Put chicken stock, enchilada sauces, spices, corn, crushed chips and beans in crock pot.  Stir and place on high for about 3 hours.

Add the cheeses and stir to combine and allow to melt (about 20 minutes set on high)

Add the juice of 1/2 a lime.  Serve warm garnished with sour cream, Cilantro Lime G
uacamole, and crumbled chips.

Strawberry Danish Dessert

This is a recipe I got from my mom years ago...many years ago, it is one of the first recipes I got from her and I have held on to it and used it many, many times.  So I was surprised that I couldn't find it on my blog today when I went to make it.  So I dusted off my old recipe box and dug it out....

1 pkg strawberry kool-aid (or another flavor if you want to change the flavor)
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch

Mix all together in a heavy pan.  *Make sure all lumps are out before adding water!

Add 1 3/4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Stir continuously!  When desired thickness is reached remove from heat, this only takes a few minutes!  Stir in strawberries (or other fruit of your choice). 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easy No Bake Cheesecake

This is one of John's favorite desserts, and it's perfect for summer because it is cool and refreshing and does not need any baking.

1 graham cracker crust
2 pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
1 8 oz tub cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
a splash of lemon juice, optional but it tastes great!
Fruit topping of your choice, we like strawberry

Beat cream cheese until smooth, mix in cool whip, powdered sugar, and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth and well mixed.  Pour into graham cracker crust and top with fruit topping of your choice. Refrigerate until set. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Bunny Cupakes

My kids loved these Easter cupcakes the most, the bunnies turned out super cute! 

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting topped with M&M eyes and large heart sprinkle for the nose.  Then I cut some bunny ears out of cardstock and tucked them into the frosting. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter M&M carrot cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with white vanilla frosting and a simple carrot shape made out of M&Ms. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chick Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes topped with yellow frosting, then rolled in yellow colored sugar.  Then topped with colored M&Ms and a couple of squirts of frosting for the wings.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strawberry Orange Spinach Smoothie

Another spinach smoothie my kids like.

Recipe from: My Recipe Magic

1/2 can pineapple, with juice
1 orange
4 cups spinach
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Blend and serve.

1    cup    pineapple chunks ( and juice* )
1    oranges
4    cups    spinach ( fresh or frozen )
1    cup    frozen strawberries
1/2    cup    plain greek yogurt


Throw it all into a blender (I use and love my Blendtec) and mix well. Drink and enjoy your sludge colored mustache.

*Make sure you buy pineapple canned in it's own juice, not syrup (i.e. sugar)!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

My daughter decided she loves red velvet, so I thought we'd make a recipe using red velvet for a Valentine treat. I sent them for a few days in the kids' lunch boxes, evidently they caught the eye of the staff.  The next time I volunteered at the school, some of the staff commented on how good they looked.  lol. 
 Red Velvet Cake Mix

Make cupcakes using directions/ingredients on box.

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
milk, as needed
4 cups powdered sugar, approx.
10 crushed oreos

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  If needed add a tiny bit of milk.  Fold in crushed oreos.  Pipe onto cupcakes.  I topped the cupcakes with oreos I cut in half, a full oreo woud also work.  Maybe even the mini ones....

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Donuts

Walmart had these cute heart shaped donuts, so I ordered some for Kyla's third grade classroom party and added some cute little arrows....

*Arrows made using wooden kabob sticks and paper I cut. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I remember as a teenager and early college years, eating creamy chicken noodle soup...canned from Campbells.  I loved the creamy goodness of the soup and it was perfect on a cold forward a few years and I'm no longer buying it in a small can, but making it with fresh veggies and chicken that I cooked up.  I did cheat and use a couple of cans of cream of chicken this go round, but I expect to make the cream of chicken sauce from scratch in the future and update the recipe then. 
*John does not like chicken noodle soup, but he does like Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, giving it an "8".

Recipe from : Dinner's Ready

2 chicken breasts
5 cups chicken broth
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped celery
1 C potatoes, diced
½ C chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
8-12 oz uncooked egg noodles (homestyle)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil then dice chicken. Heat broth, then add carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, and noodles. Simmer until veggies and noodles are tender. Add cream of chicken soup, milk, salt, pepper and shredded chicken. Simmer until heated through and ready to serve.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hot Chocolate Cookies

This recipe came from the back of the container of mallow bits we picked up at the store last week.  They tasted like hot chocolate in cookie form, serve warm with a cold glass of milk.  A perfect cookie for the blah January weather.

1 1/4 cup room temperature butter
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered hot chocolate mix (don’t use sugar free)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mallow bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and vanilla and stir until combined
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, hot chocolate mix, baking soda and baking powder.
Add in flour mixture to butter mixture until well combined.
Fold in mallow bits and chocolate chips.
Drop by 1 1/2 tablespoon rounds onto greased baking sheet, lightly press down.
Bake for 9 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Remove to wire racks and cool.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fry Sauce

Serious, fry-dipping goodness....

Recipe from: food

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar (the secret ingredient!)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pistachio Chocolates

I tried out this new chocolate recipe this year.  It was great!  It was a perfect addition to the chocolates we gifted at Christmastime.   (It does make a lot.)

Recipe from: Shugary Sweets

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3.5 oz pkg Instant pistachio pudding mix (powder only)
7oz Fluff (marshmallow cream)
11 oz white chocolate
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled, chopped
8oz dark chocolate, melted

In large saucepan over medium high heat, mix butter, sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Set timer and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

In large mixing bowl, add pudding mix, marshmallow cream and white chocolate. Pour boiling mixture over ingredients. Beat for about one minute until combined and chocolate is completely melted. Fold in pistachios. Pour into a 9inch parchment paper lined square dish.

Now you can make it into fudge or chocolates

For Chocolates, use truffle scoop and form into small balls.  Dip in chocolate. 

For fudge: Melt dark chocolate (either using microwave or double boiler). Spread on top of fudge and refrigerate about 2 hours until set. Cut and enjoy.  (Or serve without the dark chocolate)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I love chicken enchiladas, but this pasta version is less work with all the goodness of chicken enchiladas.   Leftovers reheat well. 

Recipe from: Plain Chicken

12 oz penne pasta
12 oz cooked chicken, chopped (I used a can from Costco)
1 (4oz) can green chiles
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used Cheddar instead and loved it)
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp southwestern seasoning
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth, garlic powder, onion powder and southwestern seasoning. Whisk until smooth. Allow sauce to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and chilies

Toss together pasta, sauce, chicken and half of cheese. Pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted.