Saturday, December 31, 2011

Black Eyed Pea Dip

This doesn't taste like black eyed peas at all. It tastes like a bean dip. If you are looking for a tasty way to get some good luck for next year this is the way to go. I apdapted this recipe from Pioneer Woman.
Black Eyed Pea Dip
1 can of black eyed peas, dranied
1 small can of green chilies
1 small can of chopped black olives
1 c. cheddar cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
3 heaping T. salsa
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. cumin
salt and pepper
Mash the peas then mix everything together in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Candy Bars

These are great and very easy. I like that you cut them in squares instead of rolling in balls and dipping in chocolate. Much quicker!

Candy Bars
1 c. light Karo syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanuts
1 c. peanut butter
3 c. Rice Krispies
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
12 oz. bag of butterscotch chips
In a large microwave safe bowl,  stir together the sugar and Karo syrup. Microwave for 2 minutes. Add peanuts and peanut butter and stir. Microwave another 1 minute. Stir in Rice Krispies until combined really well. Spread out onto a greased 9x13 pan. Microwave the chips for 2 minutes. Stir and spread over the top of the bars. Let cool.

Cherry Pecan Shortbread

These are similar to a cookie called Santa's Whiskers, but those are coated in coconut. I think the coconut is supposed to be the whiskers, so I can't really call these Santa's Whiskers. Anyway, these are not too-sweet and are nice with a cup of coffee or tea.

Cherry Pecan Shortbread
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. almond flavoring
2 T. milk
2 1/2  c. flour
3/4 c. chopped candied cherries
3/4 c. chopped pecans
Cream the butter, sugar and almond flavoring. Add the milk. Beat in the flour until just mixed. Fold in the cherries and pecans. Roll into a log. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Slice off 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until lightly brown on the bottoms.

Veggie Squares

These are great! I threw all my veggies in the food processor to make them chopped finely and then I sprinkled them on the cream cheese.

Veggie Squares
2 pkgs. crescent roll sheets
2- 8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg. dry ranch
1 c. mayo
1 bag of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli pre-cut (in the produce section), chopped up
1 green pepper, chopped up
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese
Roll out crescent roll sheets and cover a jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. Let cool. Mix ranch, cream cheese and mayo. Spread over the crust. Evenly sprinkle with veggies and cheese. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I have made this recipe for a few years now and it always turns out great.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 tub of fresh grated parmesan cheese (around 1 cup)
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. mayo
2- 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese
2 cans of artichoke hearts chopped up and drained
1 t. basil
1 heaping t. garlic chopped
salt and pepper
1 c. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Mix it all together in a crock pot and cook until it is all melted together and hot (a few hours). Serve with tortilla chips.

Homemade Honey Baked Ham

If you like honey baked hams, you will love this. It tastes the same and costs way less! I bought my ham on sale for $1.49 a pound. It also makes almost no mess when you cook it in a bag. I forgot to take a picture, but it makes a nice golden brown ham. The leftovers are awesome too.

Homemade Honey Baked Ham
1 spiral cut ham
1 large oven bag
2 c. honey
1/8 c. dark corn syrup
1/8 c. whole cloves
1/3 c. butter
In a small sauce pan, bring the honey, syrup, cloves and butter to boil. Turn to simmer. Place the ham flat side down inside your oven bag in a roasting pan. Baste with half of the glaze. Bake at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes per pound. About half-way through, baste with the remainder of the glaze.

Applesauce Jello

I remember this fondly from elementary school lunches. I was happy to find the recipe to recreate it. Don't judge the recipe based on the bad picture, I forgot to take one and had to take a picture of the leftovers. This jello is really good.
Applesauce Jello
2 pkgs. cherry jello
2 c. boiling water
2 c. cold applesauce
Mix the jello with the water until dissolved. Add in the applesauce. Refrigerate until firm.

Date Pinwheels

This is hands-down the best cookie I've made this year. Worth the trouble!
Date Pinwheels  
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 c.)
2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 3/4 c. chopped dates
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
1/8 t. salt
1 1/2 cups finely diced pecans or walnuts

Cream  the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Chill the dough till it's firm enough to roll out, at least 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the dates, sugar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and boil the dates gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened to about the consistency of very soft jam. Stir in the finely diced nuts, and set aside.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into a 9" x 12", 1/4"-thick rectangle. Spread half the filling over the entire surface of the dough; the filling is sticky and stiff, but if you keep wetting your fingers, you can push and spread it around without too much trouble. Roll the dough up, lengthwise, to make a log. Wrap each log in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut the log into 1/3" slices, and place the slices 1 1/2" apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 for10-11 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oreo Truffles

This is too easy to really count as a recipe, but everyone who likes Oreos loves these. For a fun variation try mint oreos with green tinted white chocolate.

Oreo Truffles
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg. oreos (not double stuff)
1 or 2 bags of white chocolate chips (I like ghiradelli or hershey, not nestle)
Pulverize the oreos. Mix with the cream cheese. Refrigerate. When cold, scoop out into balls. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Dip the balls in the chocolate. Let cool on wax paper.

Microwave Caramel Puff Corn

This is that awesome crack corn that I love, but it is even easier because you can make it in the microwave. Also, this time I tried the Dillons brand of butter puffcorn ($1 a bag) and it turned out great.

Microwave Caramel Puff Corn
1 large paper grocery bag
2 bags of butter puffcorn
1 stick of butter
1 c. of brown sugar
1/3 c. white corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
Spray the inside of the grocery bag with Pam. Dump in the puffcorn. In a medium sized sauce pan, mix everything else but the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time. Mix in the baking soda. Pour over the puffcorn. Shake the bag. Close the bag and microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Shake. Microwave for 45 seconds. Shake. Microwave for 30 seconds. Shake. Microwave for 20 seconds. Shake. Pour out onto wax paper. Let cool. Store sealed up.

M&M cookies

These are great for the holidays and easy to put together.

M&M cookies
3/4 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Stop the mixer and add the flour and baking soda. Beat in the flour until just incorporated. Fold in the M&M's. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

Microwave Divinity

This is awesome. I was impressed with how easy it is to make. It tastes the same as the kind made on the stove top.
Microwave Divinity
3 c. sugar
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. white Karo syrup
2 egg whites
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1 c. chopped pecans
Mix the sugar, water and syrup in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 13 minutes (don't stop and stir it). While it is cooking, beat the egg whites and salt in your mixer until stiff. Then when the syrup is done, slowly beat it into the egg whites. When the mixture is not shiny any more, mix in the vanilla and the nuts. Quickly spoon it onto wax paper. Let it cool.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Party Mix

This is kind of like two things in one. I made a batch of chex mix and I made a batch of ranch oyster crackers and then I mixed them together. This makes a ton and it only took about 20 minutes.

Party Mix
9 c. crispix cereal (or chex)
2 c. cheese-its
1 large can of mixed nuts
2 c. pretzels
1 bag of oyster crackers
6 T. butter, melted
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. season salt
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing
3/4 c. vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and ranch dressing. Pour the oyster crackers in and coat them completely in the dressing. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 275 degrees. While those are baking, add the cereal, cheese-its and nuts to a large, microwave safe mixing bowl. In a large measuring cup, mix the butter, Worcestershire, season salt, garlic and onion powder. Pour over the cereal mix and mix it to coat. Microwave for 2 minutes, then stir. Repeat until you have microwaved a total of 6 minutes. Mix in the pretzels, then spread out on a cookie sheet or wax paper to dry. When the oyster crackers are done, remove from oven and let dry also. When both are dry, mix them together. Store in a sealed container.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Haystacks (AKA Chow Mein Noodle Cookies or Chinese Fudge)

Again, this hardly counts as a recipe, but I love making these and having them on hand for Christmas. If you want, you can add peanut butter to the mixture (1/2 c.) or you can substitute all chocolate chips or all butterscotch chips.
2 cans of chow mein noodles
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 bag of butterscotch chips
1 can of peanuts
In a very large mixing bowl, melt the chips in microwave. Start with 60 seconds, stir and then add more time as needed until melted. This time it took 2 minutes total. Then add in the noodles and peanuts. Mix well until they are fully coated. Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper. Let cool.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Chocolate Pretzel, Rolo, Pecan Candies

This isn't really a recipe. They taste wonderful. My only tip is to use parchment paper! I did not and had to pry the pretzels off the pan.

White Chocolate Pretzel, Rolo, Pecan Candies
1 large bag of Rolos
1 bag of white chocolate pretzels (or make your own)
1 bag of pecan halves
First toast the pecans on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, lay out your pretzels. Put one Rolo on each pretzel. Bake in the oven at 350 for 2 minutes. Working quickly, press one pecan half on each Rolo. Let cool.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake

This is an excellent winter cake. It is easy to make and very rich and homemade tasting. Nuts are optional. If I were to add nuts, I would put a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans in this.

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
zest of 2 oranges
6 large eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 t.  vanilla
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries
zest and juice of one orange
1 c. of powdered sugar
Cream the butter, sugar and zest for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat in a little of the flour mixture. Then beat in a little of the cream. Alternate until you are done, careful not to beat more than needed to just mix it in. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Put in a cold oven and turn it on 325 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (or more if the center is not set). Let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan. When it is completely cool, whisk the glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the cake.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

These are very good. I think you could leave out the chocolate if you wanted just a pure pecan pie bar. This serves more and is much easier to make than actual pecan pie.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
1 1/2 c. flour
stick of butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
Mix all together and pat down in a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
3 eggs
3/4 c. corn syrup
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. melted butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 3/4 c. chopped pecans
Beat the eggs, syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla. Fold in the chips and pecans. Pour onto the crust. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until the middle is set.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

These are more thick like cake than bars, but I think that is because I used a 9 x 13 pan. I think if you use a jelly roll pan, they will be more like bars.

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 can of pumpkin
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. salt
Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until fluffy. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and just mix until combined. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the middle is done. Let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 a bag of powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
milk or cream to thin
Mix the butter and the cream cheese. Whip in the sugar. Add the vanilla. Add in milk until it is the right consistency.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Crisp

This is a really fast dessert to add to your list of holiday dishes. It takes no time to whip up. I got the recipe from Southern Plate.
Cranberry Crisp
1 c. quick oats
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 stick of butter
1 can of whole cranberry sauce
Mix the oats, flour and sugar. Cut in the butter. In a greased pie plate, pat down half of the mixture. Pour the cranberry sauce on top. Put the rest of the oats on top of the cranberries. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate peanut butter chip cookies

These are classic.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
2 1/2 sticks of butter
2 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
bag of peanut butter chips
Cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients. Beat in the chips. Drop on baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Broccoli Rice Casserole

This is really good. It makes a full 9 x 13 pan, so it works great to take to a pot luck or if you are having several for dinner. We have had it for Thanksgiving the past few years and really enjoy it. It is easy to make and doesn't take long to assemble.

(((Sorry for the lack of picture, I forgot to take one. Imagine cheesy, rice with bits of broccoli.)))

Broccoli Rice Casserole
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped broccoli
3 c. instant rice
3 c. chicken broth
1 can each cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup
16 oz. Velveeta, chopped up
salt and pepper to taste
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Cook the broccoli. Cook the instant rice using the broth instead of water. Mix the 2 soups with the cheese. Then add in the broccoli and the rice. Pour into the pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chocolate Pie

This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman. It makes a very sweet, mousse-like chocolate pie. It was easy to make, but it takes a little bit of time at the mixer. It doesn't have very many ingredients either.

Chocolate Pie  
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 sticks of butter 
1-1/2 c. sugar 
1 t. vanilla 
4 eggs
1 pie shell
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Set aside to cool. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Once cool, drizzle the chocolate in the butter sugar and beat. Add the vanilla. Then add in one egg, beating for 5 minutes. Then repeat until all the eggs have been added (20 minutes). Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

These are so good! You won't regret making them and they really don't take that long to make.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
1 brownie mix (9x13 size, plus whatever it calls for on the back of the box)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. peanut butter
12 oz. bag of milk chocolate chips
1/2 bag of mini Reeses cups
Make the brownie mix and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Beat together the milk, cream cheese and peanut butter until fluffy. Pour over the brownie mix carefully, trying to spread it evenly. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the bag of chocolate chips. Let it set for a few minutes then spread the melted chips around evenly. Let it cool. Sprinkle with Reeses. Keep refrigerated.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Mexican Chicken Soup

Sorry I haven't posted lately. I have just been too busy to cook much. Here is a fast recipe that I tried last night that tastes great. I cooked my chicken in the crock pot all day and then when I got home I pulled it apart and put it in the soup. If you are in a hurry you could also use a rotisserie chicken.

Easy Mexican Chicken Soup
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, chopped into chunks
1 can of rotel
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 can of chicken broth
1 pkg of dry ranch dressing
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
salt and pepper
Mix everything in a large sauce pan. Stir as the cream cheese melts. Let simmer for 20 minutes and then serve (we had it with corn bread).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Penne Casserole (where you don't have to boil the noodles!)

This is really good recipe I got off of Plain Chicken. It is super fast to throw together, but it takes an hour to cook, so it's great for when you have a million things to do at home after work. You can throw this in the oven and get done what you need to.
Penne Casserole
1 jar marinara sauce (26oz)
1 c. water
15 oz ricotta
2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 pkg. pepperoni, chopped
8 oz uncooked penne
1/2 t. each salt and pepper
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. Italian seasoning
Combine sauce, water, ricotta 1/2 of the mozzarella, the sausage, pepperoni, parmesan and penne.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and cover with foil.  Bake at 400 for 55 minutes.  Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sausage and Cheese Squares

These are a great choice for weekend for breakfast, or for a fast weeknight breakfast for dinner. We served it with scrambled eggs.
.Sausage and Cheese Squares
2 cans crescent rolls
1 pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese
2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9 pan; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  Cook sausage over medium heat, then drain. To same skillet, add cream cheese. Cook over low heat until melted. Add cooked sausage; stir to coat. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Unroll the second can and place over the cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into small squares.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gooey Bars

These bars are really good. Beware- they need to rest overnight (or all day if you make them in the morning) to really set up. If you can't wait and you eat them ahead of time, just know that they will be super gooey. (Can you tell I am not patient?)
Gooey Bars
2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. walnuts, chopped (or peanuts or pecans, whatever you have)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (SCM)
4 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. chocolate chips
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes. Add in the flour, oats, soda and salt until crumbly. Reserve 1 c. of the  mixture. Pat the rest into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the SCM on the crust. Then layer on the marshmallows, chips and nuts. Finally sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. Let it cool and wait overnight before cutting- if you can stand waiting. If not, have a fork ready.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato

We tried these Loaded Baked Potatoes at a local BBQ place and they are so good. When I saw online that you can make baked potatoes in your crock pot, this is what I wanted to try. This is super easy for a weeknight dinner after work.
Loaded Baked Potatoes
2 lbs of pork shoulder
5 baking potatoes
cheddar cheese
BBQ sauce
In the morning before work, put the pork shoulder in one crock pot and cook on low. You don't have to add anything to the pot, just the meat. Then clean and wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil. Put the potatoes in another crock pot on low. When you get home from work, drain the pork shoulder and shred. Split each potato. Top with cheese, ranch, meat and BBQ sauce. Enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chex Apple Bars (Gluten Free)

I didn't have much of a chance to cook over the weekend. It was super busy. I did make these bars: I didn't take a picture, but they looked just like the picture. I omitted the almonds, but I think next time I would make these with walnuts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Chicken Soup

I got the idea for this soup from Pioneer Woman's recipe, but like almost every recipe I use, I couldn't follow it exactly. My version is a little easier than hers and it tastes great. It also makes a lot. I have half of it in my freezer waiting for dinner another night.

This recipe calls for a chicken. One of the easiest and cheapest ways I've found to cook chicken for recipes, is to take a thawed, whole fryer and put it in my crock pot in the morning before work. Then when I get home, it is just falling apart. I pick up the chicken with my tongs and the bones just fall off. Then I take out what I need for that meal and put the rest in freezer containers for next time. For this soup, I just pulled a container out of my freezer and threw it in the soup. You can't tell it has been frozen and it makes it super fast to whip up soups or casseroles that need chicken.
Italian Chicken Soup
half a box of small shells (or some other small pasta)
1/2 a chicken cooked and shredded or a package of breasts cooked and shredded
1 large can of chicken broth
1 c. of frozen celery/onion (or chop up your own)
1 green pepper chopped up
1 can of Italian diced tomatoes
2 T. chicken noodle base
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese
Boil the broth. Add in everything else but the cream. When the  noodles are done (after 10 minutes or so) turn it down to simmer and add in a 1 c. of heavy cream or half and half or milk. Simmer for 10 minutes or so and then serve with cheese on top.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Bars with Caramel Frosting

These are delicious and easy to make. Beware- they are very sweet, so you might not want to cut such a large piece.
Apple Bars with Caramel Frosting
2/3 c. of butter, softened
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
2 apples peeled and chopped
1 c. chopped walnuts
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon and flour and mix until just incorporated. Add in the apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until done in the middle. Let cool.

1 stick of butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. half and half
2 c. powdered sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add in the sugar and half and half. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cheesy Beefy Macaroni

This is a yummy, filling casserole. It's great for a weeknight dinner. 
Cheesy Beefy Macaroni
1 lb. of hamburger
16 oz. macaroni
3/4 of a large can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. dried onions
2 T. chili powder
1 T. paprika
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne
salt and pepper
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 c. mozzarella cheese
Cook the macaroni. Brown the hamburger and drain. Mix everything together. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (Gluten Free Version)

These little guys are awesome. You cannot tell they are GF. I topped these with toffee bits. Fall sprinkles or walnuts would be good as well.
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
1- 15 oz. box of GF yellow cake mix
1 c. of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 of a box of instant vanilla pudding
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. melted butter
2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
Mix everything together for 3 or 4 minutes. Scoop into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until done in the middle. Let cool.

8 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
half and half or heavy whipping cream or milk
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Add in cream a little at a time until it is the right consistancy for frosting. Spoon into a large Ziploc bag. Cut off the corner of the bag and pipe onto the cupcakes in swirl pattern (like a soft serve ice-cream).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I have had this recipe on my refrigerator for awhile now. Last week my aunt made these brownies and posted them on Facebook and I was inspired to make them myself. They taste as good as they look.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
1 box of 9 x 13 brownie mix (or make your own if you want)
3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 T, milk (or half and half or heavy cream)
1½ t. vanilla extract
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. chocolate chips
Make the brownies according to the directions and let cool. Beat the sugars and the butter for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in the milk and vanilla. Add in the flour and beat until just combined. Then beat in the chocolate chips until just combined. Spread on the brownies and the refrigerate until cold. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blueberry Sweet Rolls

These turned out really good. I was just kind of fooling around when I made them. They are a little tricky to roll and cut, but worth it. The photo is from my phone, so you can't really tell how good they were. Instead they look a little weird. I promise they were good!
Blueberry Sweet Rolls
1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
1 bag of frozen blueberries 
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. cornstarch 
3/4 c. powdered sugar 
3 T. melted butter
1 1/2 T. heavy cream or half and half
Mix the berries, sugar and cornstarch until the berries are all coated. Roll out the bread dough on a floured surface into a rectangle shape. Spread the blueberry mixture on the dough covering all of it. Lightly press it into the dough. Very carefully, roll the dough up from the long side. Very carefully slice the dough into 1 inch slices using a serrated knife. Place the rolls in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Berries will fall out. At the end, sprinkle the extra berries on top of the dough and around the sides. Cover the rolls and let them rise. Then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until brown. Put the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Whisk in the butter and cream. Pour over the rolls. Serve warm.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bacon Breakfast Casserole

This is a great potato based casserole that you can make the night before and cook in the morning. Sorry about the i-photo. I couldn't find the camera. Turns out my husband had it with him, but by the time I found out, the casserole was gone.
Bacon Breakfast Casserole
2/3 of a bag of frozen cubed hash browns (you could save the rest to throw in a soup recipe)
1 pkg. of ready cooked bacon chopped up
1 bunch of green onions chopped up
2 c. shredded cheese (whatever kind you want, I used cheddar)
6 eggs
1 c. milk
salt and pepper
The day before you want to make the casserole, put the hash browns in the bottom of a well greased 9 x 13 pan. Then evenly spread the cheese, bacon and green onions on top of the potatoes. Whisk the eggs and milk in a separate bowl and then pour evenly over the casserole. Add salt and pepper. Put it in the refrigerator. In the morning, bake the casserole at 350 for 40 minutes or so, until the potatoes are done. Let it set for a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Italian Cream Cake

This is an awesome, impressive cake. I make it in a sheet cake pan and it serves a lot. It takes a little bit of work to get it made, but it is worth the effort if you need to bring an impressive cake somewhere. The original recipe is from Pioneer Woman, but I've changed it a bit.
Italian Cream Cake
1 stick butter
1 c. oil
1 c. sugar
5 eggs (separated)
3 t. vanilla
1 c. coconut
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 c. buttermilk (to substitute: add milk to 1 T. vinegar to make 1 c. let sit for a few minutes before using)
First beat the egg whites until stiff. Then, in another a bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar for 3 minutes. Add in the egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then fold in egg whites. Pour into a well greased sheet cake pan or jelly roll pan, then sprinkle the top of the batter evenly with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3 boxes of 8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 t. vanilla
1 bag plus 1/2 bag of 2 lb powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. coconut
First toast the walnuts by spreading them on a cookie sheet and toasting for 8 minutes at 350. Watch that they don't burn. Then cream the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla. Then add in the powdered sugar. Finally add in the coconut and walnuts. Spread on the cooled cake.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chocolate Pound Cake

This is pretty easy to make. As you can tell from the picture it is super chocolatey. It feels almost sinful to eat it. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pound Cake
4 oz. cream cheese
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 c. of sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 T. heavy whipping cream or half and half
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 a bag of chocolate chips
Beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla and cream and beat until fully incorporated. Add in the cocoa and flour and just beat until mixed in. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into a 9 x 5 loaf pan and bake at 325 for 65-75 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.

1 stick butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1 T. heavy whipping cream or half and half
1/3 bag of chocolate chips, for garnish
Cream the softened butter with the powdered sugar and cocoa. Thin with the cream or half and half. Spread on the cake and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mexican Dip

This is a very hearty dip. It makes a great appetizer, but it's filling enough to have for a casual dinner with a salad on the side. It is also very easy. (Sorry about the picture, I had pretty low lighting.)

Mexican Dip
2- 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 lb. of hamburger, browned
1 can of Bush's Chili Starter Beans (found these at Ron's)
1 small jar of salsa
2 c. shredded cheddar
Spray a 9 x 9 pan with Pam. Spread the cream cheese on the bottom. Mix the beans and the hamburger. Spread over the cream cheese. Pour salsa over the hamburger and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bars

These are great if you are craving a frosted sugar cookie and don't want to mess with rolling out and decorating and waiting on each pan of cookies to bake. Also, like almost everything I post, these are easy. My four year old did a lot of the work.

Sugar Cookie Bars
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, salt, baking soda and mix just until combined. Spread in a greased 9 x 19 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they don't look done so do the toothpick test). Cool completely and frost.

1/2 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened

2 t. almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 T. milk
3-4 drops food coloring

Combine butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add extract and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined, then add milk a little at a time and mix until smooth and spreading consistency. (You may not need all the milk). Spread over cooled cookie bars.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dinner Rolls

This recipe is from the Southern Plate cookbook and website. They were easy to make and went great with the soup we had yesterday.

Dinner Rolls
1/2 c. sugar
2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
5 c. flour
1/2 c. crisco
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. warm water
3/4 c. butter melted
In a mixer add sugar, yeast, salt and 2 c. of flour. Add the crisco and mix until clumpy. Then add in eggs, water and 1/2 c. of the butter and mix. Change to the dough hook and add in the rest of the flour and mix. Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. (My kitchen is cold so I turn on the oven on low and when it gets warm I shut it off. Then I put the bowl in the oven.) Then knead the dough on a floured surface a few times and pat into a 9 x 13 size (3/4 inch thick). Cut the dough into 18 pieces using a pizza cutter. Move the rolls to a greased pan. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and turn it on to 350. After 5 minutes, put the rolls in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and brush with butter, then bake for another 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This was a hit and it was really easy. You can put it together at night and then pull it out of your refrigerator and turn it on in the morning before work. By the time you come home it will be ready for you! I also can't recommend enough the slow cooker liners. Clean up consists of throwing away the bag and washing the lid of your crock pot.

Baked Potato Soup
1 bag of frozen cubed hashbrowns
1 c. of frozen, chopped onion, carrot and celery mix (I get this at Dillons. Walmart doesn't have it. If you don't want to use frozen, just chop up 1 c. worth of the veggies)
32 oz. chicken broth
1 c. water
3 T. chicken noodle base (you should keep this on hand for soup making, I add it in almost any time I use chicken broth and it adds a lot of flavor)
3 T. flour
1 c. milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 pkg. of ready cooked bacon, chopped
Add the veggies, broth, water and chicken base to your crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. In a separate bowl, whisk milk into the flour. To avoid lumps, add the  milk to the flour slowly. Don't add the flour to the milk. Then stir the milk mixture into the soup. Then stir in the cheese and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve when the cheese is melted and the soup is thickened.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Lately I've been too busy to bake. I don't know what has come over me. I even went out and bought Little Debbies this week. (If you haven't had one in awhile, you aren't missing out. Homemade tastes so much better!)

I do still have to make dinner, and we had these sandwiches last night. These are not just BBQ chicken sandwiches. They have grilled chicken with pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch and BBQ sauce. So good! (And fast and easy too).

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
pkg of chicken tenderloins (or cut up some breast in strips)
pkg of pepper bacon (regular will work too)
hoagie buns
cheddar cheese (pepper jack would be good too if you like a little hot)
BBQ sauce
ranch dressing
First lay your bacon on a large cookie sheet, reserving one piece of bacon, and put it in the oven at 350. If you prefer to fry it on the stove and stink up your house, go ahead. Then take the one piece of bacon and chop it up. Fry it in a frying pan. Once it's all brown, add a little oil to the pan. Take the chicken tenders and season them with Lawry's season salt and pepper. (I also sprinkled a little thyme and some poultry seasoning on mine.) Then fry the tenders in the bacon grease until they aren't pink in the middle and they have a nice brown crust on the outside. On another cookie sheet, lay out the hoagie buns with the insides facing up. Put cheese on one half of the bun. Put chicken on the other half. Take the bacon out of the oven and put it on a paper towel to drain it. Put two pieces of bacon on each sandwich on top of the chicken. Put the pan in the oven until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, put the sandwiches together and then cut in half. Put ranch and bbq sauce on each one and serve hot.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes

These cupcakes are pretty easy to do, but they are impressive. They taste good too. I'm sorry about the photo, I had to take it at work with my cell phone. I forgot to do it at home. The cupcakes almost didn't make it to work. When I was leaving my house, I tried unsuccessfully to balance two plates of cupcakes on one arm and ended up with a big frosting mess on the floor by the door. Oh well. At least one plate survived.
Lemon Cupcakes
one box of lemon cake mix
small box of instant lemon pudding
1 c. of sour cream
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. water
4 eggs
can of lemon pie filling
1 stick of butter
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
additional milk as needed
Mix the cake mix, pudding, sour cream, oil, water and eggs. Line two 12 hole muffin tins with cupcake liners and spray with Pam. Fill with batter. I use a scoop to evenly distribute the batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done. Let cool. Cut a small hole in the center of the cupcake. You can use a knife, your finger, a teaspoon, a small melon baller, just see what works best for you. Then put the lemon pie filling in a large ziplock bag. Cut off the corner of the bag to make your own decorating bag. Squeeze lemon pie filling into each of the holes, but don't over fill. Next mix the butter, powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice. Add milk if it needs to be softer. Spread carefully on the cupcakes or use a decorator bag and squeeze in a pretty design. I spread the frosting and had to be careful not to get the pie filling mixed in with the frosting. I used my cookie dough scoop to put a ball of frosting on the cupcake then I smashed it down and spread it out. I used the leftover pie filling to put a dot of yellow in the middle of the cupcakes. You could also add yellow food coloring to the frosting if you want it to look more lemony.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sausage Bread

I got this recipe from Plain Chicken and I adapted it. We had it for dinner but it would make a wonderful appetizer. It's really easy to make. This picture is not the best because it is from the end of the loaf. I forgot to take a picture until we had already ate most of it.
1 loaf unsliced French bread
1 lb pork sausage
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
Hollow out the middle of the loaf with a long serrated knife, leaving a 1/2 inch shell around the sides. Crumble up the bread that you removed into bread crumbs. Cook sausage until meat is browned, then drain. Stir in 1 cup breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, mustard and salt and pepper. Spoon into shell. Melt butter in saucepan. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Brush garlic butter over loaf. Wrap loaf in foil, leaving top open slightly. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 25 min.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

This recipe is from the folks at King Arthur Flour. After making several of their recipes for baked goods, I trust that whatever they are featuring on their blog is going to be good. Their products are really good too, if you've never looked at their baking catalog you should. This is called a cake, but it is not super sweet. It's kind of muffiny. If you want it to be more sweet, I recommend topping it with either blueberry syrup or by sprinkling powdered sugar on it. Also, don't be scared of the cottage cheese. You can't tell it is in the final product.
Blueberry Breakfast Cake
3 eggs
2/3 c. sugar, 1/4 c. sugar
6 T. melted butter
1 c. small-curd cottage cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 t. baking powder
2 c. blueberries frozen
Beat the 2/3 c. sugar and butter. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Then beat in the sour cream and cottage cheese. Add in the dry ingredients except for the berries. Pour into a 9 inch round pan. Evenly sprinkle the blueberries on top. Then sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for at least 30 minutes before cutting. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pizza Bites

These would make great appetizers, but we had them for dinner with a Cesar salad and they were perfect for a weeknight dinner. They were a crowd pleaser. This is a really easy recipe. It takes a few extra minutes to put together, but you can do while sitting at your kitchen table relaxing after a long day at work.

Pizza Bites
2 cans Pillsbury pizza crust (or make your own if you want to be ambitious)
1 bag of frozen meatballs (thawed in your refrigerator)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar of pizza sauce
Pinch off a piece, or cut a square from the dough that is double the size of the meatball. Dip the meatball in sauce, then dip the meatball in cheese. (I used two small bowls, one for sauce and one for cheese.) Then put the meatball in the center of your dough and fold the dough around it, covering the meatball. Seal any seams in the dough. Repeat until you run out of dough. Place seam side down on a large cookie sheet or sheets and bake for 20 minutes or so, until brown at 350 degrees. Serve with pizza sauce and ranch to dip.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


In response to a call for dip recipes from Boo Mama, I am posting a list of all my favorite dips from this site. I know with football season starting, people will be looking for new ideas. If you want to see all the recipes (and there are many that look really good) check out Boo Mama's blog.

You can tell from the pictures, I use a lot of crock pot liners. They are one of the best inventions ever! These dips are in no particular order. I love all of them, but the Nutty Dip (#7) is probably my favorite.

1. Jalepeno Popper Dip- This is not the prettiest dip, but it is GOOD. You will not be disappointed if you make this.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
4 oz. can of green chilies
4 oz. can of jalapenos (or the equivalent- I had a jar of jalapenos and just filled up my empty can of green chilies to see if I had enough)
2- 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese
1 c. mayo
1 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. pepper
Mix it all together in a medium sized crock pot and serve with Frito's when warm and melty.

2. Feta Artichoke Dip- This one doesn't have a picture, but it is really good. Totally different vibe than the popper dip above, but just as good.

Feta Artichoke Dip
1 can chopped and drained artichoke hearts
5 oz. feta cheese
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 small jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 T. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all and cook in a crock pot until melted.

3. Taco Dip- this is a really good yellow type queso if you don't like velveeta. Plus it's easy.

Taco Dip
1/2 pound sausage, browned
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1/2 c. salsa
Mix everything together and cook in a little crock pot.

4. Cafe Del Rio Cheese Dip- This is an awesome Mexican restaurant white queso dip. Beware, it's really expensive to make. It's really, really good though.

 Cafe Del Rio Cheese Dip
2 1/2 pounds of white American cheese, cubed
1/2 c. jalepenos
a small carton of 1/2 and 1/2
a small carton of heavy whipping cream
a small box of frozen spinach
Thaw the spinach and drain it really well. Mix everything else in a crock pot until melted and combined. Serve with tortilla chips.

5. Pizza Dip- This dip rocks. You should make it. I could make a meal out of it. Everyone likes this dip.

Pizza Dip
2 cups of shredded, seriously sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese mixture (the more types, the better)
¼ to ½ cup of half and half (to help with consistency)
1 cup of regular, good quality mayonnaise
1 cup of sliced regular or turkey pepperoni, chopped roughly
1 cup of  chopped mushrooms
bunch of green onions
small can of chopped black olives
½ a green pepper
In a food processor, chop up all the veggies. Mix everything together in a small crock-pot and cook until melted. Serve with toasted garlic bread.

6.  Chili Cheese Dip- This is your basic chili cheese dip. It's great. I like it with Fritos.

Chili Cheese Dip
1 brick of chili from the grocery store meat counter (Maybe a pound?)
1/2 pound of white American cheese from the deli
8 oz brick of cream cheese
Mix in a crock pot until melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

7.  Nutty Dip-This should probably be number 1. I love this dip.

Nutty Dip (This is truly awesome dip!)
 2 c. pecan pieces
2 c. finely shredded cheddar
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1 jar of jalepeno jelly
Mix all. Serve with fritos.

8. Cranberry Swiss Dip- this is more of a frou frou dip that women tend to like more than men. It's really good. I like it best with those almond nut thin, gluten free crackers.

Cranberry Swiss Dip
8 oz cream cheese
1 c. shredded swiss cheese
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1 t. orange zest
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Mix it all together and put in a little crock pot. Served with crackers.

9. Black Bean Dip- this is very good, it feels healthy while you are eating it.

Black Bean Dip
2 cups corn
1 can of black beans, rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes
bunch of green onions, chopped
handful of chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces of feta
1/3 cup olive oil
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium sized bowl, mix the oil, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice and zest. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado) and toss. Let it marinate in the refrigerator. When you get ready to serve it toss in the avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.