Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brown Sugar Cookies

I found this in my Food Network magazine.  It is a Crisco recipe and it was easy and turned out really yummy.  You can dip them in chocolate or just eat them plain.  If you dip, some ideas were to sprinkle crushed candy canes, chopped nuts, sprinkles or whatever you think is fun!
Brown Sugar Cookies
(Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together shortening, butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in medium bowl until light and fluffy.  I mixed the butter and shortening first and then added the remaining ingredients.  Next time I might used butter and margarine instead!

Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls or use a small cookie scoop.  Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to cooling rack and when cooled dip or spread melted chocolate on half and sprinkle on anything you might like!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites

This is an appetizer found on the tasty kitchen site.  I was looking for a simple but yet yummy appetizer that was bite size too!  This one also had only 3 ingredients and ones that I have on hand!
This one had rave reviews and one comment made was who couldn't like something wrapped in bacon or everything is better with bacon!
I guess that is somewhat true because these were very good and a nice simple appetizer that wasn't too big but gave you a good taste!  I brought it to a Christmas party and only came home with one!
Bacon Wrapper Pineapple Bites
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 can chunked pineapple~the large chunks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan by lining it with tin foil.  Then place a cooling rack on top of it.

Cut your bacon strips in half.  Put your brown sugar in a shallow bowl.  Take a 1/2 slice of bacon and dredge it in the brown sugar.  Basically, coat your bacon with sugar.  Put a chunk of pineapple on your bacon and roll it up.  Secure it with a toothpick and place on your cooling rack.  Continue doing this until you either run out of bacon or pineapple.  The nice thing about this is that you can do as many as you want.  I had less than a pound of bacon, so I just made as many of them as I had bacon.

Bake for at least 25 minutes, or until bacon looks brown and crispy.  Your bacon bundles will drip and the foil makes sure easy clean up.  Also the drippings may smoke some, so be prepared when you open your oven.  It was recommended to turn your broiler on to crisp the bacon a little too at the end.  Just watch very carefully because the sugar will burn.

Let cool slightly and place on a serving plate and enjoy!  I let my drippings on the foil kind of solidify and then was able to just pick up the foil and throw it all away!  My pan was pretty clean underneath!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is another great recipe found on pinterest.  It is originally from food.com.
Todd and I found a Panera in North Carolina and have loved that place ever since.  They have great sandwiches, bagels, bread, and soup too!
This soup was really really good!  In fact I had a kid ask for seconds!
Yummy and warm and perfect for a winter night!
Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
serves 4
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh broccoli (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese (used medium)
  • salt and pepper
Saute onion in 1 tbsp butter.  When softened and cooked set aside.

Using a whisk, combine 1/4 cup melted butter and flour.  Whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Next, add the half-and-half stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock (I did water and bouillon).  Simmer for 20 minutes.

While the stock and cream are simmering, chop up your broccoli and julienne your carrots.  I looked up julienne and it looked like you cut the carrots into small sticks.  I did mine bite size sticks.

Once you have simmered for 20 minutes, add broccoli, carrots and onions.  Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper and cheese.  Stir in nutmeg and enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  Did I tell you how much I like that site??
This recipe was adapted from Nestle's Very Best Baking.  The recipe originally has you make them in regular muffin cups.  The recipe was changed for mini muffin cups!  They are perfect mini size!
Anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter will love these! 
Isn't anything mini that much better too???
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
(found on pinterest, adapted from Nestle's Very Best Baking)

  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix or mix up a batch of your favorite homemade version
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your brownies as directed.  The original recipe doesn't use paper liners, but I used them and think they make using the mini muffin cups so much easier to get out.  So either spray really good or line with paper liners.

Spoon batter evenly into your mini muffin cups (about 1 heaping tsp.)  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  I must have filled mine more than she did because my cooking time was about 3-5 minutes more.  Either way, cook until a toothpick inserted comes out slightly wet, but done.

After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall.  This will happen while cooling, or you can tap the centers with a tsp. to help make a well shape in your brownie.

Place peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30-45 seconds.  While brownies are still warm, spoon about 1/2 tsp of peanut butter into the center of each brownie.  Top with semi-sweet and peanut butter chips.  Cool and gobble up!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pork Carnitas

I found this recipe in my All You magazine.  It is a crock pot recipe and I definitely need the crock pot on busy after school days!
The pork turned out tender and had lots of great flavor.  Definitely a great easy recipe that produced great leftovers for lunches too!
Pork Carnitas
(All You magazine October 2011)
  • 1 3 lb. boneless pork roast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut up
I always start with spraying my crock pot with non-stick spray.  When I remember this I am always happier when it comes to clean up!

Place your pork roast into the crock pot.  The recipe says to chunk your roast into 2 inch pieces with fat trimmed.  My roast was frozen, so I kept it whole which may help prevent it from drying out too!

Sprinkle pork with salt, chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Place onion and garlic over the top and around your roast.  Cover and cook on low until meat is tender and falling apart~about 6 hours.  Shred pork and serve hot!

Serve in tortillas with shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, avocado, spanish rice, beans, salsa or whatever you love!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chocolate Candy Pie

Oh my goodness Oh my goodness!
I can't believe in all the recipes I have posted that this one has been neglected!  It is the best and it was my dad's favorite until he became allergic to milk!  I still think it tortures him when we make it!  Sorry dad!
It is sooo good and sooo easy and loved, loved, loved by everyone!  In fact this year my family said they made 2 so everyone would be able to get another piece when Thanksgiving 2 happened!
Delicious chocolate goodness is all I can say!
Chocolate Candy Pie
(from my mom ~ circa 1968)
  • 1 pie crust or graham cracker crust
  • 20 regular sized marshmallows (fresh ones)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bars (3 3/4 oz) milk chocolate with almonds candy bars
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whip cream
Prepare your crust first.  If doing a regular pie crust, make it and cook it in your pie tin and have cooled before you make the pie.

In a medium saucepan, combine the marshmallows and milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until marshmallows are melted.

Add the candy bars.  Break them into small pieces so easier to melt.  Continue cooking on low heat until chocolate is melted stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour into another pan to cool.  Place in freezer to cool quickly for about 10 minutes.

While its cooling, whip 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream.  Fold into cooled chocolate mixture and pour into your pie shell.

Place in your refrigerator to set up for at least 3 hours.  If you need it to be done quickly, place in freezer for about 40 minutes to speed it up!

Whip the rest of your cream (with added sugar and vanilla) and decorate the top of your pie or serve with it on top.

Enjoy a yummy yummy pie!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Potatoes or Yams

We had Thanksgiving in California at Todd's brothers house!  We had a great dinner and even experimented a little!
Heather found this recipe on Allrecipes.com.  They were super yummy and a really good flavor adding the spices to it!
Sweet Potatoes or Yams
(adapted from Allrecipes.com)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bag large marshmallows
  • about 6-7 medium yams or sweet potatoes
Boil your sweet potatoes with the skins on until the skins start to crack.  Peel the skins off (or the skin will just peel off to the touch) and slice.  My mom always peels the sweet potatoes or yams first and chunks them.  She then covers them and boils them until tender~just like regular potatoes.  I don't think it matters what way you do it, just make sure your potatoes are tender.

Put your sliced yams in a 9 x 13 pan.  We then sprinkled brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over the top.  Next we dolloped the butter over the tops of them.  Next cook this in a 350 degree oven until the butter and sugars are melted, about 10 minutes or so.  (Next time we were going to try putting the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan.  Melting it all together and then putting it all over the cooked potatoes and skipping the baking part again?) 

Now add your marshmallows all over the top and broil until they are golden!  Don't take your eyes off or you will have burnt mallows!  YUMMY!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pomegranate Mold (or Penny Jello)

This is a Thanksgiving tradition at our house!  My mom has been making this jello for a long time and this year Heather and I made it!
We have nicknamed it the Penny jello because when I was a kid we always ate Thanksgiving in the dining room.  We never ate in there but on special occasions.  My mom invited this lady named Penny over for Thanksgiving and we had this jello.  We were always told to have our best manners and you can say were sternly told to have our best manners!
So this year we were in the dining room having our best manners when Penny started eating the jello.  She proceeded to pick the pomegranate seeds out of her mouth and not eat them or eat around the seed or something.  She used her hands and everything in the dining room!  My sisters and I were all a little shocked to say the least!  We now can't eat this salad without thinking of her and laughing about the dining room episode!
It is a very good jello and a yummy way to use pomegranates!
Pomegranate Mold Salad
(source unknown, been made for years at my house!)
  • 1 3 oz pkg strawberry jello
  • 1 3 oz pkg raspberry jello
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds, about 4 pomegranates
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
Dissolve jello in 3 cups water~1 cup hot, 2 cups cold

Mix together remaining ingredients in a bundt pan or jello mold or even a 9 x 13 pan.  Make sure to grease the bundt pan in order to get the jello out.

Pour jello over mixture and refrigerate.  We always make this the night before so it has adequate time to set up!  If using a bundt pan, you may need to soak the pan in warm water to get it to come loose!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rice Krispy Turkeys

I found this idea on Pinterest.  I love that site and would recommend it to anyone for great ideas!
It was a simple fun way to get the kids involved in helping to make place cards at the table.  We didn't add eyes or a beak, but I really liked the simpleness of this anyway!
Rice Krispy Turkeys
  • Rice Krispies
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate for dipping
  • candy corns
  • white frosting if making eyes
  • Sucker sticks
Make your Rice Krispy treats in a 9 x 13 pan.  Once made, form into balls, we made about 17 small balls.

Melt your chocolate.  We used yummy See's candy chocolate bars, but any dipping chocolate or chocolate chips works.  Use a double boiler.

Dip the tops of your balls and then let firm up a bit.  Decorate and put onto your sticks.

We filled the cups with pretzels, popcorn and candy corn which looked very fall and festive.  The turkeys were a little top heavy, so next time I may add more candy corns on the bottom.  Write your guests names on the cups and they look super fun on the table!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

Yummy, Yumm-o, Yummtastic, Yummerific,...
These were some of the words that my family used to describe this soup!  Well the words "This is yummy mom" were used, which are words to melt any mothers heart!  My husband was even completely thrilled and loved dinner too!
This is a Taste of Home recipe and received 4 stars! The ingredients were almost all ones I had on hand~the only thing I had to buy was Velveeta.
Very easy and a very comforting soup!
Cheeseburger Soup
(Taste of home)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups diced, peeled potatoes (1 3/4 pounds) (or use red potatoes and you can leave skin on)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
In a sauce pan, brown your ground beef; drain and set aside.  While your beef is cooking, chop your onions, shred (grate with a cheese grater) your carrots and dice your celery.  I put all these ingredients in one bowl and then added the basil and parsley to it.

Once your beef is done and you have removed it from the pan, use the same pan and saute your onion, celery, carrots, basil, and parsley in 1 tbsp butter. 
Cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. 

After the veggies are tender, add your broth (I did 3 cups water with 3 bouillon cubes), potatoes and beef.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

While everything is simmering, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter in a small skillet.  Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly.  Add this to your soup (when potatoes are ready) and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the milk, cheese, salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is melted.

Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  Enjoy with saltine crackers!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cowboy Quesadillas

I found this recipe on Our Best Bites website.  They always have great recipes and they are usually recipes with ingredients that I have on hand!
This one was the same!  My family all liked this, but I will say it was just an easy revved up version of a quesadilla.  My kids ate them, but didn't really like the dipping sauce.  I liked it too, but thought next time I might try substituting the barbecue sauce with sour cream.
All the ingredients are good together and I liked the barbecue sauce, but I think I would prefer sour cream!
Very easy and a way to make a quesadilla more of a meal than just cheese!  Also a great way to use leftovers!
Cowboy Quesadillas
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/3 cup black beans
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 1/3 cup fresh frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • 2/3 cup diced tomato (didn't add~I don't like tomatoes!)
  • 3 tbsp sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese ~ any type you like!
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (or try sour cream!)
  • small tortillas, fajita size
Combine rice, beans, chicken, corn, tomato, green onion and shredded cheese.  Add barbecue sauce (or sour cream) and stir to combine.  Place about 1/3 of the mixture on half of a tortilla and fold over to close.

Heat a skillet to medium heat.  When hot, spray with cooking spray and place your filled tortilla on top.  Cook until golden brown or slightly crisp and turn over to cook on other side!

Serve with a barbecue dipping sauce (equal parts barbecue sauce and ranch dressing) or try more sour cream, guacamole, or salsa and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moist Pumkin Spice Muffins (with Cream Cheese Frosting)

I love pumpkin and like to make lots of pumpkin this time of year!  I found this recipe on Tasty kitchen and had to try it.  This may now be my new go to recipe for pumpkin muffins! 
 I didn't make the frosting because I didn't have any cream cheese!  I do have to say that they were super moist and didn't need the frosting.  I am sure the muffin would be super good with the frosting, but they were really good without too!
Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins (with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (heaping) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Topping:
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
For Frosting
  • 1/4 cups softened butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously grease a 12 muffin tin.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Then combine with pastry blender or you can sift together.  Cut in butter pieces with 2 knives or pastry blender until it is fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture.  Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour the batter into the greased muffin pan(I used muffin liners).  I filled all 12 spots.  Sprinkle with topping mixture over all the batter filled tins.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Your toothpick should come out clean.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Ice with cream cheese frosting.  To make frosting~mix all ingredients in a mixer on high until soft and whipped.  Spread onto completely cooled muffins!  Store frosted muffins in refrigerator, icing will soften at room temp.!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spider Cookies

I found this idea on a blog, not sure which one but it was a great simple idea!  It is a little late for Halloween, but it will definitely work for next year or maybe if you were having a spider man birthday party!
Spider Cookies
  • Oreo Cookies
  • M & M's
  • Pull apart Twizzlers (red or black)
  • Frosting
Cut your twizzlers to the size of your spider legs.  Next push your legs into the yummy oreo centers.  I learned as I went it was much easier to pull the top off of the oreo and push the legs in the filling that way.  I then put a little frosting on top of the filling and placed the top back on.

Next 2 dots of frosting for the eyes and then place your M & M's on top!  You are done and the kids will love them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reeses Cheesecake Brownies

It seems at times trying new recipes is a lonely place!  I hear people tell me about new recipes they try, and I always say "Add it to the blog!".  I have decided it must be my job to be experimental (which I fully enjoy!)!  So now my friends are sending me samples and recipes for the samples to add to the blog!  That works too!
This is a recipe Desiree tried and I sampled!  They are very yummy and I am glad to just have a little sample and not the whole pan~I would probably eat them all!  So enjoy and share with others to sample too!  Also a great way to use up that Halloween candy!
Reese's Cheesecake Brownies
(from Desiree via 
  • 1 19.5 oz box chocolate fudge brownie mix
  • 1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 12 oz Reese's pieces candy
  • 1 12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream
  • 12 large Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Prepare the brownie mix, according to pkg. directions.  Spread the batter in your pan, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with mixer until fluffy.  Add sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth.  Stir in Reese's Pieces candies.  Spoon the mixture over the brownie batter.  Spread evenly.

Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are golden brown.  Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and whipping cream for 1 minute or until chips are melted.  Stir until smooth.  Spread over cheesecake layer.  Sprinkle Reese's Peanut Butter cup pieces over top.  Store covered in refrigerator until ready to serve!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Classic Minestrone Soup

I found this in my All You Magazine and since cold weather is upon us, I had to give it a try!
It was simple since you cook it in your crock pot!  The soup has great flavor and very healthy for all you trying to balance the candy intake!  It came out a little thick, so I added more water in the end to thin it out a little.  Either way it was great and will definitely be made again!
Classic Minestrone Soup
(October All You Magazine)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used dried onion, just for simplicity)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3, we love garlic!)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I added 4 cups water and 4 bouillon cubes~next time I will add 5 cups and 5 bouillon)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup small shell pasta or macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded escarole or kale (I used my shredded zucchini instead)
  • 1 15.5 oz can white beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
Combine carrots, celery, onion and garlic in slow cooker.  Pour in broth and stir in tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and Italian seasoning.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  I added the shredded zucchini about half way through cooking.

Thirty minutes before serving, stir in pasta, escarole (if using) and beans.  Cover and increase heat to high and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

This was a fun idea I found on the Our Best Bites site!
You use a gingerbread man cookie cutter and then decorate them into skeletons.  It is an alternative to traditional sugar cookies, especially at Halloween!  We made the skeletons, bats and spiders!  Super spooky fun!!  (and good cookies too!)
Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or use a baking mat if you have one!

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.

Slowly add your dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Add your cocoa powder first and then slowly incorporate the flour.  I used all 2 1/2 cups.  Scrape the sides of your bowl as you go.

Lightly dust your surface with flour or cocoa powder and roll your dough out.  It recommends to roll your dough and then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  I didn't put mine in the fridge.  My dough wasn't sticky and I was able to work with it right away!

Cut out shapes and place on your baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.  Don't over bake!  Just make sure edges look set!

Let your cookies cool on your baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then place on a cooling rack!

Decorate and enjoy your spooky cookies!

Friday, October 28, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

It is definitely pumpkin season and time to get all those pumpkin recipes out!  I have found a few keepers and have loved the smell these recipes make when they are baking! 
I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and had to try the combination with white chocolate.  This recipe also adds pumpkin spice, which I don't think I have added to my cookies before!  They had great flavor and were really moist!  To me anything with chocolate is great!  These are probably good with semi-sweet chocolate too!
White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream butter with sugars.  Add your pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Combine thoroughly. 

Slowly add your dry ingredients.  They recommended putting all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisking together.  I always just add the spices first and then the flour a little at a time.

Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by small cookie scoop or spoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets. (I did use parchment, not sure if you have to or not, but nice clean up!!)

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for a couple minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe on www.ourbestbites.com.  They have a great site and a great cookbook~you should check both out!
These were fun to make and the kids loved that they were bite size.  I do think next time I will make them bigger!
This is a fun Halloween treat and an easy way to have sugar cookies without all the cookie cutters and frosting too!
 Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
(our best bites)
  • 1 batch of your favorite cookie dough (I used the sour cream sugar cookies that is on this site! It is my favorite!!)
  • yellow and orange food coloring
Optional:
  • Sanding sugar, coarse raw sugar, or sprinkles ~ almond bark or white chocolate, melted (I didn't do this for sheer simpleness~would like sanding sugar though!)
Divide prepared sugar cookie dough into 3 equal parts.  Leave one as is and then color one part orange and one part yellow.  I used my mixer and mixed the colors in that way.  It was pretty simple.

Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Start with the uncolored dough and press into the bottom of the pan.  You don't have to fill the pan, just keep it about 1/2-3/4 inch tall or larger if desired. (This is where I messed up!  I pressed mine flatter, which made my cookies bite size!  This is still a fun cookie, but I had wished for the bigger size!)

Layer the orange dough on top and smooth and flatten.  Finally layer the yellow dough on top.  Wrap plastic over the top and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or put in freezer for 30-60 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and slice loaf into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Cut each slice into triangle shapes and dip tops (white part) into sugar if desired.  Bake according to your sugar cookie recipe.  Cool completely and if desired dip in white chocolate and decorate with sprinkles!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

I found this recipe on Picky Palate.  She always has fun recipes!  In fact I have heard talk about a cookbook, which I keep watching for more info!
Anyway, I tried these pumpkin bars and they were an instant hit!  Super moist, great flavor and loved the toppings.
This was an easy recipe and worth every minute!  A great fall find for Thanksgiving or any time you need a fall treat!
Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (I used milk, easier!)
  • 3.4 ounce box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a jello roll pam with non-stick spray.

Place cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding mix, sour cream and pumpkin into a stand mixer.  Beat until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes.  I just waited until it looked well mixed, didn't time it!  Pour into prepared pan.  Spread out evenly.

Place butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon, mix until combined.  (I ended up adding a little more butter because I thought it was too thick to drizzle on.  I think next time I might add less brown sugar instead.)  Drizzle mixture evenly over cake and then take a knife and run it through to swirl.  (Go down the cake and then up the other way and back, etc.!)

Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.  I tested with a toothpick and waited until it came clean. 

Place powdered sugar and cream into your mixing bowl (which you cleaned while the cake was cooking!) and mix until creamy and smooth.  Drizzle over warm cake and then let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.  (I spread my frosting with a spatula to just even out the coverage.)

Refrigerate if not serving the same day.  I did really really like it warm, so I would recommend serving it that day.  The next day I took it out and let it warm up a bit before I served it again!  It was still great, but oh so yummy warm!

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Man vs. Food Dinner

My family likes to watch Man vs Food.  We watch it often and like to see what he eats next!  This was not one of his food challenges, but a place he visited before his challenge.  It was a burger place that specialized in grilled add-ons to your hamburger.  We decided to try some of the grilled items and found great success!  My kids loved their hamburgers and the creations we made.  On the show they put it all in a bun, we went bunless and loved it that way too!  Just a new way to spice up a hamburger!
 Man vs Food Hamburger
  • Beef for hamburgers
  • Buns if desired
  • Grilled items:  Onions, Mushrooms, Salami, Egg, Bacon, or anything else you can grill.
  • Toppings:  Tomato, Lettuce, Avocado, Cheese, etc.
Grill up your hamburger and your grilled items.  Place all together on a bun with your toppings and prepare to enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thai Peanut Noodles

I found this recipe in the Our Best Bites cookbook.  I have found a love for Pad Thai noodles and trying new sauces and combinations for the noodles.  This one was labeled one of their "most popular" and it was a success!
There are so many things you can add.  I added chicken and peas and left out the peanuts and cilantro.
Will definitely make again!
Thai Peanut Noodles
(Our Best Bites cookbook)
  • 8 ounces Udon or linguine noodles (or I used Pad Thai noodles)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (1 tsp mild, 2 tsp hot) ~ I used chili garlic sauce 1 tsp because I had it on hand
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (used 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chopped green onions, cilantro, peanuts
  • 2 limes cut into quarters for garnish (optional)
  • Add ins:  Shredded chicken, peas, sprouts
Cook noodles in salted water according to pkg directions.  If using Pad Thai, follow pkg directions to cook and allow time to soak the noodles in water.

If using any add ins, cook the chicken and have shredded.  Have peas ready too.

While the noodles cook, combine the chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, giner and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk until smooth and remove from heat.

Toss cooked noodles with sauce and toss with add ins also.  Separate into bowls and garnish with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts if desired.   Squeeze lime juice over bowls also if desired.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie

I can't remember the blog or site I found this recipe on, but they were super yummy and very creamy!  Weird to say creamy with a cookie, but they were just that! 
A fun additive to your chocolate cookie that makes them a little different and a lot yummy!
Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie
(???)
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • Heaping 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (frozen from container)
  • 4 cups flour (I used about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I used about 1 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Add in ice cream until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.  Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop, place the dough on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are cooked through.  Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before putting on a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pickled Banana Peppers

I decided to try one more recipe for banana peppers!  This one is not a sweet one and I sealed this one up!  I am going to give this one a try soon and let you know the verdict on which was better or maybe both will be good!
(my garden froze last night!  good thing I picked what was there!)

Pickled Banana Peppers
(makes 1 pint jar)
(jessicasfoodspot.blogspot.com)

Ingredients
10-12 banana peppers
1 hot pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard seed
1 tsp pepper corns
2 cloves garlic, peeled

In a saucepan bring the vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns and mustard seed to a boil. Then remove from heat. In a large stock pot bring plain water to a boil.

While the brine is coming to a boil, slice the peppers into rings. Cut one of the garlic cloves into fourths and layer the peppers and garlic in a jar. Put the second garlic glove on top of the peppers.

Pour the brine over the peppers, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Place the lid on top of the jar making sure that seal is tight, then screw on the ring. Place the jar in the large stock pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the hot jar from the boiling water. After cooling for a few minutes check to make sure the jar sealed (If it is not sealed the middle of the lid will pop up and down). If it didn't seal just be sure to always keep it refrigerated.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Perfect Diner Pancakes

I lost my camera to my husband this weekend.  So unfortunately my kids don't get to laugh at me for taking pictures of my food and you don't get to see a wonderful picture of a pancake!
I know we all know what a pancake looks like, so just imagine that picture here!  I was enticed by the recipe name "Perfect Diner" pancake and had to try them.  We do Breakfast Wednesdays at my house and also with school I try really hard to cook more than cereal for breakfast on school mornings (like that I cook cereal~which consists of grabbing a box out of the pantry!) so I am always looking for that great pancake recipe.
I have found a few and have even used some mixes lately.  I think I have found a favorite!  I think I am done with mixes too!  My kids all liked these pancakes too. 
They are fluffy and have great flavor and super yummy!  I don't know how they compare to a diner pancake so much because I am more of a waffle gal when we go out to breakfast!  I do believe the title though, they were perfectly yummy!!

Perfect Diner Pancakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup Malted Milk Powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups milk (I added more after mixing because it seemed to thick)
  • 1 extra large egg (I used a large egg, which may be why I needed more milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
Heat your griddle to medium-high heat.

In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.  In a smaller bowl, combine/whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla until frothy.

Add the milk mixture to your dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Now add your melted butter and whisk until completely incorporated.  (I added some more milk here, about a tbsp at a time until desired thickness)

Allow the pancake batter to rest for about 3-5 minutes to thicken.  (Mine was already thick, but I did let it rest!)

Now cook those lovely pancakes on your hot griddle and feel good about sending your kids to school having a great breakfast!  Top with syrup or our ever favorite peanut butter and syrup on top of that!  or strawberry jam or all sorts of other yumminess!  Makes about 8-10 pancakes depending on size.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers

I planted banana peppers this year in my garden.  I didn't plant much since we got our garden in so late, but the nursery had banana pepper plants and I decided why not!
My family likes peppers on their sandwiches and even in salads.  So I did a little searching on the Internet for a recipe.  Well I found one with RAVE reviews and 5 stars everywhere!  I have now officially tried it and it smells right and was super easy.  I haven't tried them yet because you have to wait 2 weeks before you can eat them.
I am sharing for any of you looking for a recipe, you might want to try this one.  It takes quite a few peppers to fill a pint jar, so you can use 1/2 pint jars too.

Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers

Ingredients:
     1/2 lb banana peppers, seeded and sliced cross ways into rings (about 2 cups cut peppers)

Pickling Juice:
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • (I added a cut up clove of garlic too!  A lot of other recipes had garlic in them, so that was my addition to this recipe!)
Directions:

      Sterilize 2 1/2 pint jars, or 1 pint jar.  (I usually put them through the dishwasher right before I need them.  I had already washed my jars that way and so this time I just put my jar in boiling water on the stove for 5 minutes and then used it!)

     Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil.

     Place the cut up peppers into the sterilized jars.  Pour the hot pickling juice in the jars.  Bring liquid to about 1/2" of the top and make sure the edge of the jar has no juice on it or that you wipe the top of the jar.

     Place lids and screw on the bands finger tight.  Seal jar and leave for 2 weeks.  I just did one jar and want to try it right away, so I didn't water bath it and am git in the refrigerator to try in 2 weeks.  I saw on other recipes to water bath the jars for 10 minutes to process.

     I hope someone else out there tries this and I will let you know in 2 weeks how this one turned out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com.  I haven't tried a lot of new recipes lately, still trying to get in the swing of things with sports and school starting!  Fall is coming upon us and I am wanting to definitely cook more as our days of being outside are getting shorter!  So sad to say that too!
This cake turned out really moist and you can't even really tell there is zucchini in it!  A suggestion was to split the oil with applesauce, which I didn't try yet!  I have included the suggestion and I am going to try that next time!  I have included a recipe for a chocolate glaze that a reviewer said was great!  I haven't tried it, I just put powdered sugar on mine, but it had rave reviews from others!  So if you have found yourself buried in zucchini, give this treat a try!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake III

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil (or 3/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce)
3 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan or bundt pan with spray and flour.  I would definitely do this!  I even had a hard time getting it out this way!
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add the eggs and oil, mix well.  Fold in nuts and zucchini until evenly distributed through bowl.  Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely and top with powdered sugar or chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze

2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp Karo syrup
2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk (or more depending on consistency desired)

Mix all ingredients together and pour over cooled cake!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Easy Cream Cheese Zucchini Soup

I found this recipe in my LDS living magazine.  I thought why not try it since I have quite a few zucchini.  It was super simple and has really good flavor.  You taste the onion soup mix the most, but are getting lots of zucchini without really knowing it!  A good way to eat your veggies!  I will admit that I didn't give this to my kids, but want them to try it!  The magazine stated that it would be a favorite with kids!  You can't really taste the zucchini, so why not give it a try with your kids and some good french bread!
Easy Cream Cheese Zucchini Soup
(LDS Living magazine July/August 2011)
  • 4 cups sliced zucchini
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 1 envelope of onion soup or vegetable soup mix
Cook zucchini in the water until zucchini is tender. 

The directions say to pour into blender.  It didn't specify to put the water in the blender with the zucchini or not.  I drained the water and only added the zucchini.  Mainly because my blender was not big enough to hold both the zucchini and all the water.  If you try keeping the water, let me know how it turns out!

Add the cream cheese and the soup mix.  Blend in blender until smooth.  Once smooth, return to the pot and heat through.

Enjoy!