Monday, December 31, 2012

Santa Cookies (White Chocolate Cherry Cookies)

Every Christmas baking season, I try to make a new cookie. This year I chose these cookies that I found on Pinterest via Jamie Cooks it up and Better Homes and Gardens. My friend Cathy called them Santa cookies because they looked like festive Santas.

Santa Cookies (White Chocolate Cherry Cookies)
1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 C cold butter
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
1 1/2 t almond extract
2 T maraschino cherry juice
dash salt
White nonpareils and/or red edible sprinkles
1/2 t shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)

Pour 2 tablespoons of the cherry juice into a small bowl and set it aside. Drain the the rest of the juice out into your sink. Chop your cherries into small pieces. Pour the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl and toss it together to combine. Cut your cold butter into cubes and place it into the bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add your chopped cherries and 2/3 C of white chocolate chips. Pour in the almond extract, dash of salt and the beautiful red cherry juice.Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients together well. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch each. Set them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Dip the bottom of a small mug or drinking glass into some sugar. Press the bottom of your mug into each cookie, pressing it out flat. Bake your cookies at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center of the cookies are set. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. Pour the white nonpareils and red sprinkle into two separate small bowls. Pour the rest of the white chocolate into a small bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Return it to the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the white chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the 1/2 tsp. shortening and allow it to sit in the white chocolate for a couple of minutes. Stir it in and you are ready to dip your cookies. Dip half of each cookie into the white chocolate. Allow the cookie to hang over the top of the dipping bowl and drip to remove excess chocolate. Immediately dip the chocolate side of the cookie into the red sprinkles or white nonpareils. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden. 

Photo from Better Homes and Gardens

Strawberry Oat Bars

  • I came across this easy recipe on the food network. Ree Drummond- Pioneer Woman made this simple bar, and I knew it was one that I wanted to try out. I almost always like anything she makes. I wasn't disappointed, these lovely golden bars were tasty. Make sure you butter your pan really well, they can be a tad difficult to get out. I also have plans to try a different flavored jam and maybe adding some peanut butter as well. I think this recipe is perfect for tinkering!
  • Strawberry Oat Bars
  • 1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

I think that there are certain flavors that go together so well. One that I am obsessing over lately is orange and cranberry. They are delightful together! When I found this recipe at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, I knew it had my name written all over it. Cranberry+Orange = happy mouth, and then the addition of pistachios? Genius!  Try them, you will see! 

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
1 Tbsp. orange zest

Orange Sugar:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
Mix the sugar and zest and set aside.

Heat oven to 350°. Combine sugar, butter and egg, mix until creamy. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add cranberries, pistachios and orange zest. Mix until just combined. Shape dough into 1- inch balls and roll in orange sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with bottom of a glass. Bake for 7-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. DO NOT OVER BAKE! Cool for 2 minutes on pan before removing to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Orange Ginger Glazed Carrots

This year we decided to make these tasty carrots to go with our Thanksgiving meal. They were great! I was surprised at how non-sweet they were. Usually when I read "glazed" I think sugary, but the natural tastes of the carrot and the orange juice stood out. This is definitely a keeper for my home.

Orange Ginger Glazed Carrots
1 lb. baby carrots, washed
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. butter
3 tsp. freshly grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup water
Stir together all the ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes or until the liquid evaporates.

* I found this recipe via Pinterest, it was a Southern Living recipe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Happy Thanksgiving! I wanted to share with you today how we roast a turkey in our house. I have been tinkering with my methods and last year, I found what is the ideal turkey- for us at least!

Roast Turkey and Gravy
1 turkey, defrosted
1 stick of butter, softened
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 lemons, quartered
1 onion, quartered
Fresh sage, rosemary and thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 450°. Remove the innards and discard from the turkey. Wash defrosted turkey, pat dry, inside and out. Rub the softened butter all over the bird. Season with salt and pepper. Place lemons, onion and fresh herbs inside the bird. Place the bird in a roasting pan with a rack set inside. Place in the oven, uncovered. Immediately turn oven down to 350°. Baste after the first hour. Baste every 15 minutes. Cook 15 minutes per pound of turkey. Cover breast with foil when it gets to the desired shade of golden brown. I use pop up turkey timers to let me know when the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°. Remove from oven and cover with foil and let it sit while you make the gravy. You want the juices to be absorbed back in for a juicy turkey. 

Make a slurry of water and flour. I do this by sight, but about 3 cups of water with 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of flour whisked in. Whisk well. Transfer turkey drippings to a saucepan, whisk in the flour slurry. Cook and whisk over med high heat until thickened, Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tater Tot Casserole

We recently watched Napoleon Dynamite. We have watched it a million times, and one of our favorite scenes is the one regarding the "tots".  "Give me your tots" is a line often said in our house! One after another of the boys quoted that to me when they heard what I was making for dinner. They think they are so funny, and original! Ha! Whether you have watched Napoleon Dynamite and quote it like we do, or not, I think you will enjoy this simple yet satisfying tater tot casserole.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced green chilies
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag tater tots
Lawry's seasoning salt

Brown onion and ground beef. Drain fat away. Mix with green chilies and cream of mushroom soup. Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle cheese on top of beef. Place the tater tots in a single layer on top of the cheese, sprinkle with Lawry salt  and pepper. Bake according to the tater tot bag. I baked mine longer because we really like crispy tots!

*Big thank you to my sister-in-law Wendee for sharing this delicious recipe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BBQ Cajun Shrimp

This is a recipe that my brother and his wonderful wife shared with our family. It is so good, probably due to the large amount of butter that the recipe calls for.  Butter = good, am I right? Anyways, this is a recipe you will want to eat, so skip lunch and then you will be good- at least that is what I tell myself!

BBQ Cajun Shrimp
2 dozen large raw shrimp with tails still on (about 1 lb.)
Seasoning Mix:
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 lb. (1 stick) plus 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 cup room temperature beer

In a small bowl, combine seasoning mix. Combine 1 stick of butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning mix in a large skillet over med-high heat. When butter is melted, add shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes shaking pan in a back and froth motion. Add remaining butter and clam juice, continue to cook and shake for 2 more minutes. Add beer and cook and shake for 1 minutes longer. Remove from heat and serve immediately with chucks of french bread.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ranch Chicken Tacos- Crockpot

I am in Taxi cab mama mode right now- you know, constantly running kids here and there. The crock pot is so helpful during these crazy weeks. I was schlepping around Pinterest and found a recipe for Ranch Chicken Tacos, but the directions were for the stove top. Thankfully I read the comments and some very nice person gave the directions for turning this into a crock pot meal. It had great flavor and the leftovers were awesome the next day. This is a keeper for my kitchen!

Ranch Chicken Tacos- Crockpot
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 package taco seasoning
1 can chicken broth

Place chicken in crock pot and sprinkle the taco seasoning over the chicken, toss to coat. Pour 3/4 of the broth in the crock pot and cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Shred the chicken and return to the crockpot. Stir in the ranch packet and let it cook for 30 minutes more on low.  Serve with all your favorite taco toppings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

 It was finally fall-ish enough for me to start making some dishes that we enjoy in the cooler months. We decided to have a Chicken Pot Pie. Yumm! Creamy filling full of chicken, carrots, celery and onions with a flaky crust. So good! I have to give all credit to the Pioneer Woman and her first cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  She lays it all out for you- step by step instructions that make this a no fail dish.

Chicken Pot Pie
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 Tbsp butter
2 cups chopped cooked chicken- I use a rotisserie chicken, so easy!
1 cup flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 cup heavy cream
 1tsp ground thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
Pepper to taste
Store bought pie crusts- 1 box 

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the veggies and saute until they are translucent. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and chicken and stir to combine. Cook and stir for several minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Add the bouillon cube. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour  in the cream and stir. Lower the heat to low and let the mixture simmer until it has become thickened. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.  In a glass pie dish, place the first of your pie crusts in the bottom of the pie dish. Spoon your filling into your prepared pie pan. Place your second pie crust on top of your pie and crimp the edges. Cut vent holes in the top of the pie. Place on a cookie sheet so you won't be scrubbing your oven from spilled filling. Bake in a 400° oven for 30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown. Remove and let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes

Sometimes when I am really organized and really on my game, I will make a HUGE meal and then use the leftovers in other recipes during the week. Today I made a ham- a really big ham, so big that I even froze some of the meat! In our house when you have ham, you must have scalloped potatoes. I have to share this recipe because it is so yummy!  These potatoes are cheesy, flavorful and, did I mention they are cheesy? We love cheese here! Try these out the next time you have ham or pork chops or whatever, these will be memorable!

Scalloped Potatoes
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
Dash Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
Several dashes paprika for color

Spray a 2 qt. casserole dish, set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and let it cook for a minute. Pour in milk, add garlic, salt and cayenne. Stir well until well combined. Reduce heat and add 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove from heat. In your casserole dish, place a layer of the potatoes and then sprinkle with the onion. Spoon some of the cheese sauce over the layer. Repeat until your dish is nearly full, ending with cheese sauce. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese and the paprika. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 1 hour

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Mom's Spaghetti sauce

Ever since I was very small, my standard answer when asked what was my favorite food,  my Mom's spaghetti was always my answer. It would still be my answer today. In fact, every time I make her sauce, memories of her seem closer. I love how we can tie memories to smells and tastes. I think that is a gift from God- little reminders of someone who has passed.
Anyways, here is my very favorite spaghetti sauce recipe!

My Mom's Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
2  cans (12 oz) tomato paste
2 envelopes Italian style spaghetti sauce
3 cups water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Cook ground beef, onion, and bell pepper until meat is brown. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover; and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Japanese Chicken Fried Rice and Ginger Sauce- a Benihana knock-off

One of my family's very favorite places to eat is Beninhana- it is a Japanese restaurant that has the cook station at your table, and the chef comes out and turns your dinner into a show to watch. Our favorite thing to eat there is the Chicken Fried Rice. It is so yummy! I watched very carefully the last time that we went there and then came home and searched online for a recipe. So this version is a mash up of all the different recipes out there, and what I observed while at Benihanas. This came so very close to the real deal. It was inhaled by my family. We will be having this often!

Japanese Chicken Fried Rice and Ginger Sauce
3 cups uncooked Minute Rice, cooked and cooled
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2-3 carrots, finely diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
5-6 green onions, finely diced
2-3 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp minced garlic
Soy sauce
Sesame Seeds
One lemon- you will need to squeeze about 2 wedges over the rice

In a large frying pan over medium heat, scramble your eggs, add salt and pepper to taste. Chop them into tiny pieces as you are cooking. Remove from the heat. Add 1 Tbsp butter and cook your veggies until the onion is soft.  Add several Tbsp of butter, garlic, eggs, chicken and rice. Cook and stir until everything is heated through and thoroughly combined. Add the soy sauce and squeeze the lemon over the rice. I can't give a quantity of the soy sauce- it really is to taste. Some people are more sensitive to the saltiness than others. Remove from heat and shake the sesame seeds over the top before serving. We like to eat this with the Ginger sauce drizzled on top- it just adds so much flavor!

Ginger Sauce
1/2 onion
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
Place all in a food processor or blender and blend until you have a chunky sauce.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Zucchini Bread

The past few years, I have been getting a lot of my new recipes from the internet- blogs and Pinterest, mainly. However, my very favorite way to get new recipes are from people that I know. Those are the best ones. You know the person and you can trust the outcome. This is from a friend of my husband. He is actually one of his co-workers, and he used to own a restaurant. Thank you to Al for sharing your recipe, and thank you to my dear friends, the Teaford family who shared from their garden this enormous zucchini!

Zucchini or Carrot Bread
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Combine and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together:
3 beaten eggs
1 cup melted margarine or oil- or 1/2 of each (I did 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup oil)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini or carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, until well combined. Preheat your oven to 350°. At this point, you can make your batter into a bundt, loaves or muffins. For a bundt and loaves- pour your batter into greased and floured pans. You will have enough batter for one bundt or two loaves. Bake for 60-70 minutes. For muffins- use paper liners, fill cups approximately 2/3 full. Bake for 35 minutes, makes about 2 1/2 dozen muffins.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baby Blanket- Faux Chennile

I found a tutorial at Aesthetic Nest for a faux chenille baby blanket that I fell in love with. I was just waiting for the perfect person to make one for. When my sister announced that she was pregnant, I knew that it was time to make this adorable blanket.

If you do make a faux chenille blanket, do your hands a big favor and buy a chenille cutting tool! It is so worth the money and time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Alligator Baby Shower

My sister is having a boy this fall! This is their first child, and the entire family is super excited! I have been working on getting her shower together and making a sweet little baby blanket as a gift, that I haven't really thought much about the blog. Thankfully, life is slowing down a bit and I can share with you her alligator baby shower!
My sister-in-law and I made this awesome motorcycle diaper cake- it was very easy to put together, we just followed the tutorial at I couldn't find a large enough alligator to "drive" the motorcycle, so Mr. Lion got the job, and the biggest alligator that I could find got to ride on the back! I think it turned out really cute!

We made a clothesline full of onsies, one for each month of the baby's first year.
We made these individual veggie dip cups, which eliminated any double dipping, unless it was in your own cup!
We had these delicious cake pop's made by a very special friend.

She also made these cute owl favors!

We had so much fun celebrating the newest boy to be added to our family!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Potato, cheese and Onion Enchiladas

My husband and I are on the tail end of eating vegetarian for a week. It has been easier than I thought it would be. It gave me the chance to dig out old recipes and try them again. This is one such recipe. It has been sitting in my recipe binder for forever, bypassed for more exciting and newer recipes. No more! I really like these enchiladas because they are cheap. They are also really tasty, but there are weeks when I need a little wiggle room in the ole' grocery budget! Potatoes, tortillas, cheese, green onions and tomato sauce- all cheap ingredients. Give this one a try when you need a different recipe and when you need a cheap meal in a tight week!

Potato, Cheese and Onion Enchiladas
4-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2- 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp oil
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chili powder (Yes I said 1/4 CUP!)
1/2 cup water
12 - 8 in. flour tortillas
Fully cook potatoes in boiling water until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl, and combine the potatoes with half of the cheese, all the onions and the salt. Mix well. Taste and add more salt if needed. In a sauce pan, combine tomato sauce, oil , chili powder and water. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes on low. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon enough of the sauce into a sprayed 13 x 8 inch baking dish so that it covers the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Using a pasty bush, brush the sauce on one side of a tortilla, place 1/3- 1/2 cup of the potato mixture in the center and roll up. Place in prepared dish. Continue until you have filled the pan. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 15- 20 minutes. Serve with any desired toppings- sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Star Studded Mini Pies

I know this is a little late for the 4th of July, but these little pies are so good, I couldn't wait to put them on here. I have made these treats two years in a row for the 4th of July celebration. They are so tasty! Perfect size and super delicious! I imagine your could even do mini pumpkin pies with leaves cut out for Thanksgiving! The possibilities are endless!

Star Studded Mini Pies
(Recipe from Our Best Bites)
2 boxes refrigerated pie crust
Canned pie filling
2 T butter, melted
1/4 c granulated sugar
Preheat oven according to pie crust recipe. Roll out your pie crust so it is fairly thin. Using a cookie cutter, or a cup with about a 3 1/2 inch diameter, cut out circles of dough. Place each dough circle center in one of the mini-muffin tin wells. The edge should over-hang a little. Gently roll the edge down with your fingers and then crimp it so it looks pretty. Using a spoon, fill each mini pie a little over half full with filling. Roll out more dough to cut your stars. Use a star cookie cutter that is about 2 inches across. Cut your stars out. Dip the stars (both sides) in butter and then dredge in the sugar. Place a star on top of each little pie. Bake your pies for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gazpacho- Summer Soup

Summer time is always a challenge for me. Cooking a healthy meal without heating up the whole house. I found this recipe that is full of vegetables and is served cold. You don't even turn on the stove! Perfect for all these 100° days. Serve this with a good loaf of bread.

(As found in The Pioneer Woman Cooks : Food From My Frontier)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion
1 large zucchini
1 large cucumber
2 celery stalks
5 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
Several dashes Tabasco
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
4 cups tomato juice
Avocado slices
Cilantro, rough chopped

Mince the garlic cloves. Slice the onion. Place both in a food processor. Dice the zucchini, cucumber, celery and tomatoes. Place half the veggies in the food processor, reserve the other half. Pour in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, salt, pepper and  2 cups of the tomato juice. Blend well.  Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl, and add in the other half of the chopped veggies. Stir. Then pour in the remaining 2 cups of tomato juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced avocado and cilantro.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Roasted Asparagus

Have you ever had asparagus roasted before? Let me tell you, it is the absolute best way to have asparagus! At least I think it is. It gives those happy little spears such a wonderful nutty flavor. Mmmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed (basically you just cut off a chunk from the fatter woody side that has dried up a bit)
Olive Oil
Kosher salt 
Lemon Wedges

Lay out your spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil. You want them lightly coated, not swimming in the oil. Sprinkle with the Kosher salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated 425° oven for ten minutes. Serve with lemon wedges. 
I have been experimenting with roasting, and it is my very favorite way to make vegetables. So yummy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I usually don't like cranking up the oven during the summer. It makes my house to hot. I tend to stick with no-bake cookies. However, today is the perfect cookie making day. It is only in the mid-sixties and it is perfect for baking! Today I found a great recipe on Pinterest for snickerdoodles. It is over on Loving from the Oven. This is a great recipe, my boys inhaled the first batch before I even got the second one in the oven! I wish that I had doubled the recipe, I will next time!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For rolling:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping. Roll the dough into ball the size of a small walnut. Roll this dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookies. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. Let them rest for 5 minutes before you remove them to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cookie Pizza Cake

I just want you to know. I love chocolate, especially when it is paired with peanut butter. I am a Reese's peanut butter cup girl. They are my very favorite! I have been making this lovely Cookie Pizza Cake for a few years now and I decided to share it with you today . I had a dream recently that I came home from a long day out of the house and this was waiting for me in my kitchen! Pretty sweet dream, even better dessert in real life!

Cookie Pizza Cake
1 package refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 package chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients needed to make cake
1 cup vanilla frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-2 Tbsp milk
1 container chocolate frosting
Chocolate peanut butter cups, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Press cookie dough into greased 12 inch pizza pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Prepare cake mix. Fill greased 12 inch pizza pan 1/4-1/2 full with batter. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes on wire rack in pan. Remove and cool completely. Combine vanilla frosting and peanut butter in a small bowl.. Gradually stir in milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time until it is a spreadable consistency. Place cookie on serving platter. Spread with peanut butter frosting. Place cake on top of cookie. Trim to match the cookie. Frost top and side of cake with chocolate frosting. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

California Turkey Sandwich

I was thinking about sandwiches earlier today. It is picnic season and I am trying to make a mental list of different things to make for picnics. I first had this tasty sandwich many years ago when my dear friend Beth made it for me. It is really yummy and different from the usual ham and cheese.

California Turkey Sandwich
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup mayo
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
1/2 cup sliced black olives
Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onion
Sliced deli turkey
Slices of Pepper Jack cheese
Sub rolls

Mash avocado with onion, lemon juice, mayo, garlic and salt. Mix well. Spread on sub rolls. Top with olives, cheese, turkey, tomato, lettuce and onion

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Refreshing Fruit Salad

One of the best things about spring/summer is the availability of  fresh fruit. It makes me happy! Here is a very simple way to make a fruit salad.

Fruit Salad
Please use what amounts you like of the fruits you and your family enjoy. I used: strawberries, mangoes, kiwis, blackberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges.
1 large orange, zested and juiced
2 limes, zested and juiced
Place fruit in large bowl, stir in zest from the orange and limes, and pour the orange and lime juice over the top. Gently stir the fruit until everything is coated with the juice. 
That is it. Simple and nothing hides the yummy fruit!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Egg "Muffins"

Do you ever stumble upon an idea that is just so simple and wonderful that you smack your yourself saying "Duh! Why have I never thought of that?" Well, I had one of those moments this past weekend as I was trying to decide what to bring into my bible study class at church. I found and pinned a great idea on Pinterest, but unfortunately, it didn't have the recipe attached, so I googled it and read many recipes and they all were different. I knew that I wanted my little egg muffins to be all egg, and no bread, so I just decided to wing it. Here is what I came up with. The picture is what started this whole recipe search as I forgot to take a picture of my egg muffins.

Egg "Muffins"
Cooking Spray
9 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Salt and Pepper
Mix ins- Cooked Sausage, diced veggies (bell pepper, onion, broccoli, spinach, whatever make you happy), cooked and crumbled bacon, ham, diced chicken......
Shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Liberally spray your muffin tin. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Place your mix in ingredients in the bottom of each muffin spot. Pour eggs over the mix in ingredients, filling them up 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out without egg on it. Cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully lift each egg muffin out.

I made sausage and cheese and then also a "Denver" egg muffin, which has ham, bell pepper, onion and cheese. They were both amazing!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I found this great recipe on Pinterest. I spent quite a bit of time clicking through Kevin & Amanda - the blog that posted the original recipe. I have found several recipes that I can't wait to try.  I love finding new sources for recipes. If the rest of the recipes are as tasty as this one, Kevin & Amanda is a blog worthy of  notice!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into slices
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

I have decided to make an effort to try a new recipe each week that I find on Pinterest. Otherwise, why bother spend any time pinning things that I do not make? This is my recipe this week. The original recipe can be found here at Chef-in-Training. This is a really good recipe. My whole family really enjoyed the sweet yet savory sauce that you make for the chicken. My only negative comment on this recipe is that it calls for a whole cup of honey. Due to the high cost of honey, this recipe will not be made as often as I would like. It is a really tasty dish, I am just a cheap skate!

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
2 lbs. chicken breasts (I used tenders)
Salt and Pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp diced onion
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tbsp water
Sesame Seeds

Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a well sprayed crock pot. In a small bowl combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken form crock pot, leave sauce behind. Pour cornstarch mixture in crock pot, stir to combine. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 15-20  minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut the chicken into chunks and return to crock pot and toss before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.