Welcome Fellow Food Enthusiasts

Monday, August 31, 2009

Red Robin Sky High Mudd Pie

Sorry, I only had a quick minute to snap a shot
before we put the candles in and started singing Happy Birthday

I make the dessert for all my friends' bdays. It's been that way for years. When I run low on ideas, I find a way to contact my friend's family for some favorite or traditional birthday desserts. This weekend was my first attempt at Red Robin's Sky High Mudd Pie following the suggestion of my friend's sister. Please note, this dessert is not a quick put together treat. I started it Friday and finished it Sunday - but that's also because of my weekend's schedule. It's also not cheap - so plan in advance, watch for sales on the ingredients. And make sure you have room in your freezer. It was all worth it. The birthday girl loved it, as did the 15 other guests at the party. Here's how you make it:

6 c chocolate ice cream (I just used a whole carton)
1 c peanut butter cookie pieces (I used my food processor)
6 c vanilla ice cream (again, I just used the whole 1/2 gallon)
1 2/3 c creamy peanut butter (I used a whole jar)
Chocolate graham crackers pieces (I used chocolate gold fish & again, food processor)
1 c-ish fudge topping
1 bottle chocolate topping (they recommend 20oz, but we only used half of it, if that)
1 bottle caramel topping (same as the chocolate re: the size)
1 can whipping cream (used the whole can)
3/4 c chopped peanuts
12 Maraschino cherries (or enough for how many slices you cut)

This is where you need to pay attention...
1 - Soften the chocolate ice cream and pack it into the bottom of a 3qt mixing bowl (note - the shape of your bowl will be the shape of your dessert, so be creative.) Be sure the ice cream is smooth and level. Spread or sprinkle the peanut butter cookie pieces over the chocolate ice cream, packing the cookies into the ice cream. Cover and place the bowl in the freezer for at least an hour to allow the ice cream to harden.
2 - Soften the vanilla ice cream and pack it on top of the chocolate ice cream & peanut butter cookies. Again, be sure it's smooth and level. Cover and place back in the freezer to harden.
3 - Spread half of the peanut butter on top of the vanilla ice cream. (It's a little tricky.) Spread or sprinkle the chocolate crackers over the peanut butter, pressing he crackers into the ice cream. Cover and place the bowl into the freezer for another hour.
4 - Place the bowl in warm water for just a minute to soften the surface ice cream, the dessert should just fall out (I prompted it a little with a butter knife) onto a plate or flat surface. Cover and put right back into freezer for at least 2 hours.
5 - Remove dessert from the freezer and, without first heating it up, spread the room temperature fudge topping all over the top of the dessert (again, a little tricky like the peanut butter). Cover and place back into freezer for at least an hour.
6 - Remove and spread the rest of the peanut butter to create a smooth layer over the dessert. Cover and freeze.
7 - The instructions recommend after the peanut butter layer freezes, to remove from freezer and use a warm knife to slice the dessert, to place wax paper between the slices. We has a difficult time peeling off the wax paper though, so do what you like.
8 - When you are ready to serve, take the chocolate and caramel topping. Make creative little patterns on your serving dishes. Set the piece of dessert on the plate. Then cover the dessert top with the canned whipping cream, again a few quick squirts of the chocolate and caramel topping, sprinkle with peanut and place a cherry on top. Serve right away.

Good luck! This is a fun one.

Old-World Manicotti

Okay, so the picture does this dish NO justice. But if you can step-aside from the horrible picture, you'll find a cheesy, gooey, lovely manicotti recipe.
We had this last night with this tuscan flat bread (thanks Ariel). We even whipped out the olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette for dipping sauce! Mmmm.
12 large manicotti shells
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 2 tablespoons dried
1 (26-oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2 Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cool water. Let pasta dry on paper towels.
3 For filling, in medium bowl, stir together 3 cups mozzarella with the ricotta and fresh basil. Using a teaspoon (or your hands!), carefully stuff pasta shells with prepared cheese mixture.
4 Spoon 2 cups spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta over sauce. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
5 Bake manicotti for 15 min. Sprinkle with the Parmesan; bake for another 10 mins. Serve immediately.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rudy's Creamed Corn

I travel to Texas about once a year for work, and have had the privilege of tasting a whole lot of scrumptious barbecue. One of my favorite spots is Rudys - though what stood out more to me the first visit, more than the incredible meat, was the creamed corn. I search the web, tried some recipes and find this one to be the most like that in the restaurant.

16oz frozen corn
1 stick cream cheese, cubed
1/8 c butter, cubed
1 T sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a crock pot
Cook for high for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so
Then lower the heat, still stirring often until cream cheese and butter are melted
Serve nice and hot and creamy

some tips:
*I actually use more corn than the recipe calls for, about 24oz instead of 16, then you don't get quite as much cream in each bite a - healthier option right?
*Also, you can of course substitute milk for the heavy cream and use fat-free sour cream.

Now if I can just find the recipe for their secret sauce...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Calling all cooks!


If you frequent this site often (or don't...but would love to) and are a fellow food enthusiast - here is your informal invitation to join us in being an author and cook of this blog. I love new recipes and fresh ideas.

Email me: gina {dot} catenzaro {at} hotmail {dot} com and let me know if you like to join, or leave a comment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Day Beef Stew

1 can cream of mushroom
1 can tomato soup
1 packet dried onion soup mix
1 lb beef stew meat (cut up already)
potatoes, peeled & cubed (about 4-5, give or take)
carrots (as much as you like)
celery (as much as you like)
anything else you like in stews

add all ingredients in slow-cooker. mix well. cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 5 hours. serve with hot yummy rolls (i do rhodes rolls)!

time: prep--15 minutes, cook--low 8 hours OR high 5 hours
serves: 4-6 (great as left-overs)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

tamale pie.

this was one of my favorite meals growing up... and i still love it! basically it's a mexican shepherds pie.
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 can corn, drained
1-2 ripe olives, sliced {optional}
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2-3 tsp chili powder
dash pepper
6 oz cheese
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1 tbsp butter

cook meat, onion, and green pepper in a large skillet until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. stir in tomato sauce, corn, olives, garlic, sugar, salt, chili powder and pepper. simmer 20-25 minutes, until thick. add cheese. remove from heat and stir until cheese is melted. put into a square, glass baking dish.

on stovetop, stir cornmeal & salt into cold water in a saucepan. cook, stirring constantly, until thick. add butter. mix well. spoon over meat mixture and spread evenly. bake at 375 for 40 minutes. {this usually boils over, so you might want to put a sheet of tin foil under it.} serve with sour cream and cheese.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

tuscan flat bread.


all of you Macaroni Grill fans out there: this tastes exactly like their bread. it is sooooo delicious.

1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups warm water
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp crushed rosemary
1/2 cup melted butter {i used less than this}

preheat oven to 400 degrees. dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. let sit for 2-3 minutes. add flour, salt & rosemary. spread dough to the edges of a greased, lipped, jellyroll pan {i used a regular sized cookie sheet and it worked just fine}. pour butter on dough and spread to cover all the dough. let rise for 30 minutes. bake for 20 minutes. serve warm.

the rosemary could be omitted {but why would you do a silly thing like that??} and the bread topped with parmesan cheese before baking.

parmesan chicken.


boneless skinless chicken breasts
melted butter
bread crumbs or cornflake crumbs
parmesan cheese

dip chicken breasts in the butter and then roll in crumbs. place in a foil lined, oblong pan. sprinkle with parmesan cheese. bake at 350 degress for 30 minutes.

i sliced my chicken breasts in half to make them thinner. you could also pound them. i cooked the chicken at the same time as the tuscan flat bread, so i cooked both for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and both turned out great.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Peeling Carrots

So, here's an idea:

My daughter started to eat carrots a lot more once I gave in and passed over the carrot peeler to her independent self. Is it dangerous for an almost 4 year old to peel her own carrots? I think not so much. When she tells me she is hungry for a snack and wants some candy, cookies, chocolate chips, etc., I kid you not, I say "How about you peel your own carrot and eat it?" "Yeah! Yeah," replies she.

She's peeling her own carrots from here on out. Maybe I can buy her her own pink, sparkly carrot peeler . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FAVE: Freezer Paper

I'm really into freezing things lately. I get a high when I can save money by buying bulk, then freeze and put away in my deep freezer. It's the BEST feeling when I'm preparing dinner and I have ALL the ingredients. Know what I'm saying?! Especially the harder things, like meats and poultry. So here's my new fave. Freezer paper.

Way back when, when I was just a snot-nosed-kid (oh, wait I still am), I use to just throw my meat and other things in the freezer as-is in their Styrofoam bottoms encircled by plastic wrap. Oh heavens did I have it all wrong. So completely wrong. Freezer paper is so much more kinder to my dear food. I love you freezer paper. Thank you for preserving my food.

1. buy bulk (costco, goodness even walmart has bulk)
2. come home and clear off your counters in preparation for a freezing frenzy
3. wrap the portions you want froze in the special paper. and seal.
4. date it. sooo important. the back of the freezer paper box gives the dates.
5. enjoy having food at the tips of your fingers.
6. is best thawed in a sink full of luke-warm water. however, if time is short, it can be thrown in the microwave, still wrapped, and defrosted that way.

Monday, August 10, 2009

White Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

I am TOTALLY and completely in love with pretty much anything mint. When I had these cupcakes for the first time I wanted to eat the whole platter! I've had someone say that they taste like Christmas so you could definitely use them for the holidays, but I like to make them year round because they are delicious! And don't be intimidated by the recipe, it's actually much easier than it looks~

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

1 pkg butter recipe chocolate cake mix
1 small pkg (3 oz) chocolate instant pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 4.67 oz package Andes mints (I used one package of the already chopped bits in the baking isle)

Add the dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. Mix on low for 30 seconds, scrape sides and continue mixing for 2 min. Coarsely chop Andes mints (or use the pre-chopped mints) and fold into batter.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 min. Cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used one box bakers white chocolate)
4 oz cream cheese (room temp)
4 Tbls butter (room temp)
1 tsp peppermint extract
2-2 1/2 cups powder sugar

Place the white chocolate in small glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 min. Remove and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Place cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until well combined, about 30 sec. Add melted white chocolate and blend on a low speed until just combined, about 30 sec. Add peppermint extract and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Blend on low speed and then increase speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add more sugar if needed to make spreadable consistency.

*NOTE: Do not put frosting in the fridge! It will become unspreadable quite quickly when cold and you can't heat it up or it will separate.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Magic Cookie Bars

Secret confession: Im 99% positive that I could eat an entire 9x13 of these by myself. I made some for Brady and I and when they were gone I made another one right away..........oops


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (This is always too much for me, I just sprinkle until it is covered)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut.

3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cookie Salad

Yes, you read it right. COOKIE salad. This delicious treat came from my friend Candace. Thanks Candace!! It was super tasty!
3 oz vanilla pudding powder
1 c buttermilk (half-pint)
8 oz cool whip
stripped Keebler fudge cookies, quartered (how many is your choice)
fruit (your choice - I did peaches, bananas, pineapple, and grapes. But I bet strawberries would be heaven!)
Mix all ingredients together. Add fruit and cookies just before serving.
Serves: a group of people (great for potlucks and BBQs)
Time: 10 minutes? :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Salsa Chicken

This is super fast and only like 4 ingredients which I know for me is a absolute plus!

1-2lbs frozen or thawed Chicken
1 cup salsa
2-3 Tbsp. of taco seasoning
shredded cheese

place chicken in crock pot then add salsa and taco seasoning. Cook on low heat for about 5 hours. Then shred up chicken place on tortilla shells and add shredded cheese. Top with sour cream and more salsa if desired. Roll up and enjoy. The chicken comes out super most and we love this at our house.

optional ingredient: frozen corn, also you can use wheat tortillas and/or fat free sour cream for a healthier substitute. Enjoy!