Welcome Fellow Food Enthusiasts

Friday, December 30, 2011

grandma's sugar cookies.


i am, of course, partial to my grandma's sugar cookie recipe. i love that you don't have to refrigerate the dough, and i loooooove the nutmeg!!

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Roll and cut. Put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes. Frost & enjoy!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken

I made this beyond DELICIOUS Crock Pot dinner last night and lo and behold, I forgot to take a picture! Hopefully the name of it will draw attention and make you want to try it. It is really good. And this is coming from someone who doesn't like bacon (me!) but it gives it a really good flavor. Here's the recipe!

3-4 chicken breasts...

Mix together:
1 small can cream of chicken
1 cup sour cream
2 slices of raw bacon, cut up
less than half of dry ranch dressing (a lot makes it really salty)
a little bit of minced garlic or garlic powder

Pour over raw chicken and make sure you get the sauce in between chicken. Cook on high for 2-2 1/2 hours. (Mine cooks it fast) So watch it and make sure it is thoroughly cooked. When done, cut up chicken in cubes or shred it and put back in crock pot. Cook about 2-3 cups of wide eggs noodles and pour in crock pot and mix.

Easy smeasy right? And SO, SO good. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homemade Chicken Potpie

Not to toot my own horn, but this was the perfect Thanksgiving Kick-Off  I could ever do. ;)  Using my much loved recipe book from The Food Nanny, I attempted this daunting task of making my very own homemade Chicken Potpie.  Note: At first it seemed daunting, as I have never made pastry dough before--or even a pie!--but it was surprising SIMPLE.

 My family, especially my husband, loved this meal.  Such a guy's meal right? Meat and potatoes hugged with flaky pastry dough.  I mean come on.  My kids helped me make everything, that's me rolling the pastry dough and my daughter (5) taking the picture!  I loved everything about this meal, and I hope you will too!  Give it a try, it's really not as hard as it looks and delicious!


PASTRY for a double-crust pie:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut in small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

2 small bone-in chicken breasts (about 1 pound)  *I didn't have bone-in, so I just used regular de-boned chicken breasts
3 Yukon gold or russet potatoes, diced
2 carrots, sliced crosswise
2 t chicken bouillon granuels
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cold water (or broth)
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. To make the pie crust, stir the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork to moisten all the dough. Gather the dough into a ball with your hands. Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 9-inch pie dish (deep-dish is ideal). Roll out the other half and set aside.

2. Put the chicken breasts in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 18 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board or plate.

3. Add the potatoes and carrots to the hot broth and return to boiling. Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, tear or cut the chicken off the bones into bite-size pieces, discarding skin, fat and gristle. Remove the vegetables from the simmering broth with a slotted spoon and set aside with the chicken pieces.

4. Measure the broth and add water, if necessary, to make 2½ cups. Return to the pan and simmer, stirring in the bouillon and the salt.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

6. Stir the flour into the cold water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir into the broth and increase the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the broth thickens.

7. Add the chicken to the broth along with the potatoes, carrots and peas. Stir to combine. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie dish. Cover with the top crust, seal and flute the edges, and cut a slit in the top for the steam to escape. Bake 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

microwave caramels.


if i had known sooner how easy these are to make, i would be a much plumper individual. i'm going to have to limit myself to how often i can use this recipe... :)

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup pecans, optional

spray 8x8 pan with Pam. combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. stir well. cook, uncovered, in microwave on high for 7 minutes. allow to cool for 5 minutes. stir again. pour into pan. cool completely in refrigerator. cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper. {to make as a dip for apples, reduce cooking time by one minute.}

and then immediately share them before you eat them all by yourself.

i burned my first batch. in my microwave i only needed to cook it for 5 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

sausage frittata.


this was our general conference breakfast on sunday. i didn't have a non-stick skillet, so it took lots of elbow grease to scrub the remains out of my pan, but it was worth it :)
1/2- 1 lb ground pork sausage
2 cups cubed cooked red potatoes (i used frozen hash browns bc i was lazy)
8 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 green onions, thinly sliced

cook sausage in large non-stick skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes or until hot. stir in potatoes. beat eggs, cheese, salt & pepper in a large bowl with wire whisk. pour over sausage mixture. cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes, occasionally lifting edge with spatula and tilting skillet to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. (do not stir.) reduce heat to medium-low; cover. cook 14-17 minutes or until eggs are set. top with tomato and onions. cut into 8 wedges to serve.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn't like Cream Cheese?! My husband's cousin posted the recipe of these cookies on Facebook and I just HAD to make them. And want to know the best part? Eggs are not required!! So feel free to feed your kids all the dough you want with no worries!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 5-6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups plus 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment

Cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the Vanilla.

Sift together dry ingredients and then add them to the butter mixture. Beat until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

*original recipe suggests chilling the dough overnight but I made them right away

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are looking light golden brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 60 cookies.

***With it being autumn now, I just thought of putting a little bit of cinnamon in it next time I make this batch. Sounds enticing!!


[Cook Challenge: Fruits Of Your Labors] GARDEN SALSA

fruits of my labor . . . dish #2

Hate salsa?  Me neither!  I love it!! :)  And if you are a big fan, like myself, you'll love this garden salsa recipe from my cute sister-in-law, Bonnie.  It's perfect.  And a fantastic way to use your fresh produce from your garden to share with others.  (FYI: I used my own green peppers and tomatoes from my garden!)

2 1/2 c. tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. tomatillos, chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/4 c. green peppers, chopped
2-6 jalapenos, chopped (how spicy do you like it? you can de-seed if needed)
1 lrg clove of garlic, minced
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)

Combine everything in a large bowl.  I suggest doubling it.  You'll bring out the best flavor if you let everything marinate together in the fridge before serving.

Eclair Pie

Oh my gosh can you say Heaven! This was delicious a little rich, so you can only have so much, but taste so much like an eclair, which I love! This recipe also comes from real mom kitchen...thank you again Laura this one is a keeper. original recipe posted here.
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant french vanilla pudding mix (I used regular vanilla)
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package graham crackers or 3 sleeves
  • Frosting:
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk or more if needed
  1. In a bowl, blend together the pudding for 2 minutes until thick.
  2. Fold the Cool Whip into the pudding mixture.
  3. In a 9 x 13 pan, arrange graham cracker to cover the bottom of a the pan. I am kind of a perfectionist about this and trim down some of the graham crackers with a serrated knife to completely cover the bottom. Just cover the bottom the best you can.
  4. Pour half of the pudding mixture over the crackers and spread out evenly.
  5. Top pudding with another layer of graham crackers. Pour the remaining pudding mixture over the crackers and spread evenly.
  6. Place one more layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture.
  7. Prepare the frosting. In a bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.
  8. Beat in the cocoa, vanilla, and half the powdered sugar until well blended.
  9. Blend in the remaining powdered sugar and milk. Blend until smooth. You want the frosting to be on the thinner side so add some more milk if needed. You want it closer to a glaze but still thick.
  10. Spread the frosting over the last layer of graham crackers in the 9 x 13 pan.
  11. Refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours but overnight or even longer is best. You need to let the pudding mixture soften the graham crackers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[Cook Challenge: Fruits of Your Labors] Chicken Sausage Vegatable Pasta Primavera

This recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs (other than this one) it's called real mom kitchen. She (Laura) has amazing recipes most of which are pretty simple to throw together. We are not huge vegetable eaters in this house, and this recipe is full of them. But this is by far one of my husbands new favorites and the only thing he has requested. The picture above is before you put it in the oven, and I don't have an after because we were starving! But here is the link to the original recipe. Her blog is definitely worth checking out. So delicious! And it most definitely falls under the cook challenge, since almost all the vegetables were grown from a garden.

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered (I left these out since we are not big mushroom fans)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (I have also used a can of diced tomatoes; Italian style)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 (12 oz.) package Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Style Chicken Sausage, slice at an angle (I used polska kielbasa sausage)
  • 12 oz. linguine, uncooked
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and bell pepper in a shallow baking pan.  Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly brown; stir occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, cook linguine according to package directions and drain.
  5. After vegetables are soft, sprinkle sausage on top of vegetables and bake 5 more minutes or until sausage is heated.
  6. Toss cooked pasta with the vegetable/sausage mixture,  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

[Cook Challenge: Fruits of Your Labors] Skillet Chicken Parmigiana + Corn on the Cob

Fruits of my #1.
I am still in awe that this husky, golden gem came out of my very own garden.  I totally geared up for failure with my single, humble row of corn; especially after I found you really need to plant corn in at least 3x3 grids.  But I am very proud to say, we have harvested our corn!

I paired our corn with this family favorite recipe: Skillet Chicken Parmigiana.  Mmmmm.  A splendid dinner indeed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

sweet salsa shredded chicken enchiladas.

Photobucketthis is two of my favorite recipes rolled into one. dinner was GOOD tonight.

sweet salsa shredded chicken.

4-5 chicken breasts
1 1/2- 2 cups medium salsa {i use kroger brand}
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peach juice {i used the juice from some canned peaches, but you could also use a can of peach flavored juice or something similar.}

combine salsa, juice & brown sugar. pour over chicken in slow-cooker. cook a few hours until chicken is done. {this is vague because i used frozen chicken breasts and i cooked it about 4 hours on high. so it depends on your chicken and your slow-cooker!} remove chicken, shred, and return to slow-cooker. heat 20-30 minutes. serve in any mexican dish! i've used it in salads, quesadillas, and enchiladas.

chicken enchiladas.

2 chicken breasts or 2 cans of chicken {i used the equivalent of my salsa chicken}
1 can black olives
1 can green chilies
green onions
sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
shredded cheddar cheese
5-6 tortillas

cook and shred chicken. reserve broth. to chicken, add olives, chilies and green onion. moisten with sour cream. fill tortillas with chicken mixture. thin chicken soup with reserved broth. pour half of the sauce in bottom of a glass 9x13 pan. place filled tortillas in pan. pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. top with cheese. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

lemon bars.

oh, my friends. this is my favorite dessert of all time. so much lemony goodness. i hate it when "lemon" desserts are mostly sweet with only a hint of lemon. this is a lemon dessert. total perfection. anywho, on to the recipe!

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, refrigerated
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
powdered sugar

combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar and flour. cut in butter until crumbly, the size of small peas. press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. meanwhile, beat together eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon peel and juice until fluffy. pour over hot crust. bake additional 20-25 minutes until no imprint remains when touched lightly in the center. let cool slightly. sift powdered sugar over top. cool completely before cutting (4 hours or overnight). serve chilled.

soon after you remove it from the oven, go around the edge with a knife to separate it from the pan. this will make your life easier when you're cutting them later.

and then you can go ahead and die and go to heaven.

Monday, August 29, 2011

cindy's broccoli cream soup- revisited.


since i don't have a garden of my own, i will be using produce from my mom's garden and my mother-in-law's bountiful basket for the cook challenge! when my MIL gave me some fresh broccoli, i found this recipe in the archives and changed a couple of things along the way. {i added another can of broth 'cause i like my soup a little soupier, and some cheddar cheese added the saltiness that i was missing.}

i portioned this out, topped with a little cheese, and sean has some delicious soup waiting in our freezer for him to take to work for lunch :)

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen broccoli
1\2 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 can fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

in a saucepan, combine broccoli, onion, celery, broth, and pepper; simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. puree half of the mixture in a blender; return to the saucepan.

in a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of milk until smooth. gradually add remaining milk. stir into the broccoli mixture. bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. reduce heat to medium. stir in shredded cheese. continue simmering until soup thickens slightly.

top with shredded cheddar cheese and crackers!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cook Challenge: Fruits Of Your Labors

Time again for yet another amazing Cook Challenge.  (What you don't think they are amazing?  You think they are beyond amazing?!  You are too kind.)  This challenge parallels the wonderful world of gardening.  This year was my first experience with a garden, and my cup runneth over.  No really, my fridge is full of zucchini, cucumbers, green onions, and both large and cherry tomatoes. Still waitin' on my corn - wish they would hurry up and pollinate each other so I could have me some fresh corn ears!  And my string beans and snow peas have seen better days....  Regardless of the state of my humble garden, this green-thumb-in-training has been inspired again.  Here's your challenge:

How Do You Reap the Fruits of Your Labors?
Make 3 dishes that include at least one of your garden's growth.
Don't have a garden? It's okay.  We won't tell if you buy yours at Smiths.

Ready?  Set?  Cook!

Roasted Red Potato Salad {MY FAVE!}

Drum roll please... Here it is.  My FAVORITE salad this summer.  (Thank you Nopper Family for showing me this divine dish!) This is the best potato salad I've ever had. Period.  What I love about this salad is that it isn't your typical dill and potato salad, and second to that is how surprisingly easy and simple it is.  Check it...

red potatoes, roasted and diced
hard boiled eggs, chopped
bacon, cooked and chopped
green onion, diced
a little bit o' Miracle Whip
Salt n Peppa

...I'm not putting how much to use of each ingredient because it's best to make it the way you love best.

Place diced potatoes on a cookie sheet (sprinkle with olive oil and this seasoning salt - or one of your choice - for added flavor).  Roast at 425 degrees until lightly toasted - about 40 to 45 minutes.  At the same time you are roasting your potatoes you can cook your bacon! Place bacon strips on a greased cooling rack, then place the cooling rack with the bacon in a cookie sheet.  I find this is the best way to cook bacon.  The grease drains off of the bacon down into the cookie sheet for less fat!  And the bacon is unreal it's so good!  Be careful not over cook your bacon - it will cook a lot faster than the potatoes.

Once all ingredients are cooked and chopped up, mix in a large bowl.  Add Miracle Whip to taste (I usually use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup).  Salt and pepper to taste (love using freshly ground pepper with this...yum!)

Serve warm.

You have to try this salad!  And when you do, return and report!  I'd love to hear what you thought!


4 tbs Butter
2 cups Couscous
1 small Onion, minced
 3/4 tsp Salt
2 cups Water
1 3/4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Melt two tbs of the butter in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring often, until some of the grains are just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl. Melt the remaining two tbs butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and broth and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over the toasted couscous and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it sit until the couscous is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and fluff the couscous with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Smothered Pork Chops {Slow Cooker}

5 Slices Bacon, Chopped
6 Pork Chops
Salt and Pepper
2 Yellow Onions, Peeled, Halved and sliced
1 tsp plus 1 tbs Brown Sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs Cold Water
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
 1 tsp Dried Thyme
3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 tbs Soy Sauce
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbs Cornstarch
1 tbs Cider Vinegar
2 tbs Fresh Parsley, Chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.
Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).
When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.


1 lb Jumbo Cooked Shrimp, Peeled and Chopped
1 Medium Tomato, Diced
1 Hass Avocado, Diced
1 Jalapeno, Seeds Removed, Diced Fine
1/4 cup Chopped Red Onion
 2 Limes, Juice of
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tbs Chopped Cilantro
Salt and Fresh Pepper To Taste
In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them marinate at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion. In a large bowl combine chopped shrimp, avocado, tomato, jalapeno. Combine all the ingredients together, add cilantro and gently toss. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Triple Berry Pie

Doesn't it look good?  It was good.  The only problem with this recipe is that you really need to double that you have a second pie for later.  This recipe is a combination of two recipes, the crust comes from Paula Dean and the filling is sort of a combination of two recipes that I'm going to call my own creation. 

Triple Berry Pie
Adapted by Emily Jacobs

For the Crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, COLD
12 Tbsp butter, cut into small cubes and COLD
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar.  Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat is all up with the flour.  Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter (I found that a fork works the best here),  Work it quickly, so the butter doesn't get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal.  Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough.  Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough.  Divide the dough in half and flatter it slightly to form a disk shape.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 

For the Filling:

4 cups of mixed berries, thawed if you are using frozen. (I used blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant tapioca
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes while you roll out your chilled  pie crust. 

On a floured surface, roll each disk out into 10 to 11-inch circles to make a 9 inch pie.  Line the pie plate with one layer of crust, fill the pie with the berry filling and then top with the second layer of pie crust.  Trim and crimp the edges of the crust and poke 3 or 4 holes in the pie to allow steam to escape. Coat the top lightly with an egg wash (1  egg + 1 tbsp water beaten together) and cook in a 400 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes.  Check the pie 15 or 20 minutes in and if the edges are already golden brown, cover them with foil so they won't burn.  Allow the pie to cool completely before serving otherwise it will be a runny mess.  Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or nothing at all.  It's all good!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Banana Cupcakes With Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I haven't posted in a long time, but I just had to share these delicious cupcake/bread and frosting recipes.  They are SO yummy I find myself craving them all the time.  The whipped chocolate buttercream frosting is the best I've ever had, but I warn you, it is not very good for you.

If you make this recipe as cupcakes, I would suggest keeping the frosting refrigerated until just prior to serving. I made the banana recipe as both cupcakes and bread, and I recommend both! 

(Please pardon the picture, it was taken with my iPhone and doesn't do the cupcake justice.)

Banana Cupcakes
(May also use this recipe for bread)

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend wet ingredients together, then add sifted dry ingredients and mix.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full or spray 1 loaf pan with non-stick spray and fill for bread.

Bake cupcakes for 22-25 minutes or bread for 1 hour 20 minutes.
Top cupcakes with whipped chocolate buttercream frosting and enjoy!!

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped*
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 T. unsweetened cocoa
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

Melt chocolate and let cool. Blend butter until creamy, then add powdered sugar and cocoa.  Add cooled melted chocolate, vanilla and whipping cream.  Whip for 5 minutes, then chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before frosting.

*If you are like me and do not keep unsweetened baking chocolate on hand, use 9 T. of unsweetened cocoa plus 3 T. oil in place of the 3 oz. melted chocolate. This is in addidtion to the other 1 1/2 T. the recipe calls for.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

My best friend Sarah introduced me to this recipe and it is one more reason why I count myself lucky to know her.  It is so good.  So very good. 

Not yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen


  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding (I can never find this, plain vanilla works too)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream (use whipped cream, it's better I promise)


Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Greek Orzo Salad

I have tried a few of Rachael Ray's Recipes and not really been too happy with them, but I found this one in her magazine last month and thought it sounded good.  Well, we weren't disappointed because it was really tasty.  I have made it two times, once with Chicken and Veggie Kebabs and most Recently along side some nice tasty grilled steaks.  It was a perfect compliment to both meals!  I didn't put as much celery as she said and I added grape tomatoes sliced in half to the salad.  It was better this way so I'm going to add it to the recipe. 

Greek Orzo Salad
Recipe by Rachael Ray
Serves 4 (served 4 adults and 3 kids with a little left over)

Salt and Pepper
2 Small Lemons
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/4 cups (8 oz.) of Orzo Pasta, which is Half of a bag.
2 full stalks of Fresh celery including the greens (the greens have a lot of flavor, chop them well though)
1 chunk (4 oz.) Feta Cheese (this is half a package from the store, but you can make the salad twice.  I love that.)
8 Kalamata Olives, oil packed with herbs (I used black olives because the kalamata's were pricy.  Plus I hate olives, no one seemed to care)

Bring a pot of water to boil and add 2 tsp of salt.  Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook, stirring often, according to the directions on the package.  While the orzo is cooking, in the bowl you want to serve the salad in finely zest the 2 lemons.  Remember to not add the white part of the skin as it is bitter.  Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to the zest.  Mix well and set aside.

Slice the celery lenghtwise and then chop into small pieces, you should have about 1 cup.  Cut the grape tomatoes and olives in half.

When the orzo is cooked, drain it in a strainer and rinse well with cold water.  Add the cooled orzo to the bowl with the lemon oil and toss.  

To finish, add the cut veggies and crumble the feta cheese into the salad.  Gently toss the orzo to coat all the ingredients with the lemon oil and serve. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

All Greens Salad

It really has been too ridiculously long since I've posted a recipe.  Summer has me everywhere but in front of my computer lately.   But you better believe I have still been cooking and taking pictures.  Just not finding time to post!  Sigh  But here we are finally.  My kids are with Dad doing yard work so I thought I'd steal a few seconds to post some fabulous things I've been cooking this summer, even though I should be doing the dishes.  They can wait.

This has been my 2nd* favorite salad this summer.  (Remember this favorite way back when?)  I'm loving this new, extremely easy, salad my very health-conscience friend made for me one evening.  Thank you dear! ;)

My husband calls this salad Rabbit Food.  Haha.  Men.  See what you think.  I think it's fresh, crispy, and new.  Just what the Doctor ordered during this heat . . .

green peppers
green onions
baby spinach leaves
Salad dressing of your choice (we use Ranch - not the healthiest, but hey.  It's good.)

*Stay tuned for my number one favorite salad this summer.  You're going to die it's soooo yummy.  Now if I can just steal another minute away to post it... ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

zucchini/squash pancakes.


ok, this is the 3rd post in a row that i have to say "this isn't really much to look at", but it's true. it's also true that these are delicious. i should create a new category called "how to use all of that zucchini and squash that is so plentiful in your garden"... but i won't :)

we had these for breakfast a lot in the summer growing up, but you can really make them any old time. i guess they kind of fall into a quiche-ish/brunchy sort of category? i don't know. anyway, tonight we had them for dinner with some green beans from my mom's garden.

1/2 c Bisquick
1- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded yellow squash or zucchini {with skins}
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs


combine all ingredients. spoon batter into frying pan {medium heat}. cook until there are no longer bubbles forming in the pancake, 1-2 minutes; turn over and cook for 1-2 minutes longer. enjoy the cheesy, squashy, zucchini-y deliciousness!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

My husband and I had our first taste of Salted Caramel in Las Vegas a few months ago at a fantastic restaurant called Max Brenner.  We were hooked!  There is something so delicious about the sweetness of the rich caramel flavor, and then you get this fine hint of saltiness.  Sweet and Salty perfectly paired together, who doesn't like that?  A couple of weeks ago I saw an episode of The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, Ina and her friend made this beautiful ice cream and I knew that I had to try it.  Oh my goodness, it was worth every minute and dish that it took to make it! 

Before I go any further you should remember a few things:

1. Do yourself a favor and buy the half gallon of Heavy cream from Costco, you will be able to make two batches of the ice cream and have a bit left for some other treat.  It's really the best cream around.

2.  You must pronounce the word "caramel" as such,  Care-a-mel.  I demand it and so does Ina Garten, we're friends you know.  (Not really, but I like to pretend we are.  Ina rocks!)

3.  This is not a hard recipe, but it is time consuming.  All the ingredients must be well chilled, involving 24 hour refrigeration and ice baths.  Do not be deterred!  Read the recipe several times before you start, prep really well and give yourself time to think.  It helps to have another set of hands around to add ingredients at certain points. 

Ok, Ready? 

Salted Caramel Ice Cream 

Recipe From Ina Garten's friend, Rory Trovato

First you need to start by making the Ice Cream Base, and you must chill this for 24 hours before you plan on making the ice cream.  I tried to make it the day of and chilled for 3 hours, the ice cream never froze.  Make it 24 hours in advance please!

Ice Cream Base:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.
Prepare an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.
Set a strainer over the smaller bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved.  Gradually pour the warmed milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan you used to warm the milk. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice bath until cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, preferably  (NO DEFINITELY!) overnight. Yield: about 3 cups.



Ingredients for the Salty Caramel Ice Cream

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (Used sea salt from Costco, don't use regular salt!!!)
  • Ice Cream Base
  • 1 tablespoon pure Tahitian vanilla extract (I used Real Vanilla, but just the kind from Costco)


Heat the sugar in a dry heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat the sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and swirl the pan so the sugar melts evenly, and continue cooking until it is a dark amber color.
Carefully add the heavy cream (the mixture will splatter) and cook, stirring until all the caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and stir in the sea salt. Set the caramel mixture over a bowl filled with ice water and stir until chilled to room temperature. (This is very important, it must be completely cooled or it won't freeze!) Combine the caramel mixture with the Ice Cream Base and add the vanilla.
Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.


Chicken Pillows

2 small pkgs. Cream Cheese - 6 0z. total
2 cans crescent rolls
2/3 Cup dry stuffing crumbs (or if you are out of stuffing like I was, Italian bread crumbs work good)
1 1/4 Cups butter; divided
2 Cups cooked, chopped chicken
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can Cream of Chicken soup

Cook chicken if not already cooked. Season to your specific taste... I used a little olive oil, pepper and no salt seasoning (from costco)

Mix cream cheese, 1/4 Cup butter, and pepper. 

Fold in chicken.

Unroll crescent rolls, spoon heaping spoonful of mixture onto each roll and fold edges over. Seal edges. Melt the remaining butter and dip each chicken bundle in the butter. Roll in stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes. 
Then serve with warm soup as gravy.

Holy Yumm-o...
You have to try it!

Chicken Cordon Bleu


  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 slices Provolone cheese
  • 6 slices ham
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast. Fold chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

This is a favorite in our house. For my husbands birthday- this is all he wanted. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

{freezer} breakfast burritos.

{yet another less than spectacular picture, but you get the idea.}

what i love about this is... it's easy. you can freeze it and have it for breakfast. or lunch or dinner. you can top it with your favorite mexican toppings. and it's gooood. i had one for dinner last night and for lunch today... yum!

12 eggs, scrambled
1 package sausage {i used a roll of jimmy dean pork sausage}
1/2 onion, diced
1 30-oz bag frozen hash browns
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 4-oz can diced green chiles {optional}
salt & pepper

brown sausage with onions. set aside in a large bowl. in same pan, cook eggs. salt & pepper to taste. put into bowl with sausage. add hash browns, cheese, and green chiles. mix until all combined. soften tortillas in microwave. fill tortillas with desired amount of deliciousness, roll burrito style, and wrap in plastic wrap or eat immediately. heat frozen burritos 2 minutes in the microwave. top with all your favorites!

makes 14+ depending on how fat you make them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

chicken & wild rice.


this dish is nothing amazing to look at, but it was a really fast and easy {and yummy} dinner. my whole family enjoyed it.

2 6-oz. pkgs. quick-cooking long-grain & wild rice with seasoning packets {rice-a-roni, uncle ben's, etc}
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
3 cups water

gently stir together all ingredients. spread into an ungreased 9x13 pan. bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. serves 6-8.

bacon wrapped chicken.


this was a big hit with my husband, naturally. men and their bacon, right???

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/2 inch thickness
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp chive and onion flavored cream cheese, softened and divided
2 tbsp chilled butter, divided
1/2 tsp dried tarragon {i substituted thyme since i didn't have any}
2 slices bacon

sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. spread one tbsp cream cheese over each chicken breast; top with one tbsp butter and 1/4 tsp tarragon. roll up and wrap with one slice bacon; secure with a toothpick. place chicken seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. increase temperature to broil; broil 8-10 minutes or until bacon is crisp. serves 2.

ummmmm just as i was typing this i realized i forgot that last broiling step! i was about to add that next time i would broil it for a few minutes :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cheezy Chicken Recipe

Cheezy Chicken Recipe

Looking for a new way to make chicken? Boy do I have a great chicken recipe for you today! This recipe only uses a handful of ingredients and is super easy to prepare.

Cheezy Chicken Recipe

10-12 Boneless Chicken Breast Tenders
2 eggs
2 T. water
1/2 box (about 8 oz) cheese crackers (Cheese Nips or Cheez-its), crushed
1/2 c. margarine or butter

Preheat oven to 350. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Beat egg and water together in small bowl. Put crushed crackers in another bowl or plastic bag. Melt 1/4 c margarine in microwave and pour on bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Dip chicken in egg, then in cracker crumbs, turning to coat. Place in pan. Melt remaining 1/4 c butter in microwave and pour over chicken.
Bake, uncovered, for no longer than 1 hour. Serves 4

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baked Lemon Spaghetti


1 (14.5 ounce) package spaghetti
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) carton sour cream (light is fine)
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon, zested)
1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (I didn't add this since I didn't have any on hand)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
juice from 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cook spaghetti + olive oil according to package directions (minus a couple of minutes)- you want it to be al dente. Drain spaghetti and place in a large bowl.
3. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until sizzling and lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, lemon zest and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Pour lemon sauce over the spaghetti and stir. Add Italian parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan and stir some more. Pour lemony spaghetti in a greased 1.5 quart casserole dish.
4. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take dish out of the oven and remove foil. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan on top. Drizzle juice from 1/2 lemon over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle pepper and salt on top. Place dish back into the oven for 7 or 8 minutes, just until cheese is melted and noodles have begun to turn golden in a few places. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fresh Fruit Dip

I just took these little treats to my daughters preschool celebration. They were a hit! The recipe is so simple and I've used it for years. You can dip any kind of fruit and it would be delicious, but I am partial to bananas.

1 8 oz block of cream cheese (I always use 1/3 less fat)
1 7 ozl jar of marshmellow creme
2 Tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate

Whip it up in a mixer (or beaters).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

best banana muffins.

{don't even think about substituting applesauce for fat in these!}


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted

sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. combine bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted butter in a large bowl. fold in flour mixture and mix until smooth. scoop into greased or lined muffin pan. bake ate 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

makes 12 muffins. 187 calories. 5 grams of fat.

{and worth every single calorie!}

Margherita Pizza

Phillip and I recently returned from New York. We ate the most delicious pizza at Lombardi's in Little Italy. When I was flipping through my Food Nanny recipe book (I bought it at Swiss Days last year and LOVE it!), I noticed this recipe and thought it was very similar to what we had in NYC. I made it for my family and we gobbled it up fast. It was delicious. I also used her Basic Pizza Crust recipe and did half flour half wheat and it had such a good honey wheat flavor. The only thing it was missing was the wood burning oven taste. So simple, so fresh, and pretty fast. Once my tomatoes and basil start growing this summer, I know I'll be making this a lot.

2 pounds of very ripe Roma or Hot House tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. olive oil
8 oz Mozzerella Cheese thinly sliced
2 T. freshly grated imported Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pinch of course salt and ground black pepper
14 count small basil leaves torn into pieces (I like to stack, roll, and cut)

Oil the pizza pan(s) and set aside. Prepare the pizza dough, roll it out, and place it in the prepared pan(s). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dice the tomatoes (I like them pealed), discard the seeds, and combine with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 c oil in a bowl. Spread over the crust. Bake for 15-20 on the lowest oven rack. Remove pizza from oven and arrange the mozzerella and Parmesean. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with additional olive oil. Return to oven until bubbly, 5-10 minutes. Top with basil and serve immediately.

For the Basic Pizza Dough recipe, go to the Food Nanny Blog.