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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pistachio-Coconut Pie

The hospital where my husband works is sponsoring a "biggest loser" type of contest and my husband was really excited to participate. He has always loved working out but the last year and a half have been difficult to find the time as his workload is extremely heavy, it is very high stress, and his work hours are not normal.

As I said, he has always had no difficulty with the working out part of getting healthy. However, he has struggled with the eating part. And that, of course, is such a huge part. But I have literally been floored with how dedicated he has been. I have not been able to keep a soda in the refrigerator for more than a few hours our whole entire marriage. I have one that has been in there since he started his new regime. Caffeine is usually how he keeps awake when he works a 24 hour shift so I don't know how he is doing it now, but he says he feels great.

I was interested to see how he would do for Easter dinner, as he is known for his heaping plates. But again, he proved his dedication to getting totally healthy! He didn't go crazy, just ate regular size portions, with lots of veggies. I was in charge of dessert and my father in law had requested this banana cream pie, as it is a favorite among our family. However, I also wanted to make something that my husband has been wanting me to make for awhile and I hadn't yet, just as a little reward for good behavior! Here is to good and healthy eating! (Ok, I know this pie isn't healthy, that is just in general people!)

Pistachio-Coconut Pie
by Pillsbury

1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 c flaked coconut, toasted
1 shortbread crumb crust (6 oz)

In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla until mixture is smooth and well blended. Add pudding mix; beat on low speed for 2 minutes.

With rubber spatula, fold in whipped topping and 1/4 c of the coconut. Spoon into crust.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

To toast the coconut, spread it on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is light golden brown.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Orzo Salad

Have I ever mentioned my pure hatred of peas? Who would think that a small, green, mushy vegetable could cause such venom in my heart but they do. I think of them and shudder. My mother in law actually shares my point of view and swears that they must taste totally different to her than to other people because no one would like them if they really tasted like that. My kids had actually never seen peas in our house since they NEVER make an appearance in any meal I serve. My oldest daughter is 7 without ever having been subjected to having peas. Lucky girl.

My church had a function celebrating Esther and with it, some of us brought Jewish dishes. I had signed up for an orzo salad. I didn't actually see the recipe but salads are easy enough so I thought I would be safe. Then I saw the ingredients. And guess what was included? Peas, my mortal enemy! I actually had to buy peas and support their existence.

Other than the dreaded ingredient, the salad was really easy and came together really quickly which is how I like it. I even tried it, making sure no peas were included in my bite. I really liked it. And then, I even became adventurous at the actual event and tried it with the peas. And it still tasted good. Now, I didn't become a lover of peas that night, it was just that their flavor was really masked. Who would of thought that anything that included peas would not only be edible, but actually be good?

Orzo Salad
found on

3 cups cooked orzo (1 1/2 cups dry pasta)
1 c frozen and thawed green peas
1/2 c black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3/4c feta cheese, crumbled (the recipe says optional but hello, it is feta, totally needed in my humble opinion)
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley, dill or your favorite herb (I used parsley)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic, red wine, your choice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
If desired, sprinkle 1/4 tsp dried Greek oregano over top of salad

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.

Mix cooled pasta with all ingredients. The recipe didn't say to refrigerate before but I did for about and hour.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

My food budget is pretty small. And with food prices soaring I find it difficult to feed my family healthy and filling meals while also keeping it fresh and new. Because meat is kind of expensive, we don't have it every night. And when we do, I can't get crazy and try recipes that call for a lot of ingredients. There are so many recipes out there that look amazing but after seeing what I would have to buy, I just have to say to myself that maybe eventually I can try it but not right now. It is a good lesson in discipline, but not always an easy one because sometimes I just want to make something yummy, no matter the cost!

When I ran across this recipe, I was totally willing to try it because it was ingredients I would mostly already have in my pantry and it was, of course, EASY! I was so happy I did try it because it was really good and most importantly, my kids love it!

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
by Kraft Foods

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast(just depending on how much you want to make and how big the chicken breasts are)
1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, mix together cheese, dressing mix, and garlic powder. Wet the chicken breasts with water and coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow 9X13 baking pan.

Cook for 25-30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. For a nice golden brown, place under broiler for 2-4 minutes. Add some asparagus or other vegetable and some bread and you have a pretty cheap, easy meal!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ranch Dressing

It has been amazing weather here lately. High 70s, even into the 80s. I am totally loving this March weather. The only downside is that for some reason, my family all switched to summer mode. My kids are going to bed late, playing outside for hours when I suddenly realize that homework is unfinished, showers need to be taken. Well, March Madness also might have a little to do with that as well.

Summer brings thoughts of fresh fruit, grilling, dinners eaten outdoors, yummy fresh salads. And when I think of salads, I think of Ranch dressing. Now I love Ranch and will eat the bottled stuff but I always find it lacking somewhat. I finally searched online and found an Outback copycat recipe. I was so not disappointed. It is my new official Ranch I will use, I am never buying the bottled stuff again. And with just a few ingredients, this comes together in a snap!

Ranch Dressing
Outback copycat recipe found on

1 tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 c mayo
1/2 c buttermilk(is it bad I had to do a search to see how long past the expiration date I could use buttermilk?)
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Instructions: (See if you can follow these)
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together. Chill at least 1/2 hour to allow flavors to meld. Sometimes I can do this, sometimes not. It tastes pretty good right away if you ask me.

*Can substitute cayenne pepper for paprika for a little extra kick

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sweet Raspberry Biscuits

Growing up, there was one item that always had me running to the dinner table. It didn't matter what else we were having. Its presence was enough. Its presence made me happy. Its presence made me tell my mom she was the best mom ever. And that was her sweet raspberry biscuits.

This tastes like you are being naughty and having dessert with dinner. And really, who doesn't want dessert with dinner? And to totally get away with it, to have my parents smiling, telling me what a great dinner I was eating as I stuffed my face with a fourth biscuit made my heart happy.

I have always had a soft spot for red raspberry preserves. And that is just the store bought stuff. I am sure I would actually begin to pass out if eating homemade stuff. But for me, putting it on anything makes it feel like I am eating dessert. So the combination of the biscuit, red raspberry preserves, and vanilla glaze make myItalic eyes glaze. I could have these with every meal.

Sweet Raspberry Biscuits
by Terri Schaeffer

for biscuits
2 c Bisquick Baking Mix
1/4 c butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 c milk
1/4 c red raspberry preserves

for glaze
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp warm water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 450.

Line muffin pan with liners (recipe will make 12 biscuits, you can always double for 24).

In a medium bowl, mix baking mix, sugar, and butter until crumbly. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer. Add milk and mix until dough forms. Once dough forms, mix 15 times(I accidentally wrote 15 years first! that would have been interesting).

Place 1 tbsp dough in each muffin cup. Top with 1 tbsp preserves. Drop remaining dough on top of preserves, again about 1 tbsp per muffin cup(Is it muffin cup? Just wondering...).

Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

Remove immediately to cooling rack.

While biscuits are baking, in a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, water, and vanilla together and stir until smooth. This can be done by hand.

While the biscuits are still warm, drizzle glaze on each one.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

What month is it? Okay, March I know, but I am going to tell a little Christmas tradition story to go along with this post.

Every year, as most people do, my mom would be busy baking up a storm to get ready for the holiday season. She would make all the cookies she was famous for and we then we would pile in the car, drive to our old stompin' ground of Van Nuys, visit our past neighbors and deliver Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve.

And of course, if someone happened to not be home, the kids in the back might or might not have quickly opened up that plate and gone wild with the cookies. It was during those times, riding in my family's minivan, singing Christmas carols, that I cultivated my absolute love for gingerbread.

As soon as I saw these, I had to make them. The idea of combining gingerbread with lemon was very appealing to me. I know these are a bit out of season for most people but I really can go for gingerbread at anytime of the year. And even though I just posted a whoopie pie recipe, I didn't let that stop me!

Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
from Taste of Homes

Ingredients for Cookies:
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 egg
3 c flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar (I used less I think)

Ingredients for Filling:
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c marshmallow creme
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp lemon extract (I was actually out of this so I used zest from one lemon and a couple of tsps of lemon juice from that lemon)

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/2 inch in thickness with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in small bowl, beat butter and marshmallow creme, until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and extract (or lemon zest and juice).

Spread filling on the bottom of half the cookies, about 1 tbsp on each-top with remaining cookies.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes-Nobody Doesn't Like Them

You know those die hard chocolate lovers out there? Well, in case you haven't noticed, this will actually be my first purely chocolate post ever. I think.

Anyway, it is not that I hate chocolate or anything, it is just that I don't have to have it, I don't crave it. When picking between vanilla cake or chocolate, I will choose vanilla every single time. So although I have had this recipe for a very long time, it wasn't until last year that I finally got around to making them. And that is just because my kids love chocolate and I thought I would be a great mom and finally make them chocolate cupcakes instead of vanilla. I know, I am totally amazing, right?

This recipe is from my mother-in-law and that is actually what they are named in the recipe-nobody doesn't like them. And I have to admit that I really, really like them. I would even choose to make them over vanilla cupcakes sometimes. They have a really weird ingredient and if it hits your baking soda just right when adding the ingredients together, it makes for a fun twist if making these with your kids!
Also, for me, these cupcakes are even more amazing the next day! In fact, I just ate one and am seriously contemplating going and eating another one. I have self control, I have self control....

Chocolate Cupcakes-Nobody Doesn't Like Them
from Robbie Clark

3 c flour
2 c sugar
4 Tbsp Baking Cocoa
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 c cold water

Chocolate Frosting:
1 1b. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. Baking Cocoa
1 stick butter, melted (I tried extremely softened but still had trouble breaking it down when mixing so I would melt it)

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together all ingredients for cupcakes with electric mixer until batter is smooth(It is very thin batter).

Fill the paper liners in a muffin tin 2/3rds full. You can ladle it or just pour batter into a pitcher and then pour from pitcher to muffin pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes(or until toothpick inserted comes out clean).
Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Well, I just lost my battle with self control...

For the frosting:

Mix together butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time until frosting is of desired consistency(I used 4 tbsp). Frost away and enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I have this propensity to make something I have never tried before when I have people coming over for dinner. I don't know why I do that because what if it doesn't turn out well or even taste good? And how would I know? But I guess my regular meals of canned chili, mac and cheese, cereals, and eggs on toast wouldn't go over too well either. Hey, don't judge, my husband is not there for about 90 percent of our dinners. And I can always use the excuse of having never made it before if my guests don't like the meal.

So, of course, last year, when inviting our sister missionaries from church over for dinner, I decided to make these that I had seen on my good friend Christy's blog. Because, really, she never leads me astray and she didn't yet again. The missionaries kept telling me how amazing of a cook am I which is a big fat lie. I can follow a basic recipe and that is about it. But these have amazing flavor and hey, I'll take any compliment I can regarding the kitchen! And this recipe makes two pans so you can freeze one or take one to someone else for dinner.

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 (12-ounce) box uncooked jumbo pasta shells, although you might want more in case some of the shells break during cooking
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened, you probably could just use one
1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce, more if wanted

1. Cook shells according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook them or they will tear easily when trying to fill them. Drain and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two 9x13 baking dishes.

3. In a large bowl, combine chicken and all the rest of the ingredients except mozzarella and spaghetti sauce. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella. Spoon into shells. *Tip: For easier filling, fill a gallon ziplock baggie with the filling and snip a quarter size hole off the corner of the bag. Then you can just pipe the filling into the shells.

4. Spread half of spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dishes. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. If you are freezing one of the 9x13 prepared pans, freeze it after this step. Include a baggy of the remaining mozzarella for when you cook it.

5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BBQ Ranch Chicken & Cheddar Pizza Roll 'Em Ups

Can I tell you a secret? I have never been on pinterest. Isn't that crazy? I know people like live on that site but I haven't gotten into it yet. Maybe I will someday, but for now, I am a total deviant in the realm of moms and really just anyone. I have to admit that when someone I am friends with on facebook pinned "how to clean a bathroom" I did go from facebook to that article. So I guess I really have been on it. Oops. Anyway, it was some great tips by a woman who had cleaned houses for like 30 years. Not that I have put any into practice or anything, don't go crazy, but it was fun to know that if I ever do decide to really get into cleaning, I will know how. Probably not, but it is always best to be prepared.

Anyway, that kind of a site (or even bookmarking things)would have come in handy for me when I first started perusing food sites. I found this recipe and you know what I did? I just took out a pen and paper and wrote it down. Unfathomable, I know!
But this method prevented me from knowing where I got it from. But this really puts together some of my favorite things. And I do tend to get very lazy in the kitchen, so for the chicken, I just threw some breasts in the crockpot, added a little water and my all time favorite bbq sauce, Montgomery Inn, and let it cook. But you can use any bbq chicken prepared any way that you would like, grilled, baked, or just picked up at the grocery store.

BBQ Ranch Chicken and Cheddar Pizza Roll 'Em ups.

1 Roll Pillsbury Pizza Dough in a can
1/4 c prepared Ranch Dressing
2 cups prepared shredded BBQ chicken
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 1/2 c shredded smoked cheddar cheese (My grocery store has a specialty cheese section where I found some great smoked cheddar)
Extra Ranch for dipping

Preheat oven to 350. Open dough and press into a rectangle. Spread or drizzle ranch dressing evenly over dough, then top with chicken, cilantro, and cheddar cheese.
Starting at the long end, roll dough into a log shape.
Using a sharp knife (ok, I really don't have a sharp knife so mine turned out a little "rustic" but it tasted the same), cut 1 inch pieces and place onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with a side of ranch dressing for dipping.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coconut Whoopie Pies

My husband and I are coming up on our 10 year anniversary, which is kind of mind blowing on several different levels. In some ways, of course it feels like we have always been together and yet I feel way too young to have been an old married lady for almost a decade.

Needless to say we have been through many Valentine's Day together, some a bigger deal than others. This year, he was working late and we don't have a ton of extra money to be doing special things anyway. However, I wanted to do something to make the day not just like any other day.

We all know how my husband will eat just about anything, but he does have his favorite things. Coconut is definitely one of those things. So when I saw these on Paula Deen a few weeks ago, I thought that Valentine's Day would be the perfect time to try these. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, well a day late anyway.

Coconut Whoopie Pies
by Paula Deen

2 1/4 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4c (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
3/4 c light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c sweetened flaked coconut

Coconut Fluff Filling:
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c marshmallow creme
1 c sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 c sweetened flaked coconut
2 tbsp light coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 375, with rack positioned in the center of oven.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper (I just used another sheet of parchment since I am out of wax).
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and egg white and beat until incorporated. Add half the flour mixture and half the coconut milk and beat until just blended. Then add the remaining flour, coconut milk, and the vanilla extract and beat until blended.
Using a 1/4 c ice cream scoop (or whatever you have), drop the batter into 12 mounds on the lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. If you want to make smaller pies, just use well rounded tablespoons and you can make 24. Sprinkle half of the mounds with coconut, or all of them if you choose. I, of course, chose to put as much coconut as possible on these bad boys!
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until they begin to crack and are firm to the touch, about 12 min for large cookies and 10 min for smaller ones. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the coconut fluff filling, beat the butter and marshmallow creme in a large bowl with a mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the powdered sugar, coconut, coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut extract until smooth.

Gently lift the cookies off of the parchment paper and spread the flat side of the plain cookies (or either one depending if you put coconut on all of them) generously with coconut fluff filling. Top with the coconut topped cookies, pressing lightly to seal them together. Store in a air tight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Just call me Garfield - I love lasagna! The prospect of making lasagna, however, has always seemed a little daunting. My good friend Lenae makes the most delicious lasagna and when she assured me that it was easy to make I decided to give it a try. Now I can have yummy lasagna whenever I want!
The recipe below includes hamburger meat but if you like your lasagna meatless, like I do, just leave it out.

Lasagna Recipe by Lenae Crowe


  • 1 lb lasagna noodles

  • 1 lb hamburger meat

  • 4 8oz cans of tomato sauce

  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

  • 1 packet McCormick spagetti sauce seasoning (Thick and Zesty)

  • 3 cups cottage cheese

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 beaten egg

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • dash of pepper

  • 4 cups Mozarella cheese

To make:

Cook 1 lb lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and spread onto foil so they don't stick together. Meanwhile, for the sauce, brown 1 lb of hamburger and drain fat. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and packet of spagetti seasoning. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. In separate bowl mix the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Shred the mozarella cheese.

To layer:

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Spoon enough sauce to cover bottom into pan, then top with three cooked and drained noodles. Cover with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Top with 1/4 sauce and sprinkle with approx 1 cup cheese. Repeat twice (three layers), then top with noodles, remaining sauce, and cheese. Cover pan with foil (from noodles) and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more mins or until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven and let stand 10 mins before cutting.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

When starting this post, I decided that I have actually made some progress in the kitchen! Who would have ever thought? And by progress, I mean that when first starting this blog, I posted these taquitos. They consist of opening a box, pouring some sauce and putting shredded cheese on it, and sticking it in the oven.

Now, I am totally not saying that I still don't make dinners just like that. I am just saying that I have gently expanded my ability to make a teensy bit more challenging stuff. I am still a huge novice and when I look at others' blogs, I feel a little silly that I even post things at all. However, I am trying hard not to compare and just be happy with where I am and be ready to try hard to improve.

These taquitos are something that my family loves and gobbles up quickly. They are extremely easy and really delicious. We have made them a ton over the last couple of years and I am finally getting around to putting them on the blog. They can be made with either corn or flour tortillas. I, for some weird reason, really prefer the corn to the flour. But both are really good. We usually have them as the main course but they are great as appetizers/finger food as well!

Creamy Chicken Taquitos


1/3 c (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 c salsa verde
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp sliced green onion
2 c shredded cooked chicken
1 c grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas or flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in microwave for about 20 seconds until it is soft and easy to stir. Place in mixing bowl with green salsa, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, lime juice, and garlic powder and stir to combine. Add green onions and cilantro. Then finish by adding chicken and cheese and combine all together (you can actually make this ahead and keep in fridge until you are ready to make the taquitos).

Working with just a few of tortillas at a time, heat in the microwave between two slightly damp paper towels until they are soft are roll without cracking. 20-30 seconds should do the trick. If they are unrolling right away or cracking, just heat them a little longer.

Place 2-3 tbsp of chicken mixture of bottom 1/3 of tortilla, keeping it about an 1/2 inch from the sides. Roll up as tight as you can (again, if your tortillas are cracking, heat them a little longer). Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet. As you lay all the rolled tortillas down, make sure they are not touching. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle each with kosher salt.

Place baking sheet in oven for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

When done, you can dip 'em or use them as main meal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blue Cheese Burgers

My husband is not a picky eater, to say the least. There have been many times throughout our marriage that I will ask him if he likes what he is currently eating and he says with a shrug, "Not really" and then continues to eat the whole thing. I am always amazed.

However, there is an experience from his teenage years that still haunts him. He was over at his friend's house for dinner and there in front of him was a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes, and really, what teenage boy doesn't love mashed potatoes? He, of course, helped himself to a huge portion and dug right in. And then, after his first big bite, he was horrified. What was that taste? His beloved mashed potatoes had turned into the devil right before his eyes.

And guess what that secret ingredient was? You got it, blue cheese. He had never had it before and will not eat it ever since. So, several years ago, when I told him I was going to make these burgers I found on Pioneer Woman, he was very skeptical to say the least. But I decided to chance it anyway. And we both ended up loving the burger! The onions and blue cheese along with the spicy mayo really has such great flavor. And when we were looking for a fun burger to do this weekend, this immediately popped into my mind. We hadn't made it since that day long ago in Florida. But our memories had not failed us and they were delicious!

Blue Cheese Burgers

2 lbs. 80/20 ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
tabasco sauce, to taste
1 whole red onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c real mayo
Kaiser rolls, or any bakery type rolls
1 C crumbled blue cheese
Some sort of greens, whatever is your favorite


Place meat in mixing bowl. Add salt and black pepper. Add a few dashes of tabasco sauce. With your hands, mix meat and seasonings well. Put aside.

Next, slice onion, not too thick, not too thin. Heat medium skillet over low heat. Add butter and place in onions. Add brown sugar (you can do generous tbsps). Toss ingredients together and then allow onions to caramelize for twenty minutes, tossing occasionally.

When onions are caramelizing, make spicy mayo. Just put mayo in small bowl and add tabasco and mix together. I used several dashes, it is surprisingly how much tabasco you can use before it really starts to take over the mayo.

Cut rolls in half and spread them lightly with butter, then place them on grill or skillet face down. This will allow the spicy mayo, when put on later, to really adhere to the roll. Set aside to cool.

Form the meat into patties, however many you want, depending on how big you want them. Place on grill or skillet over medium to medium low heat. Cook for several minutes, then flip over to cook other side.

While patty is still on grill, add caramelized onion and blue cheese on top. This will allow the blue cheese to get soft. As the burgers finish cooking, spread your mayo on your cooled buns. Then put it all together with some greens and let your mouth thank you!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Probably along with a lot of you, cupcake wars is a favorite in our household. My seven and four year old daughters ask every Saturday if Cupcake Wars is new the next day and what it is about. We generally don't watch TV on Sunday so we always record it and then watch it on Monday when my kids get home from school. It is a really fun tradition that we have started. Lately, even when playing with play-doh, their imagination usually takes the form of cupcakes.
I decided to try a new cupcake I had seen in Betty Crocker and my girls started helping out. When it was time to try the batter, it needed something. We quickly started pretending we were on the show, jumping around, yelling, "What does it need? What does it need?"
My oldest daughter quickly named this her favorite cupcake I have ever made. When she said that, I knew I had to add this to the blog, just for her!

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
1 1/4 C strawberry carbonated beverage (such as Fanta, Crush, or I used Faygo!)
Vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
about 5-6 big strawberries or to taste, chopped

Red food color
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting
candy sprinkles
Fresh strawberries, if desired (my kids ate the ones I was planning on garnishing the cupcakes with)

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for cupcakes, substituting carbonated beverage for the water and using oil and egg whites. After tasting the batter, it didn't have a huge strawberry flavor so I chopped up about 6 really big strawberries and added them to the batter. It adds a little texture and flavor.

Cool 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Stir 1 or 2 drops red food coloring into frosting. Frost cupcakes.

Add whatever garnish you would like, be it sprinkles, fresh strawberries, or the like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Football and Bagel Dip

I have always loved New Year's Day, filled with football and food. Some of the best games were of course on yesterday, the day my husband dubbed as the fake New Year's Day. Usually, we have a huge spread of food and just chow down and watch other people burn calories while we just put on the pounds. But because it was on a Monday and really wasn't a holiday(my daughter had school), we just made this one dip.
I got this recipe from a girl I used to work with, she gave me a few of her favorite recipes when I got married. It sounds really weird when you read the ingredients but I'm serious, it really is good!
My youngest daughter had a friend over and they seriously ate more than my husband and I. And we always pair it with bagels but anything that floats your boat would be great, I am sure.

Bagel Dip
Source: Tracy Harney

one 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
one jar of Kraft Old English cheese (my grocery store has it by the Parmesan cheese)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of green onions, chopped

Mix cream cheese and cheese together, either by hand or with a hand mixer, until well blended. Mix in green onions. Serve with bagels.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Isn't life just sometimes sweet and sometimes sour? Ok, ok, I know that was like the most ridiculous line but I wasn't feeling any great inspiration for a story that goes along with this yummy, yummy meal, besides the fact that it is just really good!
I tried this a long time ago and have since made it over and over again. My dad has asked several times for the recipe so here it is dad! It is seriously so good and is even better than take out!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Mel says that if you would like, you can double the recipe for the sauce, pouring half over the chicken and follow the baking directions and then pour other half in small saucepan. Cook the sauce on the stove for 8-10 minutes at a simmer until it reduces and thickens and then serve on side. I have always done this, the more sauce the better!

For the chicken, cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve over rice.