Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Broccoli Salad

I love me a good potluck...everyone brings such yummy things to eat!  I've a few versions of this salad, this version being my absolute favorite!  It comes from my hubby's side of the family and we have made it numerous times for various get-togethers.  Even if you aren't a huge broccoli fan, give this a try....you will be pleasantly surprised :)

Broccoli Salad

5c. broccoli, chopped in bite-size pieces 
1/2c. red onion, chopped 
1c. sharp cheddar cheese 
1c. bacon, cooked, chopped
1c. sunflower seeds 
1c. craisins

1/2c. miracle whip 
1/2c. mayo
1/4c. sugar 
2 T. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients for salad and dressing in 2 separate bowls, pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss. Chill before serving.

Recipe Source:  my hubby's Aunt Marla

Easter Morning Rolls

Easter time!  I've decided to start a new tradition and make these rolls for Easter morning, they are so fun and yummy!  I found about 5 recipes for this recipe, so here's a compilation of a few.  I love the symbolism these rolls have...maybe one day my kids will be old enough to get it :)  You take Jesus (marshmallow), anointing him in oils (butter) and incense (cinnamon and sugar) and wrapping Him in his shroud (crescent roll) and then placing him in His tomb (the oven)...this version may be better for an older child though. 

Easter Morning Rolls

1 package frozen bread or roll dough, thawed (or homemade rolldough)   *Next time I will try refrigerated crescent rolls or biscuits to make this even easier! And adjust cooking times accordingly :)*

6 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 bag large marshmallows
1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Divide the dough into individual roll sized portions. Press each portion into a flat circle. Roll marshmallow in butter, then in cinnamon sugar mix.  Place marshmallow in the center of each roll. Pinch roll dough very firmly around the marshmallow. Roll each into a seamless, or nearly seamless, ball with your hands. Brush rolls with melted butter.  Sprinkle sugar mixture over rolls. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. On Sunday morning, preheat oven to 350°. Take rolls out of fridge and bake for 15 minutes until rolls are golden brown. Be careful not to overbake. (These may also be baked without sitting overnight. After wrapping the marshmallow in them, let them rise for about an hour or so and then bake them as usual.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Decadent Chocolate Cake

My now 3 year old wanted some chocolate cake for his birthday.  I usually just go out and buy a cake at Sam's Club (which are very good), but this time I decided to just make my own.  This one worked out great....basically just a "souped up" boxed cake mix.  Needless to say, the little man was pleased.  It is moist, it is delicious...not complaints :)  I owe this one to Real Mom Kitchen.
Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake
  • 1 package (18 ¼ ounces) devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered Sugar
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, water, and eggs.
  2. Beat on low speed until moistened.  Beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured (I always use Pam Baking spray – it’s gotta be the baking kind) 10 inch fluted tube pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely or eat it warm.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.  12 to 15 servings.

Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars

So...like Twix bars?  Add a little peanut butter and that's basically what this is!  These would be great with a tall glass of milk.  I mean what is better than peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate?  Not much!  The recipe comes from one of my go-tos......Our Best Bites.

Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars

1 c. salted butter at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. caramels (1 14-oz. package Kraft caramel or 2 c. homemade caramel)
1-3 tablespoons cream (1 if using Kraft caramels, 3 for firmer or homemade caramel)
3 cups mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (about 1 1/2 11-oz. bags)
Preheat oven to 300. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla until the mixture comes together.  Lightly press the shortbread dough into the pan. Prick with a fork to prevent the crust from bubbling.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden.  Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the bars. Allow to cool completely.
Combine the caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring each minute, until the mixture is smooth. Spread evenly over the cookie crust, then place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for 30-60 minutes or until the caramel is solid.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups until melted and smooth, stirring each 45 seconds.  Spread over the cooled caramel. Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until the chocolate layer is solid. They can also be placed in the freezer for less time if you’re in a hurry. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I figure I need some "classic" recipes, you know, the kind that you make over and over again and don't get boring.  I will be working on some of the classic recipes over the next few months.  I was realizing I don't have many cookie recipes on here, which I found a little odd.  I do have a yummy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but no oatmeal cookies....so here are some :)   I love the addition of the peanut butter, good stuff!  This recipe comes from Stefanie's Cooking Spot.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup vegetable shorting
½ cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350⁰F.Beat shorting, butter, peanut butter and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda; add to mixture, mixing well; stir in oat, and chocolate chips; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 1 minute before removing to racks to cool.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

"Oh my my, my key lime pie!"  This dang song has been in my head all afternoon :)  I do love me some good Kenny Chesney....just as I love this yummy pie.  It was dang easy to make, and got great reviews.  I love a good salty/sweet combo, and that's what the pretzels gave this pie rather than a traditional graham cracker crust.  The recipe comes from Kneaders via Good Things Utah.

1 cup + 2 Tbsp. pretzel crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
7 Tbsp. butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9" pan with non-stick baking spray.  Crush the pretzels until very fine; processing in a food processor for about 30 seconds works well.
Add the sugar and melted butter, mixing to combine; you can do this right in the food processor.  Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; the crust won't change color much, but will firm up. Remove from the oven and make the filling.

½ cup fresh lime juice (3 to 4 limes)
4 tsp. grated lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

It's easiest to remove the lime zest from whole limes so start with that.  Cut the limes in half and squeeze out the juice being careful to not include any seeds.  Whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl until tinted light green. This takes about 2 minutes.  Beat in the milk, then juice and set aside at room temp till it thickens (do not overwork filling, mix only until all combined). Pour into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Bake the pie for 28 to 32 minutes, until the filling is set, with a small spot in the middle still soft looking. Cool for several hours before serving. Top with whipped cream and a garnish of crumbled pretzels.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homemade French Bread

I love fresh bread out of the oven....so dang yummy!  This recipe is great, and easy for anyone that is scared of baking.  The recipe comes from Deals To Meals, and it is a keeper.  

French Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

2 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
3 T. sugar
2 T. white vinegar
Add these ingredients together and let sit until bubbly
1 T. salt
1/3 c. canola or vegetable oil
7-7 1/2 c. flour (use enough flour to make the dough workable on the counter, not too sticky, but not too dry--somewhere between 7 and 7 1/2 c. is just right)

In a mixer add the water, yeast, sugar, vinegar, and 3 c. of the flour. Mix until combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly and foamy. Add the oil, salt, and remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes. Once the dough is combined and has been kneaded, let the bowl and dough sit on the counter until it doubles in size. You can also do the quick method by putting the bowl in your oven on the bottom shelf with a small pot of boiling water. This will help the dough stay soft and rise more quickly. Either method will work great. Once the dough has risen to the top of the bowl, punch it down and let it rise again. You can do this as many times as you have time for (one is only needed though). The more times you punch down your dough, the more air bubbles your bread will have.

Put the dough on a greased counter top and divide into 2 sections. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet. Roll the dough balls into long rectangle shapes. Slash the tops of the loaves bread 3-5 times. Let rise 30 minutes (or until doubled). Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes-until top of bread is golden brown.

*This site said the bread freezes well, so I'm gonna give it a shot :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BBQ Sloppy Joes

I tell you what...when I think of foods that take me on back to my childhood, a sloppy joe is one thing that comes to mind.  Recently, a co-worker and I started talking about them and since then, I have been craving one and went searching for a recipe.  I went to one of my old go-tos...Mel's Kitchen Cafe and she did not disappoint.  These are dang good.  I never would have thought to combine BBQ sauce and soy sauce, but it works, and it works well :)

"The Best Sloppy Joes"

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 ½ pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup smoky BBQ sauce (or whatever BBQ sauce is in your fridge)
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Potato rolls or hamburger buns
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it is finely crumbled, the liquid boils off and the meat begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Drain the grease off the meat and onions. Stir in the tomato paste, and keep stirring until the meat is coated. Add the BBQ sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. You can make the sloppy joe meat up to 2 days in advance and reheat it over low heat or in the microwave.
*She stated that this also freezes really well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegetable Pizza

Mmmm...I hadn't had any veggie pizza in years, and it sounded delicious. So I headed on over to Allrecipes to find a recipe for it. This turned out really yummy. It made for a good lunch, and I'm sure it would be great as an appetizer as well if you cut it up a bit smaller. It is perfect for Springtime :) I love that it is sunny enough now to take pictures outside. The pictures look a thousand times better!

Vegetable Pizza

2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
I added some fresh chopped up dill (to hike up the flavor)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 

Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a large baking sheet, and pinch together edges to form the pizza crust.
Bake crust for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Once finished cooking, remove crust from oven and let cool 15 minutes without removing it from the baking sheet.
In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and dry Ranch dressing. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust (I did not use it all, it seemed like too much). Arrange broccoli, tomato, green bell pepper, cauliflower, shredded carrots, and Cheddar cheese over the cream cheese layer. Chill for one hour, slice and serve. Sprinkle dill, if desired.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Oh you betcha!  This stuff is awesome!  This recipe comes from the good folks at Nestle.  Now this pie definitely does not need anything on top such as the chocolate or caramel, it is rich enough as is....it was just prettier for a picture :)  This would also be great to take to someone for dinner, just throw it in a disposable pie tin.  Super simple.

*Recommendation...I like it best when it is completely cool and set up.  If you cut it while it is warm it may look runny or gooey.  Just wait a bit longer until cool and it will set up nicely :)

  •  1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought.
    2 large eggs
    1/2 C flour
    1/2 C white granulated sugar
    1/2 C packed brown sugar
    3/4 C real butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
    1 C chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
    1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (you are welcome to make it without nuts)
    Preheat oven to 325° F.
    Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.
    Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until
    knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack or serve slightly warmed.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ginger Pear Chicken

Here's another recipe we tried last night from Cassie Craves.  The sauce on this chicken is so yummy!  It gets some yummy sweetness from the ginger ale and brown sugar.  I adapted the cooking instructions ever so slightly.  It was something different than your usual chicken-over-rice dish.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 16-ounce can pear halves in syrup, drained and syrup reserved (I had to open up another can...there wasn't enough syrup, about 1-1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 cups ginger ale
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste; add to skillet and brown on all sides.  Remove from skillet.

2. Meanwhile, chop pears into bite-size pieces. In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups pear syrup, pear pieces, soy sauce, ginger ale, ginger, and brown sugar. Pour into skillet and simmer 20 minutes, adding the chicken back in with a few minutes left of cooking time.

3. In a separate bowl, combine corn starch and water and add to skillet; cook over medium heat until sauce is thickened. Serve over cooked rice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken

After discovering the blog Macaroni and Cheesecake, I found this recipe.  The marinade for this chicken is AWESOME :)  It had a teryaki type taste with the soy sauce, but a kick with the cayenne.  The whole meal she had on her plate looked yummy, so I copied and had some cilantro lime rice and some fruit.  The marinade was yummy on the rice as well.

Hawaiian Chicken 

1 cup crushed pineapple
1 tbsp. honey
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cilantro
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half or 4 smaller chicken breasts

In a medium sized bowl mix together pineapple and all other ingredients except the chicken until combined. Place chicken in the bowl to marinate and refrigerate until ready to use. We marinated for 1 hour, but if you have less time it would be just fine.

After marinating, place chicken & marinade in a large skillet, sprayed with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and marinade has reduced just slightly. Serve chicken topped with cooked marinade & garnish with cilantro.

Broccoli Twice Baked Potatoes

In looking for a new side dish recipe for some steaks this last weekend, my to try list did not fail me.  I found this recipe for these yummy potatoes.  The recipe comes from the Neely's.  I wish smoked gouda wasn't so expensive, it probably would have tasted awesome...but I settled for some shredded provolone, which was still good.  I felt a little better stuffing my potatoes with broccoli rather than the traditional bacon!

  • 4 large russet potatoes, each about 3/4 pound each, well scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound broccoli florets, blanched
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar, plus extra for topping
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda, plus extra for topping ( I used provolone)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter, for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pierce potatoes with fork. Place on center rack of oven and cook for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a paring knife, cut a canoe-like top out of the potatoes. Scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl, leaving a 1/2-inch thick wall around the skin.
Add the blanched broccoli to the potatoes. Stir in the butter, sour cream, Cheddar, Gouda, and salt and pepper; and mash until creamy.
Using a small spoon, scoop the filling back into the potatoes. It will be a nice mounded pile of filling. Sprinkle with more of both cheeses on top of the potatoes.
Set the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese in melted and gooey. Serve with butter, if desired.