Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Salted Graham Cracker Toffee

I love it when a recipe finds its way to me, instead of me having to search it out.  I like it even better when the recipe comes from someone that has very similar tastes to my own, so I know I'll love it!  My aunt texted me this recipe and said we needed to try it immediately, so I did...and it is awesome!  It is a little different from the saltine cracker version that I have seen plastered all over Pinterest, and in this case...different is AWESOME!

Be warned, though.  When you start consuming this stuff, you will not stop until the entire pan is gone!  So be prepared to give some of it away as soon as it is ready :)  Enjoy!

Salted Graham Cracker Toffee

14 whole graham crackers (I used the honey-flavored kind)
1 bag (8oz) toffee bits
1-1/2 c. coarsely chopped toasted natural almond (I had sliced ones...they work fine)
1/2 c. sugar 
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 c. (4oz.) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
3/4 tsp. coarsely ground salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Lay graham crackers in a single layer across foil with their edges touching.  Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.  In a saucepan, bring butter and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and cook at a rapid boil, swirling pan occasionally, for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes syrupy.  Immediately pour over graham crackers.  

Bake until topping is bubbly, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over top.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares.  Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.  

Recipe Source:  aunt Trish

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

Next up, some yummy cookies!  I love cookies that are just a little bit different from the norm...hence these cookies.  I know with most people there is a love or hate relationship with chocolate covered cherries.  I really had never had them growing up that I remember, but they have always been one of my husband's favorites.  So we always have a box or two around during the holidays, and I have grown to really like them myself!  

Even if you don't like the boxed variety, these cookies will still knock your socks off!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick) 
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries*
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter and mix in the sugar. When the mixture has cooled off a bit, add the egg and mix. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cocoa, stirring after each addition. Add the flour and mix well. The dough will be stiff and a bit crumbly.

Drain the cherries and reserve the juice.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 per sheet. Press down in the center of each ball to make an indentation. Place one cherry in each indentation.

In a double boiler, combine the chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk. Heat on low, stirring, until the chocolate chips have melted. Start adding in some of the reserved cherry juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is thick and will glob off a spoon. If it won’t glob off, keep adding juice until it is the right consistency. Spoon a small bit of the sauce over the center of each cookie – just enough to cover the cherry. It shouldn’t drip down the sides.**

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source:  Taste and Tell


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

Sometimes I just don't have time to post a recipe.  I don't have time because it gets gobbled up before a picture can be taken!  That was the case a few years back with this recipe.  My hubby remembered how much he liked this casserole and asked me if I knew where I put the recipe.  At least I remembered that much!  So we made it for our very first Thanksgiving that we hosted at our house.  

Don't get me wrong...I like the recipe that uses cream of (insert your favorite) soup and canned green beans.  This one just has a little more love behind it and tastes phenomenal.  Enjoy!

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole
4 slices sandwich bread, each torn into quarters
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups canned fried onions (6 oz, about one can)  If the store sells cheddar fried onions then go for it!
1 cup cheddar cheese
Beans and Sauce:
Table salt
2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, and halved
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1.5 cups low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
1.5 cups heavy cream
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups canned fried onions
For the topping: Pulse bread, butter, salt & pepper in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to large bowl and toss with onions and cheddar; set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
If you are using fresh green beans, fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add 2 Tbsp. of table salt, and the beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain.  If you are using frozen green beans, just let them thaw and then pat them dry with paper towels.
Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add garlic, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, add cream, cheddar, and fried onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3-quart (or 13×9-inch) baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source:  Life and Kitchen

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meat Sauce Bolognese

I had my baby!  It happened 2.5 weeks early, but I was expecting it since my other 2 kiddos were each 2 weeks early.  We have had lots of yummy meals brought to us, but on one of the nights we didn't have a meal brought in, I was glad I had frozen some extra portions of this yummy sauce.  It made for a super simple meal for my little family :)

There is veggies hidden in the sauce, and they cook down so much your kiddos will never know they are in there.  Definitely a keeper-kind of recipe !

Meat Sauce Bolognese

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely shredded (about 1/2 cup)
2 ribs celery, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup dry red wine (or broth)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups hot water, or as needed

Heat the olive oil in a wide, 3 to 4-quart pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Crumble in the ground beef and pork and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat, until the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat or remove the pan from the heat and use a crumpled paper towel to drain off any extra fat. 

Add the wine (or broth) and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook a few minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, toss in the bay leaves and season lightly with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. 

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is dense but juicy and a rich, dark red color. (Most likely, a noticeable layer of oil will float to the top toward the end of cooking.) This will take about 2 to 3 hours - the longer you cook it, the better it will become - but an hour is also fine. 

While the sauce is cooking, add hot water as necessary to keep the meats and vegetables covered. The oil can be removed with a spoon or reincorporated in the sauce.

Serve over pasta.
Recipe Source:  A Taste of Home Cooking

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pecan Pie Truffles

I'll admit it, I never really even tried a pecan pie up until I was in my early 20s.  I was stuck in my ways; I loved the chocolate, pumpkin, banana cream, etc. kind of pies.  I have since changed my tune.  Every year it is necessary to have pecan pie and derby pie (basically pecan pie with chocolate) at our dinner table.  

I loved the idea of these little bite-size treats that are yummy for Thanksgiving or any other holiday gathering.  Enjoy!
Love pecan pie like I do?  Try one of these...

Traditional Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie Bars
Derby Pie

Pecan Pie Truffles

2 & 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped, separated
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3/8 cup corn syrup
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. dipping chocolate {I use Candiquik}

In a medium bowl, combine together 2 & 1/4 cup pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt.

Add maple syrup, corn syrup and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on wax paper; let truffles refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Melt the dipping chocolate according to package directions.
Coat the truffles with chocolate and return back to wax paper.  Sprinkle some pecans on top of the truffles before the chocolate hardens.  Once chocolate hardens, serve and enjoy.

Recipe Source:  High Heels and Grills

Happy November!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

I was thinking about Thanksgiving the other day and realized I had never made my own stuffing (dressing to those of you that are purists ;)  So I thought it was time to do it...and I did.  Verdict...I can do this, it is easy!  It turned out moist and wonderful, and I will not be afraid to tackle this simple side dish again and again, and not only at Thanksgiving time.  

I loved the combination of sausage and apples, the stuffing we usually eat for the big day is void of any meat (which I love...don't get me wrong!), but this was super yummy for a change.  Enjoy!

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

1 pound mild pork breakfast sausage
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup Granny Smith apple, diced (optional)
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups cornbread cubes (be sure to use a savory cornbread)
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the breakfast sausage until cooked through and crumbly. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate covered in paper towels to drain. Leave remaining grease in skillet.

Melt butter in skillet.  Add celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add in sausage, sage, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture and cornbread cubes until well-mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the broth and eggs.  Pour the broth/egg mixture over the sausage/cornbread mixture and stir until cornbread has absorbed most of the liquid.  Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is browned and crunchy.

Recipe Source:  Back To Her Roots

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

Well, I have been looking ahead to Christmas a little bit...I can't help it!  With a new baby coming and anticipation of the holidays, I have been testing out all sorts of recipes a bit early this year.  We aren't going to be with our extended families on Christmas this year, so I want to make a yummy breakfast for our family since we will be missing out on some of the traditional stuff.  This recipe is definitely a contender!  

It is super simple to make, as it uses the store-bought cinnamon rolls and frosting.  It definitely would not take long to throw together Christmas morning.  I love the nuts on it, but feel free to leave them out if you so desire...I'm sure it would be equally as delicious :)  My 5 year old gave his approval and had 2 servings of this (something he NEVER does).  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

2 packages of cinnamon rolls
1/4 lb. butter
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter and spread in a 9 x 13 pan.

Separate the cinnamon rolls and cut each roll into 8 pieces.  Spread in pan.  Save the icing to use later.

Beat eggs together completely in bowl.  Then add the cream, vanilla, and cinnamon to the eggs and mix thoroughly.  Pour over the cinnamon roll pieces.

Drizzle syrup all over and Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.  (I just put pecans on half of mine) 

Bake at 375 degrees for about 22-28 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.

Take the metal cover off the icing and stick it in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until it is thin enough to drizzle.  Drizzle icing all over the top of the baked cinnamon rolls.

Serve with syrup if desired.

Recipe Source:  My Life According to Pinterest

Monday, November 4, 2013

Minnie's Chocolate Pie

Tell me one woman on the planet that did not enjoy The Help  (the book or movie)!  I came across this recipe for Minnie's chocolate pie not long after I saw the movie for the first time and knew it needed to be placed on my menu...unfortunately that was 2 years ago and I am just giving it a try! 

This pie is perfect for a Sunday meal or would be great on a holiday dinner table.  Lets be honest, this kind of pie is a kid's dream!  I never wanted an apple or cherry pie when I was young...I wanted the chocolate :) 

This pie is fudgy and gets a nice little crust on the top like a brownie.  So yummy, and has the approval of my 5-year old for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

Minnie's Chocolate Pie

1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.

* The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight.

Recipe Source: Food and Wine Magazine

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie

Next up, my first try at a pie for Thanksgiving! This old-fashioned pie turned out delicious with it's 4 layers of goodness...peanut butter, vanilla custard, meringue, and more peanut butter crumble on top. So if you like to switch things up on Thanksgiving, give this one a try :)

I actually just watched an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives that featured an Amish restaurant that made a pie that looked exactly like this one....and they said it was their most popular seller!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie 

1 - store bought 9 inch deep dish pie crust
1 - cup confectioners sugar
1/2 - cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3 - large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
2 - cups milk
2/3 - cups sugar + 1/4 cup, separated
1 - teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt 
4 - tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the pie crust according to package directions and let cool. Place the confectioners sugar and peanut butter in a small bowl and cut together with a dinner fork until mixture is crumbly.

Place half of the peanut butter mixture in the baked pie crust (reserving the remainder).  In a large saucepan,  stir together the egg yolks, milk, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, salt and cornstarch. Cook over med-low heat, stirring constantly until thick, 4 - 5 minutes. Pour the cooked custard into the pie shell. 

Make the meringue, in a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue on top of the custard making sure to seal the edges all the way around.

Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter crumbles on top of the meringue. Bake until lightly browned 30 minutes. Refrigerate several hours uncovered to let the pie set up. Pie will keep 3 days stored covered in the refrigerator.

Servings: 6-8

Recipe Source:  Mommy's Kitchen


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tamale Pie

Last day of October...CRAZY!  Especially since I am planning on having a baby this month...time is FLYING! 

This tamale pie was perfect for a weeknight meal.  It is very similar to a taco soup, but more of an all-in-one meal with the cornbread cooked right on top.  My husband was especially fond of this one :)  Enjoy!

Along with today's recipe, I am sharing a yummy pie recipe over with Kiki and Company today...head on over and check it out along with Kiki's cute holiday ideas and prints! (Click link below)

Tamale Pie

1 lb hamburger
1 can tomatoes with green chiles
1 can tomato sauce
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, chopped fine
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can kidney beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can diced black olives
1-2 cups of grated cheese
1 box Jiffy cornbread or corn muffin mix

Brown beef, taco seasoning, onion, and green pepper in a frying pan (approximately 10 minutes). Drain; add tomatoes, sauce, corn, kidney beans, and olives. Cook slowly for 20 minutes or until meat is done and all ingredients are warm. Put in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Mix corn bread mix according to package directions, and spread batter over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cornbread is golden brown and a knife in the center comes out clean. May serve with sour cream, salsa, etc.

Recipe Source: ward cooking club via Molly H.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Buddies

Welp...here is yet another fall-time treat!  This variation of the tradition Muddy Buddy is perfect for any occasion...I just have been snacking on these yummy little snacks while I get caught up on my latest Netflix flick :)  They are tasty, but I will throw out there that I still think the original peanut butter/chocolate version will always be my favorite!

Pumpkin Spice Buddies

1 box (13.5 oz) Cinnamon Chex® Cereal
1½ cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup powdered sugar, divided

In a large bowl combine Cinnamon Chex Cereal, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
In a double broiler or microvave carefully melt the white choocolate. Add the pumpkin pie spice until fully incorporated.

Pour the white chocolate mix over the chex cereal and fold it into the cereal, fruit, and seeds are all covered evenly.

Divide the powdered sugar between 2 large bags. Add half of the cereal to each bag. Shake until the powdered sugar fully coats the cereal.

Lay on a baking sheet to dry. Store in airtight container.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cheeseburger Soup

I have been missing blogging the last few weeks!  Like I said, I've been re-making lots of recipes instead of trying new ones, and I have missed it greatly :)  

It is my opinion that you can NEVER have too many good soups tucked away in your tried-and-true file.  Soups are so great for weeknights, meals for others, warming you up after a cold day, and are simply comfort foods at their finest.  Not to mention it is a fabulous way to get veggies in those kiddos that would otherwise refuse to eat a veggie otherwise!

This soup turned out super yummy, is definitely filling, and the next time I make this I want to eat it out of a bread bowl...YUM!

Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound ground beef 
¾ cup chopped onion
¾ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups of Velveeta processed cheese cubed (I used 16 ounce)
1½ cups milk
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sour cream

Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan. Drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan add 1 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, basil and celery. Saute until tender.

Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crockpot Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

Last year I made some delicious Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, which were delicious!  This year I've had this recipe on my brain.  These were really easy to make (as long as you have a few hours to be home to do the stirring) and makes your house smell phenomenal!  They are a yummy snack to have around for any of your Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas parties coming up.  They would make a fun small gift as well :)

Crockpot Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup water

In a medium sized bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.  In another medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it’s a little frothy. Add almonds and make sure the almonds are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture.  Add cinnamon mixture to the almonds and toss until coated.

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, thoroughly coating.  Add the mixture of almonds/sugars to the crock pot and turn it to low.  Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.  Add the 1/4 cup of water and stir well (This ensures a crunchy coating) 

Cook another 45 minutes or so, making sure to stir every 15 minutes to prevent burning.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the almonds flat to cool.  The almonds will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large mounds.  Let cool (although they are quite tasty warm!) and store in an air tight container.

Recipe Source:  Half Tomato Half Potato