Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

These make a festive addition to any holiday table...

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
Nonstick spray
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped red and white striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes
2 oz white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stray 13x9x2 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.
Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immedieately sprinkle chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.
Melt white chocolate. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces. *Can be made 1 week ahead and stored in refrigerator in airtight containers between wax paper or parchment paper.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli

Cold Weather Soup that gets better when it's leftover!!!
Pasta e Fagioli
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 pound pancetta, chopped - I have used the chopped you can find in the deli dept.
2 sprigs rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onions, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 (15oz) cans cannellini beans - drained
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 cup ditalini (or other shaped pasta)
Shredded Parm for garnish
Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herbs. bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Remove rosemary sprigs and bay leaves. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Source: Rachael Ray

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Loaded Potato Soup

This is a crock- pot soup. I found the recipe in Southern Living years ago and have made it tons of times. Garnish with some shredded cheese and crumbled bacon and you can't go wrong!
Loaded Potato Soup
4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 small onion, chopped
2 14oz cans chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pint half and half
Toppings: shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, and green onions
Layer sliced potatoes in lightly greased 6 quart slow cooker; top with chopped onion.
Stir together chicken broth and seasonings and pour over potatoes and onions. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until potaoes are tender. Mash mixture with potato masher, stir in half and half. Cover and cook on high 20 more minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Ladle into bowls and serve with desired toppings.
Source: Southern Living - I was not able to find this recipe on the website.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

This recipe came from Southern Plate. It was originally posted as M&M Oatmeal Bars. This fall it was posted with a "fall" twist. Butterscotch and cinnamon. They are yummy and use baking mix so they are super fast to make.
Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine everything but chips in a bowl. Stir in chips and spread into greased 8x8 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into bars.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just a few of the treats we have made this Halloween!

Witch Fingers
Candy Apples (Never Again- what a pain!!!)

And Monster Eyes

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

This recipe has appeared on lots of food blogs lately. It was very easy to make and tastes great. I have made this twice and doubled it the second time because they disappear fast!
Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz pepperoni, diced (about 1 cup)
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup store bought pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan. In large bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder, whisk in milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni. Let stand 10 minutes.
Stir the batter and drop into muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Microwave sauce and serve.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

This recipe is similar to recipes I found for Beef Lombardi. It had cream cheese added to it so I decided to try this version. It was published in one of the Southern Living Special Editions titled Comfort Foods. If you like Creamy Taco Mac, you will like this too. This one is more Italian tasting, the Taco Mac has the mexican sesonings.
Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
1 pound ground beef
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
1 10 oz can Rotel
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp house seasoning - Paula Deen's recipe (you could substitute italian seasoning)
1 bay leaf * be sure to remove before assembling
3 1/2 cups uncooked medium size egg noodles
5 green onions, chopped
1 8oz sour cream
3oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded parm
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Brown meat in large skillet over medium heat and drain. Stir in diced tomatoes, rotel, tomato paste, and seasonings.
Let simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir together hot noodles, sour cream, cream cheese and green onions.
Spoon noodle mixture into lightly greased 13x9 dish. Top with beef mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheeses.
Bake, covered at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Note: Freeze assembled, unbaked casserole up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake as directed.
Source: Southern Living Comfort Food

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oven Mushroom Orzo

Mushroom Orzo
1 cup orzo
8oz. sliced mushrooms
4 TBSP butter
2 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup half and half - room temp.
Saute orzo and mushrooms in 3 TBSP butter. Transfer to baking dish with lid. Add chicken broth, wine and salt & pepper. Cover and put in cold oven and bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Remove and stir in cheese, cream, and 1 TBSP butter. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
Source: My friend Pam.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Crisp

Yea! It's October! Time for a little pumpkin!

I was emailed this recipe from my friend Heather. It is the perfect fall dessert served with some vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Crisp
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 (18.25 oz) package butter flavored yellow cake mix
1 cup butter - melted
Vanilla Ice Cream - optional
Stir together first 5 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle butter evenly over cake mix.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Heather via Southern Living

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin

I served this for book club the other night. So far it is my favorite marinade for pork.

6 TBSP lemon juice
6 TBSP honey
2 1/2 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 1/2 TBSP Chicken Broth
3 garlic cloves, minced

Combine in ziploc bag with tenderloin. Marinate for a couple hours and then grill until desired temperature.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spinach Salad Dressing

Worth the few minutes it takes to shake it up!

Spinach Salad Dressing
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 TBSP white wine
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp curry
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper
Add to mason jar and shake.

I usually use this with spinach, red onion, feta crumbles, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Source: Lilly

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder

This is a very tasty, quick soup. Perfect for a rainy fall evening.

Chicken Corn Chowder
1 TBSP butter
1 8oz package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 16 oz package frozen shoepeg white corn
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup orzo
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 TBSP flour

Melt butter in large dutch oven over medium high heat; add onions and mushrooms, and saute' 5 minutes until tender.
Add chicken broth and next 8 ingredients; simmer 10 minutes or until orzo is tender.
Stir together milk and flour in small bowl; gradually stir into chowder, and simmer 5 minutes.
**Soup can be made ahead and thinned with milk when reheating.
Source: slightly adapted from Southern Living

Monday, September 6, 2010

Texas Caviar

This dip is easy and tasty. You have to do a little chopping and it's best if it sits overnight!
Texas Caviar
2 cans black eyed peas, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can corn, drained
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
8oz whisbone italian dressing
Combine all ingredients and marinate overnight, then drain.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I am addicted to this stuff. Beware!!

3 Haas avocados, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, minced
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients except avocados. Mash two of the avocados and add to other ingredients. Fold in last cubed avocado.
Store in fridge with plastic wrap on surface of guacamole. Be sure to get out all the air. Store up to 24 hours.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake

I searched the internet for a lemon pound cake recipe other than the two (martha stewart and ina garten) I have made before which are very good, but i wanted something different. I noticed this recipe because of the sour cream. My favorite chocolate cake has sour cream so i thought i would give this lemon a try. It was very good.
Lemon Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
5 TBSP lemon juice, fresh
1 TBSP grated lemon peel
1 tsp lemon extract
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TBSP butter, softened
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in lemon juice, peel and extract. Combine flour, soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat just until combined.
Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and wire rack to cool completely.
For icing, in a small bowl, beat sour cream and butter until blended. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Beat in lemon juice and peel. Drizzle over cake. Store in fridge.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back To School Snack Mix

This year my son is heading to First Grade. Lunch time for them is very early so they have snack in the afternoon. While looking through my Parenting magazine, I came across the recipe for this snack mix and decided to give it a try. I like the fact it had peanut butter for some protein.
Back to School Snack Mix
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
1 cup plain Cheerios
1 cup peanuts
1 cup pretzels
1 cup M&Ms
Heat oven to 350. Combine butter, peanut butter, cinnamon and vanilla and microwave for 35 to 40 seconds and stir until smooth.
Mix cereals, peanuts, and pretzels in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over and toss well to coat.
Pour into line baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway. Let cool and toss in M&Ms.
Store in containers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oat Bars

When I was pregnant with my son, I was addicted to these. I kept telling myself they are healthy, they have All Bran in them. Well they also have a ton of butter and sugar, not to mention peanut butter and chocolate chips. Give them a try.
Oat Bars

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup butter, softened

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup All Bran

3 1/2 cups Quick Cook Oats

1 cup peanuts

12 oz chocolate chips

Beat eggs, add sugars and peanut butter & butter and mix until well blended. Mix in baking soda and vanilla. Add All Bran and Oats and mix until combined. Add peanuts and chocolate chips. Pour in pan ( i use metal 15/9) and bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. Middle will still be slightly jiggly.

Let them cool completely before cutting.

Source: my mother in law : Eleanor

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

I stumbled upon this at another food blog. It looked easy so I thought I would give it a try. We have had so much chicken lately, we needed a little beef. Very yummy!
Creamy Taco Mac
1.25 lb. ground beef
8 oz pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
3 TBSP mild taco seasoning
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 cup water.
Brown beef ( i used very lean so i did not drain) add taco seasoning and tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes. Add pasta, cream cheese, and sour cream. Stir and simmer. Add pasta water if needed to thin sauce.
Source: Delish

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

For Playgroup on Izzy's birthday i decided to serve a special treat, homemade ice cream sandwiches. I have made them several times since upon my children's request. I made it easy by using Williams-Sonoma's Vanilla Ice Cream Starter. We made the vanilla ice cream according to package directions and then 5 minutes before hard freezing we added mini chocolate chips. It was very tasty. The chocolate chip cookies were just the right size and texture for the ice cream sandwiches.
Chocolate Chip Cookies.... a family recipe
1 cup crisco
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips
Cream crisco and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Whisk together flour, salt, and soda. Add and mix until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a small scoop, drop on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-11 minutes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

These have been on several food blogs lately and i had to try them... Be sure to let them cool completely before cutting....
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
6 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease an 8x8 pan. * i doubled the recipe and used a 13x9 pan.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In bowl of mixer, cream butter and peanut butter on medium until smooth. Beat in sugars until mixture is lightened in color and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition and then add vanilla. Reduce mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until combined.
Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. If you doubled you might need extra baking time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chocolate Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Mark's Birthday Cake
For Mark's birthday he requested a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. I immediately went to my Southern Living Books and found one in their special publications: Our Best Desserts. It did not disappoint. Be sure to have a gallon 0f milk standing by.
Chocolate Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8oz) sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla extract
Garnish: chocolate shavings and curls
1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate chips in microwave at high 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla.
4. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round, 2 inch deep cake pans.
5. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool 1 hour.
6. Spread Vanilla Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish if desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1 32oz package powdered sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating at low speed until blended after each addition Stir in vanilla.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baked Artichoke Spread

This recipe came from my dear friend Heather. So many of my favorites come from her or her mom's cookbook. This is one of my go to dip recipes. Dump all the ingredients in a food processor and there you have it.

Baked Artichoke Spread
8 oz quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
8 oz cream cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
couple forks full of pickled jalapeno slices

Place in food processor and pulse.
Spread in dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes until lightly browned.
Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake

I have made this cake 5 times now. It is a wonderful summer treat.. especially with strawberries from the farmers market. Check out the Pioneer Women's website for the recipe. Here is the link:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps

I was in the mood for something different so I went to Tasty Kitchen on the Pioneer Women's website and found these. We both loved them. I substituted ground chicken for diced chicken breast.
Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
2 1/3 TBSP soy sauce, divided
3 TBSP canola oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
Iceburg Lettuce

For stir fry sauce, mix together rice vinegar, brown sugar, ground red pepper, ground ginger, sesame oil, and 2 TBSP soy sauce, making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.
Heat canola oil in pan over medium to medium high heat. Add chicken and brown. Remove chicken from oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and remaining soy sauce (1 tsp) to pan; brown. When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.
Spoon mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or basil.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brie Pasta

This dish is one of my favorites to cook as a side when serving a large group or to take as a meal to someone. It can be "rich" but if you love tomatoes and brie, you will love this pasta.
Brie Pasta
1 cup vegetable oil
4 to 5 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 pound brie, remove ryne and tear apart
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Combine first 9 ingredients and let them sit for 1-2 hours in large bowl on the counter. Remove bay leaves. Boil pasta and combine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

My husband is more of a cookie dessert guy than fancy. So we make a lot of cookies at our house. These were in one of my Martha Stewart Living magazines. They definitely satisfy any craving for peanut butter. Paired with a tall glass of cold milk they make the perfect late night snack!
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
Put butter and sugars into bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs, then peanut butter.
Reduce to low speed and add in flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined after each addition. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Drop dough using scoop. Press cookies with fork to flatten and create a cross-hatch pattern.
Bake until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.

Baked Bean Quartet

This is my favorite baked bean recipe. I adapted it from one of my cookbooks. The original recipe had kidney and lima beans, which i do not like. It also called for bacon, but the first time i made it i did not have any so i substituted 1/2 pound sausage, and have made it that way ever since. It is perfect for your next neighborhood picnic.
Baked Bean Quartet
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
2 16 oz cans pork and beans in tomato sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 TBSP yellow mustard
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
Cook sausage, onion and garlic in skillet.
Combine with all other ingredients in a 3 quart baking dish.
Bake covered at 375 for an hour.
**May be cooked in slow cooker. 10 to 12 hours on high or 4 to 5 on low heat.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tomato Pie

As soon as the farmer's market on Kings Drive opens I anxiously await ripe tomatoes. During the summer I make a tomato pie about once a week. I am not a fan of the mayo versions that are so popular here, something about hot mayo doesn't thrill me. Here is my version, no mayo!
Tomato Pie
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes - sliced - sprinkle with Kosher salt and let them rest for 30 minutes
Olive oil
basil - chopped
Prick sides and bottom of crust and bake at 400 for 5 minutes.
Layer cheese, tomatoes, basil, pepper and brush with olive oil. Repeat.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Cover edges with foil and return for 20 more minutes.
Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

S'more Puffs

Bunco tonight and I saw this in a magazine and thought, "perfect!"
S'more Puffs
ritz crackers
hersey kisses
large marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350. Place crackers on foil lined baking sheet. Top each with 1 kiss, and 1 marshmallow half, cut side down. Bake 8 minutes or just until marshmallows begin to melt. Let cool on wire rack 5 minutes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Waffles Anyone?

My son has been talking about making waffles since Mother's Day. We went to brunch at Brick Tops and he ordered waffles. As he declared, "these are the best!" So Friday morning he would not give the " make waffles mommy" a rest. So off to the computer to find a quick and easy recipe. My first stop was Cooks Illustrated but their recipe called for buttermilk powder, and having buttermilk in my fridge but having no buttermilk powder in the baking cabinet, i had to move on. My search ended at Here they are.
Waffles I
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 TBSP sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
Spray waffle iron with non stick cooking spray. Pour about a cup of mix onto how waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leslie's Favorite Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

This casserole is my favorite chicken casserole. I usually make the entire recipe and divide it between 3 (9x9) square pans. One for dinner that night and 2 for the freezer.
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
2 (6.2) packages fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (This was not in the original recipe)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 (8- ounce) cans diced water chestnuts, drained
5 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (16oz) container sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups soft breadcrumbs (homemade - i butter a few pieces of bread and then tear them into small pieces)
1 (2.25 ounce) package sliced almonds, toasted (i do not use these because mark doesn't like them)

Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add celery, onion and green pepper. Saute 10 minutes or until tender.
Combine water chestnuts, cooked rice, celery mixture, chicken, 3 cups cheese, and next 4 ingredients in a very large bowl.
Spoon mixture into lightly greased 15x 10 baking dish or a 4 quart baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes.
Note: You can divide the casserole evenly between 2 (11x7) baking dishes. Bake as directed above, or freeze casserole up to 1 month. Remove from freezer, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 55 more minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Key Lime Bars

One of my favorite desserts is Key Lime Pie. I knew I had to try this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I love that website and magazine because they are very detailed and there is no question about how to make something. They have lots of illustrations of steps that might be confusing.
Key Lime Bars
5 ounces animal crackers
3 TBSP packed brown sugar
pinch table salt
4 TBSP unsalted butter - melted and cooled
2 ounces cream cheese - room temp
1 TBSP grated lime zest, minced
pinch table salt
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
Garish (optional)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted until golden and crisp

1. Adjust oven rack to middle postion and heat oven to 325. Create foil sling for 8x8 pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
2. Make Crust: In workbowl of food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1-second pulses. Process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds. Add brown sugar and salt, prcess to combine, ten to twelve 1 second pulses. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown. 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn oven off.
3. Make the Filling: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined. Add Sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).
4. Assemble and Bake: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides. 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
5. Serve: Loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into squares or triangle. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Cinnamon and Sugar is one of the best combinations.. These cookies are perfect!
2 Tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
Big pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put 2 TBSP sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Mix.
Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in large mixing bowl. With mixer on low speed add the flour mixture and beat until the ingredients are well combined.
Roll 1 rounded teaspoonful of dough between your palms into a ball. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Put the sugar-coated ball on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake at 400 for 9-10 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake

If you have been following my blog you know my family loves sausage.. Neese's sausage! This recipe was in Southern Living several years ago. It was originally Chicken 'n' Spinach but i noticed at the very bottom it had a substitution of sausage for chicken. I made it with sausage the first time and have ever since. I am sure it is tasty with chicken but i have never tried it. I have so many recipes for shredded cooked chicken that it is nice to have one for sausage.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake
8 oz rigatoni
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (10oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 pound sausage
1 14.5 oz can Italian - style diced tomatoes
1 8oz container chive and onion cream cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
6oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions
Brown sausage, add onions near the end of cooking. Drain.
Stir rigatoni, spinach, sausage, and next 3 ingredients in large bowl.
Spoon mixture into baking dish and sprinkle evenly with cheese.
Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.
Here is the original recipe with chicken: Southern Living

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Babe Ruth Bars

An old favorite. Taking it to dinner with friends tonight!
Babe Ruth Bars
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 c. Rice Krispies cereal
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 oz butterscotch chips
Combine sugar and corn syrup in a sauce pan and bring to a full boil; remover immediately from heat. Mix in peanut butter and cereal. Press into buttered 13x9 pan. Melt chips and spread over as icing. Cool and cut into squares.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Corn Dip

This is one of my most requested recipes. It is simple to throw together and tastes wonderful.
Corn Dip
1 small can mexicorn - drained
1 small can white shoepeg corn - drained
6 oz. sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo - I use Dukes
1/4 cup onion chopped very fine
garlic salt to taste
tabasco to taste
Mix all the above ingredients and serve with Fritos Scoops!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken in a Hut

I first heard of this from my neighbor Heidi. I believe one of our other neighbors - Kitty - made this for her when she had surgery. I looked in a few of my cookbooks, thinking I had seen it somewhere and sure enough it is in In Order To Serve - Christ Church Cooks II. I began to look around on the internet and saw another recipe on Group Recipes (Chicken in a Crescent) that I ended up liking better. But Chicken in a Hut is the perfect name. These freeze nicely and kids (not mine) love them!
Chicken in a Hut
2 packages crescent rolls
about 4 to 6 oz cream cheese (depends on how much chicken you use)
shredded cooked chicken - I cook one pack and shred in food processor
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 TBSP milk
Chopped chives or onion
seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat to 350
In a bowl blend cream cheese and 2 TBSP melted butter until smooth.
Add chicken, salt,pepper, milk and onion, set aside.
Seperate dough into 4 squares - seal edges together.
Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into center of each. Bring up corners and twist to seal.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs.
Bake on foil covered baking sheet. 20 to 25 minutes.
Freezes well!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles

My sister-in-law made these for a superbowl party and they were a huge hit. I have made them several times since and there is nothing better than a little sweet and salty combo. Teacher appreciation is this week so I decided on these for "goodie" day.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups bugles
12 0z milk chocolate candy coating
Place peanut butter into small ziploc bag. Cut corner and use to fill bugles.
Melt candy coating and dip bugle end.
Cool on wax paper.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Grilled Chicken And Mustard Dill Sauce

Are you thinking about grilling this weekend? Well if you are, you need to try this chicken. It is wonderful! The sauce is great too. But if your like my husband... you don't even need it! I served this when my in-laws were in town with the Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and some Near East Toasted Pine Nut Couscous. Perfect Meal. I had to post this because my friend Kim gave me the recipe and I have already misplaced it once.
Grilled Chicken
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil - I used 3/4 because I was cooking 6 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
4 chicken breast - I used 6!
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in enough oil to make a smooth dressing with balanced taste. Stir in garlic and shallots. Place chicken in ziploc and pour marinade over, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
1/2 cup coarse grained mustard
1 TBSP water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh dill
Combine all sauce ingredients well and season with pepper. Sauce may be made one day ahead and kept chilled and covered. Let sauce come to room temp before serving. You may want to combine in a food processor- all but dill.

Friday, April 23, 2010

And the Winner Is....

Tonight i assigned each of my blog followers a number and had my son pick one...
Heidi (hberger)... you are the winner. I will give you your new copy of Inspired Cooking on Monday. Thanks to all of you who are following and cooking with me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Roasting vegetables is one of the easiest sides to prepare. This recipe came from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's one of my favorite cookbooks.
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Snap off tough ends of asparagus.
Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to oven for another minute.
Serve immediately!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inspired Cooking

This friday I will draw a name from the followers of the blog. Just a little thank you to those of you who check it out! The cookbook is Inspired Cooking. Good Luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad

I love tomatoes! I have had this recipe so long I am not even sure where it came from. I suspect from Southern Living. This is a great recipe for cookouts or picnics. No mayo!
Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 English Cucumber peeled and sliced
1/2 of a pint cherry tomatoes - halved
small red onion - thinly sliced
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in large bowl.
Add remaining ingredients and toss gently to coat.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Serve with slotted spoon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

No Boil Lasagna

This recipe came from my friend Pam Anderson. I love it because you don't have to boil the noodles first and it has sausage in it.
1 (15 or 16 oz) Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 (260z) jars Classico Pasta Sauce - i use traditional sweet basil
1 package lasagna noodles
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes - i use basil, garlic flavored
1 pound sausage cooked and drained - i use Neeses
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
In bowl combine ricotta, parmesan and eggs; mix well.
On the bottom of 15/9 greased baking dish, spread i cup of pasta sauce.
Top with half each of uncooked noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, sausage, remaining pasta sauce, 1/2 can tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I found this recipe on the blog My Baking Addiction. Many versions of this dip are floating around the food blogging community. I chose to make this version because it was the easiest. No chopping, just mix and bake. I took it to a neighborhood gathering and I think everyone agreed... it is yummy!
Jalapeno Popper Dip
2 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayo... i use dukes
1 4oz can chopped green chilies
1 40z can diced jalapeno , drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Blend cream cheese and mayo until smooth.
Stir in green chiles, jalapeno peppers and shredded cheeses.
Spoon mixture into baking dish.
Mix together panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over dip.
Spray the bread crumb mixture with cooking spray.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips.
*thanks for the picture Kim!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Recipes Sweepstakes

Just thought I would let you all know about a sweepstakes on one of my favorite food sites.
Enter at right now until April 30 for the chance to win $5,000 worth of free groceries!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cake

To celebrate my mother's birthday I made one of my family's favorite cakes. It is so easy and always turns out perfect! Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Yum.
Chocolate Chip Cake
1 (18oz) yellow cake mix with pudding
1 (4oz) instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1 (8oz) sour cream
1 (6oz) chocolate chips
Combine the first three ingredients and stir with wire whisk until smooth. Add oil and next three ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
After the cake is cooled I make the following chocolate glaze for the top.
Chocolate Glaze
4 oz chocolate chips
3 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 TBSP hot water
Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Remove and stir in powdered sugar and water. Stir in additional water if needed to reach drizzling consistency. Spoon over cake.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cream Cheese-Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

We love bananas... should I say my son loves bananas. I always have bananas as a healthy snack for him since he can be a picky eater! More often then not I will end up with one or two that are too ripe. I stick them in the freezer until I have three or four and then I make these muffins. I found the recipe in one of my Southern Living magazines. The original recipe was for banana nut but I choose to put in chocolate chips.

Cream Cheese- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 cup butter - softened
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium)
1 cup chocolate chips or 1 cup chopped pecans - toasted
1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, chips (or pecans), and vanilla. Spoon batter either into muffin cups or 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch loafpans.
Bake at 350
25 minutes for muffins or1 hour for loafs. You might need to cover loafs with foil at the end of the baking time to prevent browning.
There are several topping options on the original recipe so click on Southern Living below to view the full recipe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Skillet Baked Ziti

For a quick one pot dish you can not beat this pasta. If you have a 12 inch non-stick oven safe skillet the meal can be done in 30 minutes. If you don't have an oven safe skillet you can transfer the pasta to a shallow 2 quart casserole dish before sprinkling it with cheese and baking. This recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. I have an online membership which i love!!
Skillet Baked Ziti
1 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) Can crushed tomatoes - use good ones..
3 cups water
12 oz ziti ( 3 and 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat oven to 475
Combine oil, garlic, red pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt in 12 inch, ovensafe nonstick skillet and saute over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, water, ziti, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in cream, parmesan, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned about 8 minutes. Serve.
Source: Cooks Illustrated

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad sandwiches. My favorite chicken salad is from Phil's Deli in Charlotte. In my quest to duplicate that chicken salad, I found this recipe in one of my Southern Living Cookbooks. It is very standard, no frills, but tasty.
Chicken Salad
4 cups shredded cooked chicken - i shred mine in the food processor
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
3 TBSP sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 TBSP dried minced onion - adjust this to your taste... don't add too much at first
3/4 cup mayonaise - I use Dukes
1 TBSP lemon juice - fresh
1/2 tsp salt
Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Combine mayo, lemon juice and salt, stirring until blended; add to chicken mixture, and toss well. Cover and chill. Serve on lettuce leaves, in tomato cups, ritz crackers, or on sandwiches.
Source: The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Bars -aka- Clay's Cake

My mom's friend Claire passed this recipe to us. Her son Clay loved it so much he requested it every year as his birthday cake. Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Bunco tonight so this is what I decided to take with me.
Clay's Cake
1 1/4 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 box 10x sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Melt butter and mix with all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Press into 9x13 greased pan.
Melt the chocolate chips and spread over top. Cool and slice.