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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paula Deen's Cream Cheese Tarts

I am a sucker for an accent, which makes me love Paula Deen all the more.  I was watching the Rachel Ray Show the other day and she was on as a guest making these fabulous treats.  I was instantly intrigued when I heard it was only 5 ingredients for the tarts.  Then I saw her whip them up lickety split and I knew that even if I didn't make dinner that day we would have treats.  The idea isn't new or ground breaking but super delicious.  I've never dared make a cheesecake because I didn't have a spring form pan, it sounded hard, I hate making graham cracker crusts and patting them down and getting it even, etc.  This alleviated all that and I don't think I sacrificed any on the taste either.


Paula Deen's Cream Cheese Tart with Raspberries but I didn't use any raspberries
Recipe from the Paula Deen on the Rachel Ray Show

12 Vanilla Wafers
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 8oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened
Topping Options: Raspberry preserves, fresh raspberries, pie filling, or whatever kind of fresh fruit you like, Cool Whip

Line a muffin tin with paper cups.  Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each cup.

Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. 


Spoon mixture over each wafer.  I used about 2 HEAPING tablespoons per cup.


Bake at 350 (doesn't everything bake at 350?) for 20 minutes. They get real puffy like this:

As soon as you remove them from the oven the tarts will fall.  That is what you want--then they make a little bowl like shape that is perfect to hold your toppings.  Allow the tarts to cool completely before serving and adding your toppings of choice. 

Raspberries were WAY expensive at the store and the peaches smelled so heavenly, so I used a combination of peaches and strawberries.  I just cut them up and sprinkled a generous amount of sugar on them and let them sit and sort of juice up for a bit.  As if that wasn't enough, a dollop of Cool Whip on top and viola!  Heaven on earth!


I will admit I ate 2, but I wanted like 4 so I was proud of myself.  If any leftovers, I'd refrigerate them.  On the show Rachel Ray made a suggestion that you could easily add a flavoring to the cream cheese mixture (like lemon or almond extract) and have an array of flavor combinations. (I think a little lemon extract added with some fresh raspberries or blueberries would be divine). My husband who isn't a fan of cheesecake, really enjoyed this too.  He doesn't like his sweets so that is saying something :)

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jamie's Banana Bread



Our sister Jamie has the most amazing recipe for banana bread. I have been using it for years and it comes out perfect and moist every time. I just know you are going to love it too.

Banana Bread
recipe from Jamie Matthews

Makes 2 smaller loaves

1/2 c margarine
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas *about 4 medium bananas
2 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk *if you don't have buttermilk just tak 1/2 milk and add 1/2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c flour

Cream margarine and sugar together. Add eggs and incorporate. Add bananas, milk, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix together. Prepare loaf pans by only spraying the bottom of pan with non-stick spray. Cook at 350 degrees on the LOWEST rack of your oven for 50-60 minutes.  (If using glass pans pay close attention to bread as it can burn quickly). Bread is done when toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Let bread set for 2 minutes after it is out of the oven. Then cut around, tip over and let cool the rest of the way on rack. Wrap with saran wrap to keep moist.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roasted Asparagus


I think roasting is the best way to eat a vegetable. If there is a vegetable out there you don't like, just try roasting it and I bet your opinion changes! My favorite roasted vegetable is asparagus. It is just so yummy and so simple to do. Try it out, you'll love it.

Roasted Asparagus
recipe from Ina Garten

2 pounds asparagus fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus.Wash and pat asparagus dry. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss them to coat them completely. Spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes until tender, but still crisp. 


Friday, July 1, 2011

White Chocolate Frosted Brownies



I have had this recipe bookmarked for awhile now. I saw it on one of my most favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. She's lovely and her red velvet brownies with white chocolate frosting looked lovely. I was excited to finally get the chance to make them! The frosting is to DIE for, it really was so delish. I had doubled the brownie recipe and my intentions were to make them red velvet, but I did not have 4 tablespoons, yes tablespoons of red food coloring, so I skipped the red velvet part and just made regular brownies. They are so chewy and dense and go superbly with the white chocolate frosting. I don't think I'd double the recipe next time, the cooking time seemed to be a little off and the edges got too crunchy, but we cut off the edges and they were yummy.


White Chocolate Frosted Brownies 
Recipe from How Sweet It Is


Brownies
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring *I substituted water instead, not sure if its necessary
2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring (I used water), and 1 teaspoon vanilla to create a paste. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa powder mixture. (You can add in more food coloring if desired at this time, until it is as red as you like it. If doing red velvet of course). Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips if desired. Spread in the 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted 
1-2 tablespoons milk (or more if needed)

Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed. Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated. To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 teaspoon at a time with mixer on low speed. If frosting becomes too liquidy, simple add additional sugar.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad




Our sister in-law Suzanne made us dinner the other night and it was terrific. She tried to copy it from a Greek salad she had tried at Costco. I loved the flavors that each of the ingredients brought to the dish. They blended together nicely. I really don't know what else to say besides it was a delicious pasta dish, one I will be making again soon.


Greek Pasta Salad
recipe from Suzanne

Makes a BIG bowl!

2 lb penne or rotini pasta, cooked
1 bottle Greek salad vinaigrette (Wishbone)
1 jar Greek olive blend, drained
1 container grape tomatoes
8 oz. pkg. Feta cheese
1 jar artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 red onion, chopped
cooked, cubed chicken, or rotesserie chicken shredded

First, cook your chicken (unless using a rotisserie chicken). Just season it with a little salt, pepper, and a little of the greek salad dressing. Suzanne also poured in some of the juice from the artichoke hearts to give it more flavor. I liked that idea. When chicken is cooked and cubed, set aside. Next, cook your pasta according to directions and drain. Place pasta in a large bowl. Combine with the rest of the ingredients, olives (drained), tomatoes, feta cheese, artichoke hearts (drained), and red onion. Now pour the vinaigrette on top and combine well. Use a little vinaigrette at a time, you may not want to use all of it, just however much you like. This dish is normally served cold, so refrigerate for a couple hours before serving! Serve with a side of garlic bread. Delish!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Muddy Buddies

 

We all know and love Muddy Buddies or some people call them Puppy Chow. It is such a quick, yummy treat to make when you are hunkering for something sweet. Always a favorite!

Muddy Buddies
recipe from Chex
       
9 cups Chex cereal, Rice, Corn or a combination of both
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal in a large bowl. Set aside. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter on high, uncovered for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds, mix until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal. Stir until evenly coated. Pour into a 2 gallon plastic resealable storage bag. Add powdered sugar, seal bag, and shake until evenly coated. Store in airtight container in fridge.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mom's Spanish Rice

 

This dish is a favorite from my childhood. I have no idea where my mom got it or why it is even called Spanish rice, but she's been making it for forever and our family loves it. It is kind of a funny recipe and really isn't anything like the spanish rice you are probably used to, but give it a chance. When I married my husband he thought it was the strangest thing, but now he loves it. The bacon really makes this dish spectacular. We always ate it as a main dish instead of a side dish and always with a can of green beans, but for you skeptics out there you can serve it as a side dish. :)

Mom's Spanish Rice
recipe from mom

3 cups cooked white rice (I'll do a half white and brown sometimes)
6 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled (save a little bacon grease to cook onion)
1/2 onion diced
1 can tomato soup condensed
Shredded cheddar cheese
*Salt and pepper to taste (we always just seasoned our own portion to taste after it was cooked)

Cook rice. Cook bacon and leave some bacon grease in skillet or griddle, however you cook it. Cook the diced onions in the bacon grease until translucent. Mix the 3 cups cooked rice with the tomato soup. Throw in  the crumbled bacon and onions.  Mix together until combined. Spread into a casserole dish, fits nicely into the smaller than 9x13 size. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yogurt Fruit Salad

 picture from Cookin' with Cousins

This salad always makes an appearance at all our family get togethers. We love it because one, it is really good, two, it is loaded with yogurt and fruit and three, it is super easy! You can whip this up in no time flat and have a delicious side dish to share at your next summer barbecue. You can make it as yogurty or as fruity as you want. You can even mix and match fruit and yogurt flavors. It is that easy. During those winter months, you can use frozen mixed fruit or strawberries and it comes out great too. Try it this summer, you'll love it!

My sister Callie is featuring this salad at her Cookin' With Cousins blog. Instead of using fresh fruit, she teaches a great way in how to incorporate your freeze dried fruits you may have in your food storage. They are always offering great ways and tips to use your food storage items. Check it out! 

Yogurt Fruit Salad
recipe from Delicious Discoveries

large carton strawberry yogurt
1 regular size container Cool Whip
3 bananas sliced
1 carton strawberries sliced
1 carton blueberries
*blackberries
*raspberries

Mix yogurt and cool whip together until combined. Fold in fruit until combined! You really can add as much or as little fruit as you want.

You can use it to top delicious waffles if you want! It is pretty darn good.
picture from Cookin' with Cousins

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cookie Dough Brownies



 I really do love brownies and these are one of my favorite ways to dress a brownie up. It is rich and delicious and pretty much a perfect way to indulge after dinner. The gal from Cookies and Cups is always posting creative and delicious treats. This is a great one! She made her brownies from scratch, which I would suggest if you have the time and the ingredients, but we were in a pinch and used our favorite box mix. It worked out great, but definitely follow her advice of letting the brownies cool overnight or refrigerate them until completely cool! You can try just plain ol' chocolate chip cookie dough, or jazz it up with some Reese's Pieces! The taste of peanut butter was a nice touch. :) 

Cookie Dough Brownies
Recipe from Cookies and Cups 

Brownie layer:
(You can use a box mix or follow the recipe below from her website)

1 c. butter
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (She used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line 9x13 baking pan with foil, so the bottom and sides are covered. Spray with cooking spray. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a medium saucepan; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add sugar, salt, eggs, and vanilla; beat with a spoon until combined. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

*Good tip for brownies is remove from oven when toothpick inserted 1-2 inches from edge comes out clean.
Allow brownies to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Cookie dough layer:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (and/or Reese's Pieces)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl and cream together. Add flour and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in an even layer on top of cooled brownies. Chill for at least 15 minutes in fridge before adding the chocolate topping.

Chocolate topping layer:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave for 1 minute, stirring until smooth. Spread over the cookie dough layer and chill until topping is set. Keep refrigerated until serving.

This dessert is best served cold!!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grilled Taco Chicken




We have had our eyes on this recipe ever since we opened up Our Best Bites new cookbook. They always have such great ideas and yummy recipes. Like all of their recipes, you will love this one too. It is fantastic and a great summery night meal. We served ours with the Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing, that we posted on Monday. It was the perfect accompaniment. You could chop the chicken up and have it on a salad, or just eat it plain. We decided to eat ours as a chicken wrap. It was great!

Grilled Taco Chicken
recipe from Our Best Bites

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (we used tenderloins, but it is best to use breasts)
2-3 juicy limes
1-2 T red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place chicken breasts (or tenderloins) in a zip-lock plastic bag. Squeeze limes over chicken and add vinegar and garlic. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the marinade evenly. Marinate 4-8 hours. After they have marinated, preheat grill to medium-high heat (400 degrees). Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Remove chicken from bag and discard the used marinade. Rub the spices into the chicken. Place chicken breasts on the hot grill. Grill for 7 minutes, turn, and grill for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat to a clean plate and allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cafe Rio Tomatillo House Dressing


I know you all love Cafe Rio out there and you've all had this amazing dressing. It is a cinch to make in your blender or food processor, so don't be afraid! It goes wonderfully with lots of different dishes. My favorite being their Cafe Rio Pork, which I'll have to post soon and a delicious chicken recipe we tried last week that I will post on Wednesday. This dressing is creamy, and full of flavor, with just a hint of spice and lime. It really goes great with any Mexican dish!

Cafe Rio Tomatillo House Dressing
not sure where original recipe comes from, but this is Callie's version of it

Set aside:
1/3 c buttermilk (or you can do 1/3 c milk to 1/3 T vinegar or lemon juice and let set 5 minutes)

Place the following in a blender/food processor and blend:
3-4 fresh tomatillos, quartered and skinned
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 c mayonnaise
1 packet Ranch Dressing (dry)
1 jalapeno diced (leave seeds out for less heat)
2 cloves garlic crushed
Cilantro to taste (or none at all)

Now add buttermilk to blender and blend! Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Raspeberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

We're back and happy to be posting again! Sorry for the long absence. It has been quite the month! Thank you for visiting while we were away. We hope to be back to our regularly scheduled posting here at Delicious Discoveries. :)

I'm excited to be posting about a most delightful little cookie. These were super easy and super delicious.  It's always nice to have a cookie that's different from "the usuals". They are pretty too! 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe from Amber Gale

Makes 2 Dozen

COOKIES
1 C Butter, softened
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
2 C Flour
1/2 C Raspberry Jam (I actually didn't measure and just spooned the jam onto the cookies directly from the jam jar)
2/3 C Sugar

In a large bowl add sugar, butter, and extract.  Mix until creamy.  Add flour and beat until well mixed.  Shape into 1" ball.  With thumb, make a well in the middle of each cookie.  Fill with jam.  Bake 350 for 14-18 min until lightly brown.  Cool completely.  (Mine were still a bit warm, but I wanted my topping to melt just a bit).

GLAZE/TOPPING
1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
2-3 tsp Water
1 C Powdered Sugar

In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, extract, and water until smooth.  Drizzle over top.



Linked up on 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Moving

I just wanted to let you know that I am in the process of moving back to the mainland so the blog will not be updated as often as I would like. I hope to be back up and running by June so stay tuned! We'll have more yummy things to talk about soon! Please check back later and sorry for the lack of posting!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Squares


Aimee made these for a family gathering. They looked so pretty and tasted yummy too! If you want an impressive dessert, go with these strawberry cheesecake squares from Our Best Bites! It would be a great summery dessert. 
Strawberry Cheesecake Squares
recipe from Our Best Bites

1 package Pecan Sandies Cookies, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
11 oz. cream cheese (1 8-oz. package + 3 oz. of another package, not low-fat), softened
2 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. Breakstone’s Sour Cream
1 1/4 c. strawberry sauce or strawberry jam, divided (recipe below; you can also use jarred strawberry topping or canned strawberry pie filling)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, process 3/4 of the Pecan Sandies (reserve 6). Mix with melted butter and lightly press onto the bottom of the pan. Set aside.


In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes. Spread half of the cheesecake batter onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Pour 3/4 c. of the strawberry sauce over the batter, spreading gently to cover the surface (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Spread remaining cheesecake batter over the strawberry layer and then spoon remaining 1/2 c. of strawberry sauce over the batter. Being careful not to cut into the surface of the cookie crust, swirl the strawberry mixture with a butter knife. (To give it that marbled looking effect) Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes or until center is jiggly but not liquid. 


While baking, process remaining 6 cookies. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the cookies on top of the cheesecake. Chill for at least 8 hours and cut into squares. If desired, drizzle remaining strawberry sauce over the individual squares.


Strawberry Sauce
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 pint strawberries
1/3 c. white sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (my favorite) or vanilla extract

Wash strawberries and remove stems. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can roughly chop the berries, but I say you’re already feeling ambitious enough by making your own strawberry sauce. So don’t sweat it. Combine berries, sugar, and extract in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring/breaking strawberries up with a wooden spoon constantly. After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (if you have a glass blender jar) and a lot (if you have a plastic blender jar). When cool enough, transfer mixture to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grandma's Stove Top Casserole


Oh golly gee, this is my absolute favorite casserole of ALL TIME. The other casseroles just can't compete with this one. I grew up on this casserole and it is comfort food to the fullest. It is creamy and delicious. Oh I just love it and hope you all give it a try. I've seen it floating around in numerous variations, but I'm pretty sure my grandma's is the best. :) It is my go to recipe for company, or if I'm taking a meal to someone. Always sure to please.

Stove Top Casserole
Grandma Sherratt

1 onion chopped
3 T butter +butter for Stove Top stuffing directions (I always use less butter than it calls for, comes out fine) 
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream
1 c cooked carrots (I usually add a little more, I love the veggies) 
1 c cooked celery (see comment above)
4 chicken breasts chopped
Stove Top corn bread stuffing *I've used chicken before and it is good too

Begin by cooking your chicken (boiling, frying, sauteeing, store bought, whatever! Cook those 4 chicken breasts! I like to season with salt and pepper.) Cook your vegetables while that chicken is cooking (by boiling or microwave). I usually just microwave my vegetables until soft, about 4-6 minutes. IMPORTANT: SAVE THE WATER you use in cooking your veggies and use that veggie water in the Stove Top stuffing. This will add flavor and replace some of those nutrients that were lost when cooked! Now make your stuffing according to box directions, using that veggie water. While that is going, sauté those onions in 3 T butter in a skillet until translucent. In a large bowl add cream of chicken soup and sour cream, mix until smooth. Add cooked chicken, carrots and celery to sour cream mixture. Combine well and pour soup mixture in 9x13 pan. Sprinkle stove top stuffing on top. Cover casserole with foil. Bake @ 350 for 35 min until nice and bubbly!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coconut Date Blondies




I realize the word "dates" may scare some of you from trying these, but don't let that deter you. Dates are sweet and give a wonderful chewy texture! Of course they add a little fiber too. :) So do not fear! I REALLY, really loved these and will definitely make them again. They came out so chewy and sweet and yummy! I have made a lot of treats for the pharmacy students and these ranked in their top favorites! Try them out and see what you think. I think you'll be very surprised and pleased!

Coconut Date Blondies
Recipe from Diana Rattray on About.com

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash salt
4 ounces butter, melted and slightly cooled (1 stick butter)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
8 ounces chopped dates *I did not use the whole 8oz bag, but most of it, and they were dried, not fresh, see picture above. They're the kind you would snack on.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup flaked coconut *I eyeballed this as well. Just what felt right

Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Heat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and egg until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until moistened, then stir in the dates, pecans, and coconut. Spread/pat into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs


I wish I had a better picture of my beloved meatballs! The darn things would not come in to focus. Oh how we LOVE these meatballs. They are one of my top 5 favorite meals of all time, no kidding! You will be amazed just how easy they really are. If you have heard of the Lion House, (probably Lion House rolls), then you know that this recipe is going to be good. So trust me, trust Lion House, and try these meatballs!

Porcupine Meatballs
slightly adapted from Lion House

1 to 1 1/4 lb ground LEAN beef *I like to use lean in meatloaf and meatballs
1/3 c uncooked rice
1/2  c finely diced onion
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp salt
Dash pepper
2 can tomato soup (condensed)
1 tsp chili powder
1 c water

Combine beef, rice, onion, 1/4 c water, salt, and peper. Shape into one inch balls. Makes around 15-18. In a large skillet blend soups, chili powder and 1 c water and bring to a boil. Add meatballs to skillet. Cover, turn down heat a bit, and simmer gently for 1 hr. I like to peek on them occasionally, but you don't need to even stir. Serve over rice!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Twix Brownie Bars



Confessions of a Cookbook Queen is one of the funniest and most inventive bloggers out there. I saw these Twix Brownie Bars on her blog, and being a sucker for brownies and Twix, I pretty much knew right then I was going to be making them. I sure wish mine would have turned out looking like hers. I think my caramel was a little too soft and I wish I would have cut them smaller, but I'm pretty sure they tasted just as good as hers. Seriously, they are so delicious and are super fun to eat. Just like eating a candy bar! They really do taste just like a Twix, and the brownies make them all the more delicious. These were a huge hit at school with the pharmacy students! You gotta try them! They were easy to make until it came time to cutting them in bars and dipping them. I ran into some trouble, but like I said earlier, I think it was due to my caramel being too soft. I'm sure it was the deviation from the original recipe, so next time I'll stick to the individual caramels and cream!

Twix Brownie Bars
*my thoughts are in italics

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces
14 oz bag of caramels *I used 11oz bag of caramel bits, I would use 14oz next time
3 Tablespoons heavy cream *I used 2T of evaporated milk, but stick with the cream!
Box of your favorite brownie mix (Honeyville Farms) + ingredients to make –any fudgy kind of brownie
Chocolate candy melts or almond bark *I used 1 package almond bark

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and butter. Process until it comes together to form a dough (you can also use your hands if you don't have a food processor). *I used my hands and it turned out fine, just takes a little more time

Pat the dough in the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 minutes or so. Place the pan in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes and prepare your brownie batter according to instructions. Remove shortbread from refrigerator and spread brownie batter over it evenly. Bake until brownies are set, but still fudgy.

 Place pan in the refrigerator to cool again. Once brownies are firm, place unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high, stirring every 15 seconds until completely melted and smooth. Pour melted caramel over brownies and spread evenly. Refrigerate again until firm. *very important!

 Grab the ends of the foil and remove from pan. Peel the foil off the sides and bottom and place the brownies on a cutting board and cut into thin bars. Melt candy melts/almond bark according to package directions and dip bars, placing on a wax paper lined baking sheet until chocolate is fully set.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Stuffing Topped Pork Chops


I grew up eating plain pork chops with a side dish. I rarely eat just a plain piece of meat anymore. I'm not even a steak eating kind of girl! Don't get me wrong, I love all meat, I just like it "jazzed" up a bit. :) Just like this recipe here, take a plain ol' pork chop, throw some stuffing and mushroom sauce on top and voila!!! Perfection. Life as a Lofthouse once again has posted another great recipe, such a great blog. These were easy, easy, easy and yummy, yummy, yummy. Enjoy!

Stuffing Topped Pork Chops
Recipe by The Food Nanny via Life as a Lofthouse

6 boneless Pork chops (3/4 inch thick)
1 package (6 oz) pork or chicken Stuffing mix  
Salt & Pepper
Onion Powder
1 tablespoon Canola oil
1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/3 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the stuffing according to package directions. Set aside. Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and onion powder. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the pork chops on both sides. You don't need to cook them through, they will cook thoroughly in the oven. Just give them a nice color on each side, couple minutes. Arrange the chops in a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon the stuffing evenly over each pork chop. Mix the soup and milk together, and then pour over the chops. Cover with foil, and Bake for 40 minutes.


Linked up with Melt in Your Mouth Monday!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Glazed Pineapple Coconut Cake



This cake was SO amazing, oh my goodness! My sister Callie has this great blog over at Honeyville Farms Cookin' Cousins that she makes recipes using food storage and freeze dried items. She had used powdered eggs and freeze dried pineapple and it came out looking awesome. I knew I had to try it and I'm so glad I did! I was asked for the recipe multiple times. My husband made me leave him a big piece before I took it to mutual to share. He never asks me to do that, so that is saying something! It is ooey, gooey deliciousness!


Glazed Pineapple Coconut Cake
adapted from Honeyville Farms Cookin Cousins


Cake
1 and 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla

2 eggs
1-20 oz can crushed pineapple (do NOT drain)

1/2 cups Pecans, chopped


In a large bowl combine Sugar, Flour, Baking Soda. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, vanilla and can of pineapple. Mix well and add to dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Pour batter into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the top with Pecans.  Bake at 350 for 32-35 minutes.

Topping
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 heaping cup of shredded sweetened coconut

Start making the topping once you pull out the cake from the oven. In a saucepan over medium heat melt Butter.  Add Sugar and Evaporated Milk.  Once combined, cook for 6 minutes, stirring often. After the 6 minutes take off heat and stir in Vanilla and coconut.  Poke some holes in the cake, I used a skewer, or you could use a fork. Pour the topping evenly over the cake, spreading around where necessary to cover everything. Serve warm. Although it is delicious cold as well!









Mommy’s Kitchen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes



You may know these potatoes by funeral potatoes, or au gratin potatoes (what we call them at my house), whatever you call them, I call them delicious! No Easter in my family is complete without a helping of these potatoes! My mom makes these with baked and cubed russet potatoes, but I love the simplicity of using hashbrowns. You can whip this up in no time flat! A real crowd pleaser for sure. We eat this as a main dish all the time.

Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes

1 package (28 oz) frozen shredded hash browns
1 pint sour cream (about 2 cups)
2 cups medium or sharp cheddar
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2-1 onion diced (just depends on how much you like, green onions would be yummy too)
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups crushed cornflake crumbs

Melt butter in a skillet and cook onions until translucent. Set aside. Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream in large bowl. Mix well. Add onions and cheese until combined. Add defrosted hashbrowns and stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle cornflake crumbs on top! Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

We all know someone who is just darn good at everything they do right? This recipe comes from one of those types of people! She has many, MANY talents, and baking just happens to be one of them. This is my sister Callie's favorite chocolate chip recipe and she uses it all the time! You can substitute the chocolate chips for raisins, or white chocolate, or peanut butter. It is versatile, delicious and a crowd pleaser.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from Marilyn Smith


Makes appx 3 dozen cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening (or use a combination of shortening/butter/margarine to make a cup.)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tb. milk
2 cups flour 
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups quick oats (but I really like using's Honeyville Farm's 4-grain)
1 cup choc chips or raisins are really good too
optional 1 cup nuts
 
Beat shortening and sugars until creamy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Mix well.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well.  Add to shortening mixture and mix well.  Stir in oatmeal and other additions (chips, raisins, nuts, etc). Use tablespoon sized balls and put 2 in apart.  Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 for 10-13 minutes.  Let stand after baking for at least 5 minutes before removing from trays.