Monday, February 28, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

I saw this recipe for a crockpot lasagna at Gourmified and I couldn't believe it, I had to try it out. It turned out even better than I thought it would, and no one will even know it is loaded with veggies! My family gobbled this right up and we enjoyed the leftovers. It was so easy, just throw it in the pot and done in 3 hours! You can really play around with this recipe and make it your own. I added veggies and a few other spices, and next time I think I'll cook some ground beef and onions and throw that in there as well. You can't go wrong!

Crockpot Lasagna
adapted from Gourmified via Jessica Seinfeld on

3 cans (14.4 ounces) crushed tomatoes *you could easily use your favorite red pasta sauce and wouldn't need the extra seasonings below 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T dried oregano *I do not like oregano so I only used 1/4-1/2 tsp ground oregano
2 tsp dried basil 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 containers (15 ounces each) fresh ricotta *I used one container and it was perfect for our taste. For a healthier option go with one container!
2 cups (8 ounces) grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
12 lasagna noodles *I did not use an entire box, maybe just half of a box. I forgot to count! Use at least 9 or so, to absorb some of the liquid so it doesn't get watery!
4-5 cups baby spinach
1 medium zucchini chopped 
1/2 onion chopped
1 lb pre-cooked ground beef  *optional

If desired, pre-cook your ground beef with the 1/2 onion, season with salt and pepper. Drain the extra fat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Add in the zucchini, onion, and ground beef. Mix until combined. (If it seems dry, just add in more crushed tomatoes or your favorite red sauce.)

In the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, spread a thin layer of the sauce/veggie mixture. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary). Spread about 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with the spinach. Spoon the ricotta over the spinach in small dollops. You don't need to spread it around. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit of the parmesan. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheeses. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce and the rest of your mozzarella! Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Until the noodles in the middle are tender.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Looking back through my bookmarks, I had bookmarked this recipe 4 times on 4 different websites. All of the reviews they were getting were out of this world good, so we were pretty excited to try them out. They lived up to their expectations and them some. You guys HAVE to try these. They are so delicious! The flavor combinations all complement each other perfectly. I really don't know what else to say but dang, these were good, and not only that but super simple. Your family and guests will be so impressed! I believe this recipe, from what I can tell, originated from Brittany at Sister's Cafe and many others have adapted to make it their own. 

Honey Lime Enchiladas
recipe from a combination of Sister's Cafe and Peach Tree Cooking via Phemomenon

1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. lime juice (approx. 2 limes)
1 tablespoon chili powder (use a little less for a milder version)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (2 large chicken breasts approx.) I used rotisserie chicken from the deli, delicious.
12 corn or flour tortillas (I only ended up using 8, because I stuffed mine larger. I used flour, but I think I'll try corn next, why not?!)
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1-15 oz. can green enchilada sauce (Use more sauce if desired! I used La Victoria and it was fantastic)
1/2 cup heavy cream *optional, but it does add a little somethin'. I used milk because I didn't have cream. *gasp!

In a small bowl, place the honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder. Whisk together thoroughly to combine. Pour this mixture over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate up to 1 hour, in the refrigerator. 

To prepare corn tortillas, warm them in the microwave or on a griddle until they are flexible and ready to roll. Spray the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray. In a medium bowl combine the enchilada sauce and the heavy cream, if desired. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the bottom of the oiled baking dish. 

Add a large spoonful (about 2 tablespoons for 12 enchiladas, more if going for a more stuffed enchilada) of the chicken mixture to the center of each tortilla in a line. Cover the chicken with a large tablespoon (or big pinch) of cheese, then roll the tortilla up from one side to make a rolled enchilada. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. 

Repeat with the remaining chicken, cheese and tortillas. You will use about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese for the ļ¬lling and set the remainder aside for topping the enchiladas in the pan. Add the remaining marinade mixture to the enchilada sauce and cream mixture, if desired. Pour this mixture over the top of all the enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake the enchiladas for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown on top. 

Peach Tree served her's with black beans and rice, and here's how she did it!

Cook white rice according to package directions (I made 1 1/2 c.). Drain and rinse your can of black beans. Put them in a small pot over medium-high heat on your stovetop. Pour chicken broth over the beans until they are just covered- sprinkle with salt. Let beans boil until the broth is entirely absorbed, stirring occasionally. Mix the rice with the beans- delish!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tortellini Sausage Soup

  This soup is hearty and delicious. No need to say more! It got great reviews and we will be making it again soon!

Tortellini Sausage Soup
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 lb. italian sausage
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 onion, diced
5 cups chicken broth 
3/4 c. apple cider or apple juice 
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano (originally recipe called for 1 tsp, but I don't like oregano)
1-2 medium zucchini, grated (I only used 1, but if there is room for 2 add 2!)
8-10 oz. package cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp. dried parsley (yes, that's two tablespoons)

Parmesan cheese grated for garnish

Begin cooking sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. If your sausage is pretty fatty, you'll want to drain it when it's about halfway cooked. Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic and add to the sausage. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add the tortellini and cook until tender, and then serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cheryl's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

My mom would make these bars a lot when I was a little girl and I LOVED them. She got the recipe from her good friend Cheryl. I had forgotten about this recipe until I went home for a visit this last month and my sister made them for our lunch. They were so good, even better than I remembered. I went home and made them the next day! I guess you could say these are basically Blondies, but around these parts we call them chocolate chip cookie bars! 

Cheryl's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
from Cheryl Betenson

*double recipe for jelly roll pan size

2 eggs, beat til foamy
1 ½ c brown sugar
2/3 c oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 c chocolate chips
1 c caramel bits *optional

Beat together eggs, brown sugar and oil. Then add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together then add to wet mixture. Finally add chocolate chips, *and caramel bits. Place in 9x13 and cook @ 350 for 20-25 min.

These are linked up at Sweet as Sugar Cookies. So go check them out and all the other Saturday Sweets!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Teriyaki Pineapple Burgers

I know it really isn't the grilling season, being February and all, but we are lucky enough to have nice weather here in Hawaii all year long so any day is good grilling! Lucky, I know. These were really juicy and flavorful. My favorite was the grilled pineapple on top of the burger, a must! So next time you fire up the grill, try these burgers and dream of being on an island far away. :)

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers 
recipe from Real Mom Kitchen

1-1 1/4 pounds ground beef (no less than 15% fat- you want to keep them moist)
1 (28-ounce) can of pineapple slices (or slice it up fresh), divided 
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup chopped green onions (I used about 1/2 cup, we like onions!)
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat grill. In a large bowl, combine beef, 2 pineapple slices (chopped finely), soy sauce, onions, ginger, pepper and garlic. Divide beef mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a ½-inch-thick patty. Place burgers on grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness and grill the remaining pineapple slices. Serve on toasted buns topped with 2 pineapple slices on each burger. Serve with desired condiments.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

This is a family favorite that I have always loved, and I know everyone in the family does too. It is so easy and so yummy! There are so many different and great enchilada recipes out there, always room for one more right? Be sure to add this one to your repertoire too! You'll love it!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
makes 8 enchiladas

8 flour tortillas (not the largest size)
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breasts
2 cups grated cheddar or colby jack cheese
1/2 onion diced small (you can add more if desired)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can diced green chilies
1 small can enchilada sauce

Cook chicken and set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 casserole dish with non stick spray and pour a little of the enchilada sauce into bottom of casserole dish until lightly covered. Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Add chilies, cheese and onions. Cut chicken and add to filling mixture. Combine until well blended. Take one of the tortillas and scoop an 1/8 of the filling onto middle of tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down into casserole dish. Continue until all 8 tortillas are rolled and placed in dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas, until covered. Use as much as desired. You may sprinkle more cheese on top if desired. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce and tomatoes!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bars

Wouldn't these make the most perfect dessert for you family or sweetheart tonight? Well that is what my sister Aimee did for her family. She said, "The best part about these bars, besides their simplicity, is that every bite is like eating the center of a sugar cookie which happens to be my favorite bite." I think we can all agree that that is THE best bite of the sugar cookie! And you don't have to mess around with rolling them out and shaping them. Just make the dough and through it in your pan and you are good to go! So simple! Try this delicious recipe today!

 Makes a ton!
 So perfect for Valentine's Day, love the tri-colors! We used a buttercream frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting, but use whichever you like!

Sugar Cookie Bars
recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything, original source BreeAnn Fankhauser

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they won't look done so do the toothpick test). Cool completely and frost.

Buttercream Frosting
1/3 c butter, softened
4 1/2 cups sifted, powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat butter until very fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered, sifted sugar. Beat well. Slowly beat in the milk and vanilla. Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar. If desired, tint with food coloring.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 of an 8 oz block) softened 
1 tsp vanilla (I used almond extract for half of the frosting)
¼ tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
food coloring (if desired)

For frosting combine butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined, then add milk a little at a time and mix until smooth and spreading consistency. You may not need all the milk! Spread over cooled cookie bars.

Friday, February 11, 2011


My sister Callie loves making these bagels for her family. She is the bread making queen in the family. She tells me these are even easier to make than bread, because they take less time and they taste great too! I have always wanted to try my hand at making bagels but assumed it was so hard. Well now I know better and can't wait to try these out! They look so good and they beat a supermarket's any day when you compare the taste and cost! You could really add your own flare to these by adding blueberries, using whole wheat, dried onion, etc! This recipe is from a guy who owned his own bagel restaurant, so it is sure to be delicious!

recipe from John D. Lee

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated. Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes. Pre heat your oven to 425.

Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!
Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.
Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
Let them cool for at least 20 minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and feast on what's got to be one of the best weekend brunch treats possible!
You can add any toppings you like to these. To make sesame, onions, poppy seed, caraway etc. etc. bagels just have a dry plate ready with the seed or spice topping spread out on it. After the bagels have come out of the boiling water, place them face down onto the seeds, and then place the seed side up onto the baking tray. Bake and flip as for plain bagels.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orange Glazed Bundt Cake

My sister Aimee found this recipe on Deals To Meals website. Doesn't it look delicious? The good news is, is that it was scrumptious as it looks! A moist and flavorful cake, full of orangey goodness. She took it to a dinner with friends and it was a big hit. It reminded her of my mom's carrot cookies, which are similar because of the orange glaze that goes on top, and if that's the case, I'm definitely trying these soon! Thanks for the submission Aimee!

She made hers with a yellow cake mix, but you can use white. The cake is full of orange flavor, it calls for OJ, OJ concentrate and orange zest! It is not over bearing at all, just perfect!
Make sure to flour your bundt pan well!
The original recipe called for cooking the cake for 25-30 minutes, but it wasn't near enough time. Cook it  for at least 45 minutes!
Looks perfect!
Mmmmm, my mouth is watering!

Orange Glazed Bundt Cake
adapted from Deals to Meals

1 white or yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 c. orange juice (fresh or made from concentrate)
2 T. orange juice concentrate
1 T. orange zest (I didn't use that much.I probably zested 1/4 of the orange in the cake and 3/4 of the orange in the glaze. The glaze was plenty zesty in my opinion)
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
2 T. dry orange gelatin powder (only need a small jell-o box to get 2 T and you'll have plenty leftover)

Combine ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (MORE LIKE 45-50 min!), or until cake is cooked through. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes to cool. Pour bundt cake out onto a plate. Make glaze.

2 T. butter, softened
2 T. orange juice concentrate
1 t. lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
3 c. powdered sugar
Dash of salt
Zest & juice from one orange

Combine glaze ingredients together and whisk until completely smooth (can do this with an electric beater). (I'd recommend using an electric beater.  I tried to mix by hand but it wasn't working to well.) Drizzle glaze all over bundt cake once it has been turned out onto a plate and allowed to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Maybe it was just my glaze but it wouldn't "stick" and kept running off (as you can see in the pictures and that wasn't even all the glaze.  I still had a lot leftover.)  Next time I make this I'd pour enough glaze over the cake just to cover and give it that yummy look and then leave the rest of the glaze to add as you cut a piece.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creamy Roasted Tomato Pasta

I love roasted vegetables and I have always wanted to roast tomatoes. I saw this recipe on Cassie Craves and she ranked it as her favorite pasta dish of the whole YEAR! That was enough for me to want to try it out. I have to say, it was really good, like something you would order from Olive Garden. It is a very filling, and a heavy pasta dish, but I thought it was worth it.  Just load up on those veggies, you'll be fine. :)

Creamy Roasted Tomato Pasta
adapted from Cassie Craves and the Hungry Housewife

1 pound penne or rigatoni
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pesto *drain excess oil off top if any
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened and cubed
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock

*2 cups cooked cubed chicken, if desired
*toasted pine nuts optional, to add some texture to dish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring pasta water to boil, salt liberally, and cook pasta according to package directions. In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tomatoes onto it. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 10 minutes (You’ll know the tomatoes are ready when they begin to burst. They should be done just as you’re finishing everything else if you time it right.) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic to the butter and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour pesto into skillet and mix well. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth. Stir in parmesan cheese and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and and toss with the pasta, juices and all. Pour into a serving dish.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cranberry Orange Cookies

I saw these on and I was sold just on the picture and title. (Such a fan of orange glazed anything.) I'm sure you have all had a cranberry orange muffin, but a cookie?! It just doesn't do these cookies justice when I tell you they're so good, because they are more than that. They kinda blew me away in how good they were. The hubby, who doesn't get too excited about many dessert items, couldn't stop eating these! I think he might have just eaten more than me, and I have never been able to say that about anything when it comes to dessert! So trust me, that these are REALLY good. Definitely one of my top 5 favorite cookies. 

Cranberry Orange Cookies
adapted from submitted by Mordavia

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour**
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped mac nuts (optional)
  • Glaze**
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar *more if needed for desired consistency

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon orange extract, and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. (watch them closely and adjust time as needed) Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

In a small bowl, mix together orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

**I like to read the reviews on allrecipes before I make the recipe and some of the reviewers felt they needed to add more flour to their dough. Their cookies spread out thin and flat. It could be an altitude thing, because mine were okay as the recipe is. Just FYI. Also, many did not use the glaze and felt they were just as good. I would agree they would be delicious without too, but the glaze is one of my favorite things about them. So whatever floats your boat!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats


The cute gal at Cookies and Cups came up with this brilliant idea. I adore Rice Krispie treats and now I love them even more thanks to these hot chocolate ones! They are so yummy, sweet and chewy! Try 'em out!

Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats
Adapted from Cookies and Cups

6 cups cocoa krispies
1/4 cup butter
1 (10.5 oz) bag of mini marshmallows, plus 4 cups divided.  (About a bag and a half total)
6 T. hot chocolate mix
cooking spray

Spray 9x9 square pan with cooking spray. (I didn't have a 9X9, so I used a 9x13. It worked great, they just weren't as fat/tall). Set dish aside. Melt butter in large saucepan over LOW heat. When butter is melted add your bag of mini marshmallows and then hot chocolate powder. Stir while continuing to cook over low heat until marshmallows are melted and chocolate is mixed in. Remove from heat. Add in your 6 cups Cocoa Krispies. Stir until mixed well. Now add in 2 cups mini marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are evenly distributed throughout the krispie mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Press evenly into pan with the back of a spoon sprayed with cooking spray. Immediately spread remaining 2 cups mini marshmallows onto the krispies and press into the mix. Let cool for 1 hr and cut into squares. Store air tight for up to 2 days.

Click here for printable recipe!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Corn Chowder

Photo taken by Laura from Real Mom Kitchen

When I saw this soup, I knew I had to make it. When I looked at the ingredients, I knew I REALLY had to make it. I can't pass up a corn chowder, especially one that is this simple. And guess what? It was really good too, delicious even! Definitely will be using this recipe again!

Easy Corn Chowder
adapted from Laura from Real Mom Kitchen 

2 (14.75 oz) cans creamed corn
1 (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 cups milk
1 cup diced ham (thicker cut preferably)
2 cups frozen southern style hash browns (the cubed typed)
½ an onion
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Place creamed corn, cream of mushroom soup, and milk in a crock pot.  Whisk until soup is well blended into the mixture. Add remaining ingredients to crock pot and stir well. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.