Friday, May 20, 2011


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

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.

Linked up with 

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!