Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars

OMG! I cannot wait to try this recipe out. I think my boys will LOVE them. I heart you Duncan Hines.

Cookie Bars:

1 pkg Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe® Classic Yellow Cake Mix

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp shortening

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9-inch pan.
  • For cookie bars, combine cake mix, melted butter, brown sugar, water, eggs, 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and pecans in large bowl. Mix with spoon until thoroughly blended. Spread in pan.
  • Bake at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.
  • For drizzle, combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 30 seconds; stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. Drizzle over cooled bars. Allow chocolate to set before cutting into bars.

  • Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Crazy stuff!!!!

    I have heard recently that you can take a regular box of cake mix (any flavor) and bake it with a can of SODA (instead of the eggs and oil). The result is a lower fat cake option that doesn't need frosting. I was curious.... so I googled it. Turns out, it's TRUE!!!

    Click here for a more detailed description.

    CRAZY stuff, eh?

    Extreme Fudgy Peanut Butter Brownies

    I ran across this recipe on the Duncan Hines site while searching for a jazzy new spin on brownies. Sweet Jesus, I think the search is over!

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9 inch baking pan; set aside.
    2. Prepare brownie mix as described on box using eggs, water and oil. Fold in 1 cup of milk chocolate chips. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
    3. Bake in center of oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Place on wire rack.
    4. Add peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until combined and smooth. Note: You will get a much taller filling if you whip this with an electric mixture to incorporate lots of air.
    5. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixture will be a bit crumbly.
    6. Blend in cream until mixture is fluffy and reaches desired spreading consistency.
    7. Spread evenly over warm brownie.
    8. Melt Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Frosting for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir and put back in for another 10 – 15 second. Pour over peanut butter spread on the brownies. Use a knife to spread the chocolate evenly.
    9. Put in refrigerator for an hour to set.
    10. Take out and let the brownie sit in room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Millionaire Brisket with Coffee and Beer Mop Sauce

    I found this outstanding recipe while searching for BBQ tips and variations. THIS GUY has some of the best!!! Try this one, you won't regret it!


    • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
    • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
    • 2 tablespoons pure chili powder
    • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 (5 to 6-pound) center-cut piece of brisket
    • 6 slices bacon
    • Coffee and Beer Mop Sauce, recipe follows
    • 4 to 6 cups hickory or apple wood chips, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, drained


    Make the rub by placing the salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, pepper, onion powder, and oregano in a small bowl and stir to mix.

    If your brisket has a thick layer of fat, trim it to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and generously sprinkle both sides with the rub, using about 3 tablespoons per side and patting it into the meat with your fingertips. The leftover rub can be stored for several months in a jar. You can cook the brisket right away, but it will taste better if you let it cure in the refrigerator covered for at least 4 to 24 hours.

    Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke then reduce the heat to medium-low. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center, preheat the grill to medium-low, then toss 1 cup of the wood chips on the coals.

    When ready to cook, place the brisket in the center of the hot grate, fat side up, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Drape the bacon slices over the top of the meat, and then cover the grill. Cook the brisket until very tender, 5 to 6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches about 190 degrees F. Generously mop or baste the meat on both sides with the mop sauce. Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil, and continue cooking until done. If using a charcoal grill, every hour you'll need to add 12 fresh coals and 1/2 cup wood chips to each side.

    Transfer the grilled brisket to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain, using an electric knife or sharp carving knife. Transfer the sliced meat to a platter. Spoon the barbecue sauce over the meat or, better yet, serve it on the side.

    Mop Sauce:

    • 1 cup beer
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 1 cup cider vinegar
    • 1 cup coffee
    • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, (recommended: Tabasco sauce)
    • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and whisk to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Make your own Chipotle Paste

    7 ounces Can chipotle chilies en adobo
    2 tablespoons Corn oil
    3 large Garlic cloves
    2 teaspoons Ground coriander
    1 teaspoon Thyme
    1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper


    In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until blended but still slightly chunky, about 1 minute. The paste can refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 3 weeks.

    Uses: the possibilities are endless.... brush on beef, chicken, or pork before cooking, add a blob to your soup base or drop a blob into your hummus (my personal fav)

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Heavenly Maple Syrup Muffins

    Heavenly Maple Syrup Muffins..... need I say more?????

    1/4 cup margarine
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup milk
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1 tablespoon butter, melted
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup


    Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin pans, or place liners in cups if preferred.

    Soften margarine, blend in sugar and salt. Add dry ingredients and blend with pastry cutter until crumbly. Mix in oats.

    Blend milk and syrup together and pour over dry ingredients, stirring only until just combined. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins test done.

    Mix the butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup. Spread glaze over muffins when they have cooled slightly.

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

    Another great recipe score from Family Fun. This is one of my hubby's favorite meals... and a cinch to prepare. I have never added sugar or vinegar to mine in the past... but I am eager to try this variation. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    The slow cooker is the perfect way to go for this traditional dish, since it must bubble away untended for hours, in any event. Be sure to serve with crusty bread, and Dijon mustard and horseradish on the side.

    • 4 cups hot water
    • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large or 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
    • 1 3-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
    • 8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
    • 1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges

    1. In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, pepper and onions, mixing well. Place the corned beef in the mixture. Scatter the potatoes over the top and along the sides.

    2. Cover and cook on the High heat setting 4 hours. Remove the lid and scatter the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on High 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. To serve, carve the beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the cooking liquid spooned on top of the beef to keep it moist. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    copycat recipe- Chili's Baby Back Ribs

    More copycat recipe action.... I am loving this awesome site. Who doesn't love some awesome baby back ribs? Chili's makes some of the best! Here's how they do it!!! Break out the wet naps!

    4 racks baby back ribs
    1 1/2 cup water
    1 cup white vinegar
    1/2 cup tomato paste
    2/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon yellow mustard
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon liquid smoke hickory flavor
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon paprika


    SAUCE: Combine all ingredients except ribs over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often 45-60 minutes until thick.

    Preheat oven to 300*.

    Brush sauce over entire surface of each rack of ribs. Wrap each rack tightly in aluminum foil. Arrange packets on baking sheet with foil seam up. Bake 2-2-1/2 hours until the meat has pulled back from the cut ends of the bones about 1/2 inch.

    Preheat grill to medium heat.

    Remove ribs from foil. Grill on BBQ 4-8 minutes/side. Brush sauce on both sides a few minutes before removing from grill.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Fresh Skillet Vegetables

    Try this along side grilled chicken, steak, or fish. WAY better than a boring baked potato!

    1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    2 large zucchini, cubed
    2 large red and/or yellow bell peppers, cubed
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook zucchini, red peppers, onion and garlic, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.

    Add basil and black pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

    To serve, sprinkle with cheese.

    Cheesecake Factory's Carrot Cake Cheesecake

    OMG! I just found the coolest website EVER!!! Zillions of copycat recipes that you have always been wishing for. First up my FAVORITE cheesecake on the planet. Can't wait to try this recipe out for hubby's birthday next week.

    Cheesecake Factory`s Carrot Cake Cheesecake Recipe

    16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon flour
    3 eggs
    ***Carrot Cake:***
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    8 1/2 ounces can crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
    1 cup grated carrots
    1/2 cup coconut
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    ***Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:***
    2 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1 tablespoon butter, softened
    1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice


    In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside. Meanwhile prepare Carrot Cake.

    Carrot Cake:

    In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.

    Spread 1 1/2 c. carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9- or 9 1/2" springform pan. Drop cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter by spoonfuls; top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife. Do not marble with a knife. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.

    Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:

    In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

    Note: Don't skimp on the ingredients (and don't use store brands or generic). Use regular cream cheese, real butter, and pineapple packed in juice, not sugar syrup. You will be glad you did.

    Taste a Rainbow cupcakes

    I found this fun and festive recipe on the Family Fun Magazine website. It's a perfect St. Patrick's Day treat..... which is one of MY favorite holidays!!!!

    Here's what little leprechauns look forward to on St. Patrick's Day: a magical snack that can add color to the grayest March afternoon. Pot of gold not included.

    • White cake mix (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
    • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
    • Baking cups
    • Whipped cream (optional)

    1. Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.

      Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
      Blue 12 drops
      Green 12 drops
      Yellow 12 drops
      Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
      Red 18 drops

    2. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.

    3. Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove the paper wrapping, and if you like, top each cupcake with a whipped-cream cloud.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    under 10 bucks! 3 cheese pasta bake

    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Mushroom Soup

    1 package (8 ounces) shredded two-cheese blend (about 2 cups)

    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    1 cup milk

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    3 cups corkscrew-shaped pasta, cooked and drained

    • Stir the soup, cheeses, milk and black pepper in a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Stir in the pasta.
    • Bake at 400°F. for 20 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    kid friendly snack ideas

    found these kid friendly snack tips on the campbell's website. i am always looking for healthier ways to fend off my little guy's appetite. hope you find them useful as well.

    Make it easy for your child to make smart snack choices. Try packing these snacks in lunchboxes, and keep a few available for after school snack attacks.

    • A simple snack of cheese and crackers, with reduced-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers, is always a hit.
    • Popcorn is delicious, crunchy and filling. Pop your own, and skip the butter, or try reduced–fat microwave popcorns.
    • Soup is another great snack for after school, and a good way to hear about your children’s day while they sip away.
    • Dried fruit is a sweet, high-fiber snack for kids and adults alike. Just be sure to check the nutrition content. Some dried fruits (like banana chips) can be high in calories.
    • Snacks like pretzels and Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers are delicious options when kids are craving something crunchy.
    • Try spreading some low-fat cream cheese on a tortilla, fill it with fresh veggies and Pace® salsa, roll it up, and cut it into snack-size pieces.
    • Cut up fresh fruit into chunks and set it out with a small bowl of vanilla yogurt for dipping.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Beef Stoganoff

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    1 boneless beef sirloin steak or beef top round steak, 3/4-inch thick (about 1 pound), cut into thin strips

    1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

    4 cups whole wheat or regular egg noodles, cooked and drained

    Chopped fresh parsley

    • Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned, stirring often. Remove the beef from the skillet. Pour off any fat.
    • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until it's tender.
    • Stir the soup and paprika in the skillet and heat to a boil. Stir in the sour cream. Return the beef to the skillet and cook until the beef is cooked through. Serve the beef mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with the parsley.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Chicken Tortilla Bake

    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Tomato Soup

    1 cup Chunky Salsa

    1/2 cup milk

    2 cup cubed cooked chicken

    8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces

    1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

    • Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir the soup, salsa, milk, chicken, tortillas and half the cheese in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish.
    • Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Top with the remaining cheese. Let stand until the cheese is melted.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    My favorite cookbook EVER!

    I have owned this woman's cookbook for a little over a month and have become OBSESSED with it. My friends laugh at me for carrying it around in my car. You never know when you may get the urge to try another AMAZING recipe... right???

    My faves are Spicy Pulled Pork, Marlboro Man's favorite sandwich, Penne a la Betsy, and the Rib Eye Steaks with Whiskey Cream sauce.

    Have I made you hungry yet??? You can buy this book here or at any local bookstore. I found mine under regional cooking. BUY IT. You won't regret it.

    Gone Fishin' Trail Mix

    Super cute for kid parties or playdates!!!!!

    2 cups Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish Colors
    1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Baby Cheddar Goldfish®
    1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Pretzel Goldfish®
    1 package (7 ounces) mixed dried fruit bits
    1 cups dry roasted peanuts
    1 cup white chocolate pieces

    Stir the ingredients in a large bowl or a resealable container"

    sweet and tangy chicken

    1 tablespoon butter

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Tomato Soup

    1/4 cup water

    1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

    1 tablespoon vinegar

    4 cups hot cooked regular long-grain white rice

    • Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.
    • Stir the soup, water, brown sugar and vinegar in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken and sauce with the rice.

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    White-Bean Dip with Toasted Pita Chips

    1 can (19-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
    Coarse salt and ground pepper

    In a food processor, combine cannellini beans, olive oil, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon); season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Puree until smooth.
    Place puree in a serving bowl, and lightly sprinkle chili powder over the top, if desired. Serve dip with toasted pita chips."

    Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix

    Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix
    Serves 8

    2 cups thin pretzel sticks
    1 cup natural almonds
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together pretzels and almonds.
    In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon water to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over pretzel mixture in bowl; gently toss to combine.
    Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on prepared sheet. Bake until almonds are crisp, about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on sheet before serving. (To store, keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)

    Peyton Manning would LOVE these.

    I found this recipe on everyday food to continue my collection of football friendly recipes. I promise to start with regular "meals" next week. Can you tell I am excited my team is in the SuperBowl????

    Makes about 4 1/2 dozen
    • 2 pounds (about 60) mini hot dogs
    • Cheddar cheese, cut into small pieces, optional
    • carmelized onions, optional
    • 1 large egg
    • All-purpose flour, for work surface
    • 1 box (17 1/2 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
    • Poppy, sesame, or mustard seeds, optional
    • Mustard, for serving
    • Ketchup, for serving


    1. Cut hot dogs lengthwise 3/4 of the way through. Insert a piece of cheese or 1/2 teaspoon caramelized onions into each hot dog, if using; set aside. If not using cheese or onions, poke hot dogs several times with the tip of a knife.
    2. On a lightly floured work surface, working with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, roll into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into seven 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 rectangles, each about 3 1/2 inches long.
    3. In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water; set aside. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside. Place a hot dog on the narrow end of one piece of pastry. Roll to enclose, brushing with some of the beaten egg to adhere; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining hot dogs and pastry. Brush the tops of puff pastry with egg and sprinkle with seeds, if using. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill for 15 minutes.
    4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    5. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool briefly before serving with mustard and ketchup.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    spicy cajun crockpot wings.

    MORE football food.... The SUPERBOWL is just days away! I must provide you with an arsenal of delicious recipes.... it is my duty!

    3 lbs Chicken Wings
    1 Bottle Spicy BBQ
    1 1/2 tsp Red Cayenne Pepper
    1/4 tsp Salt
    2 tsp Black Pepper
    1/2 tsp Garlic flakes -- minced
    1 tsp Onion flakes -- minced
    3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    2 Tbsp Green Dragon or Jalapeno Sauce
    1 Tbsp Tabasco Sauce
    1 Tbsp Cajun Spice

    *Chicken wings or small chicken legs; more wings or legs can be added if

    In a Crockpot; add chicken BBq Sauce, and all spices.

    Stir and heat on low for 4 hours. Serve with cajun rice.... YUMMY!!!

    GO COLTS!!!

    Touchdown Brownies Recipe from Betty Crocker

    1box (1 lb 6.5 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
    Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
    Betty Crocker® white decorating icing (from 4.25-oz tube)

    1.Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over short sides of pan. Grease bottom only of foil with cooking spray or shortening.
    2.Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
    3.Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Cut brownies with 3 1/2x2-inch football-shaped cookie cutter. Pipe on decorating icing to look like football laces."

    Super Bowl party food!!

    Beer Cheese Triangles with zesty cheese sauce

    2cups Original Bisquick® mix
    1/2cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
    1/2cup beer or apple sauce
    2tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
    1/4cup sesame or poppy seed
    1loaf (8 oz) prepared cheese product, cut into cubes
    1/4cup salsa
    1/4cup refried beans

    1.Line cookie sheets with waxed paper. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, Cheddar cheese and beer until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 20 strokes. On surface sprinkled with Bisquick mix, roll dough in Bisquick mix to coat. Shape into a ball; knead 5 times.
    2.Press or roll dough into 16x10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle into 2-inch squares (do not separate); cut squares diagonally in half. Spread with melted butter; sprinkle with sesame seed. Separate triangles and place on cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Place frozen triangles in airtight container. Freeze up to 1 month.
    3.Heat oven to 450°F. Spray large cookie sheets with cooking spray. Place triangles on cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
    4.To make sauce, in 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat cheese product, salsa and beans over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and sauce is hot. Serve triangles with sauce.

    NOT REALLY A BIG PRE-PLANNER???? No problem, you can skip the freezer step and go directly to the oven for gameday prep! GO COLTS!!!

    One-Pan Pasta and Meatballs Recipe

    EASIEST pasta dish EVER! Pretty darn tasty too! I always eliminate the olives and sometimes substitute artichoke hearts. My family doesn't eat olives.... you can sub in almost anything. Happy Humpday!!!!

    1cup water
    1jar (25.5 oz) pasta sauce (any flavor)
    1 1/2cups uncooked elbow macaroni
    20frozen cooked Italian-style or regular meatballs (1 inch)
    1can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
    Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

    1.In 10-inch skillet, heat water and pasta sauce to boiling. Stir in macaroni, meatballs and olives. Return to boiling.
    2.Reduce heat to medium. Cover; cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender. Sprinkle with cheese."

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Swanson Broth Cooking - Recipe Detail - Herbed Brown Rice and Chicken

    Swanson Broth Cooking - Recipe Detail - Herbed Brown Rice and Chicken:

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
    1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking brown rice
    1 cup frozen peas
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    Season the chicken with the garlic powder and black pepper.
    Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
    Stir the stock and thyme in the skillet and heat to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the peas. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Sprinkle with the cheese."

    Curried Chicken Salad

    Curried Chicken Salad:
    "Delicious chicken salad with curry powder, for sandwiches, rolls, or luncheon salad. Serve this flavorful salad on buns or bread, or mound it on lettuce leaves for a wonderful luncheon salad.

    2 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped or shredded
    1/4 cup finely chopped celery
    4 green onions, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
    2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries
    1 Granny Smith apple, shredded
    5 to 7 tablespoons mayonnaise, or to taste
    1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, optional
    salt and pepper, to taste

    In a bowl, combine the chopped chicken, chopped celery, green onion, walnuts, cranberries, and apple. Toss to blend. Stir in the mayonnaise, curry powder, and parsley, if using. Add more mayonnaise, as needed, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Serves 3 to 4."

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Blueberry Muffins.

    From Williams-Sonoma. Enough said.

    These sweet, buttery muffins are delicately spiced, with a cakelike texture. Fresh blueberries are best, but if you have only frozen berries, stir them into the batter without thawing, or their dark juice will turn the muffins purple.


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup milk
    • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup blueberries


    Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Butter 16 standard muffin cups.

    In a bowl, stir and toss together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

    In another bowl, whisk together the milk, butter and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Add the blueberries and stir just until evenly incorporated.

    Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan. Makes about 16 standard muffins.

    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Roasted Garlic.

    To roast garlic, sprinkle the bulb with a little olive oil and white wine, salt and pepper, wrap it in tin foil and roast in a 350 degree oven for approximately one hour.

    Serve with toasted bread and WINE!!!! SINFULLY good.... and it will keep the vampires away!

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    More helpful tips.

    Low Fat Cooking:
    * Get into the habit of measuring the oil you use while you cook,
    rather than just pouring it out of the bottle. It will be much
    easier to moderate the amount you use.

    * Use non-stick cookware so that you don't have to use as much,
    if any, fat. When sauteing, use a small amount of chicken broth
    or wine instead of butter or oil.

    * To make fat-free broth, chill your meat or chicken broth. The
    fat will rise to the top, and you can remove it before using
    the broth.

    * Many vegetables and fruits, including potatoes and apples,
    retain many of their nutrients in their skin. So when possible,
    leave the skin on your fruits and vegetables and cook them whole.

    * Romaine lettuce is loaded with vitamins compared to iceberg.
    It has three times as much Vitamin C and six times as much
    Vitamin A.

    * Vitamin C is destroyed quickly in cooking - so cook your
    vegetables with Vitamin C in the smallest amount of water
    possible and for a short amount of time.

    * Stock up on spices. One of the keys to cooking low-fat and not
    getting bored is to spice your food well. When you have finished
    your recipe, always taste it and adjust the spices to meet your taste.

    * Purchase the best (i.e. heaviest) set of non-stick cookware you
    can afford.

    * When cooking a dish with both vegetables and meat (i.e. in stir frys
    and stews), reduce the amount of meat by 1/3 and increase the amount
    of vegetables by 1/3. You will hardly notice!

    * Thicken gravies with milk or broth blended in the blender with
    flour. Be sure to cook long enough to remove the raw flour taste.
    You'll never notice the lack of fat.

    * Use olive oil for cooking when appropriate. It adds to the taste
    of the dish and is better for you.

    Helpful tips.

    Herbs and Spices:
    Storage Tips:
    Store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause
    herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most
    convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving
    your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer.

    As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors
    for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should
    result in longer freshness times.

    When possible, grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just
    prior to using. Toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat
    before grinding will bring out even more flavor. Be careful not to burn.

    Because the refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs
    and spices there is not recommended. To keep larger quantities of spices
    fresh, store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.

    Usage Tips:
    Use a light hand when seasoning with spices and herbs. Your goal is to
    compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
    Remember, it's usually impossible to "un-spice" a dish!

    For long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before
    serving. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavors.

    Finely crush dried herbs before adding to your dish after measuring.

    Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh. In most cases,
    use 1/3 the amount in dried as is called for fresh.

    Keep it simple. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, don't use
    more than 3 herbs and spices in any one dish. The exception to this rule
    is Indian cooking, which often calls for 10 or more different spices in
    one curry dish!

    Black pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper are excellent
    "after cooking" seasonings. Allow guests to season dishes with these
    spices at the table.

    Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice have a special affinity for
    sweet dishes.

    If you're feeling adventuresome, try replacing herbs and spices called
    for in recipes with something different! Marjoram instead of oregano,
    savory instead of thyme, cilantro instead of parsley,
    anise seed instead of fennel, etc.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Italian Herb Seasoning.

    Make your own Italian Herb blend! Put it into cute little spice bottles and tie with a raffia bow for gift giving. ADORABLE and practical.


    1 tsp. Oregano
    1 tsp. Marjoram
    1 tsp. Thyme
    1 tsp. Basil
    1 tsp. Rosemary
    1 tsp. Sage

    Make your own Chili Powder

    You can make your own chili powder..... I'll bet you have most of the ingredients already on hand!

    3 Tbsp. paprika
    1 Tbsp. ground cumin
    2 Tbsp. oregano
    1 tsp. red or cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder

    Now aren't you smart????

    Good to know.

    General Shelf Lives For Common Items:
    Flour unopened: up to 12 months. Opened: 6-8 months.
    Sugar unopened: 2 years. Sugars do not spoil but eventually
    may change flavor.
    Brown sugar unopened: 4 months.
    Confectioners sugar unopened: 18 months.
    Solid shortening unopened: 8 months. Opened: 3 months.
    Cocoa unopened: indefinitely. opened: 1 year.
    Whole spices: 2-4 years. Whether or not opened.
    Ground spices: 2-3 years. Whether or not opened.
    Paprika, red pepper and chili powder: 2 years
    Baking soda unopened: 18 months. Opened: 6 months.
    Baking powder unopened: 6 months. Opened: 3 months.
    Cornstarch: 18 months. Whether or not opened.
    Dry pasta made without eggs unopened: 2 years.
    Opened: 1 year.
    Dry egg noodles unopened: 2 years.
    Opened: 1-2 months.
    Salad dressing unopened: 10-12 months.
    Opened: 3 months if refrigerated.
    Honey: 1 year. Whether or not opened.
    Ground, canned coffee unopened: 2 years.
    Opened: 2 weeks, if refrigerated.
    Jams, jellies and preserves unopened: 1 year.
    Opened: 6 months if refrigerated.
    Peanut butter unopened: 6-9 months

    Food Safety.

    Food Safety:
    - Barbecues and Picnics -
    * Try to plan just the right amount of foods to take. That way, you
    won't have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers.

    * When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate, not
    the same platter that held raw meat.

    * When preparing dishes like chicken or cooked meat salads, use
    chilled ingredients. In other words, make sure your cooked
    chicken has been cooked and chilled before it gets mixed with
    other salad ingredients.

    * It's a good idea to use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one
    containing perishable food won't be constantly opened and closed.

    * A cooler chest can also be used to keep hot food hot. Line the
    cooler with a heavy kitchen towel for extra insulation and place
    well wrapped hot foods inside. It's amazing how long the foods
    will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to use a cooler that is
    just the right size to pack fairly tightly with hot food so
    less heat escapes.

    * Wash ALL fresh produce thoroughly. When preparing
    lettuce, break into pieces - then wash.

    * Cook foods to the required minimum cooking temperatures:
    - 165 F > Poultry, poultry stuffing, and stuffed meat.
    - 158 F > Ground Beef, fish, and seafood.
    - 150 F > Pork and food containing pork.
    - 145 F > shell eggs and foods containing shell eggs.

    * Separate raw animal foods from other raw or ready-to-eat
    foods during storage and preparation.

    * Cool leftovers as quickly as possible. Reheat to
    165 F before serving again.

    Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when left at a
    temperature between 45 F and 140 F. Avoid this danger
    zone as much as possible.

    Cheesy Rice Fritters

    Scored this recipe from my friend Rachel. One word...... YUM!

    Here's what you need:

    1 cup arborio rice
    3 slices bacon, chopped
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1 cup grated parmesan
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    salt & pepper
    1/2 seasoned breadcrumbs (i used italian panko)
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (this is a Rachel Ray recipe, after all)
    1 10 ounce bag spinach, coarsely chopped
    1 pinch crushed red pepper (i used 3 pinches)

    Here's what you do:

    Bring 2 1/2 cups water and rice to boil. Lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked but still firm and all water has evaporated (about 20 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, add bacon to the rice, reserving the bacon fat in skillet. Stir in parmesan, mozzarella, and egg into rice mixture; season with salt and pepper.
    Divide rice mixture into 12 mounds. Flatten the mounds into 3 inch patties on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle both sides with breadcrumbs.
    Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add patties and cook until crisp (about 5 min). Drain on paper towels. Sauté spinach over high heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Season with crushed red pepper and top with fritters.

    This meal can be made for under 8 bucks! You gotta love that!

    French Dip Sandwiches - Crock Pot Style

    I found this recipe on another blog.... It is PAINFULLY easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser! Also, try adding a can cream of mushroom soup if you prefer a creamy sauce.

    What you need is:

    a 2 pound bottom round roast
    (The weight of my roast differs each time - it makes no difference)
    1 packet of onion soup mix
    1 can beef broth

    1 loaf of unsliced bread
    (I have used French, Italian, sourdough.
    Use whatever your store carries)

    sliced Swiss cheese

    That's it! Screams "Easy!!", right?

    Spray the crockpot with nonstick spray.
    I do this to help with the cleaning process.
    Combine the beef broth and the onion soup mix in a crockpot.
    Add the roast and
    cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    When ready, remove roast from the juices
    and shred the meat.

    Slice the bread longways horizontally.
    Slice again top to bottom into individual sandwiches.

    On each sandwich, put a layer of beef,
    then a slice of cheese.

    Put the top piece of bread on and
    wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil.
    Put them onto a sheetpan for easier handling.

    Heat the sandwiches for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Serve with bowls of warm au jus from the crockpot for dipping.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    the secret is in the sauce.

    Tonight's dinner was a quick and easy crowd pleaser of grilled cheese burgers with tater tots. Nothing fancy..... just honest to goodness YUM factor.

    My only secret to making burgers FANTASTIC.... is my sauce.
    I will tell you about it.... but I warn you..... it can be HARD to find. Just when you find it and fall in love.... it is gone again! I found it for the first time at my local wal-mart. Since then, NO luck. Hubby picked some up at Wal-mart in Memphis while there on business. Luckily, I just found a handy tool on their website to find out where to buy it. I fancy the all purpose version. I use it on steak, burgers, and meatballs. I LOVE this stuff. I promise, you will too!

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Pecan Pie

    Pecan Pie. My husband's favorite dessert! I have a great recipe that is super simple and always comes out perfect!

    3 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup DARK corn syrup
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 bag pecans (8 oz)

    Beat all ingredients together. Pour into crust.
    Bake 375° oven for 35-40 minutes.
    Cover edges of crust with foil for last 10 minutes.


    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    the sweet life.

    one thing you need to know about me..... i LOVE LOVE LOVE me some bbq.
    we have a friend that has just launched a line of bbq sauces and rubs.
    it's called SweetLife
    check it out!

    Easy Carnitas

    I am always amazed by how many AWESOME recipe sites are floating around the internet. This recipe is from and I plan to make it for my family tonight.

    Carnitas Recipe


    • 4 pounds boned pork shoulder, cut into large cubes (remove as much fat as possible)
    • 1 quart beef broth
    • 2 cups chunky salsa either prepared or homemade
    • Water
    • Salt
    • 2 cups fresh tomato salsa (pico de gallo)
    • 16-24 corn tortillas

    1 In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork, broth, and salsa. Add enough water to completely cover the meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 3 to 4 hours (or longer) until meat pulls apart easily. Add salt to taste if needed.

    2 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard the liquid) and spread the meat out in a roasting pan. Break the meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.

    3 If you are using store-bought tortillas, heat the tortillas one-by-one either in a microwave or on a hot skillet. If you heat them on a skillet you may need to use a little butter or oil to help soften them. When air pockets form in the tortillas they are ready. To heat them in a microwave, place a paper towel on the floor of the microwave. Lay one or two tortillas on the paper towel (whatever will fit so there is only one layer). Microwave on high heat for 10 seconds per tortilla (some brands of tortillas require 20 seconds each). Keep warm tortillas wrapped in a clean cloth towel for serving.