Friday, December 31, 2010

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

I found this recipe when I was paging through a magazine and was so excited! For Christmas for Brody's specials teachers and Brody and Beau's Sunday School teachers, we made up a little treat bag of a to go mug and a few bags of hot chocolate... These would fit perfect with that plan!! So, I made them up and added them to the treat bags. They looked adorable!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
(recipe found in Family Circle magazine)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk or water
1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
3 candy canes

Heat oven to 350. Line indents of a standard size 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a medium size bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy, 1 minute. On low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan to wire racks; let cool.

In medium size bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat confectioners' sugar, shortening and milk or water until smooth. Spread over cupcakes, about 2 tablespoons for each. Top each cupcake with 8-9 mini marshmallows. With a serrated knife, cut wrapped candy canes into 2 inch pieces. Unwrap and tuck a piece into each cupcake.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pepperoni Bread

Found this recipe in our local paper. They were having a recipe section during the holidays and I thought that it sounded pretty good. I was right. It was easy to throw together and Josh raved about it the entire meal!! I think that it would be good with all kinds of different toppings, but this time we stuck with the original recipe!

Pepperoni Bread
(recipe found in Sebeka Review Messenger via Verne Milbradt)

1 loaf frozen white bread, thawed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread thawed bread dough out on a cookie sheet. Brush egg on the dough and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Add pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Roll up dough the long way, pinching ends together tightly. Brush with cold water. There is no need to let the dough rise. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

I have never made a cookie using cake mix before, so I thought, what the heck - let's go for it! They were surprisingly good... They had a soft chewy taste that I love in cookies... Plus they didn't require a lot of ingredients and were pretty easy to make.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
(recipe found at

1 (8 ounces) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18 ounces) box moist chocolate cake mix
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioner's sugar if desired.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monkey Bread

What do you do when your freezer goes out and all your frozen bread dough starts to thaw? Well, I make monkey bread, quickly, before it all goes to waste! :) Luckily I was able to salvage most of what was in my freezer and fridge, with only a few things having to be thrown... So, while we are refrigerator shopping, you can enjoy this recipe for monkey bread! No pictures for this one... With the refrigerator not quite as cold as it needed to be, the bread dough REALLY rose this time and it didn't turn out the prettiest when I uncovered it to bake it. It tasted good, just didn't look all that wonderful!

Monkey Bread

2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 large instant vanilla pudding
2 tablespoons milk (add more if you need to thin it out in order to pour it)

Cut one loaf of bread dough in chunks into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Mix together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over bottom layer of bread dough. Cut second loaf of bread dough over the top. Cover and refrigerate to rise over night. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Fudgies

Wow, and I do mean WOW!! These are so chocolatey and delicious that I am going to make them over and over again!! Plus, I love the crunch of the toffee inside of each one... I can't say enough. Made them for Christmas but will definitely make them throughout the year!

Chocolate Toffee Fudgies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut up
2 packages (12 ounces each) semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toffee bits

In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a microwave safe large bowl, heat unsweetened chocolate, butter and half of the chocolate chips in microwave oven on high 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring twice. Cool chocolate mixture until lukewarm.

With wire whisk, mix in eggs, 1 at a time and vanilla until smooth. With spoon, stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture just until blended. Stir in toffee bits and remaining chocolate chips. Preheat oven to 350. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes or until tops are just set. Cool cookies slightly on cookie sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Bars

Found these goodies in our church cookbook... Isn't that just a wonderful place to find hidden goodness? These were super chocolatey and I love the mint hidden in the middle! My only complaint for this recipe was that I didn't have enough peppermint extract to double the batch!!

Chocolate Peppermint Bars
(recipe found in Our Saviour's Lutheran Cookbook, Janelle Brockpahler)

Layer #1
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 dup sugar
1/2 cup flour

Layer #2
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2-3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Layer #3
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter

Melt chocolate and butter. Cream eggs and sugar. Add flour and chocolate mixture. Mix well. Bake in an 8x8 inch pan at 350 for 20 minutes. Cream sugar and butter. Blend in cream and peppermint. Spread on COOLED first layer. Refrigerate until chilled. Melt chocolate and butter together and pour over peppermint layer. Chill. Cut into small squares.

You can double this recipe for a 9x13 inch pan and bake longer. Mint cream layer can be tinted red or green for Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weekly Line Up - 12/25-12/31

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with family, friends and FOOD!!

Saturday - Christmas! I don't have to bring anything but all my goodies!
Sunday - *Sausage Scrambles and Cheese
Monday - *Pineapple Chicken Kabob Packets
Tuesday - *Almond and Peach Crusted Pork Chops
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - *Cheesy Italian Beef Bake
Friday - Pizza

*New Recipes

Friday, December 24, 2010

Strawberry Fudge Balls

Here is another new "cookie" recipe that I tried out this year. They were super yummy, but VERY messy to make!! I even chilled the dough overnight (since I didn't get to it right away) and my hands were so covered that I couldn't even roll the balls. I also ran out of almonds, so I tried rolling them in powdered sugar, which I think turned out pretty tasty too! :)

Strawberry Fudge Balls
(recipe found at

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (6 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add melted chocolate, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla wafer crumbs and preserves; cover and chill one hour. Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in chopped almonds and chill.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sausage Cheese Balls

These are technically supposed to be an appetizer, but I thought that they would be a fun finger food for the kids for supper one night! So, I paired it off with some stuffing and beans and wah-lah - it was a quick meal that, the boys especially, polished off in no time flat! They are a bit time consuming to roll out, but it makes a ton... In fact, I made some for us for supper and froze the rest to have as a treat for Christmas with my family!

Sausage Cheese Balls
(recipe found at

3 cups bisquick mix
1 pound bulk pork sausage
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
barbecue sauce or chili sauce, if desired (we used ranch)

Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease bottom and sides of jelly roll pan. Stir together all ingredients, using hands or spoon. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls. Place in pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

They have lots of tips for this recipe for doing them up ahead of time, baked and unbaked. If you want the full list, go to their website. Since I was freezing some of mine unbaked, I'll tell you the plan for those. Take them out of the freezer, place frozen balls on a cookie sheet and bake 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Alfredo Sauce

I'm not a huge spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce person... I don't like how overpowering the taste can be, so a lot of the time I will use just butter and parmesan on my spaghetti or maybe alfredo sauce. It is so rich and delicious and when I saw this recipe on one of the blogs I love checking out I wanted to try it. It was VERY rich and pretty good. I might keep searching for one that I like better, but this one was pretty tasty!

Alfredo Sauce
(reciep found at

1 cube butter
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
ground pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter on stove. Add cream cheese and stir together until cream cheese is melted and they are mixed well. When they are mixed together, add half and half, parmesan, garlic powder and pepper. Stir together until it's all combined. Take off heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken up. Serve over your favorite pasta with some garlic bread! :) Yum!!

* Now I wasn't sure what a cube of butter was and I wasn't thinking too clearly, so I just threw in a whole stick of butter! :) I am thinking a chunk of it would have been more what she was talking about!! It still tasted delish, but it might not have been as rich tasting...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Hello, with the name of this cookie, who wouldn't want to make it? :) This is another newbie cookie that I tried this year! With three different kinds of chocolate it is sure to satisy that chocolate craving and definitely your sweet tooth! YUMMY!!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
(recipe found at
Yields: 2 dozen

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
1/3 cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined. (I don't see why you couldn't just use your mixer for this part, but I am a rule follower, so I used the fork :) Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and the pecans and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.

Instead of dark chocolate and milk chocolate, coarsely chopped, I used dark chocolate and semi sweet chocolate chips. Save yourself some chopping! :) Also, if I am going to go to the work to make cookies, I am definitely not going to just make 2 dozen cookies, so go for it all - make it a double batch like I did! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Robin McGraw's Almond Cookies

Last year, when I was obsessed with watching Rachel Ray EVERY DAY, Robin McGraw was on right before Christmas. She was showing how to make these fabulous almond cookies that looked so yummy and so simple... This year I actually tried them and they are both so yummy and so simple. They remind me a lot of a cookie that my mom used to make at Christmas all the time. The cooking time is very long, so make sure that you have a lot of time to be waiting around while you are making these! :)

Robin McGraw's Almond Cookies
(recipe found at

1 pound (4 sticks margarine, softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
3-4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup blanched slice almonds, finely chopped
3 1/2-4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 250. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine margarine, sugar, vanilla extract and chopped almonds using a rubber spatula. Fold in the flour - you want the dough to be dense enough to handle with your hands. Sometimes it will take more flour to make this happen, so start with 3 1/2 cups and add flour as necessary. (It took me the whole 4 cups.)

Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls about the size of a small walnut and arrange them on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cookies are no longer doughy and are cooked through. (You can put them pretty close together - I fit about 30 on each of my cookie sheets.)

Remove the cookies from the oven and, while still hot, roll and toss around in a bowl with the powdered sugar. Once coated, allow to cool.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

What do you do when your hubby doesn't feel so hot and hasn't eaten for over 24 hours? Make him a yummy soup to help him feel better! This was super yummy, very cheesy and meaty enough to satisfy the hubby!

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup
(recipe found at

1/2 cup butter
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup flour
1 can chicken broth
4 cups milk
10 potatoes
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups ham, diced
salt and pepper to taste
green onions for garnish

Peel, cube and boil potatoes until soft. Then in a large sauce pan, saute onion in butter. Then add flour and make a roux. Whisk in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil. Continue stirring until sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and add cheese, potatoes and ham. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Here's the next batch of cookies that I baked up for Christmas. Another new recipe to try that is a little healthier... These had a nice chewy texture, but I am not sure how I feel about the cherries baked in, so it might not be a repeater! :) It was nice for something a little different though!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Yields: 3 dozen
Points: 2 per cookie

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Mix butter until smooth. Slowly pour sugar in an even stream into butter and mix on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour in brown sugar, mix until incorporated and then scrape mixture down from sides of the bowl. Slowly beat in each egg one at a time until incorporated. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Scrape misture down from sides of bowl and stir in oatmeal and then dried cherries. Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls of dought about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges arae set. Cool completely.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekly Line Up - 12/18-12/24

Lots of Christmas fun in store this week! Can't wait to continue baking like crazy, head to holiday parties and watch all the programs my kids are in! Hope you enjoy a fantastic week also!

Saturday - *Crispy Italian Baked Chicken
Sunday - Grilled Cheese/Spaghettios
Monday - *Pepperoni Bread
Tuesday - *Corn Chowder
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - *Crockpot Chili Cheese Dip (Christmas with my family)
Friday - *Cheesy Beer Fondue with Beer Bread (Christmas lunch with our little family)
- *Ribs/Beans (Christmas Eve supper)

*Chocolate Peppermint Creams
*Chocolate Covered Pretzels
*Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
*Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

*New Recipes

Friday, December 17, 2010


This was a new Christmas cookie that I tried and boy are they oh so sweet! I made them a little bigger then I think that they were supposed to be and I can tell why they only needed to be about a 1/2 inch - too much and they are just a little too sweet! So, hopefully you are a better ball roller then me when you make these! :) I ended up getting almost 4 dozen and you are supposed to get 5 dozen...

(recipe found at

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips or chocolate coating

Melt chocolate. Mix peanut butter, sugar, margarine and vanilla until semi dry and crumbly. Shape into 1/2 inch balls. Dip balls into melted choclate, leaving the top of the ball uncovered to resemble a buckeye. Place balls on wax paper lined baking pan. Refrigerate until set.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Garlic Bread

I got this idea from a colleague when I worked in Bagdad for a year... Not Baghdad, Baghdad, but Bagdad Arizona! For those of you that didn't know about that I know you were a little nervous for me! :) It is a quick and easy side for anything with pasta and I do love my garlic bread!! Plus it is a nice way to use up all those extra buns that we have laying around after hamburgers, sloppy joes, hot dogs, etc... This also went great with the Three Cheese Sausage Lasagna from yesterday's post! :)

Garlic Bread

Any kind of bread/bun
garlic salt
italian seasoning

Butter bread/bun and place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with any and all seasonings. Broil until lightly browned! Devour!!

My mom used to make us these using just garlic salt and slices of bread. I like to use up the extra buns that we have laying around and the added seasonings just give it a little more pizzazz... Sometimes I even add cheese - I know, I'm crazy like that! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three Cheese Sausage Lasagna

I think that this was the fastest version of lasagna that I have ever made in my life and it was pretty tasty too! Not too hard to throw together, especially when I was running a little late from going and seeing the adorable lab puppies that my sister's dog just had couple of nights ago!! We were still eating by our normal 6:00 and that was with no prepping beforehand like I usually do!

Three Cheese Sausage Lasagna
(recipe found at

1 pound italian turkey sausage
1 box Hamburger Helper lasagna
2 cups water
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375. In 10" skillet, crumble sausage. Cook over medium high heat about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain well. In ungreased 2 quart casserole dish, stir sauce mix (from Hamburger Helper box) and water until blended. Microwave uncovered on high 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Stir in uncooked pasta, sausage, bell pepper, mushrooms and zucchini.

In small bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Spoon cheese mixture evenly over sausage mixture. Bake uncovered 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheddar Melt Chili

I usually don't hand out food that I haven't ever made before, but I had this one up my sleeve for supper for us this week and it turned out I had a friend that needed it more then me. You know those days - when you come home and have had the worst possible day and you just don't want to deal with cooking? It was one of those days - so I whipped up this little dish and it was hopefully a hit for her and her family!! You can bet that it will be back on the menu plan for our family soon, because it sounds really good! :)

(Side Note: It did go back on the menu and it was wonderful! Very hearty!!)

Cheddar Melt Chili
(recipe found at

1 pound ground beef
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 box Hamburger Helper cheddar cheese melt
1 cup salsa
1 2/3 cups milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cans (15 ounces each) spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained
3/4 cup shreddded cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, chopped

In a 4 quart Dutch oven, cook beef over medium high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in hot water, sauce mix and uncooked pasta, salsa, milk, chili powder and beans. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat; stir. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and tomato.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Asian Peanut Chicken

This was a recipe that I am definitely making again. It didn't take too long in the crockpot and worked perfectly as a lunch meal that I could throw in before church and it was ready when we walked back in the door. Josh was still in Canada for this one, so my friend Luke came over for lunch with us and he said it was a definite "2 thumbs up" from him!

Asian Peanut Chicken
(recipe found at

1 box fettuccine, cooked as directed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 zucchini, shredded
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
chopped cilantro, for garnish
chopped peanuts, for garnish

Add garlic, peanut butter, chicken, broth, zucchini, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and red pepper to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Serve over noodles and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Brown Butter

I love making breakfast for supper, especially on the weekends... It just seems like a quick meal and one that is "comfort food" to me! But, to spice it up a little, I love to find new twists on our old favorites. This recipe turned out to be a fun new twist, although I don't know if I would waste my time on the cinnamon brown butter again... Make sure that you cook these a little bit longer, the insides weren't quite as done as I would have liked them to be! :)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnnamon Brown Butter
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

In a small heavy saucepan, cook butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from the heat; stir in pecans.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, pumpkin and cheese. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with brown butter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekly Line Up - 12/11-12/17

Here's the line-up for this next week. Josh is going to be gone again - so I get a little tired of cooking big meals for just the kids and I! :( So, this is the plan, we'll see if we stick with it! :)

Saturday - Roast with potatoes, carrots and onions
Sunday - Eggs and Toast
Monday - *Sausage and Cheese Balls
Tuesday - Pizza
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - *Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup
Friday - *Meatloaf with *Sweet Potato Casserole with a Gingersnap Crust

*Cinnamon Bear Popcorn - part of my gift to my daycare kids for Christmas!
*Hot Chocolate Cupcakes - part of the gift my oldest son is giving to his "specials" teachers!

* new recipes

Friday, December 10, 2010

Party Shrimp

Once again, I just got that new Healthy Cooking magazine and I had a few recipes that I wanted to try. I love shrimp, I don't always cook it as well as I could, but it still tastes delish to me! So, the kids and I tried a new shrimp recipe this week (Josh is still in Canada...). It was really good, but definitely would need to be doubled if more then just one adult is eating it for a meal! I served it as a meal, over rice, but it would make a great appetizer also...

Party Shrimp
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients. Add the shrimp; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Place shrimp on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, turning once.

And don't overcook your shrimp! :) I cooked mine for the 6 minutes that it says and it was a little too done, so really watch it! I never really get the "until the shrimp turn pink" part of the direction... Does anyone else out there think that shrimp already look pink to start with or is it just me? :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Treats

So, most of my Christmas shopping is done (thank you deer hunting opener!) and my house in mainly decorated. We are heading to get the tree this weekend and I have been wrapping presents like mad, including the ones from (picture this in a hushed whisper now) S-A-N-T-A! That means I am free to bake up a storm!! I pulled out a few of my books and have a few cookie recipes planned for this festive month of December! A few are old favorites and a few are ones that have been pulled out of magazines and haven't gotten tried yet... So, follow along on this journey of sweetness!! Here's the first one for you! It was very yummy - they were soft and chewy, just make sure that you don't overcook them, so keep an eye on the first couple of batches!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Treats
(recipe found at

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups uncooked oats
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, oats and chocolate chips. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Slow cooker BBQ Beans and Polish Sausage

My best friend for forever is married to one of the pickiest eaters ever... (Love ya Bill!) Every once in a while she wants to strike out and be adventurous in her cooking, but between her husband and kids she has to hold back! So, when I got this email from her, I just started laughing... She was so excited - she tried a new recipe and EVERYONE in her family loved it! Yippee for her and for us too! She had to share the recipe that went over so well and you know that I had to try it and share it with you! I made this the other night and it was super yummy - I might have to just make the beans on their own sometime, that is how good they were!!

Slow Cooker BBQ Beans and Polish Sausage
(recipe courtesy of Deb Faysak)

2 cans (15.5 ounces each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 can (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 ring (1 - 1 1/4 pounds) fully cooked smoked polish sausage - she used 2 packages of lil' smokies...

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients except sausage in cooker. Place sausage ring on bean mixture. Cover; cook on low heat 5-6 hours.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tortellini Primavera

Got my newest healthy cooking magazine from Taste of Home and I found quite a few recipes that I am itching to try out! :) This was the first one that I came to, so it is the first one that I tried. It was delish!! I was a little nervous with the chopped spinach in it - my boys were not too excited about spinach the last time that we tried it... But, it went over surprisingly well! They chowed it down and Josh even got to do a whole lot of talking about Popeye during our meal!

Tortellini Primavera
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 package (19 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons butter
2/3 cup fat free milk
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook tortellinin according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in milk; heat through. Stir in cream cheese until blended. Add spinach and italian seasoning; heat through. Drain the tortellini; toss with the sauce and tomato. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crock Pot BBQ Beef

I have to admit, I have never in my life made bbq sandwiches... Not beef, not pork, none at all! I like them - my family has made them for parties before, but I have never busted out my cooking skills on a pot of bbq sandwiches. Well, that has all changed! :) This was a recipe that was so quick and easy, I will definitely try it again... It even left quite a bit of leftovers, so Josh and I got to enjoy it again the next day - he was in heaven with this recipe!! As he was making the sandwiches up for our plates, he dipped the buns in the leftoever juice that was in the crock pot. He was very excited about that idea and thought that it made the sandwiches even more juicy - so, just saying, you can try it if you want to! :)

Crock Pot BBQ Beef
(recipe found at

1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 tabelspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix sauce ingredients well and pour over a roast already placed in the crock pot. Cook on low all day and serve on a bun!

I used chuck roast because she recommended it as her favorite, but I will leave that up to you!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Easy Enchilada Casserole

My friend Amy shared this recipe with me a few weeks ago and I finally got a chance to try it tonight... It was wonderful!! Also, once again, super easy to throw together - that is unless when you have it all made and are cleaning up, you find the can of opened tomato sauce that you forgot to add... Then adding it to the layers is a little tricky! :) So, don't forget one of the ingredients and you will be able to whip up this baby in a flash!

Easy Enchilada Casserole
(recipe shared by Amy Lorenz via

2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup corn - thawed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 can refried beans
4 medium soft flour tortillas

In skillet, brown and drain ground beef or turkey. In same skillet with meat, add; tomato sauce, salsa, taco seasoning, corn and pepper. Mix and let simmer. In round 2 quart covered casserole dish, begin to layer the following:

flour tortilla
heaping tablespoon refried beans (spread)
meat mixture (as above)
grated cheese

Continue layering until out of above mixture. (does approximately 3-4 layers) Make sure to top with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese bubbles. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekly Line Up - 12/4-12/10

Here's the line up for this week! :) With most of my Christmas shopping done and all the presents I do have wrapped, I am ready to bake, bake, bake! Thank God for naptimes! :) I will be posting the recipes as I get my goodies baked, so hopefully I have a lot of time this week!

Saturday - *Pumpkin Pancakes
Sunday - *Peanut Chicken
Monday - *Cheddar Melt Chili
Tuesday - Pizza
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - *Spaghetti with homemade Alfredo Sauce
Friday - *Three Cheese Sausage Lasagna

Extras (as I get to them)
*Robin McGraw's Almond Cookies
*Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
*Triple Chocolate Cookies
*Strawberry Fudge Balls
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Chocolate Toffee Fudgies
*Chocolate Peppermint Bars
Becky's Cut out Cookies

* new recipes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Supreme

This is a dish that I have made for the past few Thanksgivings... I made it one time and have been asked to bring it every year since - it must be pretty good then! :) It is so yummy and delicious that I even make it a few other times during the year... Sorry no pictures again - I was too busy digging in! :)

Sweet Potato Supreme

3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and mashed (about 6 potatoes)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour

Beat together until smooth. Put in a greased casserole and spread the topping over top. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

I found this recipe on the back of my bag of flour and thought it would be a fun one to try for the daycare kids at breakfast... I made up a batch and thought that they were pretty good, a little dry but that is fixable, I think that I mixed it together too much! The kids on the other hand were not big fans... This might be a recipe I am not quick to try again due to the tooth pulling that it took to get everyone to eat, but thought that I would toss it out to you in case you are a PB and J freak!!

PB & J Muffins
(recipe found on back of Pillsbury flour bag)
Makes: 12 muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup jam or preserves of your choice

Topping: Sugar

Heat oven to 375. Spray muffin pan with no stick spray. Stir together flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add milk, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and oil to bowl; combine ingredients on the low speed of an electric mixer; just until moistened. Do not over beat. Fill prepared muffin cups evenly with half of the batter. Place 2 level teaspoons jam or preserves in the center of each muffin. evenly divide remaining batter between muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven; cool in pan 5 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken and Rice Soup

Found another yummy soup recipe that was quick and easy and perfect for our first true winter day! The day I made this soup it was -3 in MN when I woke up and it didn't get above 15 degrees for the day... That is a day that truly screams for soup!! Josh is not the biggest fan of soup, but even he liked this one and said that it was a keeper!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
(recipe found at

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 large carrots, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 or 2 cans of chicken
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can corn or 1 cup frozen corn
1 (12 ounces) can fat free evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
bay leaf (optional)

Put olive oil in large pot. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat until tender. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add broth, chicken, rice, corn and seasonings. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Then add evaporated milk. Stir and cook on low until ready to serve.