Thursday, August 28, 2014

Secret Fruit Salad

I took this side dish to the boys' wrestling banquet, doubled it and barely came home with any!! It was super easy to make and a great healthy side to go with the hot dogs and chips that they were serving! I didn't see a lot of plates that didn't have at least a little of this on them... You can definitely change the fruit up to whatever floats your boat, but it was fabulous as the recipe calls!

Secret Fruit Salad
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 tablespoons dry instant vanilla pudding mix
1 pound of strawberries, quartered
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pineapple, cubed
1 bunch grapes

Sprinkle pudding powder over fruit and stir. Serve immediately or allow to sit overnight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reese's Popcorn

I made up a batch of this when Josh's family was in town and boy am I glad that I did! I doubled the batch and I think that I could have easily sat down and eaten the whole DOUBLE batch ON MY OWN!! It was so fabulous and addicting! Love me some flavored popcorn, especially when you take something pretty healthy and cover it in chocolatey goodness! :)

Reese's Popcorn
(Recipe found on pinterest)

4 cups popcorn, popped (1 bag microwave popcorn)
1 cup chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar

Melt chocolate, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together. Mix into popcorn. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Potato Chips

This was another fabulous recipe that I had to try for Teacher Appreciation Week... I bagged them up with a sign that said "You Are All That & A Bag of Chips" and they were a huge hit! :) I had to taste test along the way of making these and they were FANTASTIC!! I love the combo of sweet and salty and although they were a little time consuming to make, they were definitely worth the effort! Making these again, FOR SURE!!

Chocolate Caramel Potato Chips
(recipe found on pinterest via

12 ounces milk chocolate
12 ounces bag rippled potato chips
14 ounces bag of caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons half and half
Bag of Heath Bar Bits ‘O Brickle

Line baking sheets with wax or parchment paper and set aside. Put caramels and half and half in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until melted and creamy. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the melted caramel halfway down both sides of the potato chips. Be sure to brush only a light coat, or the chips will get too soggy. Place on lined baking sheets to set for about 30 minutes. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and dip the caramel coated chips about a third of the way, allowing the excess to drip off. Sprinkle the Heath Bar bits on the melted chocolate and place back on the wax paper to set for about 2 hours.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Parfait

I made these for the teachers that my kids had this past year for Teacher Appreciation Week. I like to spoil them a bit and this seemed like a great spoiling recipe! Lucky for me, there are only 3 teachers right now and there were 4 jars, so I got to try some also! Delish!! The family had eaten most of my chocolate chip cookies, so I had to make them with fewer cookie chunks, but they still tasted great. Definitely making these again!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Parfait
(Recipe found on pinterest via

12 chocolate chip cookies
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
whipped cream for topping

In the bowl of a mixer, add cream cheese and mascarpone. Beat on medium speed until the cheeses are mixed and slightly creamy, then drizzle in the condensed milk with the mixer still going. Add vanilla and beat mixture until it is creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides if needed. Take 10 of the chocolate chip cookies and either add them to a food processor or place them in a resealable plastic bag. Pulse (or crush) the cookies into small pieces, not fine crumbs. Stir 1/3 cup of cookie pieces into the cheesecake mixture. Take 4 (6-ounce) jars and add a tablespoon of two of cookie crumbles to create a "crust." Add some cheesecake layer on top of the bottom crust, another layer of cookies, another layer of cheesecake, then one more layer of cookies. Place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours - just until the cheesecake sets. Remove the jars from the fridge and top them with a little whipped cream and extra cookie crumbs. Break apart the remaining cookies and stick the pieces in the whipped cream. Serve!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Best Banana Cake

You might remember not long ago that I made a banana cake to take to ECFE for my birthday dessert... It was scrumptious and I vowed to definitely make it again. Then I found this recipe and although I really liked the frosting part of the other banana cake, I couldn't resist trying this one with a HOT FUDGE FROSTING!! Seriously?? Sounds delish!! It was really yummy, but I did end up liking the other recipe a lot better... You can try them both if you want and decide for yourself... They were both super easy to throw together and tasted fabulous! Sorry, no picture!! I've gotten better about dragging my camera out everywhere we go, but obviously I forgot it when we headed to my mom's for lunch this day...

Best Banana Cake
(Recipe found on pinterest via

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 brown bananas, smashed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons hot fudge sundae topping, warmed
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, salt and vanilla and beat until creamy. Stir in the bananas. Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking soda together and add to the banana mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Place cake mixture into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with Hot Fudge Butter Cream.

For Frosting: Cream the butter, shortening, vanilla, dash of salt and warm hot fudge until creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Add the milk to thin it out slightly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Smores Ice Cream Cake

This recipe looked fabulous to me, except for the marshmallow part... I wasn't sure how frozen, melting marshmallows would be in the middle of a dessert. My mom had the same concerns but while I thought that they were a little slimy, she didn't mind them at all. I guess that would be the only thing that I would change when making this dessert again, but you don't even have to do that since most of the people that ate it with me didn't even notice them... I love how I am so hyper critical about my own recipes and notice every little thing that I think is wrong! :) It was pretty easy to put together and I was able to make it a couple days in advance, which was nice since I had so many other recipes that I was making the day of and the day before!! I doubled my graham cracker crust cause I'm crazy like that and I was super happy with the results!

Smores Ice Cream Cake
(Recipe found on pinterest via

12 graham crackers
2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
4 ounces chocolate
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor pulse, 8 graham crackers until finely blended. Add the butter and pulse until mixed. Press into the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Using an electric beater, beat the chocolate, half the condensed milk and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Add 1 cup heavy cream and beat until thick, stiff peaks form. Fold in the marshmallows and spoon over the graham cracker crust. Spread evenly. Using a clean bowl and electric beater, beat the remaining condensed milk, vanilla and heavy cream until thick, stiff peaks form. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips and spread evenly over the chocolate layer. Break the remaining 4 graham crackers into tiny pieces. Sprinkle the graham crackers and remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips over the top. Cover and freeze until firm (at least 8 hours).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Neiman Marcus Dip

Not sure about the name of this dip, but it was certainly flavorful... How can you go wrong with any kind of dip that is going to include bacon in it?? You can't! This didn't make a huge amount, but with all the other goodies that I had set out for my bunco group, I was glad that I didn't have any left at the end of the night. I set out an assortment of crackers to snack on with this dip and it tasted fantastic!

Neiman Marcus Dip
(Recipe found on pinterest via

1/4 cup sliced almonds (I subbed in pecans since I had them on hand)
4 slices bacon, cooked,crumbled and cooled
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread almonds or pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool. Combine all ingredients until well mixed. Serve with crackers or apple slices.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brownie Batter Dip

This dip was DELICIOUS!! It was another recipe that everyone was asking for... I mean, how can you go wrong? It is basically a cream cheese frosting - made chocolate! I paired this with nilla wafers, pretzels, animal crackers and strawberries - huge HIT!! Definitely will be taking this with me again some time.

Brownie Batter Dip
(recipe found on pinterest via

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk
Chocolate chips for garnish (optional)

Pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows, graham crackers, animal crackers, or apples for dipping

Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or milk if needed, until the desired consistency is reached. You want the dip to be soft enough to easily dip a pretzel without breaking it, but stiff enough to hold its shape and not be runny. Garnish with chocolate chips, if desired.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

These were super easy to throw together and in fact I made the filling a day ahead of time and then pulled it out for an hour to come to room temperature and then continued to make them as directed. I love the taste of feta cheese, so I was excited to try this recipe! They went like hot cakes and were almost gone by the end of the night. They make a ton too which was great because I was a little leery when I saw only 4 tortilla shells... I ended up with 5 tortilla shells, but I cut them a little bigger then 12 per tortilla. Enjoy!

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 (6 ounce) package sweetened dried cranberries (chopped)
1 (250 grams) container spreadable cream cheese (or regular w/a little milk added)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 large flour, wheat or spinach tortillas

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except tortillas, mix well. Divide and spread mixture evenly among tortillas. Roll each tortilla up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. To serve, cut each roll into 12 slices.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Caramel Snack Mix

This one didn't go as easy as I had planned when I made it the first time... I kept letting it cook longer and longer, thinking that it wasn't quite done and by the time that I tried to taste it, I about broke a tooth off!! So, definitely don't let this one overcook or you will be seeing your dentist a little earlier then you had planned!! I did continue to snack on the hard as rock snack mix, that's how good it was, so I had to make another batch for my bunco girls... Definitely didn't want the night ending with me paying for THEIR dentist bill!! The second go round I baked it for only 45 minutes and it tasted TO DIE FOR!!! It was so yummy that I couldn't stop eating it... I will definitely be making this one again, sooner then later! I added m&m's to the first batch at the beginning and that didn't turn out to be such a great idea. They started to disintegrate and fall apart, melt - basically what you would expect m&m's to do in an oven... Whoops! So, the next go round I added them at the end of the baking time and that worked much better!!

Caramel Snack Mix
(recipe found on pinterest via

5 cups chex cereal
1-2 cups of other mix-ins (I used pecans that I had on hand and threw in m&m's after baking)
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250. Line a cookie sheet with lightly-greased foil. Toss together cereal and mix-ins on lined cookie sheet. (I would leave anything too chocolatey until later or it will melt and make a huge, non appetizing looking mess! Set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, heat up butter until melted. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Turn off burner and remove pot from heat.
Stir in baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour caramel mixture evenly over cereal mixture, taking care to coat cereal thoroughly. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring cereal every 15 minutes to get an even crunch. Your mix will be ready to take out from the oven when the cereal begins to feel crispy but has not completely hardened. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate Mint Popcorn

So, the next few recipes are going to be the buffet of options that I had at my last Bunco night with the ladies! I had a great time trying out these recipes and most of them required very little "same day" prep, so I was able to get everything ready over the weekend, which makes life so much easier!! This popcorn was a delicious, EASY twist on chocolate popcorn and only calls for TWO ingredients (not including the popcorn)... Love it!! Super tasty!

Chocolate Mint Popcorn
(Recipe found in Taste of Home)

8 cups popcorn
2 tablespoons butter
1 box (4 ounces) junior mints

Melt junior mints and butter over medium low heat. Stir into popcorn and mix thoroughly.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Easy Asian Chicken Slaw

This was a super simple weeknight meal that I was able to throw together in about 10 minutes (not including baking the chicken since I went with the frozen chicken breasts that I had on hand). Since my daughter isn't a huge fan of coleslaw or broccoli slaw, she was the only one that didn't really care for this meal. I thought it was fabulous and it was still good for leftovers the next day! We had this as our main dish for the night, but I thought that it would be a great side to bring to a potluck!!

Easy Asian Chicken Slaw
(Recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 package (3 ounces) ramen noodles
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded (I baked up some chicken breasts)
1 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup reduced fat asian toasted sesame salad dressing

Discard seasoning packet from noodles or save for another use. Break up noodles into small pieces into a large bowl. Add chicken, coleslaw mix and green onions. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss to coat.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Weekend Brunch Casserole

This past Easter I decided that I didn't want to wrestle with getting the kids up early enough to head over to sunrise service and the breakfast that goes with it. I planned a nice leisurely breakfast at home and then we strolled into church right about the time that it was going to start. No mass chaos with kids running everywhere, no crabby kids that I had to wake up and drag out of bed... It was a nice start to our day!! So, if I was going to let them sleep in, then I wanted to get a little extra shut eye myself - so that meant no getting up extra early to make something extravagant... But, I wanted it to definitely be something yummy though!! This fit the bill... Not too difficult to throw together and it only took about 20 minutes in the oven to cook. I could easily shower and get a couple of kids ready in that time!! Not to mention that it tasted delicious!! we had some fruit on the side and it was a great start to our Easter morning.

Weekend Brunch Casserole
(Recipe found on pinterest via

1 (8 ounces) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 pound sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Crumble and cook sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain and let cool while you continue with remaining recipe. Line bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish with crescent roll dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Sprinkle with sausage and cheese. Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage. Bake 15 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Walnut Crusted Salmon

This is a definite redo in my house!! Wow, the taste of it was fabulous and the kids had so many extra pieces that the hubs and I only got one a piece and there were NO leftovers the next day... This is the first time that I have made salmon and I figured that it would go over pretty well since my kids love fish of any kind, but I didn't realize that it was going to go over quite so well!! We love it, as you can probably tell. I had pecans at my house, since the in-laws have a whole grove of them, so I used that in place of the walnuts. Go nuts, try it with whatever floats your boat!! Make sure you make extra though, because it will go fast!

Walnut Crusted Salmon
(Recipe found in Taste of Home)

4 salmon fillets (4 ounces each)
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 teaspoons honey
2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 400. Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Mix mustard and honey; brush over top of salmon. Place bread in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in wannuts, oil and thyme, press onto salmon. Bake 12-15 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and salmon just begins to flake easily with a fork.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Garlicky Chicken Pizza

I was a little nervous about making this pizza for my kids... Putting tomatoes and onions on the pizza kind of sounded like a recipe for disaster at my house, but it looked so good that I had to try it at least once! My kids are usually game for anything on a pizza crust, so I have gotten them to eat some interesting foods this way. I have to say that everyone had a couple pieces of pizza and my oldest son is requesting it next week for his birthday dinner! Not too shabby for a meal that I was worried about flopping! I'm also not a huge fan of warm tomatoes on my pizza and I usually skip those types, but I thought it was fantastic also - AND it was pretty good for leftovers the next day as well! The only thing that I would change is to amp up the garlic factor on the crust... I didn't feel like it was very garlicky for a garlicky chicken pizza...

Garlicky Chicken Pizza
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust (or I used this recipe for pizza crust)
2 tablespoons olive oiul
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved (I switched to black olives - my kids are obsessed with them!!)
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1 1/3 cups crumbled goat cheese (I used feta since my store didn't have goat cheese)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Unroll and press dough onto bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a greased 15x10 baking pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (I used my own crust and skipped this prebaking step.) Mix oil and garlic; brush over crust. Top with tomatoes, onion, olives, chicken and goat cheese. Sprinkle with rosemary, garlic salt and pepper. Bake 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Southwest Chicken Wraps

This was a family favorite the second that I put it on the table... I loved that I could whip it up earlier and it was delicious for leftovers the next couple of days. My kids didn't even whine about the tomatoes that were included!! :)

Southwest Chicken Wraps
(Recipe found on pinterest via

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 1/2 cups coleslaw (from the bag, not prepared coleslaw), or broccoli slaw
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
6 tortillas

Place chicken in large mixing bowl. Quarter grape tomatoes and add to the bowl. Mix in coleslaw (or broccoli slaw), chili powder, lime juice, ranch dressing and cheddar cheese until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover tightly and refrigerate 2 hours. Serve on warmed tortillas.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 8/1-8/7

So this is a big weekend for us! The hubs brother and his family are moving from Arizona to Minnesota... As I am writing this post they are spending their last morning on their hard floors (all their stuff is packed) and pretty soon they will be up and out the door! :) Which means that come Sunday I will have a few hungry mouths to feed and a lot of unloading to help with... YAY!! We can't wait to see them and can't wait for my kids to have another cousin here to play with - they are pretty fired up! On top of that fun news, I have a camper to pack this week. We are headed on vacation starting next Saturday (for 8 whole days) and I have some major packing to do. Plus you know that I have to make some goodies to go along with us, so I need to get my booty in gear this week! Time for some vacation fun! :) Here's what's on the menu for this week...

Friday - Spaghetti
Saturday - Roast
Sunday - Omelots
Monday - Burgers
Tuesday - National Night Out
Wednesday - Chicken Legs
Thursday - Pick Your Own

Extras: Banana Bread, Blueberry Muffins