Friday, November 20, 2015

Weekly Line Up

Snow is on the ground - okay only a light dusting, but it makes it seem a little more wintery than the weather that we have been having. It's nice to see the snow, not so much the cold temperatures! :( Thanksgiving week is upon us and it seems that we are soon headed for the busyness of our winter schedule. Basketball schedules have come home and we are about to be in thick of it all. Can't wait for the nice quiet weekend that we have planned to regenerate and get ready for the chaos! Lots of new recipes this week... Can't wait to give them a try! I really need to blog about the sweet corn cake... We have had it a few times already, so it isn't new to us but I haven't gotten it on the blog yet. So yummy!! The hubs always asks why I don't make a double batch! :)

Thursday - *No Bake Reese's Pieces Cheesecake/Eat out
Friday - Oven Baked Taquitos/Refried Beans
Saturday - *Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
Sunday - *Spanish Rice
Monday - Grilled Cheese/Spaghettios
Tuesday - ECFE
Wednesday - *Paula Dean's Crockpot Potato Soup
Thursday - Sweet Potato Supreme
Friday - Burgers/*Sweet Corn Cake

*new recipes/not on blog yet

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Best Ever Chinese Chicken

This was a HUGE favorite of my family! I made a double batch and there wasn't much left. I think that the hubs got to take some for leftovers, but the rest of us had to find something different = which NONE of us were happy about! Don't forget to make sure that you have all your ingredients chopped and ready to roll as this is a stir fry and it cooks very quickly! Yummy!

Best Ever Chinese Chicken
(Recipe found at

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon peanut oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound snow peas, cut in half
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon white wine
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon oil

In a large bowl combine chicken with cornstarch and soy sauce, stir well and let sit at least 5 minutes. Clean, cut and prepare all ingredients ahead of time, including sauce mixture. In a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat oil, add chicken and quickly stir-fry until done, 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate. Add sliced green pepper and mushrooms to pan and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add pea pods and nuts, stir fry 2 more minutes and add ginger and cayenne. Return chicken to pan with vegetables, add sauce and stir. Cover skillet and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Serve over boiled white rice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Salted Pumpkin Fudge

Let me tell you - my daughter knows the routine by now... It was coming up on Halloween and I was browsing through pinterest. She saw a pin about salted pumpkin fudge and immediately said "we should make this for my teacher for Halloween mommy". You got it babe! I mixed up double batch of these AMAZING fudges and the kids brought them in. I also brought a few for my co-teacher that I was subbing with for the day and everyone was raving about them. They were so delicious and decadent! In the original post she mentions drizzling dark chocolate over the top... That might need to happen the next go round!

Salted Pumpkin Fudge
(recipe found at via

1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (7 ounces) container marshmallow crème
1 (12 ounces) package white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sea salt for garnish (2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)

Line square baking pan with parchment paper for easy fudge removal. Combine sugars, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted and combined. Continue stirring until temperature reaches 234 (soft ball stage). Quickly remove from heat to prevent burning, stir in white chocolate chips, marshmallow crème, and vanilla extract. Stir until melted and combined. Garnish with sea salt. Cool completely. Cut into squares. You can also chill before cutting to make it easier to cut perfect squares.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

French Toast Sticks

I recently started a new job as community education director in my hometown. One of the responsibilities of this job is to set up classes for kids and adults in our community. I have heard a lot of people mentioning that they would love a freezer cooking class and I knew that this one would be right up my alley. So, I am diving right in and trying to figure out a few different recipes to make for the class. I have a few that I have done for myself and I know that they will work awesome, but I wanted to try a few new ones and that means testing them out before the class. Freezer breakfasts in our house are a big hit, they are so nice to be able to throw in the microwave or toaster and warm up - especially if it is something that the kids can do on their own. These were just the thing and they hit all that criteria!! I made these for supper one night and did a double batch so that I could test out the freezer side of it. They are a hit!! The kids were devouring them as they came off the griddle and are eating them every morning with the same enthusiasm. They are easy for the kids to reheat and that is a huge bonus, especially on those mornings when I get called to sub and we are trying to get out the door!

French Toast Sticks
(Recipe found at via

10 slices Texas toast
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Begin by slicing each piece of bread into four sticks and set aside. Mix together in a large bowl, eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Begin dunking each slice of bread into egg/milk mixture and placing into the heated skillet. Let cook on each side until browned. When done remove and place onto a plate and repeat with remaining sticks. Once cooked and all cooled, line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each stick on sheet and place in the freezer for about one hour or until frozen. Then remove and transfer to a large gallon sized freezer bag. Make sure to label with contents and date. Try to remove as much air as possible from bag to prevent freezer burn. Store in freezer until ready to use. When ready to serve, remove desired number of sticks and heat in toaster or in microwave.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Puking Pumpkin Dips

Every year we have a scavenger hunt that the hubs and I put on for our group of friends. It is a fabulous time and I think that I have more fun getting everything ready for it than the people that are participating in the hunt have... It is a fun and VERY competitive night with our group of friends. Although I love to cook and bake, we do it "potluck" style and everyone brings a dish to share. I have stopped making anything for this night because we usually have more food than any group of people can consume! So, I stick with my mulled cider, some beer and all the paper products. Well, this night was different... One of my friends tagged me in this fabulous Halloween treat that I knew I HAD to make! There wasn't another party that we were heading to, so I made it for the night of our scavenger hunt. It turned out awesome! Everyone loved the "display" and it was super yummy! The queso was a bit thick so I would definitely make it a little runnier next time, but that didn't stop me (or anyone else) from chowing it down!

Puking Pumpkin Dips
(Link found on Facebook)

ingredients for guacamole
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (4 ounces) can green chilies
1 small pumpkin, carved with a sad face
tortilla chips

Prepare guacamole according to recipe. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Melt butter in small saucepan. Saute garlic in melted butter until fragrant. Add both cheeses, milk and cornstarch and stir until melted and combined. Add additional milk until as thin as you would like for serving purposes. Stir in can of green chilies and place into small bowl that will fit inside the top of the pumpkin head. To serve, place pumpkin in corner of serving platter. Place guacamole in front of pumpkin, creating a path that comes out of the pumpkins mouth. Place chips around guacamole and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Caramel Apple Pretzel Salad

I found my new favorite side dish! This was like heaven in a bowl and I got asked for the recipe more than once in the few hours that we were at the gathering I brought this to. So delicious and my mouth is watering just thinking about tasting it again! It was a definite hit!

Caramel Apple Pretzel Salad
(Recipe found at via

1 cup pretzels, roughly chopped (measure after chopping)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (measure after chopping)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

Cream Cheese Mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 cups diced apples (about 2 large apples)
1/2 cup caramel sauce
3 cups whipped topping or whipped cream

Sugared Pretzels:
Mix together crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter. Spread in a large baking sheet with sides and bake at 400 for 7 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then break it into small pieces.
Cream Cheese Mixture:
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the caramel sauce until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Stir in the diced apples and sugared pretzels

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I have noticed that a lot of the gluten free recipes that I make for my brother in law end up being super crumbly and hard to keep together while you eat. This one didn't seem to be as extreme as the rest of the recipes I have tried. It was super tasty and very rich! I would definitely try this one again, but maybe skip the gluten free cake mix part if I am not making it for my brother in law! :)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
(Recipe found at via

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350. In medium bowl, stir together cake mix and pecans. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. In bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan, press remaining mixture. Bake 10 minutes. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; beat until well blended. Pour over warm crust. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake about 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gingerbread Scones

Scones are so much fun for me to make... they have the sweetness of a cookie, but the easiness of a recipe where you throw everything together, pat it into a circle and bake it. No in and out of the oven a million times, just one baking cycle and you are good to go! I am a fan of the gingerbread flavor, so I definitely wanted to try this out. It was super yummy tasting, but the texture of this was more cake like than I prefer in a scone. While they tasted awesome I wanted a little more crunch to go with my scone!

Gingerbread Scones
(Recipe found at via

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, separated

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Combine the molasses, milk and egg yolk until smooth; stir into the flour mixture just until moistened. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times. Pat into an 8 inch circle; cut into 8 wedges and place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Beat egg white until frothy; brush over scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm and enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are one of my favorite appetizers to order when we head out to a Mexican restaurant, especially at a certain chain restaurant that we have been to quite a bit in Arizona. this was my first go round with trying to do taquitos at home. They were less time consuming than what I thought they were going to be and not quite as good as when you get them made for you, but they were pretty tasty and definitely a redo at our house! We had them for a main dish, but they would be great for appetizers at a party!

Chicken Taquitos
(Recipe found at via

4 chicken breast
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4-6 green onions (no more than ½ cup), finely chopped (including the green part)
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon oregano
30 corn tortillas
olive or vegetable oil, for brushing the taquitos before baking

First cook the chicken breast in a large stock pot or in a crock pot. If cooking chicken on the stove top, use 2-4 cups of broth. If using a crock pot use about a cup of broth.
Cover and simmer chicken until falling apart tender. If cooking in the crock pot cook on high for 3 -4 hours. Shred chicken once chicken has cooled. If using a stand mixer you do not need to shred the chicken before mixing. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Next in a large mixing bowl, add chicken breast, softened cream cheese, green onions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, and all seasonings. Mix everything together until combined well. Next, line a baking sheet with foil. Then wrap 5 corn tortillas in parchment paper, at a time, and heat in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds, or until soft and flexible. Now add about 2 tablespoons of chicken filling and spread it in the middle of a tortilla.Tightly wrap the tortilla and place seam side down. Repeat this process until all the chicken filling has been used. Once all the tortillas are made, spray the tortillas with vegetable or olive oil. You may also brush on the oil as well. Cook for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees. Serve oven baked chicken taquitos with a your favorite hot sauce, green sauce, sour cream, and/or avocado salad.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mac and Cheese Pizza

While I am not a super fan of mac and cheese, it does have a tendency to show up on our menu from time to time, especially around lunch time or when I am in a crunch to get something on the table before running out the door. When I saw this mac and cheese pizza, I knew that it was going to be a hit with the rest of my family. I was definitely a good guesser on that one! They thought it was fabulous, even the next day! It was an interesting combo for pizza, but it made be made again since everyone enjoyed it so much.

Mac and Cheese Pizza
(Recipe found at via

1 box of mac and cheese
3 slices American Cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 premade pizza crust or I used my homemade pizza crust
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Start by making the macaroni and cheese according to the package. Add 3 slices of American cheese and 1/4 cup of milk to make a little more cheese sauce. Stir over low heat until melted. Make crust for pizza if using homemade crust. Prebake for 5-10 minutes first. Brush pizza crust with olive oil. Top with macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Egg Roll in a Bowl

This was a fabulous, throw together in a few minutes week night meal that we have had a few times! The first time that I made it, I discovered that it was a little saltier than I prefer, so I made sure to buy the low sodium soy sauce the next time and didn't put in the full 1/2 cup that the recipe calls for. I also had to double the recipe the second time around since my family simply devoured the first batch that I made! It was a simple, yummy meal!

Egg Roll in a Bowl
(recipe found at via

1 pound ground country sausage
1 bag dry coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
1 teaspoon ginger
sliced green onion

In a large, deep skillet, brown sausage. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, and ginger; set aside. Once sausage is cooked through, add dry coleslaw mix to skillet and stir to combine. Pour soy sauce mixture into the skillet and stir, continuing to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is wilted, but still a bit crunchy. Serve with sliced green onion.

Easy Irish Beef Stew

There is nothing like a good stew on a cool fall evening. I love the heartiness of a beef stew and I am always anxious to try new recipes for soups in my crockpot. This was definitely a filling meal, especially when I paired it with my whole wheat bread, which is always a tasty addition!

Easy Irish Beef Stew
(recipe found at via

2 pounds beef, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
5 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons oil
2-3 medium onions, cut into large pieces
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
small bag of baby carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Dredge meat with flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add meat; cook until browned. Add the beef to crockpot. Add in broth, tomatoes and vegetables. Add garlic and salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then turn crockpot down to low. Let cook for several hours. Stew may be thickened with cornstarch if desired.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Mmmmm.... a burger in the shape of meatloaf! I love when something easy is made even easier and what can be easier than throwing everything into a bowl, mixing it together and slapping it in a pan? Not much! The family really enjoyed this meal, we probably needed to make a double batch, but that would be my only complaint!

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
recipe found at

3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350. Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix bread and milk. Let stand 5 minutes to absorb milk. Add beef, all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon, the shredded cheese, relish, onion, garlic and egg. Mix until well combined. Shape mixture into 8x4-inch loaf. Place in pan. In small bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Spread on top and sides of loaf. Top with reserved 2 tablespoons crumbled bacon. Bake uncovered 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160. Cool 10 minutes. Cut meatloaf into slices to serve. Top with desired burger toppings, such as pickle relish, ketchup and mustard.