Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate cookies

I am in a Christmas cookie exchange tomorrow, so I decided on 3 varieties of cookies, all chocolate. Now they are all cooling and I'm resisting (somewhat successfully) the urge to eat them myself.

First up were my favorite from last Christmas, the Chocolate Mint Cookies I found on allrecipes. Only thing I add to the batter is 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp mint extract. Then I use 1/2 an andies mint on top of each instead of whatever the mint was they wanted you to hunt down. Andies mints are easy to find.

While the batter for those was chilling, I made the fudgey bon-bon cookie recipe; I used the new dark chocolate Hershey kisses this year, and they're good :)

Fudgey bon-bons
(recipe says 60 cookies but I don't get that many)

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
60 Hershey's kisses (your favorite flavor)
2 oz chocolate
1 tsp shortening
sprinkles/decors (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In double boiler combine chips and butter; cook and stir over very low heat until chips and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add sweetened condensed milk, mix well. Stir in vanilla. In medium bowl add flour then pour over chocolate. Mix well. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough around each kiss, covering completely. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Cookies will be soft and may appear shiny, but will firm up as they cool. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and let them cool completely. Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave. Place cookies on wax paper, drizzle chocolate over cookies and add sprinkles. Store tightly covered.

Next I made the cookie dough for the brownie cups I found on the mint Hershey kisses bag (yes I have more than one kind of Hershey kisses in my house, don't judge).

Mint Capped Brownie Cookie Cups
(4 dozen)
48 Hershey Kisses mint truffles wrapped in dark chocolate
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup Hershey special dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
(powdered sugar optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 48 mini muffin cups with paper or foil baking cups. Remove kisses from wrappers. Beat butter, sugar, water, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, beat well. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating on low speed until just blended. Refrigerate dough until firm enough to handle. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, place in prepared muffin cups. Bake 11-13 minutes or until cookie surface is set. Cookies will appear soft and moist. Do not overbake. Cool about 5 minutes on wire rack, then press one kiss into center of each cookie cup. Cool completely. Sprinkle each cookie with powdered sugar if desired.

Monday, November 2, 2009

apple cheesecake

Yes, I'm a cheesecake fan, won't deny it. :)

I'd printed this one out back in 2005 and found it again this weekend and decided to finally try it. I'd bought a bag of jonamac apples at the store and some cream cheese so it was bound to happen. My aunt had an open house this weekend so I had an excuse to make a cheesecake, that's all I needed. ;)

Here is the original recipe, I naturally changed things up immediately, so I'll post the recipe I followed below. I'm not sure I'm done tweaking this one, but as is its pretty good, other than the non-existent crust.

Apple crumble cheesecake

1 1/2 cup nilla wafer crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

cinnamon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about the size of nickles)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of cloves

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the nilla wafer crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and melted butter; press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar after cooled. (not sure I'm in love with the crust, seemed thin and got soggy... anyone have a great not chocolate crust for cheesecake?)

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla; pour filling into the baked crust.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss the cinnamon-sugar with the apples to coat. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese layer. In the future I may combine the apples & sugar first, then set to strain juices out before adding the spices and then top it.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a pastry cutter until a crumby texture forms. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake in preheated oven for 75-85 minutes in a water bath. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan. Chill cake before serving.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

apple sauce

Fall is upon us so its apple season :)

This is what I do for applesauce, thought I'd share since someone had asked me for the recipe recently anyways.


3lbs of apples (granny smith or another cooking apple work best), peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup water or cider
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (or to taste)
Nutmeg, allspice and cloves may be added to taste

Put everything in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the apples to a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Allow sauce to cool and place in a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the fridge, can be kept up to a week.

pork loin recipes

Bought a decent sized pork loin at the store last night for dinner, today I just had to decide what to do with it. I have two really good recipes, one involves the grill (we do it on our rotisserie) the other the oven. Chris voted for the rotisserie one, but I'll give you both :)

rubbed and grilled pork loin from the pork council. We do it the same way except rotisserie it for a couple hours on medium. We have a meat thermometer on our grill so I'll stop the rotisserie and stab it in after its been about an hour and a half then every so often to check if its done. We had ours get a little charred last time from flare up but it was mostly the fatty part which we cut off anyways. This time Chris wants me to use the smoker box in our grill so we'll see how it is smoked.

recipe #2 is the apple-topped pork loin from allrecipes. It's great, my grandparents liked it so much when they got leftovers (I seal a meal / freeze stuff for them) that they called me right after they ate it to tell me it was the best pork they'd ever had.

bar cookies

Today I'm in a baking mood and since we're going on a walk in a park with a big group tomorrow I can bake a few things and not have to eat them all myself :)

First up are these strawberry cheesecake bars from Betty Crocker, I had some strawberries, cream cheese, and a sugar cookie mix to use up and so this recipe worked out perfectly. Didn't change anything about that, except instead of using "fruit spread" I made my own strawberry topping of sorts. I got the original recipe from a diabetic cooking site but I changed a lot so I'll just post what I did ;)

strawberry topping:

1 tsp corn starch
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Mashed OR Pureed Fresh Strawberries
couple of tsp of sugar
1 tbsp Orange Peel Slivers
1/4 tsp Coriander

I poured the orange juice into a sauce pan then sprinkled the corn starch over top and stirred to combine. Then added the remaining ingredients and stirred on the stove over medium heat. Let it come to a boil and simmered it for awhile until it thickened up. Then I let it cool pretty much completely. It made just about 3/4 cup of topping from my one standard package of berries (less a few my 2 year old berry thief stole). Smells a little orange-y from the juice/peel but that should still be good with the cheesecake. May help counteract the sweetness of the sugar cookie crust.

I texted my sister if she had any requests for tomorrow and she wanted me to make my oatmeal jam squares so here's the recipe for that too. Really easy and pretty good :) and since it involves oats you can pretend its good for you.

Oatmeal Jam Squares

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup melted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 jam (I like seedless raspberry for these)

Preheat oven to 375, treat a 9x13 with cooking spray.

Mix everything except the jam together in a bowl (I just use a spatula, don't need a mixer). Separate 2 cups of the mixture and press the rest into the pan.

Spread the jam over top so its as even as possible. If you have thick jam you may need to warm it a little in the microwave to make it spread better.

Sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture over top of the jam. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely, cut into bars.

Monday, October 12, 2009

new chili recipe

Ever since I had my daughter in 2007 I can't seem to stomach my old chili recipe that would make your eyes water and slap you around a bit as you ate it. ;) So I went on the hunt for a new one, and this chili recipe on has good reviews, and the name is pretty awesome :) Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

BUT true to form I decided to start making it during naptime and didn't have everything... so I'll copy/paste the ingredients, to show what I changed, and then review it after dinner. I hope to make the original at some point. I also halved the recipe because we didn't need 12 servings of chili for 3 people.

INGREDIENTS (bold are changes)
1 1/2 lbs stew beef, browned/drained and diced up
1 30oz can chili beans, drained
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
2 (10 ounce) cans rotel (tomatoes & chili peppers)
1 slightly larger than a golfball yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (was frozen)
1 tablespoon bacon bits
beef base powder (had about 1 1/2 tbsp left so thats what went in)
1/4 cup beer
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar

we'll be using tostitos and whatever shredded cheese I have that will go with chili, it will be either cheddar or mexican blend. It smells really good :) Will review later.

after dinner:
It did have a lot of bite, Chris loved it with the stew beef instead of ground beef, Dad and I thought it was a bit too spicy. I will make it again and tweak to make it more my own. But if you don't like super spicy you may want to tone down the tabasco sauce and/or chili powder or cayenne pepper.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Amazing snickerdoodles

They were great! I didn't change a thing. I have to keep myself from eating them all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

two new recipes I'll be trying this week

This will be Wednesday's dinner, Chicken & Wild Rice soup. I have some roasted chicken frozen I need to use up and it sounded good. :)

This one is one of the infamous weightwatchers-friendly crockpot recipes from the big file that circulates the internet. I'm making this tomorrow while I'm at my all day quilting class. Good way to use up leftover ham I had frozen too.

Corn, Ham and Potato Scallop

6 cups peeled baking potatoes -- cut in 1" cubes
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
1 15.25oz. can Green Giant Whole Kernel Sweet Corn -- drained
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 teaspoons instant minced onion
1 10 3/4oz.can condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In 3 1/2 to 4-quart Crock-Pot slow cooker, combine potatoes, ham, corn, bell pepper and onion; mix well. In small bowl, combine soup, milk and flour; beat with wire whisk until smooth. Pour soup mixture over potato mixture; stir gently to mix. Cover; cook on low setting for 7-9 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Info: Potatoes cook more quickly when cut into small pieces; cubed potatoes will cook faster than quartered potatoes. The 1-inch chunks of potato in our recipe work well as they do not get too soft during the long cooking time. Also, leftover cooked roast beef or turkey can be used in place of the ham.

6(1 1/2-cup)servings. Per serving: Cal 320; Total fat 7g; (sat 4g); Choles 30mg; Sod 1010mg; Total Carbs 49g; Fiber 5g; Sugars 6g; Pro 14g. POINTS: 6

another good fall soup

This will be sometime this week as well, another Mom recipe & one of Chris' favorites. I am trying to make up a bunch of soups to freeze for my Dad's next trip out to see my Grandparents. Plus its fall, so I can finally make them again :) soups aren't too summer-friendly.


1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
64 oz beef broth
frozen peas
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
frozen corn
1/2 cup diced celery
1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lbs. beef stew meat
3 medium potatoes, diced

Treat soup pan with non-stick spray. Brown meat until cooked through; drain off fat and put aside. Sauté vegetables and garlic until limp; whisk in flour to form roux. Slowly add beef broth and cook, whisking until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients except for frozen veggies. Simmer until barley is cooked, approximately 1 hour. Add frozen veggies. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until they are heated through. Serve with crusty bread and salad.

French Onion Soup

This will be Thursday or Friday's dinner once Chris is home, with a salad and some crusty bread :) another of Mom's recipes, this one is a favorite. Have never had it in a recipe as good as this is, restaurants seem to make it too salty, this is just right. You'll need soup bowls that are oven-proof (under a broiler) I have these, Mom had something similar.


1 large onion (yellow or white), sliced thinly
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp sugar
dash salt
dash pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1 quart beef consommé
1 cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp cognac
large cut croutons
Grated mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Over medium high heat, sauté onion slices in butter until limp. Add flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and sugar. Continue cooking until onions are golden brown. Add consommé, thyme, parsley, basil, and wine. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 45 minutes. Add cognac.

Place croutons in oven-proof bowls. Sprinkle cheeses over croutons. Ladle soup into oven safe bowls. Add more cheese as desired. Place under low broiler (or in 500F oven) until cheese melts and soup bubbles. Carefully remove from oven and enjoy.

let the fall cooking begin!

It's in the upper 50s here in Michigan so that means fall cooking! Yay! We are also going to an apple orchard / cider mill this weekend so I hope to pick up some apples to make some tasty things with (in addition to cider & doughnuts, and pumpkins).

First up on the fall foods list is homemade sloppy joes. This was my Mom's recipe, my Dad and I love it, Chris doesn't (scary veggies! he prefers Manwhich) so since he's out of town its the perfect time to make it!


1 – 14 oz can petite-diced tomato
1 cup celery stalk chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3 garlic cloves, diced
1/3 cup ketchup
1-2 Tbsp. Chili powder (to taste)
2-3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1 tsp. diced leaf oregano
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 1bs ground sirloin

Mix together the tomatoes, vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar until the sugar are dissolved – set aside. Brown the meat together with the remaining ingredients. Drain and add to the tomato mixture in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve with buns. Makes approximately 5-1/2 cups.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

birthday party recap

For Kathleen's birthday I made the cookie monster cupcakes without the cookie monster part ;) just the chocolate cake with oreos in bottom and filling. The filling was a pain the butt. Grinding up oreos I guess I fail at because I kept clogging my frosting tip I was using to shoot it into the cupcakes. Then I didn't make enough of the easy buttercream so I had to sub dark chocolate icing in a can for some of them. Worked out to my sister's advantage because she got to take some naked cupcakes and the remaining frosting back to Kalamazoo with her ;) I also think I put too much salt or vanilla or something in the frosting I made because they tasted a little "off" to me. The oreos on the bottom were a fun surprise for people ;) and overall they tasted good, just not OMG AMAZING like I was hoping for ;) I also was rushing to make those before I started filet mignon for dinner for my inlaws, so that could be part of my problem. I was SUPPOSED to have help from my husband that week but he traveled all week then worked up till right before his parents got there. But that's a rant for a different kind of blog ;)

crack banana bread

This doesn't taste like the "normal" banana bread, but mmmm its good. I had a piece for breakfast and just had a slice for a midnight (okay 1am) snack :)

Here is the original recipe on allrecipes (aptly named) best ever banana bread.

Here's how I made it ;) of course I changed it, I read the reviews and they sounded like good changes to me.

Best Ever Banana Bread

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cinnamon (maybe 1/4 tsp)
poured some vanilla in (1/4-1/2 tsp)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray coating.
Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, apple sauce and bananas.
Sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add gradually to banana mixture and stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

I made it with just a whisk and spatula, didn't even bust out the mixer ;) yum. It's good. And mine did take that long to bake, its a moist bread.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bumpy cupcake recipe?

There is a like-minded person out there, somewhere. Whomever owns this blog is a woman after my own heart. lovestoeat bumpy cupcakes!

I've copied the recipe here (exactly as written) to save in case something happens before I have a chance to make them ;)

Bumpy Cupcakes (from

Chocolate cake: From Food Network
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
I did use an extra large cupcake pan for larger cupcakes. I got 12 out of the batch.

Cream filling “bumps” From Food Network
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Pipe strips onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag

Chocolate Ganache:
Chocolate Icing: From Ugg Smell Food
4 T cocoa
2 T oil
2 T + 4 t water
2 T dark corn syrup
2 C powdered sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Place paper liners in two 6-cup extra large cupcake pans.

Prepare the cupcakes: Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla. Using a mixer, beat in the eggs, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

Butter Cream “Bumps”
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Fill pastry bag and set aside.

Chocolate Ganache:
Mix all except sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until hot. Mix in sugar and stir (I should too, makes it WAY easier/faster) until smooth.

To assemble:
After cupcakes cool, pipe 2 large strips of buttercream on each cupcake. Freeze for at least 30 mins. Make ganache and once frozen dip the cupcakes into the ganache. Refridgerate until set. Enjoy with a large glass of cold milk!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kathleen's 2nd Birthday

I am entertaining the idea of making cupcakes for Kathleen's 2nd birthday instead of buying a cake from Sweet & Savory (though their cakes are soooo good). Tricia sent me this cookie monster cupcake recipe awhile ago, I may have to try them. The only thing that concerns me is the blue frosting all over two 2 year olds (her and Joey) ;) so I'm going to still poke around and see what inspires me ;) I've seen cute monkey ones before where you use round pretzels for ears on the cupcakes... so who knows. Or the lure of the mousse filling in the sweet and savory cake may lure me into their bakery. That and they have bumpy cake cupcakes. If you're not from Michigan, this is a bumpy cake. Evil. Imagine a cupcake like that ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

vodka sauce

Tonight for dinner we had tomato vodka sauce with cheese tortellini, Abby's Chicken Rollantini, Easy Focaccia, and steamed zucchini/summer squash.

Everything was pretty good, I overdid the garlic a bit on the chicken, and even though there's only about 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes in the sauce it has some kick. Will see how the tortellini is leftover tomorrow ;)

yummy blueberry crumb bars

It's Michigan blueberry season, so last weekend we picked up 2 pints at the little farmer stand downtown. I am not a huge raw blueberry fan, but like to cook with them so I searched for something I could make (other than the usual muffins) that my husband could take to his day long meetings in a hotel conference room this week.

I found this blueberry crumb bar recipe on allrecipes, then edited it to my own baking preferences :) so here is my version, italics where I changed ingredients.

Blueberry crumb bars

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
grated lemon peel

DIRECTIONS (changed with my ingredients)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together sugars, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening, vanilla, and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries and sprinkle in some lemon peel (I used probably about 1 tsp). Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Epicurious desserts.

Yep. You're welcome ;)

Key Lime Pie

Realized I don't have my Mom's favorite key lime pie on this blog yet, will have to fix that ;) best part is you can just buy one of those store bought graham cracker crusts if you don't feel the need to use your own.


21 oz sweetened condensed milk
6 oz fresh-squeezed key lime juice
6 egg yolks
1 – 10” Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 350F. Blend sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks on low speed. Gradually add the key lime juice and mix together well. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

NOTE: FOR 9” pie shell, use 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, 4 oz key lime juice, and 4 egg yolks.

Yes folks its just that easy, and its really good. Can garnish with whipped cream :)

work party ideas

So I've been told that the management team from Chris' company is coming over here for a work dinner, since they can't talk to everyone if they go to a restaurant. They are getting carryout dinner from Italia Gardens but I am gonna have to do some appetizer and dessert magic.

Appetizers.... hmmm. I may make the Neimen Marcus spread referenced in this post or maybe the spinach/artichoke dip.

Dessert I am making that chocolate chip cheesecake (again) per my husband's request and may make key lime pie. Just to have something if someone doesn't *gasp* like chocolate very much. Plus its a good summery dessert.

Any other recommendations/suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Made some cheesecake this weekend, thought I'd share the recipes ;)

Got this one from my high school friend, she'd posted making it a few times on facebook, I asked her for the recipe ;)

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 package oreo cookies (1 lb)
1 stick of butter.

12 oz chocolate chips (I like to use the mini-chips)
3 bricks of cream cheese (8 oz each)
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp flour

Using food processor, combine the cookies and butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan.

Beat the cream cheese and slowly add the milk. Then add the eggs and the vanilla.

Mix half the chocolate chips with the flour. (This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.) Carefully fold into the batter.

Pour into pan.

Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Cool and the refrigerate before serving

Note: best to bake on a cookie sheet to catch anything that may spill.

I also made these chunky cheesecake brownies, using the hershey special dark chips and threw a little vanilla into the cheesecake and to the brownie batter. Otherwise pretty good :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grilled 'tater salad

This Grilled Potato Salad from Southern Living was OMG amazing the other night (make sure you do the rub and the dressing) :) oh and put the bacon on LAST not while stirring the potatoes and onions in the bacon grease. Oh yes, it involves bacon grease. Baaaaad for you but tastes so yummy.

edited to add recipe, in case the interwebs eat it ;)

Grilled Potato Salad

Makes 4 to 5 servings

8 bacon slices
4 medium-size red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 5 cups cubed)
1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Potato Salad Dry Rub
Potato Salad Dressing
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Cook bacon, in batches, in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.

2. Add potatoes, onion, and Potato Salad Dry Rub to hot drippings in skillet, tossing to coat. Remove potato mixture with a slotted spoon.

3. Grill potato mixture, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat in a grill wok or metal basket 30 minutes or until tender, stirring every 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add Potato Salad Dressing, and toss to coat. Stir in bacon. Garnish, if desired. Serve warm.

Potato Salad Dry Rub

Makes about 2 Tbsp.

2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
1. Stir together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Potato Salad Dressing

Makes about 1/2 cup

5 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1. Stir together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Amazing Filet Mignon

Smothered Filet Mignon on allrecipes.

I cooked it exactly as written (hot side vs side to melt cheese on), and used "regular" dijon mustard instead of grainy like the person who submitted it then reviewed it said. I also used less onion (Chris isn't a huge onion fan), pretty much just 2 slightly larger than a golfball ones and used gorgonzola instead of blue cheese. Dad and Chris both commented multiple times how tasty it was. I even loved it and I'm not a huge meat eater. It was very tender, very yummy. Costco filets yay!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Purdue Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I clipped this out of our alumni magazine awhile ago, I love this stuff and lived on it in college on weeks where the food was scary but this was in the salad bar ;)

Yes I realize "salad" is not really how one would describe this, but its so good, lets pretend its a good for you salad.

Purdue University Residences Pretzel Salad

9-oz bag of pretzel sticks, broken into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup margarine, melted
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
8-oz container whipped topping (thawed)
.6-oz package strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
16-oz package strawberries, frozen and sliced

Mix pretzels, margarine, and first amount of sugar. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake 10 minutes in a 350 oven. Let cool.
Mix cream cheese and second amount of sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust. Refrigerate.
Combine water and gelatin until dissolved. Add strawberries (do not drain) and refrigerate until partially set.
Gently pour strawberry mixture over cream cheese layer and chill until set, about 4-6 hours.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

wine recommendation

While at Larco's in Troy we enjoyed a Sonoma-Cuter wine,Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay. Mmmm. It was quite good. If you are looking for a nice white wine, this would be it :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

more grilling

Is this amazing 10 clove garlic marinade. It's great to marinate steaks at least 24hrs in this amazing stuff. Yum. That's what's for dinner tonight ;)

Here's some of my other favorites:
- Bowler Beef
- McCormick Grill Mates Montreal steak marinade (I recommend the zesty option). I love those grill mates products in general. The Hamburger one is good on burgers (duh) with a little Worcestershire sauce, I like the chicken rub, the spicy Montreal steak, the garlic & herb seasoning... mmm.
- tried/true chicken marinade is just some wishbone Italian dressing and boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Leave them in there overnight and you've got yourself a good chicken sandwich :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

awesome baby back ribs

Those of you friends with me elsewhere online know of our grill saga, that our last one died a rusty death. Our new grill has a little smoker box in it, where you can put soaked woodchips in and smoke while you grill. (I think you can buy one for any grill but its attached! so neat!). Anyways, we had to find something to smoke in the new grill, it was a requirement by my husband.

So we bought some hickory wood chips at Lowes when we bought the grill, so I had them taunting me from the kitchen counter until I found something. Then I found it on, an easy baby back rib recipe. We'd never mastered ribs on the grill, so I always have to slice them apart beforehand and do them in the oven. Giant PITA. This recipe is great, just remove the membrane from the back, lightly dust and rub in the rub and then throw on the grill for an hour on a preheated grill. Prize Winning Baby Back Ribs.

My changes:
- Soak hickory woodchips in water for time recommended on package (think it was 30 min).
- Put in little woodchip holder in grill, let them heat up while preheating grill
- Add garlic pepper and kosher salt (sub for reg salt/pepper) to the rub, use rub sparingly, I think I still had at least 1/2 left from one slab. Want it to enhance the smoky and bbq flavors not overpower :)
- I used sweet baby ray's bbq sauce, but may try my old favorite recipe of bourbon whiskey BBQ sauce (using Gentleman Jack).

I have another slab in the fridge for this week :) may be dinner tuesday if the wind dies down. I could see us doing a couple slabs for a party sometime too. Chris ate about half the slab himself last time I made them ;)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

ham sauce

This was my great grandmother's family's ham sauce recipe. It says great grandma Britton but I think her maiden name was dutch... it's my Dad's Dad's Mom's family recipe ;) with Easter coming up I figured some of you may be having ham.


1/2 cup tomato soup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks, beaten

In a medium-small saucepan over medium heat mix all ingredients except egg yolks. Whisk until butter melts and sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to simmer and incorporate egg yolks until sauce thickens, being careful not to scramble the eggs in the sauce. Remove from heat and let cool prior to refrigerating.

It's usually best if you let the eggs get to room temp so you have less of a chance of scrambling them when you add them to the sauce. It is good with ham or on sandwiches the day after with leftover ham or turkey. It's a mustard sauce with a kick from the vinegar.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another St. Pat's recipe, Guinness beef stew

Found this on the livejournal community what a crock. I am having Chris pick up some Guinness tonight for the corned beef, will have to try this one in a few weeks to use up some more Guinness (if he doesn't drink it all).

This beef stew is supposed to be close to one from Dublin at the Guinness brewery, St James Gate.

2 pounds bottom round chuck, cut into bite-size chunks
2 medium Russet potatoes
2 carrots
Half of a large sweet onion
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Flour to coat beef
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout

1 cup self-rising flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Coat beef chunks in flour and place in a large crock pot.
2. Chop vegetables into smaller chunks and add to crock.
3. Combine Guinness and brown sugar, then pour over beef and vegetables.
4. Cook on Low for about 6 hours.
5. Towards the end of cooking time, combine dumpling ingredients to form a soft (not sticky) dough. May need to adjust milk and/or flour amounts.
6. Form dough into small (approx 1 oz) balls and add to stew.
7. Cook on High for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

time for an experiment... or 3

I have some strawberries headed south, so I think I'm going to make little coffee cake muffins using this recipe as a base. Mmm cream cheese involved? :) I will dice the strawberries and add right to the batter rather than use jam.

post baking notes: The strawberries in the batter made it a big too moist, I over filled my jumbo cups (made 6, should've at least made 8), I subbed sour cream for yogurt (its what I had), and I added 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to the batter. Great flavor though :) May try just a few slices of strawberry or Jam under the cream cheese layer next time.

My Mom hated corned beef and cabbage but would make it for my Grandpa when he was alive because he was pretty much 100% Irish and loved it. So, since she hated it and I also think it reminded her of Grandpa, she never made it. Ever. So I was walking thru Meijer today with Chris and he talked me into agreeing to make corned beef this year. I said sure but no cabbage because he won't eat that ;) So I am going to make this one (and do the recommendation of adding the seasoning packet with the brown sugar) and this soda bread. Will probably do the corned beef in the crock with 1 can Guinness and 1 can's worth of water, since I'm not a HUGE Guinness fan. Also will throw potatoes and carrots in with it towards the end. Was going to make beef stew for St. Pat's but NO ;) I don't recall even really eating corned beef except as lunch meat. Dad has a meat slicer so we can slice the leftovers and they can enjoy it again ;)

Will let you know how my experiments turn out. *evil laughter*

edited to add: I wasn't a fan of the corned beef, but I am not a huge fan of Guinness so that could be why ;) my husband liked it. I put carrots, potatoes, and onion diced up on the bottom, then the corned beef with brown sugar and the seasoning packed sprinkled on it, then 2 bottles of Guinness in my crock and let it cook about 9 hours. The Soda bread turned out pretty good, even with a cup of wheat flour in it since I ran out of AP flour. ;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

honey wheat crescents

Making these tonight, the rolls I often made at Mom's required dry milk which I don't have on hand, and my daughter is in no mood to run to the store today. Hopefully they turn out good! I plan to use my upright mixer with dough hook rather than my Cuisinart... easier to clean!

Honey Wheat Crescent Rolls
from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

1 cup warm (105-115 F) water
2 tablespoons honey
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the water and honey; sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. With the machine running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube; pulse until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and put the dough in the bowl. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Punch down the dough. Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the surface; cut in half. Roll each half into a 10-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Roll each wedge, from the wide side, and form into a crescent. Place, pointed-end down, on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging the rolls 1 inch apart. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until they double in size, about 35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls until they are golden brown and sound hollow when lightly tapped, about 15 minutes. Remove the rolls from the baking sheet and cool on a rack.

Makes 12 rolls.

***after dinner edit: These were pretty good, not over-done with wheat (not in your face wheat). One word of warning is they don't brown as much as white rolls do so the bottoms were nice and brown and the tops not as brown in comparison.

skinless twice bakes?

So I am trying this Man-Lovin' Potato Casserole tonight for Dad's birthday dinner. I tried the mixture and it tastes like skinless twice bakes :) yum. The only changes I am making are 2Tbsp dried chives instead of red onion, cheddar instead of american (with a bit of mozz cheese too, I am running low on shredded cheese), and shredded parm instead of grated. I will update y'all if it turns out gross but I think we may have a winner.

***after dinner edit: I thought it was a bit salty, probably from the bacon, season salt, and mayo. I may scale back to use only 1/2 tsp season salt next time or omit all together. With the other seasonings I don't know that I'd miss it. I did use a little bit of "tastefully simple" bacon bacon because I didn't have quite enough bacon bits. That may have added some salt too.

The man's opinion was good, Chris loves salt so he thought they were great ;) Dad seemed to like them. Though he rarely says he doesn't like something.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crunchy Curry Chicken Casserole

So you know when you have leftover chicken and you don't know what to do with it, but you're craving something that involves X, Y and Z? Well that's this casserole. We had KFC on Sunday and had 2 giant chicken breasts and 2 legs leftover. I was craving mayonnaise, water chestnuts, and curry. This was the result of my cravings and what was in my fridge/pantry and some consulting of about 8 recipes online.

It was actually pretty darn good :) You can change the veggies (I think asparagus, green onion, mushrooms, celery, or broccoli would be good additions in it but they are all "scary" to my husband). Curry isn't overpowering as is, if you like curry you can increase it to 1/3 or 1/2 tsp, if you hate curry feel free to omit :) it was a "what the hell I will throw some curry in" decision. We like curry, I put it in my chicken pot pie.

It wasn't *that* bad for me, I used low fat mayo and soup and was better than eating the chicken with the skin on smothered in leftover mashed taters and gravy :)

Crunchy Curry Chicken Casserole

2-3 cups shredded cooked/leftover chicken
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of chicken soup (celery or mushroom would also work)
1 cup matchstick carrots
1 8oz can water chestnuts, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried chives
2 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp soy sauce
1 bag of success brown rice, cooked and drained (I think 1 bag is about 2 cups cooked rice)

1/4 cup cashew pieces
1 cup chow mein noodles

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the first 12 ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased casserole dish (I think mine was an oval 2.5qt, a 7x11 pan or 9x13 would work too). Sprinkle cashew pieces and chow mein noodles over top. Bake @350 for about 30 minutes.

It's fairly thick as is, but I like it that way. If you think it's too thick you could add 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I'll be married 7 years so some of my kitchen gadgets have bit the dust, are MIA, or melted in the dishwasher (cheap plastic measuring spoons). So this last weekend I treated myself to some new gadgets :)

First stop was Williams Sonoma, the dangerous store. I was pretty good, but I couldn't resist these 3 things:
- Mechanical Pastry Bag I can have pretty cakes/cupcakes now! ;)
- I bought both the all clad measuring spoons & Odd Sizes measuring cups (wasn't a set with odd sized spoons). I was pretty excited about the odd sized measuring cups. 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup, and 1 1/2 cup. Yes I'm lazy but it will make my life a little easier while baking :) and no more melting the measuring spoons in the dishwasher, these babies are metal.

Then I wandered Macy's while my husband was in the Apple store. I had $20 on a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and they didn't have the Privos shoes I wanted in my size (AGAIN, I hate Macy's shoe dept). So I decided to see what kind of gadgets Martha had I couldn't live without. She had a few ;)
- pretty blue trivet, I never had gotten around to getting a non-holiday trivet.
- collapsible funnel, I killed my funnel awhile ago. I like that it squishes flat for storage :)
- a Martha batter bowl, which is apparently not online :-p (has a handle and a spout)
- martha's everything clips though mine are red I wish they were blue. I was sold because you can throw them in the freezer :) I've lost a few chip clips to the freezer.
and I got a set of little silicone coated wine stoppers, since we somehow lost our good one.

And my weird gadget that works recommendation is The Skurba potato glove not to be confused with those crazy peeling gloves. No, these just scrub your taters clean. Chris' aunt bought me some for Christmas in Sweden and I thought she was nucking futs. But they actually work really well ;) just have to keep the water not too cold if you are doing a lot of potatoes or your fingers get numb ;)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Banana Split Freeze

This is one of my husband's family recipes, they compiled recipes from his Dad's family back in the early 90s and made a spiral cookbook just for the family. I got his Grandma's copy after she passed. This was apparently his favorite dessert ever and he's been begging me to make it forever so I finally did. It's pretty good! Frozen bananas are an acquired taste but once you get over that its really good. Could see changing up the flavors of ice cream and chips and fruit and making different tasty things. I made it with reduced fat evaporated milk and reduced fat ice cream and it tasted fine.

Banana Split Freeze

1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
2-3 bananas sliced
1/2 gallon of ice cream, softened (I used vanilla, recipe called for marbled fudge)

13oz can evaporated milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

whipped cream and nuts optional

Spray or butter a 9x13 pan. Spread crushed graham crackers over the bottom, line with banana slices then spread ice cream over top. Freeze. Combine the evaporated milk, butter, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over top of the ice cream (it will all melt it and combine, I guess this is normal). (The original recipe called for covering it in whipped cream and nuts, I didn't.) Cover and stick it back in the freezer. Best made the night before so it can be totally frozen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

recent recipe experiments and an old favorite

I made this the other night, Aloha Chicken. Next time I will probably get boneless chicken as I hate dealing with bones when I eat. I also threw the whole can of pineapple in and used fresh ginger (in a jar) rather than ground. Had good flavor without being overpowering, Dad and Chris liked it too. We had it with rice, peas/carrots and an Asian dressing salad.

When Chris was working late one night and Dad was at Knights of Columbus I had this Easy Quiche. It was really good (and really easy) but just make sure you use the correct pan. I had an opportunity with a river of quiche in my kitchen because I was dumb and used a pan with a bottom that comes out. Liquid finds the path of least resistance ;) I used a mozzarella blend instead of cheddar and it was still good :)

This cheddar beer bread was disgusting, never ever make it. Way too heavy on the seasonings to make it as written, I didn't have time to read the reviews.

The old favorite is the chicken enchiladas we've made for years. I think it is originally from a cookbook called the Colorado Cache cookbook. It's what's for dinner tonight with some of the chichis corn cake stuff you add a can of corn, butter, & water to and bake :)


2 large chicken breasts, poached
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 – 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
¼ cup chopped, mild green chilies
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups Monterrey jack

Cut chicken in strips and salt to taste; set aside. In a saucepan sauté onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chilies, sugar, cumin, oregano and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat; dip each tortilla in tomato mixture to soften. Place a piece of chicken and two tablespoons of cheese on each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in an ungreased 9x13 pan. Blend sour cream into remaining sauce mixture and pour over enchiladas. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese. Bake covered at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"bar food" and appetizers

This will not be a healthy post. My husband has requested "bar food" for Sunday, so we can watch the superbowl and be overeating americans like everyone else. I don't even know what time the superbowl starts or who is in it (oh wait the Cardinals are because people have said if they can make the superbowl there's hope for the Lions). But I digress. Onto the junk food!

My husband loves this roast beef dip. I think its a bit salty but then find myself slathering it on triscuits.


1 – 16 oz pkg. little smoky links
¾ cup cocktail sauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup bourbon

Combine all ingredients in fondue pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until sausages are heated through. Keep warm.


1 jar Heinz chili sauce
1 small jar grape jelly or currant jelly
frozen meatballs

I just add enough frozen meatballs so it isn't too saucy but there's enough sauce to go around. Can I be more vague? I put it in a crock and just let it sit all day on low.


1 pkg frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 small jars, artichokes
1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmesan cheese
5 oz pkg shredded swiss
1 T minced garlic
basil to taste
bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine all ingredients (I throw them in a cuisinart so there's no "chunks" that scare my husband), except paprika and bread crumbs. Place in 1-1/2 quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs and paprika. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve with assorted crackers, breads.

8oz sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1 16oz jar Helman’s mayo
1 jar Hormel bacon bits
green onion tops (to taste) (2)
1 package slivered almonds

Mix together, chill, spread on crackers
This stuff is like crack, don't make it unless you want to eat it all.


1 can chili (w/ or w/o beans)
1 small box Velveeta cheese or half of the bigger box
1 small jar of salsa
1 (small) can of diced chilies

Cube Velveeta cheese & place in large microwaveable bowl. Add chili, salsa & chilies. Microwave until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips. Can also be made in a small crock pot or electric fondue pot, don't have to microwave just dump it all in.
I have also seen Rotel used instead of the salsa/chiles. Sometimes I skip the salsa.


½ cup teriyaki sauce (bottled)
1 tsp sugar
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp peanut oil

Cut chicken into 1” pieces. Set aside. Mix together teriyaki sauce and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Reserve 2 Tbsp of marinade. Add chicken pieces to remaining marinade and toss until coated. Set aside to marinate at room temp for 30 minutes. In dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown (or you can buy toasted sesame seeds now, yes I'm lazy). Set aside. Combine reserved 2 Tbsp marinade with water and cornstarch, mix well. Set aside. Heat oil in wok until very hot. Remove chicken from marinade and stir fry until cooked through. Pour in marinade/cornstarch mixture and stir fry until sauce thickens – approximately 2 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: My Mom made enough marinade to cover the chicken while it is a chafing dish/fondue pot or whatever you are serving it in to keep it warm. Usually about 3 times sauce that it calls for. She also used to put in a can of pineapple chunks after it was cooked.

I am going to try these this year I think, baked potato skips from They have a bunch of other recipes on there, so have at it :)

Marshall Fields Chicken Salad

I got the Marshall Fields cookbook for Christmas, Macy's was apparently almost giving them away. Since they don't exist anymore, I figured I was safe to post this recipe. I made some on Tuesday night and it was still good for lunch today :)

Marshall Fields Chicken Salad

2lbs cooked white meat chicken, cubed
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/4 cups mayo
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Combine in a large bowl, enjoy :)

To poach the chicken in the oven place in a large pan (i.e. 9x13) and fill at least 1/4 inch with water. Cover with foil and bake @ 350 for at least 30 minutes or until done. I used the frozen breasts that come in a bag (like from Tyson) and did it for 45.

peach bowl: Place a scoop on lettuce, top with sliced almonds and surround with fresh peaches.

sandwich: I like to toast wheat bread and eat it as a sammich :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

sweets :)

I was finally printing these out, after Tricia had sent them to me weeks ago.

Cookies & Cream cake - Not tried but have been told this is amazing.

And 2 frosting recipes I tried on chocolate cupcakes Tricia made over the holidays :)

Easy Vanilla Buttercream

20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, April 2007

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 cup creamy peanut butter
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

I don't have a recipe exactly for this one, I change it to suit my moods. I made that roasted chicken last week then Kathleen and I promptly got sick and the leftovers were frozen until I felt like standing to cook. Today I decided to make some chicken noodle soup. Here are the basics, your mileage may vary.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 cartons Swansons chicken broth (2 - 32oz cartons)
2-4 cups water or you can add more broth, I usually water it down a bit to make it not so thick after I get all the stuff in it because I over veggie it.
veggies of choice. I used half a big frozen bag of my standard peas/corn/carrots/green beans mix.
If I have it I throw in celery, I didn't today so I threw in about 1/4 tsp celery seed
2 cups shredded or cut up leftover chicken
1-2 cups egg noodles (or I have used kluski noodles) I don't measure I just put a few handfuls in
ground black pepper

Today I also threw in some poultry seasoning, chives, minced onion and parsley. I throw everything but the noodles into a pot and bring to a boil until the veggies are cooked. Boil the noodles for 10 minutes in the soup and its done.

The Swanson box is not too far off from what I do, but they of course don't want you to water down their broth. :) and they only use carrots & celery

Friday, January 16, 2009

Beer bread & roast chicken

Wednesday night I made a roast chicken (partially to have leftovers for soup) and a nice wheat beer bread with some instant potatoes and frozen corn. I'm not wonder woman and my husband was out of town ;) so sue me for taking short cuts.

I don't mess with a good thing, and this wheat beer bread on allrecipes is a good thing. Only thing I do is spread a little butter on top so it gives it that nice flavor. Other than that I make it as is :) and Kathleen and I love to snack on it.

For the chicken I consulted a variety of recipes and came up with my own. Did the standard bake @ 350 for 20 minutes a pound (or until 180 degrees). It was pretty good but not the most amazing bird ever. I always forget roast chicken is so much more greasy than turkey. Should know that after I worked at Boston Market in high school and had to pick chicken all the time.

Here was my spice blend and ingredients, I couldn't tell you the measurements if I tried, maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp depending on how I like the spice. I just dumped it in a bowl till it looked right.

1/4 cup butter, melted
crushed rosemary
poultry seasoning
minced onion flakes
garlic powder

After I rinsed/patted the chicken I brushed it with that mix, and put some in the cavity. Then I hit it with some spray butter to make sure I got all the skin covered so it would brown. I also added a can of chicken broth to the pan so that I would have basting liquid and the chicken drippings/butter wouldn't bake on quite so badly. Basted it every 30 minutes or so and it turned out well. Next time I will use a rack so the skin on the bottom isn't so soggy and maybe use fresh garlic (and more of it). I didn't want the chicken to be too flavored as I want to use it for soup :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

Also found on the inside of the lid of your standard tube of Quaker Oats, but in case you buy another brand of oats or something...oh and Sunmaid raisins sells a "baking" raisin that is pretty good... and make sure you use real butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla or you need not bake IMO. ;) These are also the cookies Nate (my now husband's roommate) devoured in a day in college ;) got this off of the quaker website awhile ago to send to someone.

vanishing oatmeal raisin cookies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins preparation

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Servings: ABOUT 4 DOZEN


Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered,24 BARS

VARIATIONS: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit.

HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.

Emeril's Strawberry Crumb Coffee Cake

This is really really good. I don't remember where I got the original recipe, but it was online not a cookbook so I should be okay to share :)

Emeril's Strawberry Crumb Coffee Cake


1 Teaspoon plus 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons Steen's 100 percent Pure Cane Syrup or other cane syrup
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10 by 2- inch round cake pan with 1 teaspoon of the butter. CAUTION: I made this in a 9x13 pan and it bubbled over like crazy. I now use my deeper glass one and put a junk cookie sheet under this because it will burp.

2. In a medium-size nonreactive saucepan, combine the strawberries, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, and the lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook at a boil for 3 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring, until it thickens, about for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream 1/4 pound of the butter with the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Into a medium mixing bowl, sift 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the salt. Add the flour mixture, buttermilk, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat with an electric mixer until everything is incorporated.

4. In another medium-size mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup butter, the remaining 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Using your hands, combine the mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.

5. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Spread the strawberry mixture over the batter. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the mixture, about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the surface. Put the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown about 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

6. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, cane syrup, and milk until smooth. Drizzle the frosting over the top of the coffee cake. Cut into slices and serve.

I have assembled it the night before and just threw it in the oven in the morning and it turned out great :)

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I loved this soup but of course my husband didn't because it had the dreaded broccoli in it. He will eat broccoli smothered in cheese but apparently it was "too much broccoli" in this soup. Oh well, I will wait until he goes out of town and make it for Dad and I again. Mwahaha.

This recipe is on allrecipes so I'll just direct you over there.... Broccoli Cheese Soup you can feel free to use my suggestions below or make it as is ;)

I added "matchstick" carrots and frozen corn to the broccoli when cooking in the broth. Then added ham cubes when I added the milk/garlic powder. I also didn't have enough velveeta last time I made it so I only used about 1/2 pound of that and 1 1/2 c of shredded cheddar. The people that bitch about the onion probably don't know about the small (slightly larger than a golfball) cooking onions. If you use like a yellow onion you'd have way too much. I also didn't think the garlic powder was too much, but I like garlic and had the other veggies/ham/cheese flavors in there.

Summer Berry Pie

Another low fat dessert recipe :) and also involves jell-o so kids should like it. Got this from my friend Anne at my bridal shower back eons ago.

Summer Berry Pie
Yields: 2 pies (6-8 servings each)

1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups cold water
6 Tbsp corn starch
1 package (6oz) berry flavored gelatin
2 cups fresh blue berries (or blackberries are good too)
2 cups fresh strawberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 9-inch graham cracker crusts
4 cups whipped topping

In a saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch & water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in berries. Pour into crusts & chill until set. Garnish with whipped topping and extra berries.

Orange Creamsicle Pie

This is a low fat low sugar recipe my mother in law gave me a few years ago. It can be modified to any kind of jell-o you'd prefer by changing the yogurt to another flavor or just vanilla.

Orange Creamsicle Pie

1 8oz package fat free cream cheese
1 8oz container light orange yogurt
5 tsp sugar or substitute
¼ tsp vanilla extract (I use a bit more, overflow the measuring spoon)
1 small package sugar free orange gelatin
1 cup fat free cool whip
1 reduced fat graham cracker pie crust

Beat cream cheese and yogurt until creamy, add sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing. Stir in orange gelatin and beat to blend. Fold in cool whip. Pour into pie crust and chill at least 2 hours.

Crockpot Lasagna

This was from a cookbook my Mom worked on right before she passed away. It was for the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce, so I doubt I will be arrested for copyright infringement for sharing it with you. It originally called for 12oz cottage cheese (gross) so I sub ricotta. You can change it back to cottage if you prefer.

Crockpot Lasagna

1 1lb of ground turkey or beef
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a couple shakes of dried minced onion, and a few tsp of minced garlic)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, approx 26 oz. (I used a 3lb jar of Prego)
15oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
12 oz lasagna noodles (not cooked)
12 oz shredded mozzarella (reserve 1/2 cup)

Brown meat and onion (and garlic) in skillet. Drain off fat. Add spaghetti sauce (and I added additional spices) and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If sauce is too thick add about 1/2cup of water to thin it (I did). In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese (reserving 1/2 cup) and the egg (I also threw in pesto here). Mix thoroughly. Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 2 layers of uncooked lasagna noodles (broken into pieces to make them fit). Top with cheese mixture, then sauce, then 2 layers of noodles, then cheese, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup of mozzarella on very top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for approx 3 hours.

Texas Country Potato Salad

my Mom's cousin gave me this recipe. It is *so good* and so easy, but is not a healthy recipe by any stretch of the imagination. Is easy to triple since potatoes come in a 3lb bag ;)

Texas Country Potato Salad

4 strips bacon
1 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled
1 green onion, sliced
1 boiled egg, chopped
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Cook bacon until crispy. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the grease, and crumble. Set aside.Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add a tablespoon of the bacon grease and some salt and place over medium-high heat. (I have omitted the grease before and it turns out okay, just not quite so good) Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let the potatoes cool and then cut into bite-size pieces.In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper for dressing.Toss potatoes, onion and egg in dressing Add bacon. Serve chilled. Even better if you make it the day before you serve it.

Bordelaise Sauce

This one I found on allrecipes, I have made it many many times and love it.

Here is the original Bordelaise Sauce with Mushrooms recipe.

When I am in a pinch and do not have mushrooms (which is pretty much every time because my husband hates them), this is the recipe I came up with based on what was on hand ;) I also don't use fresh shallots or thyme, I have dried. This is the cream of mushroom soup version I guess ;)

Bordelaise Sauce without mushrooms

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dried shallots
1 tbsp minced garlic (garlic is always mandatory)
4 tbsp butter
1 can campbells cream of mushroom soup
2 cups beef broth
2/3 cup red wine (I used a tasty shiraz)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
(he had no bay leaf so that was left out)
dash of dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold water

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the shallots and stir until starting to soften. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, then stir in the cream of mushroom soup until encorporated. Pour in the beef broth, wine, and Worcestershire sauce; season with the thyme, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, season to taste with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, uncovered until the sauce reduces slightly, about 30 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water, and stir into the simmering sauce until thickened.

I boiled some ziti pasta, put the 2 strip steaks sliced up on top and covered with sauce and tossed. Mmmmm. For an experiment it was hella good. Sort of like beef stroganof without the sour cream in the sauce. Tonight I bought some steaks stuffed with wild rice so I plan to bake those with just salt/pepper on them and then top with this sauce.

Glazed Pork

I don't recall where I found this one, I thought it may have been allrecipes but I searched on its ingredients and didn't find it. I love this one because it has a very different flavor and is good to break the rut of casseroles, stews, and soups this time of year.

Glazed Pork

1 pound pork tenderloin (or I buy the tenderloin medallions/pieces already cut for me) trimmed/cut into 16 pieces
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 cup raisins (I omit)
1/4 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp balsalmic vinegar
2 Tbsp capers (I omit)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Combine flour, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, salt, cumin, cardamom, and pepper; rub evenly over pork (I put in a bag and shake it. Or flip the pork around in a bowl. I am lazy). I often do this step hours ahead of time so it can absorb into the meat in the refridgerator during the day.

Combine 1 Tbsp brown sugar, raisins, juice, vinegar, and capers, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add pork; cook 2 minutes, turn pork over and cook 1 minute (I brown mine then flip and brown it again). Add the vinegar mixture; cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens and pork is done. I let mine cook on low while I finish the sides.

This is really good with brown rice or couscous.

Orange Sauced Chicken

I made this the other night for dinner. It was again another weightwatchers board recipe, though I changed the breading method for the chicken to make it at little tastier (though not quite so guiltless). I also doubled the sauce because I was making 3 chicken boobs and the recipe called for 2 tiny ones. I like sauce, so sue me.

Orange Sauced Chicken

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp of orange marmalade
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup flour
2-4 boneless skinles chicken breasts, pounded to a uniform thickness.
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups italian style bread crumbs
spray butter

Add salt, pepper, paprika, and flour to a quart or larger zip lock bag, seal and shake to combine. Whisk egg with milk in a bowl large enough for chicken dunking. Place breadcrumbs on a dinner plate (spread out).

Pam a skillet large enough for your chicken breasts, heat on medium to prepare pan.

Put chicken one breast at a time in the flour bag, seal/shake, then dip in egg mixture and roll in breadcrumbs. Place breasts in the heated skillet as you finish. I then spray buttered them on the side not on the skillet.

Cook the chicken 3-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned on each side. While chicken is cooking, combine the OJ, marmalade, broth, lemon juice, rosemary, cornstarch, and some fresh ground pepper and salt (to taste). Whisk well until combined.

Once the chicken is browned reduce heat, add liquid, and simmer, stirring/flipping chicken occasionally. I let mine simmer for about 20 minutes while I cooked the sides, I had large chicken breasts and wanted to be sure they were done. The original recipe said 5-6 minutes or until chicken is done.

I had enough sauce that I plated the chicken and drizzled sauce over top. Was very good with some these baked potatoes and carrots.

Mexican Lasagna

This was dinner last night, I am calling it Mexican Lasagna. I originally found something similar on the weightwatchers online boards back in 2005 the first time i was on it, I think they called it easy enchilada casserole. I haven't run it thru the points calculator with the changes I've made.

The original recipe called for it to be made in a 7x11 pan, I used the 2.5 quart oval corningware I have and it was just the right size.

Mexican Lasagna

soft tortilla shells (I used the mission large ones so only needed 4, will need more for smaller shells)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 can (15oz) Hunt's fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 small cooking onion diced (or can use 1 - 2 Tbsp dehydrated onion)
1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
10 pickled jalapeno slices, diced (I buy the old el paso ones)
2 Tbsp Chili powder (or less if you don't spice)
1 Tbsp cumin powder
cilantro to taste (some people don't like it, I love it. can substitute parsley if you're not a fan or omit all together)
8 oz velveeta light, cubed
1 can fat free refried beans (I added this, I love refried beans).
1/3 cup sargento mexican blend shredded cheese

brown the meat in a large skillet, drain, wipe pan clean then return meat to the pan. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, spices, garlic, onion, and soup. Stir until combined, I let it simmer a few minutes while I prepped the casserole dish.

Pam the casserole dish well. Tear up tortillas and layer on bottom of casserole in large pieces covering the bottom. I double layered it (2 tortillas thick). Spread entire can of refried beans on top of tortillas. Top with 1/2 of the meat/tomato mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cubed velveeta over top. Place another layer (2 tortillas thick) of the torn tortillas. Add the remaining meat mixture, the remaining velveeta, sprinkle mexican blend cheese over top.

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes