Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chili's Southwest Chicken Eggrolls


So I have always wanted to make this recipe because it sounded so good, but I was always turned off by the ginormous list of ingredients. The list was soooo long, so I figured this must be really time consuming. Thus, months and months went by, and I still hadn't made this recipe. I finally put on my big girl panties and decided to take the plunge into this recipe. I am SO glad I did. We loved these, and they were A LOT easier than I had assumed. I doubled the recipe and was glad I did to use more of the ingredients that I had already opened for the single recipe. Plus, we loved them and wanted more. Don't be afraid, just take the plunge and make these. Your boca will thank you. I did make a couple of adjustments to this so I will include those. Oh, I should mention I have never actually eaten these at Chili's so I have nothing to compare them too, but I hear they are very similar to the restaurant version. These would definitely make a great appetizer for New Years festivities.

Chili's Southwest Chicken Egg rolls

Ingredients:
Egg roll
1 chicken breast fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
5 seven inch flour tortillas

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup smashed fresh avocados(about half of an avocado)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 dash dried dill weed
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash pepper Garnish
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped onions

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cook the chicken breast either on the grill, in a pan, in the oven, use a rotisserie, or boil it. I boiled mine because it was the quickest way for me to cook it. If I am just going to shred the chicken and put it in something, I usually just boil it until it's done.
3. Preheat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add the red pepper and onion to the pan and sauté for a couple minutes until tender.
5. Dice the cooked chicken into small cubes and add it to the pan. Add the corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to the pan. Cook for another 4 minutes.
Stir well so that the spinach separates and is incorporated into the mixture.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.
7. Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high temperature for 30 seconds or until hot.
8. Spoon approximately one-fifth of the mixture into the center of a tortilla. Fold in the ends and then roll the tortilla over the mixture.
Roll the tortilla very tight, then pierce with a toothpick to hold together.
9. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have five egg rolls.
10. Lay the egg rolls out on a baking sheet. Brushed them with a little bit of oil, and bake them at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
11. While the egg rolls cook, prepare the avocado-ranch dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
12. When egg rolls are done, slice each egg roll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around a small bowl of the dipping sauce.
13. Garnish the dipping sauce with the chopped tomato and onion.

Adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/chilis-southwest-egg-rolls-18319

Friday, December 24, 2010

Banana Cream Pie


Here's a last minute pie for the Christmas festivities tomorrow. This is the best banana cream pie I have ever encountered. It doesn't have any of those imitation banana flavors or banana pudding. It does have a vanilla custard type filling with real bananas. It tastes fresh and delicious. I'm not even a huge banana fan, but this pie, oh my, I cannot resist it. I don't know why I haven't posted it before. My momma has made it my whole life. Whenever I'd be places where they offered pie, I'd think, "I'll get banana cream pie because I looooove it!" But then I began to realize, I don't love banana cream pie. I love my Momma's banana cream pie. Big difference! :)

Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:
9-inch baked pie shell

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large bananas
1-2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Directions:
Bake pie shell. Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Blend milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; blend in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto filling in saucepan and cool to room temperature or put in refrigerator to cool.

Peel and slice bananas; arrange layer of banana slices 1/2 inch keep in baked pie shell. Pour in cooled filling. Cover. Chill pie thoroughly, at least 2 hours. Best if chilled overnight. Just before serving, top pie with sweetened whipped cream. Then invite friends over to consume because you might be tempted to eat it all yourself.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

These little guys are so easy and fun to make. They make great holiday treats and are fun to do with the kiddos too.  Plus, let's be honest, who doesn't like that mixture of salty and sweet?  It's perfect! 

How to make Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 10 oz. bag of pretzel rods
Toppings of choice

These were my toppings. What are your favorites?

Directions:
1. In a glass bowl, melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave for one minute. Stir. Then continue to melt the chocolate for 15 second intervals stirring each time until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

2. Pick your toppings. I put my toppings on paper plates. Each topping went on a separate plate in preparation for the pretzel. Then at the end I just threw the plates away. Next time, I'm just going to use wax paper. I'll put each topping on a separate square of wax paper for the pretzel rod roll.


3. Dip pretzel in chocolate. I had to spoon some of the chocolate onto the pretzel to get the chocolate closer to the end. Then roll the pretzel in the desired topping.

(What in the world?  You'd think I was decorating a log of poo. The more I look at it, the more I think it.  Hopefully you will still make chocolate pretzels after viewing this picture.)

4. Put dipped and topped pretzel onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

(See!!!  They do turn out looking pretty.)

5. Let the chocolate cool. Then wrap if desired. I bought pretzel bags at Michaels. They worked great! Such a fun, easy, and delicious holiday treat!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Easy Pleasy Peppermint Bark


This delicious recipe is so perfect for Christmas! It's easy to make and so yummy! You will never want to buy peppermint bark in the store. My sister created this peppermint bark recipe. She is an excellent cook. I wished we lived closer so I could indulge myself on more of her scrumptious morsels. Thanks Tiffy for the fantastic recipe!

Easy Pleasy Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
2 - 16 oz. bags of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (or four cups)
1.25 lbs. Ghirardelli white chocolate dipping bar (you could also use white almond bark or 1 1/2 bags of Wilton white candy melts)
3 full sized peppermint candy canes (or more if desired)

Directions:
Line a medium sized cookie sheet with parchment paper. Crush the candy canes in a zipper bag (e.g. Ziploc) with a small hammer or the butt of a butter knife until you have the desired size of pieces (large or small, depending on your preference). Set aside. Melt the dark chocolate chips or bars in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave for 15 sec., then stir. Repeat this until the chocolate reaches desired consistency. Once it has a creamy consistency, pour onto the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. Spread out evenly with a spreader or scraper. Wait for the dark chocolate to harden. If you are in a hurry, put in the refrigerator for a few minutes. In another bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave until it reaches the desired consistency following the same method as with the dark chocolate. Pour the white chocolate over the dark and spread with scraper so none of the dark chocolate is showing. Immediately spread the crushed candy pieces over the top so as the white chocolate hardens, the candy cane pieces stick to the chocolate. Again, wait for the white chocolate to harden and put in freezer/refrigerator for a few minutes. Once the peppermint bark is hardened, lift out parchment paper, hold paper securely on all sizes and gently drop the solid slab of peppermint bark on a hard surface to make natural breaks in the peppermint bark. Continue this process until you have pieces small enough to enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coconut-crusted Chicken Tenders

Have I mentioned that I love coconut? I absolutely adore it. Unfortunately, hubs does not like the coconut. Sometimes I try to be considerate and not make all these deliciously tantalizing things with coconut in them just out of pure gluttony for myself. Sometimes, that is... Besides the fact that it is just plain yummy, coconuts also remind me of the beach, sun, summer, all of my favorite things. My happy place (in my head) is sitting on a hot, sunny beach, sipping some fabulous beverage of exotic tropical fruits surrounded by good company. Hmmmmm....... Alright, back to the coconut. These little chicken guys are absolutely fabulous. Hubs really liked them as well. So even if you aren't a coconut lover, give them a try. We love them dipped in Sweet Red Chile Sauce. You can find it at the grocery store in the Thai section. They are fabulous plain as well or with other sauces. Enjoy!

Coconut-crusted Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:
1 package boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 Tablespoon vegetable/Canola oil
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.
1. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add panko and cook until golden. Remove to a shallow dish to cool.

2. Using the same skillet, add coconut and brown slightly - do not overdo or the coconut will burn in the oven when the chicken is baked. Toss coconut with panko in the shallow dish.

3. Pour coconut milk into a second shallow dish. In a third dish, combine 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper.

4. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Wash chicken and dry with paper towels. Dredge in flour, then dip in coconut milk, followed by coconut/panko mixture. Place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Be careful that the coconut doesn't burn.

6. Serve with dipping sauce(s) of choice, if desired!

Recipe Source: Unfortunately, I cannot find where I found this recipe from. I found it on a blog somewhere on the web, but I went back a searchin' for it and I found nothin'. Thank you unknown blogger friend for the great recipe.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies


These are fantastic and well loved Christmas goodies. We made them for a party and they got devoured! Plus, they are so easy to make. Especially if you do it the easy way like I did for the party. I totally used a box cookie mix. They still turned out great and saved me lots of time that I needed.

Ingredients:
1 box Pillsbury Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies(or your favorite chocolate chunk cookie recipe)
1 Bag of Candy Cane Kisses

Directions:
1. This is the trick to these bad boys: Place the kisses in the freezer! The candy cane kisses melt really fast when placed on the cookie. They will turn to a gooey kiss on your cookie if you don't freeze them.
2. Make the cookies as directed on the box. Cook them according to the directions on the package. Take them out of oven and let the cookies cool for 3-4 minutes. Unwrap kisses and push into the middle of cookie. You're done! Super easy and great for Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Spinach Salad


This spinach salad is so easy and so good. I can't believe I haven't posted it yet. I've had the recipe for years. My sister-in-law Shalae made this for us at a family dinner and everyone loved it. I hadn't ever made it for the hubs yet. He couldn't believe I hadn't because it's such a tasty little thing. It's a perfect side for most meals. We had it with our Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells.

Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
spinach (around 20-30 oz. of leaf spinach)
red onion, chopped (however much you like)
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
4 hard boiled eggs, cut and crumbly

Dressing:
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce

Stir it up and you're done! This makes a large salad with dressing so half it if you have a smaller family.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells


These spinach and sausage stuffed shells are superb, spectacular, succulent, sensational, and above all simple. Seriously... :) This is one of our personal creations. We love it. We've previously made it with ground beef, but let me tell you (and my hips and buns) that sausage is so much better. It's worth the extra calories to add the sausage. Plus, this is a fun red and white themed dish for the Chrismas holidays!

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:
1 pkg. (12 oz.) jumbo shells, uncooked
1 lb. sausage, browned
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. garlic
1-2 oz. spinach chopped
3 cups spaghetti sauce

Directions:
Heat oven to 375. Cook shells according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet. Drain grease. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together cheeses, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic and spinach. Then add the sausage. In a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce or enough to create a thin layer of sauce in bottom of dish. Fill each cooked shell with sausage/spinach mixture. Fill the shell so that it is full, but not bursting. Put each shell in the pan with the sauce. Once pan is full of shells, spread remaining spaghetti sauce over the shells. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Side note: I always have about 10 extra cooked shells left when making this.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Savory Onion Twist


This is what I call pretty bread. It just looks plain pretty to me. Sitting there in all it's glory, lookin' all delicious and such. It could be the foodie centerpiece of a Christmas dinner. I almost hated to dig in...Almost... :) This bread definitely was delicious. It was my first attempt at this so my twirlin' of the bread got a little crazy and skiwhompish (is that a word?). So I had to cook mine for a little longer than the recipe calls for. This definitely made my taste buds giddy.

Easy Refrigerator Dough

1 package or 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 cup unseasoned lukewarm mashed potatoes
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
6-7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in potatoes, sugar, shortening, salt, eggs and 3 cups of the flour. Beat with spoon until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover bowl tightly; refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 5 days. Punch down dough before using.

Savory Onion Twist

1/2 of the Easy Refrigerator Dough from above
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or miracle whip
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions:
1. Prepare Easy Refrigerator Dough. Divide dough in half; cover and refrigerate half of cough for another use.

2. Grease large cookie sheet. Roll remaining half of dough on lightly floured surface into rectangle, 15x10 inches. Mix 1/2 cup of the cheese and the remaining ingredients. Spread cheese mixture over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up dough, beginning at 15-inch side; pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.

3. Cut roll lengthwise in half. Place halves, filling sides up and side by side, on cookie sheet; twist together gently and loosesly. Pinch edges to fasten. Cover and let rise in warm place about 25 minutes or until double.

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with 1/2 cup remaining cheese. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


This lasagna was fantastic! We loved it. The vegetables added such a great flavor. It wasn't too rich like some lasagnas can get. It is a little time consuming if you make your own sauce, but I've always considered lasagna to be that way. It takes a whole lot of kitchen lovin' and dish washin' to make lasagna. This recipe is mmm...mmm.....good.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

1 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced and diced
2 medium zucchini sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (16 ounces)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (4 ounces
Tomato Sauce (See recipe below)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Place peppers, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms in single layer in pan. Sprinkle the vegetables with the salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes, turning vegetables once, until vegetables are tender.

While vegetables are roasting, prepare Tomato Sauce (see recipe below). Cook and drain noodles as directed on package. Rince noodles with cold water; drain. Mix cheeses; set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch pan, with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce in dish; top with 3 noodles. Layer with 3/4 cup sauce,
1 1/4 cup vegetables and 1 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers 3 more times with remaining noodles, sauce, vegetables, and cheese mixture.

Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tomato Sauce

1 pound ground beef (leave out the ground beef if you want it vegetarian style)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic colves, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Spray 2-quart saucepan with cooking spray. Cook beef, onion and garlic in saucepan over medium heat until beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 15-20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Recipe Source: adapted from Betty Crocker's Best Christmas book and my Momma's lasagna recipe

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup

Seriously...delicious! A fabulous breakfast for a cold wintery almost December morning! The syrup is absolutely fantastic!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

1 Eggs—Separate whites and yolks
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/8 cup oil
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tbls. sugar
3/4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 - 1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Mix egg yolks, milk, sour cream, oil and pumpkin. Mix together flour, sugar, soda, salt, and spices. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and barely mix. Beat egg whites til stiff and fold into other ingredients. Pour batter onto a preheated, greased skillet and cook. Serve with Cinnamon Syrup.

Cinnamon Syrup

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly. Pour into serving dish. Makes about 1 cup.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel


I love sweet potatoes. I love with all the sweet and sugary topping. I love them plain. I love them with some butta'. Yep, I love them. Did I already mention that? So this recipe is no exception. Fabulous!

Ingredients:
6 sweet potatoes (you want shorter and fatter rather than long and skinny sweet potatoes)
2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of sopts and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily.

3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and flour together until it's crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and marshmallows; fold the streusel topping together to combine.

4. Slice the sweet potates lengthwise down the center and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Stuff the sweet potatoes generously with the streusel topping and return to oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until topping is bubbly and brown.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Tyler Florence

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Bars


These pumpkin bars are a well loved treat. Our great friends gave this recipe to us when we lived in Kentucky. We had many a game night where we played games into the wee hours of the night gorging ourselves on these pumpkin bars. Seriouly, some of the best pumpkin bars. Thanks Mortensen's for the fabulous recipe!

PUMPKIN BARS

Ingredients:
4 beaten eggs
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin or one 16 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, oil, sugar, pumpkin and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix together. Pour into 11X14 inch greased cookie sheet. Spread until evenly distributed. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix together:
2 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons softened butter
6 ounces softened cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

(May need to add 1 tsp. to 2 Tablespoons milk if frosting needs to be a little thinner. I've never had to add any milk.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

These are my mini loaves.

I make this pumpkin bread every year. This could quite possibly be the best pumpkin bread I have ever tasted. EVER!!! It is absolutely delicious, and it stays so moist. You won't want to miss this recipe. You could all 5 loaves by yourself. Yep, it's that good. It's that addictive.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

3 cups pure pumpkin
6 eggs
1 ½ cups oil
4 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 ½ cups water
4 2/3 cups flour
1- 24 oz. bag chocolate chips (save back some chips to sprinkle on top of loaves)

Mix dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients mixing well. Add chocolate chips. Sprinkle a few of the chips on top of the loaves before baking. Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes. Makes 5 large loaves.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


Hello! Where have you been all of my life? These muffins are fantastic! Just the smell of them cooking makes your mouth water. The cream cheese filling was rich and creamy. The crumb topping was perfect. Oh my, I think I need to make more muffins!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Ingredients:
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the platic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whish to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on lower speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner. slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Yield: 24 muffins

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Creamy White Chili

So I have been looking for a white chicken chili for a while now. I've made a few that have cleared our sinuses, but have been looking for one with just the right amount of heat and flavor without making us blow our noses throughout the whole dinner. We really enjoyed this recipe! I can always tell by my husband's reaction whether a recipe is not so good, okay, good, or excellent. This definitely was classified as excellent. I finally found a white chicken chili we both like. This chili was on the spicy side for my two year old. I had to add sour cream to her bowl to calm down the heat. This is a really great cold weather chili. Loved it! It pairs excellently with this corn bread recipe.

Creamy White Chili

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained (I used white kidney beans.)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: The Taste of Home Cookbook

Linked to:  Cookbook Sundays hosted by Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oatmeal Brownies


Imagine eating an oatmeal cookie with a brownie and there you have it - Oatmeal brownies! We love brownies around our house. I actually prefer this recipe to normal brownies. My husband is a diehard basic brownie lover, but he really liked these as well. I love the oatmeal base and oatmeal topping. Anything with a crumb or oatmeal topping is fabulous in my book.

Oatmeal Brownies
Crust and topping:
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Filling:
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2/3 cup butter or margarine
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, mix oats, 3/4 cup flour, the brown sugar and baking soda. Sitr in melted 3/4 cup butter. Reserve 3/4 cup oat mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, heat chocolate and 2/3 cup butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; remove from heat. Stir in granulated sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir in
1 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder and salt.

4. Spread filling over baked crust. Sprinkle with reserved 3/4 cup oat mixture. Bake about 30 minutes longer or until center is set and oat mixture turns golden brown (do not overbake). Cool completely. Cut and serve.

Recipe Source: Betty Crocker Fall Baking booklet

Linked to:
Cookbook Sundays hosted by Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Monday, November 1, 2010

Caribbean Pork Loin with Pineapple-Raisin Relish


This is a deliciously moist and tastebud tantalizing dish. The relish is so good with the raisins, but if you don't like raisins it would still be really good without it. You've got to try this one. I find that pig is one of my favorite meats. This meal again reaffirmed the fact that I love my porky. This recipe comes one of the best cooks I know - my Momma! :)

Caribbean Pork Loin with Pineapple-Raisin Relish

Pork:
1 cup packed fresh oregano leaves (I used 2 Tablespoons dried.)
I cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. finely shredded lime peel
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
1 4-lb. bone in loin center rib roast (I used a boneless center cut pork loin roast.)

Relish:
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
1 cup golden raisins
4 green onions
1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In food processor or blender, combine oregano, 1 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, the lime peel, 3 Tbsp. lime juice, 2 tsp. salt, the garlic and cumin. Cover and blend or process until chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until incorporated.

2. With sharp knife, score surface of pork with small slits. Place in roasting pan, bone side down. Pour herb mixture over roast. Roast, uncovered 1 1/4 - 2 hours or until thermometer inserted into center of roast reads 160 degrees, spooning herb mixture over meat two or three times during roasting. Lightly tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes.

3. For relish, in bowl combine pineapple, golden raisins, onions, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 3 Tbsp. lime juice, 2 Tbsp. cilantro, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Layered Taco Dip Halloween Style


This is a fun and tasty dip for Halloween. It's easy to make, tastes good, and always get gobbled up at a party. All this picture is missing is a spider. I should have created an olive spider or something. Or even just put a plastic spider on it. Anywho...it tasted delish. :)

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, trimmed and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package (8 oz.) cheese (choose your fav)
1/2 -1 cup sour cream
Tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:
1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, until beef is browned. Stir in 3/4 cup water and taco seasoning. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in refried beans until well combined and heated throught. Set aside.

2. In a medium-size bowl, mix together tomatoes, 3/4 cup green onions, the sugar, garlic salt, and black pepper.

3. In a shallow serving bowl, spread out the beef mixture. Then put sour cream in a ziploc bag, cut off the corner and squeeze out into a web design. Put the tomato mixture around the edges. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the tomato mixture. (If you want to make this normally, you can layer the ingredients.) Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Family Circle Magazine - Sept. 2009

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Witches' Brew


We made this for a Halloween Party last night. It was a hit! So many people wanted the recipe. Seriously, the easiest recipe and so, so good.

Ingredients:
1 quart lime sherbet
1 container (12 oz.) frozen limeade, thawed
1 bottle (2 liter) ginger ale
Gummi worms (if desired)
Lime slices (if desired)

Directions:
In punch bowl, mix sherbet, limeade and ginger ale. Garnish punch bowl or individual cups, if desired. Serve! We just mixed ours up in a pitcher and served it without garnish. It was great!

Recipe Source: Pillbury Halloween Fun booklet

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple-Peach Crisp


This was a very yummy and easy fall dessert. We really enjoyed it! Slap some ice cream on the side. Mmm, mmm, good.

Apple-Peach Crisp

Ingredients:
3 cups sliced peeled apples
2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 glass baking pan with shortening or cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, toss apples, peaches and granulated sugar. Pour into baking dish. In same bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over fruit.

3. Bake 30 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit is teander. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Betty Crocker Fall Baking Magazine

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


WOW!!! Light, fluffy, moist, delicious! These cookies are fantastic. I have never seen a cookie recipe with so many eggs in it! I was definitely curious as to how they would turn out. I am now definitely in love with them.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups pumpkin, canned
3/4 cup oil
7 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I added a few more) :)
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixer bowl mix together sugars, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin, oil, and eggs until well blended. In a separate bowl, blend baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour; combine with pumpkin mix. Mix together until well blended, then add chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or a well-greased pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Note: I used fresh pumpkin that I had pureed instead of canned so my cookies will probably be lighter in color than when using canned pumpkin.

Recipe Source: Lion House Cookbook

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fancy Spaghetti Squash

I love when people donate their fresh garden vegetables to my kitchen. I love the fresh vegetable and the challenge of making something new with it. My sister in law gave us a spaghetti squash to use recently. We really enjoyed this recipe. My hubs is not a fan of the squash family, and he even conceded that it was a good side dish. I think this is a fantastic
dish for a fall dinner.

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet

2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.

4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Allrecipes.com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blackberry Cream Pie


Incredible! Wonderful! Tantalize the Taste buds Good! This pie is a new version of a previously posted favorite. This is our favorite pie recipe with a new twist. Blackberries! Here in Oregon there are tons of wild blackberries to pick along the walking trails. There nothing better than free fresh blackberries to make this pie! I could eat this pie all by myself. Not even joking.

Ingredients:

1 baked pie crust
1 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Prepare and bake a single pie crust shell. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt; stir to mix well. Add 2-3 tablespoons milk to sugar/flour and stir to create a smooth paste. Add remaining milk and stir to blend. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook pudding mixture until it begins to bubble; continue to cook 1 additional minute (mixture will be thick). Stirring egg yolks constantly, spoon a small amount of pudding into beaten egg yolks. Pour egg yolks into saucepan and stir well to mix. Return pan to heat and continue to cook until mixture thickens (very thick) do not allow to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool pudding.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the cool pudding mixture. Spoon this mixture into the baked pie shell. Cover and chill pie for at least 1 hour to partially set.

In a medium saucepan, crush berries with a potato masher. (So I actually do it with my fingers because I take out the middle white part of the blackberry. I don't care to have those in the pie. Then I mash out the rest of the clumps with a masher if needed.) Add 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and water; mix well. Over medium heat, stirring, bring berries to a boil (berry glaze will be clear and thickened). Remove from heat and cool. Spoon berry glaze over pudding in pie shell. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight to set. Garnish with an additional dollop of whipped cream or berries as desired. Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins


These muffins are fantastic! My family loves them. I make the giant size muffins for my husband and I and the mini muffins for the kids. This recipe came from my fabulous friend Celia, who also gave me the dynamite cornbread recipe.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 apple, peeled and grated
2 cups grated carrots (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional - You can add your favorite type of nut!)

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until smooth. Add oil and vanilla and mix. In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until moist. Then add the coconut, apples, carrots, and nuts and stir. Bake in greased muffin cups at 350. For making large muffins, bake for 25 minutes. Regular muffins - 20 minutes. Mini muffins - 15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Barbecued Meatballs


This is a family favorite appetizer! It is great for a crowd! This recipe comes from my momma.

Meatballs:
3 lbs. ground beef
1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped onion

Directions:
To make meatballs, combine all ingredients and shape into walnut-sized balls. Place meatballs in a 9x13 inch baking pan or on a cookie sheet. To make sauce, combine all the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce evenly over the meatballs. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Makes approximately 80 meatballs. You can also freeze the meatballs before you cook them. If you freeze them, bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

My niece gave me this recipe. Let me tell you about her. The girl is 10 and is already cooking up a storm. My sister will come home from work and see her daughter finishing up pan pizza for dinner or some other delicious meal. At 5 years old, my niece would make me eggs for breakfast! 5!!! She is an excellent cook. She passed this recipe on to me. I really like this meal because you can put it in the crockpot and it is so yummy. I am not a huge fan of crockpot meals. Don't get me wrong, I love to use the crockpot. I just don't find tons of recipes for the crockpot that I am in love with. This one is definitely a keeper though! Thanks to my fabulous niece for sharing her recipes with me.

Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast tenders
2 8 oz. packages mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup (2 sticks butter), cut into chunks
1 package (1 pound) uncooked fettucine
Chopped fresh parsley (if desired)

Slow Cooker Directions:

1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange chicken in single layer in bottom of slow cooker. Top with mushrooms; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

2. Combine cream cheese, parmesan cheese, milk, and butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until smooth and heated through. Pour over mushrooms, pushing down any that float to surface. Cover; cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

3. Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain.

4. Serve pasta with the sauce, chicken, and mushrooms from the crockpot. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Greek Salad


I am a huge fan of the greens. A delicious green salad is a great pairing for almost any main dish for me. This salad was very good!

Greek Salad
Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill (2 tsp. dried dill)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Dressing Directions:
In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Whisk together until well combined. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and shake well before using again.

Salad Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce
Sliced red onions
Sliced black olives (I left these out because the hubs greatly dislikes them.)
Grape tomatoes, halved
Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Crumbled feta cheese

Salad Directions:
Add romaine lettuce to a salad bowl. Add toppings. Put dressing on side or on top as desired.

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coconut Pancakes


I love coconut so it should come as no surprise that I love coconut pancakes as well. Mmmmm!!!! Delicious!

Coconut Pancakes

1 egg - separate whites and yolk
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/8 cup oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix egg yolks, coconut milk, and oil. Mix together flour, sugar, coconut, soda, and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into other ingredients. Pour batter onto hot griddle and cook yourself up some pancakes! These go so, so well with this delicious coconut syrup.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fresh Peach Pie


This is a great peach pie recipe! This recipe is from my momma-in-law.

1 baked and cooled pie crust

Filling:
1 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Use a small amount of whipping cream to blend with the cream cheese. Blend with beater. In another bowl, whip the remaining whipping cream and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Then add it to the cream cheese mixture. Pour into baked and cooled pie shell. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Topping:
1 1/2 cups finely mashed fresh peaches (about 3 medium-large peaches)
3 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbls. sugar
Extra sliced peaches for the top

Blend together mashed peaches, cornstarch, and sugar and cook over medium heat until thick. Cool. Spoon peaches over cream cheese mixture in pie crust. Top with the peach slices. You can top with additional whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shrimp Tacos

This recipe is really yummy! I rarely cook seafood in my house because I don't like fish. I do love shrimp but have very little recipes I cook with that use shrimp. This, however, is quite delightful and easy. We will definitely be eating this again.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. shrimp (any size, I used 71-90)
1 medium red bell pepper cut into thick slices
1 red onion cut in thick slices for grilling
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
bamboo skewers (for grilling shrimp on grill)
Flour tortillas or crisp taco shells (whichever you prefer)

Taco garnishes:
lettuce
avocado
salsa
cheese
sour cream
cilantro sprigs

Directions:
1. Marinate shrimp, peppers, and onion with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Marinate for at least 1 hour. (I marinated mine overnight.)

2. Spray grill with non stick spray or olive oil. Prep at high temperature. Arrange shrimp on bamboo skewers. Grill for 2 1/2 -3 minutes on each side. Grill the peppers and onion. You can just set them on the grill or use skewers. Peppers and onions should be grilled until nicely caramelized and tender. (So, we have to buy a new part for our grill so I used our George Foreman. It worked out great!)

3. Fill each tortilla or taco shell with some shrimp, peppers, and onions. Add a little lettuce, salsa, avocado, sour cream, cheese and cilantro. (Add or leave out any of the garnishes.) With these tacos, less is definitely more because you want the delicious flavor of the shrimp, peppers, and onions to come out.

Servings: 2-4

Adapted from: Simple, Seafood Summers Recipe Booklet

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake from the Cheesecake Factory

All the layers of this heaven sent cake before frosting the edges.

Mmmmmm!!!!!

The frosted edition.

After digging in!

This is a little piece of heaven on earth for me! I love this cake from Cheesecake Factory. Maybe we should call it a big piece of heaven on earth because the cake is huge. It has eight layers. Yes, eight delicious layers. It's actually 4 layers repeated twice. What are these delicious layers you might ask? Here goes: Moist chocolate cake, creamy chocolate chip coconut cheesecake, chewy brownie, and toasted coconut pecan frosting. Oh my mouth is watering! So I searched and searched online for a copycat recipe for this dessert. I couldn't find one much to my dismay! That's when I decided to create my own. I was so happy with how it turned out! Now I don't have to pay $7.50 when I want a piece of this baby. The cake itself is easy to make. It just takes time because you have to freeze and refrigerate parts of it in order to assemble it. It is so worth it though! The cake is very similar to the Cheesecake Factory's. The big difference is that I put buttercream frosting around the edges of mine. The Cheesecake Factory has a different frosting around the outside. The buttercream frosting was fabulous.

Kimmy's Version of Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake from the Cheesecake Factory

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake Layer:
1 Box Mix of German Chocolate Cake
(Plus ingredients to make cake)

Brownie Layer:
1 Brownie Mix
(Plus ingredients to make brownies)

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake Layer:
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Coconut Pecan Frosting:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cube butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk (adjust to get to the right consistency)

Directions:
1. The Cake Layer
Make cake according to directions on box. Prepare 2 9 inch cake pans by putting wax paper in it and spraying it with cooking spray. Pour half the cake mix into each of the pans. Cook according to box mix for the 9 inch pans. Check with toothpick to make sure they're done. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. (You can wrap them in the pans or remove them from the pans and wrap them.)

2. The Brownie Layer
Make brownies according to directions on box. Prepare 2 9 inch cake pans by putting wax paper in it and spraying it with cooking spray. Pour half the brownie mix into each of the pans. Cook for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean at the degree specified on the brownie mix box. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. (You can wrap them in the pans or remove them from the pans and wrap them.)

3. The Cheesecake Layer
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together softened cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. Then add the coconut, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Prepare 2 9 inch springform pans by putting wax paper in it and spraying it with cooking spray. Pour half the cheesecake mix into each of the pans. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until middle is set. Remove from oven and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. The Coconut Pecan Frosting Layer
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. (It should be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.) Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency.

5. The Buttercream Frosting
Mix all ingredients until light and fluffy. Not too long or it will get too gooey.

Putting it all together:
I froze the cake and brownie layers overnight. The cheesecake was refrigerated overnight. The next day I made both the frostings. I leveled the chocolate cake with a cake leveler. If you don't have a leveler, just eyeball it. The first layer of the cake was the chocolate cake. Next the cheesecake. Then brownie. Then coconut pecan frosting. Repeat the layers: chocolate cake, cheesecake, brownie, coconut pecan frosting. Use the buttercream frosting around the sides. I left the cake out for 1/2 a day so the layers could settle together. Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy!

Linked to:  A Themed Baker's Sunday

Recipe Source:  This is my personal creation!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BBQ Chicken Ranch Spaghetti


I found this recipe and knew I had to try it. I love BBQ Chicken, and it sounded so easy. It was easy and delicious!

BBQ Shredded Chicken and Caramelized Red Onion Ranch Spaghetti
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 lb thin spaghetti noodles
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons dry Ranch Dressing Mix
3/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Shredded BBQ Chicken
Mozzarella Cheese (grated)
Parmesan Cheese (grated)

1. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Place olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. Saute red onions until softened and golden. Add cooked spaghetti to onions; mix and add dry Ranch Dressing seasoning and cilantro leaves. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Place noodles onto serving plates and top with warm shredded BBQ chicken. Garnish with cilantro leaf, shredded parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chris's Gourmet Hamburger Patties


These are quite possibly the best homemade hamburgers I have ever had. They were so scrumptious. This is our 3rd time having them in 1 month. I really don't repeat meals that often so it just goes to show how delicious they are. They are so perfect for summer grilling out on the deck with family and friends. I love summer and all the food that comes with it. This burger goes great with pepper jack cheese! This recipe comes from my wonderful sister-in-law Christina. She is an excellent cook and makes up tons of her own recipes. She also has a fabulous herb garden and uses all her fresh herbs in her recipes. Fresh herbs make a huge difference. You have got to try these burgers!

Chris's Gourmet Hamburger Patties

1 lb hamburger
3/4 - 1 lb ground sausage
1 T dry thyme or 2 T fresh thyme
1/4 C dry onion or very finely chopped fresh onion
Salt and pepper

Mix together and form into patties. Grill until done all the way through.

Our favorite way to serve this is with:
Pepperjack cheese
Grilled onions
Barbecue Sauce or Ranch
Tomato (optional)
Lettuce (optional)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Parmesan Zucchini

I've seen this style zucchini all over the web and my mom also makes zucchini this way. If you haven't yet tried it, it is delicious. I love zucchini so of course I enjoyed the dish. The hubs hates zucchini, but thought it was the best zucchini he had ever had.

Zucchini
Summer Squash (if you want)
butter
parmesan
garlic salt
pepper

Cut zucchini and squash into slices. Layer in the bottom of a baking dish. Place butter chunks on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Then top it off with parmesan. Cover with foil and cook at 400 for about 20 minutes. Take off foil and cook for about 5 extra minutes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin



This recipe was fantantic! It sounds like the craziest combination of spices, but it turns out marvelously. We absolutely loved it. It turned out so juicy and tender also. I found this recipe at a blog called Annie's Eats. (I only made one pork tenderloin and halved the recipe.)

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

For the spice rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total)
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the glaze:
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. (2-3 cloves) finely minced garlic
1½ tsp. Tabasco sauce (I used Frank's Hot Sauce.)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to blend. Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from the heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes (I put mine in a glass baking dish), until an instant-read themometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140˚ F. Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Super Easy Stuffed French Toast


So we had all this left over bread hanging around from a family reunion. I couldn't freeze it because my freezer is packed. I was trying to think of some way to use the bread because I hate wasting food. This stuffed french toast was the perfect solution. This was so easy to make and so good.

Ingredients:
12 pieces of bread
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
cinnamon
5-6 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
whipped cream
berries

1. Soften the cream cheese and mix in the sugar and vanilla. Spread this mixture on a slice of bread and top it with another piece of bread. Repeat with remaining bread.

2. Heat your griddle. Mix the eggs, milk, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Dip the stuffed bread in the egg mixture. Turn to coat all sides. Then place on griddle and cook.

3. Top with whipped cream and berries. Delish! (Makes 6 pieces of stuffed french toast.)

Linked to: 
This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking

Friday, July 9, 2010

Honey Mustard Pork and Mango Kabobs with Coconut Cilantro Rice


My hubs and I got our first grill last summer. We have absolutely loved grilling. I'm always trying to find new recipes for the grill. I got this idea from some random store recipe and then created these pork and mango kabobs! These are fabulous! We loved them. This one is a keeper!

Honey Mustard Pork and Mango Kabobs


6 Wooden Skewers
2 Tbsp. honey mustard (I used French's honey mustard dipping sauce.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. pork cut into cubes (I just cut up boneless pork chops)
2 mangos (You want the mangos to be almost ripe, but still firm. If they're too ripe, they get mushy on the grill.)
1/4 cup honey

1. In a large bowl, mix honey mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Coat cubed pork in this marinade and cover. Let it marinate at least 1 hour (preferably over night).

2. Cut mangos into cubes. Thread cubes of pork and mango onto skewers, alternating meat and fruit.

3. Set your grill at medium-high heat with the flame directly under the cooking area. When grill is ready, lay skewers on, close lid and cook about 10 minutes. Turn occasionally until pork is browned on all sides and cooked through.

4. Coat kabobs with honey and cook about 1 minutes longer.

So yummy! Here's the Coconut Cilantro Rice recipe we paired with it! It was perfect.

Cilantro Coconut Rice

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) basmati (or jasmine) rice
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 Tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno, including seeds
2 Tablespoons vegetable/Canola oil
2 cups water (I cooked the rice in part water, part coconut milk)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped

Directions:
1. Wash rice in several changes of cold water in a bowl until water is almost clear. Soak rice in cold water 30 minutes, then drain well in a sieve. (I totally skipped this step).
2. Spread coconut in a skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden; watch carefully so it doesn't brown too much or burn. Cool completely.
3. Cook ginger and jalapeno in 1 Tablespoon oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until chile is softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
6. While rice cooks, pulse together coconut, cilantro, scallions, and remaining Tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
7. Add cilantro mixture to cooked rice and stir gently until combined well.

(found on Epicurious.com)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies


My hubby's all time favorite dessert is brownies. The boy loves them. He can eat at least half a pan in one night. I kid you not! I've been trying to come up with ways to fancy schmacy up these brownies for a little variety (for me of course). We really love these brownies. Of course, we love anything with Oreos and brownies combined.

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies
1 package brownie mix (Hubby loves Pillsbury brownie mix!)
20 chopped Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to the setting directed by the brownie package. Line an 8x8' baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

2. Prepare the brownie mix as directed by package. Fold the 20 chopped Oreos into the batter. Pour into the baking pan.

3. To prepare the cream cheese mixture, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix until well blended and smooth. Drop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in dollops. Use a butter knife and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the brownie mixture.

4. Cook for time directed on package. I needed to use the higher time when cooking them plus a few minutes. Check with a toothpick until it comes out mostly clean.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blueberry Scones


These are tasty little breakfast morsels! We gobbled them up! I found the recipe here. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones
makes 8 scones

8 Tablespoons cold butter, plus more for brushing
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, frozen

Grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater, and freeze.

Preheat oven to 425, and combine the dry ingredients. Stir in frozen butter. Whisk together the sour cream and whole milk, and stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be crumbly, but that’s okay. (My dough wasn't crumbly.)

Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and knead a few times. Roll out into a 12×12 inch square. Using a bench scraper, fold the dough into thirds, then fold into thirds again in the opposite direction to form a square. Roll the dough out into a 12×12 inch square again, and refold. Place on a well-floured plate, and freeze for 5 minutes.

Roll out to a 12×12 inch square for a final time, and press the blueberries into the dough in a single layer. Carefully roll up, as you would cinnamon rolls. Press the roll into a 4-inch wide rectangle. Using the bench scraper, cut into 4 rectangles. Then cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. At this point the scones can be baked or refrigerated overnight. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


If you like mushrooms and veggies, you'll love this! I loved this recipe. It is so delicious and healthy. If you want to reduce the fat even more, leave out the provolone. The cheese is so good on this though. I got this recipe from a Better Home and Gardens magazine.

1 small yellow sweet pepper, cut in bite-size strips
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1 carrot, coarsely shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 5-oz. pkg. fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 (4 inch) portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
4 slices provolone cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. In a skillet cook and stir sweet pepper, onion zucchini, carrot, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat 4 minutes. Stir in basil, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper. Top with spinach; cover. Cook for 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat. Stir crumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese into spinach mixture; set aside.

2. Remove gills from mushrooms, if desired. Arrange mushrooms, stemmed side up, on prepared pan. Top each with slice of provolone cheese. Divide spinach mixture among mushroom caps. Bake 15 minutes (mushrooms will water slightly). Top with remaining Parmesan. Bake 2 minutes more or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cookie Stuffed Cupcakes

(The inside of the cookie stuffed cupcake!)

I found this delectable dessert on Picky Palate. We loved this dessert. I changed up just a few things from the original recipe mainly by filling it with different cookie dough. Seriously, you will want to eat them all up!

Cupcakes:
1 box white cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
Favorite Cookie Dough (I used a chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough. It was fabulous!)

Frosting:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and sour cream into a stand or electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for close to 2 minutes or until well combined. Scoop into 24 paper lined cupcake cups just over 1/2 full. Next, press 1 Tablespoon prepared cookie dough into the center of each cupcake batter. Bake for 18-24 minutes or until toothpick comes out mostly clean from center. Let cool completely.

2. Place cream cheese and butter into mixer, beat until well combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar until good frosting consistency then spread with cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deep Dish Pizza


We love this deep dish pizza. It comes from my friend Krista's blog. It is excellent!

Deep Dish Pizza

2 1/3 – 3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil

In your mixer combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine warm milk, sugar and olive oil. While your mixer is on low, slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Let the machine knead the dough for 5 minutes. Put in a greased bowl and let rise. After dough has doubled in size put dough on lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 7 inch circle. Place over your knuckles moving the dough around in a circle so that the middle is thinner than the sides. Put 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of pan. Spread the olive oil evenly throughout the pan. Place the dough into a cake pan and press out to the sides of the pan, trying to avoid getting the oil on top of the dough. You need enough so that it will fry the bottom of the dough. Let the dough rise 10 minutes. The put on your favorite toppings. Bake on bottom rack of oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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