Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Classic & Easy Tuna Melt

I had this for lunch today and it was so good. I thought tuna melts were only for the oven. This way is so much easier.

Classic Tuna Melt

1 (6.4 oz.) pouch StarKist® Chunk Light or Albacore in water
2 tbsp. chopped onion
8 slices bread, toasted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tbsp. chopped celery
4 slices cheese

In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, onion, and celery; mix well. Top 4 of the bread slices each with 1 slice of cheese. Spread tuna mixture over cheese slices and top with remaining bread slices. Spread each sandwich with additional mayonnaise; place in skillet. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.

Tip: carrot and cucumber may be substituted for onion and celery.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cocoa Blocks

I made this recipe last night for a couple of my hot chocolate loving friends. Of course I had to test it out first. The hot chocolate was great, although for just one or two cups I'll make the Williams-Sonoma Hot Chocolate. This recipe makes a lot of blocks and I don't think I'd eat/drink them all up quickly enough.

Cocoa Blocks
from King Arthur Flour

½ cup heavy cream
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
4 (1 oz) blocks unsweetened baking chocolate
wooden sticks

Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; allow it to gently melt. After about 10 minutes, return the chocolate mixture to low heat to completely melt the chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. Add a few drops of flavoring oil if you like; hazelnut, coffee, or vanilla are popular flavors. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Set aside overnight to slowly set up. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a clean cutting surface. Slice into 1 ¼" cubes. Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts. Stick a wooden stick into the center of each block. Roll in cocoa or crushed peppermint candy, if desired. Wrap in waxed paper, parchment, or plastic wrap to store. These store at room temperature 3-4 days, in the fridge about 10 days, in the freezer up to 30 days.

Yield: about 3 dozen blocks. (I only got 16 blocks, but I did cut off the edges so that it would look prettier)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Hot Chocolate

No more Starbucks hot chocolate for me, this recipe is the best!

Best Hot Chocolate
recipe from Williams-Sonoma

4 cups whole milk
6 oz Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2-4 TBSP granulated sugar (we only used 1 TBSP and it was plenty sweet!)

Pour the milk into heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium-high heat, and heat to just below boiling. Whisk in chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon and continue to shisk until milk is frothy and chocolate is incorporated. Whisk in sugar to taste.

Spam Musubi

This one of my boys favorite foods from Hawaii!

Spam Musubi
recipe from
Food Network

5 cups cooked sushi rice, room temperature
5 sheets nori, cut in half lengthwise
1 (12 oz.) can Spam
6 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp sugar
Furikake, to taste (optional, I leave it out)

Cut Spam into 10 slices. Fry until slightly crispy. Remove and drain on plate lined with paper towels. In another pan, combine soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low. Add Spam slices, coating them in the mixture. When mixture has thickened, remove Spam from pan.

Lay a sheet of nori lengthwise on a clean surface. Moisten lower half of musubi maker (see Note), and place on lower third of nori. Fill musubi maker with rice and press flat until the rice is 3/4-inch high. Sprinkle rice with furikake. Top with slice of Spam. Remove musubi maker and keep in a bowl of warm water to keep it clean and moist.

Starting at the end towards you, fold nori over Spam and rice stack, and keep rolling until completely wrapped in the nori. Slightly dampen the end of the nori to seal it. Repeat with the other nine Spam slices, making sure to rinse off musubi maker after each use to prevent it from getting too sticky.

Note: You can also use an empty Spam can that has been opened on both sides for the musubi mold, using your hands (or a piece of Spam) to press down on the rice.

There's a picture tutorial here, but the recipe I used is the one above.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Cocktail Sauce

We ran out of cocktail sauce, so I searched the internet for a substitute. I had no idea making coctail sauce was so easy, and I had all the ingredients on hand. No more store bought for us! Jeff like this recipe better than bottled cocktail sauce.

Basic Cocktail Sauce

6 TBSP tomato ketchup
2 TBSP horseradish
4 TBSP lemon juice
celery salt to taste
tabasco sauce (we left this out)

Shake all ingredients until well mixed. Add celery salt and tabasco sauce to your taste. Chill & Serve

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Nutcracker

During Christmas time we always had a bowl of nuts setting out on our table. I have fond memories of cracking and eating nuts with my family.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Perfect Whole Wheat Bread

This is a recipe that is from the "Bee Prepared" 3 ring binder that I have. My friend made it and it was so good!

2 Loaves Recipe

1 TBSP instant yeast
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey or raw sugar
1 TBSP salt
6-7 cups whole wheat flour

Combine all ingredients. Kneed for 10 minutes. Form into loaves. Place in prepared bread pans and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes

4 Loaves Recipe

2 TBSP instant yeast
5 cups hot water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey or raw sugar
2 TBSP salt
12-14 cups whole wheat flour

Combine all ingredients. Kneed for 10 minutes. Form into loaves. Place in prepared bread pans and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

Here are 2 different Twice Baked Potato recipes.

Twice Baked Potatoes - Food Network

4 large russet potatoes, each about 3/4 pound each, scrubbed and dried
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 scallion, finely chopped
Freshly grated nutmeg, optional
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Pierce each potato in a couple spots with a fork and continue to bake until tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove potatoes from the oven, and turn the heat down to 375 degrees F.

Hold the potato with an oven-mit or towel, trim off the top of the potatoes to make a canoe-like shape. Reserve the tops. Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl. Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together. Mash the potato lightly with fork along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter and sour cream. Stir in the scallion, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Season the skins with salt and pepper. Refill the shells with the potato mixture mounding it slightly. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the potato filling. Brush the reserved top with the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper.

Set the potatoes and lids on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Twice Baked Potatoes - Daisy Brand Sour Cream

8 medium Russet potatoes
4 strips diced turkey bacon (I used regular bacon)
3 finely chopped scallions
2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Daisy Brand Sour Cream
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1 heavy pinch salt
1 heavy pinch pepper
1 heavy pinch chili powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry potatoes. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Poke holes in the potatoes and return to oven for another 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, fry and chop the bacon. Chop the scallions. Remove the potatoes and cool for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slice off the top 1/3 of each potato lengthwise. Holding each with a clean towel, hollow out the potato skins with a spoon leaving about 1/4 inch of the potato on the inside to prevent potato from falling apart during baking. In a large bowl, combine potato interior, butter, sour cream, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, milk, salt, and pepper. Mash until smooth. Stir in bacon and scallions. Fill each potato skin with the mixture. Top with remaining 2 cups of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle each with chili powder as desired. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

My Notes: The Daisy Brand potatoes weren't warm enough for me, so either turn the temperature up to 375, cook them longer than 15 minutes (after filled) or warm the cream before adding it to the potatoes.

French's Crunchy Onion Chicken

French's Crunchy Onion Chicken

2 cups (4 oz.) FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 (5 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

Place French Fried Onions and flour into plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or with rolling pin. Transfer to pie plate or waxed paper. Dip chicken into egg; then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 20 min. or until no longer pink in center.

My Notes: I really liked the texture and crunchiness of this recipe, but it didn't really have a lot of flavor. We just used BBQ sauce on ours and loved it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

1 Week Before...

Shop for as many groceries as possible and don't forget to buy your Turkey!

4 Days before...

Thaw Turkey

3 Days before...

Make Mashed Potato Casserole

2 Days before...

Make Cranberry Centerpiece with floating candles
Fill Car with gas

1 Day before (in the morning)...

Veggie Tray with Spinach Dip
Cheese Ball
Red Jello Salad
Green Jello Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Cranberries (or can be made the day of if you want them served warm)
Thaw Cool Whip for Pumpkin Pie
Set out butter so that it softens
Put Cream Soda in fridge
Don't forget about dinner tonight!!

1 Day Before (in the evening)...
Make Brine & Brine Turkey

Day of...

Blueberry Muffins (eat for breakfast!)
Cook Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
French Bread or Rhodes Rolls

Friday, November 13, 2009

Paula Deens Holiday Hosting Guide

Paula Deen has a free Holiday Hosting Guide available! I love Paula and have 3 of her cookbooks, so I'm really excited about this.

(Make Ahead) Mashed Potato Casserole

This is such an easy dish to make for Thanksgiving. It can be made up to 3 days ahead and cooked the day of Just remember to bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven.

Mashed Potato Casserole

5 lbs potatoes (about 8 large)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (thawed)
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup butter

Cook and mash potatoes. Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth; gradually add to potatoes. Beat in garlic salt and pepper. Put into buttered shallow casserole dish (9x13 works great). Dot with butter. Bake, covered at 400 for 50-60 minutes.

May refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

These are the perfect bite size pumpkin treats! I love making these for Thanksgiving because they are so easy and look so pretty.

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

3 packages (15 tarts each) prebaked frozen mini pastry shells (we used Athens Mini Fillo Shells)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 cups (plus extra for garnish) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon (plus extra for garnish) pumpkin pie spice
1 (3.4 oz) package cheesecake-flavor instant pudding and pie filling
Mint leaves (for garnish)

Remove the shells from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Add the pudding mix and whisk until smooth and thick. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each of the shells (you can also pipe the filling with a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped off), then top the tarts with whipped topping, a sprinkling of the pumpkin pie spice, and a mint leaf, if you like. Makes 45 tarts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maple-Pecan Chicken

I found this recipe online and amazingly had all the ingredients on hand! I made this recipe the same night I found it. That has never happened before :)

Maple-Pecan Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
1/4 cup pure maple or maple-flavored syrup
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup Progresso plain panko crispy bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I used my Nut Chopper for this)

Heat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/2-inch thick. In shallow dish, mix together maple syrup and mayonnaise. In another shallow dish, mix together panko and pecans. Dip chicken into syrup mixture, then into panko. Place on baking sheet. Spray top of chicken with cooking spray. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (165°F) and coating is golden brown.

My Notes:
This recipe was very sweet. A little too sweet for me, so we added barbecue sauce to the top of the chicken and that worked out great!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Nut Chopper

I bought this last year from Williams-Sonoma and LOVE it!! Hannah loves to chop the nuts for me, and it is easy enough for her to turn the handle. Nuts come out perfectly for all your holiday baking!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Banana Nut Bread

Amazingly good!

Banana Nut Bread
by Esther Earl

1 ½ cups mashed bananas or about 3 1/2 bananas (I used my avocado masher for mashing)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 ½ cups sifted flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup nuts (I used walnut)

Mash bananas & cream with sugar, eggs and butter. Add dry ingredients & mix together. Add nuts (optional) and stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

Food Storage Chicken Pot Pie

This was 1st made for me when I gave birth to Hannah. I loved it and asked for the recipe. I was even happier when I saw how easy it was to make! Of course you can always substitute fresh ingredients for canned items. I always buy prepared pie crusts as well, it just makes it even easier!


Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Pie crust:

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups shortening
12-14 TBSP ice water


4 small cans of chicken with juice (drain some of the juice)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can of peas and diced carrots
pepper to taste

Combine chicken, soups, peas and carrots and pepper. Pour into pie crust. Place top layer of crust on and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes


1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 egg (or use gelatin substitute)
¼ cup sugar
1 can corn, drained
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk (fresh or from powdered milk)
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425°F. Put half of the olive oil in a 9x9x2 cast iron skillet and preheat in oven without burning oil. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour batter into preheated cast iron skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. (If you don't use cast iron, mix the other half of the oil in the batter and cook as usual.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple Butter (Vita-Mix Recipe)

This recipe is from Vita-Mix website. Jeff loves apple butter, so I decided to try this (easy) recipe. It turned out great!

Apple Butter

1/2 cup (120 ml) apple cider
6 apples (preferably MacIntosh), stems removed, quartered with seeds and skins.
1/2-inch square piece fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoons allspice
1/4 cup (55 g) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Place apples, cider and ginger into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 5 or 6.
4. Blend for 10 seconds until chopped. If necessary, use the tamper to press any ingredients into the blades.
5. Increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend for 3-4 minutes until mixture is smooth.
6. Spray insides of crockpot with cooking spray for easy cleanup. Pour ingredients from Vitamix container into the crockpot. Stir in sugar and spices.
7. Cook 4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low uncovered until mixture is dark brown. Freeze or process for canning any leftovers. Recipe may be multiplied.

Makes 3 (8 oz) jars.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beef Burrito Skillet

This was very good! If you don't add the tortillas and cheese at the end, you can just use the meat mixture to put in regular tacos or for dipping with tortilla chips.

Beef Burrito Skillet

1 lb lean ground beef
Taco Seasoning (1 pkg or 1/4 cup)
1 can (19 oz) kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup Salsa
1 cup water
4 flour tortillas (6 inch), cut into 1-1/2-inch squares
1 cup Mexican style finely shredded four cheese
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup chopped green onions (about 1 large)

Brown meat in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add seasoning mix, beans, salsa and water; stir. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 5 min. Stir in tortillas; top with cheese. Cover; let stand 5 min. or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Potato Ricer

When you love mashed potatoes as much as I do, a Potato Ricer is a must have. Potatoes come out wonderfully fluffy and smooth.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Crepe Pan

This is the only tool (from my Tool of the Month posts) that I don't have. I REALLY want it, crepes are my favorite breakfast treat!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cucumber Sandwiches

Thank you so much to Jenn for sharing this great recipe! Hannah loves these too, but without the cucumber and seasoning salt. I love them as is, and will probably eat them every day for the next month. Yes, they are that good.

Cucumber Sandwiches

white bread
English cucumbers
4 TBSP softened butter
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Lawry's seasoning salt

Combine butter and cream cheese to make a spread, set aside. Combine sour cream and mayonnaise, set aside. Peel desired amount of cucumbers and slice. Using a round cookie cutter or top of a glass, cut circles out of the center of the slices of bread. (Bread can be cut to any desired size, depending on how many servings you want or the size of the cucumbers.)
Spread each circle of bread with the cream cheese mixture. Place 1-2 cucumbers on bread. Place a dollop of sour cream/mayo mixture on top of each cucumber. Sprinkle a small amount of seasoning salt on top.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Artichoke Holders

One of my favorite tools is these cool little Aritchoke Holders. Ernest, Hannah and I love eating steamed artichokes! Here's a cool link that gives step by step instructions on cooking artichokes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Burger Press

Of course you can just shape burgers by hand, but this is much more fun! With summer here, now is a great time to grill out!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peanut Butter Sundaes-in-a-Cup

This recipe is from Pillsbury and is quick and easy to make for a great summer treat!

Peanut Butter Sundaes-in-a-Cup

¼ cup peanut butter
2 TBSP butter or margarine, melted
1 TBSP light corn syrup
2 cups (1 pint) vanilla ice cream
4 tsp chopped dry-roasted salted peanuts
½ cup hot fudge topping
¼ cup whipped cream (optional)
4 maraschino cherries (optional)

In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, butter and corn syrup until well blended. Spoon ¼ cup ice cream into each of four 6-8 oz. clear plastic or paper cups. Top each with peanut butter mixture and peanuts. Spoon another ¼ cup ice cream into each cup; press down gently. Cover each cup with foil. Freeze 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon 2 TBSP fudge topping into each cup. Top with whipped cream and a cherry.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Cherry Pitter

Perfect for June cherries. I love the splash guard so the cherry juice doesn't splatter!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Princess Popcorn

Here is the popcorn I made for the YM/YW Baked Goods Auction.
It's super cute and sparkly too!

Princess Popcorn

4 cups of popcorn (I used Orville's Tender White)
2 cups Trix or Fruit Loops cereal
1 tsp to 1 TBSP edible glitter or colored sugar (I used the edible glitter)

Mix popcorn and cereal together. Place in cute bowl or bucket. Sprinkle with glitter and enjoy!

I also added a princess notebook and pencil for that extra special touch!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Avocado Masher

I love guacamole, so this tool is perfect for me. It's only 2" in diameter, so it will fit inside small bowls nicely. You can also use it for making egg salad.

4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
½ cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife (or your Avocado Masher), slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baked Goods Auction

Oreo House

Tonight we had a baked goods auction to raise money for the Young Men's and Young Women's camp this year. I made the Diego Cake and Princess Popcorn, Ernest made Truffles & Takeshi made the Oreo House. I wanted Takeshi to make "regular" Chocolate Dipped Oreos, but he had other ideas and make this Oreo House. He suprised us all by getting $28.00 for his creation!

Ernest's truffles sold for $12.00

Diego cake sold for $25.00

Cute Princess Popcorn sold for $25.00
We had a great night and I helped support the auction by buying way too many items! Our treats we bought tasted great and we all had a good time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Egg Slicer

With Easter just around the corner, here's another tool I can't do without. My egg slicer looks slightly different, but does the job just as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

My boys love these Chicken Quesadillas even more than tacos!


Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Sour Cream

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

10 Mission Burrito Size Flour Tortillas
1 container sour cream (any brand)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 (1.27oz.) packet Fajita or Taco seasoning
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper (diced)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)
8 oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese
8 oz. pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Cut the chicken into small pieces. Combine with the seasoning package and mix thoroughly. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink inside. Stir in green and red bell peppers, and onion. Slowly cook for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Layer half of each tortilla with Cheddar cheese and chicken/vegetable mixture. Top the Monterey Jack cheese. Fold each tortilla in half to create a “half moon” and press lightly. Coat a skillet or griddle with cooking spray and warm to medium heat. Lightly brown each quesadilla for 2-3 minutes per side until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into three wedges and serve with sour cream and guacamole.
Quick Guacamole

2 ripe avocados 1-2 TBSP lemon juice
¼ tsp. garlic powder 1-2 TBSP salsa, optional
1/8 tsp. salt
Peel and mash avocados. Add seasonings, adjust seasonings to taste.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Angled Measuring Cups

These angled measuring cups are perfect for measuring liquid ingredients. I bought my 2 and 4 cups size from Target.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I saw this recipe from Patti Cakes and knew I had to try it. I was right, they are great cookies.

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl using an electric mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter; mix well to cream together. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well. Fold in the oatmeal, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips- making sure that all ingredients are uniformly distributed. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baked Spaghetti

This dish isn't hard to make, but it does take a while to cook on the stove. It is definitely worth the wait!


Baked Spaghetti
Garlic Bread

Baked Spaghetti

2 cups canned petite diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
1 ½ tsp House Seasoning (which is 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper & ¼ tsp. garlic powder)
1 ½ tsp. seasoning salt
1 ½ tsp. sugar
2 small bay leaves
1 ½ pounds ground beef
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for 20 more minutes & remove bay leaves. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Cut into squares before serving.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

I found this cute idea from Your Homebased Mom. Very simple and thank goodness she went through all the trial and error for me :) I bought the generic brand or Oreos and should have gone for the "real" deal (double stuffed too). It would have been a lot easier to stand the cookies up once they had been dipped. Cookies are dipped in melted Almond Bark and adorned with sprinkles. Hannah passed these out to her class on Sunday.

This mini cheesecake idea came from Skip to my Lou. The recipe & pan is from King Arthur's Flour and the recipe is called Caramel Chocolate Seduction. I only added the caramel topping to my cheesecakes, because no one else wanted it. Crazy people!

Caramel Chocolate Seduction

2/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
heaping 3/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
pinch of salt
heaping cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

3 ounces caramel, from a block, or 8 to 10 unwrapped candies
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Find a pan that makes 12 individual (1 1/2" to 2") round or heart-shaped cakes; a pan that makes small muffins (not mini muffins) would work. There's no need to grease the pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the crust: Mix all of the crust ingredients, and place a tablespoon of crumbs in each cup of the pan, pressing into the bottom and about 1/4" up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the melted chocolate, vanilla, and egg. Use about 2 heaping tablespoons to fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 35 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges-a small spot in the middle should still look soft. Remove from the oven and cool slowly to room temperature.

To make the glaze: Place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, or put the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at low power. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, so that the glaze thickens slightly but is still pourable. Pour about 1 tablespoon of chocolate glaze onto each cheesecake. Tilt pan to cover completely. Chill cheesecakes before removing from pan.

To make the topping: Place caramel and cream in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, or put the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at low power. Stir frequently, until melted and smooth. You can adjust the consistency by adding more cream to thin the sauce, or by chilling slightly to thicken. Just before serving, drizzle cheesecakes with melted caramel and sprinkle with toasted nuts. Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes.

I wrapped a few up and brought them to church for the Primary Presidency. Hopefully they loved them as much as I did!

Valentine's Day Lunch

Peanut Butter Sandwich Hearts

I found this cute sandwich cutter right before Valentine's Day. It makes the cutest sandwich and Hannah loved it!

Valentine's Day Lollypop Flowers

Lollypop Lilies

Another cute idea from Skip to my Lou. These are Valentine Lollypop Lilies and Skip to my Lou has the downloadable files that make these SO quick and easy to make!

Brownie Hearts

This is what we are making today with our heart cookie cutters. I think they are so cute! We also use our cookie cutter to make fun shapes in our peanut butter sandwiches too.

Brownie Hearts

1 box (1 lb 6.5 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

Heat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with foil. Grease bottom only of foil with shortening or cookie spray. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using pouch of chocolate syrup, water, oil and eggs. Bake as directed for 13x9-inch pan. Cool competely, about 1 hour. Using foil to lift, remove brownie from pan. Remove foil. With deep 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut 12 brownies. Arrange brownies on serving plate. With small strainer, sprinkle brownies and plate with cocoa.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(CrockPot) Party Meatballs

These meatballs are very easy to make, but taste so good!


Party Meatballs
White Sticky Rice
Salad or Vegetable of Your Choice

Party Meatballs

1/3 to 1/2 bag of Costco meatballs
8 oz Russian salad dressing
15 oz can jellied cranberries
1 Lipton onion soup mix
8 oz can crushed pineapple (optional, but we always include it)

Dump all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or 4-5 hours on low, stirring occasionally. (These are also great as an appetizer)

Source: Tonya

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Easy Appetizer (No Cooking!)

Original Roasted Raspberry Cheese Appetizer

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup Fischer & Wieser's Gourmet The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce®
fresh raspberries and mint for garnish, if desired

Place cream cheese on serving dish and pour 1/3 cup Fischer & Wieser Gourmet The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce® (bought at Costco) over top, allowing it to drizzle down sides of cream cheese. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint, if desired & serve with assorted crackers.

Or for a great cheeseball: Whip cream cheese with sauce (using measurements above). Form into a ball, and roll in chopped pistachio nuts or chopped, toasted pecans. Sprinkle parsley on top or drizzle with two tablespoons of additional sauce.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chinese Chicken Salad

At Women's Conference on January 31st we had a great Chinese Chicken Salad lunch. Lunch was great and the Conference was wonderful!

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 lb. package baby spinach
1 head of romaine lettuce, wash and broken into pieces
1 can mandarin oranges, drained (I'd use 2 cans, since I love these oranges)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 chicken breasts, grilled, sliced. Before grilling, sprinkle with "Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning" by McCormick
2 cups fried bean threads (bean threads can be found at Whole Foods or Albertsons). Fry in 2" oil - they poof up quickly

Toss with "Oriental Sesame Seed Dressing" and enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Cooking Torch

Cooking Torch (with Creme Brulee Set)

Creme Brulee is my FAVORITE dessert! I have made this many times, and the kids have the best fun browning the sugar on the top of the Creme Brulee.

You can use a Cooking Torch for melting cheese on French Onion soup, finishing Meringue, glazing Fruit Tarts & browning the top of Twice Baked Potatoes. I've never used it for those things, buy maybe someday I will ;)

Creme Brulee Recipe

1 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP plus additional 1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large or jumbo egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare some boiling water.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and 2 TBSP sugar; cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5-6 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.

Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes (use caution when removing ramekins from oven as they will be very hot!). Chill 2-3 hours.

Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over top of cooled custards. With the kitchen torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins, in a circular motion until sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly.

Best treat ever! (even better than Coconut Ice Cream)

Source: "Creme Brulee Set" box

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happiness is... Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream has ALWAYS been my favorite flavor. It's impossible to find in stores and I can rarely find it the ice cream shops in Las Vegas. When we visit Hawaii, eating Coconut Ice Cream is always near the top of my list (eating guavas is first). So, when I bought my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, I was ECSTATIC to find a recipe for Coconut Ice Cream!! I know it's winter, but I don't care. I'd eat this everyday if I didn't gain weight from it :)

Coconut Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I use 2%)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Place cream, milk, sugar and extract in a medium mixing bowl and combine until well blended. Pour into freezer bowl, turn the machine on and let mix for about 20 minutes. Add coconut and let mix for about 5 more minutes. If there's any left, store in an airtight container in your freezer.

Source: Cuisinart

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Burritos Smotherd with Green Chili


Burritos Smothered with Green Chili
Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Tomato and Onion
Easy Churros

Green Chili

2 TBSP oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
5 TBSP flour
1 14 ½ oz. can tomatoes, chopped
2 cans water
1 4 oz. can chopped green chili
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, more or less to taste (optional)
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Sauté onion in oil over medium heat, cook until onion is soft but not brown. Add meat and cook until done. Stir in flour; add tomatoes, water, green chili, jalapeno peppers, salt, and garlic powder. Stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low, simmer 30 minutes. Use green chili to cover burrito casserole.

Burrito Casserole

1 package, whole grain, corn or flour tortillas (I use corn)
2 cups refried beans; canned, or homemade (about 1 ½ (16 oz.) cans)
2 cups - 4 cheese Mexican blend or cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat tortilla briefly in microwave or on hot griddle so the tortillas are pliable. Place 1/4 cup refried bean mixture inside the tortilla, with 1-2 TBSP shredded cheese, and 1-2 tsp. sour cream. Roll up tightly, place in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Make 8-10 burritos. Smother the burritos with hot green chili in casserole dish. Place casserole in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly. Serve hot burritos on plates, and pass around the optional garnishes below.


½ cup sour cream
2 cups shredded lettuce
1-2 tomatoes, diced
green onions, chopped

Quick Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1-2 TBSP lemon juice
1-2 TBSP salsa, optional
Peel and mash avocados. Add seasonings, adjust seasonings to taste.

Very easy to make ahead and store extra green chili (if any) in the freezer. It's even better the next day as leftovers for lunch!!

Easy Churros

Pillsbury refrigerated bread sticks (or homemade)
cinnamon & sugar mixture

Twist the bread sticks by holding each end and twisting in the opposite directions. Roll gently in cinnamon and sugar mixture and bake as directed.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pistachio Salad

Jeff loves this salad. It's so easy to make and goes great with everything!

Pistachio Salad

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant pistachio pudding
8 oz tub Cool Whip
2-3 cups mini marshmallows

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple and dry pistachio pudding mix. Fold in thawed whipped topping and marshmallows until well mixed. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Aunt Marlene's Baked Beans

I met Aunt Marlene last year in Ohio, and her Baked Beans recipe was a hit!

Marlene’s Baked Beans

1 lb. ground beef – browned & drained
2 16 oz. cans pork and beans
1 can chili beans
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar

Mix all together and cook over medium heat until hot.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chocolate Sauce from Great Grandma Mary James

My Great Grandma passed away right after I turned 2 years old. I am so glad that I have this recipe of hers.

Chocolate Sauce

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
4 1/2 TBSP butter
1/3 cup hot water
2 TBSP Karo light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Add water, syrup, sugar and salt. Cook for 3 minutes, boiling very slightly while continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve hot over ice cream. Store remaining chocolate in refrigerator. To reheat, add a bit of water and heat in the microwave.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Toasted Almond Chicken

This recipe is so good, but definitely NOT low fat!


Toasted Almond Chicken
Broth Simmered Rice
Salad or Green Beans

Toasted Almond Chicken

6 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3 TBSP butter divided
1 ½ cups whipping cream
2 TBSP orange marmalade
(I take out the slivers of orange and just used the “jam” part
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (2.25 oz.) pkg. sliced almonds, toasted

Place chicken between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to ¼ inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Melt 1 ½ TBSP butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove chicken from skillet. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and chicken. Reduce heat to medium; add whipping cream and next 3 ingredients to skillet, stirring well. Add chicken; sprinkle with almonds, and cook 8 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Source: Southern Living at Home – Easy Weeknight Favorites

Broth Simmered Rice

1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
¾ cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice

Heat the broth to boiling over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover the saucepan and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shoyu Chicken

My mom made this for us growing up. It's a wonderful meal that reminds me of home.


Shoyu Chicken
White Rice
Salad or Veggies

Shoyu Chicken

5 lbs. of chicken thighs
2 cups sugar
2 cups shoyu (Aloha brand Soy Sauce)
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 ½ inch length of ginger cut into 1/8" slices (remove before serving)
3 clove garlic - chopped
(or you can buy a jar of chopped garlic & use about ½ to 1 tsp. of the chopped garlic)

Place sugar, shoyu, & vinegar into a sauce pan and heat until the sugar
dissolves. Add the ginger & chopped garlic & stir. Place chicken (skin side up) in a large pan. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil & cook for 1 & 1/2 hours at 350 degrees (uncover for last 1/2 hour). Remove ginger slices. Serve over rice with your choice of salad or veggies.

We have a rice cooker, so I always make my sticky white rice in there and don't have a stovetop recipe for it. Sorry.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

We had this last year for Ernest's birthday and it was great! This recipe is from Jeff's sister Julie, who's an amazing cook.

Peanut Butter Pie

graham cracker preformed pie crust (or make your own)
1 box instant vanilla or french vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
½ carton cool whip (save other half)
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¾ to 1 cup powdered sugar

Mix first 4 ingredients together and set aside. Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar until little balls form.

Layer in crust:
1/3 cup peanut butter mixture
Pudding mixture
1/3 cup peanut butter mixture
Other half of cool whip carton
Last of peanut butter mixture.

Chill and enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tool of the Month - Measuring Cups

I love that these measuring cups come in odd sizes, like 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 1 1/2 cups.