Tuesday, December 27, 2011


2 1/2 t (1 pkg) yeast
1 1/3 c warm water
1/4 c olive oil, plus more
1/2 t salt
4-5 c flour
marinara sauce
meats (pepperoni, sausage, ham, chicken, etc)
veggies (olives, mushrooms, peppers, onions, jalapenos, etc)
herbs (basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, etc)
cheese (Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parmesan, etc)

1. Using stand mixer with dough hook, dissolve yeast in water; add oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth.
2. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a soft dough; knead on low for about 10 minutes until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
3. Place dough in a greased glass bowl and turn once so dough gets greased as well; cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400*.
5.Punch down the dough and halve it; lightly grease, or line with foil, one (refrigerate/freeze half of the dough for later use) or two cookie sheets (halve the dough and perform steps 6-10 for each calzone).
6. Roll out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface; transfer to cookie sheet and turn lengthwise.
7. Spread enough marinara sauce to just cover the middle third of the dough with about 1/4" or less of sauce; layer meats, veggies, herbs, and cheese.
8. Rotate sheet 90* and cut slits in the dough from the outer edge in to the sauce, stopping about 1/4" from the sauce; rotate sheet and repeat for the other side of the dough [slits|filling|slits].
9. Rotate sheet 90* so that it's lengthwise again and braid dough slits like you're lacing up a shoe (one side across filling and then the other, repeat, repeat, repeat); pinch the ends to seal them.
10. Brush calzone with olive oil and sprinkle on some more herbs, if desired.
11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown; place on cooling rack to cool.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies
6 T butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c molasses
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
1 T ground ginger
3/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t allspice

Icing (opt):
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 T milk
food coloring, opt

1. Cream butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer on low; add molasses and vanilla and mix until combined.
2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and allspice. Fold dry ingredients in to butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, halve it, and wrap it in plastic wrap; place in fridge for an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350*; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes until pliable. At this point you can either roll out the dough and cut it out with cookie cutters or roll in to balls, roll those in sugar, and press down with a fork (like peanut butter cookies) before baking.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges just begin to brown; transfer to wire racks to cool.
7. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and milk. Divide the mixture into different bowls and dye as desired.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Stollen is a traditional German cake, typically eaten during the Christmas season.
(I tweaked this recipe from Food Network)

For the Fruit:
1 c mixed dried fruit (I used dried pineapple and cranberries)
1 c raisins
1/4 c dark rum (or orange juice)
For the Sponge:
1 pkg (or 2 1/4 t) yeast
1/4 c warm water
2/3 c warm milk
1 t honey
1 c flour
For the Dough:
1/3 c honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c butter, softened
zest of 1 lemon
1 t salt
1/2 nutmeg
1/2 c chopped almonds, toasted
3-4 c flour
For the Filling:
2 T butter, melted
2 t cinnamon
3 T sugar
For the Topping:
1/2 c powdered sugar
    1. Prepare Fruit: Combine the mixed fruit, raisins, and rum; cover and set aside; shake every so often to coat the fruit with the rum.
    2. Prepare Sponge: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in to the water to soften; add the milk, honey, and flour. 3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until light and full of bubbles, about 30 minutes.
    4. Make dough: In stand mixer bowl, add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, nutmeg, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge; using the paddle, beat the mixture on medium low speed for 2 minutes.
    5. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl (or in my case, until you start to see flour hanging out at the bottom of the bowl, not getting mixed in).
    6. Change to the dough hook; continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to clean the bowl. Knead 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low.
    7. First rise: Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil; cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
    8. Shape and Fill: Turn the dough out onto a slightly greased surface; divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 7x9-inch oval.
    9. Brush the melted butter over the top of the ovals; combine the cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle over one half of each oval, lengthwise.
    10. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and carefully lift onto cookie sheet lined that's been lightly greased or lined with parchment paper; press lightly on the folded side of the dough to help the loaf keep its shape during rising and baking.
    11. Second rise: Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
    12. Preheat oven to 375*; bake for 25 minutes. Immediately place loaves on a cooling rack.
    13. Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar just before serving.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Beef Stew

    Beef Stew
    2 1/2 c chuck beef, cut into bite-sized (or smaller) pieces
    1- 750ml bottle of red wine*
    6 cloves garlic, minced and separated
    3 bay leaves
    3 T olive oil, separated
    2 onions, chopped
    1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
    1/2 lb mushrooms, de-stemmed and halved
    1 lb small potatoes, chopped
    2 c chicken broth
    1 T rosemary
    2 T Worcestershire sauce

    1 T salt, plus more to taste
    2 t pepper, plus more to taste
    1- 10 oz pkg frozen peas

    1. Place beef in a large bowl with a lid; add wine, 3 garlic cloves, and bay leaves.
    2. Seal and refrigerate overnight.

    3. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and heat to medium heat.
    4. Lift half of the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and place in pot to brown for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once browned, transfer to slow cooker on "keep warm" or "low". Repeat for the rest of the beef. Discard bay leaves, but save wine marinade.
    5. Pour out any remaining liquid in pot; heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes.
    6. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes; transfer all of the vegetables to the slow cooker.
    7. Add the reserved marinade to the empty pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. It will start to "foam"; let it foam pretty high and add a little bit of chicken broth; repeat until it no longer smells like alcohol and all broth is added.
    8. Add rosemary (rub between fingers as you sprinkle in so it releases its oils), Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker and turn up to high heat.
    9. Cook for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat.
    10. Stir in peas just before serving, season to taste, and serve hot.
    *If you don't like the taste of wine, or would rather not cook with it, skip the marinating and start with step 3.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread

    Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread
    2 t yeast
    1 1/3 c warm water
    2 T olive oil
    2 t salt
    3 1/2 c flour
    1/2 c butter, melted
    2 T parsley
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

    1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and water; let sit for about 5 minutes until yeast has started to foam; mix in olive oil, salt, and flour.
    2a. If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, until elastic.
    2b. If mixing by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough becomes elastic, about 7-10 minutes.
    3. In a small bowl, combine butter, parsley, and garlic; set aside.
    4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled non-metal bowl; cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
    5. Punch down the dough; tear into bite-sized pieces, coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a springform pan, round cake pan, or bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls.
    6. Sprinkle on 1/3-1/2 of the Parmesan cheese; continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 2-3 layers.
    7. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.
    8. Preheat oven to 350*. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve hot with a side of marinara sauce.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Nutella Coconut Pecan Pie

    Nutella Coconut Pecan Pie
    6 tbsp butter
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    3/4 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp coconut extract
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
    1 cup pecans
    1/2 cup Nutella
    1 frozen 9" deep dish pie crust, unbaked

    1. Preheat oven to 350*; line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
    2. Add butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt to a saucepan and stir frequently over medium heat until the butter has melted and the brown sugar has dissolved, about 7-10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut extracts; let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. While the sugar mixture is cooling, spread Nutella evenly in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust and place it on the cookie sheet.
    5. Once the sugar mixture has cooled, temper the beaten eggs and then mix in until completely incorporated; stir in coconut and pecans.
    6. Pour the pecan-sugar mixture over the Nutella. Place the cookie sheet in the upper third of the oven.
    7. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and set up; place on a wire rack to cool.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011


    I think store-bought stuffing is disgusting. Here's my remedy. :)


    1/4 c shortening
    1/2 c butter
    1/2 onion, chopped
    4-5 stalks celery, chopped
    1/2 c parsley
    1 T poultry seasoning
    1 t salt
    1/2 t pepper
    1/2 c milk
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 c chicken broth
    12 c (about 12-15 slices) bread, cubed and slightly stale*

    1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9x13 pan.
    2. In a large skillet, saute shortening, butter, onion, and celery.
    3. Take off heat and add in parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper; mix well.
    4. Stir in milk, eggs, and broth.
    5. Place bread in a large bowl and pour mixture over bread; toss to coat well.
    6. Press in to 9x13 pan and bake for 45 minutes.
    *You can either leave the bread out overnight, or place it in the oven on warm for about an hour, tossing every 15 minutes or so.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Lasagna Timpano

    This recipe changes every time I make it, so the recipe is just a guideline.

    Lasagna Timpano
    1 1/2 boxes lasagna noodles
    1 c alfredo sauce
    1 c pesto
    2 c marinara sauce
    3-4 c cheese (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Provolone)
    pepperoni, sausage, salami, ground beef, etc (opt)

    1. Preheat oven to 350*; lightly grease a large, heavy oven-safe bowl.
    2. Cook noodles to al dente; to make the crust, line the bowl with noodles, meeting at the center of the base of the bowl, hanging over the edge of the bowl, and overlapping a bit (this is the hardest part).
    3. Now you layer. Sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles, meat, noodles, etc (or however you want to mix it up - make it your own). I recommend keeping things on the drier side (1/2 c sauce per layer) to keep it from falling apart when you flip it. End by folding the crust noodles in and covering the top of the lasagna.
    4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes; let rest for at least 20-30 minutes before attempting to flip it.
    5. Place plate over bowl and quickly flip lasagna out on to plate; cut like a cake and serve with extra marinara sauce.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Slow Cooker Potato Soup

    Slow Cooker Potato Soup
    1- 32 oz bag frozen Southern-style hash browns, thawed
    1/2 onion, diced
    1-2 medium celery stalks, diced
    1- 32 oz box chicken broth
    1 c water
    3 T flour
    1 c milk
    2 c Cheddar cheese
    4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (opt)
    4 green onions, sliced (opt)
    salt and pepper, to taste

    1. Mix potatoes, onion, celery, broth, and water in slow cooker; cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
    2. In a small bowl, mix flour and milk; stir in to slow cooker.
    3. Cook soup on high for 20-30 minutes, or until soup thickens; stir in cheese until melted.
    4. Serve topped with bacon, green onions, salt and pepper.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Royal Icing

    Royal Icing
    2 egg whites
    1 1/2 t vanilla extract
    1-1 1/2 t almond extract
    2 c powdered sugar

    1. Whip egg whites and extracts until foamy; slowly add powdered sugar as you continue to whip icing.
    Color, if desired, and use immediately or refrigerate.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Pumpkin (Chocolate Chip) Bread

    Pumpkin (Chocolate Chip) Bread
    2 c [whole wheat] flour
    2 t cinnamon
    1 t baking soda
    1/4 t baking powder
    1/2 t salt
    1 1/2 c sugar
    3/4 c canola oil
    3 eggs
    1 t vanilla
    1- 29 oz can pure pumpkin
    1 1/2-2 c chocolate chips (opt)

    1. Preheat oven to 325*; butter and sugar two loaf pans.
    2. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
    3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add pumpkin.
    4. Fold dry ingredients, including chocolate chips, in to wet ingredients and blend until just incorporated.
    5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.
    6. Cool for 15 minutes and then turn out on to cooling rack to cool completely.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Butternut Squash Soup

    Butternut Squash Soup
    1- 3-4 lb butternut squash
    1 T olive oil
    1/4 t salt
    4 c (32 oz box) chicken broth
    2 c water
    1 t nutmeg
    1 t cinnamon
    2 t brown sugar
    salt and pepper, to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and throw away seeds and membrane. Brush oil over cut sides and sprinkle with salt.
    3. Place squash, cut sides down, on a cookie sheet; bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
    4. Cool slightly until you're able to pick up squash with your bare hand, scoop out the meat, and discard the skins.
    5. Place squash and broth in food processor (mine could only hold half of the broth with the squash, so I just added the rest in the pot); leave the feed hole open to allow steam to escape and cover it with a towel to avoid splattering.  (An immersion blender in the pot would also work well.)
    6. Blend until smooth, pour into a large pot, and stir in water and spices*.
    7. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Serve warm.
    Makes around 9 to 10 cups.
    *You can change the spice amounts to your own liking - have fun and make it your own!
    **Every 2 cups contain less than 110 calories!

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Basic (Green) Smoothie

    Basic (Green) Smoothie
    3/4 c yogurt (I use Yoplait Light)
    1 c juice (I use Crystal Light) or water
    1 banana, fresh or frozen, opt
    1.25 c frozen fruit (berry medley, strawberries, peaches, etc.)
    1-2 large handfuls of spinach or kale, opt
    2 T flaxseed, opt

    1. Place all ingredients in the blender; blend on high speed until blended well.
    *Play around with ingredients and make it your own - these are just guidelines*

    Green smoothie with spinach:

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Orange Coffee Cake

    Orange Coffee Cake
    1 can refrigerated jumbo flaky biscuits
    1-2 T butter, softened
    1/3 c sugar
    1/4 chopped walnuts (opt)
    1 orange, separated
    1/2 c powdered sugar
    2 oz [light] cream cheese

    1. Preheat oven to 350* and butter a 9" round or square pan.
    2. Cut each of the 8 biscuits in half and arrange in the pan; brush butter over biscuits.
    3. In a small bowl, combine sugar, walnuts, and orange zest; sprinkle over biscuits.
    4. Bake for 20 minutes.
    5. In the same bowl, sift powdered sugar over cream cheese and blend well; stir in orange juice.
    6. Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake and serve warm.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken

    I got this recipe from here and then I tweaked it a bit.

    Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken

    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2/3 c [chunky] peanut butter
    1 c chicken broth
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
    1 c shredded zucchini
    1/3 c soy sauce
    1 t sugar
    1 [red or green] bell pepper, julienned
    1 T lime juice
    1 bunch cilantro, chopped
    13.25 oz [whole wheat] linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti, cooked and drained
    chopped peanuts, for garnish

    1. Combine garlic, peanut butter, broth, chicken, zucchini, soy sauce, sugar, and pepper; toss into the slow cooker.
    2. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours; 30 minutes before serving, stir in lime juice and half of cilantro.
    3. Serve over noodles and garnish with peanuts and remaining cilantro.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Pancake Mix

    Pancake Mix
    2 c [whole wheat] flour
    1 c old-fashioned oats
    2 T brown sugar
    2 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    2 T flaxseed (opt)
    4 t cinnamon (opt)
    ½ c chopped almonds (opt)

    1. Combine all ingredients in food processor.
    For every 1/2 cup of mix, combine with 1 egg white and 1/2 cup water.
    Each 1/2 cup of mix yields 2 pancakes; makes 4 cups of mix.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Peanut Butter Bars

    These taste just like a Reese's cup! Thanks for the recipe, Ashley!

    Peanut Butter Bars
    1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened
    1 c (smooth) peanut butter
    1 sleeve graham crackers (the whole package), crushed fine
    1 c, plus more if needed, powdered sugar
    2 c chocolate chips

    1. Cream butter and peanut butter until smooth.
    2. Mix in graham crackers and then powdered sugar; start with 1 cup and add more, if necessary, to get to a creamy, but not crumbly, texture.
    3. Spread peanut butter mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 pan; sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
    4. Place pan in oven and heat until chocolate chips are mostly melted. (I turn the heat all the way up and then keep an eye on it.)
    5. Spread chocolate evenly over peanut butter layer; refrigerate until cool.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    2 c sugar
    5 eggs at room temperature
    1 1/2 t vanilla extract
    1 1/2 t almond extract
    3 c flour
    1 t baking powder
    1/2 t baking soda
    1/2 t salt
    1 c buttermilk*
    1- 14 oz bag sweetened, shredded coconut, separated
    *You can substitute 1 Tablespoon vinegar in 1 cup milk

    1. Preheat oven to 325*.
    2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides every once in a while.
    3. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each one; add extracts and mix well.
    4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    5. Alternate adding 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the buttermilk to the batter until both are incorporated; mix until just combined and then fold in about 3/4 of the coconut.
    6. Line a muffin pan with paper liners; fill each liner about 2/3 full with batter.
    7. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the tops are brown and they pass the toothpick test; allow to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.
    Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    8 oz [reduced-fat] cream cheese, softened
    1/2 c sugar
    1 t vanilla extract
    1/2 t almond extract
    2 c heavy whipping cream

    1. Cream the cream cheese, sugar, and extracts in a large mixing bowl with mixer on medium speed until smooth.
    2. While the mixture is still mixing, slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream; make sure that you get it all incorporated by scraping down the bowl every so often.
    3. Continue whipping until the frosting can hold a stiff peak.
    4. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

    Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1- 10.75 oz can Campbell's Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup
    1- 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
    2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
    [brown] rice, cooked

    1. Turn slow cooker on low; place chicken in slow cooker.
    2. Mix soup and sauce together in a medium bowl and pour over chicken.
    3. Cook for 4-6 hours; shred chicken about an hour before serving.
    4. Stir in cheese and rice about 15 minutes before serving.
    Tortillas, tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole, and extra cheese optional.

    [I did not get a picture of this dish, but it pretty much looks like the inside of a chicken enchilada. Ole!]

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Poblano Tacos

    Poblano Tacos
    2 T vegetable oil
    1/2 onion, halved and cut into strips
    6 poblano peppers, cut into strips
    8 oz cream cheese
    2 T garlic salt
    2 t ground cumin
    1 t pepper
    10 oz Oaxaca cheese, shredded*
    Spicy Ricey Beef Mixture (opt)

    1. In a large skillet or wide, shallow pan, heat oil over medium heat.
    2. Add onion and pepper strips and saute for about 10-15 minutes, until onions are tender.
    3. Cut cream cheese into skillet and add spices; stir frequently until cheese melts completely.
    4. Turn heat down to low and sprinkle Oaxaca cheese into skillet - do not sir in.
    5. Allow cheese to melt completely without stirring.
    6. Serve wrapped in a warm tortilla.

    *You can substitute mozzarella cheese.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    No-Bake Cookies

    No-Bake Cookies
    2 c sugar
    1/4 c cocoa powder
    1/2 c butter, softened
    1/2 c milk
    1 c peanut butter (preferably crunchy)
    1 T vanilla extract
    3 c oats

    1. In a medium pot, bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
    2. Take off heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and oats; drop onto wax paper and let sit until cool and set up.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken

    Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken
    1/2 lb bacon, chopped into small pieces
    1 green pepper, diced
    1 medium onion, diced
    2-3 stalks celery, diced
    3 chicken breasts, cubed
    1-2 T Cajun seasoning
    1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
    3 c cooked rice

    1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; set aside in refrigerator.
    2. Add pepper, onion, and celery to pan; cook for 3 minutes over medium-high heat.
    3. Spoon vegetables into slow cooker.
    4. Sprinkle chicken with half of the Cajun seasoning; cook chicken in pan, turning once, until brown on both sides.
    5. Place chicken and any remaining bacon fat into slow cooker, pour in tomatoes, and stir in remaining seasoning.
    6. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Stir in bacon and rice before serving.

    (The picture isn't amazing, but this is really tasty.)

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Black Bean Dip

    Black Bean Dip
    1- 15.25 oz can black beans
    1/2 c salsa
    2 T lime juice
    1/4 t cumin
    about a 1/4 bunch of cilantro, to taste
    salt and pepper, to taste

    1. Place beans, salsa, lime juice, cumin, and cilantro in a food processor; process until smooth.
    2. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

    Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops
    2-3 eggs
    1 c grated Parmesan cheese
    1 c Italian-style bread crumbs
    4-5 (1/2-3/4" thick) center-cut pork chops
    salt and pepper, to taste
    4-6 T olive oil

    1. Whisk eggs in a shallow dish. Put cheese and bread crumbs each in their own shallow dish, or plate.
    2. Pat pork chops dry and rub with salt and pepper. Press in to Parmesan, dredge in eggs, and then press in to bread crumbs. (Repeat for each pork chop.)
    3. Pour olive oil into a large skillet and place on stove over medium heat. Once the oil has heated up, lay 1-2 pork chops in the oil.
    4. Cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness, on each side. Serve warm.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Dark Muddy Buddies

    Dark Muddy Buddies
    4 1/2 c rice Chex cereal
    1/4 c creamy peanut butter
    2 T butter, softened
    10 Hershey's special dark kisses, cut into small pieces
    1 t vanilla
    3/4 c powdered sugar

    1. Measure cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
    2. Mix peanut butter, butter, and kisses in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high for 30 seconds.
    3. Stir vanilla into mixture and pour over cereal; toss well to coat.
    4. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cereal and toss to coat.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Freezing Bell Peppers & Green Onions

    I found red bell peppers for a steal at a local market and bought a bunch. I knew I wouldn't use them all before they went bad, so I decided to freeze them. Here's how I did it:
    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Slice or chop peppers into desired size; lay one layer on parchment paper.
    3. Place in freezer for 45 minutes.
    4. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air and seal bags, and place them in the freezer.

    Here's how I froze green onions:
    1. Rinse green onions and dry completely.
    2. Line a baking sheet with a paper towel; chop green onions as usual and spread on baking sheet in a single layer.
    3. Place baking sheet in freezer for 30 minutes.
    4. Remove from freezer; put onions in plastic container(s)*, cover, and freeze.
    *You can also use a freezer bag if you let out all the air before storing.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Buttered Garlic Top Sirloin

    Buttered Garlic Top Sirloin
    8-10 oz top sirloin(s)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    2 T butter, per steak
    1-2 cloves garlic, per steak

    1. Take steak out of the fridge about a half hour early to bring it to room temperature; meanwhile, prep the grill.
    2. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and then rub salt and pepper into both sides of the steak.
    3. Melt the butter and mix in garlic; slather on one side of steak.
    4. Lay steak, butter side down, on the grill; slather garlic butter on the top side of the steak.
    5. Cook steak for 8-10 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and how well done you like your steak.
    6. Once cooked, let it rest on the plate for about 5 minutes before cutting/serving.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Baked Potato Chips

    Much healthier than anything you'll buy in a bag.

    Baked Potato Chips
    2 large or 3 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/8"-thick slices
    2-3 T olive oil
    2-3 t black pepper
    2-3 t salt

    1. Preheat oven to 450* and line two baking sheets with foil.
    2. Place all ingredients in a large ziploc bag; shake to coat evenly.
    3. Spread potatoes out on baking sheets in a single layer.
    4. Bake for 25 minutes, rotate sheets (top/bottom and front/back), and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

    Sour Cream Cucumber Salad
    1 large cucumber
    3/4 c water
    3/4 c white vinegar
    1 1/2 t salt
    1/2 c [light] sour cream
    1/2-1 t dried dill, to taste
    1/2 t sugar
    pepper to taste

    1. Slice cucumber super thin; place in ziploc bag along with water, vinegar, and salt.
    2. Soak for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
    3. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, dill, sugar, and pepper.
    4. Drain cucumbers, rinse, and drain again. Repeat a few times if desired.
    5. Add cucumber slices to sour cream mixture and coat evenly.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
    1 c butter-flavored shortening
    1/2 c peanut butter
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 t almond extract
    1 1/2 c flour
    1 t baking powder
    1/4 t salt
    1 1/4 c chocolate chips
    1- 11.75 oz jar hot fudge topping
    1/2 c chopped walnuts (opt)

    1. Preheat oven to 350*; foil-line and grease a jelly roll pan.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed; beat in eggs and almond extract until smooth.
    3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix at low speed until thoroughly combined.
    4. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
    5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test; cool in pan, on wire rack.
    6. Place chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute; stir.
    7. Microwave and stir in 15-second intervals until melted and smooth; stir in hot fudge and then microwave for another 15 seconds. Spread over warm peanut butter bars and sprinkle with walnuts.
    8. Chill for 1 hour, or until chocolate layer is firm, and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Rosemary Turkey Hash

    My healthier, bunless take on this recipe.

    Rosemary Turkey Hash
    1 lb ground turkey
    1/4 c [light or fat free] mayonnaise
    1 T rosemary, crushed
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 t salt
    1/4 t pepper

    1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
    2. Grill, uncovered, in a pan over medium-high heat; stir frequently until cooked through.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Hash Brown Casserole

    Hash Brown Casserole
    6 slices [turkey] bacon
    1/2 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    4 c hash browns, frozen
    3/4 c [light] sour cream
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 bunch green onions, chopped
    1/2 t salt
    1/4 t pepper
    1 1/2 c Cheddar cheese, separated

    1. Cook bacon in a large skillet, crumble on to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain fat.
    2. Place onions and garlic in pan and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
    3. Stir in potatoes; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl, combine crumbled bacon, sour cream, soup, green onions, salt, pepper, and 1/2 c cheese. Add potato mixture and toss gently.
    5. Spoon mixture into greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
    6. Cover with foil that has been greased; refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.

    7. Preheat oven to 350*.
    8. Remove casserole from refrigerator; thaw for 15 minutes before putting in oven.
    9. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes; uncover and bake an extra 20-25 minutes or until bubbly around edges and cheese begins to brown.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Roasted Rutabagas

    Roasted Rutabagas
    1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
    3 T olive oil
    1/2 t salt
    1/2 t pepper
    1/2 t apple cider vinegar
    4 t chopped parsley

    1. Preheat oven to 425*; line a baking sheet with foil.
    2. In a large ziploc bag, toss rutabaga cubes, olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.
    3. Bake 40 minutes, shaking once. While still hot, toss with apple cider vinegar and parsley.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

    This is a super moist recipe straight from Hershey's.

    Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
    1 3/4 c flour (I used 1 c white and 3/4 c wheat)
    1 3/4 c sugar
    3/4 c cocoa
    1 1/2 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    2/3 c butter, softened
    1- 16 oz container [light] sour cream
    2 eggs
    1 t vanilla

    1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9x13 pan.
    2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
    3. Add butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.
    4. Bake for 45 minutes.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    No Salt Taco Seasoning

    No Salt Taco Seasoning
    3 t chili powder
    1 t cumin
    1 t red pepper flakes
    1 t garlic powder

    1. Blend all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.
    Equal to one taco seasoning packet from the store.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Roasted Chicken

    Let me preface this by telling you that I do not eat meat off of bones. Like ever. But my sister convinced me to try this easy recipe and I did. And I loved it (as long as hubby cuts it off the bone first).

    Roasted Chicken
    1 whole (6-7lb) chicken
    about 4 T kosher salt
    2 white onions, 1 sliced in to rings and 1 diced
    1 c diced celery
    1 c diced carrots
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 T black pepper
    2-3 lemons, sliced into rings

    1. Pull all of the guts and grossness out of the bird and rinse inside and out. Liberally apply salt to outside of bird and throw some (about a tablespoon) in the hole, too.
    2. Place on a dinner plate, wrap bird and dinner plate in saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or at least for a few hours.
    3. Preheat oven to 400*; line a roasting pan well with foil and grease.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the celery, carrots, garlic, pepper, and chopped onion; stuff bird with mixture.
    5. On the bottom of the pan, lay a layer of sliced onion and then a layer of lemon slices.
    6. Place the bird in the pan and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours.
    I'm not a huge fan of the stuffing, but I do like to serve the meat with a drizzle of the lemon juices from the bottom of the pan.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Aloha Bread

    Aloha Bread
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    2 cups sugar
    4 eggs
    2 over-ripe bananas
    4 cups [wheat] flour
    2 t baking powder
    1 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    1- 20 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
    ¾-1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup coconut flakes

    1. Preheat oven to 325*; grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, and sugar; add eggs; stir in bananas.
    3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; blend well into banana mixture, but be careful not to over mix.
    4. Stir in pineapple, pecans, and coconut; mix on low speed until blended.
    5. Pour into pans; bake for 60-80 minutes, until passes toothpick test.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole
    2 chicken breasts, raw (mine were frozen even)
    1 c [brown] rice, uncooked
    1- 14.5 oz can chicken broth
    1- 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
    1- 4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
    1 pkg onion soup mix (I used onion dip mix and it worked great)

    1. Mix all ingredients in slow cooker.
    2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Tangy Lime Spaghetti

    Super easy, super quick, super tangy.
    This recipe is very lenient, so play with it and make it your own.

    Tangy Lime Spaghetti
    2 T butter
    3-4 cloves garlic
    1 lime, juiced
    ¾ c sour cream
    ½ t salt
    2-3 c cooked spaghetti
    ½ c Parmesan cheese
    ¼ - ½ c chopped cilantro to taste
    1 tomato, diced

    1. Preheat oven to 375*.
    2. In a small pan, heat butter over medium heat.
    3. Once butter is melted, add garlic and saute for a minute or two.
    4. Stir in lime juice until well blended, and then stir in sour cream and salt.
    5. Remove from heat and toss with spaghetti in a large oven-safe dish.
    6. Bake 10 min, toss in Parmesan cheese.
    7. Serve topped with cilantro and tomato.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars
    1 egg white
    1/2 c chunky peanut butter
    1/3 c brown sugar
    1/4 c honey
    6 T butter, melted
    2 c old-fashioned oats
    1/2 c chopped almonds
    1 c sweetened coconut flakes
    2/3 c chocolate chips

    1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 1/4 baking sheet. (If you don't have a 1/4 baking sheet, double the recipe and just use a regular baking sheet.)
    2. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg white until it starts to stiffen.
    3.Stir in peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey; add butter, oats, almonds, and coconut. Sprinkle in chocolate chips.
    4. Press lightly in to baking sheet to form an even layer; bake until edges begin to brown, about 15-20 minutes.
    5. Remove from oven and let cool at least an hour before cutting.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Radish Butter Spread

    Radish Butter Spread
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 bunch of radishes, washed and coarsely chopped
    1 T dill
    2 t parsley
    1 t lemon juice
    1 t salt
    1/2 t pepper
    1 loaf Italian bread, sliced in half (lengthwise)

    1. Preheat oven to 400*.
    2. Place everything except the bread into a food processor and blend well; spread evenly over bread.
    3. Turn off oven heat and turn on broiler. Place bread on foil-lined baking sheet; broil for about 3-4 minutes on top rack, until golden brown and crispy.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Spinach Artichoke Penne

    Spinach Artichoke Penne
    1 lb [whole wheat] penne pasta
    2 T olive oil, separated
    1- 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
    2 c spinach, cleaned and dried
    1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
    1/2 c chicken broth
    1 c walnuts
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/2 pint half & half or heavy whipping cream
    1 t salt
    1 t pepper
    1 c Parmesan cheese

    1. Cook pasta to al dente; drain and set aside.
    2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat; add artichokes to heat up and brown slightly.
    3. Meanwhile, place spinach, onion, chicken stock, walnuts, garlic, whipping cream, salt, pepper, and remaining tablespoon olive oil in food processor and blend well (do yourself a favor and do not try the sauce before you blend with artichokes and pasta).
    4. Stir spinach sauce into artichoke skillet and loosely cover with lid; simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.
    5. Stir pasta and cheese into skillet and heat for 1 minute. Serve.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Mango Chipolte Chicken

    Mango Chipotle Chicken
    3 mangoes, peeled and pitted
    1/2 bunch of cilantro
    3 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 1 T adobo sauce (in a can in the Mexican foods section/aisle)
    2 T vinegar
    5 cloves garlic
    1 lime, zested and juiced
    2 T olive oil
    1 T salt
    2 t pepper
    5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
    cooked rice
    sour cream (opt)
    shredded cheese (opt)

    1. Throw all ingredients except chicken and rice in a food processor and puree until smooth.
    2. Place chicken in a gallon-sized freezer bag and cover with sauce; coat chicken well.
    3. Put bag in refrigerator overnight.

    4. Preheat oven to 375*; place chicken and sauce in a greased 9x13 pan.
    5. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through.

    4. Turn slow cooker on low; add chicken and sauce.
    5. Cook for 6 hours (or 4 hours on high heat).

    6. Serve over rice, and topped with sour cream and cheese to ease the heat kick.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Baked Tortilla Chips/Pita Chips

    Baked Tortilla Chips/Pita Chips
    Any number of tortillas (corn make better tortilla chips; flour have a taste and consistency more like pita chips)
    Olive oil
    Salt or Garlic salt or Cinnamon-sugar mixture (for sweet, churro-like chips)

    1. Preheat oven to 350* and line a baking sheet with foil.
    2. Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil and stack.
    3. Cut the tortillas into pieces (sixths work well).
    4. Spread the chips out in a single layer on baking sheet and season with salt, or garlic salt, or cinnamon-sugar mixture.
    5. Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheet once, about 12 to 15 minutes.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Strawberry Pretzel Jello

    Strawberry Pretzel Jello
    2 c crushed pretzels
    3/4 c butter, melted
    1/4 c brown sugar
    1- 8 oz block [light or fat-free] cream cheese
    1 c sugar
    1- 9 oz tub [light] whipped cream
    2 c water
    2- 3 oz boxes strawberry jello
    1- 16 oz pkg frozen [no sugar added] strawberries

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Combine pretzels, butter, and brown sugar; press into a 9x13 pan and bake for 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
    3. Blend cream cheese and sugar; fold in whipped cream. Spread over pretzel crust and set aside in refrigerator.
    4. In a medium-sized pot, boil water; dissolve jello and then stir in frozen strawberries.
    5. Chill jello in fridge until partially set, about 10 minutes; spread over cream cheese layer.
    6. Chill until set, about an hour. Serve.
    Store in the refrigerator.