Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Frosting

We've had this recipe in our "drafts" folder for almost 2 years now. They just never last long enough to take pictures! My family devours these so quickly, it's ridiculous!

Emily made these for me for the first time right after I had my last baby (Sara, who is now 2 1/2). I'm pretty sure I ate all of them - and I don't even like Caramel!! These are so ridiculously delicious. Each time we've made them together since then, we keep finding ways to make more cookies so we can have more whoopie pies!!

What you'll need:
2 boxes devil's food cake mix (we prefer Betty Crocker brand)
1 bar Crisco
4 eggs

Salted Caramel Frosting:
1 c. softened butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. caramel sauce
1/2 t. Fine salt (fleur de sel is recommended but I can never find the stuff, so I use popcorn salt!  It's super fine)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix cake mix, Crisco and eggs until well blended. Batter will be very stiff.
2. Roll into balls, or use a small cookie scoop. Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Before baking, I slightly flatten each cookie. I just use the backside of a spoon to give them a very slight indentation.
3. Bake for 7-9 minutes. You want to UNDERbake them so they'll stay soft once they're filled. The cookies will definitely not look done when you take them out, but that's good. (Once you fill them, they have to be refrigerated. So if you underbake them, they'll stay soft and chewy)
4. Allow them to cool completely, and then refrigerate- that way they firm up a bit before you fill them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Brazilian Limeade

This is one of my favorite drinks ever. We always make it with Taquitos or anything Mexican.  It is super easy to put together and tastes so delicious.

Brazilian Limeade
Source: Our Best Bites

What You'll Need:
4 juicy limes (the smoother the skin, the juicier)
1 c. sugar
6 c. water
6 T. sweetened condensed milk

What to do:
Wash your limes and then cut into eighths.

Pour half of your water into the blender and add half of the cut up limes. Pulse 6-7 times for a second or two.

Strain into a pitcher and squeeze the limes a bit to get the rest of the juice out.

Repeat with the last half of water and limes.

Right before serving, stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Serve cold, over lots of ice, and Enjoy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Caprese Pasta

I made this for my sister when I was helping her after the birth of her last baby.  It was absolutely delicious. New favorite pasta. Ever. The flavors are so amazing and cheesy and mmmm- goodness!  Her husband even decreed it the best pasta ever.  The best part of this dish is how quickly it comes together.  If you start with cooked chicken, it's in and out of the oven within 45 minutes!  Even including the grill time for the chicken, it's ready in under an hour.  Seriously, make this pasta today.  It's delicious!

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy via How Sweet It Is
Feeds: 4-8 (Depending on how much pasta you use)
2 medium chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs.), grilled and diced (I sprinkle them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder before I grill them)
1 box Rigatoni or Penne Pasta (The original recipe calls for only half a box of pasta, but I have a big family to feed, so I always use the whole box and just up all the other ingredients a bit)
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes, pureed a bit (I just use my immersion blender on them for a few seconds)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
12 oz. fresh Mozzarella, cubed, sliced or grated (fresh is key, here)
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped chiffonade style
1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
2.  While pasta is boiling, in a separate pan over low heat, heat tomatoes, heavy cream, Romano/Parmesan cheese, garlic.  Add red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook over low to medium heat until all the cheese has melted.
3.  Drain cooked pasta and add to Tomato sauce mixture.  Add grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil.  Toss to combine.
4.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and cook pasta uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted gooey goodness.  Serve sprinkled with remaining basil.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Best Salad...EVER...Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

I saw this recipe on Pinterest a while back and thought it was THE best salad ever. My family started eating it a few times a month- which is big. There are very few recipes I make more than once a month!  This is the best salad- especially for those hot summer months when all you want to eat is salad.

The recipe is from Lauren's Latest, but when I went back a few months ago, she had changed the recipe. So I adjusted it back to the way it was originally- since I need it to make more and I don't like like using half a can of anything in a recipe (what do I do with the rest!?)  Enjoy!

Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad
Source: Lauren's Latest

What You'll Need:
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce, chopped
1 green or red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
Doritos or tortilla chips

1/3 c. mayo
1/3 c. plain greek yogurt
1/3 c. sour cream
1 T. Ranch seasoning
1 T. Taco seasoning
Milk- to reach desired consistency

What to do:
For the dressing, combine the ingredients together and add milk until you reach your desired consistency. Test it to see if it needs more taco seasoning- if you add too much milk, you will definitely want more Taco seasoning.

I always boil my chicken breasts with a little taco seasoning and then stick them in the mixer to shred them- it's super fast and easy.

Chop up all your salad ingredients and toss together. Crumble Doritos on top and top with the dressing.


Saturday, March 30, 2013


One of my husband's Easter traditions growing up, was that each of them received an Easter Basket with an eclair in it. This was how they knew who's basket was who's- each had their name written on it. I thought this might be fun to continue in our family as well, so thought I'd just run down to the grocery store, pick up a few and then write our kid's names on them.

Then my husband left for the entire day...with our kids! I had a whole day with nothing really to do (well, plenty of cleaning...but who wants to do that!?) So I figured, I might as well MAKE some eclairs instead of buying some (who wants to get dressed and leave the house on your kid-free day anyways!?) So I searched and searched for a recipe and came across this one from All Recipes. The reviews were awesome. The only thing I noticed were that about half of the reviews I read, didn't like the glaze. I didn't want to risk it, so I found another one from here, and tried it instead.

Oh. My. Goodness!!! They are SO good. Once I finished them, I decided I needed to try one...you know, to make sure it was edible. I licked my fingers clean and told myself I was only allowed to have one! These are sooo good and they really do taste store bought. And the best part is that, even though there are a lot instructions- they are really easy to throw together.

My only suggestion is that when you make the glaze, you work very quickly. The stuff hardens really fast and then you don't get really pretty glazy-ness on top. Next time I will work faster or be sure to keep it warm while I am putting it on the Eclairs. Maybe then they'll look a little prettier. ;)

Anyways- Enjoy! These are DELISH!
Makes about 10-11

What you'll need:

For the Pastry:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. water
1 c. flour
1/4 t. salt

For the Filling:
5 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
2 c. cold milk
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

For the Glaze:
6 T. half and half (or if you have cream and milk on hand, do half of each of those)
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2 c. powdered sugar

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In medium saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil until butter is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to low and vigorously stir in the flour until it becomes a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.  Remove from heat and put in the bowl of a stand-mixer with the whisk attachment. Let mixture cool for a few minutes and then add one egg at a time- mixing well until completely incorporated each time.

Fit a piping bag with a #10 pastry tip (I used a number 808 in the brand I had) and pipe your dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. You want each to be about 1 1/2 in. wide by 4 in. long. Be sure to space they about 2-3 in. apart- they do get bigger in the oven.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325 and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

For the filling, combine the pudding mix and milk. In separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold into pudding mixture.

There are a number ways you can fill these. You can cut them in half and spoon the mixture in and then put the top back on, or you can use a pastry tip and pipe it in through the ends, or you can cut little holes along the top and pipe it in that way. I used a Wilton #230 (long skinny tip) and just piped the filling in through both ends.  It worked great for me and I got them nice and full.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate and half and half in small saucepan. Once melted, quickly whisk in the powdered sugar. Either keep it warm while you are putting the glaze on each pastry, or work really fast. I didn't work quite fast enough and they sure don't LOOK store-bought. They may taste store bought, but I'm going to have to work on my glaze-application technique. ;)

Refrigerate until needed. Then Enjoy- these are SO good!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Best Ever Chewy Snickerdoodles

I have never been a huge fan of snickerdoodles- I prefer chewy chocolate chip cookies any day. But my husband is a die-hard snickerdoodle fan so the quest began for a good recipe for him. It must've been my lucky day because, I actually found the perfect one- the very first try! I've made these a few times now and they turn out perfect every time and are SO delicious and chewy! I took some in to my husband's office for his birthday and got so many compliments!

Best Chewy Snickerdoodles
Source: Our Best Bites

What you'll need:
1 3/4 c. sugar, divided
1 T. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
8 T. butter at room temperature
8 T. shortening
2 large eggs

What to do:
Prep: Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.

Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

Beat butter, shortening and remaining 1 1/2 c. sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the flour mixture until well combined.

Roll about 2 T. of dough into balls and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. (Really do this- they spread a lot! And you want them to be larger balls because then they will be nice and chewy.)

Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 10-12 minutes, until edges of cookies are set and just barely beginning to brown. Centers will look soft and puffy and look underdone.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nutella Fudgesicles

I got a ZOKU for my birthday from my sisters and have had so much fun trying out new popsicle recipes already. Yesterday we made these Nutella Fudgesicles and they were so delicious- I think I could eat them every day. And the best part is- the recipe is SUPER simple- it has a grand total of two ingredients- Nutella and Chocolate Milk. My girls absolutely LOVED them. My littlest wanted to be sure to make it a full body experience... lol

You can make these in the ZOKU, or just freeze them in traditional popsicle molds.

So here ya go!

Nutella Fudgesicles
1/4 c. Nutella
3/4 c. Chocolate Milk

Combine the ingredients until smooth and pour in popsicles molds. In the ZOKU, it takes about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!