Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I made up a batch of this frosting to use on Jaxon's birthday cake a couple days ago and it was delicious! I'm not much of a frosting gal, but I found myself eating this stuff by the spoonful. It's not as stiff as a buttercream, but it's sturdy enough to hold its shape for piping.

I sandwiched it in between layers of chocolate cake mix (I figured I was putting in the time for home made frosting and decorating a birthday cake... I needed to make something easy). I baked my cake in 2 loaf pans and then split them in half, cross wise, so we got an extremely tall, rectangular chocolate peanut butter cake. If you can get past the hideous pictures, you have to give this stuff a try. It's so good! (Obviously, it is better on a Spiderman plate...)

1/2 cup butter, softened
10 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla

1. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.

2. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.

3. Stir in peanut butter. Lick beaters.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm not a huge chili fan, but sometimes you're just in a "hearty soup" mood and chili is cheap, easy, and no fuss. So, I searched a couple of my favorite sites and found two that sounded good, but couldn't decide between the two. So, I combined the two recipes and ended up with a truly delicious and easy chili tonight. The cocoa powder looks a little weird, but I wanted something dark and smoky to take off the vinegary edge of the ketchup and tomato juice. You'd be surprised what a difference that little bit of cocoa makes. The chili went from alright to great after the addition, so don't leave it out. But it is a taste issue... add the red vinegar and cocoa a little at a time, until you get the taste you want. This soup is easy to make, makes a really big pot, and paired with some cornbread and delicious honey butter, you've got the perfect meal.

2 medium onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 to 2.5 lbs. ground beef
3 cans beans (I used a combination of pinto and red kidney)
46 oz. V8 Juice (I recommend the spicy blend, but you can also use plain tomato juice)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup (I like the flavor ketchup imparts to chili, however the taste is slightly strong. If you're not a huge ketchup fan, consider substituting half of the ketchup with plain tomato sauce.)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 to 1.5 Tbsp. Cocoa powder (don't use Nesquik here... )
splash of red vinegar

1. Brown the hamburger, onion, and pepper in a large skillet. Drain the fat.

2. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup water with the garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and brown sugar.

3. In a large pot, combine the tomato juice or V8, beans, tomato sauce, and ketchup. Stir in hamburger mixture and seasoning/water mixture. Add a splash of red vinegar and cocoa powder. Mix well and add bay leaves.

4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. In the alternative, at step 3, dump everything into a crockpot instead and cook on low.

5. Serve with green onions, cheese, and sour cream.

Peanut Butter Blossoms- the Hershey Kiss Cookie!

One of my all time favorites- partly because I love to try all kinds of kisses on these. There are so many fun kinds now! My favorites are the Hot Cocoa Creme ones or the PB ones on these cookies.

We tried a Valentine variation where we used chocolate hearts instead of kisses and they were just as cute... and just as tasty!

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 t. baking soda
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter. Add the 1/2 c. sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Immediately press in a hershey kiss once out of the oven.

Deluxe Lemon Bars

These are different than the ones Emily posted. They are good, and quite a bit easier than Emily's. Not quite as good as Emily's but really yummy, nonetheless.

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. buter
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1-2 t. grated lemon peel
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together the 2 cups flour and the 1/2 c. powdered sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture clings together. Press dough into the bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until edges turn light brown.

In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Mix in the 1/4 c. flour and baking powder and lemon peel. Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over the top and cut into bars or triangles.

Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Russian Teacakes

These are yummy! Mom used to make them and they were good. I haven't made them in a long time because I forget to buy nuts...but they're good and a classic.

1 c. soft butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
3.4 c. finely chopped nuts

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Blend flour and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix in nuts.

Chill for 1-2 hours.

Heat oven to 400. Roll into 1 inch balls.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Roll in powdered sugar, while still warm.

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I believe this is the recipe on the back of Reese's peanut butter chips...but oh well. It's soooooo good!

2 c. flour
3/4 c. Hershey' Cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 2/3 c. Reese's Peanut Butter chips

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture. Mix in the chips and spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes.

Coffee Shop Oatmeal Cookies

These are by far, the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever found. Soooo good. And they make a LOT.

2 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 c. butter
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 c. four
4 c. oats
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
4 t. baking powder
2 c. raisins (I never add these)
2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. nuts (I don't add these either cause Joe is a stinker and doesn't like nuts)

Cream together the sugars and butter. Then add the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, soda and powder. Add to the sugar and butter mixture. Once combined, add in the raisins, chocolate chips and nuts and spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Yum!

Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

Just a little treat to say Happy Thanksgiving! I keep looking for reasons to make something from my Hello Cupcake book, and there just hasn't been a great opportunity. So, I decided to stop waiting for something special and just make something for fun. I had to go visiting teaching yesterday, had most of the ingredients on hand, thought they looked easy, and decided to make some turkey cupcakes!

I think they turned out so cute! Jaxon and Gavin had fun helping me. My only complaint is that the cupcakes in this book are supposed to be easy, with easy to find supplies. Well, I had to visit 3 grocery stores to find the right kind of cookie for the feathers, and was never able to find any caramel jimmies (not even Michael's had any--the only place I could find them was online.... not handy)... so we settled for a different sprinkle mix, that still turned out OK (not as cute as the jimmies would have been, though...)
Plus, I thought I had one fruit by the foot left in the pantry for the wattle... I did have 1 left, but it was a multi-color one and not red! So we had to pipe the wattles with red frosting. But I liked it just as much, and these really were easy to put together... once I found all the blasted stuff. (Even the candy corns were hard to find... you cannot get them after Halloween! I had to rummage the clearance bins to find 1 measly bag... moral of the story is stock up on candy corns at Halloween time!) I can't wait to try some Christmas themed ones next month! Thanks for the book, Daysh!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (mini and regular, baked in white liners)
Cream Cheese frosting (tinted light brown)
Regular can of white frosting
Candy Corns
Caramel Jimmies (or Turtle Crumb mix from Michael's, when you're desperate...)
Anna's Thin Ginger Cookies (finally found at Von's/Safeway)
Black chocolate covered sunflower seeds
Regular marshmallows (cut in half diagonally, and used to support the tail feather)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baby Shower Cupcakes

I made these twice this last Spring... once in blue, for a friend's baby shower, and then again, in pink, for Dacia's baby shower. The original concept was from my Hello, Cupcake book. But I had seen some I liked on another blog and decided to take my favorite ideas from both cupcakes and turn them into 1 unique design. It's not totally unique, but still really cute, and pretty easy to put together. So if you're looking for a relatively simple and cute treat for your next baby shower, give these a try!
For the girls, I was able to find light pink lifesavers that were perfect pacifier holders. The handles inside were done with airheads, cut into thin strips. For the boys, I couldn't find any blue lifesavers, so I resorted to Fruit Loops. I liked the bigger lifesavers betters... but until there are blue ones, the fruit loops were cute, too. For the smaller Fruit Loop pacifiers, I used red licorice strings as handles inside.

The baby bottles are made with Starburst's (molded into a nipple shape... my, that sounds dirty...), and mini marshmallows, with a dab of frosting to hold the two together.

The open crying mouth is made with a red fruit roll-up, cut into a circle, and then outlined with a thin piped ring of red frosting.

I made a couple double deckers one, using mini cupcakes for heads, and then piping on bibs. I needed blue bibs, which is why I piped them on. If I was doing girl double deckers, I would use red fruit leather for the bibs... easier and cleaner unless you're good at piping (I am obviously not).

For hair, the girls got marshmallow bonnets. I simply cut marshmallows in half and spaced them half way around their heads. For the boys, they got a curly-q with piped melted chocolate. I also piped on the eyes with melted chocolate. Finally, don't foget an extra little dab of peach colored frosting for their noses.

Simple and cute, and fun!

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

I spaced dinner the other night and needed something quick and cheap at the last minute. This soup met all my criteria and even though I didn't have carrots (who doesn't have carrots?!), I still pulled it off and it was delish. (Don't let the horrific pictures fool you... food pictures with flash are awful! Eventhough I had this soup ready at 5:30, it was still pitch black outside...) Even Jared commented on how much he liked it... you KNOW that's a big deal. He even ate the leftovers the next day. The cream cheese gave it a fabulous tang and you could make it healthier by using Neuchtafel cheese instead of fatty regular cream cheese. I really liked that this didn't taste like your typical cream soup, but was still extremely creamy and rich. This is going into my "staples" file. I found the recipe here (quickly becoming one of my new favorite sites...)
A couple of notes: Like I said, I didn't have any carrots, so I used red peppers instead and thought they were great. I also think celery, mushrooms, and peas would be good in this soup. Feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand.

I also didn't have a ton of chicken on hand, so I upped the potatoes and veggies to make my soup go farther. I just added a bit more broth to completely cover them.

I threw my chicken breasts into the oven right before I started my soup. They ended up being done at almost the exact same time the veggies were tender. It made meal prep easy and quick.

Finally, the recipe calls for softened cream cheese. I find that no matter how "soft" my cream cheese is, when I add it to a sauce or soup, it gets slightly lumpy and doesn't look very appetizing. I almost always put the cream cheese in the microwave for 30 or so seconds, and stir it until it's smooth before I add it to a sauce or soup. That way it doesn't go lumpy and looks more appetizing.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced (I used 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3 cups chicken broth (either canned or use bouillon or chicken base--I used water with chicken base)
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 T butter
2 handfuls baby carrots (4-5 regular carrots) (think about 2 cups chopped vegetables)
4-5 potatoes, diced
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons flour
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cayenne (I like my soup with a teensy kick... this is optional)

1. Saute onion in butter. Add 3 cups chicken broth, carrots or other vegetables, and potatoes. Add more broth to completely cover vegetables if necessary. Bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are tender.

2. Mix the flour with the cold milk. Once veggies are tender (about 10 minutes), add milk mixture to pot of veggies, stirring well.

3. Add cream cheese to soup, little pieces at a time and stir until melted. Add cooked chicken and heat through. Season well with salt and pepper and cayenne, if desired.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gourmet Rice Krispies, Take Two

One more yummy dessert from our pre-Thanksgiving fun this last week. I actually made this dessert twice... once on my own accord, and the second time, it was requested. It's super quick and easy, but looks gourmet... and tastes mighty tasty, too. You wouldn't believe how much dried fruit adds to rice krispies! I found the recipe here, a new favorite food blog that I've wasted far too much time on lately, perusing recipes, appreciating beautiful food pictures (the pictures are from her site), and increasing my ever growing "must try" list.

3 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 ounce) bag marshmallows
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, plus extra if desired (I used about an extra 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, etc. (I used a mixed bag of cranberries, blueberries, and cherries)
1/2 cup choc. chips, melted (the original recipe calls for semi-sweet, but it was a bit too rich for me. I didn't use any the second time and liked them better. But I may try milk chocolate next time)

1. Prepare pan by spraying with cooking spray or lining the pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over the pan edges (still spray your tin foil with cooking spray). The size pan you use depends on how thick you want your rice krispies. I used a 9x13 pan, and got thinner treats. But you could easily use an 11x7 or 8x8 pan, too and get really nice, thick, pretty treats.
2. Melt butter in large pot over low to medium heat. Add marshmallows, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth, about 8 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

(OK... so this may be obvious to many of you, but I just figured this out, after making dozens of crappy rice kripsies... you have to use fresh marshmallows (duh) and you have to melt over low heat. If you melt your marshmallows too quickly over higher heat, they will harden and you won't get soft, gooey rice krispies. Be sure to use a lower heat setting to get the gooiest, softest, and most perfect rice krispies!)

3. Off heat, stir in rice krispies, dried fruit, and any extra white chocolate chunks if you desire, until incorporated. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and press into bottom and corners with either a greased spatula or greased hands.

4. Let cool completely. Pour melted chocolate into baggie and snip off a small corner of the bag. Drizzle melted chocolate over treats. Allow chocolate to cool and harden. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Lemon Chiffon Cheesecake

I may or may not have mentioned that I love anything tart... especially lemon. You certainly couldn't tell from the types of recipes I post on here.... but here's one more that I made for our pre-Thanksgiving feast this last week and it was delicious! I wasn't sure it was lemony enough at first for my tastes, but the more I eat of it, the more I love it (my hips not so much, though...). The texture is just sooooo smooth and creamy and perfect, and the gingersnap crust adds just the right amount of tang. Plus, there's no baking involved, so it's a no fail cheesecake! Oh, and the presentation is gorgeous. I found the recipe here, again. (Oh, her desserts are so amazing! She has so much yummy stuff... I could look at her pictures for hours). I'm borrowing her pictures until I get a copy of the ones Alan took of mine. Enjoy!

2 cups crushed gingersnaps
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

6-7 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (yes, it needs to be fresh!)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/2 tsp.)
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
10 ounces white chocolate, chopped
24 ounces cream cheese (3 8 oz. packages), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon zest (don't skip this, even if you hate lemon zest, Dacia...)

For the crust:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 10 inch springform pan. Set aside. (I let mine chill in the fridge)

For the filling:
1. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice and gelatin and let stand for 2 minutes.

2. Bring 1/2 cup of whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add white chocolate, stirring until smooth.

3. Stir the gelatin mixture and whipping cream mixture together and allow to cool.

4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until well combined. Slowly beat in cooled white chocolate mixture and combine.

5. In a large bowl beat remaining cups of cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold into white chocolate and cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust. (Instead of garnishing later with chocolate curls, I poured some white chocolate chips into the bottom of my crust, before pouring the cake mixture in.)

6. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer at least 15 minutes before you plan to serve (otherwise it's too hard to cut slices... I may know this from experience). Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the crust from the sides of the pan. Garnish with chocolate curls and enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kicked up Rice Krispies

Sometimes you just want something easy and quick, but you still want it to be a little special. These rice krispie treats are perfect for that occasion. Quick, easy, a little special, and super tasty. We made them twice in one week. Apparently, Jared approved of them... I found the recipe here. She has the most amazingly beautiful desserts and each one looks better than the next.

Edited to add: I made these again this past week, except we added a little peanut butter and it was so good! Perfect addition to chocolate and Oreos!

Recipe Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10 ounces mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)
3 1/2- 4 cups Cocoa Krispies cereal
3 cups roughly crushed (but not pulverized) Oreo cookies

1. Butter a 9x13 pan baking pan, or spray with cooking spray.

2. Over low heat, melt butter in large pot.

3. Once butter has melted, add marshmallows. Continue to cook over low heat until completely melted. Remember to be patient and melt over low heat.

4. Once they're almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Once the peanut butter is completely incorporated, add cereal and Oreos. Stir to fully incorporate.

5. Scrape into prepared pan, using a greased spatula or greased fingers to press into pan. Cover and allow to set for about an hour.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

I found this recipe on I was in the mood to try something a little different (well, different from what I make time and time and time again...) Well, I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand for this and it hit the spot! I love when you try a new recipe and it turns out yummy the first try!

I actually halved the recipe and it was just right for myself and Joey.

  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast (I used some leftover Roladen meat that was already sliced thin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces butter (I used half a stick)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard ( I used a little bit more to taste)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used chicken broth)
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • I also added a bit of Wooster sauce for taste while it was simmering

  1. Remove any fat and gristle from the roast and cut into strips 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches long. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper and marinade in beef broth for 30 minutes or so (if you want to).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown the beef strips quickly, then set beef broth aside and add the onions to the remaining liquid in your pan and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the flour into the juices in your pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and stir in mustard. Add the beef strips back to your mixure and cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  4. Five minutes before serving, stir in the mushrooms, sour cream, and white wine (chicken broth). Heat briefly then salt and pepper to taste.
This is so yummy!! Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

 Mmmm mmm mmm. That's all I can say about this recipe. I found it on All Recipes and it was delish! I had one just like this years ago when I was doing a temp job around Halloween and the company had a party and some lady brought this. OOOooh, it was good. But she was a punk and never brought the recipe, like I asked. Rude, I know. Anywho. I found this right in time for our Halloween get together at my dad's and tried it out. It was good. All the reviews I read said it was a little spicey, so I left out the jalapenos. But to make sure it still had a kick...I might've added a little much cayenne. So if you make it, and don't like your food to bite back, maybe go easy on the cayenne. :)

So here ya go. Enjoy!

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I didn't use this since I made it in the crock pot)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers (didn't use this either)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (used a little much of this...)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans white beans
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
I just plopped everything in the crock pot and let it cook for a good 4 to 5 hours. It was so good!
Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Chinese Takeout" Lemon Chicken

1 T oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 pkg (6 oz) snow peas (about 2 cups), trimmed
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
1 pkg. (4 serving size) lemon jell-o
1 T cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T zesty Italian dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oil in large skillet on med-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 min. or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add snow peas and peppers; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Mix dry gelatin and cornstarch in small bowl. Add broth, dressing, and garlic. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add to skillet. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.

Serve over hot cooked rice, if desired.

Jen's variations--I used the Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame dressing instead of the Italian. I wish I would have doubled the sauce in general because we tend to like our food really saucy. It wasn't dry but I still wish there had been a little more to douse the rice with.

A very simple recipe, very quick and easy to make and a huge hit with the whole family!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Sheet Pie

2 1/2 cups flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
7-8 cups apples--peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t cinnamon

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt; cut shortening in with pastry blender or two knives. Put egg yolk into a measuring cup and add milk to make 1/2 cup. Add to flour mixture and mix just until dough shapes into a ball. Roll out half to 15x11 inch rectangle; transfer to baking sheet. Cover with corn flakes, then with apple slices. Mix sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Roll out other half of dough for top crust; place over apples; pinch edges together. Beat egg white until stiff; spread on top crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. While hot, drizzle glaze over top.
Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 T lemon juice.

Now we all know this isn't a true "jen" recipe unless there are changes... I did use cornflakes but Alan suggested that I use frosted flakes next time. For the sugar/cinnamon mixture, I also added a bit of nutmeg and a bit of ground cloves. And I didn't use all the sugar mixture either. I didn't stiffen the egg white either. I just beat it a little and did more of an egg wash on the top crust which I then sprinkled with some of the leftover sugar mixture.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fondant, Baby!

I have seriously been wanting to try something with fondant, forever. It's pathetic. I'm probably the last person out there to try it, but I needed a good excuse to play with it, where it wasn't going to matter how it actually turned out. I decided snacks for Jaxon's soccer game was perfect. I know you're thinking... "fondant... for the 6 year old soccer players?" Ridiculous, but I knew the kids wouldn't care how it tasted or how it turned out and I could try something low key.

I knew I was doing cupcakes and decided I wanted pre-made fondant, just to save a little time and work. That is, until I saw that it would cost me 20 dollars! So, I started looking for a recipe to make my own. I found this recipe on allrecipes and the reviews promised it would taste mildly better than regular fondant. Because let's face it, the stuff is ick. But oh, so pretty!

This fondant is pretty basic and cheap. But it's a ton of work. My arms got such a workout. I wouldn't recommend doing it with a hand mixer. My dead hand mixer would second that. I think a Kitchenaid with the dough hook would do it.

Makes about 2.5 lbs. of Fondant
up to 1/4 cup Crisco
1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
4 tablespoons water (possibly more)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted this to keep my fondant white; it'll make the color more of an off white if you use it--granted, that doesn't really matter if you'll be coloring the fondant)
up to 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided
Food coloring, if desired

1. Set your Crisco aside. You'll just be using it to grease bowls, spoons, your hands, and workspace.
2. Place the marshmallows in a large , well greased (just spray with Pam or spread some Crisco on it), microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute intervals to start melting the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water and vanilla extract into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add food coloring at this point as well, if you intend to color your fondant.

3. Transfer melted marshmallows to Kitchenaid bowl at this point and begin slowly beating in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff. I found that I could barely beat in 1 cup of sugar before the batter got too stiff to beat. At this point, I kneaded all the powdered sugar in by hand.
4. Rub your hands thoroughly with Crisco, and begin kneading the sticky dough. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Turn the dough out onto a working surface dusted with confectioners' sugar and continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes. Add powdered sugar about a cup at a time. I found that I didn't use the entire 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar. Just keeping adding until you have a nice, non-sticky, pliable dough. I added a little extra water to make the dough easier to handle.

5. Form the fondant into a ball, rub it all over with Crisco (it's niice, like a baby's behind...) wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (I'm impatient... I only waited about 4 hours). To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with confectioners' sugar. Roll it to about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thickness. Now it's time to play with it.

But that's a whole 'nother post. Best check out Bakerella or Pioneer Woman for good tips there. I'm definitely just trying to figure it out myself. But my soccer cupcakes sure turned out cute. And the fondant was surprisingly not horrible. Not my favorite, but I used chocolate frosting underneath, as an adhesive, and the fondant wasn't terrible.

Leftover fondant will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (like "Oreo Cakesters")

When Dacia came down, she wanted to make chocolate sandwich cookies. No particular reason. Just wanted us to gain a couple extra pounds. So we perused allrecipes until we found a combination we liked. We ended up finding two different filling recipes and taste tested them. The cream cheese filling was definitely our favorite, but that may be because we're cream cheese addicts. The cookies tasted just like cream cheese brownies. They were sooo good. The other cream filling sounds a bit weird, but tastes just like the filling in a Twinkie, or Ding Dong. It's sweet, but really good, and makes the cookie more similar to an Oreo Cakester. My kids obviously liked this one best. Both were easy to whip up and these cookies were so pretty! Perfect for giving away because they're quick, easy, and oh so precious.

Cake Mix Cookie: (Double this recipe)

1 box devil's food cake mix (After trying all three main varieties of cake mixes, I definitely prefer Betty Crocker's... they always turn out better)
1/2 bar of Crisco
2 eggs
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 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 still stay soft and chewy after refrigeration)
4. Allow them to cool completely, and then refrigerate them. That way they firm up a bit before you fill them. It makes them easier to fill.
Cream Cheese filling:
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In medium bowl, cream the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together until fluffy and fully incorporated. Don't overbeat or it'll become runny. Add vanilla. Refrigerate about 15 minutes before using.

"Other" cream filling:
1 1/2 cups shortening
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 egg whites, beaten

1. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1 1/2 cups shortening with the confectioners' sugar and 1/4 cup of flour until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla until well mixed, then fold in the egg whites.

Once your cookies are cooled, pipe a heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center(you want one big cylinder in just the middle of the cookie) of the bottom of one cookie. I found that by piping my filling on, it was neater once I sandwiched my cookies together. Plus, by piping it on the center of the cookie, it allows plenty of room for the filling to spread out and not leak out. Once the filling is piped on, top it with another cookie and you have a perfectly adorable chocolate sandwich cookie.

Because of the ingredients in the filling, be sure to refrigerate these. The filling doesn't hold up when it's not cooled. We know this from the runny, soggy messes Dacia took up to Joe. Also, they tend to be better the next day. The cookies are a bit softer from the filling and the filling has firmed up so it doesn't squeeze out when you bite into it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fresh Peach Pie

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 T (heaping) corn starch
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
6 whole peaches, peeled and sliced
1 whole precooked 9 inch pie shell

Combine water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk until combined. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thick and almost hard to stir. Remove from heat and add butter, stir until melted and combined. Add peaches and gently fold to coat. Pour into precooked pie shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours to set. Top with whipped cream and serve.

I pulled this recipe from So incredibly delicious!! I wanted to horde the whole thing for myself. I forgot to add the butter and it still tasted wonderful. I also didn't bother with the whipped cream.

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

8 whole medium potatoes
1 stick butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
12 t half and half
salt and pepper

Bake the potatoes, but not until soft--they still need to be firm. Set aside and let cool until they can be handled, then slice them. Place 1/2 T pat of butter in each mold of a muffin pan, then a slice of potato, then a pinch of salt and pepper, the cheese and scallions. Repeat layers. (Can do 2 or 3 layers worth). Top each mold with another pat of butter and drizzle each with a T of half and half.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are brown.

I pulled this recipe from We all loved it! But I did think they were a bit greasy.

Chicken Salad

This is seriously THE best chicken salad ever. I made it for the RS summer party and received so many compliments. However my recipe was made to feed 70 people, so I will do my best to cut it down. So much of chicken salad though is determined by the eater, so be sure to add however much mayo, seasonings, etc you like and in amounts based on how many people you are feeding.

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Best Foods mayo
McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning
green onions, chopped
celery, chopped
green grapes, cut in half
purple grapes, cut in half
cashews, rough chopped

Boil the chicken then cube it. Mix with mayo and seasoning, let it rest in the fridge for 1-2 days. Before serving, mix in celery, onions, and grapes. I would personally sprinkle the cashews on top because if you mix them in and then stick it back in the fridge, the cashews sometimes lose their crunch.

Happy eating!

White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Alan's coworker made these and he LOVED them. He brought a few home and the kids also loved them. I thought they were okay, but not my favorites.

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine softened
1/4 cup white chocolate chips melted
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
8 oz package cream cheese softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp milk
1 can cherry pie filling

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixing bowl cream together sugars, shortening, margarine, vanilla and eggs. Add in slightly cooled melted white chocolate. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Cream together softened cream cheese , powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk until blended.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Make an indention with your finger or spoon in top of dough. Drop a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into each indention. Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Let cool. Spoon on cherry pie filling. Store in refrigerator.

Makes about 3 dozen

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lemon Cookies

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon juice, lemon extract and lemon zest until well blended.

3.Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cake Glaze

This is soooooo good. Mami made it for a fruit pizza (Muerbeteig) with fruit and it was just perfect.

1/2 c. OJ
1/2 c. Lemon Juice
1/c c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 T. cornstarch

Bring to a boil until it's clear.

Drizzle over your fruit cake/pie or whatever. It's super yummy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

I've had this recipe in my "to try" pile for quite some time now. I love Carino's and Macaroni Grill's bread with oil... that's kind of the whole reason I go there to eat. So, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it and it totally hit the spot. I doubled the recipe for dinner group, and made 4 loaves, thinking I'd take the extra loaf to a neighbor or something nice like that. Instead, Jared and I polished 2 loaves off in about 5 minutes flat. It was sooo good and relatively simple. We just used some balsamic vinaigrette to dip it in, but next time I'll make a good oil dip myself. (Perhaps this one, with some roasted garlic?) I got the recipe from Our Best Bites, and went ahead and "borrowed" their pictures, too, since my bread was devoured long before I ever had a chance to get a picture.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (Makes 2 small loaves, allow at least 2 1/2 hours)
1 c. warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 Tbsp. yeast (I used 2 packages)
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. rosemary (dried or fresh)
2 1/4-2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until bubbly (I never need 10 minutes...) While the yeast is getting bubbly, combine 2 C of the flour, salt, 1 Tbsp. rosemary.

2. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture along with 1 Tbsp. melted butter. Mix well. (I put it in my stand mixer with the dough hook on). Slowly add remaining flour to make a very soft dough--try and resist the urge to add too much flour. You want a soft, slightly sticky, wet dough. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

3. Lightly flour work surface and transfer dough onto this surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into a round loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Cover and allow to rise another 45 minutes.
4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and mix with remaining tablespoon of rosemary. Brush on loaves and sprinkle lightly with Kosher salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly golden-brown. I baked mine on two different pans, one dark and one light and the bottoms on my dark pan ending up burning, so use a light colored pan if possible and don't let the tops get too brown.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Watermelon Pops

I made these for dinner group a couple weeks ago and we loved them! Even Jared and I wished we had more. The cream cheese layer adds a little extra something and I'm surprised at how much I like frozen Jell-O. They're a little time consuming, but WELL worth the effort. So yummy and fun! I found the recipe at (And as my pictures attest, ours didn't look nearly as cute... but they were cute enough.)

1 cup sugar
1 (3 ounce) package JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin
2 cups boiling water, divided
Ice cubes
1 cup cold water, divided
1 (3 ounce) package JELL-O Strawberry or Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
3 tablespoons miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
16 3 oz. cups (skinnier ones are better)

1. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and lime gelatin mix in medium bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to 1/2 cup cold water to measure 3/4 cup. Add to lime gelatin; stir until ice is completely melted. Refrigerate 25 min.

2. Meanwhile, repeat Step 1 using strawberry gelatin mix and omitting the refrigeration step. Pour into 16 (3-oz.) paper cups. Freeze 20 min. Stir 1/2 tsp. chocolate chips into gelatin in each cup. (We found that just stirring the choc. chips in didn't work. I used a wooden skewer to push the chips into the gelatin and all the way down. That way they were "floating" in the red gelatin a little better. Otherwise, they just all sit at the top.)

3. Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar with mixer in medium bowl until well blended. Stir in COOL WHIP; spread over gelatin in cups. Make sure that your red gelatin is well set before spreading the cream cheese layer. Otherwise you'll get "floaties."

4. Once your lime Jell-O has gotten thick (not set... but very thick and no longer "pourable"), spoon lime gelatin over cream cheese mixture. Insert wooden pop stick into gelatin in center of each cup. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Remove pops from cups just before serving.

How to Easily Remove Frozen Pops from Cups: Dip cups in warm water for 15 sec. Peel off cups. (Do not twist or pull pop sticks.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Candied Chicken

6 chicken breasts

1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c chopped green onion
1/4 c mustard
1/2 c ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Flour and brown chicken breasts in pan and place in 9x13" baking dish. Mix all ingredients for sauce and simmer for 5 minutes in saucepan. Pour over chicken and bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour. Yum!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lemon Garlic Angel Hair Pasta

I've made this several times and I really enjoy it. It's very light and it is meatless (warning to Joey...).

1 t EVOO
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (yes, I'm evil... I use cooking wine I find next to the vinegars in the grocery store)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (maybe this recipe isn't for Emily either...)
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (do NOT use anything but fresh!)
2 T grated parmesan cheese
ground pepper to taste

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat.

As water is coming to a boil, place olive oil and garlic in a saute pan and cook over medium heat just until garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and pour in wine. Return to heat and cook on high for another 1-2 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in lemon juice and tomatoes, remove from heat.

Place pasta in boiling water and cook to desired doneness (usually 1-4 minutes). Drain pasta and place in warmed serving dish. Add wine, garlic, tomato mixture. Add basil, parmesan and pepper. Toss and serve immediately. Goes quite well with crusty warm bread and a green salad.

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I stole this recipe from Emily's Relief Society newsletter (the March edition) and I made it tonight. Super easy and super fast. Super yummy with some ice cream!

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T oil
3 T chocolate chips (optional...but who are we kidding, they're absolutely essential!)
1 small splash vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add chocolate chips and vanilla and mix again.
Put mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high. The cake might rise over the top of the mug but don't be alarmed. Allow to cool a little and tip out onto plate if desired.
This can serve two, if you are feeling in a generous sort of mood.

Pesto Bruschetta on Toasted Garlic Crostini

Make these for your next party. Or for your midnight indulgence. Don't be afraid. You will thank me. Your guests will thank And when you invite me over, I'll give you a hug and a kiss. Really I will. Just make sure everyone eats one (or inevitably several of them!) so that you can all have garlic breath together. Stephanie, I will forever be grateful to you for introducing me to such divine yumminess! Mmmmmmmm.....

Pesto Bruschetta on Toasted Garlic Crostini

Pesto Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 large minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T freshly grated Pecorio Romano Cheese (Or I just used the Kraft Parmesan/Romano mix in the green container for both of sue me. It was still delish!)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Additional Ingredients
1-2 baguette sliced at a 45-degree angle about 1/2 inch thick (I'd say 2...there's enough pesto and once your guests figure out how fabulous they are, you'll be glad you did!)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced lengthwise
1 basket grape tomatoes

Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan, Pecorio, and pine nuts in food processor or blender. Slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until fully incorporated. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and rub with cut side of garlic. Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes.

While bread crisps, make pesto and half cherry tomatoes lengthwise.

Top crostini with pesto spread and cherry tomato slice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Extra Special Honey Butter

I know, I know... it seems pretty obvious. Honey and butter, right? Every once in awhile, it's nice to have the exact amounts handy and the powdered sugar in this one makes it extra yummy. I found it on On Our Best Bites. Paired with the delicious cornbread, it's almost like dessert. (I also got the pictures from their site... I can't take a decent food picture to save my life...)

2 sticks real butter, (close to room temp- works best when slightly chilled still.)
2/3 C honey
¾ C powdered sugar

Just place it all in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-mixer for about 30 seconds. Serve at room temperature. (Be sure your butter isn't too soft, or your honey butter will be too runny. You want it softened... but not soupy.)

Delicious Cornbread

I'm not a big fan of cornbread. I rarely eat it, so at our family reunion a couple weeks ago, I never tried my Aunt Kathie's cornbread, even though everyone raved it was the most delicious cornbread you'd ever eat. Then I heard a cousin say that she adds a box of cake mix to her cornbread to keep it from getting too crumbly and make it extra delicious. Then I wished I had tried it. I needed a side dish for dinner group last week and cornbread was appropriate so I went looking for a cornbread recipe that included a box of cake mix... and lo and behold, I found one on one of my favorite food sites, Our Best Bites.

So, I tried it, and it was indeed delicious. I think just my family alone ate an entire pan of it... including me! It was sooo good. Part of it may have been the extra yummy honey butter we tried with it, also from best bites. Try this stuff... it just may make a cornbread fan out of you, too! Just be forewarned, it makes a TON... I made 1 muffin tray, one 9x13 pan, and some mini-muffins to boot. Just freeze the extra, though, if you don't need all of it. Oh, and our cornbread barely lasted through dinner so I didn't get a picture... I borrowed these from the best bites site.

1 box yellow cake mix
2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix
oil, eggs, and milk according to package instructions (replace all water with milk)

Preheat oven according to directions on cake mix box. Combine cake mix and cornbread mixes in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, and milk according to package directions (remember to replace all water with milk). Mix together according to cake mix directions.

Distribute batter however makes you happiest... muffin tins, square pans, etc. Then bake according to the cake directions. Be sure and try it with the honey butter recipe!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rainbow Cupcakes

I saw these on this site and knew I had to make them. They are just the coolest looking cupcakes EVER!! They're pretty simple to make, just a little tedious to layer them in the liners. I thought it would be pretty quick, but the dough is a little thick and thus it takes a bit to spread each layer in the liner.

Anywho. Enjoy! These make for a really fabulous presentation. ;)

Rainbow Cupcakes (Colorburst cupcakes!)
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes.

*update* I guess I better add the rest of the instructions. No, you don't just mix the batter and magically get rainbow cupcakes (although that would make them super cool!).

Once you have the batter mixed, divide it into smaller bowls (depends on the number of colors you want). Then add the gel food coloring (not liquid) to each bowl until you get the desired color.

Then add a little of each color to the cupcake liners- starting with your first one. The batter is thick, so you get you finger a little wet and spread it out over the liner and each other layer (when you get to the next color, that is).

Bake according to package directions, let cool and then frost.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chip Chicken Nuggets

Tried these for dinner group tonight and they were easy, fun, and yummy. All the boys loved them and I love anything that presents lots of options... Plus, the kids can easily help make them. They stay nice and crunchy in the oven. I found the recipe on Allrecipes.

4 Boneless, skinless Chicken breasts (except I snuck in some thighs for kicks and giggles), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Egg
2 Tbsp. Milk
Assorted Seasonings to taste, like salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic salt, etc.
2 Cups Crushed Chips (Any flavor! That's where the fun comes in... we tried Lay's Sour Cream and Cheddar and they were fab, but we'll try Doritos next time...)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large baking sheet... or cover with foil if you're lazy like me and want to save on clean-up...

Crush Potato chips finely. (My 4 year old did a great job of this by using the chip bag as a punching bag...)

Whisk together milk, egg and seasonings.

Dip Chicken in Milk and Egg mixture and then coat well in crushed potato chip mixture. Spread onto baking sheet.

Bake 10 minutes and then flip over. Bake ten more minutes.

Serve with dipping sauces, like ranch, ketchup, or honey mustard.

A fun twist I saw on Allrecipes... Find some wooden skewers or popsicle sticks and put a couple nuggets on each one, like a chicken nugget lollipop. Makes a great appetizer and is extra fun for the kids.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

This was a recipe off of Allrecipes with a few modifications from Emily. They are SOOO good! Emily got me hooked at my baby shower when she made the cutest baby cupcakes using this receipe. Mmmmm good.

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 pkg. Lemon Instant Pudding (4 serving size)
1 c. water
4 egg whites
2 T. oil
1 c. smooshed Strawberries

3 3/4 c. icing sugar
1 pkg. Cream Cheese
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 T. lemon juice (I used pink lemonade concetrate instead)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, egg whites and oil in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Fold in strawberries. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

2. Bake 21-24 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in ceter comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, beat sugar, ream cheese, butter and juice with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Frost cupcakes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hawaii Five-Oh Sammies

We checked out a book from the library called Super Sandwiches by Rose Dunnington. Anya's had a blast going through the book and "taking notes" on her favorites. Today we finally got around to trying one! And it was delicious... although the kids were a little skeptical of the leaves (i.e. spinach).

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t chili powder
3/4 t vanilla extract
1 peeled and cored pineapple (use 5 thick slices)
5 onion rolls
5 slices swiss cheese (large enough to cover bottom of roll)
5 thick ham slices (or 10 thin ones)
spinach leaves
Dijon Mustard

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and vanilla in a plastic container or bag. Marinate the pineapple for as long as it takes for oven to heat up to 425.
Arrange pineapple slices on greased baking sheet. Roast 10-12 minutes on each side until golden brown. During the last 5 minutes, heat up the buns in the oven. Put the ham and swiss on the bottom buns (so the cheese melts and the meat warms).
After removing from oven, assemble your sandwiches!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Leeky Linguine with Shrimp and Asparagus

This was another one of those recipes I've been meaning to try for quite some time now, and I finally got around to it last week. I knew I'd like it... shrimp and asparagus... how could it go wrong? But I was worried about the boys liking it and expected them all to turn their noses up at it. Surprisingly, they loved it! They completely cleaned their plates and had seconds and even Jared dug in. This was super easy and fast and very tasty. It's not a "saucy" pasta but, it's really light, perfect for a spring pasta, and has just a hint of a "kick" from the red pepper.

I got this off of Taste and Tell, one of my favorite sites, and she got it from Every Day with Rachel Ray (be sure and check out her picture... it's much prettier and more appetizing looking... I'm terrible at getting good pictures of food!). The original recipe didn't include the asparagus, but I felt like it needed something and it was definitely a welcome addition.

Leeky Linguine with Shrimp and Asparagus
Makes 4 (large) portions (With the addition of the asparagus, it fed a lot more than that)

1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 T plus about 4 T extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch of kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
1 lb. linguine
4 leeks --- trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and washed
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth (or chicken broth)
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan Cheese

In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons EVOO, lemon peel, garlic and crushed red pepper; season with salt and black pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the leeks and asparagus and cook until the leeks are wilted and asparagus is tender crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Push the leeks and asparagus to the side of the pan, add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink and firm. Pour in the wine (or broth) and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.Add the pasta to the skillet; season with additional pepper if desired. Add the parsley and a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and toss.