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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stuffed Yams

Who says you have to wait for Thanksgiving to have yummy sweet yams with marshmallows? My hubby and I like these year round. When I saw the idea on Pinterest of stuffing them, that sounded pretty easy. I mean come on...who doesn't like to add brown sugar, butter and marshmallows to anything to make it taste better? Being that I am eating healthier, I am proud of myself for only taking 2 bites. The hubby enjoyed the rest of mine and I'm sure he will also enjoy taking the other one to work tomorrow in his lunch.
*Recipe from: sweetpeaskitchen.com
 ** I did not make this using pecans. I don't like to add nuts to my foods...but I'm sure it would taste good if you do!

Ingredients:
  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and place in preheated oven 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Shake the baking sheet halfway through baking so the nuts will toast evenly. Remove nuts from oven and set aside to cool completely. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle but still very warm.
  3. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Scoop out flesh and place in medium bowl, being careful not to tear skin. Reserve skins.
  4. In a large bowl, mix 3tablespoons butter and brown sugar together until it’s crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and half of the pecans. Divide mixture in half. Add half of the mixture to the sweet potato flesh and fold in completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on baking sheet.
  5. To the remaining brown sugar mixture, add 3 tablespoons butter and flour. Mix until crumbly looking. Top sweet potatoes generously with the brown sugar mixture and marshmallows and return to the oven. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the marshmallow topping is golden brown.

Summer Vegetable Salad

Today was one of those "put on your pajamas in the middle of the afternoon" kind of days and that's exactly what I did. Don't judge me, we've all done that at one time or another. ;) So since the pajamas made me feel lazy, I  needed to come up with something easy to make. I have been eating extremely healthy lately and want to try to keep it up. This recipe was perfect. It's another Pinterest winner! I seem to be on a kick lately trying new recipes from Pinterest. I've only been disappointed a couple of times. This was not one of them. This would make an amazing salad for a warm summer day! Even though it was cooler today, it still tasted great!!
*recipe from gimmesomeoven.com


  • 1 zucchini, ends cut off
  • 1 yellow squash, ends cut off
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, tough ends removed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and ends cut off
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, for garnish

Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, shave the zucchini, squash, and carrots into long thin strips (“ribbons”). Thinly slice the asparagus on a diagonal.
Fill a small saucepan with water, and bring a boil over high heat.  Carefully add in the sliced asparagus, and boil for 1-2 minutes, until the asparagus turns bright green.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Let sit for a minute, then drain the water, and toss the asparagus with the zucchini, squash and carrots in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and drizzle over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Garnish with the pecorino or parmesan shavings. Serve.

Mini Fish Tacos

I found this recipe on Pinterest and I just had to try it. I love, love, love fish tacos. So when I saw this, I thought to myself, "well, I'm sure it won't be great because it's in a won ton cup, but just try it and see." I'm so glad I tried it. It was super good! You can eat each one in two bites and actually it isn't even bad after it's not warm anymore, so I'm thinking this would make a good appetizer to set out at a party. Now that I know how easy it is to bake won ton wrappers, I just might get super creative with what to put in them for dinner or appetizers!
*Recipe from:
inspiredtaste.net

Ingredients
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 12 fresh cilantro leaves
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly brush wontons with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and arrange in 12 mini cupcake cups. Bake 5-7 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
  3. Combine 1/4 teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, paprika and coriander in a small bowl then rub both sides of the fish. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of a baking sheet then place the fish on top. Bake uncovered 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked and the flesh flakes with a fork.
  4. While the fish bakes, make the slaw. In a small bowl, combine cabbage, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, sour cream, chipotles in adobo sauce and the juice of half a lime.
  5. Assemble mini tacos by dividing the fish among 12 wonton cups then top with a spoonful of slaw, cilantro leaf and an extra spritz of lime.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Who says women can't rap? Oh wait, that's a different kind of rap than this dinner was. I will absolutely not try to write or perform a rap for you. I would scare you away from ever reading this blog again, but I will share this recipe for the "wrapping" I did last night. Very few recipes, besides my mom's tried and true ones, make the "go to" list for dinner. This Asian wrap recipe will most definitely be on that list. I literally was sitting at the dinner table saying "oh my gosh this is sssoooo good." My poor hubby is just not into food the way I am and he just kept agreeing politely, "yes it is." The fact that he ate about 5 of these spoke louder than his words  haha!


Original recipe from:  http://iowagirleats.com
** I used chopped chicken breasts instead of ground chicken breasts for my recipe
1lb ground chicken breast
1/2 medium onion, minced
salt & pepper, a dash of each
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 inch nob fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/2 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (or more if you like it hotter)
dash of fresh pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1/2-8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
10-12 large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Directions:
1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper, and cook until chicken is nearly done, stirring often to break up the meat. Add in minced garlic and ginger, and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, water, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add into the skillet and stir to combine.

3 Add green onion and water chestnuts into the skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and the water chestnuts are heated through.

4. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and serve with cold lettuce leaves

Simply pile the chicken mixture onto a lettuce leaf, roll,
and chomp. 

The water chestnuts in the mixture are a total must, in my opinion. They add a fabulous crispness and texture to the filling, that you wouldn’t get by just using ground chicken alone.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

I'm headed over to a friends house in just a bit to help her with some projects around her house. I baked these to take along with me. Funny thing is....this  is my walking partner we are talking about. She's probably gonna roll her eyes and say "ok, give me just one." Then we will have to plan an extra mile (ok an extra 10) to work off just that one brownie. It will be worth it though...trust me on this one! 

It seems I have been on a kick lately of posting my sweets and snacks more so than my meals. I promise I'll get back to posting my meals soon.
 


Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips separated as follows: 3/4 cup (to melt), 1/2 cup (to stir in) and 1/2 cup reserved for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips (I used Reese’s PB chips) separated as follows: 1/2 cup to stir in and 1/2 cup reserved for garnish
Preheat oven to 350
Grease 12 cup muffin pan. Combine sugar, butter and water in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Add 3/4 cup semi-sweet chips; stir until melted. Add egg and vanilla extract and stir well. Add flour and baking soda and stir until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in 1/2 cup each of PB chips and semi-sweet chips. Spoon a heaping tablespoon batter into each prepared muffin cup. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top is set and wooden pick inserted center comes out still slightly wet. Place muffin pan on wire rack.
Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If some do not, with back of teaspoon, tap center to make a hole.
Place peanut butter in small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds; stir. While brownies are still hot, spoon a scant tablespoon peanut butter into center of each brownie. After brownies have cooled for approx 10 min. top with reserved 1/2 c. PB chips and 1/2 c. semi-sweet chips. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Loosen around edges of brownies with a knife and carefully remove from pan.
 *Recipe from: Cookiesandcups.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate, Caramel, Peanut Butter and Pretzel Delights

Have you ever heard the term "a moment on your lips, forever on your hips?" Well, I have, and let me tell you these didn't even last a full moment on my lips. They were so good that I pretty much swallowed them whole. So does that mean that my new saying should be " a moment in my gut, forever on my butt?" I think so! ;)
These have got to be classified as one of the easiest candies to make and one of the most delicious to eat. I love the salty and sweet combination. The pretzels help to cut down on the sweet from the chocolate. Oh and of course if you throw peanut butter into anything, that always helps!
*There is only 3 ingredients...see how simple this really is!


Individually wrapped caramels (each one makes one candy, so use as many as the amount of candy you want to make)
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels (from the grocery store or Trader Joes...again one for each candy)
Dipping Chocolate ( I like to use the log house brand from the grocery store)

Unwrap each caramel and use a rolling pin to roll it out flat and large enough to wrap around a peanut butter filled pretzel. Place a pretzel onto each flattened caramel. Using your hands, wrap the caramel carefully, around the pretzel. Tuck and squeeze any excess caramel so it doesn't look "bumpy." Dip each wrapped pretzel into melted, dipping chocolate. Sprinkle crushed pretzel onto the outside. Let it dry on waxed paper until chocolate is firm and hardened.
* You could also sprinkle sea salt on this if you want a saltier candy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

All Inclusive Breakfast

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take all of your breakfast ingredients and combine them all together in one little bundle? It's ok. I hadn't either. So when I saw this idea on Pinterest, I decided, like always, to expand upon it. I'm not much of a breakfast food eater. I know, I know, everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I would much rather snack on fruit or eat leftovers for breakfast.
 So you are probably asking....then why did you make this? Well, sometimes a girl (ok, ok, a not so young lady) just has to use up leftovers that are in her house. I had recently made the hubby a BLT, which I didn't eat, because once again you will probably think I'm crazy, but I really don't like bacon very much. I also had some leftover frozen hash browns that really needed to be used up, since I honestly can't remember when I have ever made hash browns. So thus began the journey towards this "all inclusive breakfast"." I sure like the ring of that title.....I just wish I were being served this while on an all inclusive vacation. Maybe soon...maybe soon.
*This was what the final product looked like.
*Or you can make some gravy from the few pieces of bacon you cooked to crumble on the top and this is what your finished product will look like. That's the beauty of this, you can add whatever you would like to suit your taste.

* Sorry my measurements won't be exact as I just threw this together and honestly never stopped to think about measuring to write it down. But really you can just throw this together yourself also.

small amount of diced sauted onions
Large handful of frozen hash browns, thawed
1/4 tsp oil
salt and pepper
grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2-3 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh jalapeno
grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease 4 cups of a muffin tin.
In a skillet, saute onions until bite tender. Set aside. In a bowl, combine onions, hash browns, oil, salt, pepper and grated cheddar cheese. Divide this mixture into 4 equal parts and press the hash brown mixture into the greased muffin tin compartments and make a well in the center, so your mixture kind of forms a "nest". Bake this at 425° for 18 min. (Check every so often to make sure the edges are not getting too brown. If they are, cover with the pan with tin foil).
Remove from oven and turn the oven down to 350°.
Crack an egg into each "nest" and top with bacon, Italian parsley, chopped jalapeno and more grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 more minutes. Loosen them with a knife around the edge and serve.
*If you would like to serve them with gravy, just add enough flour to your bacon drippings to make a "paste". Add milk to thin. Season with salt and pepper and cook until you achieve the right consistency.
 **Original recipe from: http://thevillagecook.com

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

I am probably the only person in the world that does not like the smell of popcorn cooking. I'm not sure why I have an aversion to it. I guess it could be that my mom used to make it a lot. A LOT!!! I sure do love my mom, but I found it horrible to smell the popcorn. Even now when I'm at work, I want to walk into the staff lounge with my nose plugged when someone has been popping popcorn. So for someone that doesn't like the taste and/or smell of popcorn, I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this snack. I needed to make something to take to church tomorrow and I had all these ingredients in my house. Turns out it's actually pretty tasty. The chocolate and the peanut butter hide the taste of the popcorn well in this one. Now if I could just get my  house to get "un-stinky" from cooking it lol.

 For popcorn:
8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup salted cocktail peanuts
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

For topping: 
1/2- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 gigantic spoonful of peanut butter
(You can use whatever milk chocolate to peanut butter ratio you want here. I like to use a lot of peanut butter to cut down on the sweetness of the chocolate)
Preheat oven to 300°. Grease a large roasting pan. Combine popped popcorn and peanuts in the pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt together corn syrup and sugar. Stir until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add  the peanut butter and stir until mixed together.  
Pour over the popcorn in the pan and stir to coat it well.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (I stirred mine every 7 minutes). Put on wax paper and allow to cool down. 
In a saucepan, mix together the topping ingredients. (milk chocolate chips and peanut butter). Drizzle over the chocolate popcorn and let sit on the wax paper until the new chocolate topping has firmed up. (This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the weather)
Break apart and enjoy.

*original recipe from: http://www.yummly.com/






















Andes Mint Cookie Dough Truffles

Oh my goodness, would it sound trite to say these were divine? I love chocolate and mint together. Wait who am I kidding???? I love chocolate with anything! Although these were pretty sweet, I still managed  to eat two of them. So much for my tennis playing today. I'm sure I consumed, just in these two candies alone, everything that I worked off today while playing! Was it worth it? You betcha! These pretty much melt in your mouth.  I'm sure they won't melt off my hips though, which means I start walking faster and further tomorrow on my walk.

4 ounces, cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 cup Brown Sugar 
1tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup Flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 cup Andes Mint Morsels  
12 ounces, Chocolate Candy Coating Melted 
1/2 cup Andes mint morsels for topping


In a food processor, beat cream cheese with butter. Add in sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour and salt. Fold in Andes candy. Using a small scoop or spoon, place small amounts of the dough into rounds on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 15 min. Remove from the freezer and shape each ball into a nice smooth ball. Freeze the smoothed balls for approx 15-20 more minutes. Using a toothpick, or a candy fork, dip each truffle into melted chocolate candy bark. Let excess chocolate drip off the truffle. Place onto wax paper and immediately top each candy (before it dries) with the extra morsels. Let the chocolate firm up and enjoy!



*Original recipe from http://tastykitchen.com

Friday, February 17, 2012

Zucchini, and Jalapeno Biscuits with Cheese

Don't you just love when you can whip something up in no time at all and it winds up tasting great? That's the way this recipe worked. I love biscuits and in my opinon you can add jalapeno and/or spice to anything and it's always going to taste better. I don't know what I'm gonna do if I ever have to go on a bland diet....yikes....I shudder at the thought. I promise these are not "smoke coming out of your ears" spicy. You can add extra jalapeno, cut back to the 1/4 of a jalapeno or not add it at all. It's your choice! That's what is so great about cooking. You take a recipe and "tweak" it or add to or take away from it to make it your own. So have fun with this one. Add to it, take away from it, or leave it like this, but just enjoy it!!

3/8 cup (or 3 oz) shredded, fresh zucchini
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of flour
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter  (half a stick) cold and cut into small cubes
 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick melted butter
1/4 tsp fresh garlic, chopped very finely

Preheat oven to 450°. Use a paper towel (you have to use a high quality brand or else it will fall apart) to squeeze out all the excess water out of the shredded zucchini. Place the zucchini in a small bowl and add the cilantro, jalapeno, salt and dash of flour. Mix together and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift 1 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cubed butter and use your hands to break it up and work it into the flour mixture until it's the size of small peas.

Add the milk, zucchini mixture and both cheeses to the flour mixture until moistened. Using a big spoon, drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
*While the biscuits are cooking, melt the 1/2 stick of butter and stir in fresh garlic. When the biscuits come out of the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter on the top of each one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

This morning started off with the hubby having to remind me that it was Valentine's Day. Am I that unromantic? No....I just feel like this day is so over rated and commercial. We love each other everyday and show each other as often as we can by doing special things for each other. Gotta love  that after almost 29 years of marriage. So what did I make for him? I made him these brownies filled with Oreos and peanut butter. Hopefully that will not result in a heart attack as that would not be a very special Valentine gift. So maybe you can make them for  your special someone, or maybe just for your kiddos or your friends. If they like brownies, oreos and/or peanut butter, trust me they will love these!

All you need to make these  are:
1 box brownie mix, (make the batter according to package directions)
1 bag Oreo cookies
Peanut Butter

First put about 1/2- 1 tsp of peanut butter on top of 2 separate Oreos.( I tended to use the higher ratio of peanut butter because I think it helps cut the sweetness of the brownie...and oh yeah because I'm a peanut butter junkie) Then place them together like this: ( Do this with the remaining Oreos until the package is gone.)
 Then place the peanut butter covered Oreos into a cupcake liner and place into a muffin tin.
Next place 2 Tbsp of prepared brownie mix over the top of each cookie stack.

Bake at 350 for approx 18-20 min. Take out and let cool in pan.
This is what they looked like before I cut one open.

Here is the inside of the final product.

Yes I did eat this directly after this picture was taken. I am hanging my  head in shame now as I type this ;)


*Original recipe from: http://www.instructables.com/id/Oreo-and-Peanut-Butter-Brownie-Cakes/

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Grilled Chicken

This  morning was an amazing hike with the hubby in the mountains. We were so lucky to be able to see the beauty of God's creation. We saw a doe, a donkey, goats, squirrels, and blue jays. Someone reading this might be lucky enough to see those things all the time, but when you live in the heart of a big city, those things can amaze you! Needless to say though....my poor little feet were tired tonight so I needed to come up with something quick for dinner so I wouldn't be standing forever while I was cooking. This was definitely quick, thanks to my handy, dandy indoor grill. I whipped the chicken up in no time, the sauce was a snap and it only took a few minutes to chop up some veges. If you don't like your food spicy, you can just omit the sriracha and the red pepper flakes.






3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil

3/4 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
2-3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup red bell pepper, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
6 basil leaves, chopped

In a bowl, combine: rice vinegar, soy sauce, vege oil, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Stir until thoroughly mixed and let sit on counter for about 15 minutes to let the flavors come together.
Cook the spaghetti according to pkg directions. Drain in a colander and place into a large bowl. Add the chicken, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro and basil leaves. Pour the sauce on top and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.
* adapted from the original recipe at http://www.fortheloveofcooking.net

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tilapia with Cucumber Mango Salsa

Ssshhhh don't tell anyone but I actually uttered the words tonight "I don't feel like cooking dinner." It's very rare to hear those words come out of my mouth since I love to cook so much. After taking my walk with my friend, I found myself not looking forward to cooking tonight. Could it be because no matter how many walks I took this week, they weren't nearly enough to wipe out all the calories consumed from the extra chocolate peanut butter rice krispy brownies (an earlier post this week) that I had eaten? Or could it be that for some reason this week, I have just been extremely tired. Yes that must be it.....menopause has absolutely nothing to do with it, I'm sure! *sigh* Anyway, I was glad I had laid out Tilapia to cook for dinner. Now what was I going to do with it? I whipped up a mango cucumber salsa for the top of it and wow....easy, super quick and tasty dinner!

 4 Tilapia fillets, seasoned with salt and pepper

For the Salsa:
1 cucumber, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped and deseeded
1/8 cup red bell pepper, chopped
 2 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (1/8 cup or a handful)
1/2 lime, juiced
salt, to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients for the salsa and stir well. In a skillet, sprayed with Pam, cook Tilapia until completely cooked. This should only take a few minutes for thin Tilapia fillets. Top the fillets with the salsa and serve!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Loaded Potato Casserole

There should be a clear warning with this recipe that announces, "you are about to close an artery", but oh my goodness it sure seemed worth it at the time we were eating this for dinner tonight. This is such an easy meal to prepare and if you like a baked potato with all the yummy fixins like...green onions, butter, sour cream, bacon etc, then you will definitely love this casserole.

5 lb russet potatoes 
10 slices bacon 
8 oz cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1 cup sour cream 
1/4 cup chives, minced 
2.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated 
2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.
3. Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
4. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

*original recipe from: sixsistersstuff.com



Peanut Butter Cup and Rice Krispy Brownies

Have you ever made a recipe that you knew was going to be so delicious, that you could start drooling just thinking about it? This was one of those recipes. I started by making the brownie batter and as I was pouring it into the pan, I was thinking, "what if I just left a HUGE spoonful of this in the bowl by mistake and had to lick it clean?" Come on....you can't honestly say you have never thought or done this yourself! Well, I fought the brownie batter demon and I put all of it in the pan. Now I had to figure out how to stop myself from licking the bowl clean. Hence the chant to myself " just put it in the sink and run water in it quickly, just put it in the sink and run water in it quickly" over and over and over! Once again...mission accomplished. I ran water into the bowl of precious scraps of brownie batter and watched it wash it all away. Boo Hoo! Later when these brownies were done and I had managed to eat 2 of them, I realized that with all the calories I had consumed, that little bit of brownie batter probably wouldn't have mattered. So next time, and oh trust me there WILL be a next time for this recipe....I will not run water in that bowl so quickly.


1 box brownie mix 
1/2 cup salted peanut, chopped
1 1/4 cups  Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
Mix brownie batter according to directions on box, and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts and peanut butter cups, and bake for 5-6 minutes more. While they are finishing baking, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal. Remove brownies from the oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
*original recipe from: www.howsweeteats.com

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ham and Roast Beef Roll Ups

I'm sure everyone has tasted these somewhere along their life journey. I had tasted them a couple years ago but had never made them. I was out walking with a friend recently and I shared with her that I needed an appetizer recipe that would be easy to travel with. Most of my appetizers are better served warm and right out of the oven. She suggested these roll ups. They fit in with what I needed since I didn't feel like lugging a crock pot or much else with me. The plus side  is that they take hardly any time at all to throw together.
Now if you want me to be honest, I can't say I'm a fan of these because I don't care for ham or roast beef, but everyone I know that has tried these, loves them. That must mean there is something wrong with my  taster ;) So if you need a quick appetizer and you are a red meat fan....these just might work for you!

Ham slices ( I used Bar S brand, it's the right amount of thickness)
Roast Beef Slices (not the super thin kind, a little thicker)
Soft spreadable cream cheese
Green onions
Fresh red bell peppers

Basically you just spread cream cheese on your ham and roll up a slice of green onion in the center and slice into bite size pieces. Do the same with roast beef, but use red pepper instead of green onions. Here is a pictoral how to that I took as I prepared them:

                      Place the green onion "lengthwise" on the ham that
                       has cream cheese spread onto it. Then roll it 
                and cut into bite size pieces


Place the red pepper strips on each of the short ends
of the roast beef slice that has cream cheese spread 
on it.

Now roll it up from each side until it meets 
in the middle. Slice down the center and re-roll
any loose edges of roast beef

Now slice into bite size pieces. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball

Have you ever had one of those days when everything and everyone just "rubs you the wrong way?" This was one of those days for me. As if that wasn't enough, if I continued to eat anymore of this amazing cheese ball, even my thighs would be rubbing me the wrong way....oh wait...they already do! ;)
When I first saw this recipe on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it. So who better to try it on than co-workers? That way if it didn't taste good, I could make up some lame excuse as to why it went wrong, but my family....they would know better.
As I read the recipe, I saw that the instructions said "mix everything together in a bowl with a spoon". Well....given the fact that this usually takes brute strength like Popeye, and I can't stand spinach, I decided to whip this together in my food processor. Best decision I made all day. I know that's not  saying much, but it's been a strange kind of a day.
The original recipe is from Annie's Eats, but like always I adapted the recipe. I just can't stand to leave recipes as they're supposed to be ;)

10 oz. cream cheese
4 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon and one small lemon
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
3 graham crackers, crushed

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Place the mixture into a piece of plastic wrap. Shape it into a ball, the best you can, and refrigerate it for at least 3 -4 hours. Once it's firm roll the entire ball into crushed graham crackers until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve with: Apple slices, graham crackers, animal crackers, vanilla wafers etc.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast

I wish I could say I was actually in Paris this morning as I made and ate this breakfast. That would really have made it FRENCH toast, but alas I was standing in my kitchen in the middle of a big city, in the middle of the hottest winter ever and I was in the middle of getting ready for work!! Wow that was quite a run on sentence. I'm sure Natasha and Angie are going to speak to me tomorrow at work, regarding my improper use of the English language haha. Gotta love having English teachers as friends. Keeps me on my toes, but apparently, not this time! ;)
This breakfast was a nice change from the original French toast that we all usually eat. It had a good subtle peanut butter flavor and it was definitely a nice change of pace. The sliced bananas really made it taste great, but let's get real, what could NOT taste good with peanut butter and banana in it?


Recipe adapted from:  http://susikochenundbacken.blogspot.com

1/2 cup coconut milk ( You can use regular milk also)
3 eggs
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 slices French bread 
Butter
Powdered Sugar
Sliced banana

In a blender add milk, eggs, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.Spray a griddle with Pam or use butter to melt onto the griddle to grease it. Dunk each slice of french bread in the milk mixture. Make sure to coat both sides. Place it on your hot griddle and cook each side until golden brown. Use your sifter to sift powdered sugar all over the top of the hot french toast. Slice fresh bananas on top to serve.