Friday, September 18, 2009

Cheese Ball

Man have I been busy. I thought September was going to be a pretty low key month at work once we got month-end close out of the way. I stayed at home with my son on Monday since he had his 9 month appointment and shots. I came into work Tuesday and got hit out of the blue. First, the coworker I backup was out on vacation until this coming Tuesday and I'm always extremely busy when she is out. And secondly, we have internal audit here for 3 weeks.


Needless to say I have not had a spare moment until now all week. (they just left to fly back home for the weekend).

I hate it when work interrupts my previously scheduled blogging.

Anyway, believe it or not this is the last recipe from Carson's baptism weekend. I feel like I've been blogging about it forever, which I kind of have since it happened over a month ago now.

Cheese ball

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese spread, softened
2 Tbsp blue cheese dressing, room temperature
1 Tbsp onion, grated really fine
1/8 - 1/4 tsp garlic powder salt (optional)
Chopped pecans

1. Let both cheeses sit until they are room temperature, about 2 hours. Mix together until well blended.
2. Mix remaining ingredients (except pecans) with cheese mixture until well blended. Put in refrigerator.
3. Once mixture becomes firm, roll it into a ball and then roll to cover in chopped pecans. Serve with crackers.

Source: my mother-in-law

Friday, September 11, 2009

Creamed Lima Beans

This is my mother-in-law's recipe. She's been making it her whole life and whenever there is a potluck or family gathering, this is what she makes to bring. I don't remember ever eating lima beans before I met my husband and tried this dish but it surely was good. And when we served it baptism weekend my Mom didn't want to try it because she's "not a bean person" (her words). I told her to just take a taste (when did I become the parent?) so she did and then said she really liked them. So there! (Muah ... love ya Mom!)

The recipe below is as dictated by my mother-in-law as she was preparing it. There are not many measurements so the recipe will be more in paragraph form than anything.

Butter the sides of the pan and also add about 3 Tbsp butter to the boiling water. Then add 2 bags of lima beans (but these have to be fordhook lima beans, not baby lima beans ... to my mother-in-law this was VERY important). Add water to cover the lima beans (about halfway up the pan, cover and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste.

When beans are cooked through, add half-and-half to bring to top of beans. Do not boil, but keep it hot. Dissolve about 3 Tbsp cornstarch with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the heated half and half. Then add that back to the bean mixture and stir until thickened. Watch it because you may end up needing to use more cornstarch to get it to the proper thickness. Check seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: my mother-in-law

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweet Restaurant Slaw

I've been looking for that go-to slaw recipe. It's been difficult because my husband and I have completely different tastes when it comes to slaw. I prefer a tangy flavor like in this slaw. My husband prefers more of a vinegar flavor, like they serve at KFC. This was right up his alley. He loved it and really thinks should be our "go-to" slaw recipe. We'll see. : )

Sweet Restaurant Slaw
Makes 8 servings

1 (16 oz) bag coleslaw mix
2 Tbsp diced onion
2/3 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed

1. Combine coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
2. Whisk together salad dressing, oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seed in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Source: adapted from

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes

Oh cheesecakes .... you and I have a love-hate relationship. I love how good you taste. I hate how bad for my thighs you are. I'm scared to death to bake you (not quite sure) but I yearn to try one. My problem is that my husband does not like cheesecake so if I were to bake one I'd have to eat the whole thing myself (which brings me back to my thigh problem).

Then I saw these on a few differnt blogs in my google reader and I just knew I had to add them to the list of dishes to make for Carson's baptism.

They were very simple and so yummy. Even my husband liked them, which is a good thing. I ended up doubling the recipe since they were meant to feed a crowd so the measurements I used are in the recipe below.

Mini Cheesecakes

1 box Nilla wafers (you don't use the whole box)
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Line mini cupcake tin with liners and place one Nilla wafer into bottom of cups.
3. In bowl of stand mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar.
4. Beat to combine well until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Add sour cream and egg, mixing well to combine.
6. Scrape down sides of bowl, add lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine well.
7. Remove from stand mixer, scrape sides and hand beat to make sure mixture is combined well.
8. Using mini cookie scoop or teaspoon, fill each liner almost to top.
9. Place in oven and bake 15 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and let cool.
11. Cover tightly and place in fridge overnight, or at leaast 4 hours before serving.
12. Top with whatever you want. I used strawberries, blueberries, hot fudge, and caramel.

Source: doubled from Good Things Catered as adapted from Elizabeth's Edible Experiment. Originally from Gourmet Magazine

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Grilled BBQ Chicken

We have been making this A LOT lately. My husband is cutting out carbs so this has been a go-to dinner for us lately. We've probably had it once or twice a week.

We season everything to taste so I don't really have any measurements.

Skinless boneless chicken breasts
Barbecue Sauce
Coarse ground black pepper
Seasoned salt
Garlic Powder

Season chicken with salt, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Start cooking chicken on grill. Dredge chicken in bbq sauce everytime you turn chicken on grill. Serve with additional bbq sauce drizzled on chicken.

Alternately you can perpare this on the stovetop in a skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

One thing that is nice about having family to visit is that I get an excuse to make pancakes. I love them. I could eat them for any meal of the day. The problem is that my husband doesn't like them at all. So I rarely make them. Since I had a large crowd to visit for Carson's baptism I knew I'd be making these. I also mixed some blueberries and peaches into some of them. Blueberry Peach Buttermilk pancakes are to die for delicious!

Buttermilk Pancakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp white sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready.
3. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! (If you're adding anything in like fruits, etc do it now). Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using about 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Garden Garbage Dip

I love "hiding" veggies in things. Mostly since I've become a Mom. Carson hasn't really fought any veggies yet but I know the day is coming. So whenever I make something that incorporates getting more veggies into my diet I'm game. I've thought of the easy things like spaghetti sauce, meatloaf/meatballs, etc. Then I saw this recipe and thought, "Hmmm ... so I can make a dip with veggies to dip veggies in?" Excellent!

And before you look at the recipe and think "Holy cow that's a lot of chopping!" Remember, if you have a food processor you can let it do all the work for you. That's what I did.

Garden Garbage Dip

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped radishes (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried dill weed, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into 1-quart serving bowl.

Source: Kim's Kitchen

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Luscious Slush Punch

Oh my goodness, this was GOOD!!!!! I really enjoyed this punch and it made a lot. We only ended up using half the recipe. We're having a tailgate party at work this coming Wednesday and I'll be bringing it with me to use up there. I'm already looking forward to tasting it again.

Luscious Slush Punch

1 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
1 (3 oz) package strawberry-banana gelatin
1 (3 oz) package cherry gelatin
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2-liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored soda

1. In large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture in half and freeze in 2 separate containers. (I used gallon-size ziploc freezer bags).
2. When ready to serve place frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl and stir in 1 bottle lemon-lime soda until slushy.

Source: adapted from

Friday, August 28, 2009

Marshall Field's Chicken Salad

When we first started to attend our church last year I received an invitation to attend a ladies luncheon for new women who were visiting the church. It was a lovely afternoon and I met some fantastic women. However one very memorable thing for me was the chicken salad that was served. I'm not sure if this is the same recipe but it was very close. I had never considered adding grapes or crunchy nuts to it before (I was very much a rookie in the kitchen at this point). It blew my taste buds away.

When I was planning Carson's baptism lunch I knew I wanted to have chicken salad sandwiches and had this recipe that I wanted to try. It was fantastic. My babysitter actually still mentions how great it was every morning when I drop Carson off and the party happened nearly 2 weeks ago.

Marshall Field's Chicken Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I used honey dijon)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used coarse ground black pepper)
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken breast, cooked
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted & chopped
1/4 cup seedles grapes, halved

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Source: Recipezaar

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peach Tea

My in-laws went peach picking (is that even the right term?) a few days before they came down for Carson's baptism and mentioned they would be bringing a lot of peaches for us. So I went hunting for ways to use them up. Babyfood won out for most but I did want to incorporate them into the baptism party food in some way.

I personally don't care for tea so I can't say whether this was good or not but there really weren't any leftovers so take it for what you will.

Peach Tea
3 cups water
3 family size tea bags
2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp stevia powder

1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the tea bags, and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
2. Meanwhile, place peaches with 1 cup water into the jar of a blender (I used food processor), and blend until very smooth. Pour the peach mixture, tea, and stevia powder into a 1 gallon pitcher. Fill the pitcher to the top with water, and stir until blended.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

French Toast

I love French Toast. When I was pregnant I had my husband make it probably every other weekend. Ok, so that is exaggerating but I do love it. When I was trying to plan out what to make when I had everyone at the house for Carson's baptism I knew one morning I'd want to make it. I chose Saturday morning because it was just my husband, parents, Grandma, and I. My in-laws aren't really into French toast and they weren't getting into town until later that day.

Usually I just wing it but I actually used a recipe this time. I thought they were good but I'm still going to keep looking for that jaw-dropping fabulous recipe.

French Toast
Makes 6 servings

12 thick slices bread (I used texas toast)
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Beat together egg, milk, spices, and vanilla.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place on griddle and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.

Source: recipe doubled from

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honey Yogurt Dip

I knew I wanted to have a fruit tray at Carson's baptism and I immediately thought of this dip. I had seen it on this blog and thought it sounded absolutely delicious. Let's just say that it did not disappoint. Absolutely fabulous! Do yourself a favor and give it a try. I served it with both green and red grapes, strawberries, blueberries and sliced granny smith apples. I think the strawberries were my favorite to dip in it but everything tasted just great.

Honey Yogurt Dip

1 (7 oz) container 2% Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
Ground cinnamon, to taste

Combine the yogurt and honey in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly until smooth and well combined. Add a very small amount of cinnamon, taste, and adjust accordingly. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with fresh fruit.

Source: Annie's Eats as adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mini Banana Creme Pies

I made another Banana Creme Pie for dinner Saturday night and had more creme filling and meringue than I could use with the pie crust. So we decied to make some mini-pies using Nilla Wafers and ramekins.

Use this recipe to make the creme and then place some Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a ramekin. Top with creme filling and then with meringue. Bake in oven alongside the pie to brown meringue.

Soooo delish.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

I made these mashed potatoes to go along with the pot roast for dinner Saturday night.

It thought that while they were good, I'll keep looking for my "go-to" mashed potato recipe.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pot Roast

My parents and Grandmother came into town on Friday night (when I served the lasagna and strawberry spinach salad). On Saturday we were also joined by my in-laws. A friend from high school also mentioned she was going to be passing through town that night and she, her husband, and daughter *may* stop by as well. So I wasn't sure if I would be cooking for 7 or 10. A pot roast sounded just about right.

This recipe wasn't based on any one in particular but more just me combining many different recipes that I looked through. None of them looked just right to me so I combined the best parts of many to create this. I'm not a huge pot roast lover but this was pretty good.

Pot Roast
1 (4-5 lb) beef pot roast
1 can coke
2 cans cream of roasted garlic and mushroom soup
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 packet French onion soup mix
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place chopped onion at bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top and season with salt and pepper. Place remaining vegetables around the roast. In a mixing bowl combine coke, soups, and onion soup mix. Pour mixture over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Soure: A Julie original

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World's Best Lasagna

I tend to be leery of recipes that proclaim to be "world's best" because given how diverse the world is, I can't imagine anything being declared the best. However this recipe was very highly rated on by nearly 3000 reviewers so I figured it was definitely worth a shot.

My Sicilian Grandmother was coming down to visit for the weekend and was getting into town on Friday as well as my parents. I wanted to make something that I knew they would like that would also easily feed 5 adults. I knew it had to be lasagna. I have made baked ziti before and lasagna rolls here and here, but never have I actually made a lasagna.

I served the lasagna alonside a strawberry spinach salad. It was a very delicious meal.

World's Best Lasagna

1 lb sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
18 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
Dash nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb mozzerella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large stockpot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you simmer the better the flavor.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse in cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, nutmeg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt.
3. Preheat oven to 375F.
4. Layer as follows: Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in a 9x13 inch baking dish (I used a disposable 9x13 pan since it is deeper and it worked better. I think it would have gone over my glass 9x13 pan). Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of mozzerella and sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with last 6 noodles and remaining mozzerella and Parmesan. (Next time I make this, and there WILL be a next time, I will top the top layer of noodles with meat sauce and then the remaining cheeses).
5. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Ok, if you are a female, this salad is to die for. I made this our first night of company when it was my parents, my grandmother, my husband and I. Carson is still too young for table food so he was a silent (well not so silent) observer. Pretty much everyone said it was 5-star good...except my husband. But let's face it, if it's got veggies in it and no meat he's typically not too thrilled. He said it was good, but not 5-star good. I disagree. Try it for yourself and you can decide. I personally think all you need to do is add some grilled chicken or shrimp and you'd have a truly lovely dinner.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced red onion
1 bag baby spinach
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and sliced
2-3 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, worcestershire sauce, and onion. Cover, chill fot 1 hour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, walnuts, and feta. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Source: adapted from

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cranana Bread

The houseguests have mostly left (my in-laws are still here) and thankfully my baptism-party, many houseguest cooking and baking is finished. I will have a flurry of posts related to all the cooking that was done. My kitchen was VERY busy for the last few days. At one point my Mom, Grandma, myself, and my son (who was in his backpack carrier) were all in it at once preparing things. It was great!

I made this recipe about a week ago and ended up taking it into work to share. Everyone thought it was delicious. I'll definitely be making it again.

Cranana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
4 bananas, mashed
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix in cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and flours. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts. Bake 70 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Source: A Southern Grace

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sausage & Mushroom Pizza

Since I had leftover chicken sausage and mushrooms from the lasagna rolls I decided to make a homemade pizza. I'm still not brave enough to try from-scratch dough but I know I will eventually.

All amounts here are approximate since I didn't really measure anything.

1 tube Pillsbury pizza crust dough
3 links chicken sausage sliced into about 1/2 inch thick slices
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup or so pizza sauce - enough to generously cover pizza dough
2 cups four cheese pizza blend shredded cheese (yes we like our cheese so we use a lot)

1. Roll out dough according to package directions. Preheat oven as directed on dough package.
2. We prefer a crisper crust so I baked the crust by itself in the preheated oven about 5 minutes.
3. Coat dough generously with pizza sauce.
4. Place toppings over sauce. Cover all with cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is fully cooked.

NOTE: My chicken sausages were already fully cooked but if you are not using precooked sausages make sure to cook them up separately prior to placing them on the pizza.

Source: A Julie original

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Rolls

As with most things cooking, once you learn the method you can substitute in pretty much whatever you want and voila - a new meal. Last month I made these lasagna rolls and both my husband and I really enjoyed them. I wanted to make something similar but this time with some meat in them.

I keep seeing people posting about chicken sausages in their food blogs and I couldn't find them at either our Food City or Kroger here so I headed out to Earth Fare (no Trader Joe's here) to see if they had them. Much to my delight they did so I bought them and decided to make lasagna rolls. I had leftover mushrooms and spinach from another meal so those got added as well. Oh my goodness ... can you say yummy!

Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

6 lasagna noodles, cooked to package directions
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
2 links chicken sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 cups primavera sauce
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. combine ricotta, 1/4 cup mozzerella, Parmesan, egg white, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
3. Heat skillet on medium-high. Add olive oil and saute mushrooms and sausage for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute or so until fragrant. Add spinach and stir until it wilts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly.
4. Combine sausage mixture with ricotta mixture. Spread the cheese mixture over noodles in a thin layer. Roll up noodle and place in baking dish seam side down. Repeat process with remaining lasagna noodles.
5. Spoon primavera sauce over each and cover with foil. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining mozzerella and bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes.

Source: adapted from bakin and eggs

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hamburger Cupcakes

Ok I know I took a little bit of a break. I'm an accountant and last week was our month-end close. It's always a really busy time for me so I don't get to really blog like I want to. And this weekend I decided to just take time and relax since we're having both sets of parents and my grandma down next weekend for Carson's baptism. But I'm back now.

I first saw these cupcakes on Bakerella and thought they were super cute. She took more time in decorating that I did since I was in the middle of close. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make them for a guy's birthday and my boss's birthday was last week. They turned out really cute. The pictures don't do them justice. Everyone thought they were just adorable and a great idea.

And really they couldn't be simpler. It's not really a recipe so much as a process. Normally I like to bake things from scratch but since it was close and the finished product is more about the cuteness than the taste I took some help from the grocery store and used boxed products.

So in order to make these you'll need:

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients to prepare per box
1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare per box
1 container white frosting
Red, Yellow, and Green Food coloring

1. Mix yellow cake mix and bake in standard size muffin cups. I got 24 muffins. Allow to cool completely.
2. Mix brownie mix and bake in 9x13 pan. Allow to cool completely.
3. Slice each cupcake in half horizontally to make the bun.
4. Cut brownies into 24 pieces to make the patties. (Bakerella uses her cute round cutter but I didn't have one and so my "patties" were square like at Wendy's) Place brownie piece on top of bottom cupcake half (bottom bun).
5. Divide frosting into three bowls and use food coloring to make red (ketchup), yellow (mustard), and green (lettuce). Place frosting into piping bags or make your own bag with ziploc sandwich bags and snip a hole in the corner. Frost the top of the brownies as you would top a burger.
6. Place cupcake top on top of frosting. If desired, you can brush some water on the top and sprinkle sesame seeds to make the buns look even more authentic.

Bakerella also make super-cute sugar cookie fries with hers and I tried but my fries looked REALLY bad so I scraped them.

Source: Bakerella

Friday, July 31, 2009

Zucchini Bread

I wanted to make Carson some more babyfood and Zucchini is his favorite. It just so happened that the Food City grocer had a huge basket of zucchini on reduced for quick sale since it needed to be used in the next day or so. I ended up with 2 1/2 lbs of zucchini for $1.60. Not bad at all.

So I decided I would make myself a treat as well. I found this recipe in a book my mother-in-law gave me. She compiled it as a fundraiser for her church a number of years ago and the recipe happens to be her aunt's (my husband's great-aunt).

While I was mixing the batch my husband happened to call (he was out of town at the time) and our conversation went something like this:

Him: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Making zucchini bread. It's your Aunt Hilda's recipe."
Him: "I didn't know she had a recipe."
Me: "It's in the book your Mom gave me."
Him: "Hilda wasn't a very good cook. I liked the nights we went out to eat the best."

And he says this while I have the batter already mixed and I'm just waiting for the oven to preheat. I decide to go ahead and make it anyway. Who knows, maybe I'd love it.

I must confess. While it was good, it wasn't great. I did give one of the two loaves to my babysitter and she said how much she and her husband enjoyed it but I don't know if they were just being polite. That said, it is a healthy recipe and some additional substitutions could make it even healthier.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup oil (I used canola)
2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, raw grated course zucchini with rind
3 cups flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped pecans (I used walnuts)

Grease and flour pans. Combine eggs, oil, sugar and zucchini in large mixing bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. Spoon batter into loaf pans. Bake at 325F for 1 hour. Yield: 2 loaves.

Source: my great-aunt-in-law

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Paula Deen's Strawbery Cake

I first had this cake at a bridal shower back in June. It was absolutely delicious. My coworker, Sue, was also at the shower and she requested that I make this cake for her birthday. So I did.

Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake.

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix
1 (3 oz) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin (I used wild strawberry flavor)
1 (15 oz) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed & pureed (My grocery did not carry any frozen strawberries in syrup so I purchased 2 20-oz bags of whole strawberries to use for cake and frosting)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (10 oz) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed & pureed (see my note above)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar (I used only 2 1/2 cups, I thought it was plenty sweet)
Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes (mine took 30 minutes), or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electirc mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat). Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.

Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh berries, if desired.

Source: Paula Deen

NOTE: I wasn't sure how much this frosting would make so I made a double batch of it. Since I had only bought 20 oz total of frozen strawberries I just pureed them all together and then removed 1/2 cup of strawberries for the frosting and used the rest of the puree in the cake. I thought this worked out just about right. And it make A LOT of frosting. I would not have needed to double the recipe. But since I did I decided to make cupcakes!

I used the same general recipe as the cake recipe, however instead of doing strawberries again I used a 12 oz bag of frozen mixed berries, and berry blue gelatin instead of the strawberry stuff. I lined 24 standard muffin cups and baked them for 20 minutes. Let cool and frosted with the leftover strawberry cream cheese frosting. I honestly thought the mixed berry ones tasted phenomenal!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crescent Dogs

One item my husband did request for his poker night was crescent dogs. I guess his Mom made them all the time so that's what he wants. I can't stand hot dogs so he never gets them in our house. Until now. I made these for him and though I didn't eat any myself, I hear they were pretty good.

Crescent Dogs
Adapted from by my mother-in-law

3 rolls crescent rolls
2 packages bun-length hot dogs

1. Cut hot dogs into thirds.
2. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles along perforated lines. Take eaach triangle and cut in half to make 2 triangles.
3. Place hot dog section on top of crescent roll triangle half and roll up. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Perfect Brownies

My husband was having poker night last Saturday with some of his friends. It was requested of me to make some brownies. I said I'd make some from scratch, but the response to me was, "The box ones taste great. Just make those." Uh, ok. So I did. And then I made these for myself. I have to say that mine were so ooey gooey and altogether delicious. The box ones were good but these were delicious.

Perfect Brownies

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, eggs, and melted butter and mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated to the wet. Do not overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment (I used 8x8 pan). Pour the batter and spread it out. Bake at 325F for 20-30 minutes (Mine needed 45 minutes due to thicker brownies). It's done when a toothpick inserted in the tallest part comes out clean. Keep in mind you've got chips in there. If you hit one with the toothpick you'll have melted chocolate on it. Let cool in pan a few minutes. Then carefully lift parchment out of the baking dish. Peel the edges and let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Just a note, on the original recipe it says to use a high quality chocolate since the recipe list is so simple. I was just making mine on the fly so I used Nestle since that was what was in my pantry. I thought they were simply delicious. I'll probably try a higher quality chocolate next time but they were seriously good with the common brand too. (Just an FYI).

Source: How to cook like your grandmother

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

My husband is probably the world's biggest meat eater. Anyway, so he was out of town a couple of days last week and I decided to make this. He had asked me earlier in the day what I was planning on doing for dinner so I told him. Then I said, "I'd make it for you, but I know you like to have meat with dinner and this is only veggies." To which I received this reply: "That sounds good, I'd eat it." So I decided to delay making it until he got home. It was worth the wait. So yummy. Even my carnivore hubby loved it and said he'd eat it again. It was very flavorful and made my kitchen smell fabulous.

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

7-8 lasagna noodles, cooked to package directions
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
Cooking spray
2 cups marinara (I used primavera sauce)
2 cloves minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine ricotta, 1/4 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, egg white, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Heat skillet on medium-high. Add olive oil and saute red pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add spinach and stir until it wilts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool.
4. Combine veggie mixture with ricotta mixture. Spread the cheese mixture over noodles in a thin layer. Roll up and place in baking dish, seam side down. Spoon marinara over each and cover with foil.
5. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining mozzerella and bake uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes.

Source: bakin and eggs

See how delicious this looked with all the veggies cooking in the pan! So colorful and fragrant!

And here is the finished product. Please forgive the really ugly plates. My husband cannot throw anything that is still functional out. Would you believe these plates were his aunt and uncle's wedding china? It's like 40 years old.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cooking for Carson - Summer Veggie Blend

My husband works in the plant sciences department at a University and so from time to time we are able to get some great veggies to use at home. He brought home some nice looking snap beans the other day and so I decided to make Carson some more babyfood. Now he doesn't like straight green beans so I have to mix them with other stuff. I had zucchini and summer squash at home and I know he likes both of those so I decided to cook them all together for him. In total I believe I used about 3 cups of green beans, 3 zucchini, and 4 smallish summer squash. Just cooked them all in a large stockpot with boiling water, drained off the water and then pureed in my food processor.

Since he is getting older now I'm trying to get him use to more complex flavor combinations than a simple one veggie or fruit puree. He did seem to enjoy this. It made a lot. Enough to fill two ice cube trays.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

I wanted to make something quick and easy for dinner the other night so I quickly made up the following. Measurements are estimates.

Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup italian-seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 cup primavera spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzeralla cheese
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3. Take chicken breasts and pound with a meat mallet to 1/2 inch thickness.
4. Place egg and breadcrumbs in separate small bowls. Dip chicken in egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Place in prepared baking dish.
5. Cover chicken with the pasta sauce and then with mozzarella cheese. Cover dish with aluminum foil.
6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.

Source: me

I won!!!

I entered this giveaway and found out last week that I had won! I just received the package and this was inside! I can't wait to make some delicious dinners with these salsas!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blueberry Oat Muffins

I had some blueberries that I needed to use or toss since they were not far from going bad and saw this recipe and knew I needed to make it, except substitute blueberries for peaches.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups blueberries
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
2. Combine flours, oats, spices, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
3. In a separate bowl combine applesauce, oil, eggs, and sugars.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Fold in blueberries.
5. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes.

Source: Woman with a Whisk

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake

I saw this recipe pop up in my Google Reader a couple of different times and it looked so delicious to me that I marked it down to try at some point. Well that time arrived and I was not disappointed. This was delicious!

Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake
adapted from Crista's Kitchen Creations via Jenn and Food, Perfect Together
Makes 6-8 servings

12 ounces farfalle pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of basil, oregano, parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, to taste
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (I used italian flavored breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. (Or, use this method to make two separate dishes.)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as directed, to al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-heat. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the chicken and herbs and red pepper flakes and cook until heated through. Remove from heat, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken mixture, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, and cooked pasta.

Transfer to prepared baking dish(es). Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. In small bowl, combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta and continue baking, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I made these cookies for my Father-in-law for Father's Day. I have to say that they turned out fantastic. Not only do they not use butter, they were very crunchy and delicious. I plan on making them again for myself very soon however I may substitute dried cranberries for the raisins and whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour. Yum!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen (depending on how big you make them)

1 cup canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, mix canola oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the oats and raisins last. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: adapted from

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I wanted to make something festive for the 4th of July and thought about doing a red white and blue cake but since we were going to a bbq I thought that cupcakes would work better and be easier to transport.

I really like the frosting and will probably continue to use this recipe for any cream cheese frosting that I need. I personally don't think these cupcakes taste like true red velvet cake but as my husband says, "They taste better than red velvet". He REALLY enjoyed them. I think they were good, but I was expecting more of a red velvet flavor.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cake dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose replacing 5 Tbsp with cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp cocoa powder

Cake wet ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vinegar (white distilled)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 oz red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cake directions:
Sift together all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to an electric mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Slowly add dry ingredients to bowl, until all ingredients are combined.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Fill cups 3/4 full (about 1/4 cup of batter). Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar (I used 2 1/2 cups)

Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Add extract, blend to combine.

Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and blend with the mixer on low speed until the ingredients are moistened, 30 seconds. Add enough sugar to desired sweetness. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 2 minutes more.

Chill for 30 minutes to thicken. Scoop frosting into a piping bag or a heavy duty zip top bag and snip the end. Forst by swirling from the outside in.

Source: adapted from Cake Man Raven via Cathy's Kitchen Journey

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Temptations

These are my FAVORITE cookies ever. Yum Yum Yum. Pretty much anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter is tasty in my opinion.

Peanut Butter Temptations
Makes about 40 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
About 40 mini reeses peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
3. Sift dry ingredients and blend in.
4. Shape batter into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup into the top of each cookie.
6. Let stand awhile before removing cookie from cookie sheet and cool completely prior to eating.

Source: An old family friend

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sausage-Hash Brown Casserole

My in-laws came to visit Father's Day weekend so I wanted to make this breakfast casserole one morning for them. I had actually never made a breakfast casserole before but I knew that pretty much anything out of Southern Living would have to be good. This was did not disappoint. It had a bit of a kick to it but was good nonetheless.

Sausage-Hash Brown Casserole
Makes 8 servings

2 (12 oz) packages reduced-fat ground pork sausage
1/2 cup water
1 (30 oz) package frozen shredded hash browns
1 tsp salt, divided
1 cup (4 oz) shredded 2% reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
6 large eggs
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk

1. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain well and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
2. Cook half of the hash browns and 1/4 cup water over medium-high heat in skillet 8 minutes; turn hash browns over, and contine to cook for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove hash browns from skillet. Repeat with remaining uncooked hashbrowns and 1/4 cup water.
3. Stir together cooked hash browns, sausage, cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and black and red peppers. Spoon into a lightly greased 13x9 inch baking dish.
4. Whisk together eggs, milk, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Pour evenly over hash brown mixture.
5. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Source: Southern Living Home for the Holidays

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Parmesan Rosemary Crescents

I wanted to make some sort of stuffed bread item to go along with the Garlic Lime Chicken I made for my parents and I had a can of crescent rolls so I thought I'd play with this. I'm blogging it however I'm not happy with how the recipe turned out. It was a little too rich. I'm thinking it would work better in a pinwheel shape instead of in the crescent because then the cheesy flavor would be spread out better instead of in one big blob in the middle of the roll. Oh well, live and learn.

1 8 oz can crescent rolls
1/2 cup regular cream cheese spread
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
4 tsp fresh snipped rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Separate dough into triangles.
2. Place cream cheese in small mixing bowl. Add grated cheese and rosemary. Mix well. Spread in center of each triangle and roll up.
3. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Garlic Lime Chicken

My parents came up to visit a couple of weeks ago and I decided to make this dish for them. It is quick, easy, healthy, and tasty. Everything a girl can want.

Garlic Lime Chicken

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. On a dinner plate, mix together salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.
2. In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown (about 5 minutes per side). Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to pan, whisking up browned bits off the bottom of pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan. Heat through and coat to serve.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Easy Chicken Taco Casserole

I made this dinner one night when work was a little busy. I really wanted some Mexican flavor but I also wanted something quick.

Easy Chicken Taco Casserole

a Julie original

1 pound chicken breasts cut up into bite size pieces
1 small can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can green chiles, drained
1 packet taco seasoning
1 container Pace Salsa
1 cup taco shredded cheese blend
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning to skillet. Then add corn, beans, and chiles and mix thoroughly.
3. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place chicken mixture into casserole dish. Cover with salsa and then with shredded cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.

It does actually taste better than it looks. Casseroles just don't photograph well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wanted to bake my Dad some chocolate chip cookies for Father's Day. So when I saw this recipe I figured Best Ever? Ok, worth trying. Dad really liked them, and he actually wants me to send him some more. I'm not sure they're the best ever, though.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups jumbo semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I omitted because Dad doesn't like them)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Blend in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Banana Creme Pie

My Dad's birthday was June 9th and so when they came to visit us the following weekend I knew that instead of making him a birthday cake I would make his favorite dessert ever .... Grandma's Banana Creme Pie. Please forgive the mountain of meringue. I had to go and nurse my son so my Mom put the meringue in and used all of it which made a HUGE pile of meringue.

Banana Creme Pie
Source: My Grandma

1 deep dish pie crust (I use frozen store bought, prepared according to package directions)
8 Tbsp cornstarch
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 12 Tbsp for meringue
1/2 tsp salt (I omit)
6 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 sliced bananas
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar

1. Mix cornstarch and milk. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and salt. Cook on medium heat and slowly stir.
2. When thick, add 6 egg yolks and cook 2 minutes longer. Add butter, vanilla, and combine. Then add sliced bananas. Let this mixture cool to room temperature. Place it in baked pie shell.
3. Whip 6 egg whites and add 12 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp at a time mixing very well after each addition. Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and keep mixing until stiff peaks form. Spread over banana mixture. Brown in oven for about 10 minutes at 375F.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barbecue Sauce

My husband's uncle gave us this barbecue sauce recipe. It is my husband's favorite. In fact he prefers it to store bought barbecue sauce. Since my parents were coming up to visit he wanted to make this sauce to pair with my Dad's pulled pork recipe. We all really enjoyed it.

Barbecue Sauce
Source: My uncle-in-law

2 Tbsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 Tbsp Texas Pete Hot Sauce
2 cups Worcestershire sauce
64 oz ketchup
1 cup mustard

Start with mustard and gradually add the ketchup until they are well blended. Add the rest of the ingredients to this mixture (I use a large stockpot). Cook on medium and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer on low heat and stir occasionally for 2-3 hours.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quilted Table Runners

Yes I am still here but work has been really busy so I have been making more convenience foods, or my husband has been cooking and I don't feel right blogging about something he prepared.

So I figure that in the meantime I can put some of the crafts I have finished up here. I made these table runners for my Mom and Mother-in-law for Mother's Day in either 2006 or 2007 (I can't remember).

I will have some more recipes this week. I promise

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mexican Casserole

I found this recipe on a couple of years ago and it quickly became one of our favorites. I probably make this dish at least once every other month (probably closer to once every 6 weeks or so) and it is one of my comfort foods.

I dont have a picture because last night my husband made it and since it is close I was on the couch, nursing the baby, with my laptop on my free side working so couldn't quite get the camera within reach to snap a photo, but casseroles don't photograph well in general so I figure it's fine. Take my word though, this is very yummy!

Mexican Casserole
adapted from

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
1 package Uncle Ben's ready rice - Whole Grain santa fe flavor
Tostitos, crushed
Taco seasoned shredded cheese
Other desired taco toppings - we use just sour cream but you could use guacamole if you like it too.

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Brown meat in skillet. Near end of browning add in onion and cook until translucent. Drain off fat.
3. Add in taco seasoning and mix well. Add in bag of rice and then cream of mushroom soup and tomatoes and mix well.
4. Add layer of crushed tostitos to the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Top with half of the meat mixture. Then add another layer of crushed tostitos and top with remaining meat mixture. Put taco cheese over top the whole thing and cover pan with aluminum foil.
5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted.
6. Serve with sour cream on top.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cooking for Carson - Zucchini

This was the first thing I decided on my own to make for Carson. At his four month apointment the pediatrician said there were 9 weeks until his next appointment and to give him the following. Two weeks of cereals (rice and oatmeal), then 3 weeks of yellow/orange veggies (squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots) and 4 weeks of green veggies (he only mentioned peas and green beans). I figured since he liked squash that he would enjoy zucchini so I made that. It was super easy to make.

Slice 2 zucchini into thin slices and place in pan with water.

Bring water to a boil and boil cook until zucchini is soft. Drain off zucchini slices and place in food processor. Pulse until desired consistency.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Penne alla Betsy

I have seen this recipe in several blogs I follow in my Google Reader and it looked really yummy so I decided to make it (with a few changes).

Penne alla Betsy

Olive Oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined (I substituted diced chicken breasts because I don't like shrimp)
3/4 lb penne or other short pasta
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (I substituted chicken broth since I am still nursing my son)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper (I accidentally omitted because Carson started crying heavily at this point and I got distracted. Would be better with the salt and pepper)
Basil (My store didn't have fresh basil so I just used extra parsley)

1. Put water on to boil for the pasta.
2. Heat a large frying pan and melt 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in pan. Saute shrimp (chicken) until opague (cooked) and then remove to a plate.
3. Melt anotehr 2 Tbsp butter and olive oil in same pan and cook garlic until slightly browning. Add onion and cook until translucent.
4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions.
5. Add 1/2 cup wine (broth) and allow to cook down for approximately 1 minute. Then add tomato sauce, stirring to combine, and cream.
6. Chop parsley and basil and add to sauce to taste. Add salt and pepper (whoops to me on this part).
7. Remove shrimp tails and chop shrimp into bite-size pieces (Obviously I omitted this step since chicken was already in bite size pieces). Return to sauce and stir to combine.
8. When pasta is cooked, drain, and then add to sauce, tossing to cover.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

I enjoyed it a lot. My husband thought it was a little bland, but then again I did unintentionally leave out the salt and pepper. He reheated leftovers the next night and he added garlic salt, seasoned salt, and pepper to his and he did like it that time.

I'm also sure there would have been more flavor to it had I used white wine in the sauce instead of the chicken broth so I'll have to make this again once I have weaned Carson.