Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh Henry Bars

This is a staple coming from the Schwartz family. One of those desserts that you can whip up in 10 minutes when you've forgotten about something. (Or when you're pregnant and you're craving peanut butter and chocolate). Always have this stuff on hand and you'll never be sorry!

Photo credit to Me-Yes, we ate these with a spoon out of a pan
rather than cutting them up into bars.
Like I said, I am pregnant and craving.
Oh Henry Bars
9x13 pan
1 cup sugar
1 cup karo syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup spanish peanuts, optional
4-6 cups rice krispies
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips

In medium saucepan on medium heat, dissolve sugar in syrup. Remove from heat, add peanut butter and stir until melted. Then add peanuts. In 9x13 pan slightly coated, mix rice krispies and peanut butter mixture until well combined. Let cool.

Melt chocolate chips in 20 second intervals. Spread over rice krispies. Cut into bars (or not) and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Grandma Schwartz

Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake

Do you ever see those recipes that are hanging next to the spices at the grocery store and think "Who actually picks those things up?" I think that 99% of the time. However, this 1%-time I picked this one up and am SO glad I did. I make this probably once a month or so. It's a little spicy, with a little kick of cinnamon. I really love it.
Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake
Photo Credit to McCormick
Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake
Makes 6 servings
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups uncooked penne pasta (6 ounces)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook turkey and onion in large nonstick skillet on medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, sugar, cinnamon, garlic powder and red pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package; drain well. Stir pasta and well-drained spinach into sauce until well mixed. Spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture in 11x7-inch baking dish. Spread ricotta cheese evenly over pasta. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Bake 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: McCormick

Creme Brulee French Toast

Photo Credit to Mrs. Harding
Sometimes you just need to wake up and eat a gallon of sugar to start your day. I wouldn't recommend it often...but when you feel like it, this is a perfect recipe! Mrs. Harding was in the dental hygiene program a year ahead of me which is how I met her, then found this blog. She has some excellent recipes! This one is nice because you can prepare everything the night before and just bake in the morning. (PS, I thought creme brulee was just a fancy name for this dish...but it actually tastes like creme brulee).

Creme Brulee French Toast
Makes about 8 pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs corn syrup
1 loaf French bread, preferably a few days old
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half (I used whole milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

In a small saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Cut thick slices (about 3/4 to 1 inch) from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. Use as many slices as will fit in the dish. In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set bread mixture on counter during preheating. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. To serve, flip bread slices over so caramelized side is on top.

I thought for sure I would have to make some syrup, but it was so juicy and delicious, we didn't have to! It is plenty soggy with sugary stuff.

Recipe Source: Mrs Harding Cooks

Barbecue Pineapple Dipping Sauce

In the recipe for Healthy Chicken Nuggets, I mention that I found this recipe in a Dole Fun with fruits and vegetables kids cookbook. It actually has quite a few delicious recipes in it. (Most of which can be found on the Dole website under Superkids Recipes.

Barbecue Pineapple Dipping Sauce
Makes 4 servings
1 (8 ounce) can sliced or crushed pineapple in juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Pour undrained pineapple into the blender, process until it"s a thick puree. Pour pineapple into the saucepan and add cornstarch; blend. Add pineapple juice and barbecue sauce; blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before use.

Recipe Source: Dole

Healthy Chicken Nuggets

I realize that not one recipe I've put on here has been my creation. I am not anywhere near coming up with my own my creativity or cooking skills. So, I continue to gather recipes from other amazing people. Also, I usually use their pictures because they have nice cameras, and I usually choose to make a recipe according to the picture. As you can tell, Mel is one of my favorite people, although she probably has no idea I exist. Another credit to her is this recipe. Its quick, healthy, and delicious.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets
A Cookie sheet full of chicken nuggets
Baked Chicken Nuggets2-3 thick slices whole wheat bread (for about 1 cup of crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
4 large (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch or so sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a food processor or blender, place the slices of whole wheat bread and pulse until crumbs form. Add the basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Pour the bread crumbs into a shallow dish (like a pie plate) and mix in the panko crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, egg whites and water until well combined. Pat the chicken cubes dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken cubes in the egg white/olive oil mixture before taking a few of them at a time and rolling them in the bread crumb mixture to coat evenly.

Place the coated chicken nuggets on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, carefully flip the nuggets over (taking care not to remove the breading) and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until cooked through (the exact time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces). Serve immediately. 

We ate these with a Pineapple Dipping Sauce (the link uses pineapple-orange juice, but I used plain pineapple juice) recipe that was found in a "Fun with fruits & vegetables kids cookbook" made by Dole (around 1998). Scott remembers having this dip when he was younger, and I just happen to have a copy of the cute little cookbook!

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Red Chile Sauce Enchiladas

Growing up on Christmas day, we never did anything super exciting for dinner. That is one tradition that I would like to change because I freaking love food and any excuse to make a big dinner. So, in memory of Elder Warren, I decided to make enchiladas with lots and lots of chiles. These are so yummy! I will make them over and over and over again!

Photo Credit to Mel @

Red Chile Sauce Enchiladas
9x13 pan
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
2 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large chicken breasts)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (fajita-size for flour tortillas)
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12-20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts you are using. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the leftover onion mixture from the strainer to a large bowl and set aside.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onion mixture in the large bowl. Also stir in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.

Heat oven to 400 F. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, if desired.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Saturday, January 7, 2012

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Every year for Christmas, we attend a few parties. I always like making something new. Such a bad habit of mine...shouldn't you try stuff at home first, make sure it's delicious, then wow the crowd? Oh well. That, in combination with my dad begging me for over a year to try to make the raspberry cheesecake like they do at Olive Garden, made me search for this decadent recipe. What I found is a "knockoff" Cheesecake Factory recipe, and it was so great! Creamy and tangy with the raspberry sauce. I'll make this again for sure (although I don't know if Scott will let me share next time).

Note: follow this link at for extra tips on baking a perfect cheesecake...and follow them.

Photo Credit to me
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Makes 9" Cheesecake
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons (I would do more next time-especially in between the layers of cheesecake) raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

We had our friends over last night for dinner, so of course I tried a new recipe. I found these awesome taquitos I wanted to try. They were awesome! Super yummy, quick, and easy...and packed full of cheese! We had this with asparagus, my mom's awesome guacamole and Mexican rice thanks to Mel.

Photo Credit to Me (and Laurel for letting me interrupt her
enjoyment of dinner since we had devoured ours)
Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Makes 12-16
1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa
1tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese (Used cheddar)

12-16 small flour tortillas (I used medium, so only got 11)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix softened cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and minced garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Be sure not to over-fill as the chicken mixture will expand and bubble during baking. Then roll it up as tight as you can. {If using corn tortillas, heat in the microwave to make them more pliable before rolling.} Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some kosher salt on top. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

Recipe Source: Mrs Harding Cooks

African Sweet-Potato Soup

Photo Credit to Fitness Magazine
Again, I was squinting as I read this recipe...thank you Fitness Magazine! So the picture for this one is on the top left, obviously.
Another recipe that was surprisingly delicious, and healthy! We love it when those two mix. My sister-in-law, Miss Elizabeth, was over and got to try it. She really liked it. We were all pleasantly surprised. has some kick to it. ( good).

African Sweet-Potato Soup
Makes 3 Servings
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 quart chicken stock (I used beef and it was just fine, also, I would use less)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 potato, cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter (I used creamy)

Saute onion and garlic in oil for about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, potatoes, tomatoes, spices and peanut butter. Simmer 10-12 minutes.
It says if you eat one serving with a whole-wheat roll (with one teaspoon butter), and a garden salad sprinkled with 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette...the meal is 500 calories. I spiced my salad and roll up, and had a little more than one serving, so it was more...and totally worth it!

Recipe Source: Fitness Magazine