Monday, December 2, 2013

{Grandma's} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another "one" of my Grandma Schwartz's recipes. It might be my favorite. Seriously, I love these things so much. I have never in my entire life had a Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie ever come near to touching the delicious, softness of this one. It's a keeper.


Photo Credit to Me

{Grandma's} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cube butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 bag chocolate chips
nuts, optional

Cream butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until smooth.
Place flour, soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt in a sifter. Sift half of flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Then the other half. Mix well.
Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes. {10 was perfect for me}

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

While we were visiting Aunt Elizabeth in Logan, we did lots of fun things, one of them was going to Willow Park Zoo…super fun. There was a Gardner's market there, too. We got to test this bread and it was amazing. Loved it. Then Sharrie made it and brought a loaf. Again, awesome. So here you go.
Whole Wheat Zucchini or Carrot Bread. Photo by buttercreambarbie
Photo Credit to Food.com
Whole Wheat Carrot Bread
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat together applesauce, oil, honey, eggs, vanilla and carrots. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to carrot mixture. Bake in greased 9" loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

{Microwave} Caramel Popcorn

So an awesome lady from my mom's ward gave me this recipe for my wedding and I just barely tried it. It only took 5 and a half years. It was delicious! And super easy!
Homemade Microwave Caramel Corn
Photo Credit to Kitchen Parade
{Microwave} Caramel Popcorn
1-1.5 bags of popcorn
1.5 cups peanuts {optional}
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Microwave mixture of brown sugar through salt in a glass bowl for 3-4 minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in baking soda. Pour mixture over popcorn in a paper bag and shake well. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and shake well, microwave again for 1 1/2 minutes. Eat and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Janelle Bond

Corn Dip

Easy yummy summer dip. Just make sure you put it together a little while before to let the flavors meld.
Photo Credit to Inspired by Charm
Corn Dip
3 (11-oz.) cans sweet corn & diced peppers, drained
7-oz. can chopped green chiles
6-oz. can chopped jalapeno peppers, drained and liquid added to taste
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
16-oz. pkg. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 bags scoop-like corn or tortilla chips

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chips. Chill two hours to overnight. Serve with your favorite chips (I used Fritos and Tostitos) for scooping. Makes 6 cups.

*Note: This dip can get runny if you don’t drain everything really well. Also the longer it sets, the more the cheese soaks up any liquids.

Recipe Source: Inspired by Charm

{Healthy} Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

So I got this recipe calendar from Live Better America once and it had some awesome recipes in it. And this was one of them. It was super delicious although time consuming.
Healthified Stuffed Chicken Parmesan
Photo Credit to Live Better America
{Healthy} Stuffed Chicken Parmesan
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each)
1 box (10 oz) frozen organic cut spinach, thawed, well drained
2 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fat-free egg product
12 stone-ground wheat crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian herb {or any red} pasta sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1 oz)

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick.
In medium bowl, mix spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon basil and the garlic until blended. Spread about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture over each chicken breast; roll up tightly. If necessary, secure with toothpicks.
In small shallow bowl, place egg product. In another small shallow bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 1 teaspoon basil and the pepper. Dip each chicken breast into egg product; coat with crumb mixture. Place seam side down in baking dish.
Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Pour pasta sauce over chicken; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted in center of chicken reads 165°F. Remove toothpicks from chicken before eating.

Recipe Source: Live Better America

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie

Awesomely delicious. Kind of time consuming, but worth it for something special.
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie
Crust:
24 Oreos, or other chocolate sandwich-type cookie, crushed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Mousse:
1 cup heavy cream, divided
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional for sweetness)
Ganache:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
For the crust, combine the crushed Oreo cookies and the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a deep dish 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
For the filling, with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, blend together the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined. Blend in the sour cream. Spread the filling over the cookie crust and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is slightly firm (a little softness is ok but you don't want it to be really jiggly). Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
For the mousse, heat 1/2 cup cream in a small saucepan until just simmering. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisking vigorously, pour a couple tablespoons of the hot cream into the egg yolks and continue whisking until completely combined. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream, whisking quickly the whole time, and return the saucepan to medium-low heat, cooking while stirring constantly, until the cream/egg mixture bubbles and thickens, 1-2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, whisking until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. If you used a darker chocolate and would like a bit more sweetness, whisk in up to 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally to avoid a skin forming across the top. When completely cool, beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream to stiff peaks and gently fold into the completely cooled chocolate mixture. Spread the mousse over the top of the cooled cheesecake pie and refrigerate.
While the pie chills, make the ganache by combining the butter and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is simmering. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until glossy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Spread the ganache over the mousse and refrigerate the pie until ready to serve (at least an hour - the pie can be made up to a day in advance).

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Easy Delicious Fajitas

Got these from Sharrie. Like most of her recipes, super easy, healthy and too delicious. Thank you for easy, Sharrie!
Chicken Fajitas Recipe
Photo Credit to Taste of Home
Easy Delicious Fajitas
1 pound beef, chicken, or pork, sliced thin {or shrimp, halibut…whatever you feel}
1/2 cup italian dressing
1/2 cup salsa
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 onion, sliced
1 red/green pepper, sliced
Optional, for toppings:
Tomatoes, diced
Sour cream
Cheese
Tortilla shells
Avacado/Guacamole

Place meat, dressing, salsa, and lime juice in a bag and squish together. Place in fridge for at least two hours. Heat skillet, pour meat and marinade in pan and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add onion, pepper and cook for 3 more minutes.

Serve with tortilla shells and other toppings.

Recipe Source: Sharrie Webster

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Not healthy, even though it has spinach…and artichokes. But…oh…so…delicious.
creamy-spinach-artichoke-dip
Photo Credit to The Girl Who Ate Everything
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained well) OR 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or more to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degress. In a medium bowl, warm cream cheese in microwave for about a minute to soften. Add spinach, artichokes, sour cream, mayonnaise, and parmesan. Mix all together and add garlic salt and cayenne to taste. Don't worry, if using fresh spinach it will reduce down while cooking.

Place in an oven safe dish and bake in the oven at for about 20 minutes or until the top is toasty. If you're using fresh spinach bake for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for an additional 10 minutes if needed.
Serve with bread, chips or veggies.
*Note: Good idea that I haven't tried: thinly slice crusty bread, spritz it with olive oil and lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper on top. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for a couple of minutes until the tops are barely toasted.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. Have I ever said that before? Probably. Add anything to cheesecake, and I love it so much more…especially when it has cookie dough in it. Um…so so yummy.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Crust:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
Filling:
4 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream (I used light and it worked just fine)
Cookie Dough:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoon water or milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
An additional 1 cup mini chocolate chips to fold into the batter with the cookie dough balls
Garnish:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks(add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar while whipping if you like a bit of extra sweetness)
Mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

For the cookie dough:
In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugars for the cookie dough. Add the water (or milk), vanilla and blend. Mix in the flour, salt and the chocolate chips. The dough will be fairly soft. Gently roll the dough into small balls (about a teaspoon size, maybe a bit larger) and place them on a wax paper lined plate or baking sheet. Place them in the freezer to harden while making the rest of the cheesecake.

For the crust:
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, combine the butter with the chocolate cookie crumbs (you could easily use a food processor to crush the cookies and incorporate the butter). Press onto the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.
For the cheesecake:
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour until smooth. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix just until blended. Be careful not to overmix – incorporating too much air into the batter can contribute to a cheesecake cracking on top during baking.
Pour half the batter into the prepared crust. Gently stir in the cookie dough balls and the additional 1 cup mini chocolate chips into the remaining batter. Pour into the pan, spreading the batter to the sides of the pan and evening it out across the top (it is ok to see bumps of cookie dough here and there, smooth it the best you can). Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for one hour. Turn off the oven and prop the door open several inches. Let the cake sit in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled (ideally, overnight). To serve, cut into slices and top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

{Copycat} Zupas Tomato Basil Soup

Holy cow, it was freaking delicious and really tasted like Zupas! It was wonderful. Especially for a Halloween party. My mom actually made it and I was super duper proud of her. I halved the original recipe here because it made a ton!
DSC_1682
Photo Credit to It's the Life
{Cafe Zupas} Tomato Basil Soup
Pesto:
1 cup {or 2 oz} container of basil, washed and dried
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2.5 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Remainder of soup:
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 quarts bottled tomatoes
small amount of sugar
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1 pint heavy cream

Add pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend together into a delicious beautiful pesto. Set this aside for now.

Saute butter, onions, celery, and oregano in saucepan. 

Place that mixture in a slow cooker with the pesto mixture and the tomatoes, sugar and salt {if you chose to use}. It will look green with tomatoes, but that just means its going to taste awesome. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. {You can cook in a pressure cooker for 4 minutes…hello time saver…but I don't have one}. At the end, your soup with be orangish-red like the stuff at Zupas.

Once your soup has finished cooking, add 1 quart of heavy cream, stir and eat.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from It's the Life

Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese

Wonderful healthy side dish. Yes, sometimes I eat and/or make healthy things. I know it seems shocking, but it's super true.
Photo Credit to Skinnytaste
Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese
5 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from about 2 small)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup flour (use 2 tbsp corn starch for gf)
2 cups skim milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetable broth for vegetarian)
8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
salt and pepper, to taste
Italian spices, to taste
4 cups (about 4 oz) baby spinach
1/8 cup grated parmesan {Maybe a little more}

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Separate the strands of squash with a fork and place in a medium bowl; discard shells. Maintain the oven temperature.

Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually 3 - 4 minutes.

Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick, about 2 minutes stirring; season with salt and pepper and italian spices.

Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheddar cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked spaghetti squash and baby spinach, pour into a baking dish and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and golden 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted to Skinnytaste

Spaghetti Pie

Pretty easy and awesome. I love the casserole version of spaghetti. It's delicioso.
Spaghetti Pie
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Spaghetti Pie
12 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli noodles
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
16-ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese {or ricotta or sour cream}
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, divided

Lightly coat a deep 9 or 10-inch pie plate {Or 9x9 square, 7x11, anything bigger than a normal pie plate} with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles until al dente according to package directions. 

While the noodles boil, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef or turkey, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up the meat, until the meat is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. 

Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the excess grease, if any. Return the skillet to medium heat and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil and oregano. Simmer the sauce over medium or medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
When the noodles are done cooking, drain and return to the pot. Immediately stir in the cream cheese and toss the noodles by lightly lifting them up and over with tongs until the cream cheese is mostly melted. Stir in the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. 

Toss until the noodles are evenly coated. Stir in 2 cups of the red sauce. Keep the remainder of the red sauce warm on the stove.
Scrape the noodles into the prepared pie plate and using a flat spatula, press the noodles evenly into the dish so they are tightly pressed together and evenly flat across the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup 

Parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese across the top.
Bake the spaghetti pie for 20-22 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve with remaining red sauce.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Caramel Brownies

Caramel plus brownies. Plus Pecans?!? Please! Now! Love them.

Caramel Brownies
For the Brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped (optional) {Not optional in my opinion}
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel filling:
14 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil well with butter or cooking spray. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter. 

Microwave in intervals of 1 minute at 50% power until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, stirring in between intervals. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven (keep the oven on!) and let the brownies cool for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans (if using) to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. To make the caramel filling, combine the caramels and cream in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process, keeping a close eye on the mixture as it can burn very easily (make sure you use low heat in the microwave). Continue the microwave process until the caramels and cream are melted and combined. Stir in half ALL of the pecans to the caramel mixture. Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer. Scoop the remaining brownie batter in spoonfuls over the caramel layer and spread it evenly across the caramel layer (spooning the batter in piles over the caramel will help to get an even layer of batter over the caramel). Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the final brownie layer. Bake for 20 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. I found the brownies sliced easier once they had been cooled and refrigerated for an hour or two.
Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the foil. Remove the foil and cut the brownies into individual squares. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

{Overnight} Sausage and Egg Casserole

Umm…oober delicious. Especially all the cheese. Although, I might cut down on that next time I make it, just to make it a little more healthy {or something…}.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
Overnight Sausage and Egg Casserole
6-8 slices bread {I used wheat
about 1/4 C softened butter (just for buttering the bread slices)
4 C grated colby jack cheese {could use half pepperjack for some spice}
12 oz pork sausage, browned and drained if necessary
1 4 oz can green chiles, or a 7 oz can if you love ‘em
6 eggs
2 C milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard

Start by removing the crusts from your bread and lightly buttering one side. Start by removing the crusts from your bread and lightly buttering one side.

Place bread butter side down in a 9×13 baking dish. I usually need 6 pieces of bread, plus 1 cut in half to finish up the bottom row. You just want the bottom of the pan covered with no big gaps.

Grate your cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bread. Spread the browned sausage on top of that, and top with the green chiles.

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add milk and then seasonings and whisk to combine well. Slowly stir the egg mixture while you pour it evenly on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll want to keep stirring or else the spices will all gather in one spot and drop onto one single piece of casserole.

Cover well and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the casserole in there and bake (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes. You’ll want the center to be set and the outside edges to be golden brown. It’s important to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it or it will just fall apart.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

I've put a lot of pancakes on here. I must love pancakes. Yes, yes I do. Because you can put jam, butter, peanut butter, applesauce, maple and cream syrup. And why would you not love that.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
3/4 C whole wheat flour {I accidentally used 1 cup…loved it}
3/4 C all-purpose flour {same here…1 cup}
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with non-stick spray or a little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use about 1/4 C batter for large pancakes (5-6″) and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2 /2-3″). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

*Note: These pancakes freeze wonderfully. Just lay out pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet or other pan. Freeze until solid and then place in a zip-lock bag. To serve, just warm up in the microwave or toaster. {I just lay them out until they've cooled enough that they won't stick together when I freeze them in a gallon ziploc bag}

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Scott's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't know why these turned into Scott's chocolate chip cookies. It probably has something to do with the fact that he {with our good friend Bret} pounded almost the entire bowl of cookie dough. So we know for sure that we love the cookie dough, and the cookies are pretty awesome too.
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Scott's Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ c. butter
½ c. high-quality tub margarine {or stick margarine}
¾ c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 12-oz. bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter, margarine, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop onto cookie sheet by tablespoon or with a cookie scoop. You should get 12 cookies per sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Naturally, you want to keep an eye on them because every oven is different. Makes about 4 dozen.

Allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies

I've never had the Applebee's version, but these babies rock…baby. I really want to try pecans with these, mostly because pecans are awesome. So I figure two awesomes make a double awesome.
Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and blend until combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts over the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
If desired, serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken and Coconut Rice

Lime plus coconut chicken. Why would you not try this? And love it?
Lime Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken and Coconut Rice
Chicken and Marinade/Sauce:
3 tablespoons oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
pinch cayenne pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note above)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh limes, cut into wedges

Coconut Rice:
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, salt, sugar, curry powder, coconut milk, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
For the coconut rice, bring the rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. 

Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-16 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated. remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill (see note above if not grilling) to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (actual time will depend on the thickness of the chicken). While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade into a small or medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place the grilled chicken on a serving platter or plate. Drizzle with sauce (reserve the remaining sauce to serve separately) and sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top. Serve with lime wedges and additional sauce.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sour Cream Lime Pie

We had my cousin and her husband over for dinner and I tried this little baby. Oh man, I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I had an awesome reason to make an awesome dessert.
Sour Cream Lime Tart
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Sour Cream Lime Pie
Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (4-6 limes)
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream, light or regular
Fresh lime slices for garnish, optional

For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients until the crumbs are evenly moistened and press them into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate. Bake the crust 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant (don't overbake or the crust will become crumbly). Cool completely on a wire rack while the filling is prepared.
For the filling, mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cream, lime juice, and lime peel. Stir in the butter pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and bubbly, about the consistency of pudding, 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally to avoid a skin forming over the top. If you need to speed things up, fill a bowl with ice and water and place the bottom of the pot in the ice water (taking care not to let water spill into the pot) and stir until cooled. Fold the sour cream into the cooled lime mixture. Spread evenly in the cooled crust.
For the topping, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the 1/4 cup sour cream. Spread over filling. Chill the tart/pie for at least 4 hours before serving and up to 24 hours. Serve with fresh lime slices, twisted, if desired.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sinfully Sinless Tiramisu

Okay, I totally kept the name that I found with this recipe, because there is no coffee or rum, but it is so delicious…it should be sinful. I've never had tiramisu before this. And I was pleasantly {understatement} surprised at how I've been missing something so amazing in my life. Now I know. And I'm trying to not let anyone else go without. So enjoy!
Sinfully Sinless Tiramisu
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Sinfully Sinless Tiramisu
1 ½ cups good-quality hot chocolate, made with water and using 1 ½ times the hot chocolate powder
½ teaspoon rum extract
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese (can sub cream cheese in a pinch) {and I did}
½ cup heavy whipping cream
About 36 crisp ladyfingers cookies/biscuits
1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder

Make the hot cocoa according to the instructions above – using water instead of milk and using 1 ½ the amount of hot chocolate powder you would normally use to make a cup for drinking. Allow the hot cocoa to cool while you are preparing the rest of the recipe. Once it is lukewarm, add the vanilla and imitation rum extract. Due to the high cocoa to water ratio, whisk the cocoa mixture frequently to keep the cocoa suspended.

Set a medium saucepan over medium heat and fill with about 1-2 inches water. Let it come to a simmer while you proceed with the recipe. In a medium bowl (an appropriate size to be placed on the pan that is heating), beat the egg yolks at low speed with a mixer (hand or electric) until just combined. Add the ½ cup sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add ¼ cup cream to the yolks and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape the bowl. Set the bowl with the yolks over the saucepan of water that has come to a simmer. Cook the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly and scraping along the bottom and sides of the bowl with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the egg yolk mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir vigorously to cool slightly, then set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Add the mascarpone cheese to the cooled mixture and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, about a minute. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside. In the now-empty bowl (no need to clean the bowl), beat the ½ cup heavy whipping cream at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. 

Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set the mixture aside.
Give the hot cocoa mixture a good whisk to combine. Pour it into a shallow baking dish like a pie plate. 

Dip 1 ladyfinger into the hot cocoa at a time, allowing it to soak up the hot cocoa for about 1-2 seconds per side. Transfer each ladyfinger immediately to an 8-inch square baking dish. Lay the cookies side-by-side to create one even layer. You may have to trim/break the soaked cookies to fit the pan. After finishing the first layer of ladyfinger cookies, spread half of the mascarpone cream mixture evenly over the ladyfingers, spreading to the edges of the pan. Using a small fine-mesh strainer, sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the natural cocoa powder over the mascarpone layer.
Repeat the soaking process with the ladyfingers, creating one more layer of ladyfinger cookies over the mascarpone/cocoa layer. Spread evenly with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Dust with the final 1/2 tablespoon of natural cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and set. This can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cut into squares and serve.


*Note: Let’s talk about this dessert a moment, shall we? Traditional tiramisu is made with espresso-and-rum-soaked ladyfingers. The mascarpone layer is also usually lightened with silky, fluffy beaten egg whites. The version below, created by my brother and further adapted by me, has subbed in hot cocoa and rum extract for the espresso and rum and I’ve employed the technique of cooking the egg yolks and making a custard of sorts instead of using egg whites, since I know many people are nervous about eating raw eggs. This makes my version a bit more dense than authentic tiramisu since the creamy layer is like a pudding or custard…but since I basically threw authenticity out the window to begin with, I went with the cooking-the-eggs method. The result is incredible, I promise.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Baked Lobster Tails

No, this does not mean that we have lobster all the time. Nor does it mean that I actually know if this is a ridiculously good recipe. I'm not that big of a lobster fan. But…this is easy, delicious {to me and my family}, and we have made it with every lobster tail we've acquired for the past couple of years. So, that allows this recipe to make it into my all-too-popular blog.
Baked Lobster Tails Recipe
Photo Credit to Taste of Home
Baked Lobster Tails
Makes 6 servings
3 lobster tails (8 to 10 ounces each)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon wedges and additional melted butter, optional

Split lobster tails in half lengthwise. With cut side up and using scissors, cut along the edge of shell to loosen the cartilage covering the tail meat from the shell; remove and discard cartilage.
Pour water into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; place lobster tails in dish. Combine the parsley, salt and pepper; sprinkle over lobster. Drizzle with butter and lemon juice.
Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until meat is firm and opaque. Serve with lemon wedges and melted butter if desired. 

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bonzai Slider/Burger

I love so much pineapple, especially on a burger. With teriyaki sauce. Yum Yum in my tum tum.
Photo Credit to somewhatsimple.com
Bonzai Slider/Burger
1 lb ground beef
salt
pepper
can of sliced pineapple
small slices of cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
sliced tomato
mayo
King Hawaiian rolls

Teriyaki Sauce {This is my go-to Teriyaki recipe- I use if for TONS of recipes}
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on med high heat till boiling. Turn down to let simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Pour sauce into a large enough rubbermaid type container. Put in the fridge and let chill for 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile make hamburger patties. Mix hamburger and salt and pepper to taste. Form patties just larger than the diameter of your rolls.

Once the marinade has cooled, put the hamburger patties in one air tight container and the sliced pineapple in another. Pour the marinade over each, with a smaller amount going over the pineapple. Put everything in the fridge and let marinate for anywhere from 1-4 hours.

When time is up, grill the pineapple and also the patties.

Split and toast the rolls.

Assemble by stacking the patty, the cheese, the pineapple, tomato slice, and shredded lettuce.
Recipe Source: Somewhat Simple

Reeses Krispies

Okay, super easy. And we love Reese's so fetchin much. My whole family. So I made these for Mallory. Thanks Auntie Mal Mal for making me make something easy and delicious.
reese's krispies
Photo Credit to ohsweetbasil.com
Reeses Krispies
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 1/4 cup rice krispies
1 pinch of salt
4 reese's peanut butter cups, chopped (we use 6)
1 handful chocolate chips (we use 1/2 cup)

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter until smooth and evenly combined.
Remove from heat.
Quickly add the salt and cereal and stir to combine thoroughly. add the chocolate chips and stir again. wait about 1 min and add the candy, quickly folding the mixture together so as to not smash up the candy.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop rounded tablespoons onto the sheet. let cool and devour!

Recipe Source: Oh Sweet Basil

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Another awesome appetizer found on my family's appetizer night. These were probably the favorite, and my mom has made them again already!
Photo Credit to ourbestbites.com
Stuffed Pizza Rolls
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough {or make your own}
marinara/pizza sauce
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dried Italian seasoning
mozzerella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it’s 400 degrees. If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it’s about 12″ by 8″. You’re going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. (Note that you’re not putting the marinara sauceon the dough- it’s for dipping after) You guys are smart, right? Just eyeball how much. You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind. 

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Fajita Dip

We had an appetizer night with my family. This was one that I brought and I was very excited to have people super excited about my dip. It was better with chips {in my opinion} but you can have some bread, too.
So Cal Fajita Dip
Photo Credit to Making Life Better
Fajita Dip
1 1/2 cups beef sirloin, thinly sliced and chopped in 1/2" pieces, plus a few extra pieces for garnish
1/2 cup chopped red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers (plus a few julienned pieces for garnish)
1/4 yellow onion, sliced, and caramelized for garnish
1 package (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese
1 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp. onion soup mix
1 French baguette, sliced for serving {Or tortilla chips, my personal preference}

In a large saute pan over medium high heat add the meat and cook for 2-4 minutes or until done. (To slice the meat ultra thin and with ease, stick the meat in the freezer for 15 minutes before slicing.) Remove to a separate dish and set aside.

In the same pan, add the peppers and cook over medium heat until perfectly sauteed. Remove to the dish with the meat, removing a few pieces of the meat and peppers onto another plate for garnish.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Parmesan and Onion Soup Mix. Process until smooth, and pour out into a large bowl. Add the peppers and meat, and stir until well combined. Place everything in an 8x8 inch baking dish and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes and top with caramelized onions, and the reserved meat and peppers. Serve with baguette slices  {and/or tortilla chips}.

Recipe Source: Making Life Better

Red Velvet Crepes with Raspberry and Cream Cheese Filling

Holy sugar rush/deliciousness! Seriously. There is so much goodness inside this little red wrap, I don't know how to contain it.
Photo Credit to tasteandtellblog.com
Red Velvet Crepes with Raspberry and Cream Cheese Filling
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
red food color
extra butter to cook with
Raspberry Preserves
Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
Nutella (or chocolate)

Sweet Cream Cheese Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ tsp lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
1/ 2 cup ricotta {Did not use, but I want to}
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, milk, water, salt, sugar, vanilla food color, and melted butter in a blender and pulse until foamy.
Add flour and cocoa powder and pulse until smooth. Let the batter sit for an hour.
Prepare Cream Cheese Filling by mixing all filling ingredients with mixer until well combined and smooth, set aside.
After batter sits for one hour, heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook until the top loses its gloss, which should only take a minute, then flip. The bottom should be golden. Cook the other side for about 15 seconds and then slide out onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter.
Prepare crepes by spreading a one inch wide strip of raspberry preserves down center of crepe, then top with cream cheese filling. Fold each side of crepe over filling and plate.
Melt Nutella in microwave for about 30 seconds and drizzle over crepes. {Or just put Nutella inside the crepes}

Recipe Source: Tidy Mom

Crash Hot Potatoes

I'm very grateful to know The Pioneer Woman, and have loved almost every recipe I get from there. I've tried making a different {much harder and messier} version that I didn't think was worth it, but these are awesome! They add a little crunch with the chewy smooth potatoes.
DSC_0051_6300
Photo Credit to The Pioneer Woman
Crash Hot Potatoes
12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste
Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe Source: The Pioneer Woman

Strawberry Butter

Love this. It was awesome on…everything. Perfect.

Photo Credit to One Ordinary Day
Strawberry Butter
1 cup salted butter
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. 
Add strawberries and beat until mixed. 
Refrigerate until serving. {Warm up a little before using}

Recipe Source: Sweet Paul

{Healthy} Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Awesome. Delicious. And guess what kind of beef I used? Canned. From the Lindon Cannery. It was delicious and it was so easy because of the canned meat.
Photo Credit to canyoustayfordinner.com
{Healthy} Beef and Bean Enchiladas
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups sliced bell peppers, any color
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz lean ground sirloin
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
12 6″ whole wheat tortillas {I used 8-10" tortillas)
1 16 oz jar salsa, divided
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, or any blend you like

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the peppers and onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add ground beef {or canned shredded beef} and use a fork to crumble it. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer pink.

Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, black beans, and ¼ cup of the salsa. Mix well.

Now preheat your oven to 350º F. Spread half of the remaining salsa over the bottom of a 13×9” baking pan.

Lay your tortillas on a clean work surface and spoon a heaping ¼ cup onto the center of each. Roll tightly and line them up, closely packed into the baking pan, seam side down.

When all of the tortillas have been filled and placed into the pan, evenly pour the remaining salsa over the top.

Sprinkle the pan with the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Allow the enchiladas to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Recipe Source: Can You Stay for Dinner

Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts

These were so delicious! And so good! Very healthy {unless you put too much cheese in…which I always do}, and seriously awesome.
Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Photo Credit to melskitchencafe.com
Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts {I will only do 4 from now on, I love more stuff!}
2 cups chopped apples (about 2 medium firm, crisp apples, peeled and cored)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons bread crumbs or 5-6 saltine crackers, crushed finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

If the chicken breasts you are using are on the thicker side, slice a pocket in the center of the thickest part to use for stuffing in the apple mixture (similar to this method). If the chicken breasts aren't thick enough to cut a pocket, pound each of them to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the chopped apples, shredded cheese, bread crumbs and garlic salt. Divide the apple mixture between the chicken breasts, stuffing it into the pockets, if that is the method you used, or topping the flattened chicken breast with the mixture and rolling up and securing with a toothpick.

In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until rippling. Brown the chicken breasts in a single layer, about 5 minutes per side (make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken so it browns nicely on each side). After browning the second side, pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet and simmer the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove the stuffed chicken to a plate or serving platter. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch and stir the cornstarch slurry into the juices left in the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking or stirring, until the mixture is bubbling and thickened slightly. Pour the gravy through a fine mesh strainer (optional - only if you want to get rid of any larger ingredients that leaked out while the chicken was simmering). Pour some of the gravy over the chicken. Garnish with parsley and serve, passing the extra sauce at the table.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Berries on a Cloud

Seriously, that is exactly what this dessert is. A cloud. With berry sauce on top. It's light, very sweet and so so perfect for summer. Another dessert Laurel made for my birthday. She is awesome.
Berries on a Cloud
Photo Credit to melskitchencafe.com
Berries on a Cloud
Meringue:
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Berry Topping:
16 ounces frozen sweet cherries {Although, I would never do this. Blueberries maybe.}
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until foamy. While beating at high speed, gradually add the sugar one tablespoon or so at a time until it has been incorporated. Continue beating until the whites form stiff peaks. Don't underbeat or the meringue won't set up correctly.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan. Spread the meringue mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the pan of meringue sit in the oven overnight (or for 10-12 hours).
Around the same time as the meringue, prepare the berry topping (so it has time to cool in the refrigerator). In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, water, lemon juice and cornstarch. 

Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the sliced strawberries. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
At least 4-6 hours before serving, remove the meringue from the oven. In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Pour in the whipping cream and starting on low speed (so the cream doesn't splatter everywhere), whip the mixture together until it is thick and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Spread the cream cheese topping over the cooled meringue.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, cut the dessert into pieces and top with a spoonful of the berry mixture.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

{Healthy} Baked Apples

Healthy dessert! Say Woot. Two times. Easy, healthy, and delicious. 
Photo Credit to skinnytaste.com
{Healthy} Baked Apples
1 large apple, cut in half
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp quick oats
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º. Cut apples in half and remove core and seeds with a small pairing knife or spoon.

In a small bowl combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Spoon on top of the apple halves and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm with fat free whipped cream or low fat ice cream.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Skinnytaste

Virgin Mango Colada

Happy Birthday to Me. This is what I picked. Holy crap it was amazing. I closed my eyes and tried to pretend I was in Hawaii…but then my two kids started screaming and I realized that I was home.
Photo Credit to ourbestbites.com
Virgin Mango Colada
1 C chopped mango (about 1 medium mango)
1/3 C cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk)
1/2 C pineapple chunks, including some of the juice or syrup
juice from one lime
crushed ice

Combine chopped mango, pineapple chunks and juice, lime juice, and cream of coconut in blender. While blender is running, add crushed ice until desired consistency is reached.

Pour drink into glasses (2 generous servings, 3-4 smaller servings).

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Holy sweet potatoes. I love them plain. So these, with butter and pecans, and brown sugar. Ay ay ay! Mama! These are super awesomely delicious.
Photo Credit to All Things Simple
Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes
8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), or one per person
olive oil
course salt
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
2 T. light brown sugar
1/3 c. pecan pieces
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise 1/2 inch thick. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil (we brush it on both sides); season with salt.

Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.

Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly. Bake until sugar is carmelized and hard, about 10 minutes. Toss gently; serve immediately.

Recipe Source: All Things Simple

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Some more zucchini! Chocolate plus zucchini = healthy right? Also, you can leave the chocolate chips out of these and they will actually be healthy. {And they freeze really well}
Photo Credit to eighteen25.blogspot.com
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Use a cheese grater to shred your zucchini to make 2 cups of shredded zucchini.

Combine flour, sugar, baking
soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

Mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and
vanilla extract in another bowl.

Stir into dry ingredients until just
moistened. Fold in zucchini & chocolate chips.
(You can use either mini chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips)
I am a milk chocolate chip girl, but semi-sweet is fine also!

Using a spoon, fill muffin cups 2/3 full:

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)

Recipe Source: eighteen25

Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burgers

These babies were delicious and the secret ingredient? Mango Chutney! Who knew! They are extremely delicious and moist and I love the added mango. Plus turkey is healthier than ground beef right?
Photo Credit to ourbestbites.com
Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burgers
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 C finely chopped celery
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced (I grated my apples)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 lbs ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons tabasco sauce
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Major Grey’s Chutney

Saute the scallions, celery and apples in the canola oil until tender. Let cool. Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sauteed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes. Serve on your favorite toasted bread, pita, or hamburger bun.

*The recipe calls for a side of this chutney to spread on top of the burgers. I skipped that step and just used straight Major Grey’s from the jar. I make an easy spread using a 50/50 mix of Major Grey’s Chutney and Mayo. Play around with it and you might like just plain chutney instead of mayo, or mostly mayo with a touch of chutney. I like it 50/50. I also topped it with a crisp lettuce leaf and a slice of juicy tomato.

*Note this recipe makes 8 half-pound burgers. A half-pound burger is very large! You can easily half the recipe and get 6 good sized burgers. I cut the recipe down to work with one 20 oz package of turkey and it yielded 6 large sliders.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Nutella Brownies

Laurel is a saint and made me whatever desserts I wanted for my birthday. This was one of them and I was soooo happy! My favorite all-chocolate brownies, I'm pretty sure. Plus I love Ferrero Rocher. Bring it on.
Post image for Nutella Brownies
Photo Credit to mybakingaddiction.com
Nutella Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 Ferrero Rocher candies, sliced in half

For the Nutella Buttercream:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in a large bowl microwave-safe bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted.

Stir until chocolate is melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour; stir until just combined.

Spread 1/2 the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Ferrero Rocher candies and cover with remaining 1/2 of brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake.

Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Nutella Frosting. In a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and Nutella until fully combined. Add in the vanilla extract, confectioners' sugar and heavy cream and mix on low speed until all sugar is incomporated. Turn mixer to medium-high speed and beat the frosting for about to minutes. The frosting will be thich, smooth and creamy. Frost cooled brownies and slice before serving.
Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction

Honey Lime Tilapia

Seriously. I love Mel, maybe that's weird, especially since she has absolutely no idea who I am. However, she makes my life better almost every day that I make something new because I'm pretty much making her recipe if I'm making something new. This recipe is easy, healthy, and super uper delicious!
Honey Lime Tilapia
Photo Credit to melskitchencafe.com
Honey Lime Tilapia
Fish and Marinade:
4 tilapia fillets (about 4-5 ounces each)
2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 large lime)
Zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Coating and Cooking:
1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and garlic. Place the tilapia in a gallon-sized ziploc bag and pour the marinade on top of the fish. Press the air out of the bag and seal. Refrigerate the fish for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. It helps to lay the bag in a flat dish and turn it over once or twice during the marinading time since the marinade won't completely cover the fish.
Before cooking, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish like a pie plate. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Dredge each tilapia fillet in the flour, coating both sides lightly. Cook the fillets for 3-5 minutes per side without moving the fish while it cooks on each side; this will ensure a more even browning. Adjust the cooking time as needed depending on the thickness of the tilapia and the heat of the skillet and work in batches if necessary so the skillet isn't overcrowded.
Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal

Breakfasts I love. Love breakfasts I do. Super delicious and healthy. And it's a breakfast, so that's awesome.
Photo Credit to skinnytaste.com
Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal
For the fruit filling:
2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium ripe banana, sliced thin
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup honey

For the Oats:
1 cup uncooked quick oats (use GF oats if Gluten Free)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp honey
3/4 cup fat free milk (or any milk you desire)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a 9 x 9" ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; place banana slices on the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.
Photo Credit to skinnytaste.com


Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Add honey, sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until fruit is well coated and place in prepared baking dish over the bananas.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla extract, then add to the oats.

Pour the oat mixture over the strawberries and rhubarb, making sure to distribute the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the the top.

Bake the oatmeal for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.

Recipe Source: Skinnytaste

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

So many zucchini recipes…so much zucchini. Not healthy-except for the fact that it has zucchini in it. Perfect for those times {once a month} that you need chocolate…and you have an abundance of zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 Loaves
2 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C canola oil
1 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 C sour cream
3 C grated zucchini
3/4 C mini chocolate chips
optional: zest from one orange

Topping:
2 T brown sugar
2 T white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside. I actually used one 8″ disposable pan to give away and a larger 9″ one for me and the batter divided perfectly. So you should get 2 very full 8″ pans or slightly less full 9″. Do one of each like I did!

Quick tip: Do you ever cook quick breads and get a rim around the edge? Where the part right next to the pan edge kind of sinks down and then the middle of the bread puffs up? After you grease your pans take a paper towel and wipe down about one inch all along the top like this:What that does is give the bread something to latch on to. When it’s all greased up, the edges have a tendency to slip down and wiping down the top will prevent that. You’ll get a perfectly crowned loaf of bread every time. Alright- quick tip over, let’s get back to cookin‘.
Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
Gently stir in the grated zucchini (and zest if you’re using). (see, that’s a veg-e-table, which means this bread is completely healthy and suitable for breakfast consumption)Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips (that will help keep them evenly distributed.) If you only have regular chocolate chips, or a chocolate bar, just give it a chop so it’s the size of mini chocolate chips.
Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter and stir just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Divide the batter between the two pans. and sprinkle topping over each. Place pans on a cookie sheet for easy moving.
Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. I set my timer for 45 minutes and then keep an eye on it for the remainder. Ya never know how different ovens handle things.
When it’s done a toothpick or skewer should come out without goopy batter on it and the top will be gorgeous and cracked with sugar.
Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pans. You definitely have to eat a slice warm. And slathered with butter. When you call it a quick “bread” it’s okay to slather it in butter, when it reality it’s like slathering a piece of really good chocolate cake in butter.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites