Archive | September, 2011

Apple Crisp

30 Sep

I recently got to get together with the MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) group from my church and we made apple crisp. It took a lot of proding to get me to join MOPS.  I’m quite shy when you first meet me and it takes awhile for me to warm up and really be comfortable with people. Social situations where I don’t know many people make me uncomfortable so I usually avoid them but I finally decided to stop worrying and just go. And I’m so glad I did. I have already made a lot of great friends that are so sweet and pretty darn funny too! It’s so great to have some social time where I can get together with other mom’s and just talk about life, our kids, our family and many entertaining topics.

We had so much fun making apple crisp together and I’m so mad that I forgot to bring my camera to capture some shots of all the ladies peeling, chopping and mixing. We used a recipe from one of the MOPS mom’s and it was so good! It would have been perfect topped with Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Apple Crisp

8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a mixture of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place apple slices in a 13 x 9-in. pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon.
2. Combine flour, brown sugar, oats and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apples and bake for about 1 hour (mine only took about 50 minutes but my oven seems to cook faster than what most recipes state).

Recipe linked to these wonderful link parties:
Recipe Sharing Monday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Bake with Bizzy
These Chicks Cooked
Full Plate Thursday
Fat Camp Friday
Friday Potluck
Fusion Friday’s
Seasonal Inspiration
Sweets This Week
Friday Food
Holiday Sweet Swap
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

28 Sep

Have you ever heard of Pinterest? If you haven’t, you need to check it out immediately. But it’s addicting so if you don’t have ample time (like me), maybe you shouldn’t. I find myself jumping on there every time Noah is asleep or playing with daddy. You can organize all your recipes (or any other thing….style, decor, DIY, baby items) onto boards and you can browse other people’s pins for inspiration.

This “recipe” is one that I found via Pinterest and I pretty much ran out to get the ingredients as soon as possible. I love anything and everything pumpkin and these muffins were no exception. They were moist and dense and turns out they are pretty healthy (an old Weight Watchers recipe).

I’m sure you all are wondering what the two ingredients are by now. Cake mix and a can of pumpkin. That’s it. After reading through the comments on the blog that I discovered this recipe on, I found that some people have made these with a chocolate or spice cake mix rather than yellow. I chose to go with spice because spicy pumpkin just sounded irresistable.

And finally, there is a batter that Noah can nosh on. He wasn’t so sure about it at first…he doesn’t like to get dirty.

But once he got past the mess, he was hooked.

And licked the spatula clean.

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
recipe from Sweet Verbena

1 can pumpkin
1 box cake mix

Mix together ingredients and divide into 12 muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

NOTE: These would be great with mini chocolate chips and/or walnuts mixed in.

Recipe linked to these amazing link parties:
Mangia Monday’s
Recipe Sharing Monday
Totally Tasty Tuesday’s
Tasty Tuesday
Cast Party Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Full Plate Thursday
Bake with Bizzy
Fusion Friday’s
Everyday Sisters Sharing Sunday
Holiday Sweet Swap

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

26 Sep

Want a way to make healthy broccoli and cauliflower fattening and unbelievably tasty? Well, have I got the recipe for you! Smother it with cheese, sprinkle with crispy panko breadcrumbs and bake.  It’s the dressed up version of the typical broccoli and velveeta casserole that many of us thoroughly enjoy (my family included). This is so good and would be a great addition to any holiday meal.

This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. When I saw broccoli au gratin listed on the menu, I just couldn’t resist. I mean, it has two of my favorite foods, broccoli and cheese. How could you go wrong? Let me tell you, it was heavenly and I knew I had to recreate it at home.

Since starting my blog, I’ve been branching out and trying new things. Although cheesy veggies is not a new thing to me, creating my own recipe is something I don’t do often.

I used the cheese sauce from my macaroni and cheese then mixed it with broccoli and cauliflower and topped it with panko bread crumbs for a delicious crunch. It was amazing and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

See the creamy goodness, it’s irresistable.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

1 (16-oz.) bag frozen broccoli
1 (16-oz.) bag frozen cauliflower
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk (I use skim and it’s still satisfying and creamy)
16 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
2 oz. Velveeta (for added creaminess without a “processed” taste), optional

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

1. Lightly steam the broccoli and cauliflower.

2. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour to make a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook away the flour taste.

3. Slowly add the milk to the roux. Cook for several minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.

4. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

5. Mix the broccoli, cauliflower and cheese sauce then place in a 13×9 pan. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Roasted Teeny Tiny Taters

25 Sep

This is such an easy, go to recipe that I make often in our home when I have the “I can’t think of anything creative” side dish blues.  They are so simple and so tasty and go with just about anything.

Normally, I just dice up a few potatoes but during a recent trip to Omaha to visit the family, we stopped by Trader Joes so I could see what all the hype was about. It was as awesome as I dreamed. Great, organic product at amazing prices. Since I was limited to what I could buy since we were going to have to travel back home with it, I selected these adorable teeny tiny potatoes, a soft pretzel stick (which Noah devoured), and lemon pepper pappardelle pasta. It was really really hard to resist the chocolate, I mean really hard. We are going to go back for another visit soon, I might not be able to keep it under control.

That was kind of a squirrel moment (if you don’t get this watch Up). Anyway, aren’t the taters just too stinkin’ cute? When I asked Joel, he looked at my kind of funny and said “if potatoes could be cute, I guess these would be.” He obviously wasn’t as excited. If you are near a Trader Joe’s I recommend you go pick up a bag. They aren’t just cute but also a time saver!

Roasted Teeny Tiny ‘Taters

1 lb. teeny tiny potatoes or 4 medium Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, diced 1-inch
1/2 – 1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time. You can cook the potatoes more or less depending on how brown and crispy you like them.

Recipe linked to these wonderful link parties:
Mangia Monday’s
Recipe Sharing Monday
Fat Camp Friday
Friday Potluck
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Cast Party Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Full Plate Thursday

Potato Soup

23 Sep

This is one of my favorite soups to make at home because it is so delicious, easy and comforting. And because it seems to have turned from summer to fall in a flash this was at the top of my dinner menu list. During the last few weeks of summer, I was really looking forward to fall but now that it is here I’m not so sure. It’s definitely my favorite season….soup, pumpkin treats, sweaters, changing leaves. There really isn’t anything not to like, oh yeah except for the fact that it leads to a cold, harsh winter. That always makes me a bit leery. This soup helps make up for the whole winter thing.

I love the convenience of this soup. It can simmer away all day in a slow cooker or you can throw it together in about a half hour. It uses a small amount of easily accessible ingredients. You can throw in anything you like. We like to add cubed ham but you could also stir in bacon, carrots, cheddar cheese or smoked kielbasa instead.

Joel is not a fan of soup for dinner because according to him, it is not filling enough. If you feel the same way, try serving it with an Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich. That is always Joel’s favorite accompaniment to soup.

Potato and Ham Soup
1 family size can (26 oz.) Cream of Chicken Soup
1 (2lb.) package frozen Southern-Style Hashbrowns
1 stick butter, melted
1 quart half and half
medium onion, finely diced
1 soup can of milk
1 lb. diced ham

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours or combine in a stock pot and cook until warmed through (the longer it cooks the thicker and yummier it will get).

Recipe linked to:
Fusion Friday
Friday Food
Crumbs and Chaos
Fat Camp Friday
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Cast Party Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Full Plate Thursday
Everyday Sisters Sharing Sunday


Football Brownie Bites

21 Sep

When I saw these Football Brownie Bites over at What’s Gaby Cooking, I totally fell in love and knew I had to make them for one of our football gatherings. They turned out so cute and were a huge hit for the Husker game. Don’t you love my Husker platter? Go Big Red!

I used my favorite brownie recipe to make these little guys. It’s super rich and fudgy which is perfect for a bite size morsel. I topped them with canned cream cheese frosting but if you are an overachiever you could make your own. I just didn’t bother since such a small amount was needed. The recipe makes 24 mini brownies but if you are attending/hosting a big party I definitely recommend doubling the recipe since mine disappeared and there were only about 12 of us.

Football Brownie Bites
recipe adapted from from What’s Gaby Cooking
yield 24

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin tin.
3. In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
7. Divide into muffin cups and bake for 10-15 minutes.
8. Pipe on football laces with a piping bag and tip or using a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

Recipe linked to:
Recipe Sharing Monday
Mangia Monday’s
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Cast Party Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Full Plate Thursday
Friday Food
Fusion Friday’s
Crumbs and Chaos
Sweets for a Saturday
Friday Potluck
Fat Camp Friday
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets This Week
Bake With Bizzy
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Too Cute Tuesday

Butterscotch Pudding

19 Sep


I planned on a savory recipe today but when I saw that it was National Butterscotch Pudding Day, I knew I had to indulge. This is one of the items on my Top 100 list and one that Joel requests often.

I’ve never made homemade pudding and especially not butterscotch as I am not a big fan. But since the hubby loves it (and it’s on my list) I decided to give it a try. It was so simple! I guess I always assumed it was a big process and never gave it a try since a package was so easy to buy and whip up.

Butterscotch pudding is a treat my mother-in-law would always make for Joel and his sister when they were home sick from school. Although I didn’t have her recipe and Joel wasn’t sick, I hoped that it would bring him back to childhood. I wish I would have snapped a picture of his face when he took his first bite. His eyes lit up and it was like he was a kid again. He loved it which made every second of making it totally worth it.

Butterscotch Pudding
recipe from Joy of Baking

3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla

1. In a large stainless steel (heatproof) bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks. Whisk in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the milk until you have a thick paste. Set aside while you heat the milk. Have ready a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl as you will need to strain the pudding after it is cooked.

2. First, rinse a medium-sized heavy saucepan with cold water and then shake out the excess water. Doing this step prevents the milk from scorching. Then pour the remaining 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of milk into the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture to a clean large, heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour through the strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking.

3. Pour into six bowls or wine glasses. The pudding can be served warm or if chilling, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the warm puddings to prevent a skin from forming. If you like the skin, simply leave the pudding uncovered until cooled, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The puddings can be made a day or two ahead of serving. Garnish each pudding with a large dollop of softly whipped cream.


16 Sep

Today is National Guacamole Day. I recently looked up food holidays and found that 2 foods on my Top 100 were “days” in September! Guacamole was one of them so I jumped at having a reason to whip some up.

Guacamole is another one of those foods that I thought I didn’t like and I’m not even sure that I have ever tried it. Lame. Turns out I do like it! I was looking around for recipes and found one by Alton Brown and knew I had hit the jackpot. He never lets me down!

I altered the recipe a bit by leaving out the tomatoes because Joel and I aren’t big fans but if you enjoy them I definitely think it would be a great addition. I also cut down on the amount of cayenne since a certain somebody in my house is kind of wimpy (I will list the original amount of cayenne in the recipe).

The lime juice and spices really make this a standout recipe that I will be making over and over again. I hope that you all will try it and have a Happy Guacamole Day!

recipe from Alton Brown

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove  garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Linked to Friday Food, Fat Camp Friday, Mangia Monday’s , Tasty Tuesday, Recipe Sharing Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday and Fusion Fridays.

Baked Loaded Jalepeno Poppers

14 Sep

These.Are.Unbelievable. Seriously, I don’t like jalepeno’s and I can’t stop dreaming about them. Joel doesn’t like anything spicy and he devoured them. I came across this recipe a few months ago and made them for a family get together. They disappeared at an alarming rate and I only got to sample half of one. Since then, they have been at pretty much every gathering that we have attended. These would be a huge hit at any football game or tailgate party! They will definitely be gracing a many a Husker game!

Loaded Baked Jalepeno Poppers
recipe from Piece, Love & Cooking

For the Filling:
1 Block Cream Cheese, Softened
½C Rotel Tomatoes, Drained
½C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
½C Spicy Ground Sausage, Cooked

For the Poppers:
6-10 Jalapenos, Sliced in Half & Seeded*
12 Slices Bacon, Partly Cooked
¼C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1C Jalapeno Popper Filling

1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, rotel tomatoes, mozzarella, and ground sausage. Set this mixture aside.
2. Preheat an oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with Pam. Lay the slices of bacon on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, so they are about half way done. This is an important step because this will make sure the bacon is fully cooked when the poppers are done. Once the bacon is slightly cooked, set these aside to cool, so you won’t burn your fingers.
3. Next, start to load your jalapeno halves with the filling. Spoon about 2 spoonfuls of the filling into the hollowed out halves until they are full and rounded. Sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and press in a little to make sure it adheres. Then, wrap the partially cooked bacon around the filled jalapenos. Some of the bacon will adhere naturally, but for those that don’t, you can use a toothpick while they bake.
4. Place the jalapeno poppers back on the same baking sheet. Bake these for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown and the bacon is crisp.
5. Serve immediately.

*It’s super important to wear gloves when handling the peppers. You don’t want to rub your eyes and feel the burn for days.

Recipe linked to Cast Party Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, Tasty Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Food, Fat Camp Friday, Mangia Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Recipe Sharing Monday and Fusion Friday.

M&M Cookies

12 Sep

I don’t like plain M&M’s. They are boring and I need something to go with my chocolate. But for some reason, I have always loved M&M’s cookies. I think it’s the crunch that the candy coating provides that just puts them over the top for me. And these are definitely the best M&M cookie that I have ever made or eaten.

They are incredibly moist, even a week after making them (it makes a lot of cookies so they lasted awhile with just 2 of us, especially since I try to eat only 1 or 2 of any treat I make). I have heard of adding pudding mix to cakes but never to cookies and I think that is what we can attribute the moistness.

This would be a great base recipe and you could mix in virtually anything you like. I’m thinking of replacing the M&M’s with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts next time…that would be divine! Dark chocolate and pecans would be heavenly too! Mmmm, all the possibilities for these yummy little gems.

M&M Cookies
recipe from Dreaming of White Chocolate

1 cup butter, softened or 1 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 small package french vanilla instant pudding
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups miniature M&M’s (I couldn’t find mini’s so I used regular ones and they worked just fine)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla.

2. Stir in the eggs and mix well.

3. Stir in the flour and baking soda, followed by the miniature M&M’s.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, portion dough onto cookie sheets and flatten slightly.

5. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until edges are lightly golden. Let cool on pans for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yields approximately 24 cookies.


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