Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a safe, warm and joyous holiday with your family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Dec 24, 2013

Caramel Cheesecake Rolo Brownies



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Cooks Note: I don't really need to say much about these, the name speaks for itself. These are simple, delicious and oh so addicting. These were another teacher gifty recipe and I hope they enjoyed them. There was only ONE left for me to taste, and all I can say is, it is a good thing only one remained. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Box of your favorite brownie mix or homemade brownies, prepared according to instructions
1 Block of cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 Egg lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
3 T caramel sauce
3/4 bag regular sized rolos, unwrapped
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Spray a 9"x9" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3) With an electric mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, beaten egg, sugar and caramel sauce until smooth.
3) Pour 2/3 of the prepared brownie mix into the pan. Take dollops of the cream cheese mixture and place on top of the brownie mix, finishing off with the remaining brownie batter on the top. Take a knife and swirl the brownie and cream cheese mixture together to create a marble pattern.
4) Before placing in the oven, take the unwrapped rolos and push them lightly into the brownie cheesecake batter. You can use as many or as few as you like, but if you use the entire bag it will give you a very dense layer of rolos in the brownies. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips/chunks.
5) Bake the brownies in a preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool to room temperature before cutting. They may be a little gooey still, but cutting them before they get too hard is better because the rolos can be hard to cut when they harden.
6) Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
This Pinspiration comes from And They Cooked Happily Ever After

Dec 23, 2013

Gooey Butter Cookies



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Cooks Note: I am not a huge cookie fan. Yes, I know, it's weird, but I'm just not. Don't get me wrong, cookies are good, but if I had to chose a dessert to eat it would be something else, like bread pudding or flan. But I was going to a cookie exchange and I needed something quick, so I saw Gooey Butter Cookies on Pinterest and it made me think of Paula Deen. So, I made them. VERY easy. And surprisingly, really tasty. I hate it when you make cookies and then after a while they get all hard and old tasting. These don't, they stay moist and yummy and sort of taste like a cookie/cupcake. Try them for your Christmas Eve festivities! Enjoy!

Makes 2 Dozen


Ingredients: 

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 c butter
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 egg
powdered sugar

Directions:

Beat butter, egg, cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy
Mix in cake mix
Chill for 30 min
Roll into balls and dip into powdered sugar
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, and dust with powdered sugar on top if desired
This Pinspiration comes from LilLuna

Dec 21, 2013

Baked Mac and Cheese

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Cooks Note: Everyone loves Mac and Cheese. There a a million and one ways to make it and I think it is fun to just try them all. This was very classic, very yummy and very simple. I served it with salad for a weeknight dinner. Let me know if it is as good as yours. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce pkg elbow macaroni
4 T butter
4 T flour
1 c milk
1 c cream
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c breadcrumbs, buttered

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside
In a large saucepan, melt butter
Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended
Pour milk and cream in gradually, stirring constantly
Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly)
Reduce heat and cook 10 min (stirring constantly)
Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 min, or until cheese melts
Turn off flame
Add in macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coast with cheese sauce
Transfer macaroni to buttered baking dish
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs
Bake 20 minutes or until top is golden brown
Serves 4-6

This Pinspiration is from Food.com



Dec 20, 2013

Oreo Truffles


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Cooks Note: I saw these on Pinterest and thought, those look yummy, but labor intensive. And let me tell you, if there is one thing I cannot handle it is labor intensive, not the week before Christmas anyway. So I read the directions, and shockingly they were simple and required very few ingredients. 

I needed teacher gifty things, so I liked the idea of a fancy looking treat that was super easy. I made 48 of these suckers (no doubling required, that is what it makes) and threw them into tins for the kiddos to take to school. 

The Kraft recipe calls for Bakers chocolate, which would work great, but I like Candy Melts and thought the white would be more of a contrast with the Oreo garnish. Anyway, they are really tasty and the teachers loved them. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 36 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed and divided
  • pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream  Cheese, softened
  • Pkg. Wilton Candy Melts (white or color of your choice)

Directions:
RESERVE 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until blended.

SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

This Pinspiration comes from Kraft




Dec 16, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole




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Cooks Note: Oh my goodness, there are no words for how delicious this is. I made this tonight for dinner, yes dinner, because I wanted to test it out for Christmas morning. I made it around noon and threw it in the fridge till dinner time and it came out AMAZING! It was simple to make, but tastes like something you would eat at a fancy B&B. The Pioneer Woman says you can add fruit to the recipe or nutmeg for flavor (which I did) ad I was thinking how yummy it would be if you replaced the heavy cream with eggnog for a holiday kick! You HAVE to make this, and let me know how it turns out. I know you will enjoy!

Fresh Out of the Oven:




Ingredients:

For the French Toast:

1 Loaf French or Sourdough Crusty Bread

8 Eggs

2 Cups Whole Milk

1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

3/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

For the Topping:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Pinch Nutmeg (optional)

1 Stick Cold Butter cut into pieces


Instructions:

Grease 9x13 inch baking dish with butter

Tear bread into chunks or cut into cubes and spread evenly in baking dish

In medium bowl mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla and pour evenly over 

bread, cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight

In a separate bowl mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, add nutmeg if desired. Add 

butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until it resembles fine pebbles. Store in 

a zip-lock in the fridge.

When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove casserole from fridge and sprinkle crumb mixture on top

Bake 45 min for a softer, more bread pudding like texture or 1 hour for a firmer, less 

liquid texture.

Scoop out individual portions and top with butter and warm drizzled maple syrup.


This Pinspiration is from Pioneer Woman

Chicken and Green Chili Pasta


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Cooks Note: I love anything with green chilies in it. To me this is mac and cheese meets chicken enchiladas and it is really good. It is quick and easy and likely you have all the ingredients in your pantry. This is also a good one for a holiday pot luck or dinner. There is a lot of room for variations here too, you could add veggies, replace the chicken with ham, etc. It will be yummy no matter how you do it. Enjoy!


Ingredients:



1 lb Penne pasta
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded with cumin and onion (2 cups)
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
4 oz diced green chilies
Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 cooking pan.
2.  In a mixing bowl, stir together chicken and cheese.
3. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter.  Stir in flour to make a roux and let bubble for 1 minute.  Slowly add in chicken broth and stir constantly.  Let bubble and thicken for 10-15 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in sour cream and green chilies.  Stir until well combined.
4. In 9×13 baking dish, layer pasta, chicken and cheese mixture two times.  Then pour sauce over top.  Do not stir.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and golden on top
This Pinspiration comes from Joyful Mamma's Kitchen

Dec 12, 2013

Happy Holidays Everyone!

It is Holiday time and since we have been MIA for a while now we are going to make a come back with some Holiday decor to get everyone in the mood. 

We love Christmas more than any other holiday and we like to do it up big, whether it is food, decor, gifts or parties, our motto is go BIG or go HOME!


Send us pics of your decor, we would love to see how you celebrate. 













Nov 21, 2013

Southern Living Cream Cheese Pound Cake


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Cooks Note: So it has been awhile since we have posted anything, and I want to apologize, but sometimes life gets in the way and prevents us from doing some of the things we love and enjoy, like cooking and blogging! But, hopefully we are back in action and ready for the holidays with no more interruptions! That being said.....I have made this pound cake several times before. And as you know, I am a BIG fan of all things Southern Living, so this is a quick and easy pound cake that tastes like it took hours to make. 

Now, it is pound cake, so it is very dense, but tastes amazing. I add strawberries and powdered sugar, but really you could add icing, other fruits, chocolate, caramel, pretty much anything. Try this during the holidays, I know everyone will love it, and it is pretty too. Let me know how you like it. Enjoy!


Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
    • 1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Use an electric mixer to mix both butter and cream cheese until creamy.
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat for 5 minutes, then add eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding more. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Sift flour and salt and add gradually to the mixer, beating until well blended.
  5. Pour batter into a well greased and floured bundt pan or tube cake pan.
  6. Place 2 cups water in an ovenproof container on the rack in the oven next to the cake.
  7. Bake cake at 300 for an hour and 45 minutes, or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly.
  8. Place pan on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and complete cooling on the wire rack.




This Pinspiration comes from Southern Living




Nov 6, 2013

SlimFast Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


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Cooks Note: Simple, healthy and festive. This is a great smoothie for breakfast, lunch or a snack. 




Ingredients:
1 Scoop Vanilla SlimFast powder

2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice Instant Jello Pudding Mix
A Dash of Nutmeg
1 Cup of Milk
6 Ice Cubes

Directions:
Blend together and enjoy!




Oct 30, 2013

Nutter Butter Ghost Cookies



Cook's Note:  Of course, I saw this on Pinterest and had to try making this myself because they were just too cute! I am taking these to my daughter's daycare tomorrow - I think the kids will love them!



What You Will Need: 

Pack of Nutter Butter Cookies
Almond Bark - White Chocolate
Chocolate Sprinkles
Wax Paper


Directions: 

Lay out your wax paper on the kitchen counter. Melt almond bark according to package directions (I recommend using a glass bowl for the almond bark). Once thoroughly melted, using tongs, dip each nutter butter cookie into the chocolate. one at a time. You will be shaking off the excess chocolate each time and once a thin coat of the chocolate is on the nutter butter, lay it down on the wax paper to dry and repeat each time until you are done. I placed one chocolate sprinkle per eye (while still wet). 

Let dry for about 20-30 minutes. 


Once dry you place them in cute cookie bags and tie with a cute bow or gift tag. What fun treat for kids!







Oct 29, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cookies



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Cook's Note: I saw these on Pinterest and Cookies don't get ANY easier than this. All I can say is that they were really yummy. This is a very soft cookie and will only be good for a day or two, but not to worry, they will disappear quickly!



What You Will Need: 

1 Box Spice Cake Mix
1 Can of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 bag chocolate chips (optional)


Directions: 


Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer or stand mixer until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. 


This "Pinspiration" comes from Liv Lives Life

Oct 26, 2013

Caramel Apple Crescent Rolls



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Cooks Note: This was a last minute impromptu dessert that came to fruition because I did not have a pie crust to use with my apple pie filling and I needed a quick dessert. Anytime I can use crescent rolls I do, so I threw in some caramel and it turned out really great! Also good as an after school snack! Use cherry, peach, pumpkin, blueberry, whatever you want, they would all be delish. Enjoy!  


Ingredients:

1 Can Crescent Rolls
1 Can Apple Pie Filling
Dash of Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 T Caramel Dessert Sauce
Powdered Sugar for Sprinkling 

Directions:

1. Pour Apple Pie filling into mixing bowl
2. Cut large apple slices into smaller chunks (I do this right in the bowl)
3. Add Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and dessert sauce and mix together
4. Unroll crescent rolls as you would normally per package directions
5. Place one tablespoon of Apple Pie mixture in the top center of the crescent roll and roll per package directions.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown
7. Sprinkle crescent rolls with powdered sugar and serve warm


Sister Smith's Pumpkin Bread



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Cook’s Note: I have been making this recipe now for about 5 years. I stumbled upon my original recipe inspiration via Southern Living and decided to make my own light version by removing the vegetable oil from the recipe and using vanilla yogurt instead. I also added vanilla extract and watch out… this is amazing for breakfast (or anytime really!) with a nice hot cup of coffee and topped with a little butter or cream cheese. I made 6 mini loaves as gifts for friends and neighbors. This recipe will make either 6 mini loaves or 2 regular size loafs!

What You Will Need:


4 cups bread flour 

3 cups sugar 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4   large eggs 

1   (15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 cup Plain or Vanilla Yogurt

2/3 cup water


Directions:


In your stand mixer, beat all ingredients at medium speed until  well blended. Pour evenly into 2 bread pans (spray well with non-stick cooking spray first!)

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans  for at least 15 minutes, then turn upside down and gently shake bread out so and cool completely on wire racks.



This “Pinspiration” comes from Southern Living

Oct 22, 2013

Crock Pot Tortellini Soup



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Cooks Note: This soup sounded yummy, and by yummy I mean it would take 10 min to prep and everyone would eat it, oh, and delicious too. So, it took 10 min to prep, everyone ate it and it was delicious. I followed the recipe, except I was so excited with how easy it was, I dumped the cans of tomatoes in. undrained, oops. But, all was well, the soup came out great. The only other change I made, was to add an extra cup of chicken broth at the end, because it was a little thick. In fact. it probably could have used another cup, the tortellini soaks up the liquid. This is a "make again" for sure. Enjoy!

    INGREDIENTS


1 (19 oz.) bag frozen Cheese Tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 (14.5 oz) cans of Italian Style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 block (8 oz) of cream cheese or neufchatel (less fat)
1 lb. of ground sausage or chicken/turkey sausage
4 cups of chicken broth (I used 5)

    DIRECTIONS


Brown the sausage and put all ingredients in crock pot,
chunking up the cream cheese. 
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
(Keep an eye on your tortellini, it may be done sooner as crock pots can vary in temperature.)

Serves 4-6

This Pinspiration from What's For Dinner?

Oct 15, 2013

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells



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Cook's Note: So, I was cruising Pinterest and this little gem of a recipe popped up. I thought it looked so good and I couldn't wait to make it. Let me tell you - this recipe is divine!! You know I usually change something about every recipe and the only change I have made here is to use one clove of garlic instead of two. This is a wonderful fall meal and actually very easy to make... I encourage you to give it a try!


What You Will Need:


1 Box of Jumbo Shells (I used Barilla)

¾ Jar of tomato sauce (I always use Franceso Rinaldi Tomato Basil sauce, its my favorite!)

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1 container of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese

1 ½  cups of shredded light mozzarella cheese

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 egg

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp  sage

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

sea salt & pepper to taste


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the shells in accordance with the instructions on the box (I used Barilla Jumbo Pasta shells). Once they are ready, strain and set aside to cool.

Stir together pumpkin, ricotta, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, garlic, egg, nutmeg, sage, basil, and salt & pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Spray a 9X13 glass cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray and then evenly spread the tomato sauce along the bottom of the dish.

Stuff each of the shells with about 2 tbps of the pumpkin/ricotta mixture and place in rows along the dish (sitting each shell on top of the tomato sauce).

Once you’ve stuffed all the shells, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the last ½ cup of the shredded mozzarella over the shells and let the cheese melt.

Serve with some yummy garlic bread and salad for a delicious fall meal!

This Pinspiration comes from "The Daily Dish"

Oct 13, 2013

Brown Sugar and Bacon Little Smokies




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Cooks Note: This is so yummy there are no words. I mean, you could wrap bacon around pretty much anything and it would be divine, but Little Smokies and brown sugar? HEAVEN! This is a great party or game day snack, but I suggest making a lot, cause these little suckers will go fast!Enjoy!

Pre-Topping:






Going into the oven it looked like this:






Ingredients
  • 1 package of Little Smokies
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1/2 Stick of But
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bacon into thirds and wrap each third around a Little Smokie.
  3. Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  4. Melt the butter and mix in 1 cup brown sugar, pour over smokies.
  5. Sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar on top of smokies
  6. Bake for 20-25 or until bacon is crisp and sugar has caramelized.
  7. To crisp up your bacon, turn the broiler on High for 4 min.


This Pinspiration comes from all over the place!

Victoria Justice Peanut Butter and Banana Power Shake

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Cooks Note: My daughter LOVES Victoria Justice, the Nickelodeon star. So I thought, hey why not try some kid celeb recipes in an effort to make eating better, cool. Well it worked. I made this smoothie, which is really good if you like peanut butter as much as we do, and I let my daughter try it. I didn't tell her what is was, and she said, "It's pretty good, what is it?" I told her it was Victoria Justice's favorite smoothie and she said, "REALLY? WOW, I really like it a lot!"  and proceeded to drink almost the whole thing. Score: Mom-1 Kid-0. 

Ingredients:

8 oz. skim milk
1 sliced banana
1/4 cup ice
2 tbsp. peanut butter

Directions: Toss all ingredients into a blender, puree for 1 minute or until creamy, but not liquidy.

This Pinspirtation comes from Victoria Justice and Seventeen Magazine


Oct 12, 2013

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


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Cook's Note: It's FALL and there is nothing like warm oatmeal and anything pumpkin. And there is REALLY nothing like waking up to breakfast that is already made.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought I had to try it out. It was good, I just had to make a few tweaks to it! Throw this all in the crock pot RIGHT before you go to sleep and wake up to the aromas of pumpkin filling your house. This is something that is semi-healthy and the whole family can enjoy. This would also be a great breakfast on Thanksgiving morning because its not too filling and simple.

What You Will Need:

2 Cups of Steel Cut Oats (don't use any other kind, trust me!)
4 cups of Milk
1 can of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract


Directions:

Be sure to spray the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Also, like I said in the ingredients list - you HAVE to use steel cut oats, otherwise - any other kind of oats (such as quick cooking or multigrain will get very soggy). Combine all ingredients in the crock pot and stir well. Let simmer overnight on low for 6-7 hours.

Serve with a great cup of coffee (with a little pumpkin spice coffee creamer in it) and some fresh fruit!


This "Pinspiration" comes from Simply Mrs Edwards