Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quick and Easy, Healthy Snack

Just thought I would share one of my favorite post-workout(or anytime) snacks with you.  It is super simple and super yummy!!  Just squeeze a little lime juice over an avocado, sprinkle with some course kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and that's it.  mmm...

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Loaded Potato Casserole

I was asked to bring a potato casserole to a scouting function a couple of weeks ago.  When I found this recipe, I knew what I would be bringing.  I doubled the recipe so that I could take one large pan to the meeting and keep one pan home for the family.  We all really loved these potatoes!!

Loaded Potato Casserole

3 1/2 - 4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked, chopped, divided
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced

Directions:  Place potatoes in saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Cook until tender, then drain well.

Preheat oven to 375° degrees F.

Transfer potatoes back to the saucepan. Masher with a potato masher until almost smooth. Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Continue mashing until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and half the bacon. Spoon mixture evenly into a lightly oiled 3-quart casserole dish. Use a spatula or fork to make an irregular surface (see photo).

Bake for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and green onions. Bake for 5 more minutes to melt cheese. Serve immediately.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n' Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar

These brownies are SO good!  I found this recipe at Kevin & Amanda's blog.  These are very good and rich.  I would recommend having some milk or ice cream available when you eat these!! 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n' Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 pkg Double Stuffed Oreos
1 Family Size (9×13) Brownie mix
1/4 cup hot fudge topping

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to thoroughly combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly incorporate into the mixer until the flour is just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish that’s been lined with wax paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Top with a layer of Oreos. Mix together brownie mix(according to directions on the box), adding an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 15-25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting — brownies may still be gooey in the middle when still warm, but will set up perfectly once cooled. Enjoy!!

To half this recipe for an 8×8 brownie mix, simply half the chocolate chip cookie dough ingredients.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce

I LOVE this hot fudge sauce.  I have posted it on this blog before.  I posted it with another recipe and had a hard time finding it the other day when I went looking for it.  So....I decided to post it again by itself...  It definitely deserves it's OWN post.

I got this recipe from my husband's aunt, who is a WONDERFUL cook!! 

This is SO good, I could drink it straight from the pan, but I don't ;)  I usually wait until it cools and then just eat it with a spoon straight from the pan.  I really need to find a local friend to take half of the hot fudge when I make this so that I don't eat SO much! 

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 can evaporated milk
1 cube butter
3 cups sugar
1/2 c baking cocoa
1 t vanilla

Directions: Place ingredients in medium saucepan and cook, stirring on high until it begins to boil. Let it boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Add vanilla. **if you mix the sugar and cocoa together first it will help get any lumps out of the cocoa.

**I will be posting the recipe for the brownies above soon.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chicken Ranch Dip

My Sister sent me this recipe and we LOVED it!! 

Chicken Ranch Dip

2 8 oz packages softened cream cheese
3/4 cup ranch salad dressing
Tabasco sauce
2 chicken breasts chopped or shredded or 2 cups of shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup chopped green chili
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Directions:  In 9x13 baking dish spread two 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese ( I usually put them in the microwave for a few seconds to make it spreadable). Squeeze approximately 3/4 cup ranch salad dressing over the cream cheese. Add some drops of  Tabasco sauce(a small amount goes a long way). Layer shredded chicken over the dressing. Next add a layer of green chili. Finally, cover with shredded cheese and bake on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts. ENJOY!!
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Brownie Cupcakes

These cupcakes are great!!  I will warn you that most of mine sunk in the middle, but that will just give you a place to fill with more frosting :)  I made the hearts by melting a couple of small candy canes together that I saved from Christmas.  My boys loved the cupcakes and the hearts made them a little more special with Valentine's right around the corner.  I found the recipe at Joy of

Brownie Cupcakes

Brownie Cupcakes:

4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces(I used salted and then left the salt below out)
1 1/4 cup (250 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (95 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature(I used salted, the frosting was a little salty, but still SO good!)
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brownie Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 12 muffin tins with paper or foil baking cups.

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Then stir (can also use a hand mixer) in the sugar. Add the vanilla and then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the flour and salt until well blended.

Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake has moist crumbs. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or if piping, using a large Wilton plain, or open or closed star tip.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

Makes 12 cupcakes.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa

I LOVE salsa!!  I there any better way to eat your veggie?  I don't think so.  I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman's Blog.  So good!!  My boys had to add a little Cayenne to theirs for a little extra heat.  My boys don't think it is salsa unless it clears your sinuses and makes your eyes water :)

Restaurant Style Salsa

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soft Italian Breadsticks

I made these breadsticks to go with our Alfredo last night.  We really liked them.  They were SO good dipped in the alfredo sauce.  For me...the sauce and breadsticks could be my entire meal.  I adapted the recipe that I found here.

Soft Italian Breadsticks


1 cup warm water (70 to 80)
3 tablespoons soft butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


Place all dough ingredients in your mixer(Kitchen-Aid or Bosch).  Mix well and knead in mixer for 5 minutes.  After the dough kneads in the mixer turn it out onto a floured board and divide dough in half.  Cut each portion into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a 4 to 6" rope.  Take 2 'ropes' and twist together.  Place 2" apart onto greased baking sheets.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until doubled.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, brush with butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, return to oven and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  Note: Be careful not to overbake or they will become tough.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Better Than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

So...yesterday I was craving Alfredo.  When I found this recipe online, I decided to try it.  I'm glad I did.  It was easy and YUMMY!!  I don't eat at Olive Garden very often (unfortunately)'m not really sure if this Alfredo sauce is better than Olive Garden, but I can say...that it is very good!!  I topped our pasta with some sauteed mushrooms and it was DELICIOUS, if you like mushrooms, I would definitely recommend adding them!!

Better Than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

3 tablespoons sweet butter

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves , minced
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper (I used fresh ground black pepper)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup mozzarella cheese
1 (12 ounce) box angel hair pasta

Directions:  Melt butter in medium saucepan with olive oil over medium/low heat.  Add the garlic, cream, white pepper and bring mixture to a simmer.  Stir often.  Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth.  When sauce has thickened add the Mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth. STIR FREQUENTLY.  While the sauce cooks, boil noodles for 3-5 minutes.  Place pasta on serving plates and spoon sauce over pasta.
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