Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Toffee Brownies


This guy had a Blue and Gold Banquet last night for cub scouts.  We had a great time!!  Delicious food and great entertainment :)  I wish I could crop myself out of this picture.  Zac looks so cute and I look...well, tired!!  Oh wait...I was tired!
Anyway(is it anyway or anyways?), we were asked to bring a dessert.  We decided to make brownies. I have made these brownies before, but it has been a few years.  This is a Paula Deen recipe.  These brownies are super simple and SO yummy!!  


Toffee Brownies

Ingredients:
1 family size brownie mix...9x13 size mix(and the ingredients it calls for on the box...water, oil, eggs)
3 Giant(6 oz) Symphony chocolate bars with toffee and almonds...my store only had the XL size(4.25 oz), so I bought 4 and used a little of the the 4th bar

Directions:  Prepare the brownie mix according the package directions.  Line a 9x13" baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spay.  Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.  Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter.  Cover with the remaining batter.  Bake according to package directions.  Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil.  This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.  



NOTE:  If you would like the brownie part to be thicker....use an 8x8" or 9x9" inch pan.  Or you could use two brownie mixes for a 9x13".  I used one brownie mix and loved the ratio of brownie to candy bar :)
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Monday, February 15, 2016

What we ate....menu #6 and Texas-style Vanilla Ice Cream


Last week's menu:

Monday:  Pancakes and Fruit Smoothies...at about 7:30 after basketball games:)

Tuesday:  Browned Butter Honey Garlic Salmon, Salad, Roasted Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus



Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday:  Little Caesar's....another night of basketball games

Friday:  BBQ Chicken Pizza and fresh veggies

Saturday:  El Cupidos ....My husband and the two older boys flew to Chinle to watch High School basketball...so the younger boys and I ordered El Cupidos and ate while we watched some all-star festivities and the high school basketball game online...GO LOBOS!! :)

Sunday:  French Toast with Buttermilk Syrup and Jalapeno Bacon

We love eating breakfast foods for dinner :)

Now for the homemade ice cream that we made last week for our Superbowl Party...and when I say party, I mean just our family upstairs watching the game on TV :)

I don't know what makes this 'Texas-style', but that is what the recipe is called.  If anyone knows, please comment.  I got this recipe from my Mom's White Mountain Ice Cream Maker recipe book.

Texas-style Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1/ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1 cup whipping cream

Directions:  Scald milk.  Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and add to scalded milk.  Add the corn syrup and cook until the mixture coats the spoon, remove from heat.  When cool, add the egg whites beaten stiff, the vanilla and the whipping cream.  Freeze according your ice cream freezer directions.  Makes ~2 quarts.
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cookies for Valentine's Day

Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow.  I just thought I'd share 3 of our favorite cookies to make for Valentine's Day.  These are in no particular order...we love them all nearly equally!

Cookie #1:  Homemade Oreos...here and here


Add a little red food coloring to your frosting, to make them a little more Valentine.  Mmmm....my boys love these!!  

There is one thing I don't like about making these cookies....frosting them :)  It really isn't a big deal, but I just don't like doing it.  SO....my boys and I made these a week or two ago for a scout meeting and we decided to just use the cookie scoop for the frosting.  It was great!!  Also perfect ratio of frosting to cookie for me :)  ...2:1...2 tablespoon sized cookies and 1 tablespoon size portion of frosting.  AND....so quick and easy!!





See how great that is :)  Oh...and don't mind the upside down honey bear in some of the pictures.  Sometimes we store it that way when we are trying to get that last little bit of honey out. :)



Mmmm....these are SO good!!  Melt in your mouth good!!

Cookie # 3:  Peanut butter blossoms with Hershey Kisses or Reece's Peanut Butter Hearts...here or here



If you make the peanut butter blossoms with Reece's Peanut Butter Hearts instead of Hershey Kisses, just make sure you let your cookie cool longer before pressing it into the cookie...~10 minutes...so that it doesn't melt.


OR....

If you don't want to make cookies....I'd recommend making Raspberry Rolls...So good!!  

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reheating Pizza

We love pizza at our house!!  Especially homemade!  It seems like when I order pizza, I always buy way too much....or not enough.  Usually we are all starving, and pizza sounds SO good, so I order an extra one and then we can't eat it.  When we have homemade pizza, we almost always have a few pieces leftover.

So...today I am going to tell you how we reheat our pizza.


Place your pizza stone or baking sheet into a cold oven and then turn your oven on to 400 degrees.

When your oven has preheated, place your pizza onto your stone/baking sheet and bake for ~10 minutes until heated.  If you have thick pizza, it might take a little longer to heat all the way through.

It won't be as good as fresh pizza, but it is much better than heating it in the microwave :)
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Monday, February 8, 2016

What we ate....Menu #5

This week was one of those weeks....I just didn't really feel like cooking, ever.  I did cook, but most nights it was a struggle.

Monday:  Black beans, rice, chips, avocado and salsa


Tuesday:  Mexican Pizza....my kids ask for this almost every night now, so it might be on the menu again next week :)


Wednesday:  Leftovers or cold cereal
Thursday:  Pasta with alfredo, grilled chicken and roasted asparagus


Friday:  Stuffed Shells and garlic bread (found the stuffed shells in the freezer from a few months ago and luckily they weren't freezer burnt!  I had a couple of homemade bread bowls left over from last week, so I sliced, buttered, garlic salted them and put them in the oven to toast.)
Sunday:  Taquitos, Queso, chips, salsa with avocado....and homemade ice cream


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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Alfredo Sauce

I typed this recipe up and printed it out ~15 years ago.  I'm not sure where it came from....I think Martha Stewart, maybe.  It is super simple and super delicious!


We ate our Alfredo with Penne pasta, roasted asparagus and chicken marinated in Italian dressing then grilled with a generous amount of Cajun seasoning sprinkled on while grilling.

Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:
4 T(1/2 cube) butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Directions:  Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add heavy cream and cheese.  When cheese is melted, add egg yolk(I add a little of the cream and cheese mixture to the egg and then add the egg back to the saucepan.  I do this so that the sauce doesn't 'scramble' the egg yolk when I add it.)  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately.

If you are serving this with pasta, place your water on the stove to boil and cook your pasta as you make the sauce. 
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Friday, February 5, 2016

Roasted Asparagus

When I was growing up, my grandma had a garden bed with beautiful asparagus growing in it...but I don't remember ever eating any of it.  hmmm... I was probably a picky eater back then.  I do remember eating yummy bottled peaches and the BEST homemade pickles at her house.  I have her pickle recipe and someday....if I get my hands on some good cucumbers to pickle I will post it here :)

Anyway.....now I love asparagus and wish I had a garden bed of my own beautiful asparagus.  I think I will plant some this spring.  I especially love roasted asparagus.  SO simple and yummy!!  

Mmmm...fresh asparagus is so pretty!

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:
Asparagus
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the tough part(~1-2 inches) off of the bottom of the asparagus.  Place asparagus on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for approx. 25 minutes until it starts to get crispy and asparagus is tender.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cinnamon Pull-apart Bread

We had homemade pizza for dinner a couple of weeks ago.  I had some extra dough, so we made cinnamon pull-apart bread.  It is easy and yummy.  I probably make this once a month or so.  I usually use this bread recipe and make one loaf of regular bread and one loaf of the cinnamon pull-apart bread.


I just roll my dough out into a rectangle, I don't really measure, smear it with butter...sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, cut it into strips, stack it and cut it into strips again.  


Place it into a bread pan.  For the ends of your pan you want to place the cinnamon sugared side of the dough towards the middle, not touching the pan.  I scoop up any of the cinnamon sugar that fell out while transferring it to the pan and just dump it on top.


Let it rise.....Bake it, drizzle with frosting or sweetened condensed milk and enjoy!!

Cinnamon Pull-apart Bread, makes two loaves

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4-6 cups flour
4 T butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 T cinnamon
Glaze - below (optional)
Sweetened condensed milk (optional)

Directions:  In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix.  Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.  Mix in oil and egg.  Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl.  I continue to 'mix' my bread in my mixer(with bread hook or attachment) for 5-6 minutes to 'knead' it.  Let rise in mixing bowl, until doubled for about 30 minutes. 

Grease a bread pan, ~9x5x3" and set it aside.  Mix brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon together and set aside.Divide dough in half, this recipe will make 2 loaves.  On a lightly floured surface roll 1 section of dough into ~10x14 inch rectangle(this is totally an estimate...just roll it into a rectangle :)).  Brush dough with 2 T of melted butter, sprinkle with half of your cinnamon mixture.  Cut length-wise into 3 strips.  Place strips on top of each other and cut into ~5-6 strips(I like to use a pizza cutter to slice my dough).  Place your strips side by side in bread pan.  For the ends of your pan you want to place the cinnamon sugared side of the dough towards the middle, not touching the pan.  Cover with greased plastic wrap(I like to spray one side of my plastic wrap with cooking spray, so that it doesn't stick to the dough).  Let rise 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes....Repeat with the rest of your dough.

**Don't stack your dough into your bread pan too tight or it won't cook thoroughly in the middle.  It will be doughy.

Remove from oven.  When it is cool enough to handle, dump it out onto a plate, cutting board or platter(I always flip mine over...so top or bread pan side up).  Drizzle with a glaze or with sweetened condensed milk.  Pull-apart and enjoy!

Glaze:  In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to make a glaze of drizzling consistency.
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Monday, February 1, 2016

What we ate....Menu #4....and Macaroni and Tomato Juice

Another week....another menu :)

Monday:  Chicken Taquitos
Tuesday:  Crock Pot Cheese Tortellini Soup
Wednesday:  Macaroni and Tomato Juice (below) with homemade bread
Thursday:  Leftovers
Friday:  Grilled Steak, Pasta w/browned butter and Parm Cheese, and Fresh Veggies
Saturday:  New England Clam Chowder with Italian Bread Bowls
Sunday:  Biscuits and Gravy, Fruit Smoothie

I can't wait to eat some leftover clam chowder for lunch today!!  It was SO good and the bread bowl....mmmm!!!  

When I was a kid, I LOVED it when my mom would make macaroni and tomato juice!!  It was one of my favorite things and one of the first things I could cook.  In fact, I would make this for dinner every time I got to babysit my siblings.....they would all groan, because they didn't appreciate it as much as I did ;)

I usually season mine with Nature's Seasons seasoning blend and fresh ground pepper.  I LOVE this seasoning!!....on everything:)....but I was out.


Sometime if I don't have Nature's Seasons, I will just use celery salt and pepper.  This time I used Mrs. Dash Original Blend and pepper.  I love my macaroni and tomato with or without the ground beef....so if you don't have it, or just don't want it, leave it out....it will still be delicious!!


Adjust ingredients to fit your needs.  The measurements below fed my family of 6 with just a small amount of leftovers for one lunch the next day.


Macaroni and Tomato Juice

Ingredients:
~ 1/2-1 lb ground beef
~3/4 lb pasta... I like shells or elbow macaroni for this
1- 46 oz can/jar of tomato juice
seasonings to taste

Directions:  Brown your ground beef, drain off fat and set aside.  Prepare pasta according to directions.  Combine pasta, ground beef, tomato juice and seasonings.  Heat and serve.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chicken Taquitos


It is SO hard for me to get decent pictures of ...dinner :/  There is no natural light left by the time we eat and I am usually slightly shaky when I try to take pictures because I am starving :)

I made these taquitos for dinner last night and my boys told me they were the best taquitos they had EVER eaten!  I have actually made taquitos quite a few times, but apparently not as good as these!


Taquitos are actually pretty simple to make.  For me, the worst part is just rolling and frying....but really that is simple too.  Actually the worst part may be shredding the chicken....but you can always use your mixer to shred your meat and then that part is super easy too.


I fry mine in a frying pan with with about 1/2 inch of oil in it over medium heat.  I add freshly rolled taquitos toward the front and then roll them(1/4 turns) toward the back of the pan and remove when all sides are fried.


When I made these last night, a few of my boys were at basketball practice....so to keep them warm, I put them in the oven(after I had let them drain off any extra grease onto a paper towel) pre-heated to 250 degrees to keep them warm until we were ready to eat.  


Usually when I make taquitos I only use corn tortillas, but last night we did corn and flour.  My boys LOVED the flour ones.  The flour tortillas don't get quite as crispy as the corn tortillas.  I always warm my corn tortillas(5-10 at a time) on a plate under a damp paper towel in the microwave for ~30 seconds.  When you do this, the tortillas are much easier to roll...and they don't crack and break as easy.  We love to eat our with sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado.

Chicken Taquitos

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 T chili powder
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
corn/flour tortillas
canola oil

Directions:  Mix all of the spices together and set aside.  Place 2 chicken breasts into a crock pot, sprinkle spice mixture onto chicken.  Cook chicken on low for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Shred chicken and mix together with the shredded cheese.  Place some chicken mixture onto one edge of the tortilla.  Roll chicken up in the tortilla and fry.  

I fry mine in a frying pan with with about 1/2 inch of oil in it over medium heat.  I add freshly rolled taquitos toward the front and then roll them(1/4 turns) toward the back of the pan and remove when all sides are fried.

I always warm my corn tortillas(5-10 at a time) on a plate under a damp paper towel in the microwave for ~30 seconds.  When you do this, the tortillas are much easier to roll...and they don't crack and break as easy.  

We love to eat our with sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Raspberry Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

I've posted about these rolls before, but thought I'd do an updated post with a few more pictures.  I LOVE these rolls!!  A few years ago my sister bought me a raspberry roll from Old Grist Mill Bread Company in Utah.  It was SO delicious!!  I couldn't wait to make some similar rolls of my own.

I use my (2 loaf) bread recipe for the roll dough. 

After you mix your dough and let it rise until doubled,  Roll it out into a rectangle approximately 20 inches by 15 inches(I think mine was actually 16 inches).

Next, you will spread 3 Tablespoons of butter(melted) onto the dough.  Then you add the SEEDLESS raspberry jam on top of the butter.  You want to cover it leaving about 1 inch on the long edge you will be rolling the rolls to, so that you have a clean edge to 'pinch' the dough closed when you roll it.  A thin layer of jam will do, if you add too much jam it will be hard to keep your 'clean' edge clean when you start rolling.....does that make sense?  Now...roll your rectangle toward you...long edge toward long edge and 'seal' the edge.  I didn't get a picture of it rolled, but I'm sure you know what it should look like...a big log :)  Cut into 15 rolls ~3/4-1 inch thick.  Oops....I didn't measure very well and had one extra.  I was going to leave it out, but I just couldn't waste it.  So, do better than I did and cut 15 ;)  Cutting gets MESSY....I just collected any jam that came out as I was cutting and put it back on top of the rolls on the pan.

Place rolls onto a large baking sheet 3 x 5.  Let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes. 

When the rolls have risen, place them into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Mine where in the oven for 28 minutes.

Baked and ready for some cream cheese frosting.


Raspberry Rolls

Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4-5 cups flour

Filling:
3 Tablespoons butter(melted)
Seedless raspberry jam

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
~1/4 cup evaporated milk (more or less depending on desired consistency)
1 pound powdered sugar.  

Directions:
In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix.  Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.  Mix in oil and egg.  Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl.  I continue to 'mix' my bread in my mixer(with bread hook or attachment) for 5-6 minutes to 'knead' it.  Let rise in mixing bowl, until doubled for about 30 minutes. 

Next, you will spread 3 Tablespoons of butter(melted) onto the dough.  Then you add the SEEDLESS raspberry jam on top of the butter, I use a rubber spatula to spread it.  You want to cover it leaving about 1 inch on the long edge you will be rolling the rolls to, so that you have a clean edge to 'pinch' the dough closed when you roll it.  A thin layer of jam will do, if you add too much jam it will be hard to keep your 'clean' edge clean when you start rolling.....does that make sense?  Now...roll your rectangle toward you...long edge toward long edge and 'seal' the edge.  I didn't get a picture of it rolled, but I'm sure you know what it should look like...a big log :)  Cut into 15 rolls ~3/4-1 inch thick.  Cutting gets MESSY....I just collected any jam that came out as I was cutting and put it back on top of the rolls on the pan.  Cover and allow rolls to rise until doubled 30-45 minutes(I cover mine with plastic wrap(sprayed with cooking spray) and then a tea towel).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

While the rolls are cooking, combine frosting ingredients and beat until smooth.

I like to frost my rolls soon after they come out of the oven, while still hot, so that the frosting seeps down into all of the layers.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Bread - 2 Loaves

I love homemade bread....I really love 'fresh' homemade bread.  My other white bread recipe makes 5-6 loaves of bread.  We don't eat that much bread before it starts to feel 'old' to me.  So I have started using my roll recipe and it is perfect for 2 loaves of bread.  I have been making this recipe once, sometimes twice a week and it has been perfect!!


One day I was making bread....and I forgot about it.  I let it rise for too long....so...it didn't look pretty.  But, my boys said it was the best bread they had ever eaten.  It might have been because it was nice and hot and they were starving :)
haha....not pretty, but still delicious!!

I am going to copy my roll recipe below, but change the directions for the bread.

Bread - 2 Loaves

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4-6 cups flour

Directions: In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix.  Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.  Mix in oil and egg.  Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl.  I continue to 'mix' my bread in my mixer(with bread hook or attachment) for 5-6 minutes to 'knead' it.  Let rise in mixing bowl, until doubled for about 30 minutes. Form into 2 loaves and place into greased bread pans. Let rise until doubled again for an additional 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Brush hot bread with melted butter.
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