Sunday, September 11, 2011

Drop Danish

Ya know how it's impossible to get good pastries at home? Why is it that every bakery from here to Timbuktu can have these light, fluffy pastries just taunting you, but they cannot be duplicated at home??? Well, this may not be light and fluffy, but it will certainly give those evil tempters a run for their money! Sweet, crumbly danishes with jam centers all covered in a sugary glaze. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me so well- Sugar to start my day right!

1/4 C butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 C Bisquick
2/3 C milk
1/4 C jam
2/3 C powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

Cut butter into Bisquick and sugar until crumbly. Stir in 2/3 C milk until dough forms. Beat 15 strokes. Drop 2" apart onto slightly greased cookie sheet. Make a dent in the top of each with a spoon and fill with 1 tbsp jam. Bake until golden; 10-15 minutes. Stir powdered sugar and 1 tbsp milk together, drizzle over warm rolls. Serve warm.

*Strawberry or blueberry cream cheese spreads are a tasty alternative to jam.

Peppermint Poke Cake

Chocolate is a miracle drug. Seriously, is there a better band-aid in all the world? Sure, it may not fix any problems, but it sure does help you feel better faster! This cake is like one giant, gooey york peppermint patty first-aid kit that will have you eating right out of the pan and back on cloud nine. Not that I've been there... this afternoon... The white you see in the cake is a minty white chocolate pudding that seeps all throughout the cake making it super ooey-gooey-lick-the-plate-clean good! Plus, yet again, easy peasy! From the back of a cake mix box years ago:

1 box double fudge or Devil's food cake
2 C milk
1 (6 oz) box instant white chocolate pudding ***
1 can (12-16 oz) whipped milk chocolate frosting
1 1/2 tsp peppermint flavoring, divided
Chocolate covered mint candies, chopped

Make cake in 9x13" pan as directed on box. Let cool 15 minutes. Poke holes every 1/4- 1/2" with the handle of a wooden spoon. Mix milk, pudding and 1 tsp peppermint and slowly pour over top of cake. Refrigerate 2 hours. Mix 1/2 tsp peppermint into frosting and carefully spread over cold cake. Sprinkle with chopped candy pieces. Serve with a shovel. Keep refrigerated.

*** I had a hard time finding a 6 oz box of white chocolate pudding, so I used two 3.8{ish} oz boxes. IF you do this, be sure to up the milk to 2 1/2 C milk or the pudding mixture will be too thick to pour into the holes and instead you'll end up with a layer on top of the cake. Again, allow my experience to be your lesson!

Samoa Brownies

These brownies were featured on my cousins' blog Sixsistersstuff and I'd been dying to try it. Ya know those tasty Samoa Girl Scout cookies? They are Hubbs favorite, so I was excited to try it for him. It was a super simple recipe and should have been cake to make, but that's not my style! It was a disaster from the beginning! I thought I had everything I needed and I was so wrong. I didn't have brownie mix, like it called for, so I just made some from scratch- about 3 times more effort! Then I realized that I needed 2 bags of caramel and I only had one! Blah. But by now, I was committed, so I pulled out my recipe for homemade caramel. Except that called for Karo syrup. Which I also did not have. Two seconds from giving up, I found another caramel recipe that says you can substitute honey for the Karo. Like I said. Disaster. Finally, we made everything that didn't need to be home made and put it all together with the substitute ingredients... Blah. Anyway, I was so frustrated I'm not even going to repost the recipe. I'm just going to give you the link here. It was rich and chewy and oh, so good, but I'm betting it would be even better had it been done right! I'm not giving up on you, Samoa's!!

Spinach Salad

In my opinion, spinach totally deserves the bad wrap it's gotten. I know I've had a few recipes with it, but they are exceptions to an otherwise sound rule. So is this one. In fact, I am surprised at how much we LOVE this salad. It's our go-to when we are in charge of salad for get-togethers. But it is mandatory to serve with Poppyseed dressing. The tart cranberries, sharp mozzarella, bitter leaves and salty bacon are an incredible mix of flavors and textures. Plus, other than the bacon, it's SUUUPPPPERRR healthy!

1 bag/container baby spring mix salad
1 bag/container Spinach salad{or you can sometimes find a 50/50 mix which is the two already combined}
1 pkg bacon, cooked and crumbled {I usually use turkey bacon- cheaper, healthier and I actually prefer the taste}
4-6 pieces of string cheese, chopped or mozzarella, cubed
1- 1 1/2 C cranberries
1- 1 1/2 C almonds {not pictured...}

Place half the salad in a bowl, sprinkle with half of each of the toppings. Repeat. Serve with poppy seed dressing {my fav is Brianna's Home style with the picture of a peach on it...}.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Favorites Night

It is still in the 100's here in sunny Arizona, so when Joni Joiner requested we do Fall foods, I was a little hesitant. There are no sweaters in sight here! But the closer it got, the more excited I got! Fall food is just so dang good! Pumpkin, apple, hearty soups and stews... I just made sure to crank down the AC so even if it was 103 outside, it felt like it could have been Fall-ish indoors... It was incredible! We were loving all the warm comfort food so much, we may still do Halloween and Thanksgiving nights! Thanks to all those who came and to all those who didn't make it... I'm sorry for you! ;)

Mark your calendar- September 22nd is the next Exchange at Audrey Maycock's house and we'll be doing ApPEtIzeRs! Hey, it's football season! Gotta get some good half-time snack ideas!

Warm Spiced Cider

I forgot to get a picture of this, so sorry. And sorry to anyone who tried this at the exchange- it was terrible! I think it was the cider I used as a base... BUT I promise, it really is a DELICIOUS recipe! Usually. When we lived in Utah and snow wasn't unheard of for Halloween, we used to have a little bonfire in our drive way with this cider for the kids{and parents}. I think people would be as excited for the drink and chance to warm up by the fire as they would be for the candy. Now that it's 85 degrees for us on Halloween, we might have to switch drinks!

1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 gallon apple cider

Place salt, spices and brown sugar on a square of clean, white cotton fabric. Pull up edges and tie with string to form a bag. Simmer bag in cider for at least 20 minutes.

My hubby likes to add a few orange slices to this...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Joni Joiner is admittedly addicted to Pinterest. If you haven't checked it out, you should so you can follow her and share her addiction! She came across this while feeding the addiction, I mean, browsing. was kind enough to bring us these amazing fall treats!

2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 C pumpkin puree
12 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and side of 9x13" pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

Keep an eye on these as they cook. Joni had a hard time getting these to set, but I kinda like my baked goods on the doughy side so there were no complaints from me!!

Sausage Tortellini Soup

Molly, Molly, Molly... You've done it again! As the weather turns cooler {for most of the U.S.}, soups start getting center attention again- This one is steals the show! The bold, hearty flavors of the spices, the vegetables, the sausage all balanced perfectly with cheesy bites of tortellini. I guarantee this will be re-made again and again!

1 lb mild Italian sausage

1 C chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

5 C beef broth

1 C water

2 C chopped tomatoes (28 oz can)

1 C sliced carrots

1 1/2 C zucchini, sliced

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

2 C tortellini (8 oz)

3 tsp parsley

Remove skin from sausage and cook until brown. Remove sausage from pan and leave drippings. Blend all ingredients except tortellini, zucchini and sausage. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add reserved ingredients and cook for 30 more minutes.

Cinnamon Muffins

Brianne Westberg made it to her first exchange, but couldn't stay long with her squirmy baby. She impressed us with these yummy little bites, even if she did get the season wrong! ;) She brought these as mini muffins, so I'm not sure if this recipe {and baking time} is for mini muffins or regular sized- just keep an eye on them as they cook...

3/4 C softened butter

3/4 C sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 3/4 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 C sour cream

Topping: 1/3 C sugar mixed with 3 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Blend in vanilla and eggs. In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour flour mixture and sour cream into butter mixture. Stir batter by hand until blended. Add a splash of milk. Grease tins. Prepare topping. Drop some batter into tin, sprinkle with topping. Add more batter and sprinkle more topping. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Jamie Massie says that this cake is what she brings to every holiday gathering as soon as fall starts! Very simple to make and it was really good topped with whipped cream. I bet it would be just amazing served warm with vanilla ice cream...

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box butterscotch pudding
4 eggs
1/4 C water
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin spice

Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Caramel Apple (Nachos)

We LOVE caramel apples around here. LOVE. So when I saw a few different ideas for them, I combined them to this amazing new tradition! The thought behind doing it like nachos was that it would be less messy for kids. I think it just moves the mess from your face to your fingers! But it sure is easier to serve up!


1 bag Kraft caramels

1 tbsp milk

Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl with milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute then stir. Microwave an additional minute or until caramel is smooth.

White Chocolate :

6 oz white chocolate or white candy coating

Microwave on high 30 seconds, stir, microwave an additional 30 seconds or until smooth.


1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

1 tbsp shortening

Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds or until smooth.

For Nachos:

Wash and dry 4-6 Granny Smith apples. Core, slice, then arrange them on a platter. Drizzle toppings over apples slices making sure to get each slice. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar{ I usually do about two to three parts sugar, one part cinnamon}.

For Dipped apples:
Wash and dry{or the toppings won't stick} 4-6 Granny Smith apples. Dip in melted caramel then spin slowly over the bowl allowing the caramel to cool on the apple a bit. Place on a piece of waxed paper and allow to set in the fridge while you prepare the white chocolate layer. Carefully remove from the waxed paper by twisting. Dip in the white chocolate, again twisting over the bowl until it stops dripping. Place on clean waxed paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Allow to cool and set while preparing chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over the white chocolate and cool.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this recipe several years ago and it is the easiest cookie recipe in existence. It helps that it is so freaking good! Moist. Chewy. Flavorful. 3 ingredients.

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

1 box spice cake mix

1 C chocolate chips

2 tbsp molasses(optional)

Preheat oven to 3 . Mix all ingredients together. Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

I forgot the molasses the night of the exchange, but I think it adds a little bit extra...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Easy Oreo Fudge Ice Cream Cake

My son just turned 4 {yikes!} and we had a pirate party for him. I had been eyeing this recipe forever and this presented a perfect opportunity!

Ta-da! Ok, so it may not have been perfect, but you can't really take your time to decorate an ICE CREAM cake! I'm really more about the taste of a dessert then how perfectly it is presented. The good news for you is that the recipe should be a little easier to put together and be all white instead of the brown and white I needed. PLUS it was really, really, really, really good. Really. In fact, the leftovers went home for the dad's! Thanks, again, Kraft!

1/2 C hot fudge sauce, slightly warmed

1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping, thawed and divided

1 (3.9 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding

8 oreo cookies, chopped

12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

Pour fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup cool whip. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cookies. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches long ends side to side on a 24" long piece of foil; top with half the whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining whipped topping. Bring up foil on both sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet. Freeze 4 hours.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

My mom got this from my aunt and made a few adjustments to come up with this go-to, all-in-one casserole. I love the hint of curry, soggy bread, veggie and chicken... It's what immediately pops into my mind whenever I start thinking of a menu. This dish is sometimes referred to as Chicken Divan. Fancy name for a simple, comfort dish!

4 small chicken breasts, cut to bite size and cooked
1 pkg broccoli, cooked {I use about 3 C of a vegetable medley}
5-6 slices stale bread, torn into bite sized pieces
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C miracle whip
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 C chicken broth
1 C milk
1 C cheddar cheese

Spread broccoli on bottom of 9x13" pan. Top with chicken then bread crumbs. Whisk together of soup, miracle whip, lemon juice, curry, cream of mushroom, broth and milk. Pour over the bread crumbs. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Stuffed Baked French Toast

So, I'd made Sheree Mowers' crepes for breakfast the other morning and they were DELICIOUS!! But then, I had a bunch of filling left over. What to do, what to do??? So I blended her crepe filling found here (added some crushed pineapple) and my fav baked french toast recipe from here and put them together! It was... I mean... There's just... Wow. It's a little more work that I like for make a head breakfasts, but I will certainly plan this for special occasions or double up the filling recipe whenever I make it. I sprinkled it with cinnamon then topped it with some strawberries that I'd cut up and sprinkled with sugar the night before. Craving...

Sweet and Sticky Orange Chicken

Kraft Food's quarterly recipe magazine becomes my 2nd bible every time a new one comes in the mail. I highly recommend it. But then, you'd have most of my best recipes.... ;) This is a combination of two of their recipes. I adjusted it for the crock pot, but kinda over cooked parts of the chicken. In order to avoid that, flip your chicken every couple of hours.

1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges
1/4 C orange juice
1/8 C orange juice concentrate
1/4 C Asian toasted sesame dressing
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 tbsp ginger or minced gingerroot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces

Crock pot version:
Place chicken in a large crock pot. Add red bell peppers. Mix remaining ingredients except oranges in a separate bowl and slowly add to the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, turning the chicken every couple of hours. Add oranges for last 30 minutes of cook time. Serve over rice with stir fry vegetables.

Mix orange juice concentrate, dressing, soy sauce, sugar and crushed pepper. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and cook in a skillet on high heat for 5-6 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir on medium- high heat 2 minutes. Add red peppers; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
Add dressing mixture to skillet; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in oranges; spoon onto platter. Serve over rice with stir fry vegetables.

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole

I can't remember where I got this recipe- it's just been sitting in my cookbook for ages! I'd made it before, and it was ok, so I made a few adjustments. I love that I can make it ahead of time {like when my kids are sleeping and not pulling on my pants or demanding my attention} and it's super good when regular pizza just ain't cutting it! Plus, you can alter it with your favorite pizza toppings.

1/2 lb shredded mozzarella cheese

6 C French or Italian bread {about 1 loaf}

5 eggs

1 1/4 C milk

1/2 C sour cream

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2-1 tsp garlic powder

3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced {or about 1 can of diced tomatoes}(optional)

Your favorite toppings. {I used a can and a half of pineapple tidbits and a package of diced ham. Not sure the sizes...}

Spray a 9x13" pan with Pam. In a LARGE bowl, toss together the mozzarella, tomatoes, bread, and chosen toppings. Arrange mixture evenly in the baking pan. Using the same large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk; add the milk, sour cream, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Beat well. Pour egg mixture over the bread, tilting the baking pan from side to side to soak all the bread cubes evenly. {I added a little more mozzarella to the top} Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes; heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the casserole and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese before serving, if desired.

A few variations I'd like to try:

Sausage, olives, diced green bell peppers and onions, a can of cream of chicken for a Supreme

chicken, red onions, pineapples, barbecue sauce for a Hawaiian chicken BBQ{one of our favs}

pkt ranch dressing, bacon, chicken, onion for a Bacon Chicken Ranch

Beef Gravy

Jennifer Fulton showed up a little late to Beef Night, so I'm not sure how many of us got to try this- we were all so full of the other good stuff! This is kind of like stroganoff, but a little heartier. It would also make a good biscuits-and-gravy gravy for breakfast- just substitute sausage for the beef and use it to top biscuits instead of noodles.

1 lb hamburger

1/2 onion

2 C milk

1 cube butter

about 1/4 C flour

Brown hamburger and onion; drain. Melt in butter. Heat milk and add to the mixture. Add flour little by little until pasty. It should be the consistency of gravy, not quite as thick as a stroganoff.