Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sweet Dessert Panini


  • 1 cup hazelnut spread
  • 8 slices, white bread, cut 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 16 marshmallows, cut in halves
  • Butter, softened
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the grill to medium-low.

Heat hazelnut spread, so that it lightly coats the back of a spoon. Spread all slices of bread with a thin layer of hazelnut spread. Apply banana slices to 4 pieces of bread and marshmallows to the remaining 4 pieces. Take 1 slice of bread with banana, and 1 with marshmallows and press them together, making a sandwich. Repeat. Apply a light layer of butter to each side of the sandwiches.

Place each sandwich on the pre-heated grill for 2 minutes per side. My George Foreman grill worked great. Once cooked, cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal. Put sandwiches on a platter and dust with powdered sugar & drizzle with chocolate topping.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

My kids gobbled this one up.


  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups diced, cooked chicken
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
  • Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Hurry Up Chicken Pot Pie

Thank you Paula Dean


  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups instant biscuit mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick melted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a greased 2-quart casserole, layer the chicken, eggs, carrots, and peas. Mix the soup, chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour over the layers. Stir together the biscuit mix and milk, and pour this over the casserole. Drizzle butter over the topping. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


These are unusual cookies and fun to make. They have a delicious flavor.

3 c. flour
3/4 c. light molasses
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 lg. egg
2 tsp. anise seed, crushed
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground white or black pepper
Powdered sugar

Put all ingredients except powdered sugar in a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Cover dough and chill for 1 hour, or until firm enough to shape. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll handfuls of dough into ropes, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into squarish pieces. Place the pieces close together on a greased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until golden. Roll in powdered sugar while still hot. If you can resist eating the peppernuts when they first come out the oven, they'll get crunchier over time. Their flavor mellows and deepens with keeping.

Rocky Road Fudge

This is super easy! I was at work tonight and one of our doctors brought this in to share, and when I asked her for the recipe, she proceeded to rattle off the ingredients stating that it is the easiest treat recipe out there, and I have to admit it's very simple and oh so yummy!

2 Tbsp. Margarine
1 Pkg. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 14oz Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

Melt ingredients in the microwave and stir until smooth. Then stir into chocolate mixture the following ingredients:

2 C. Peanuts
1 Bag Miniature Marshmallows

Then press mixture into a wax paper lined 9X13 and allow to cool for 2 hours. Once cool, cut into 2x2 squares and serve or store in air tight container.

Friday, December 26, 2008

BBQ Chicken Pizza

We got together with some friends the other night and we ordered pizza, and we had the most delicious pizza. As I was eating it I thought to myself this would be pretty easy to make, especially if you used some shortcuts, and sure enough it's a quick but yummy meal, I like mine with Onions on it, the one we had originally didn't have onions, but it adds another level of flavor to the pizza. Hope you enjoy it!

1 Boboli Pizza Crust
1 Bottle BBQ sause
2 C. Shredded Chicken or 1 large can cooked chicken
1/2 C. Crumbled Bacon (The costco pre-cooked stuff works great)
1 can Pineapple Tidbits
2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Top the Pizza crust with BBQ sauce, then ingredients ending with the cheese. Bake in oven at 450 for 8 minutes.

Optional ingredients: Sliced Onions

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cranberry Wassail

I love Wassail, and I thought this one was divine, especially since I love cranberries. I love to come in from the cold and settle down with a warm drink that is a little tart, this one is heavenly.

2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
3 cups orange juice
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pinch salt
2 cinnamon sticks

In a 4 quart or larger slow cooker, combine the cranberry juice, orange juice, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon sticks. Stir to dissolve sugar. Cook on High for 4 to 6 hours. Turn heat to Low and keep warm for serving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pecan Coffee Cake

This is a great Christmas Brunch cake, or one to make just about any day! The flavors are wonderful, and I hope that you enjoy it!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9x13 inch pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan.
To make the Pecan Topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and remove foil.

Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
6 regular-size peanut butter cups, quartered

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray; tightly cover outside of pan with a double thickness of foil. Combine cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press into bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes; let cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter to a medium bowl; stir in chocolate. Add peanut butter to cream cheese mixture in large bowl and beat until smooth. Remove 1 3/4 cups of the peanut butter batter to a medium bowl and reserve.
Spoon the remaining peanut butter batter over crust in pan. Top evenly with peanut butter cups, gently pressing pieces into batter. Alternately drop reserved chocolate batter and reserved peanut butter batter on top of peanut butter cups to cover; swirl batters together with a skewer or a knife to marbleize.
Place cheesecake in a larger baking pan and place on oven rack. Carefully pour enough hot water into larger pan to reach 1 inch up sides of springform pan. Bake 1 hour, or until cake barely jiggles in the center.
Remove cheesecake from water bath; remove foil. Using a thin knife, carefully cut around top edge of cake where it meets the pan to release. Let cool completely on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until cold, 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, run a sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen and remove side of pan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Could it get any simpler? Seriously, this has to be one of the simplest recipes, and it is so yummy!! I hope you enjoy these, I'd make a double or triple batch if it were me, these go fast!

  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caramel Bars

I got this recipe from my friend Becca's blog, and these are divine! I hope you enjoy them as a quick holiday treat for one of your holiday get-togethers this season.

3/4 c. butter (no subs)
1 c. flour
1 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together and pat 3/4 of mixture into 9X13 pan. Bake for 9 minutes in a 350 preheated oven.

In microwave, while stirring frequently melt the following ingredients until smooth:
32 unwrapped square caramels
3 T milk
3 T butter

Pour caramel sauce over baked crust. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 c chocolate chips and crumble remaining crust mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes longer at 350.
Do not overcook! Remove from oven and let cool, once cool cut into bars.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

PB & J Sandwich Cookies


1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup raspberry or strawberry jam

To make the cookies:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter and chunky peanut butter until smooth. Add in sugars until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture until just blended, then stir in oats.
Spoon level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a floured fork, make a crisscross pattern on top of each ball by pressing dough into a flat 2 1/4-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on baking sheet 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling:

In a bowl, beat sugar, smooth peanut butter, butter, and milk until smooth and fluffy. Spread 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture on bottoms of half of the cookies. Spread jam on bottoms of the remaining cookies, using 1 teaspoon for each cookie. Sandwich together peanut butter-covered cookies with jam-covered cookies.

Makes 16 sandwich cookies


This recipe is way too easy to not put it up here, since I know as a mom I am all about easy! I hope you enjoy this recipe, the caramel's are a little bit softer than some, but they still taste wonderful and are easy to make!

1 cup butter or margarine
1 pound light brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
  2. Meanwhile, butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. When the caramel is ready, pour into the buttered pan. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Remove from the pan and cut into squares using scissors. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper or cellophane.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

I got these from a neighbor this year for Christmas and they were wonderful and so I had to ask for her recipe, and this is what I got. These rolls, don't have yeast in them, so they don't rise up big like normal cinnamon rolls would, but they also take a lot less time to prepare, they were flakey, and oh so yummy! Thanks to my friend Namea for this one!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 cup cold milk
1/3 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
  1. Cream 1/3 cup butter or margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Drop 1 teaspoon into each of 12 greased muffin tins. Reserve the remaining mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in 1/4 cup butter or margarine until crumbly. Make a well in center, and pour in milk. Stir to form a soft dough, adding a bit more milk if needed.
  3. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface. Knead 8 to 10 times. Roll into rectangle about 1/3 inch thick and 12 inches long. Spread the remaining cinnamon mixture over dough rectangle. Sprinkle currants or raisins over top. Roll up as for jelly roll. Mark first, then cut into 12 slices. Place cut side down in muffin pan.
  4. Bake in 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out on a tray.
  5. To confectioners sugar, add enough milk or water to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

I can't take credit for this one, as I was at my mom's this past week helping her after she had surgery, I was thumbing through some of the Junk magazines that people brought her to read, and I was looking through the recipe sections, and when I saw the picture of this one I was sold.... too bad this picture isn't quite the same, but you get the idea. I love Marshmallows, and this was a great way to add chocolate to them... it's like a smore, you could roll this in graham cracker crumbs and you would have smore marshmallows. Yummy!!

1 Bag Large Jet Puffed Marshmallows
1 Bar Dipping Chocolate (white or
Assorted toppings. i.e.. coconut, sprinkles, white chocolate, nuts, etc.

In a double boiler melt dipping chocolate, once melted through take a toothpick or decorate skewer and place it in the marshmallow, then dip the marshmallow into the chocolate roll to coat well then quickly remove and sprinkle or roll into desired toppings, if adding a chocolate drizzle, wait until chocolate has hardened slightly. Place Marshmallows onto waxed paper to cool.

Very Cheesy Bean Dip

2 cans refried beans
1 can black beans
1 lb hamburger
1 small can green chilies
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 small bottle cheese whiz

Brown hamburger. Mix all ingredients in large pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. I usually cook mine in my crock pot on low for about an hour or 2. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homemade Oreo Coookies

I love, love, love homemade Oreo's, and so I thought I would share my love for this easy recipe with all of you! Ohh La La... enjoy!


  • 2 devil's food cake mixes
  • 2 cubes butter
  • 4 eggs

Mix ingredients together. Roll into small balls(about 1 T). Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. When cookies are cool spread filling on one cookie and sandwich with another.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1/2 cube of butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is another Austrian cookie from my mission. So tasty!

1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups butter
2 1/4 cups ground blanched almonds
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
apricot or strawberry jam
confectioners' sugar

Beat the sugar and the butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the almonds and the vanilla flavoring. Add the flour. Knead until smooth. Chill 1 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 325 F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured cutting board to the thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch; the thinner, the better the cookie. Cut with small round, star or diamond-shaped cookie cutters. Place the cookies on lightly buttered and floured cookie sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove cookies from the baking sheet. Spread half the cookies with apricot jam. Top with the remaining cookies, dip the edges into confectioners' sugar.

Vanilla Kipferl

I fell in love with these cookies while spending Christmas in Austria as a missionary. The dough was awkward for me to work with at first, but the result is absolutely worth it!

Also known as Vanillekipferl or Vanilla Crescents.

1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup blanched almonds
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into slivers
2 egg yolks
vanilla sugar (see below) or powdered sugar

Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the pith. Grind the amonds very fine. With a large knife, blend together the almonds with the flour sugar, salt, vanilla pith, and butter, using a chopping motion, on a work board. Add the egg yolk and knead to form a dough. Chill, wrapped in plastic. Shape the dough into a roll and cut into 50 equal pieces. Preheat the oven to 375F. Form the pieces into small rolls with pointy tapering ends; bend these into crescents and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in the center of the oven until light brown, about 12 minutes. Dredge the crescents while still warm in vanilla sugar or powdered sugar. Reapply sugar after they cool (sift over the top inside their storage container).

To make vanilla sugar: Keep caster sugar and a vanilla bean in an air tight jar, after a few weeks the sugar will taste of vanilla.

Apple Streusal Muffins

I found this recipe in a great cookbook I have and decided to try it out. It turned out great and they were a big hit!

2 C all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1-1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1 C dairy sour cream
1/4 C butter, melted
1 C finely diced apples, unpeeled

1/4 C sugar
3 T all-purpose flour
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T butter

In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In small bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, and butter. Add all at once to dry ingredients along with apples. Stir just until moistened. Fill well-greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Combine topping ingredients (I left the butter soft but not melted); sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes. (It may just be my oven, but my first batch was severely burned at about 18 minutes. I cut the time down and started checking them around 12 minutes) Yield: 18 muffins.

Chocolate Mousse Parfait

I got this from another one of my favorite blogs to read Emily's Experiments. One of the things I love about her blog, is she doesn't just give you the recipe, she tells you how to make things, like a compote, her culinary education shines through. This recipe looked and sounded so decadent, how could I resist this? I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Chocolate mousse (you can use a mix, or your favorite recipe)
frozen berries
nuts, toasted (You can toast your own by placing them on a baking sheet and baking at 350 degree for 10 minutes or so.)

Make a berry compote by placing frozen berries, and a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon (to taste) in a sauce pan. Bring to simmer and let cook until slightly thickened and sugar is dissolved maybe about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and let cool completely. Let chill in the fridge. You can use this compote for so many things-pancakes, toast, scones, with cheesecake, etc.

Layer fresh whipped cream, toasted nuts, chocolate mousse, and berries. It you want to make it pretty and clean, use a pastry bag filled with each component to layer them. Then they go right where you want them to, instead of getting all over the sides of the glasses. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cheese Ball

This is not a picture of my cheese ball, but I love the concept and am going to make mine this way for a holiday party we are attending this month. With a few peppercorns and a baby carrot this cheese ball has some real character. We enjoy this cheese ball recipe below every year over the holidays, it's a tried and true favorite.


1 Package Philidelphia Cream Cheese

1 Jar Kraft Roca Cheese Spread

1 1/2 Cups Finely Shredded Cheddar Cheese

2 Green Onion Finely Diced

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder


Bring cream cheese to room temperature. With mixer combine all ingredients (reserving 1/2 cup grated cheese). Spread remaining cheese on a piece of saran wrap. Form cream cheese mixture into a ball and roll in remaining cheese to form a coating around the ball. Refrigerate for at least an hour, allowing the cheese ball to get firm. Serve with crackers and fresh veggies.

Psychedelic Lollipops


2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Few drops food coloring (yellow, blue, red)

On a parchment lined baking tray, lay out lollipop sticks in rows, leaving 2 inches of space between them for fun free-form lollipops.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a clean, dry, small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, bring to a boil over high heat. Without stirring, cook until the mixture reaches 305 degrees F or "hard crack" stage on the candy thermometer. (While the syrup is cooking, occasionally wash down the sides of the pan with a clean brush dipped in water, to prevent crystallization.) Set up an ice bath in a sink.

When the mixture is done, remove the pot from the heat and dip it into the ice bath for 15 seconds to stop the cooking. Remove the pot of syrup from the ice bath and stir in 1/2 teaspoon orange extract. Divide the sugar mixture between 2 heat-safe measuring cups. Color 1 measuring cup with yellow food coloring and the other with blue food coloring, stirring very gently so that the color is evenly distributed. To avoid air bubbles in the finished lollipops, stir the mixture gently in both directions, but be careful not to over mix.

Pour or carefully spoon a little of the syrup around each lollipop stick, creating freeform designs covering at least a 1/4-inch of the end of each lollipop stick. Then add blue coloring to the yellow measuring cup to make green and add red food coloring to the blue measuring cup to make purple, and pour more syrup onto the pops.

Re-warm the syrups in the microwave a few seconds at a time if they are cooling too much and setting up. Cool the lollipops for at least 20 minutes, until hard. Lift off the pan and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Hershey's Best Brownies

I grew up loving these simple, yet tasty brownies. They are my husband's favorite, so naturally I make them often. I especially love them with frosting. We also usually half the recipe and use a 9x9 pan.

Hershey's Best Brownies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Melt butter. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost if desired. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.

Creamy Brownie Frosting
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. About 1 cup frosting.

Roasted Red Potatoes

I love roasted Red Potatoes, and when I found this recipe on the Olive Gardens website, I knew that I couldn't go wrong, and I wasn't disappointed. Hope you enjoy this simple recipe!

2 lbs red bliss baby potatoes
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 450ºF. Wash and dry potatoes. Cut into wedges and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss potatoes in oil, melted butter, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Transfer seasoned potatoes onto sheet tray. Roast for 25-30 minutes. Shake pan occasionally for even roasting. Serve Immediately.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baked Ham & Cheese Coissants

These are fabulous. A family tradition on my husbands side. Because you bake them they are flaky and have a slight crispness to them that is so die for. You can make them a day or two in advance of your Brunch and they keep for a few days after. These are on the menu at our house Christmas Morning.

1 dozen Croissants
1/2 pound thinly sliced ham
1/2 pound thinly sliced Monterey Jack cheese
1 package Philadelphia cream cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Purchase your croissants at Costco or Sams Club, the big soft flaky ones. Get a nice honey ham or equivalent type sliced paper thin. Tell them you want to be able to read a newspaper through it. Get Monterey Jack Cheese also sliced thin. Soften your cream cheese to room temperature then mix in a Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard. Taste it to make sure you like the flavor, you can always add more if you love mustard.

Slice the croissants in half. Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture on both sides of the croissant. Put ham and cheese on the croissant, just enough to cover the croissant. Place on a baking sheet in a 350 oven and bake for 15 mintues until slightly crispy. Eat them warm, right as they come out of the oven. Make sure to make extras, you'll want to warm them up the next day, and the next.

Pumpkin Roll

What would the holidays be without a pumpkin roll, this is another one of my favorite treats for the holidays! Hope you enjoy this delicious treat I know I will!

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
confectioners' sugar for dusting

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 15x10x1 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs on high for five minutes. Gradually add white sugar and pumpkin. Add flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Spread batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle walnuts evenly on top.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately turn out onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Cool.
  4. To Make Filling: Mix confectioners sugar, vanilla, butter or margarine, and cream cheese together till smooth.
  5. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pecan Pie

My husbands grandma always makes Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving, and I love it! I have always thought it was amazing, so I decided to add an easy recipe for Pecan Pie. There are much harder recipes out there but this one is easy and oh so yummy!

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shelled pecans
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan.
In a medium bowl, gently beat eggs. Stir in sugar and flour, then the syrup, butter and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; knife inserted in center of pie should come out clean.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bratzles, Brazelis, or Bratzelis

The smell of Christmas, for me, is Bratzles cooking. Someone really should patent a Scentsy or candle scent called Fresh Baked Bratzles. (I'd buy them out!)Bratzles are a traditional Swiss cookie that have been made in my family for decades.

1lb Butter

2 c. Sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c. Cream
2 Eggs
2 Heaping Tbsp Cinnamon (I mean really heaping!!)
5-7 Cups Flour


Melt Butter in large pan over med/low heat. Stir in sugar and take off heat.
Add cream salt and cinnamon till mixed. Let cool slightly. Mix in eggs and add flour a cup at a time until a nice soft dough forms. Plug in iron and let heat up for 7-10 minutes. Put a pie tin behind the iron to catch all the excess butter that presses off the cookies. Roll dough into balls and place on iron, press firmly and let cook until golden in color. Around 20 seconds. Yields about 200 cookies. (With 8 on a plate you'll get about 24-28 goodie plates.) I did find a link here to purchase a Brazeli Iron

Snow Icing (for roof and yard)

I love how creamy and warm this is when it is first mixed, you will want to lick the bowl, beaters and anything else you can get your hands on! It is oh... so yummy... too bad you aren't eating your Gingerbread house!

6 egg whites – beat on high until stiff

In a Sauce pan combine:
¾ C. Water
3 C. White Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Cream of Tarter

Stir lightly, put lid on until sugar mixture boils really hard. Then take the lid off and boil to a soft ball stage. Then Pour the hot syrup in a steady stream into the egg white while the mixer beats on high. Continue beating on high for 4-5 minutes.

** Do not attempt to do more than a single batch of this icing as it will fill your mixer to the brim with a single batch! **

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Royal Icing

Beat 3 egg whites until foamy
Add ½ tsp. cream of tarter
Mix in 1 lb of Powdered Sugar using dough hooks (you can use whips).

Mix until spreading consistency or firm to hold shape.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gingerbread Hard Candy Glass Windows

This is just hard tack candy, but you can be creative and make all sorts of colors to do in your windows, but I love doing the golden yellow, and then some green so I can make the effect of a Christmas tree or a wreath in the windows, you just have to lay out the candy in the window the way you want it to look, noting that it won't be a perfect silhouette as the candy will melt the way it wants to, but you will get the general effect. This is one of the things I love about these houses, is that there are lights and windows. This year we made it so the doors were cut out and we put glass in the doors, I think that added a lot as well.

2 C. Sugar
½ C. Light Corn Syrup
½ C. Water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook without stirring (to avoid bubbles) to a hard tack stage. Add desired food coloring and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot liquid onto a cookie sheet and quickly rotate pan to spread hot candy thinly over surface of cookie sheet. Allow to cool thoroughly. Once cooled, use a hammer and crack the candy in 4-5 places to create shards of candy.

Line a cookie sheet with foil, place gingerbread house pieces with right sides up on foil. Wearing gloves so you don't leave your mark, take shards of candy and place in window openings, layering pieces to fill up the window opening. Be careful not to use the powder granules from the broken candy it will make your windows cloudy. Place the cookie sheet in an oven heated to 400-425˚. Watch this carefully!!! Do not let it boil/bubble, do not do more than one cookie sheet at a time, and place it on the top rack only to avoid burning. Your windows will be cloudy if it’s overcooked, or boils. Once it is completely cooled, you will be able to pull the foil off of the back of the gingerbread pieces.

Beefy Taco Joes

Quick and Easy


1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Condensed Tomato Soup
1 cup Pace® Thick & Chunky Salsa
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 Sandwich Buns with Sesame Seeds


Brown ground beef in skillet. Pour off fat. Add soup and salsa. Heat through. Top with cheese. Serve on rolls.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Onion-Beef Muffin Cups

I found this recipe in a Simple and Delicious magazine. It won grand prize in that particular issue, but I will admit it didn't look very good. I decided to try it anyway and wow it was good! The steak I buy is twice the size I need, so it's good to freeze or double the recipe. Enjoy!

Onion-Beef Muffin Cups Recipe

  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak (1-inch thick and 6 ounces), cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tube (16.3 ounces) large refrigerated flaky biscuits
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
In a large skillet, cook onions in butter over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until very tender. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, cook steak for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink.
Return onions to pan. Stir in the flour, brown sugar and salt until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4-6 minutes or until thickened.
Separate biscuits; split each horizontally into three portions. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of eight ungreased muffin cups, overlapping the sides and tops. Fill each with about 2 tablespoons beef mixture.
Combine mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over filling. Fold dough over completely to enclose filling. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm. Yield: 4 servings.

Gingerbread House

About three years ago I met a woman Zina who had a family tradition of making homemade Gingerbread Houses each year with her family, she had done it as a child, and had carried on the tradition with her kids, when I saw how fun her houses were, I decided that I wanted to make it a tradition as well. Don't get me wrong, it's not an easy process, but the finished product is awesome, and makes all of the effort worth it in the end! So I am going to detail the process in my next few posts for anyone else out there who wants to start the tradition. This is my second year doing it, and I learn something new each time. These are a few of the houses that I have made, the decorating credit goes to my sister in laws Dani, Marybeth and myself.

Gingerbread House
1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 ½ Cups Shortening

1 ½ Cups Molasses
3 egg yolks (save whites for icing)
1 ½ tsp Salt

3 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cloves
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 Cups Sifted Flour

Cream sugar and shortening and then add all ingredients in second group. Add seasonings from last group and mix well. Switch to dough hooks and add flour; beat for 10 minutes. Place in fridge for 3 hours minimum. Roll dough to ¼” thickness on a greased cookie sheet (a rolling pin that fits inside your pan or on top of the bottom of your pan if flipped over works nicely, make sure all your pieces will fit on the rolled out dough before baking). Dough will cover 3 silver cookie sheets completely. Cut out patterns into dough before baking. Bake dough at 350˚ for 20 minutes or until dough is slightly underdone. Once dough is out of oven quickly cut out pieces for a second time then move to a cooling rack. Do not attempt to cut pieces once the dough has begun to harden, it will crack and break.**

**However if you have a piece that does crack or break, if you place the dough back in the oven for a minute or two to re-warm, the gingerbread becomes soft and pliable again and you can push the broken pieces back together and let them cool, then carefully remove the mended piece for your house. Also, when you make the windows you will re-heat the pieces which is why you want them slightly underdone, and the "glass" from the windows will help to mend broken areas as well.**

You can either use a hot glue gun for assembly, or you can make it completely edible by heating up 1 C. Sugar in a frying pan at 400˚ to melt the sugar, then turn it down to keep it hot at 300˚. Dip the pieces into the sugar then place them together to assemble. Put the sidewalls on the inside of the house.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Easy Apple Struedel

This is super simple but a crowd pleaser!

1/2 pkg. Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet) (Pepperidge Farms are good)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
1 can (21 oz.) apple pie filling

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix egg and water. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 16" x 12" rectangle. With short side facing you, spoon pie filling on bottom half of pastry to within 1" of edges. Starting at short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal. Brush with egg mixture. Cut several 2" slits about 2" apart on top. Bake 35 min. or until golden. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack 30 min. Slice and serve warm, top with Vanilla ice cream.

Gingerbread Cake

I can't take full credit for the recipe, as I got it from an old friend Kelly Hoffman, I will never forget when she served this to us, it was one of the most enjoyable desserts I have ever had. the flavors were amazing. I love the spices, the texture, and everything about it. It was warm when we ate it, and with the fresh whipping cream on top, my mouth is watering already. I hope you enjoy this sometime this holiday season, it is a show stopper.

2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. Molasses
1/2 C. Butter
3/4 C. Boiling Water
1 large Egg lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9" square pan

Combine Flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger until well blended

In a separate bowl combine Molasses, Butter and boiling water and stir until butter is melted. Then add Molasses mixture along with Egg to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. With a rubber spatula scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve with fresh whipping cream while slightly warm.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cranberry Pomegranate Jello

I know that this may sound a little strange, but I will never forget the first time I tried this jello, it was like a little slice of heaven. Seriously, it is so yummy! It has such a tartness to it from the cranberries, and then such sweetness from the raspberries and Jello. It is a must in the winter season!

1 small package orange Jello
1 small package raspberry Jello
1 package frozen raspberries with syurp crushed
1 Pomegranate - Seeds only
3/4 C. chopped cranberries

In a large serving dish or jello mold dissolve both packages of Jello in 2 C. Hot water, once dissolved add 1 C. cold water. After Jello is mixed, add fruits and stir. Place Jello in fridge to set. Once Jello is set, serve with whipping cream.