Search This Blog

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hot Chocolate

Growing up my mom would often make homemade hot chocolate for us in the winter especially on particularly snowy days.  If we were really in luck she'd have homemade cinnamon rolls to go along with it.  If you haven't ever tried homemade Hot Chocolate this is a definite must for you.

1/2 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Cocoa
Dash of Salt
1/3 C. Hot water
4 C. milk
3/4 tsp. Vanilla

Mix sugar, salt and Cocoa in sauce pan; then stir in water. Cook mixture over medium heat until it boils; boilfor 2 minutes while stirring. Then stir in milk until mixed, do not allow mixture to boil. Remove from heat and add Vanilla. Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows on top.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Copycat Cafe Rio Tortilla Strips

It's the little things that really make the cafe rio salad, and in my opinion it's the tortilla strips, and i'm sure my kids would agree with me that they are a necessity.  These are super easy to make and they just add a great touch to the whole cafe rio salad.

10-12 corn tortillas
oil for frying
Kosher salt

Cut tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter. You can cut 2-3 at a time pretty easily. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Place strips into hot oil and fry until they become crispy. When nice and crispy, remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt after each batch.

Copycat Cafe Rio Black Beans

So for my black beans I usually use canned black beans, but since I got my instapot I have been doing more dry beans since it makes it so quick to prepare dry beans to fully cooked.  These are amazing when paired with the rest of our Cafe Rio copycat recipes.  Give them all a try, you won't be disappointed.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

If you care cooking your beans this is how I do it in the instapot or other cooking method.  I saute the garlic with olive oil in the bottom of my instapot while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.  I soak the beans overnight or at least for an hour or so that morning.  Then add the black beans, cumin, tomato juice, salt and 2 quarts of chicken stock to your instapot, close it and pressure cook them for 40 minutes.  For firmer beans use the quick release, valve on pressure cooker for softer beans let them gradually release the steam.  

Copycat Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa

Living in Utah we have a restaurant called Cafe Rio, and if you have never eaten there, you are missing out.  They are a fresh mexican restaurant that serves heavenly food.  This is the sweet pork recipe that I have found that is the closest to the real thing.  This recipe is heaven!! The meat freezes well, and thaws out tasting exactly the same, so don't be worried if you want to cook up a huge pork roast, but don't have an army to feed it to.  It easily can make more of less.  Try it... you won't be sorry you did.

2 -3 pound pork roast
3 cans Dr. Pepper (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce (add spicy is you want a little kick to it)
1 c. brown sugar

  • Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about 1 1/2 cans of Dr. Pepper and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.
  • Drain marinade. Place pork, 1/2 can of Dr. Pepper, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours, or on low for 8 hours, or until the pork falls apart and shred easily. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any remaining liquid left in the crockpot. Shred the pork.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Dr. Peppe, green chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Dr. pepper till it reaches the consistency of a runny enchilada sauce.  It will thin out a little when it cooks. 
  • Place the shredded pork and the sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. 
  • Serve either with a salad, or wrapped in a tortilla with our copy cat Cafe Rio black bean and cilantro lime rice, or make it into a quesadilla.  Yummy!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Two plus Two's

Growing up my mom would often make this recipe for us, and it's safe to say that they disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared.  The name comes from the fact that all of the ingredients are done in 2's.  They are a yummy soft oatmeal bar with delicious chocolate frosting.  They are a tried and true family favorite for me, hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

2 sticks of butter (1 cup total)
2 cups of brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
2 cups of oatmeal

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat well, then add the flour until well mixed, then add the oatmeal and mix until well incorporated.  Press mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.  Place pan in pre-heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  

2 sticks Butter, Softened
4 cups Powdered Sugar
3/4 cups Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Heavy Cream (more To Taste)

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until totally soft and smooth. Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt, then add gradually to the mixer, scraping the sides as you go. (When combined, mixture will be very thick/crumbly.) Drizzle in cream and whip on high until smooth, scraping the sides as you go. 

Once bars are completely cooled, frost with chocolate frosting.  Then cut and enjoy their yummy goodness!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pork Carnitas/Chile Verde

We had a last minute dinner with friends a few months ago on a Sunday.  We were trying to decide what to eat with the ingredients we had on hand.  My friend Connie raved about her recipe for pork Carnitas, and so we tried them out.  I will never be satisfied with another recipe for carnitas.  This recipe has ruined me for good.  It's so simple, yet amazing!!  I have since made these multiple times and can truthfully say these are a favorite!  Hope you enjoy them!

2lbs boneless pork shoulder or sirloin roast
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly grond pepper
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion chopped or 1 tsp. onion powder
4 cloves of fresh garlic minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 4oz can diced green chiles
1 diced jalapeno (Optional)
1 orange cut in half

In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and olive oil.  rub liberally into roast.  Place roast in slow cooker.  Top with onion and garlic.  Add can of green chiles and jalapeno to the top of the roast.  Squeeze oranges over top of roast, then add both halves of the orange to the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Shred the roast*, then add meat back into sauce.  Remove orange halves and once again squeeze the juice from the orange.  Discard the orange halves.  Serve with tortillas, rice, beans and your favorite fixins. I recommend queso fresco, fresh salsa, cilantro and some fresh lime juice

*If you like your carnitas dry you can fry the meat in a frying pan with oil after it's cooked and shredded and discard the sauce.  However I would tell you that the sauce is what makes these so amazing and it would be a sin to discard it!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Herb Rubbed Pork Roast

So, my mother in law introduced me to this amazing recipe.  We have had it at her home several times and we've made it at our house many, many, many times.  The original recipe came from Mary over at BarefeetIntheKitchen.  She uses the rub on a pork sirloin tip roast, which is amazing!  I have round that it is also wonderful on chicken, steak, beef roasts, shrimp, potatoes, and pretty much anything you would grill, or cook in your oven.  It's definitely a keeper! Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Herb Rubbed Pork Roast

1.5 - 2 lb sirloin tip pork roast
1 1/4 tablespoons smoked paprika
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt  (Less if you want it less Salty)
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

I like to brown my roasts before applying the rub.  Heat a large skillet with a small amount of olive oil on high heat, when pan is hot add roast and rotate roast until you get a nice browned crust evenly over entire roast.  Then remove from pan and allow to rest/cool slightly. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk or stir well to combine. Allow this mixture to rest for 15 minutes. It will become a bit thicker and turn into a paste-like consistency. (you can also do a dry rub and without adding the oil)

Line a small baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over it.  Rub the spice mixture all over the roast, completely covering all sides with spices.

Roast 1 - 1.5 hours in the preheated oven in a roasting pan, or a large baking pan covered with tin foil. Remove from the oven when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Let the roast rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

Be careful not to overcook the meat as it will become dry and less juicy. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grandma Turley's Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe hails from my great grandma, I only wish I had thought to pick her brain more while she was alive for all of the good recipes she had collected in her lifetime.  My husband loves oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and this is quickly becoming our staple cookie recipe.  Enjoy!

1 C. Shortening
1 C. White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 heaping tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 C. fruit Juice
1 C. White Flour
1 C. Whole Wheat Flour
4 C. Regular Oats

Cream Sugar and shortening. Add Eggs, vanilla, Soda, Salt and Fruit Juice, mix well. Then add Flour and Oatmeal. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges

You may add Raisins, Chocolate Chips, Coconut, Nuts, Craisins or anything else to these cookies to spice them up a bit.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fruit Dip

This is one of the easiest recipes that you will find, and it is a crowd pleaser every time. My mom has been making this for years, and I always love it when we have it.  It's light and fluffy and pairs great with almost any fruit you would serve on a fruit tray.

1 Container Coolwhip
1 Flavored Yogurt (I like raspberry)

Mix the yogurt together with the coolwhip and serve with fresh fruit.

Friday, April 15, 2016


My mom use to make these on Halloween, I can still remember helping her as a child.  They were a favorite for sure.  There is nothing like a homemade warm doughnut.

1/2 C Shortening
1/2 C. Potato Water
1 1/2 C. Scalded Milk
1 C. Potatoes Mashed
1/2 C. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
6-7 C. flour
3 Eggs
2 packages yeast
1/2 tsp. lemon rind
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together to make a soft dough. Let dough raise until double in size. Roll out to 3/4" thickness and cut into circles, I use to different sizes of circle cookie cutters. Let raise till double in size and then deep fry until golden brown, flipping over as needed.  You can either do a plain glaze, a chocolate glaze to coat these, or you can roll them in cinnamon and sugar to top them off.  Eating them warm is a must!!

Glaze:1/2 c. boiling water1 lb. powdered sugar2 tbsp. butter2 tbsp. vanilla
Chocolate Glaze: 
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbl. milk or water
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Slowly stir in milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until silky and smooth. If you need a touch more milk to make this a dippable glaze, add a bit more. Dip doughnuts in chocolate glaze and let rest to harden slightly.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together with a whisk until smooth.  Add additional water if needed to make a smooth glaze.  Dip  doughnuts into bowl and coat using a spoon to pour glaze over doughnut.  Then remove to a cooling rack to harder slightly.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

BBQ Sauce

A few years ago if you had asked me what BBQ sauce I used I would have said  whatever is on sale at the store when I need it.  I know call me lazy, but that was then.  BBQ sauce really is quite simple, and there is such a difference between homemade and store bought.  Especially when you add it to homemade baked beans, ribs, chicken, hamburgers or pulled pork.  My mouth is already watering!   Thank you to Simply Scratch for sharing this sweet nectar of the God's with the rest of us.  

1 1/2 c. Dark Brown Sugar (the extra molasses in the Dark Brown sugar is the key to balancing the Vinegar)
1 1/4 c. Ketchup
1/2 c. Red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 T. worchestershire sauce (Simply Scratch has a killer homemade recipe for this as well)
2 1/2 tsp. Ground Mustard
2 tsp. Paprika
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper

For Thinner Sauce:  Add all ingredients to a bowl, then whisk until the sugar is dissolved and spices are well mixed.  Chill and then use as needed.

For Thicker Sauce: Place all ingredients into a 1 quart sauce pan whisk until sugar is dissolved and sauce is smooth.  Simmer over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly.  Note, the sauce will thicken more as it cools so don't get too carried away.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Salt Play Dough

A huge part of childhood is discovery and learning.  And let's be honest, who doesn't love playing with playdough.  I love when i make it and get to be creative with it.  This is a great recipe that makes silky smooth dough.  Enjoy it!

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
food coloring 
few drops glycerine (optional- adds more shine!)

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl.
If you are making your dough all one color the add your food coloring TO the boiling water then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
Add the glycerine (optional)
If you are going to color your dough multiple colors then Allow the dough to cool down then take it out of the bowl, add a small amount of food color gel and knead it vigorously* for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone and the color is well mixed. * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*
(If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Growing up my best friends family was Polynesian.  I learned much of what I know about yummy food from them.  This cake is one that will always remind me of them, and luau season.  Talk about a delicious bit of sunshine, this cake is definitely a tried and true keeper.

1 yellow or lemon cake mix

8oz of cream cheese

1 C. Milk

Small Package of Instant Vanilla Pudding

20oz Can of Crushed Pineapple

Small Carton of Cool Whip

1 Package Sweetened Coconut

Prepare cake according to instructions on box. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let cake cool completely. Soften the cream cheese, then beat cream cheese, milk and pudding; spread over top of cake. Spread pineapple over cream cheese mixture and cover with cool whip. Sprinkle coconut over cool whip. Chill before serving.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Grasshopper Bundt Cake

My mom shared this with me stating it was the hit of the Party she was at last night.  Thought we should share the yummy goodness with everyone.  Hope you Enjoy it!

Ingredients for the Cake:
1 box dark chocolate fudge cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 pkg. chocolate pudding mix 3.4 ounces, instant
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups Andes mints (you can find the Andes baking chips in the baking section)

For the Mint Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 drops green food coloring

For the Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then lightly coat with flour.  Set aside.
2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, vegetable oil, sour cream and eggs. Beat on low speed until just combined. Then beat for 3 minutes. Fold in chopped mints until combined.
3.  Spoon batter into prepared Bundt pan.  Spread evenly, bake for about 50 minutes, until cake is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Let cake cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then very carefully turn onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
For the Frosting:
1.  In the bowl of your mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and peppermint extract on medium speed until smooth.
2.  Add powdered sugar and beat on medium low until combined.
3.  Add milk and food coloring and increase mixer speed to high.  Beat for one minute, until smooth.
4.  Spoon frosting around the top of the Bundt cake, then spread with an offset spatula.
5.  Place cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the Glaze:
1.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. (You may need to add a little vegetable oil if too thin it)

2.  Drizzle over cooled frosted cake, top with additional chopped mints, if desired.