I Lied!!

Ok...so my '12 Days of Treats' didn't work so well this year and I apologize. But give me a break I'm 5 months pregnant! ;) hehehe. I have been so busy and I just haven't had much energy to post any new recipe (what is wrong with me???). I hope you all understand and hopefully I get out of this slump.

I cannot believe there are only 3 days until Christmas and I'm so excited this year to spend it with my family. We'll probably cook/bake a few treats, so I will try to post some of them.

Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas!!


Day 2: Buckeyes

For Day 2 of our '12 Days of Treats' I am going to share another 'Brown Eyed Baker' recipe. For all of you chocolate/peanut butter fanatics, this is right up your alley.

I think I've mentioned before that I get email updates from Brown Eyed Baker every time she posts a new recipe. But I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, because every time I see an email from 'Brown Eyed Baker' I have to open it, and then that usually leads to 'I have to make that!'. So I go to the kitchen and make the treats and then stuff my face with all the delicious little goodies. :)
But I do have to tell you that I did share alot of my Buckeyes this time. It is the season of giving, right??? I'll let other people stuff their faces with these delicious treats. hehehe

These are perfect to make for neighbor gifts, teacher gifts, friends, etc. because it makes so many (7-8 dozen). They're a little time consuming, but whoever you share these with will appreciate it and love you forever. Well....maybe. :)

Alright, there you go. Now get in your kitchen and start making some Buckeyes.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

from: browneyedbaker.com

1 ½ cups peanut butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup shortening

1. Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Mix together butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Set them on prepared cookie sheet and insert toothpick into each ball. Chill in freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes.
3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from heat. Dip balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Some tips on making buckeyes:
• I find it best to mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. It will take some time to all come together and takes a lot of patience and elbow grease!
• The mixture WILL be pretty dry and crumbly, so when shaping the balls you will need to press the mixture together before rolling it into a ball.
• In order to avoid the toothpick holes at the top of the peanut butter balls, an alternative would be using something like a dipper for coloring eggs to lower the balls into the chocolate.

• This recipe yields 7-8 dozen buckeyes.


12 Days of Treats! Day 1: Monkey Bread

So I have been back and forth deciding if I wanted to do the '12 Days of Treats' this year. If some of you don't know, I am about 5 months pregnant right now, and lately I haven't felt like cooking. Sad huh? Nothing sounds good or even tastes the same, but I decided I would go ahead and try to share some tasty treats with all of you.

For our first treat I wanted to share Monkey Bread.

 I don't know if all of you have tried this, but it is yummy! My Mom used to make this every year on our annual Sipapu Ski trip. I hadn't made it in years, and then I saw this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and had to give it a try.
My Mother always made hers using the canned Pillsbury biscuits, but the Brown Eyed Baker makes hers from scratch. It's a little extra effort, but it is soooo worth it.

I did change it just a little bit. My Mom always drizzled a brown sugar glaze over the pieces of dough before baking it, so I decided to do that with this recipe also. I didn't use all of the glaze (I didn't want it too sweet). But you can add as much as your heart desires. :)
If you're looking for a delicous Christmas treat to share with your family then give this one a try. I promise you'll love it!

Monkey Bread
From: Brown Eyed Baker

4 tbsp. unsalted butter; divided: 2 tbsp. softened and 2 tbsp. melted
1 C. milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/3 C. Water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 pkg. instant yeast
3 1/4 C. All-purpose flour, plus extra for surface
2 tsp. Salt

Cinnamon-Sugar coating
1 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 C. Butter/Margarine
1/2 C. packed Brown sugar

Glaze (to drizzle on top after baking):
1 C. Confectioners’ Sugar
2 tbsp. milk

1. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.
2. In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
3. For the sugar coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.
4. To form the bread: Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.
5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, and then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.
6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. After the dough balls have risen a second time put together your glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the 1/2 C. Butter. Add the brown sugar and heat over medium heat for 1 minute. Let cool for a minute and then pour over the dough balls.
8. Bake your monkey bread until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
9. For the glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.

*Note from Brown Eyed Baker: To make without a stand mixer: In step 2, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, then add the milk mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating the shaggy scraps back into the dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a taut ball and proceed as directed.


Thanksgiving Desserts

Can you believe there's only 2 days until Thanksgiving?
I can't believe it! But I am so excited, I love Thanksgiving.
Turkey, Stuffing & Pumpkin Pie....my mouth is drooling just thinking about all the yummy Thanksgiving foods.
So, today I'm going to share some yummy Thanksgiving desserts that you can make for your Thanksgiving Feast. I promise they are sooo yummy.

First I'll share some cute little treats that my kids and I made yesterday. You could make these for the kids on Thanksgiving because what little kid wouldn't love these?

These were so easy to make and my kids really enjoyed helping me. Once we got to the candy corn though, they just wanted to eat them. :)  I was looking for a fun, easy treat to make. When I came across these I knew this is what we would make. I had everything in my pantry except for the Oreos.
If you're looking for a cute kid's treat for Thanksgiving, give this one a try.

I got this Jell-O recipe from my Mom after she made it one Thanksgiving. It is so delicious! I made it last year for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Once again I will be bringing this Jell-O Salad for our family Thanksgiving Dinner.
You use raspberry Jell-O and mix in whole cranberry sauce. Then you add crushed pineapple and top it off with Cool-whip. If you aren't crazy about Cranberry sauce, don't let that scare you. This Jell-O doesn't have a strong cranberry taste, but since it has cranberries it goes well with Thanksgiving Dinner. :)
Yummy, yummy recipe, definitely give this one a try this year.
(Sorry no pictures, I'll take one tomorrow when I make this and post it on here.)

Last but not least...Pumpkin Pie! But this is not your regular old pumpkin pie. This is the King of all Pumpkin Pies out there. :)
My hubby loves pumpkin pie and he also loves cheesecake, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it out.
Not only does it look amazing, it tastes amazing as well. If you want to impress your guests this year make this pumpkin pie, I promise they will love you!!
(and once again, sorry no picture. I will take one this year though.)

Alright, so there you go, 3 yummy treats for you to try this Thanksgiving. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
Be sure to check back for some yummy recipes using left-over Turkey.


Thanksgiving Turkey and Butternut Squash Gratin

Last night I did a 'Pre-Thanksgiving' Test Run. I found a new turkey recipe and wanted to try it out before the big day. I also tried out a delicious new side dish that I wanted to share with you today, it is soooo yummy!

 First the turkey. I am not one who likes an extravagent turkey, you know the ones that have glazes, I just want a plain, yet juicy & tasy, Thanksgiving Turkey. So I found a recipe that sounded so easy. But in the end I think I like my brined turkey better. I shared this recipe last year, but I wanted to share it again.

Brining your turkey produces the most moist and flavorful turkey without putting alot of work into it. So, I think that is what I am going to do this year. Here is the Brine recipe I use:

from: Alton Brown @ Food Network

1 (14-16 lb.) Turkey

For the Brine:
1 Gallon Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Kosher Salt (or reg. salt)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Peppercorns
1 1/2 Tbsp. All Spice Berries
1 1/2 Tbsp. Candied ginger (I couldn't find this so I just use reg. ginger)
1 Gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick (I have never added the cinnamon stick, I actually forgot this was part of the original recipe)
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining. (I always do mine the night before).

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. A meat thermometer should read 170 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching the bone).
Take a Rest:
No, I don't mean for you to take a rest. :) Another very important step in cooking your Turkey is letting it rest. Take your turkey out of the oven cover it with foil and leave it alone for 30 min. to 1 hour.

And remember your Turkey will continue to cook a bit during the resting period, so keep track of your turkeys temperature. Last night I took mine out when the thermometer read about 167 degrees.
One thing I read while researching about cooking a turkey:
Take your turkey out of your fridge 2 hours before you plan to cook it. Bringing the meat up to room temperature will both cut down on the cooking time and ensure the turkey cooks evenly. 
(from: simplebites.net)
And there's the turkey recipe I will be using this year. It has never failed me the 4 years I have used it.
from: simplebites.net
When I saw this on Simple Bites I knew I had to give it a try. I love squash and this looked delicous. I'm glad I gave it a try because it was great. My Father-in-law, who hates squash, ate it and really liked it (the only reason he tried it is because he thought it was potatoes, hahaha). So here's a new side dish for you to try this Thanksgiving.

3 C. Butternut Squash, in 3/4 in. chunks
1 C. sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Mayo
2/3 C. Parmesan, grated (or strong cheddar)
1/3 C. Panko (or breadcrumbs)
Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish, round or square.

In a medium pot, cover squash with cold water, place a lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce heat so that the water just simmers and cook squash for about 15 min. or until tender. Rinse under cold water; drain. (Do-Ahead: at this point the squash can be stored for up to two days until you are ready to assemble the gratin.)

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and add onions. Sauté on medium heat, stirring often, until softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, beat egg, salt and mayonnaise together. Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan, panko, sautéed onion and squash and fold together gently to combine. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed.

Spoon in to prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1/3 cup of cheese. Bake 1 hour or until heated through and cheese is slightly browned. Serve hot.

Recipe serves up to 8 people.

Do-Ahead: Remove gratin from oven after 30 minutes and cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. To serve: remove plastic wrap and place in hot oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

I cut up my squash and cooked my onions the night before. That made it so simple to put together the next day. If you're looking for a new dish for Thanksgiving give this recipe a try.

I hope all of you have a great weekend.
Check back in a few days for some yummy Thanksgiving desserts!


Breakfast Pizza

I am always looking for quick and easy breakfast ideas. I'm sorry, but I can handle cereal only so many days a week. :) Quick and easy is really important for me because I really like my bed, so I never want to get up early to make a big breakfast. I know, I'm a lazy bum. But sooner than later my kids are going to be off to school and I'll have no choice....I'll have to wake up early, so don't judge me, please. :)
Back to the recipe. I was looking through some of my cookbooks this last week and came across this yummy recipe. I had all the ingredients in my fridge, so we made it for breakfast on Sunday.

I made a few adjustments and it turned out delicious. The original recipe only used 4 eggs, I added 2 more and I thought it turned out great.
The recipe also asked for Crescent roll dough (you know the one with the perforated edges). This took longer because you had to sit there and pinch all the little edges together. I would definitely use the Crescent roll dough that is available now that doesn't have the perforated edges.

Some additions that you could try for this recipe: onions, ham, sausage, bell peppers. Any of these would be great in this breakfast pizza.

And there you go, another quick and delicious Breakfast idea. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!!

I'm losing my mind, my friend just told me I forgot to put directions how to make this dish. Sorry, here is how you make this breakfast pizza.

Breakfast Pizza
From: Taste of Home Treasury of Christmas Recipes

1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated Crescent Roll dough
12 Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 C. frozen shredded Has Browns
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese
6 eggs
3 Tbsp. Milk
1/2 C. grated Parmesan Cheese or Romano Cheese

Unroll crescen roll dough into one long rectangle.
Press onto bottom and 1/2 in. up sides of a greased 9X13 in. baking dish. Seal seams and perforations.
Sprinkle with bacon, potatoes and cheddar.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Pour over the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set.

Yield: 8 Servings


Cinnamon Honey Butter & French Bread Rolls

Last weekend we went out to eat with my hubby's family. At the restaurant they had the most delicious rolls and Cinnamon Honey Butter.
I LOVE honey butter, but when I saw Cinnamon Honey butter I knew I had to give it a try.

And of course, it was delicious! I'm sorry you can't go wrong when adding honey and cinnamon to butter, right? It just makes it so much more delicious.

I have to confess...I think I want to spread cinnamon honey butter on everything I eat. :)
OK not really, but that's how good I thought it was. Give it a try and see what you think.
Oh, and the rolls that are in the picture are French Bread Rolls (recipe below).

Cinnamon Honey Butter
1/2 C. Butter, softened
1/2 C. Confectioners' Sugar
1/3 C. Honey
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredient and beat until light and fluffy. Serve at room temperature.

Here are some other instructions that I found from Alton Brown that I may try and see if it makes a fluffier butter (the butter in his recipe isn't softened):
Cut the butter into chunks. Place butter into the mixer work bowl and beat at low speed, using the whisk attachment to loosen the butter. Increase the speed to medium and add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours.

French Bread Rolls
from: allrecipes.com
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.


Pepperoni Pizza

A few weeks ago, as I was standing in the check-out line at the grocery store, my eyes saw this delicious looking pizza on the cover of a magazine. I couldn't help myself, I picked up the magazine and turned to the recipe. I decided I'd better buy the magazine. It turned out to be worth the $2.79 I spent. :)

I also want to introduce you to a wonderful product that I always use for my pizza sauce. My sister, Shannon introduced me to Shirley J products last year. I only have 2 products, but the ones that I have I love.
This is the easiest marinara sauce that you will ever make. You just add 1 Tbsp. to one 8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce, mix and you've got marinara sauce. Super easy, right?
Interested in some Shriley J products take a look at their website: Shirley J

Alright, now onto the pizza. The recipe asked for Mozzarella cheese, but I used a mixture of Muenster and Mozzarella cheese. My sister, Shannon once told me that some well known pizza places use Muenster cheese on their pizzas, so that is what I use now.

Photo Courtesy of Familycircle.com
The pizza turned out great, it passed my husband and son's taste test. :) I really liked the texture of the crust. It had a nice crispy crust (not crispy like over-done crispy...good crispy).
Next time I make this I might season the crust a little and then when it comes out of the oven I will butter the crust with a nice garlic-parmesan butter.
So there you go, a new pizza recipe for you to try. Surprise your family tonight with some warm yummy pepperoni pizza. And if you do try this let me know what you think or if you have a better pizza recipe. :)

Sicilian-style Pepperoni Pizza
from October 2010 Family Circle Magazine

Basic Pizza Dough
Makes: 8 servings

1 C. Warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 Pkg (.25 oz) dry active yeast
2 3/4 C. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Place water in small bowl and stir in yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 Cups of the flour, sugar, and salt. Make well in the center and add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until dough comes together and forms a ball. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding as much of the remaining 1/4 c. flour as needed (I used my kitchen-aid to mix and knead). Form into a disk and place in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Turn disk over and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Remove dough form bowl and punch down. Roll out into desired diameter.

Marinara Sauce
Makes: 2 Cups

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, crushed by hand (I'm sure you could just use a can of crushed tomatoes)
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Salt

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, oregano, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cook with a lid ajar, for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Sicilian-style Pepperoni Pizza
Makes: 12 slices

2 pounds pizza dough, at room temperature, or use Basic Pizza Dough recipe given above
1 C. Marinara Sauce
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
2 C. shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I didn't measure, I just used as much cheese as I wanted :). And I did Muenster and Mozzarella.)
2 oz. sliced pepperoni (about 1/3 C.)

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Coat a 15 X 10 X 1 in. baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough onto a 15 X 10 X 1 in rectangle. Gently roll up onto a lightly floured rolling pin and unroll onto prepared pan. Push dough into corners.
Spread sauce evenly over dough to within 1/2 of edge. Sprinkle oregano over sauce. Scatter cheese over top. Place pepperoni slices over the cheese. Bake at 500 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned on bottom. Remove from oven. (We also added cheese on top of the pepperoni.)
Cool slightly and cut into 12 slices; serve and Enjoy!!


Lasagna Roll-Ups

While we lived in Hawaii I found this recipe and made it. We really liked it, but I haven't made it ever since. I do that quite a bit, find a recipe that is great and never make it again. :)
While planning our meals for the week I decided it was time to make them again.

I'm really glad that I finally got around to making this again because it was really good. Maybe it was so good because I was really hungry tonight, but all I know is it really hit the spot. :)

Just some notes:
We like to make our lasagna with cottage cheese, so that is what we use (the original recipe did say cottage cheese), but you can replace it with Ricotta if that's what you prefer.
If you want a quicker dinner...use jarred spaghetti sauce instead of making your own. But seriously this sauce wasn't hard to make at all. The thing that took the longest was the noodles.
Speaking of cooking the noodles...another shortcut, if you can find the raw lasagna noodles you could use those, then you don't have to cook the noodles before hand. I looked for those, but our grocery store didn't have them. Sad, huh? (They'll be in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.)

So there you go a new take on Lasagna. Put it on your menu for next week and Enjoy!!

Lasagna Roll-ups
from allrecipes.com with a few of my additions & changes

1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/4 C. Chopped Onion
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 (16 oz.) can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. dried Parsley or 1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Bay leaf
1/4 tsp. Sugar (this helps neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes and will bring out the flavor)
Dash of Cayenne pepper
1 1/4 C. Small-curd cottage cheese, drained
1/4 C. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. onion powder
Dash of salt
6 Lasagna noodles (make sure they aren't cracked or broken)
1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your lasagna noodles.
While your noodles are cooking, in a skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic until the meat is no longer pink (I seasoned my meat with a little salt, pepper, and Ms. Dash); drain. Add the tomatoes, salt, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, sugar, and cayenne (I also added a little pepper to the sauce). Let simmer for 10-15 minutes (I let my sauce simmer while the noodles cooked.)
Spoon some of your sauce into the bottom of a greased 9-in. baking dish.
Combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan (I also added a little mozzarella as well), egg, parsley, onion powder and a dash of salt. Spread 1/4 C onto each noodle and carefully roll it up (the reason I underlined 'spread' is because I just noticed it said that, I didn't spread my mixture onto the noodle. I just spooned some onto the noodle and rolled it up. oops)  Place the roll-up seam side down into your baking dish. Top your roll-ups with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

**I think I would spread a little bit of the cottage cheese mixture onto the whole noodle and add a glob at the end and roll it up. Even though I didn't spread mine all over the noodle it was still really good.


Banana Pancakes

Every November we head down to Vegas for a week for a convention that my husband attends. While we're there we get to visit with our good friends, Adam & Lindsay. One year while we were there we all went out to breakfast to The Pancake House.
As I was reading the menu I saw 'Banana Pancakes' and had to try them. I don't know where my obsession with banana pancakes started maybe it was after hearing Jack Johnson's song 'Banana Pancakes'. All  I know is that I really wanted to try some Banana Pancakes. :)
I'm so glad I ordered them, they were delicious! Pancakes with big chunks of banana, mmmm....you can't go wrong with that (well, unless you don't like bananas, like my hubby).
So, ever since I had those bananas I have been craving them. I kept thinking about them, wanting to try making them, but never actually tried.....until a few weeks ago.

Josh was gone camping and I was craving Banana Pancakes, so the next morning the kids and I made these for breakfast. Soooo good. I do have to say, I'm sorry to any of you who don't like bananas, you are really missing out! :) But if you like bananas you have got to try these. Enjoy!!

Banana Pancakes
original recipe found here

2 large Eggs
2 C. Buttermilk
6 tbsp. Butter, melted (unsalted)
1 1/2 C. Flour
1/4 C. Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Diced Bananas (2 large bananas)
1/4 C. finely chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and the salt.
Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. There may be a few lumps, but don't worry. Then stir in the bananas and nuts (optional)
Lightly grease a large skillet. Heat until hot and then spoon 3 tbsp of batter per pancake. Cook until the tops look dull and a few bubbles pop. Turn over and cook for another minute.

Tip: These freeze well and make a great 'instant' breakfast. Place pancakes in groups of 3 in idividual freezer bags. Just reheat in your toaster oven or microwave.


Snickerdoodle Blondies

You read that right, Snickerdoodle Blondies!
I get email updates from the fabulous Brown Eyed Baker and this happens to be one of her many tasty recipes. A few months ago I got one of her emails and the subject of this email was 'Snickerdoodle Blondies'. I couldn't pass that up, so I opened that email right away. We were going to a party and had to take a treat, I knew this was what I was going to take (yep, never tried them, but I have faith in the Brown Eyed Baker).

 And of course these babies did not dissapoint! My platter was empty, every single blondie was devoured.

 So, is that enough convincing?? Are you going to make these delicous little Snickerdoodle Blondies?? I sure hope you do, because who wouldn't? Alright....get cookin'.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

from: Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 24 blondies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.
4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)


Country Apple Dumplings

I was in a 'Fall' mood the other day and wanted to make a new fall treat. So I searched on Allrecipes and found this Apple Dumpling recipe.
When I read the recipe I wondered if it was really going to be as good as all the reviews said. I made it today for dessert and all I have to say is, YUM!!!
These dumplings are so easy to put together, and they taste delicious....especially with vanilla ice cream

 When I made these I was worried that the butter,cinnamon,sugar, Mt. Dew mixture was going to be too much, but it cooked down and turned into a wonderful sauce. (You'll see what I mean when you make these, I thought these were going to turn into a soggy mess).

And there they are. Oh baby, come to Mama!! hahaha I think I'm going to go have another one as soon as I'm done with this post. :)
Alright, enough talking, now it's time for some cookin'. I hope you try these dumplings....soon.  Enjoy!

Country Apple Dumplings
from: Allrecipes.com

2 Large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
2 (10 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 in. baking dish.
Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Seperate the crescent roll dough into triangles.
Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and
place in the baking dish.
Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in the microwave using a microwave safe bowl) and then
stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the apple dumplings. Then pour the Mountain Dew over
the dumplings.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown. (Mine only took 25 minutes, so keep an eye
on them when making these.)

**I also saw a recipe where they added 1 tsp. vanilla to the butter. And instead of adding the cinnamon into the butter, sprinkle it on top of the dumplings after the Mountain Dew.


Almond Chicken

Almond Chicken
4 chicken breasts, skinned 
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can mushrooms or fresh mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. slivered almonds

Place chicken in a 9x9 baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

Note: I used boneless skinless chicken and fresh mushrooms that I sliced.

[I found this recipe in a ward (church) cookbook a few weeks ago. I decided to try it because it looked so easy & I needed something fast for dinner that night. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is delicious!
I am sorry that I dont have a photo--I will try to add one later.]


Creamy Pesto & Chicken Pasta

0When Josh and I were first married, I wasn't much of a cook. I was always looking for new things to try that were easy enough for a Beginner cook like me. Somewhere I found a recipe similar to this, so we made it and liked it. But I ended up losing the recipe and had to re-create it. Through the years we have made it and it has become one of Josh's favorites. So, here it is....

If you like pesto you definitely have to try this, and the good thing about it is, it's a very quick and easy meal to prepare. So there you go...hope you like it!

Creamy Pesto & Chicken Pasta

6 oz. Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 lb. Chicken, cubed
1 pkg. pesto mix or 2 tbsp. of pre-made pesto
1 Can Cream of Chicken
1/2 C. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to directions.
In a skillet cook your chicken until juices run clear (I usually season my chicken a little, but that is optional. I use a little Ms. Dash and pepper). Once the chicken is cooked transfer to a plate.
In the same skillet prepare the pesto, or if you're using pre-made pesto add it to the skillet. Then add the cream of chicken and mix well. Simmer until it's warm. Then add the cream and  the chicken. Stir and simmer until heated through.
When the pasta is done drain and add it to the sauce. Toss and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Enjoy!!

Hot Dog Bun Breadsticks

So with BBQ season you will probably have lots of left over Hot Dog buns. You know, the one or two that are always left over that end up just sitting there until they're moldy or stale.
Well, my Mother-in-law came up with this great idea a few summers ago....Why not use hot dog buns for breadsticks?

So here is how you make these yummy breadsticks..

Get some Hot Dog Buns and split each one.

Garlic Spread:
Melted Butter
Parmesan Cheese
Onion and Garlic Salt
& a little bit of garlic
Mix these together and then spread the butter mixture onto each bun.

Then you can sprinkle a little more parmesan cheese on top. Then Broil in the oven until browned and crispy.
(You can also find Garlic Spread at your grocery store, if you don't want to make your own.)

Sorry there are no measurements, I just kind of add a little bit of everything. Enjoy!!


Tropical Fruit Dip

Yes, another fruit dip. I made this along with the apple dip for a party we went to, so I decided I would post both of them on here.
This fruit dip is delicious! And it goes well with pretty much any fruit. For the party that we went to I made fruit kabobs and then had the dip in a bowl. But if you don't want to make kabobs just pile up different kinds of fruit onto a platter and place the dip on the side. This is such an easy and delicious dessert you have to try!

The original recipe came from Food Network (Paula Deen). The recipe, from Paula, asks for a fresh pineapple that you later use as the bowl for the dip. It looked really pretty, but I haven't tried the pineapple bowl, maybe next time.  Be sure to not to leave out the Lemon and Pineapple juice, it adds a really nice taste to the dip.

So there is my other fruit dip. You've gotta try it, and let me know what you think.

Tropical Fruit Dip
Adapted from: Food Network

1 (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 C. Powdered Sugar
1 C. Cool Whip (I think I added just a little bit extra)
Lemon Juice
Pineapple Juice (I just added some juice, but don't add too much so that it's runny.)

Soften the cream cheese and then whip with the powdered sugar. Next, add the cool-whip and continue to beat until smooth. Add the lemon and pineapple juice and mix well (add just enough juice to achieve desired consistency). Transfer the dip to a bowl.
Serve on a platter with Grapes, Pineapple Bits, Strawberries, and Apples. Enjoy!!


Apple Toffee Dip

Are you in need of a new tasty recipe? Of course you are. :)
A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared this delicous dip with me. I had to have the recipe! I got it and have made it several times and every time I make this everyone loves it. 

This dip is so delicous. And it kind of makes me feel like I'm eating something somewhat healthy....don't the apples make it healthy??? Who knows, but I really don't care because it's too good to worry how fattening it is. :)
This is the perfect dish to take to a potluck or a BBQ or any party. And I promise it won't disappoint! Everyone will be asking you for this recipe. So, here it is....Enjoy!!

Toffee Apple Dip
1 (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, room temperature
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
4 oz. (1/2 bag) Toffee Bits (other recipes I have seen ask for the whole 8 oz. bag, but I never use the whole bag. Just personal preference)
Caramel Syrup

Cream together the Cream Cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla until combined. Then add your toffee bits and mix well. Transfer the dip to a plate or a bowl. If you want to you can drizzle some caramel syrup on top of the dip and then sprinkle some toffee bits on top. Enjoy!!


My Weakness!!

Molten Chocolate Cake & Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie

A few weeks ago my cousin Amber came to visit. I decided to have a Girl's Night In. We went out to dinner and then came back to my house for dessert and games. We had alot of fun talking, laughing & of course eating.
I have to confess...I LOVE chocolate! It is truly my weakness. I don't think there is anything chocolate that I don't like. So, when I decided to make desserts for our 'Girl's Night In' I knew I wanted something chocolatey. I remember my Mom telling me about a recipe she had for Molten Lava cake, but unfortunately she was hiking in the Colorado Mountains so I wasn't able to call her. So I searched the internet and found my recipe.

I don't know about anyone else, but I thought this was delicious! Exactly what a Chocoholic is looking for to get her fix. I have been craving this little cake ever since I made them that night. I haven't made these because I know my Husband won't eat them, so you know who will end up eating the whole batch...that's righ, me. Enough with the talking...get in the kitchen and make these. If you are a chocoholic like me, you will be glad you did.

Molten Chocolate Cake

4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
½ cups Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Egg Yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
*2 cups Real Whipping Cream (seriously It's So Much Better!)
*2 Tablespoons Sugar
*(I decided to just use canned Whipped Cream)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray 4 custard cups with Pam and place on a cookie sheet.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until
chocolate is also melted.
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
Divide between cups.
Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. (Do Not overcook, or else you won't get the gooey center)
Let stand 1 minute.
Combine sugar and heavy cream and whip until stiff.
Invert cakes on dishes and top with whipped cream.

  Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie
For our other dessert that night, I decided to make this yummy dessert.
What's better than a Chocolate Chip Blondie with ice cream drizzled with chocolate and caramel? Nothing! And to make it even better add some whipped cream and walnuts on top. Mmm....now I'm hungry for some dessert. Maybe it's time for another 'Girl's Night In' so I have an excuse to make these again.
You've got to try these, you won't be disappointed!

Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie

1 1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
6 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
2 cups milk chocolate chips
Caramel sauce
Hot fudge sauce
More chopped walnuts (optional, I only had enough to make the pie but more to go on top would have been fabulous)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan (this is the bakers half sheet size - it’s like 11 1/2 inch x 16 1/2 x 1 or you could use 2 9×13 inch pans. The pie may be a little thicker and may take a little longer to cook).
In a large bowl, combine sugar and melted butter; beat with electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; mix well.
Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to the sugar mixture; mix well.
Stir in nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 40+ minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve warm, or reheat individual servings in the microwave (10 seconds for a serving). Top with ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce and hot fudge sauce then sprinkled with chopped walnuts . Or just eat them like a brownie or bar cookie. They are also excellent that way too.
Makes 24.


Silhouette Giveaway!!

Alright I have another great giveaway to pass on to all of you. Right now there are several websites having an amaing giveaway! Have any of you heard of the Silhouette? I hadn't until I saw this giveaway...Now I want one...really bad!!

So, what is a Silhouette?
The Silhouette is a digital cutting tool for personal use. It connects to your computer just like a printer, but instead of printing designs it cuts them with a small blade. With the machine connected to your computer, you'll get access to all of the fonts on your PC plus the thousands of cuttable designs found on the Silhouette Online Store.
I'm sure you have all heard of a very similar machine known as the Cricut. So, what's the difference? Here's a chart that can help you compare the Silhouette and the Cricut.
This machine can do so many things. You don't have to be a scrapbooker to enjoy this machine. Click here to see what the Silhouette can do.
I really really want one of these. There are so many things I am already planning on doing if I am lucky enough to win this.
So head on over to Sugardoodle, The Idea Room or Cupcake Project for more information on these giveaways and for your chance to win!!

Nice Buns!!!

Sorry...I had to use that I my post title. :) Yesterday we had hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken burgers. I had some hamburger buns, but they were looking pretty sad. I remembered seeing a recipe for Hamburger buns, so I got on the computer and searched.
I am so glad that I did, because these were great!!

I don't know what it is about homemade bread, but isn't it wonderful? These buns were really easy to put together, and it was nice because I had everything in my pantry (no special trip to the store). Well, the only thing I didn't have was sesame seeds, but those are optional.
We cut each bun and then grilled them for a little bit to give them a little crispiness. Mmmmm....soo yummy!
There was a suggestion to add garlic or onion salt to the dough. I'll probably try that next time and see how that tastes.
Well, it's definitely hamburger season so next time you are having burgers please make these buns! You won't be dissappointed, I promise.

Hamburger Buns
from Rosa's Yummy Yums

1 Cup Water, lukewarm
2 tbsp. Unsalted butter, room temp.
1 Egg
3 1/4 Cups Plain White Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Instant yeast

1 Egg Yolk + 1 tsp. Water
Sesame Seeds

Sprinkle the yeast into the water and leave for 5-10 minutes, until frothy. Stir to dissolve.
In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
Turn the dough out onto a floured working surface and knead for about 10 minutes  until you've made a soft, smooth dough. (Or be lazy like me and use your kitchenaid) :)
Place the dough in a clean and lightly greased bowl. Cover witha  towel and let rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a flattened ball. (I weighed each piece of dough, they were about 4 1/2 oz. each). Place the buns onto a greased baking sheet, cover with a towel and let rise another 30-40 minutes, until they're quite puffy and doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Glaze the buns with the egg yolk and water mixture, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown. (I probably took mine out a little too early, we were in a hurry. Next time I'll cook them for 15 minutes).
Remove them from the oven and cool them on a wire rack.


Kellogg's Cereal Recall Info!

Ok so i stumbled onto this information by accident and discovered that I have 2 boxes that were in the recall. So as of June 25, 2010 Kellogg's cereal voluntarily recalled select packages of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops, and Apple Jacks. Kelloggs tell you on the website why the recall is taking place.

"These packages are being recalled because we identified a substance in the package liner that can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off-taste and smell. The off-tastes and smells are caused by a slightly elevated level of a substance commonly present at very low levels in the waxy resins used to make packaging materials that are approved by the FDA. These resins are also commonly used to coat foods such as cheese, raw fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers. We did not find any substances that are not commonly used in packaging materials. We are working with our supplier of the liner to ensure that this problem does not happen again." They go on to tell which packages are being recalled:

"We are recalling the following cereal products due to an off-taste and smell coming from the package liner. Only products with the letters "KN" following the Better If Used Before Date are included in the recall.Only packages in the white, paper-backed foil liner are affected by the off-taste and smell. Click here to see pictures of these materials. Kellogg's® Apple Jacks®UPC 3800039136 17 ounce package with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 10 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 38000391328.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between JUN 03 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg's® Corn Pops®UPC 380003910912.5 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 380003911117.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 38000391169.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 05 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg's® Froot Loops®UPC 380003911812.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039120 17 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 38000391258.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg's® Honey Smacks®UPC 380003910315.3 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011Again, only products with the letters "KN" following the Better If Used Before Date are included in the recall.

For another other information or to Contact Kellogg's here is the link:


Rocky Road Crunch Bars

A few weeks ago I was looking through some of my old "Food & Family" magazines. It was a free magazine from Kraft foods that included recipes that used their products. I found the following recipe in one of the magazines and decided to try it. It has become a family favorite in only a few weeks. I use chocolate chips instead of the baking chocolate and it is still really good.

Rocky Road Crunch Bars
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups marshmallows
6 cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
1 cup peanuts, chopped
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips

Microwave honey and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute; stir until well blended. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed; stir until well blended.
Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
Press mixture firmly into greased foil-lined 13x9 pan. Cool and cut.

Original recipe from Summer 2006 Food & Family pg 68