Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I am a soup and sandwich type of gal, but unfortunately my hubby isn't. But as we're getting in to colder weather I am craving soups. I think I'm going to have to put this on the menu for this week, sorry Josh! :)

A few weeks ago we had a baby shower for my sister, Shawnna. We decided on having a few people bring soups for everyone. I asked a friend of mine if she could make a soup, which she said 'Yes'. But then she asked if I had any good soup recipes that she could use.
I decided to give her this recipe. Since the baby shower I have had several people ask me for the recipe, so I thought I'd better post it on here.

I promise you this is a delicious and easy soup, so give it a try.

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from Allrecipes

4 C. Chicken Broth
2 C. Water
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or cubed
1 (4.5 oz.) Quick cooking long grain & wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
3/4 C. Flour
1/2 C. Butter
2 C. Heavy Cream (I have used milk and it turns out great; Whole, 1% or 2%, but not Skim)
1/2 C Chopped Celery
1/2 C. Chopped Onion
1/2 C. Chopped/sliced Carrot

In a large pot sauté the Celery, Onion, and carrot with a little bit of butter or olive oil (about 5 minutes or until soft). Then add the broth, water, and chicken to the vegetables, and bring just to boiling. Then stir in the rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover & remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in the flour mixture by Tbsp. to form a roux. Whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened (about 5 minutes).
Stir cream mixture into the broth & rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through. 10-15 minutes.


Buffalo Chicken Tenders

If you read my last post, you know that my children dont like anything. When I came across this recipe, I thought that most of our children should like it...it is just chicken after all. Well, I was wrong. My husband and I like them and one of our boys but the other 3 did not. Dont let that discourage you though, they are fairly easy and full of flavor. You can adjust the spicyness to the preferences of your family. 

Buffalo Chicken Tenders
For the Blue Cheese Dip:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

For the sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp hot sauce (Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce)
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

For the chicken:
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
canola oil cooking spray
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the ingredients for the blue cheese dip, mashing the cheese crumbles into small limps as you work. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the hot sauce and vinegar. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the oven to 450. Arrange 3 shallow bowls for dredging the chicken. Put the flour in the first bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg in the second, and stir together the bread crumbs, salt and pepper in the third. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Coat each chicken strip by dredging it first in the flour and then the buttermilk mixture. Press each piece into the bread crumbs, then transfer the strips to a baking sheet. Space the pieces on the sheet so that they don't touch. Lightly spray the strips with oil.

Bake the strips for 10 minutes. Flip each piece and spray them again. Return the strips to the oven and cook them until they're golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes longer.

Brush each baked strip on both sides with the sauce (apply it generously for grown-ups, less for kids who prefer a milder version.) Serve the strips with blue cheese dip and celery sticks on the side.

Recipe from Oct 2011 Family Fun Magazine

NOTE: I didnt make the blue cheese dip because I knew my family wouldn't eat it. I would love to hear comments from anyone who tries it.


Peanut Butter Blondies

Cooking dinner isnt my favorite thing to do. I think it has something to do with my children. They dont like anything! How can children eat the same things over and over and over. One of our children loves spaghetti but the others don't. Another loves steak and only steak. Another..well I haven't quite figured out what she will eat. I guess she likes popcorn and cold cereal. I shouldn't complain, though. I was extremely picky as a child! I gave my mother fits! I am glad I have outgrown that stage and now love to eat a variety of things.
While cooking dinner isnt one of my favorite things to do, I do enjoy..or rather love..baking treats!  Amazingly all of our children like peanut butter treats so I when I found this recipe in the Aug/Sept 2011 Taste of Home I knew I had to try it. Everyone loved them!

Peanut Butter Blondies
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
4 peanut butter cups, chopped

Beat eggs and brown sugar for 3 minutes in a large bowl. Add peanut butter, butter and milk; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in the peanut butter cups.
Spread into a greased 8-in square baking dish. Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

NOTE: I cooked them for only 18 minutes and they came out perfect.


Chicken & Rice

This is one of my husband's favorite meals, and one of my go-to meals when I need something easy. It is such a simple dish, but is full of flavor.

 I always thought that chicken and rice was a little bland... so I have been looking for a good basic Chicken and Rice recipe. My mother in law gave me her recipe and one day I just kind of played with it and was pleasantly surprised. This is just a basic recipe, you could add veggies to this and it would be great too, but we like it with just chicken and rice.

Chicken & Rice

Several Chicken breasts or breast tenders (enough to cover the bottom of a 9X13 dish)
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (sometimes I use one Cream of Chicken and one Cream of Mushroom)
1 C. Rice (Not Instant)
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp. Onion Salt
1 Tbsp. Onion Soup Mix
2 Cans of Liquid (You can use water, but I use 1 1/2 cans of Chicken Broth and 1/2 can of Whipping Cream. It makes it alot creamier)
1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
Pepper (just a dash and sometimes I will add a dash of Ms. Dash)

In a bowl, mix the soup and the liquid. Add the rice and cheese and stir until well mixed. Add garlic and onion salt and mix well. In a greased roasting pan or baking dish place the chicken on the bottom (I use frozen chicken breast tenders and it works great, I sometimes will season the chicken a little with Ms. Dash and Pepper.) Pour the Rice mixture on top of the chicken. Cover and Bake at 350 for 1 1/2-2 hours or until rice is done.

I usually cook mine for 2 hours with frozen chicken. If you use thawed chicken I would check it around 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have frozen chicken breast tenders then get chicken breasts and chop them into large pieces.



Tender Grilled Pork Chops

I love grilling...chicken, steak, and now I really love grilling pork chops!
We had these the other night and they were delicious!

The marinade only has 3 ingredients, so you can't get much easier than that.
I put our pork chops in a brine for about 2 hours and then marinated them for about 4 1/2 (you could marinate a little longer, I was short on time).
If you've never brined anything, no problem, it's easy. All it is is a salt water 'bath' for your meats. I have brined turkey and it always turns out moist and flavorful. And when I did this with the pork chops the result was the same. You can add other seasonings, salt, etc to your brines, but this time all I used was Salt, Water, and a little Seasoning Salt.
Why should you brine? Good question with a good answer. Here's a little info for ya:
"The chemistry behind brining is really pretty simple. Meat already contains salt water. By immersing meats into a liquid with a higher concentration of salt, the brine is absorbed into the meat. Any flavoring added to the brine will be carried into the meat with the saltwater mixture. Because the meat is now loaded with extra moisture it will stay that way as it cooks."
From BBQ.about.com)
So how do I brine? Another good question. Usually you add a cup of kosher salt to every gallon of water. I didn't measure mine, I just filled up my bowl added some kosher salt and seasoning salt, stirred it up and then added my pork chops, pretty simple. There are all kinds of different brines out there, but for these pork chops I think a basic brine is best.
You don't want to mess up this chop by overcooking and being left with a dry, chewy chop do you? I read something about grilling pork chops, how to get the perfect chop:
Grilling Thin Pork Chops: Thin chops should be grilled hot and fast. This is really one you should step away from since thinner pork chops will cook so fast. The trick is to grill them like you would a steak, over an intense heat, flipping as little as possible. Preheat your grill to as hot a temperature as it will go. Place the chops on the grill and close the lid for 1 minute. Open the lid and rotate the chops 45 degrees without flipping. Close the lid for another minute. Now flip the chops over and close the lid again. After a minute rotate the chops 45 degrees and finish them off. With a hot, hot grill and thin chops you should have them off the grill in 4 to 5 minutes.
Grilling Thick Pork Chops: Thick chops need a slower heat to get them cooked without drying them out. What you do want to do however is sear the surface to get them cooking. Preheat your grill as high as it will go (if you are using charcoal build your fire hotter on one side for searing with a cooler side to finish them off on). Put the chops on the grill and close the lid. After one minute open the grill and flip the chops. Close the lid for one minute. Now turn down the heat on your grill to medium (or move the chops to the cooler side of your charcoal grill). Rotate the chops to get your cross hatch marks and let them cook for about 3 more minutes with the lid down. After this time flip the chops over and continue cooking for about 4 more minutes. It is best at this point to turn your grill down to its lowest setting (or close the vents on your charcoal grill). Grill until done and the internal temperature is 155-165 degrees.
(From BBQ.about.com)
These chops were a hit and I think I have found my one and only grilled pork chop marinade. We're going to experiment this on some steaks and see if we get the same result. 
So here you go a grilling recipe for you to try. And believe me you should try it!


Pork Chop Brine
1/2 Gallon Water
1/2 C. Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Seasoning Salt

In a large bowl add your ingredients and stir until dissolved. Place your pork chops in the brine. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to 8.
Once they are done soaking, drain the brine and give your chops a quick rinse. Then add to your favorite marinade.

Tender Grilled Pork Chops
*Serves 4 
4 boneless pork loin chops
1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning or make your own*)

Mix olive oil, soy sauce and steak seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and pour into a one-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops and set the bag in a baking dish in a way that the pork chops get a healthy dose of the marinade (it may be advantageous to flip the bag over halfway through the marinating time). Marinate in the refrigerator for 3-8 hours (no more than 8). Heat the grill to medium and grill the chops 6-8 minutes per side (depending on how thick they are) until they are no longer pink in the center. Remove the chops from the grill and tent them with foil and allow them to rest for 5-7 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!!


Mom's Fruit Salad

Here's a fruit salad for you that is quick to put together, but is sure to please! I posted this when we first started this blog, but I thought it was time for a re-post.

My Mom used to make this for family gatherings and everyone always loved it. Now I make it for my family and it has the same reaction. My Mom uses fresh pineapple and says it tastes so good. I have never tried fresh pineapple, but maybe I'll give it a try. I usually add coconut to mine, but this time I made it we had some people over and I wasn't sure if they liked coconut, so I left it out.
You could even add some other fruits to this recipe, like: mandarin oranges, blueberries, etc.

Hope you like it! Enjoy!

Mom’s Fruit Salad

1 Carton of Strawberries
Bananas (I used 3 large bananas)
1 large can of Pineapple Bits, drained
1 Can Peach Pie Filling
1-1 ½ Cups of Coconut

Slice your strawberries and bananas. Then add all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined.
(You could add blueberries, mandarin oranges, etc.)


Grilled Corn Guacamole

I Love guacamole. I could probably eat guacamole as a main dish, just give me a bowl and some chips and I'm set.

I was on The Pioneer Woman Cooks the other day and came across this recipe. I knew I had to give it a try. Of course it didn't disappoint. The corn gave the guacamole a nice, new taste.

I didn't really follow her measurements, I just looked at her ingredients and then made it. I also didn't make a big of batch as her. The original recipe asked for 6 avocados and 3 ears of corn, that's alot of guacomole. So I cut it down to 2 avocados and 1 ear of corn.
I also added Chicken Bouillion to my guacamole (this is a little secret ingredient my Mom always adds). I added maybe 2 tsp., I didn't measure I just taste test it. :)
With the other ingredients I just cut them up and then added however much I wanted. I added both yellow onion and red onion.
Usually when I make my guacamole I will add a little bit of my Dad's salsa (I'll have to add that recipe on here). It gives it a nice kick. If you have a favorite guacamole recipe then make your usual recipe and add an ear of corn to it.

The final taste: delicious! It was a hit! We had this with fajitas and everyone loved it.

So if you aren't too afraid of Avocados then definitely give this recipe a try.

Grilled Corn Guacamole
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

1 ear of Corn, Shucked
2 whole Avocados, Diced
1/2 whole Large Tomato, Diced
1/4 cup Onion, Finely Diced
1 clove Garlic, Finely Minced
2 Tablespoons Diced Fresh Jalapeno (you can leave this out if you want, I added just a little bit to ours)
1/2 Lime, Juiced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves
2 tsp. Chicken Bouillion
Grill corn until nice and golden, with good grill marks on the kernels. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.
Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.
In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, cumin and bouillion. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro and stir in.


Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

Are you craving cookies? Do you happen to have a yellow or white cake mix lying around? Or maybe you decided to try those Cake Mix Rice Krispie Treats that I posted yesterday and have almost a whole bag of cake mix left over. Then this recipe is perfect!

Another great thing about this recipe is that there are only 4 ingredients. Yep, you read that right...4 ingredients!

My Mom used to make these when I was younger and they were always a hit. Trust me, you need to give these a try.

If you did try the Cake Mix Rice Krispie Treats and want to make these cookies with the left-over cake mix, just use a little less oil when making the cookies.
The cookies dough will look a little 'greasy', but don't worry these cookies aren't greasy at all.
Alright, there you go. A great quick and easy cookie recipe just for you!

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

1 (18.25 oz) White or Yellow Cake Mix (I use white, but you can use whatever)
1/2 C. Oil
2 Eggs
1 pkg. or 2 C. Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, blend the cake mix, oil, and eggs until combined and no clumps remain. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Makes a little more than 2 dozen cookies. (I used my 1 1/2 Tbsp. cookie dough scoop)


Cake Mix Rice Krispie Treats

I've seen this recipe on a few blogs and knew I had to give them a try.
I love Rice Krispie treats, but this recipe has a little secret ingredient.

Cake mix!
I never would have thought of adding cake mix, but it was a nice addition. You really can't go wrong with Rice Krispie treats.
I saw a few other blogs add confetti sprinkles...me, I added mini chocolate chips. I'm a choc-O-holic, so I have to give in to my addiction every now and then. :)

I used my favorite Rice Krispie recipe...no not the recipe from those 3 little guys: Snap, Crackle & Pop!
I use the rice krispie recipe found on the bag of the Albertson's marshmallows. The rice krispies that come from this recipe are so soft, chewy & marshmallowy (is that a word?). I use this recipe because the recipe asks for a whole 16 oz. bag of marshmallows, so you will never have those hard, crunch krispie treats when using this recipe.

If you're wondering what you will do with the left-over cake mix, just come back tomorrow and see. I have a great recipe to make with that extra cake mix.

Cake Mix Rice Krispie Treats

1/4 C. Butter
1 (16 oz.) bag of Mini Marshmallows
1/4 C. white cake mix
1 tsp. vanilla (this gives it a nice little taste)
6 C. Rice Krispies
Mini Chocolate Chips (optional, but really is shouldn't be) hehe

Grease a 9 X 13 dish and set aside.
In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted add the marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat and add the cake mix and vanilla and stir. Add the rice krispies and stir until well coated.
Transfer the mixture into the 9 X 13 dish. Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into the pan.
Cut into 24 squares when cook.

**My sister also had a trick for pressing the rice krispies into the pan without them sticking to your spatula: Dip your spatula into cold water before pressing the mixture. Repeat as needed until all the mixture is even.


Friday Food Finds: Trifles & Patriotic Trifle recipe

Have you ever read the definition of 'trifle'?
Trifle: something trivial or insignificant

Trifles are anything but trifle, don't you think? I mean look at it...it's layers and layers of cake, fruit, pudding, whip cream. How in the world is that insignificant? Yes, I know that this definition is not talking about the dessert 'trifle', but c'mon let's give this dessert a little nicer more enjoyable name. So for today's Friday Food Finds we are spotlighting this yummy dessert to show all those poor trifles that they are in no way trivial or insignificant. :)
I have always wanted to make a trifle, but never had the dish to do it. So I finally bought a dish (which was only $6.97 at Wal-Mart) and made the Patriotic Trifle that I shared last week. Overall review: it was AWESOME!! There was not a single bite left.

So ever since then I have been thinking of different trifles that I can try. Here are a few that I found:

I'm going to visit my Sister next week and now I am taking my trifle dish so we can make this, yum.
You could also use brownies instead of chocolate cake and oreos instead of toffee. And if you don't want to make home-made whip cream, just use a package of Cool-whip.

I think my Husband would love this one, He is a raspberry lover. A few changes I'd probably make are: I would use pound cake instead of lady fingers and if I'm in a hurry I might not dip the pound cake into the syrup mixture. But it sounds amazing, so I'm gonna have to give this a try soon.

I love Strawberry and Banana. What a perfect combination, so of course when I saw this I knew I had to add it to my list. Plus her post is funny...maybe because I know exactly how she feels. haha.

Patriotic Trifle
So there are 3 trifle recipes to try. Now here is the recipe for the Patriotic Trifle. It was delicious...I promise. I was a little scared by the combo of Jell-O and pudding. I was kind of grossed out, but when I tasted it there was no weird texture or weird taste. Trust me when I say "You've gotta try this!"
I've also added a link at the bottom for a printable version of the recipe. Enjoy!!

Patriotic Trifle

1 package (3 ounces) berry blue gelatin
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
2 cups cold whole milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 quart fresh strawberries, quartered
1 prepared angel food cake (8 to 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes

In two small bowls, combine each gelatin flavor with 1 cup boiling water. Stir 1/2 cup cold water into each. Pour each into an ungreased 9-in. square pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 2 cups whipped topping.

Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup strawberries for garnish. Cut the gelatin into 1-in. cubes. In a 3-qt. trifle bowl or serving dish, layer the strawberry gelatin, half of the cake cubes, the remaining blueberries and half of the pudding mixture.

Top with blue gelatin and remaining cake cubes, strawberries and pudding mixture. Garnish with reserved berries and remaining whipped topping. Serve immediately.
Yield: 16-20 servings.


Chewy Low Fat Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies (with Chocolate Chips)

If you're like me and have 3 very ripe bananas then this is the perfect recipe for you.
A couple months or so ago my friend introduced me to these yummy little cookies. She actually left a comment on this blog telling me I had to try these that they were delicious! And of course, she was right. So thank you Kristin for sharing!!

I was a little naughty and decided to add some chocolate chips :). I think I actually liked these better with the chocolate chips...but I'm not sure how that will effect the 'low fat' in this recipe.
I also wish the banana was a little stronger, so next time I might try adding a little more mashed banana.
These cookies were gone in no time and my kids even liked them. So, with my 3 ripe bananas sitting on my counter I think I will be whipping up some more of these.

Click Here to print the recipe from Skinny Taste.

Chewy Low Fat Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

Servings: 15 • Serving Size: 2 cookies • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 175.8 • Fat: 6.7 g • Protein: 3.5 g • Carb: 28.3 g • Fiber: 1.6 g • Sugar: 14 g

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (**I may add a little more next time)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
(**and if you're feelin' naughty add some chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, with a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed.
Add the egg, followed by the mashed banana and vanilla extract.
Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the chopped walnuts.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges.

Let cool on baking sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container so you don't eat them all in one sitting!

Makes about 30 cookies.

Splenda Lovers: Substitute all the brown sugar with 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend, and all the white sugar for 1/4 cup Splenda sugar blend. Points remain the same.


Strawberry Ice Cream

For my second ice cream recipe I decided to share a recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream.
One of my favorite ice cream flavors is chocolate, but I do also love fruit ice cream...including Strawberry.

This ice cream was delicious. The only thing I didn't like was that it wasn't quite creamy enough for me, but that might have been my mistake. I'm thinking I might have not let the custard cook long enough. But don't let that scare you away...this was still delicous (I kept sneaking spoonfuls of ice cream as I was scooping it out of my machine). So give it a try and see what you think.

Strawberry Ice Cream
From 'The Ultimate Ice Cream Book'

3 heaping cups of strawberries
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C. Sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C. half-and-half
1/2 C. Heavy Cream
1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Puree the strawberries with the salt in a food processor or food mill. There should be about 2 cups of puree. Set aside

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Set aside.

Bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot half-and-half into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scamble. Remove from heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the strawberry puree, cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.



Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

I am finally posting my ice cream recipe. I've been trying to post this for 2 days and have had some major internet issues. But I think you'll forgive me after trying this ice cream. :)

I'm sure you haven't forgotten, but if you have...it's National Ice Cream month!! Yeah!
So for my first ice cream recipe I am going to share this yummy Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream.

 This ice cream turned out nice and creamy. Creamy chocolate ice cream with chewy coconut....yum!
Just what I need on a hot day, or even on a cold day, and maybe even for breakfast. Yep I'm that naughty...ice cream for breakfast. haha

So here you go, our first ice cream to celebrate this fabulous month long celebration.
Happy Ice Cream Month!!

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
From 'The Ultimate Ice Cream Book'

1/2 C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut
1 C. Sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. Half and Half
1 1/2 C. unsweetened coconut milk
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 C. Heavy Cream
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place in the hot oven for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
Combine the half-and-half with the coconut milk in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and slowly beat the hot liquid into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightlyi, then stir in the toasted coconut, the melted chocolate, cream, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours.


Friday Food Finds: Happy 4th of July!

We have a bunch of people(family) coming in later today for the 4th of July.
I love the 4th of July, there's just something about BBQ's, parades, fireworks that just makes me feel like a kid again. :)

I think mostly everyone does a little barbeque-ing for the 4th, so today I thought I'd share some sides and desserts that would go great with your 4th of July BBQ feast.
And I've included a yummy recipe for you today.

I love macaronie salad! This one looks delicious.

I have never made a trifle, but have always wanted to. I saw this and decided this year was the year I made a trifle. I've got my trifle dish and the supplies, hope mine looks as good as this one.

Fresh Raspberry Lemonade from Amanda's Cookin'
We made this a few weeks ago and it was so yummy. We made it a little differently by adding all the pulp of the raspberries to the lemonade.
This would definitely go great with a BBQ. And if you're having company over you should serve the lemonade in Mason Jars!
I saw this idea awhile ago in a Taste of Home magazine:
 Get a large bucket/bin and fill with ice. Get some mason jars and pour lemonade into each one. Then put the lid on each mason jar and set the jars in the bucket of ice to keep cool.
Have everyone get their plate of food and grab a 'jar' of lemonade for their drink.
Ever since I saw this I have wanted to have a BBQ and serve lemonade in jars. haha.

Here are some other Lemonade recipes:
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!! I have some other recipes that I will try to post today and throughout the weekend. Happy 4th of July!!


Oreo Delight

Today's recipe is a re-post, but it's definitely worth repeating.
It's been awhile since I made this dessert, so I decided to make it last week.

 Everyone LOVED it!! They couldn't stop saying good things about this recipe, and couldn't stop eating it. haha
But seriously...oreos, chocolate puding, cool-whip, and a sugary cream cheese mixture...you can't go wrong with that.
I was left with only 2 pieces, so I decided to take some new pictures of this yummy dessert and re-post this recipe.

This is all that was left after my little 'photo shoot'. Sorry I couldn't help myself, it was just sitting there saying 'eat me!'.

Just make this dessert and you will totally understand. Enjoy!!

Oreo Delight

35 Oreo cookies (1 whole pkg.)
6 Tbsp. margarine, melted
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
12 oz.) tub Cool Whip, thawed
3 1/4 c. cold milk
2 pkg. instant Jell-O pudding (small packages)
optional: more crushed Oreos or Andes Mint baking chips to sprinkle on top

Mix crushed cookies and butter in medium bowl. Press firmly onto bottom of 9" x 13" baking dish. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and 2 Tbsp. milk in medium bowl with wire whisk until blended. Stir in 1 1/4 c. Cook Whip. Spread over crust. Pour 3 1/4 c. milk into bowl. Add both pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Pour over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 minutes. Drop remaining Cool Whip over pudding and spread. Sprinkle more crushed Oreos or Andes Mint baking chips on top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

You can also use mint oreos. Josh doesn't like mint, so I did plain oreos. It was delicious.


Friday Food Finds: Favorite Food Blogs

I love new recipes and most of the recipes I find are from fellow food bloggers. I have so many that foodie blogs that I read (well try to read), so I decided for this Friday Food Finds I would talk about one of the many blogs that I love:

If you haven't visited Jamie's Blog, then you should really stop on by. Here are a few recipes from her delicious blog.

1. Grilled Turkey & Swiss Sandwiches
We made these last Sunday & they were Amazing!!
We added a slice of avocado to each sandwich, yum!!

Oh Yeah!! That's all I have to say. 
This is on my menu for next week. Yummy!!

Another menu item for this week. :) Looks pretty yummy!

Since it's finally warming up around here it's time for summer treats.

Well, I could go on and on about all the delicous looking recipes on this blog, but I'll let you look for yourself. Thanks Jamie for the wonderful & delicious blog!!
Until next Friday!


Friday Food Finds: Ice Cream

***This was supposed to be posted on Friday, but due to technical difficulties (our internet) I am posting it today, yes 3 days late. Sorry.

I scream, YOU scream, WE all scream for ICE CREAM!!! I really do scream for ice cream, it's kind of a weakness of mine. :) I could eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I dreamed about ice cream during my second pregnancy. I always, yes always, have ice cream in my freezer, and no matter how much I've eaten there's always room for ice cream. My husband kind of knows about my obsession, and being the wonderful husband he is, bought me the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment a couple years ago (yep he's pretty amazing). But I actually haven't used it as much as I would like, so I have made a goal to use it this summer.
And what perfect timing...did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? I had no idea, I think I just found my new favorite month. So, since July is just a few short weeks away I thought it appropriate for this week's Friday Food Finds to focus on ice cream. This is one month long holiday I will be sure to celebrate. Here's a few homemade ice cream recipes to get you started.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Brown Eyed Baker
I love chocolate ice cream with Peanut Butter cups, I am definitely giving this a try.

Peach Ice Cream from Homesick Texan
I actually made this recipe a few years ago for a family peach ice cream cook-off. No one wanted to hurt anyone's feelings, so a winner was never chosen, haha. But I remember this ice cream was delicious!!

Tin Roof Ice Cream from Brown Eyed Baker

You can't have an ice cream post without posting some Vanilla & Chocolate recipes, so here are some:
Serious Vanilla Ice Cream from Alton Brown of Food Network
This recipe contains no eggs and had rave reviews.
Chocolate Ice Cream from Alton Brown of Food Network
I'm pretty picky about my Chocolate ice cream, I want it chocolatey, but not overpowering chocolatey, and I want it nice and creamy. I love Alton Brown and he's pretty darn good at what he does, so I'll have to give this a try.

Don't have an ice cream maker....no problem. Here are some links that will solve that problem for you.

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Without a Machine from Kevin & Amanda

How to make Homemade Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker from Brown Eyed Baker

If you haven't noticed there are quite a few Brown Eyed Baker recipes on here. That's because she has a ton of delicous looking ice cream recipes: Strawberry (this one looks amazing), Chocolate (yum), Rocky Road, Blueberry Cheesecake, and so many more. If you're looking for some yummy ice cream recipes be sure to visit her site: Brown Eyed Baker Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

And Stay Tuned for these recipes I plan on trying and sharing:
Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream
(I've actually made this before and it is amazing!)

Double Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream
(my hubby is going to love this one)

Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream
(Raspberry and chocolate chunks, yum)

Banana Split Ice Cream
(Dairy Queen has a Banana Split Blizzard that I love,
so I would like to create something like the blizzard, but we'll see how that goes.)

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you have a yummy homemade ice cream recipe?
I hope you enjoy your summer and some delicious homemade ice cream! :)


Chocolate Chip Cookie Fruit Pizza

A few days after I had our newest little baby my sister had a Pampered Chef party. Since my Mom was visiting she decided to go to the party. When she got home I saw her carrying a Ziploc bag with some goodies inside.
I asked her what she had, and being the nice Mother that she is, she told me she had brought home some dessert for me (awww, thanks Mom). I opened the bag to find a slice of this pizza and immediately devoured it.
Oh yes...that Chocolate Chip cookie fruit pizza didin't stand a chance. But since I only got one slice I knew I was going to have to make this soon, so I did. Don't worry...I didn't eat the whole thing myself, I was nice and shared. :)

 It's BBQ season and most likely you'll be invited to a BBQ and asked to bring something, right? Well, here's the perfect recipe for you to take. And believe me everyone will love you.
What's not to love? A huge Chocolate Chip cookie topped with a yummy cream cheese, powdered sugar, white chocolate mixture topped with fruit and to finish it...a chocolate drizzle. Oh My!
And for the 4th of July you could try using strawberries and blueberries for Red, White, and Blue.

The recipe asks for an 18 oz. pkg of refrigerated cookie dough, but I just used my sister's cookie recipe (included below) and measured 18 oz. (yep, used my scale). Or you could just split the dough in half and use the rest for yummy chocolate chip cookies and eat them all yourself. Well...I shared a few, and I might have eaten a few for breakfast.
OK back to the pizza...go to the store and buy what you need then get home and make this. Got it? Good, then I'm done. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Fruit Pizza
From: The Pampered Chef 'All the Best' cookbook

Prep Time: 30 min.          Bake Time: 12-15 min.
Cool Time: 1 Hr.             Chill Time: 30 min.

1 pkg. (18 oz.) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough or 18 oz. of homemade cookie dough
2 squares (1 oz. each) white chocolate for baking or 2 oz. white choc. chips
2 tbsp. Milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 C. thawed, Cool-Whip
12-16 strawberries, cut in half
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange segments, well drained
1/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape cookie dough into a ball and place in center of a baking stone or a large cookie sheet (if using a cookie sheet, spray with Pam or line with parchment paper). Roll dough to a 12-in circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are set. (Cookie will be soft. Do not overbake.)
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully loosen cookie from baking stone using a serrated knife; cool completely on baking stone or cookie sheet.
2. Place white chocolate and milk in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Microwave an additional 10-20 seconds if necessary. Cool slightly.
In another bowl combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; mix well. Gradually stir in white chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cooled cookie.
3. Arrange strawberries and mandarin oranges over cream cheese mixture.
Place chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle over fruit. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve.
Yield: 16 servings.



Friday Food Finds: Doughnut Edition

In honor of National Doughnut Day, yep it's today, I decided it would be fun to do my Friday Food Finds all about doughnuts. My kids and husband...ok and me....love doughnuts. Every once in awhile we'll go to the store and get a dozen doughnut holes (they're only $1) and the kids go crazy, literally :). And sometimes my hubby will surprise us and bring home a big box of a dozen doughnuts and then the kids really go crazy.
I know they aren't the healthiest thing to eat, but they're so good. So here are some yummy doughnut recipes for you to celebrate National Doughnut Day. Enjoy!!

I have never been disappointed by her recipes. And looking at these doughnuts I don't think they'll disappoint.

I love Doughnut Holes, so when I saw these I had to add them to my list.
Doughnut Holes + Chocolate= yum!

If doughnuts aren't really your thing then at least give these doughnut muffins a try.

Alright that's all I've got to share today. Now go make some doughnuts!!
(Pictures from Microsoft Word)