Monday, December 31, 2012

San Fransico Pork(crockpot)

I was looking for a new crockpot recipe the other day and found this one over at Mel's Kitchen cafe and decided to try it out. Ofcourse it was another good one. I think I have only had one of her recipes that we did not like all the rest we have added to our normal food lineup. If you want a new pork recipe to try that is easy and fairly quick to prepare give this one a try!! Please do not skip the browning of the meat it is an important step and adds flavor to the finished dish!!
San Fransico Pork
2 T. olive oil
3lbs pork loin or pork chops,(if using loin cut into large chunks)
2 T. minced garlic
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
6-8 T. brown sugar(use more if you want it sweeter us less if you want it mor salty)
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes(will not make is spicey just adds flavor)
3 T. Cornstarch
3 T. cold water
Chopped green onions, optional
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is simmering add the pork and brown each side. Transfer the pork to the crockpot. Add the garlic to the pan you browned the pork in and stir constantly until the garlic is golden and aromatic. Don't burn the garlic!! Then stir in the soy sauce, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour this over the pork in the crockpot. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7 hours or until the meat is tender. about 30 minutes before the cooking time is up- shred the meat a little. Stir the cornstarch with the cold water and add to the crockpot and mix well. Cover and continute to cook the last thirty minutes so the sauce with thicken a little. Serve over hot rice sprinkled with green onions and steamed veggies!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Tis the season for cookies and boy is this cookies tasty. I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe but I decided to add chocolate peanut butter to it and boy it was so good. With a tall glass of milk for dunking you just can't go wrong. If you need a new cookie to put on your cookie plates you take to your neighbors or friends this year give this one a try. It will not disappoint!!
Chocolate Peanut butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup chocolate peanut butter(I make my own but you can use nutella and pb (equal parts of each)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egss
2-3 cups flour
2 cups oats
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1/2 bag peanut butte chips
1/2 bag of M&M's
Cream butter and peanut butter/nutella with the sugar until light and fluffly. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Stir in the chocolate, pb chips and M&M's. Place Tablespoons sized balls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 325 for about 12-14 minutes. Cool on cookies sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack. Enjoy with a big glass of milk!! Or even better with a bowl of Ice cream. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Poppyseed Salad Dressing

This Salad dressing is absolutely the best salad dressing I have ever had and I love that it is easy and way better for you than buying those dressings off the shelf at the grocery store that have all the preservatives in them. If you want a wow salad dressing go make this and your taste buds and everyone else's will thank you!!! I found this over at Your home based mom!! She has a lot of great recipes so go check her site out!!
Poppyseed Salad Dressing
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yellow mustard(yes the stuff you out on a sandwhich)
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 half of a red onion, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake or mix well. Refrigerate for at least two hours but a little longer is better. It allows the flavors to blend together. Shake again before pouring over your favorite green salad.
Note: I always double this recipe and make it in a quart mason jar. Don't slice the onion small just slices like you would stick on your hamburger and place right down into the dressing. The flavor from the onion gives it great flavor!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lemon Bread

 All you lemon lovers out there. I have a recipe for you today!!!Oh where do I even begin with this bread! This bread is out of this world. It is fantastic-lemony
and sweet but not too sweet. It is a great bread to bake and take to someone!! They will thank you believe me. Anyway, if you want something lemony and delicious go make this bread!!!
Lemon Yogurt Bread
makes 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch)loaves
3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3 T. lemon zest from 3 large lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice(from the lemons that were zested)
4 T.  of sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the loaf pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub the mixture together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, oil, applesauce, 1/4 cup Lemon juice and yogurt. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepoared pans about 2/3 full and smooth the top. Bake the bread until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean, about 45-55 minutes and 16-25 minuts for muffins or mini loaves.  While the bread is baking, combine the other lemon juice and 4 T sugar in a small saucepan and let it come to a boil. Take it off the heat. When bread is done, take out of the pan and place on cooling rack. I poked holes in the top of the bread with a toothpick all over. Then I Gently poured the warm glaze over the top of the warm bread. Let the bread cool completely. Enjoy!!! So moist and flavorful!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lasagna Soup

Now who doesn't love a big 'ol plate of lasagna but hates to go to all of the work it takes to make it? Well then I have a recipe for you. This soup is quick, easy, and tastes amazing!! Tastes just like you are eating Lasagna with about half the work plus it is great for fall and winter season when soups just warm you right up!!! Eat this with homemade garlic bread and your tastebuds will thank you!! Please forgive my picture I like a lot of noodles in my soup but it really is a soupy soup just depending on how many noodles you add to each protion in the bowl!!

Lasagna Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 lb italian sausage(or just sausage)
2 onions, chopped
5 large carrots chopped(about 2 cups)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 T. fresh minced garlic
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1(6 oz) can tomato paste
4 bay leaves
2(28 oz each)cans of fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
12 c. beef broth
4 T. dried basil or 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb cooked pasta(I used campanelle but use whatever you like)
Cheese Topping:
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil or 1 T chopped fresh basil
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

In a large 8 quart pot, add the ground beef and Italian sausage and cook over medium high heat until almost cooked. Drain the grease and then add the carrots, onions, and celery and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the veggies begin to get a little tender. Add the garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes; stirring  constantly. Add the diced or crushed tomatoes(with juices), bay leaves and beef broth. Add the basil if using dried(if using fresh basil add in the next step).
Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Season the soup with the salt and pepper to taste and the fresh basil(if not using dried)
For the cheese mixture: in a small bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well.
To serve the soup, add a scoop of cooked pasta to a bowl. Top with a ladle or two of the soup and dollop with a generous spoonful of the cheese mixture. Serve immediately with a green salad and garlic bread!!

Note:  this makes a lot of soup but we like to have leftovers. This serves 8-10 people. So if you have a small family the recipe can be halved easily!!
Note: we use different pasta everytime. I let my kids take turns choosing the kind they like. So choose whatever you favorite is.
Note:I used 4 (14 oz each)cans of fire roasted tomatoes. I added two cans just as they are and then the other two cans I crushed in my food processor because my kids don't like too many chunky tomatoes in their soup!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chocolate Shortbread Bars with M&M's

A year ago I spied these yummy looking bars on Picky Palate and finally a year later got around to making these. They were so easy and so yummy. I used White chocolate candy corn M&M's(can be hard to find) but you can use any kind of M&M you like. I really think peanut butter or almond ones would be awesome in these but if you do spy a bag of White Chocolate candy corn ones grab them and give them a try they really are quite tasty. I was able to find some last Halloween after halloween and only paid $1.25 per bag. I just now used them and they still taste great. Anyway, these shortbread bars and oh so good. Please go make some now!!!

Chocolate Shortbread bars with M&M's
adapted from Picky Palate
4 sticks softened butter

1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil that’s been sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
2. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth, stirring.
4. Pour melted chocolate into mixer beating until well combined. Slowly add flour and salt until well combined. Dough will be thick.
5. Press dough into prepared pan and line with M&M’s, pressing in slightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.
6. Let cool completely and cut into squares.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pesto Alfredo Pasta

My kids love alfredo sauce and they love pesto. My friend gave me a bunch of fresh basil and so I decided to make pesto with it all and freeze it to use whenever because I can never use the basil fast enough before it goes bad here. So the other day I wanted something quick for dinner and so I had the thought to do alfredo and add a couple of spoonfuls of pesto to it. Man was it tasty. SOme of the best pasta ever!!! The pesto just puts the alfredo over the top. These sauce comes together in about 15 minutes so you can have dinner on the table in a snap with this recipe. Serve this with garlic bread and a lettuce salad!!!

Pesto Alfredo Sauce
For the Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil
1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 T. fresh garlic
3/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
3/4 cup parmesean cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
enough olive oil to make a smooth sauce (about 1/2 cup)

In a food processor blend all ingredients except olive oil until well blended. Then stream in olive oil and add enough to make a smooth sauce. Sometimes it take a little more than a half a cup sometimes less just depends on the consistency you like.
Note: I add spinach leaves to it because it stretches your buck because basil can be expensive if you don't grow it yourself and for the health factor as well and your kids and you will  never even taste the spinach at all!!!I usually do equal parts spinach to basil 
Note: I  use almonds because that is what I always have on hand and pine nuts are expensive and hard to find where I live. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts but taste great with almonds or walnuts.
Note: this makes quite a bit of sauce and with pesto a little bit goes a long way. Just put leftovers in a container or ziploc bag and freesze it. It keeps forever and you can take it out and use it whenever you need some!!!

Alfredo Sauce:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick of butter
1 -1 1/2 cups milk,any kind
3/4 -1 cup parmesean cheese
1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

In a saucepan combine all ingredients and cook on medium low until all melted and smooth. You may need to add additional milk if it is too thick. We like it thick though but do it to your liking.

For the Pesto alfredo:
Add a few large spoonfuls of pesto to your alfredo sauce and then serve with you favorite pasta. I used 1 lb of pasta and mixed it with the sauce but you can do individual servings if you like. Really this is a versatile recipe!!! Hope you Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Layer Cookie Bars

I am sure many of you have seen or even made similar versions of these cookie bars but let me tell you these cookie bars are amazing and oh so easy to make. If you need something easy and so tasty to make may I reccommend these. They are a must try for sure. Layers of yummy ingredients topped of with Sweetened condensed milk and dulce de leche. You can use the store bought Dulce but if you would like to make it homemade just go here for my recipe. It is super easy and so yummy even if you just eat it with a spoon. 10 Layer Bars 1/2 cup butter,melted 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers 1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips(sometimes I just use a whole bag) 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips(sometimes I just use a whole bag) 1 cup butterscotch chips 1 package english tofee baking pieces(the milk chocolate kind or plain whichever) 1 cup flaked coconut 2 cups pecans or almonds 14 oz sweetened condensed milk 14 oz dulche de leche Mix the melted butter and graham crackers, Press mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Layer in the reast of the ingredients in the order they are given. Bake in a preheated oven 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Avocado Feta Dip

As I was looking at all the food blogs I follow. I stumbled across this dip on MmmCafe and knew that I had to try this out. We love avocado and feta cheese in our house so I knew it had to be tasty. Chelsea over at MmmCafe said that her hubby loves to make this and they fight over who gets the last of it and I knew that is what would happen in our house. My hubby was gone for work, this past weekend but me, my 10 year old daughter and my almost 2 year old ate all of this dip up in one sitting!!(my almost 7 year old doesn't like avocado) It was amazing. The Dip is completely healthy for you as well. Avocados are a power food-so good and so good for you!!! Do yourself a favor and go make this dip now!!! Avocado Feta Dip 2 large avocados,diced and smashed a little not completely 1/3 cup feta cheese 1/2 tsp black pepper 3/4 tsp garlic salt 1/2 tsp onion powder juice of 1 lime Cilantro if desired(i didn't have any this time but will use for sure next time) Mix all together well and serve with chips or veggies or crackers. Note: don't completely smash the avocados it is better a little chunky!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teriyaki Meatballs

Do you need a new way to cook meatballs? Well I have a recipe for you if you do. We get tired of always having meatballs in spaghetti sauce and my hubby isn"t terribly crazy about sweet n sour sauce and he Loves Teriyaki sauce so I went on the hunt for a good recipe. This meatballs are tender and juicy and covered in salty/sweet sauce that is excellent over rice. Super easy dinner to put together great for any weeknight meal!!
Teriyaki Meatballs


2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

2/3 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 a medium onion,grated with box grater

3 tablespoons milk


1/2 cup soy sauce

1 3/4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or a Tablespoon Minced garlic(that is what I used)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

For the sauce, in a medium bowl mix the soy sauce, 1 3/4 cups water, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar, and honey together. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup cold water. Set both bowls aside.
For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the ground beef and mix well. Add the ground beef and mix until combined. Form ground beef mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a cookies sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. I love my crispy on the outside so I cook them a little bit longer. They stay super moist and tender even though they get crispy on outside.
While the meatballs are baking. Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil over medium heat on the stove. Once it boils pour in the cornstarch water mixture and continue to simmer the sauce until thickened. Next add the cooked meatballs to the sauce. Bring meatball mixture back to a boil and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over steamed rice!!

NOTE: I doubled the sauce ingredients because we like alot of extra sauce for our rice. If you don't want it very saucy at all stick to the original recipe.

Recipe Source:adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe


Monday, September 24, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip cookies

Oatmeal Raisin cookies are one of my all time favorite cookies. The crunchy chewyness from the oats, the chewy raisins, and the hint of cinnamon  just makes me happy. Or should I say my mouth happy. I have been on the hunt for an amazing recipe for them for years and I have finally found one. I am sure I got this off pinterest but am not for sure since I have so many recipes in my to try box that I sometimes forget where I get them all from. These cookies are not only chuck full of old fashioned oat and raisins but has cinnamon chips in them as well. The cinnamon puts this cookies over the top. Now I got my cinnamon chips from Walmart after the christmas season last year for $1 a bag. I think they are a seasonal item but I am not sure so if you can find them please splurge and buy them they really make the cookies incredible. And if you have someone who is skeptical of a cookie full of oats and raisins tell them to just try them and they won't regret it believe me. My little 6 year old didn't want anything to do with them so I forced him to try a bite and he couldn't get enough of them. He chose them over chocolate chips cookies and that is never heard of in our house!!!

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned oats
(you can use quick oats but we prefer the old fashioned)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 pkg cinnamon chips
1 cup raisins or craisins(I used a combo of both)

Preheat oven to 325. Mix the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla. Mix in the soda, salt, cinnamon, oats, and flour and mix well. Stir in the chips and raisins/craisins. Drop by spoonfuls onto a pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray and Bake for 10-13 minutes or until starting to look done. They are better taken out when they still look a little underdone in the middle. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then Enjoy!!!!Slightly crispy outside and perfectly chewy inside!!!!

Note:the dough is softer than a chocolate chip cookie dough and should be it will stick to you fingers don't be tempted to add more flour or they will be to dry. Believe me I have made this mistake before!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kalua Pork

This pork is AMAZING!!! Let me tell you if you want an easy meal this is one for you. It takes some thought before hand because it takes hours of cooking time but with only three ingredients, well I guess four if you count water, it only take 5 minutes to put together and throw in the oven and then hours later you have an intensely juicy flavorful pork. Ever since my husband had this at some friends house while I was out of town and told me how wonderful it was I knew we needed to try it at home. I found this recipe over at Mel's kitchen Cafe. We ate this with rice and roasted veggies. This recipe makes a ton but it freezes well and you can also use it in a variety of other things like enchiladas, quesadillas, soup, egg rolls, potstickers, pulled pork sandwiches, etc.
Kalua Pork
10-12 lbs pork butt shoulder roast(I used a mixture of a butt shoulder roast, pork loin, and  pork sirloin roast-just don't use all pork loin or your meat will be too dry you need the fatter roast)
2-3 T. sea salt or kosher salt
1 bottle liquid smoke
1 1/2 cup water

PLace the pork in a roasting pan.Rub the salt all over the pork roasts. Pour the bottle of liquid smoke all over and around the roasts. Pour the water over. Cover the roasting pan TIGHTLY!!! with tin foil and place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 5-7 hours(i did mine for 6 and it was perfect) Do not open and look at the meat it needs to stay covered so the steam can make the meat super moist and tender. Take out after the 7 hours and shred with two forks and serve with rice.
Note: don't be tempted to cook the meat quicker at a higher temp it will make the meat tough and I have read from others they did this in a crock pot covered with tin foil and lid on LOW HEAT for 14-16 hours again the stressed not doing it on high heat and less hours

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pizza Hut Pan Pizza

Let me tell you folks that this pizza is THE BEST HOMEMADE PIZZA we have ever had!!! Believe me I have tried a lot of pizza recipes and never have i had one that is better. My husband said please don't make any other pizza ever again!!! I found this awhile back on pinterest and since then we have made it 3 times. Now this is not a skinny pizza recipe it is full fat and full flavor but as I have said before it is pizza Pizza isn't the most healthy thing in the world so on the occasion that you make it make it as the recipe calls don't alter it or it won't be as good believe me I have tried. All things in moderation is my motto. This crust is buttery, crunchy bottom, tender, delicious, and easy to make!!
Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
2 T olive oil(for dough)
6 oz. melted butter and 3 oz olive oil, mixed(for the pans 3 oz per each pan)
Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in the bowl of your mixer. Add the water and stir well to mix. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast bubbly. Add the oil and stir. Add the flour one cup at a time and mix until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surfaced and knead for about 10 minutes(I do this in my kitchen aid with the dough hook) Dough should be smooth slightly tacky but not stick to your hands. After you knead it divide the dough into three balls. In three 9 inch round cake pans or cast iron skillets, put 3 oz or the oil butter mixture into the bottom of each and spread it out evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 9 inch circle and place in the buttered cake pans. Cover with a plate. Place in a warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After it raises slather with pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Bake at 475 degrees for about 30 minutes or until all the crust is golden brown and cheese it bubbly!!!
Note: I triple the recipe so that we have enough for the 3 cake pans and 2 cookies sheets for cheesy breadsticks(recipe for those coming later)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

7-UP Biscuits

I found the recipe for these easy and delicious biscuits on Pinterest awhile back and knew I had to try them out. I thought that there was no way that they would be near as good as my other bicuit recipe using only 4 ingredients but let me tell you they were good!!Now they weren't quite as good as my other ones I have on this blog but they come in a close second and they are way faster to make than my other ones. These are good for a quick evening meal or when you are in a hurry for breakfast. Please gives these babies a try they won't disappointed Slathered in butter and honey or jam they are awesome!!

7- UP Biscuits
4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream(I used 1/2 sour cream and 1/2 cup greek yogurt)
1 cup 7-up or lemon lime soda(at room temp)
1/2 cup melted butter

In a large bowl, mix the bisquick and the sour cream/yogurt and mix very well. Pour in the 7-UP and stir until combined. The dough will be very soft. Sprinkle another 1/2-1 cup bisquick onto a clean counter-top and gently pat dough out to desired thickness(about 1 inch). Use a biscuit cutter and cut out the biscuits.(got about 14. 2 of mine didn't fit in pan) Pour the melted butter into a 9x13 inch pan. Place the biscuits into the buttery pan. Bake at 450 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. I had to bake mine more like 15-17 minutes but just back them till the look down. Oven temps are so different depending on the oven so I suggest setting your timer for 10 min and then looking at them. Add additional cook time if needed. Serve warm with butter, honey, and jam!!! Or make sausage, egg biscuits!! Yumm!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Korean Beef over Rice

I came across this recipe the other day while on the internet and it really caught my attention because it was an asian dish using ground beef and usually these kind of recipes involve steak and it is hard to always chose a steak that is tender enough and not chewy but cheap and doesn't kill our budget as well. So ofcourse when I see a yummy asian style recipe using ground beef(so much cheaper than steak) I knew I had to give it a try. Not only was it delicious but it was so easy and came together in about 30-40 minutes(depending on how long you simmer it)If you need a fast and delicious meal give this baby a try and might I add it is even good enough to serve to a household full of guests as well.

Korean Beef

2lbs lean ground beef
2 medium onions chopped
1-2 T minced garlic
1-1 1/2 cup brown sugar(if you like it sweeter add the 1 1/2)
1 1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil plus 1-2 tsp more for sauce
1-2 T, crushed red pepper flakes(depending on how spicey you like things-I did 2 T. and it wasn't even to spicey for my kids they loved it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, diced(don't skip this it add to the dish)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the 2 T.  sesame oil and ground beef and cook until almost done. Drain most of the fat and add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender. Meanwhile, in a bowl Whisk the brown sugar, soy sauce,1-2 tsp sesame oil, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes. pour this mixture over the beef and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes so the flavors can blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over steamed rice and top with the green onions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Greek Yogurt

Today I have an awesome recipe for you all!!! Have you all jumped on the greek yogurt bandwagon? well if you haven't you need to!! Greek yogurt not only is thick and creamy but it is oh so good for you. It is packed with calcium and protein(i mean it has 2x the protein regular yogurt has) and lets not forget how good yogurt is for our digestive systems. Anyway, I switched my family over to greek yogurt a few months back but as many of you may know it is really pricey especially for those of us on a tight budget. So I was so happy to find a recipe to make yogurt or greek yogurt at home on one of my friends blogs. Go here to see her blog she has a lot of  great recipes and info on there!! I tried it out last night and it was so easy and so cheap and so creamy and yummy. All it takes is time people so you have to be patient but it couldn't be easier!!  It is so important for us all to be more self sufficient so get up and make yourself some yogurt!!

Greek Yogurt/Yogurt
(makes about 6 cups greek yogurt but would make way more regular yogurt)
3/4 of a gallon of milk(anykind fat free, 2% or whole doesnt matter)
3/4 cup plain yogurt(for a starter to get the process going)
1/2 cup powdered milk(optional) it makes the yogurt creamier especially if you are using a no fat or lower fat content milk
mesh colander/strainer and cheesecloth or I used a flour sack towel(cause I didn't want to have to spend money on cheesecloth)

Pour your milk into your crockpot.(I have a 4 qt one that I used if you want to make more yogurt use your bigger crockpot just make sure your milk and yogurt ratio match up)
Heat the milk until it reaches 180 degrees(this took about 2 hrs for me) when it reaches 180 unplug your crock, take the lid off and let cool until it is around 110 degrees. In a seperate bowl mix together the plain yogurt and powdered milk and stir well. When your milk reaches 110, add your yogurt mixture and stir well. Place the lid back on and wrap the crockpot in a blanket till it is all covered with it. Let it sit on the counter for about 6 hours(i only had to let mine sit for 5)just until it is thick like yogurt. You will notice a watery substance on the top, this is the whey You can mix it in and put your yogurt in the fridge and it is ready to eat when chillled.
If you want Greek Yogurt you will need to place your flour sack towle or a couple layers of cheesecloth in a mesh strainer and place it over a bowl. Pour your yogurt into the lined strainer, put it in the fridge and let some of the whey strain out. Check it after a few hours to see if it is thick enough and if not, let it sit and strain some more.
You can make the yogurt or greek yogurt exactly how you like it. Add pureed fruit to it or chopped up berries or add a little agave or honey for sweetness because it is plain yogurt and will be a bit sour. I added honey and pure vanilla extract to mine and it was wonderful.

THis is how I ate if for breakfast with a little sprinkle of granola and a cut up banana. So good

This is what it looks like. believe me it is really creamy and smooth despite what the picture looks like and if you want it to look really smooth just whip it with a wire whisk for a few minutes.
Oh and don't throw your whey away. The liquid left in the bowl use it to replace the liquid in your bread or pancake recipes or to replace the buttermilk in biscuit recipes. Or add to smoothies. This stuff is oh so good and protein packed as well!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dulce de Leche

Oh my where do I begin with this stuff. I have had this recipe on my to make list for quite sometime now and finally decided to try it out since I had another recipe I wanted to try that needed some Dulce de leche. Anyway both recipes were a success and let me tell this could not be any easier and I will never pay for dulce de leche in the store!! If you want some yummy caramely goodness give this easy recipe a try!! You will not be disappointed believe me. I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen cafe. Crockpot Dulche de Leche Makes 1 1/2 cups 2 (14-ounces each) cans sweetened condensed milk 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste, optional 3 (1/2 pint each) canning jars with lids and rings or I used 1 pint jar and 1 half pint jar because that is what I had Water Open the cans of sweetened condensed milk and portion them equally into the three canning jars. Wipe the tops and sides of the canning jars, if needed, in case any of the sweetened condensed milk spilled down the sides. Place a lid and ring on the canning jar and screw tightly to seal. Put the three canning jars in a slow cooker and cover with water by one inch. It doesn’t matter whether the jars are laying on their side or standing up straight – do what works best for the size of slow cooker you have. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to low for 8-9 hours, until the dulce de leche is deep golden brown. Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and let them cool. If desired, open the jars and stir in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into each jar. Replace the lids and rings and store in the refrigerator. Do not turn the heat up to high and cook for less time or you will have a sticky burnt mess!!! Use as a dip or ice cream topping or in some of your favorite desserts instead of sweetened condensed milk!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Updated Falafel

Just thought I would update my picture of this yummy dish. These are so great when you don't want something hot since we are in the middle of the hot summer. Sorry for those of you who have already seen this recipe but I know I have new people come and visit my site so here is an oldie but a goodie.We love all kinds of food from all over the world around our house. My husband had to live over in Egypt for a time for school and ate a lot of falafel over there. It is one of there main staples. They eat it inside pita bread as a sandwich. We love these little fried patties ever since he asked me to make them. We have been making them for years. Even if you think you don't like garbanzo beans you must give these babies a try. paired with pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese(or whatever cheese you like for that matter), avocados, and yogurt cucumber sauce make these irresistible!!

1 can garbanzo beans(chickpeas)drained and rinsed
1/2 large onion roughly chopped(about 1 cup)
2 T. fresh parsley or you can use 1 T. dried
2 T. fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp. dried hot red pepper(depending on how hot you want it)
4 cloves, or 2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 T. flour (I ended up using almost 10 T.)

Put onion, parsley, cilantro, hot pepper, salt, garlic, and cumin in a food processor or blender and blend till onion is small. Dump in the beans and process until well blended but not totally pureed. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 T. of flour and pulse. YOu want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered for several hours. Form the chickpea mixture into little patties about the size of a sausage patty. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees and fry the patties for a few minutes, or until browned, on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve with pita bread, and any toppings you would like as I mentioned above.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Garlic Herb Butter Spread

Where do I begin with this wonderful butter spread? It is truely out of this world delicious!!! It is awesome on any kind of bread or roll(except sweet breads ofcourse) but we first had it on the rosemary bread I I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe just like the rosemary bread recipe. If you love butter spreads go try this one you won't be disappointed and just try to only have one slice of bread!! You won't be able to stop believe me!!!

Garlic Herb Spread
Makes about 2 cups spread
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp basil
1/4 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy and smooth. Add the spices and herbs and mix until well combined. Serve at cool room temperature with slices of bread. Keep leftovers in the fridge. Keeps for a long time!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Berry swirled Cheesecake

As I have said before on this little blog, I love love cheesecake!! I already have a great plain cheesecake recipe but I wanted to spice it up a little bit so I decided to add some triple berry pie filling to the batter. It was yummy and  nice to have a cheesecake with a little bit of something else in it and that my kids weren't a mess after. 
Berry Swirled Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

4 (8 oz each)pkgs of cream cheese at room temp.

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cream

4 eggs, room temp.

1 cup sour cream

1 T. vanilla

1/4 cup flour

1(20 Oz) can triple berry pie filling(or filling of your choice)

Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into a 9 inch springform pan. Beat the cream cheese, add the sugar and mix until creamy and smooth. Beat in the cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating only to incoporate. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla and flour and mix till well combined. Fold in the pie filling and mix. Pour over the crust. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center is almost set. Turn off the oven and let sit in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Take out let the cheesecake come to room temp than put in th fridge overnight or for 3-4 hours until chilled.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zucchini Bread

Summer is in full bloom here and those of you who grow gardens know that if you plant zucchini you always have it coming out your eyes and ears. Now where we live I can't plant a garden(i would if I could)but several of my friends do and they always give me a lot of stuff from there gardens that they can't eat. I sure do love being able to have that and am thankful they are willing to generously share with us. I was given a bunch of zucchini the other day from my friend Tami and after we had some for dinner I decided to make zucchini bread with the rest of it. Now I didn't have a zucchini bread recipe in my Arsenal so I decided to go looking for one. Not a single one really jumped out at me so I just made this one up on my own and it was so yummy!!Your kids won't even know there is zucchini in there unless you tell them. So If you love zucchini bread and you have it coming out your ears give this bread a try it won't disappoint!!!
Zucchini Bread
 1 1/2 cup butter(don't substitute for anything else)
 2 cups sugar
 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup greek yougurt
 4 tsp vanilla
 4 cups grated zucchini(skin and all no need to peel it)
 4 c. whole wheat flour
 2 c. flour
2 T. cinnamon
 1 1/2 tsp salt
 2 tsp baking soda
 2 tsp. baking powder

Cream the softened butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. add the eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla and greek yougurt and mix well. Stir in the zucchini. In a another bowl mix all the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and just stir until combined. Do not overmix. Pour into greased bread pans and Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Makes 5-8x4 inch loaves.
Just cut recipe in half if you don't want so many loaves.
They do freeze well or you can give some to your neighbors. They will thank you!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

Yet another crockpot success!!! I love finding recipes that I can put in the crockpot at lunch and forget about it until it is time to eat at dinner. This chicken was creamy and delicious with just a little hint of spice and if you make it with yougurt instead of the sour cream it is very healthy for you which is a winner in my book as well.  
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
6 boneless chicken breasts(about 4 oz each)
1 onion chopped(optional)
1 T. fresh minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1(16 oz) jar green salsa, any brand you like)
2 cans white beans,drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt(can use low fat or fat free) I used 1 cup greek yogurt and 1/2 cup full fat sour cream

Plave chicken in the slow cooker(frozen or thawed) Mix all the other ingredients, except the sour cream/yogurt and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. About 30 minutes before you want to eat.  Shred the chicken and put back into the crockpot and add the sour cream/yogurt. Let it Heat through then serve over rice of your choice or quinoa.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Cake

So I posted this cake a few years ago but I made it again for my hubby's birthday just a few weeks ago and finally took a better picture of it so I thought that I would repost the recipe with the better picture plus I am sure some of you didn't even know I had posted this. This cake is delicious and so easy!! One of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had trust me!! if you are craving a chocolate cake go make this one quick!!!!
>Chocolate Truffle Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 stick of butter
1-16 oz container sour cream
5 eggs
1 large box chocolate pudding(8oz)
1 bag chocolate chips (your choice)

Combine cake and pudding mixes. Then create a well in the middle of mixture and dump the sour cream, melted butter, and eggs in. Mix all together until well combined; the mixture will be really thick. Then dump in the chocolate chips and stir. Pour into a well greased bundt cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Let cool 10 minutes them flip it out onto a serving platter. Frost with chocolate frosting or it is great without frosting as well. Chocolate Chip Frosting 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup milk 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips(I use milk chocolate but use whatever you like) 2 tsp. vanilla 1/2 stick butter In a saucepan bring to boil the sugar, milk, and butter and boil for 45 seconds. Take off heat and add the chocolate chips and the vanilla stir until smooth. Let cool for about 10 minutes then spread over cooled cake!!! Yummy!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Balsamic Butter Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

So I found this gem of a recipe over at Mel's Kitchen cafe. I spotted it awhile ago and have had it bookmarked to try. Since asparagus was on sale here last week I decided to pick some up and finally give this recipe a try. Now if you don't like asparugus or it is a little pricey you can always use broccoli or fresh green beans. They would be just as good in this recipe. We love pasta and i have to say that I am more adventurous in that department than my hubby and kids. They are kind of boring and usually only like a red sauce or alfredo so when they claimed they really liked this I was excited!!! This dish is super easy and comes together fast. It is great for a weeknight meal when you are in a hurry and short on time. If you want a lighterish(I am sure I made that word up)and fast supper give this pasta a try!!!  

Balsamic Butter Pasta with Roasted Asparagus
Serves 4-6
1 lb fresh asparagus, green beans, or broccoli
1 T. olive oil 
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 lb your choice of pasta
4 T. butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, plus more for Serving

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Snap the tough ends off the asparugus and throw away. Cut the asparagus in 1 inch pieces,(if using green beans do the same and if using broccoli just into bite size pieces)Put the asparugus or whatever veg you are using on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper. Roast in the oven till tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the asparugus roasts, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the vinegar is reduced to about 3 T, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and an additional 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Remove from the heat.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When done drain water. Return to pot and toss the pasta with the vinegar mixture and butter. Toss to combine well. add the asparagus (veggie of your choice) and the parmesan cheese and mix well. Serve immediately with more cheese. French bread and a green salad!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slow Cooker Sweet n Sour Chicken

Another Crock pot Recipe and who doesn't love putting dinner in the pot in the morning and forgetting about it till dinner and it is done. It is simple and delicious. Like I have mentioned many times before we are suckers for all things that you can serve over rice. My kids ofcourse gobbled this up and I am sure yours will to. Sweet and tangy all in one this is a winner!!!
Slow Cooker Sweet n Sour Chicken
 1 cup water 1 cup brown sugar I used dark brown but either kind will do
 1 cup white sugar
 2/3 cup red wine vinegar(or you can use white)
 6 T. lemon juice
 6 T. Soy sauce
 6 T. tomato paste
 1 T. fresh minced garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp ground ginger
 1/4 tsp peppe
r 1 tsp Siracha hot sauce(find in asian section of all stores)
 5-6 chicken breasts
, chopped in large chunks
 1 whole onion chopped
 1 green or red bell pepper chopped(I didn't have one but will use one next time)
 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple(can use canned but doesn't taste as good if you ask me)
 2/3 cup water
 2/3 cup cornstarch
 Mix the first 11 ingredients in the crock pot and mix well. Add the chicken, onion, pepper, and pineapple pieces and mix well. Place the lid on it and cook on low for 5-6 hours until chicken is cooked and tender. About 45 mins-1 hour before eating mix the 2/3 cup water and cornstarch pour in the the chicken in crockpot and stir well. Let cook for 45min-1 hour more. Serve over white or brown rice!!! Yum!!! Note: if you like your veggies and pineapple crispier and not so mushy than add them when you add the cornstarch and water mixture. It us up to you to do it how you like it!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

So I need to begin by saying this bread is divine especially as toast. I have always loved me some cinnamon swirl bread but it is so expensive in the stores for a tiny little loaf so about a year and a half ago I went on the hunt for a good homemade recipe. I never found one that I totally loved so I decided to creat my own and add pumpkin to it another one of my favorite things. Now who doesn't love pumpkin with cinnamon I mean come on. If you are the bread making kind of person I highly encourage you to give this bread a try. The recipe makes 6 loaves. I usually make all 6 and freeze half of them so we can have it when we want but you are more than welcome to scale down the recipe for your needs.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
 1 1/2 cup warm water
 1 1/2 cup warm milk(I used whole but I am sure any would work)
 3 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
 4 eggs,room temp
 2/3 cup canola oil(or vegetable)
 1 1/3 cup brown suga
r 2 2/3 cup pumpkin
 2 tsp salt
 3/4 tsp ginger
 3/4 tsp nutmeg
 1 T. cinnamon
 1 c. raisins or craisins(optional I have made with both)
 1/2 c. ground flax seeds
 13-15 cups flour(I used half white and half whole wheat)
 1/2-1 cup butter, softened(just use how much you like. sometimes I use the whole cup sometimes less)
 1- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
 4-5 T. cinnamon
 In a large bowl or bowl of your mixer, place the warm water and milk yeast and sugar. Mix and let stand for about 10 minutes until mixture is foamy and yeast dissolved and activated. Next add the eggs, oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, salt, ginger, nutmeg, 1 T. cinnamon, flax seeds, and half of the flour and mix until well combined. Continue mixing in the rest of the flour until you have a soft, pliable dough but not a sticky dough. HOw much flour you add depends on the humidity and altitude you are at. I always add more flour because I live in a humid place. Add in the craisins or raisins if using. Dump dough out and knead by hand a few times. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and let raise till doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, spread some butter over all the surface, sprinkle with desired amount of brown sugar and cinnamon, then roll up jelly roll style and form a loaf and place in a greased bread pan. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces. YOu may use more or less amounts of the filling ingredients depending on your preference but we tend to like a lot of filling in ours. Cover the loafs and let raise till doubled in size again, take about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm your home is. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve with butter Yummm!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I found these little gems on pinterest and new I had to try them out. Boy where they divine!! For all you peanut butter and chocolate fans out there this recipe is for you. So simple to make and fast as well. If you need a peanut butter and chocolate fix these babies are for you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
1 pound white chocolate(i just used white chocolate chips)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or 12 oz of chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream(no sustitutions)

Line a 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan with parchment or waxed paper, leaving an overhang. Melt your white chocolate in the microwave for about one minutes, stir until chocolate is melted and creamy. Add the peanut butter and stir until blended and smooth. You may need to microwave an additional few seconds to get chocolate to melt all the way. (i had too but watch closely don't cook to long) Spread this mixture into your pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until a bit firm.

In another bowl melt the chocolate or chocolate chips with the heavy cream in 30 second increments(in the microwave), stiring after each increment, until smooth and creamy. Pour over the peanut butter mixture . Chill for 3 hours or until set. Later, lift out the candy and cut into small squares or shapes with a quality small cookie cutter.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mongolian Beef

What can I say this recipe was a winner!!! All things Chinese are loved in our household and this did not disappoint. I found this recipe about a week ago on Pinterest and just knew we had to try it out. Boy was it tasty even the leftovers were great and the sauce that goes over the beef is good just by itself over rice. If you like Chinese you better give this recipe a try. Now it does require frying in oil so it is not a skinny dish but eat lots of steammed veggies alongside and make yourself feel a little bit better about it!

Mongolian Beef(this is doubled cut in half if have small family)
2 lbs Flank steak
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T Hoisin Sauce
1 cup cornstarch
2 T oil
1 tsp ginger, fresh minced or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 T minced garlic
1 1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 c water
1- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar(or light)
1-2 tsp sesame oil
1 T. hoisin sauce
vegetable or canola oil for frying(about 1-1/2 cups)

Cut the steak against the grain into really really thin slices(easiest to do this when meat is partially frozen)in medium size bowl, mix the 1/2 cup soy sauce and the 2 T. hoisin sauce and place cut steak into bowl and mix till well coated. Put in fridge for 1-2 hours. Then take out and dredge with the cornstarch until each piece is evenly coated and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the 2 T. oil in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Don't get the oil too hot. Add the ginger and garlic to pan and saute for a few minutes making sure not to burn the garlic or ginger, Then add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce.Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat. if you want your sauce thicker while it is still boiling add a little cornstarch mixed with water to it.

Next heat the 1 1/2 cups oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Heat till nice and hot but not smoking. Add the beef and cook until browned and cooked through. Since the beef is really thin this should only take a few minutes. I also had to do mine in batches. When cooked take out of oil and place on paper towels to soak up the extra oil. When all the beef is cooked you can coat it with the sauce and eat over rice or you can do what we did and keep the sauce and beef seperate(so the sauce doesn't make beef soggy) and dish up a little rice, beef and sauce onto each individual plate with steamed veggies. oh and sprinkle with chopped green onions if desired!! Yum!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Toffee Chip Bars

So I have a recipe for bars similar to these called Chocolate Toffee Chip bars but one day I felt like changing them up. That is what I love about cooking is that you don't need to always follow a recipe to a "T" you can make it your own but adding things that you family likes or you like. Anway, I had some of the cinnamon chips laying around that I had gotten on clearance at Walmart for a dollar a bag and decided I needed to use them so these babies were born. They are very yummy and if you don't have cinnamon chips just use whichever kind you would like. Be creative!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Toffee Chip Bars
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup oats (any kind you have will do)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 pkg milk chocolate chips(or semi sweet)
1 pkg cinnamon chips
1(14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg toffe bits

Stir together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and mix really well. Stir in half the package of the milk chocolate chips and 1/2 the package of the cinnamon chips. Reserve 2 cups of this mixture for the top. Press the remaining dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 dgrees. Take out and immediately pour the sweetened condensed milk over the crust. Sprinkle with the toffee bits and then sprinkle the remaining dough over the milk and bits. Sprinkle with remaining half package of milk chocolate and cinnamon chips. Then return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes more or until set and golden brown.Let cool and just try and not dig into them with a spoon before cuttin them into bars!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rosemary Bread

When I saw this Bread over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe I just knew I had to try it. If you haven't figured this out yet I love bread in all forms. And homemade bread is just out of this world. It is hard for my family and I to even stomach store bought bread anymore. Now I know that some of you are scared to make bread but just let me tell you that you won't get better at it unless you practice. Just like playing an instrument or sports or whatever the more you practice the better you get at it. It took me a couple years to get really good at it. The first few times I attempted it flopped and I mean flopped. I was very discouraged but decided to keep trying and what do you know I can now make just about any kind of bread. So my advice to you all out there is give this bread and all bread a try. Keep practicing and you will not be disappointed. I served this bread with spaghetti. It had a nice crusty outside and soft interior. So good for dipping in sauce but would also be good dipped in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We ate it the next day as toast slathered in butter and it was amazing!!!

Rosemary Bread
1 T. instant yeast or 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 T. Sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 3/4 -4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T. dried rosemary, chopped and divided
2 T. Melted butter
Coarse salt, parm cheese, and garlic powder for sprinkling

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture stand until foaming and bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. If using instant yeast, proceed with recipe. Add two cups of the flour, salt, and 1 T. of the chopped rosemary. Mix. Continue adding flour, gradually, until a soft dough forms. Judge the dough based on textures and feel vs. how much actual flour you have added. The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch but should hold it's shape while still being soft and smooth. Knead the douch by hand or with the mixer for 4-5 minutes, adding flour only if the dough is sticky and not clearing the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours depending on the warmth of your house. Once doubled, gently deflate the dough and divide in half. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment papper or a silpat liner. Shape the dough into two smooth oval shaped loaves and place on the baking sheet, one on each half of the tray so they have room to rise and bake without touching. Use a brush to slather on the melted butter over the top of the loaves. Continue brushing the butter until it is gone(the loaves will be well saturated)Sprinkle each loaf with salt, parm cheese, garlic powder and additional chopped rosemary if desired. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise again utnil puffy and nearly doubled, about and hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the loaves for 18-20 minutes until browned and baked through. Transfer to a cooling rack and just try and not eat both loaves in one sitting!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mac 'n Cheese

Growing up we occasionally had boxed Macaroni and cheese because it was quick to make and cheap for our big family of 8. I actually really liked it and still to this day I do but there is just something about homemade that is just out of this world. I absolutely love homemade mac n cheese and pretty much that is the only kind we eat around here. I have been searching for just the right recipe for it and I have finally found one I like. You see because I like mine to taste more like just melted cheese over noodles than noodles with a melted velveeta cheese sauce. Mine also has to be baked in the oven with a little extra cheese and bread crumbs(preferably from homemade bread)on top. So if you love HOmemade Mac N cheese you better go give this recipe a try you family will thank you for it!!! Oh and one more thing don't try to skinny this recipe with skim milk and such it just won't be as good. It is mac n cheese for goodnesssake just enjoy it! YOu have to be able to indulge sometimes just run and extra mile in your workout the day you make it if that makes you feel better!!!

Macaroni and Cheese
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
5 cups whole milk
2 lbs grated cheddar cheese or half cheddar half pepperjack
4 tsp (heaping) dry ground mustard(found in spice isle)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 lb of favorite shaped pasta(we like elbows or bowties but use what you like)
1-2 cups bread crumbs

Cook pasta until al dente according to pkg directions. Meanwhile melt the butter in a large pot. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute stirring so it doesn't burn. Whisk in the milk, mustard, salt, season salt, and pepper and continue stirring and cooking for five to ten minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low and add in the grated cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Dump in the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan or large casserole dish. Top with a little extra cheese and sprinkle with as much bread crumb as you like. I tend to go closer to 2 cups but do what you and your family likes. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Yum!!!!

Note: if you like the gooey cheesy kind of mac n cheese than don't bake it just eat it right away!!