Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7-Up Bread

     This is another recipe I sort-of got from Pinterest. The original one going around was for biscuits, but I think the fact that I didn't actually use sour cream made mine turn out more like bread. But I have to say, it was very delicious bread. It was so buttery! It's the perfect quick bread for your dinner.

1/2 Tbl lemon juice
enough milk to make 1/2 cup
2 cups Bisquick (I used the heart healthy kind)
1/2 cup 7-Up (I actually use Sierra Mist Natural)
1/4 cup melted butter

  • Mix the lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Mix bisquick with the lemon juice milk.  Add 7-Up. This will make a very soft dough.
  • Melt 1/4 cup butter in an 8x8 pan. 
  • Spread dough into buttered pan.
  • Bake at 450* until golden brown.

Cinnamon Streusal French Toast

     This is the best baked french toast I've ever had. The streusal topping makes this stand out among others. It literally melts in your mouth. I didn't even need to serve this with syrup because it makes it's own gooey sauce. Another difference is the use of whatever bread you want. There is no need for french bread or cinnamon bread, though I'm sure these would be wonderful. I used half a loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread that needed to be used up.
      Basically, I made the same egg dip as I would for normal french toast, soaked it overnight, and added a streusal topping before baking. It was simple and didn't include nuts which my family doesn't like. The outcome was delicious.
     I used a combination of milk and heavy cream for a more rich flavor. You could just use milk if you like. I also used both egg whites and whole eggs, because I had some egg whites leftover from something else. If you want, just use 4 eggs instead of a combo.

Make in 8x8 pan for families of 3-4 or 9x13 (double recipe) for bigger groups

1/2 loaf of bread (I used whole wheat sandwich bread)
4 egg whites  (Or just use 4 whole eggs total)
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups combination milk/heavy cream
6 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl vanilla

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

  • Spray 8x8 pan with oil. Cut bread into cubes, and place evenly in the pan.
  • Mix eggs, milk/cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Use a spatula to smash the bread down so it is all coated.
  • Cover pan and store in refrigerator several hours or overnight.
  • In a separate bowl, make streusal: combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter pieces and mix until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Cover and store mixture in refrigerator.
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350*. 
  • Sprinkle the streusal over french toast and bake for about 30 minutes or until french toast is set and golden. (If you are making a 9x13: bake for 45-55 minutes!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Plan Feb 26-Mar 3

        Has this "winter" induced crazy sickness in your house? It's like it hasn't been cold enough to kill all the germs, so they are sticking around and making everyone sick.
        Well, week one of the monthly plan wasn't exactly a success. We ended up going out to eat two times! Luckily, I planned for some eating out, so it shouldn't mess up the whole month. I'm feeling much better now, and will probably cook everything on my menu this week.
     Towards the end of last week, I did even manage to try some new things. One was what I will from now on call "The world's best baked french toast" recipe. Seriously, it was so good! The other was a change up of my Mamaw's cherry delight recipe. I'll be sharing them sometime in the near future.

The plan:
Cheesy Sausage Potatoes (Breakfast for Dinner)
Chicken Gyros (with homemade pita!)
Sloppy Joes, Veggies, fruit
Black bean, Corn, and Quinoa
Oven-Fried Chicken (with Almonds!), broccoli, fruit salad
Breakfast Pizza Maybe I'll try to get a better picture this time!
Veggie Casserole (I hope this new recipe goes over well...my family thinks they are anti-vegites!)

make-over cherry blueberry delight
cookies (we'll probably be forced to eat the extras from cookie bakers day...)
cheese sticks, olives

Click here for other menu plans from Menu Plan Monday

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Feb 19-25

     Well, this is the first week of my menu plan for the whole month. I think it was a success...I went to the grocery on Friday and spent way less than I do in a whole month. I plan to go back every week for milk. I heard some say they freeze milk, but I don't have room for that...and it freaks me out a little. I hope this is the beginning of buying less impulse buys and saving time and energy that I just don't have anymore. Here's this week plan:

Pizza deal box from Pizza hut
Deep Dish Spaghetti
Chili, cornbread
Ham, veggies, fruit
Cheesy (turkey) Sausage Potatoes
(oven)Breaded Chicken, veggies, fruit
Pork Chops Italiano

Other snacks/mini meals

linked up to Menu Plan Monday

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ham & Cheese Rollup

     My husband has deemed this the "best ham & cheese ever."  I guess there isn't anything else to say. It was simple, quick, and tasty. These are great for a quick and light dinner.You could add more flavor to this if you want to make it more "gourmet". Adding fresh basil leaves or even just some spicy mustard would be awesome. My husband likes plain things...as in the only condiment he ever needs is ketchup, so I left these plain so I wouldn't have to worry about which rolls had mustard or didn't.

1 pkg crescent rolls
deli ham
cheese (We used Provolone)
Opt: mustard, basil leaves, cream cheese, etc.

  • Remove the crescent rolls from package. Separate them so you have 4 rectangles (two triangles together).
  • Roll out the rectangles to press the seams together
  • Layer ham and cheese (and other toppings) onto the rolls.
  • Roll them up and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake according to crescent roll directions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

m&m cookies

     One day, I was wasting time searching the Internet. I found lots of cookie and other great looking recipes, when I remembered I have this box of recipes from my Momaw. I think she must have been the best cookie maker in the world. My favorite cookie of all time was her specialty. I've also tried these very good cookies: Simple Sugar Cookies, Sour Cream Cookies, and Brownies (She didn't spike hers!) One recipe I have been meaning to try was her famous chocolate chip cookies. My cousin was talking about them, and I wondered why I had never had them. I asked my Dad and he laughed. Apparently, she gave them as a Christmas gift every year, and my dad and mom hid them and ate them before my sister and I ever knew they existed. They must be really good. One day I will attempt to make those, but for today I'll talk about M&M cookies.
     These were the best M&M cookies I've ever had. Seriously. After I ate one so hot out of the oven it burned my mouth (it was worth it, no raw cookie dough for this girl for a couple more months!), I had to find out what made these so much better than others. Back to the Internet for a little research (for real this time!). What's different about them? Most recipes call for white and brown sugar, but these use only brown sugar. Most recipes also call for shortening but these use none. They use real butter. Good. Shortening grosses me out anyway. I also used peanut butter M&Ms this time, because they should just discontinue all other varieties of M&Ms anyhow. Peanut butter is the best...if you don't feel that way, use your favorite kind.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 cup flour (Take away 2 Tbl / cup if using whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup M&Ms

  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Blend in eggs and vanilla. 
  • Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. 
  • Stir in candy.
  • Drop by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet about 3" apart.
  • Press 2-3 more m&ms into each cookie.
  • Bake at 350* until just golden (maybe 8-10 minutes)

linked up to

Monday, February 13, 2012

Millionaire's Shortbread

     For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to an English blog. I was a little discouraged at first because of the differences in measurements. Grams do not convert exactly to cups or tablespoons, so there is a lot of guesswork and rounding. I found a website that made this "translation" relatively easy. Knowing I could make any recipe on the site, I was on a mission to find the perfect one.
     With a name like "Millionaire's Shortbread:" this recipe instantly intrigued me. When I read the description on Corina's blog Searching for Spice, I knew I would love it. Really, how could you go wrong with shortbread topped with caramel and dark chocolate? Apparently these bars are very popular in the UK and in Canada, but not so much in the States. This should change, because they are delicious! This was my other contribution to the Superbowl party we attended last weekend. They were a huge hit, and several people asked me for the recipe.
     After reading Corina's description and intro to the recipe, I opted to go the less sugary route by making Dulce de Leche basically the way the recipe on the side of the can of sweetened condensed milk details. I was so glad I did. The bars came out with just the right amount of sweetness, and of course I added a little saltiness because of my recent obsession with salted caramel.

2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/3 cup flour
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
4-5 oz dark chocolate (I used squares from a dark chocolate candy bar)

  • Preheat the oven to 350*
  • Line an 8x8 baking dish with foil leaving a little overhang. Butter or spray the foiled pan.
  • Cream the sugar and butter together for the base layer. Then add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. I had to add an egg too. The dough was very crumbly (before egg), which is probably due to the translation from English to American measurements not being exact. Egg helps hold things together, so I thought it was a good choice.
  • Put the dough into the prepared dish, and press down so it covers the bottom. 
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until a very light golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.
  • To make the caramel: Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium microwave safe bowl. Cook on medium (50% power) for 4 minutes, stirring well halfway through. Continue to cook on medium-low (30-40% power) for another 12-15 minutes until the milk has turned into thick, golden, caramel. Stir every couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  • Pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread and spread evenly.
  • Let the caramel firm up for about an hour in the refrigerator (or less in the freezer)
  • For the chocolate layer: Melt some chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (or in a double boiler---which I don't own). 
  • Pour onto the caramel and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle with more sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Put in the refrigerator to set. 
  • Cut into small squares to serve.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crock Pot Potato Soup

     I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Sometimes I just pin things that I see as I waste time on the computer research. And, sometimes I sit and pin, and pin, and pin...Well, you can see where this is going. I didn't know what I was missing until I saw it on Pinterest. My husband laughed when I told him this soup recipe was from the site...which he is starting to hate and he isn't even a member. He said it's funny how our lives have changed as a result of social networking sites.
    Anyway, on to the recipe. My mom actually found this recipe and printed it out. I saw it when we were down there last week, and bought the stuff to make it. When you see the ingredients you will think that is too easy to taste that good. And, if you are like me you will think, "Why didn't I think of using hashbrowns instead of chunks of potatoes in soup?" The person who posted the recipe originally claims it tastes better than the soup at Outback, but I've never had their potato soup so I wouldn't know. I know it's good. So good. Even J, who isn't usually a soup lover (especially a soup with no meat!), loved this soup.
     We enjoyed our soup with a hunk of Asiago Cheese Batard and a fruit salad.

1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 14oz. cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 pkg. cream cheese {don’t use fat free. It WON’T melt!!!}
  • Put everything in the crock pot except the cream cheese! 
  • Cook 6-8 hours on low 
  • About an hour before serving, add the cream cheese. 
  • Top with cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon bits, etc 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pumpkin Nutella Cream Cheese Muffins

     A self-frosting muffin: could this be too good to be true? I thought this sounded fantastic. How much time could I save if this were true? I would say, this is the only "failure" about these muffins. They didn't frost themselves, but they were insanely delicious. It must have just been me, because as I was planning to make these  I looked all around for these mythical self frosting muffins (or cupcakes). I found recipes everywhere. I'm not sure what I did different, but it didn't work out for me. My "frosting" was a lump of Nutella that sort of stayed in a lump....which was like a special treat in the middle of your muffin. Self-frosting or not, these were a winner at my house.
     My idea was to make this pumpkin nutella self frosting muffin, and add a vanilla cream cheese filling to the middle. Brilliant right? I have my days. They turned out different than expected, but delicious all the same. I wonder if my pumpkin wasn't as thick as it should be....It seemed thinner than normal canned pumpkin. That could have made all the difference. I added some healthiness like flax seed and whole wheat flour in so that we could call these "muffins" and eat them for breakfast. However, I think it just depends on the time of day. If you eat them after dinner, I would call them dessert.
Cream Cheese Filling:
8oz cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

15oz pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil (or 6Tbl milled flax seed + 6 Tbl oil)
2 eggs
1 Tbl vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup minus 2 Tbl whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa powder

  • Preheat oven to 375* and line a muffin tin.
  • Whisk together flours, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.
  • In a separate bowl, stir pumpkin puree, oil, (flax seed), eggs, and vanilla. 
  • Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture, and top with another tablespoon of pumpkin batter. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella around the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Linked up to 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Veggie Tray Pizza

     I think I originally got his recipe from one of my students. When I taught third grade, we would have them bring in a recipe of their favorite thing their mom made and they each typed it for a class cookbook for Mother's Day. I have made this pizza several times, and it's always a hit. Even people who don't really like raw veggies, like this. It's great for a light meal or snack and to take as an appetizer to a party. This was one of my contributions to the Superbowl party we attended last weekend, but I've also taken it to church picnics and reunions. The best part about it is that it's like a veggie tray, only better because it has a crust. Anything is better with bread. You can use crescent rolls or pizza dough for the crust, and they both taste great. Another good thing is that you can mix and match your toppings according to your preferences. It's easy, quick, and tasty. My kind of cooking.
     This time, we had some garden vegetable cream cheese that we bought for the cordon bleu braid last week. I used this spread in place of the cream cheese/mayo/seasoning mixture in the recipe.

2 cans crescent rolls or refrigerated pizza crust
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup mayo
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix (or garlic salt and onion salt)
Topping ideas:
broccoli florets, shredded carrots, diced bell peppers, diced tomatoes-seeds removed, olives, onion, celery, mushrooms, bacon bits, shredded cheese

  • Press crescent rolls or pizza crust into 17x11 jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet) to form a crust. Bake as directed until done and slightly browned on top.
  • Cool completely.
  • Mix cream cheese, mayo, and ranch seasoning (or garlic and onion salt). Spread on cooled crust.
  • Press finely chopped vegetables into cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits, if desired. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Feb 5-11

     Well, it's all over now. I never did go downtown to see all the Superbowl excitement in Indy. We decided than an extra 500,000 people in our city might be a little too crazy for a two year old. Somehow, through all the news coverage of the upcoming big day, Peyton Manning was still the one who stole the spotlight each day. I'm sure he didn't want that to happen, and I wondered if that is the way it was for people in other cities.
    We ended up at a Superbowl party this year, rather than hosting our own commercial watching showdown. We had a great time and a lot of great food. I learned that some things just taste better if you own a deep-fryer. I didn't know I needed one of these, but I may have to consider after having these deep fried cheese wontons our friend found on pinterest. I'll have a recipe coming up for veggie tray pizza and a secret recipe to be posted next Monday.

BLT Wraps I've been craving these lately
BBQ Chicken, Veggies, Biscuits
Pizza RollUPs, Green Beans
Crock Pot Potato Soup (I found on Pinterest)
Chicken Dumpling Casserole

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes

     Yesterday was Groundhog's Day. What a strange holiday. It's also my husband's birthday, and according to my facebook page, I have three other friend's who share his birthday. Besides considering what special dessert to make for J's birthday, I was thinking of the movie Groundhog's Day. I guess the point or lesson of the movie could be to be better than you were the day before. Unfortunately, we can't go back and redo the things that stink in our days (but that is for another type of blog isn't it?). That made me think of last year's birthday trifle that E and I made for his birthday. It sure would be hard to beat that! Then I found this recipe. Brown sugar cupcakes with salted caramel filling, caramel buttercream frosting, and caramel sauce drizzle. Are you kidding me? My obsession with salted caramel started around Christmas when my mom gave me a salted caramel chocolate from Crate and Barrel. I just can't get enough. 
     I wasn't even going to attempt that fancy caramel flourish that Sprinkle Bakes did. The caramel drizzle would have to suffice...as if caramel drizzle isn't good enough anyhow. Besides some caramel filling fiasco, that was completely my fault (I tried to do things a different way and should have just followed directions), these were pretty easy to make. They took some time, but they are so worth it! We ended up eating dinner and having these at a friend's house, and we didn't even bring any home. Everyone loved them!
     The main change I made from the original recipe was to use only salted butter. I just don't buy unsalted because I don't like the flavor as much. I couldn't believe how much butter I used...but that is why they were so good, right? But it's not like I ate all 16 cupcakes. I shared them with friends!
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter, room temp
1 cup plus 2 Tbl brown sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 325*. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar (Med-high) until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of the buttermilk. 
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling about halfway full. Bake for 25 minutes. When done, transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes and let cool completely.
Salted Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbl butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbl heavy cream, room temp
  • Melt sugar in saucepan (Med-high). Whisk sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes deep amber colored. Add butter and stir until melted. Pour in heavy cream and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Cut a small round piece out of the top of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1tsp of caramel. Don't be tempted to use a cupcake filler/decorator bag . I had caramel everywhere! 
  • Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside. Save the rest of the caramel filling for drizzle on finished cupcakes
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • In saucepan, stir sugar and water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns deep amber colored. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Let caramel cook for 20 minutes until barely warm but still pourable. It should be pretty thick.
  • In a mixer, beat butter and salt until fluffy.Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl, and add caramel. Beat on medium high until light and airy and completely mixed. If your icing is runny, refrigerate 15-20 minutes to thicken it up.
  • Top caramel filled cupcakes with frosting
  • Use leftover caramel filling to drizzle over frosting.
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