Saturday, April 27, 2013

S'more Stick

I often make goodies for my handsome husband to take to work, well one night several years ago, my pantry was quite bare and I threw this together.  It's funny I had never seen anything like this before but apparently around the same time I thought of it a few others did too.  Most people use sucker sticks I use a pretzel though... that way you can eat the entire thing and not have any trash left.

Melting Chocolate
Graham Cracker Crumbs

Lay out wax paper
Stick all the marshmallows with the pretzels
Melt chocolate
Roll marshmallows in chocolate (let excess drip off)
Roll in graham cracker crumbs
Let harden
Enjoy these are so delicious!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Salted Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies

These passed the test.  I often use my neighbor as my taste tester because when I whip these things up hubby is usually at work.  My neighbor gave me a fist bump and said " I haven't tasted anything like this before they are pretty darn good."  Start by making my regular chocolate chip cookies:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  4. Dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  5. Add to batter along with salt.
  6. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  7. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans. (This is where you add the caramel part)
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

So to make them with caramel unwrap about 25 of those small caramel squares.
Chop them into fairly small pieces, but don't add them yet.
Bake the cookies for about 5 minutes and then gently push in the caramel pieces (I found this way best)
After you pull them from the oven immediately add some ground up sea salt. 
I think maybe next time I will drizzle some caramel topping over the top.  ;)

Onion Rings

Recently I was making hamburgers and decided at the last minute to add onion rings to the menu, well onion rings are not a last minute addition at least these aren't.  These onion rings are very yummy but they do take some time so make sure to start early.  Since I had limited time that day I decided to just fry some onion rings that I had bought from Schwann's.  The first thing hubby said is these are good but they aren't your usual onion rings and I hadn't even told him I took a short cut.  It made me glad that he can tell the difference!

1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk, or as needed
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
seasoned salt to taste
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
  2. Separate the onion slices into rings, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated; set aside.
  5. Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork.
  6. Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping.
  7. The wire rack may be placed over a sheet of aluminum foil for easier clean up.
  8. Spread the bread crumbs out on a plate or shallow dish.
  9. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat.
  10. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs.
  11. The coating should cling very well.
  12. Repeat with remaining rings.
  13. Deep fry the rings a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  14. Remove to paper towels to drain.
  15. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.

I tend to do all the prep work ahead of time stick them in the fridge and then pull them out a few minutes before I fry.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Menu 4-22 to 4-28

A work in progress still....

B- Cereal
L- Out (helping a friend)
D- Cracker Barrell Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, and Corn Bread (Sometimes you just don't need a vegetable ;))

B- Yogurt and fruit
L- Chicken Strips

B- Cereal
L- Pizza
D- Mexican Food (Mother is taking us out)

B- Muffins

B- Cereal

B- Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs

B- Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby Shower Punch

I am not a fan of punch, I find it too fruity, but this punch is soooo good.  Anytime I host a shower I make it and always have compliments.

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package unsweetened Kool-Aid powdered drink mix, powder (amount in package varies on the type used, could be anywhere between .15 to .25 ounce) THIS DETERMINES THE COLOR
  • 3/4 sugar
  • water, according to Kool-Aid directions
  • 1 (10 ounce) can frozen Pina Colada mix (thawed (this does not have the alcohol yet))
  • 1 (2 liter) bottle 7-Up soda (to taste) or 1 (2 liter) bottle Sprite (to taste)
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

          1. Mix together the Kool-aid, water, and sugar according to the package directions.
          2. In a punchbowl, combine the prepared Kool-aid, thawed Pina Colada mix, and 7-Up or Sprite.
          3. Add scoops of vanilla ice cream.
          4. Serve and enjoy!
          5. Note #1: the Kool-aid company changes it's flavors and colors all the time, so you'll need to investigate what is available when you're making your punch; past flavors/color combinations that worked were Berry Blue and Raspberry Reaction.
          6. Note #2: if you make up some ahead of time, you can also freeze a ring of prepared Kool-aid and put it in the punch bowl, or make ice cubes with it and add them into the punch.
          7. Note #3: folks have asked me what the Pina Colada mix is for, so I thought I should add it to the recipe. :) It's to make the punch a pastel color, rather than bright blue. It's up to you whether or not you use it, but I think it's tasty!

          Blue Baby Shower Punch. Photo by Tabby Bartley

                Thursday, April 18, 2013

                Homemade Hamburger Buns

                I LOVE these buns.  I will say that they are fairly dense not quite as fluffy as the ones you would buy at the store, but they taste soooo much better and are not packed full of preservatives. 

                1 cup milk
                1 cup water
                2 tablespoons butter
                1 tablespoon white sugar
                1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
                1 egg yolk
                1 tablespoon water

                1. Combine the milk, 1 cup of water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan.
                2. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let stand until lukewarm.  If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
                3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and yeast.
                4. Pour in wet ingredients and stir until the dough starts to pull together.
                5. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to mix for about 8 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
                6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat.
                7. Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
                8. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 portions They should be a little larger than a golf ball.
                9. Form tight balls out of the dough by pulling the dough tightly around and pinching it at the bottom.
                10. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
                11. After the rolls sit for a minute and relax, flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is 3 to 4 inches wide. You may want to oil your hand first.
                12. Set rolls aside until they double in size, about 20 minutes.
                13. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
                14. Mix together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water in a cup or small bowl.
                15. Brush onto the tops of the rolls.
                16. Position 2 oven racks so they are not too close to the top or bottom of the oven.
                17. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
                18. Remove the rolls from the oven and return them to different shelves so each one spends a little time on the top.
                19. Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and bottom.

                Tuesday, April 16, 2013

                Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

                I found this recipe on Pinterest and the picture looked so good I just had to make it.  I will say however I was fairly disappointed, but I did say that I would post good and bad recipes when I started this blog just to help people out. ;)  The kids a different meal because I knew it would be too spicy for them, it was too spicy for me too!  Hubby liked it a lot though.  All in all I might make this  once a year but not much more often than that.

                1 16 oz. box Penne pasta, cooked and drained
                3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cubed and cooked
                1/2-1 C. Franks Hot Sauce
                3/4 -1+ C. Ranch dressing
                1-2 C. Shredded cheese (Colby Jack or Cheddar)

                Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a deep baking dish.
                Mix together hot sauce and ranch. 
                In separate bowl, mix chicken, pasta and cheese. 
                Pour sauce over all and mix well.
                Pour everything into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and bake for 20-25 min.

                Monday, April 15, 2013

                Menu for 4-15 to 4-21

                This past week I did not do an amazing job at following my menu.  I did ok just not great I am hoping to be better this week however when hubby works nights we eat dinner so early that sometimes I give myself a pass.  So last week and this week don't count ;)

                B- Cereal
                L- Mini Pizzas
                D- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake (New Recipe), Green Beans w/ Potatoes, and Garlic Bread

                B- Pancakes and Bacon
                L- Chicken Strips and Mandarin Oranges
                D-Cheeseburgers, Corn on Cob, and Onion Rings

                B- Chocolate Chip Croissants
                L- Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Apple Slices
                D- Crockpot Balsamic Chicken (New Recipe)

                B- Breakfast Cupcakes
                D- Meatball Subs

                B- Caramel Pecan Rolls
                L- Tomato Basil Soup and Bread
                D- Family Date to the Rodeo (Eat Out)

                B- Cereal
                D- Honey Chicken Skewers, Baked Potato, and Okra

                B- Breakfast Enchiladas
                D- Leftovers

                Saturday, April 13, 2013

                Pecan Pie Muffins

                I made this for the first time this week and while I will not say it is amazing I will say they are pretty good, however if you drizzle a little syrup on top it takes them to a whole different level.  Lip smacking good!

              1. 1 cup packed brown sugar
              2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
              3. 1 cup chopped pecans
              4. 2/3 cup butter, melted    
              5. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
              7. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and pecans; set aside.
              8. Combine butter and eggs. Stir into brown sugar mixture.
              9. Fill greased and floured miniature muffin cups two-thirds full.
              10. Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
              11. Immediately remove from pans to wire racks to cool. 
              12. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.

                Thursday, April 11, 2013

                Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes

                This is a recipe that our family loves.  It was born out of necessity because it was the end of the month and my pantry was starting to get bare so I threw a few things together and came up with this delicious dish.

                4-5 Chicken breasts
                2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
                1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
                Garlic powder and onion powder

                Throw everything except the garlic and onion powders in the crockpot and cook on low for about 6 hours.

                When cooking is done sprinkle in garlic and onion powder.

                Delicious, quick, and easy!

                Tuesday, April 9, 2013


                This recipe is floating around facebook right now and so I figured we would give it a try tonight.  I was making potato soup and figured we would have this instead of crackers... it went fast (the bread and soup).

                1 can of refrigerated Grands biscuits
                1/2 stick of butter
                3 cloves of garlic, minced
                1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
                1 tsp Italian Seasoning (I omitted)

                Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
                Throw the cold 1/2 stick of butter in a bundt pan and let it melt in the preheating oven.
                While the butter melts, cut the Grands biscuits into quarters.

                In a bowl, toss the biscuit pieces, garlic, Italian Seasoning, and Parmesan cheese together.
                Once the butter is melted, add the biscuit mixture, sprinkling with any cheese and garlic that gets let behind in the bowl.
                Bake at 350 degrees for 20- 22 minutes until golden brown. Turn out on a dish and enjoy!
                Before we even finished dinner hubby asked me to make this again!

                Monday, April 8, 2013

                Baked Empanadas ( a Pinterest recipe)

                I love Mexican food I also love anything fried however I decided to try these like the recipe said and bake them.  They were very good and surprisingly crisp.  I whipped everything up this morning so when it was time for dinner I just popped them on a baking sheet and into the oven they went.  I like any recipe that allows me to do prep ahead of time.

                2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
                1 teaspoon salt
                1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
                1 large egg
                1/3 cup ice water (place it in the freezer before you start working)
                1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (helps achieve tender, flaky dough)

                2 tablespoons olive oil
                1 cup onion, finely chopped
                1 teaspoon minced garlic ( I used onion powder
                1/2 pound lean ground beef
                1/2 teaspoon salt
                1/4 teaspoon black pepper
                1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
                1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

                Egg wash:
                1 large egg
                1 tablespoon water

                Place flour and salt in food processor bowl.
                Pulse to blend.
                Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
                Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork.
                Add to food processor bowl.
                Pulse a few times, just until dough forms.
                Remove dough from food processor.
                Shape into a flat disk.
                Chill in fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 hour.
                Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
                Add onion and sauté about 4 minutes, until soft.
                Add garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring.
                Add beef.
                Cook about 3 more minutes, until lightly browned.
                Add salt and pepper, cumin and paprika.
                Cook one more minute, stirring.
                Remove from heat and set aside.
                Heat oven to 400 degrees.
                Whisk together egg and water for egg wash.
                Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
                Remove dough from fridge and allow to rest 5 minutes at room temperature.
                On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough as thin as you can – to about 1/8 inch thickness.
                Cut twelve 4-inch circles (Scraps can be re-rolled.)
                Place one heaping tablespoon meat mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
                Brush egg wash on empty side of circle, fold dough over to make a half-circle and close edges, then crimp edges with a fork.
                Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet.
                Brush with egg wash.
                Bake 10 minutes.
                Turn empanadas over, brush other side and bake 10 minutes longer, until lightly browned on both sides. Cool ten minutes on a wire rack before serving.


                Menu for 4-8 to 4-14

                This week is a little off because of hubby's work schedule but we are going to try and keep it as close to normal as possible.

                B- Cereal
                L- Cheese Quesadillas
                D-Beef Empanadas (New Recipe), Rice and Corn

                B- Fruit and Yogurt
                L- Out (Heading to Pump It Up after MOPS)
                D- Cheesy Chicken, Potatoes, Green Beans

                B- Muffins
                L- Popcorn Chicken, Mandarin Oranges, and Pretzels
                D- Potato Soup

                B- Pancakes and Bacon
                L- Mini Pizzas
                D- Chicken Picatta (New Recipe), Rice, Peas

                B- Cereal
                D- Cheese Lasagna, Caprese Salad, French Bread

                B- Cinnamon Rolls
                L- Zoo TGIFridays
                D-Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken (New Recipe), Potato Salad, Glazed Carrots

                B- Breakfast Cupcakes (New Recipe)
                D- Leftovers

                Friday, April 5, 2013

                Fried Ravioli

                This is a recipe that I have been making for about five years now... It is a great appetizer and so delicious.  I don't make them often because if I did Phillip and I would sit and eat the whole batch at one time.  :)

              14. Olive oil, for frying
              15. 1 cup buttermilk
              16. 2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
              17. 1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
              18. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
              19. 1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping
                Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches.
                Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
                While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls.
                Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely.
                Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl.
                Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs.
                Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli. 
                When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
                Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain. 
                Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.


                Thursday, April 4, 2013

                Mini Chocolate Eclairs

                My husband loved these which says alot because he isn't much of a chocolate fan.  I thought they were good but not earth shattering, plus they took alot of time and energy to make!  They are VERY time consuming.


                • 1 cup water
                • 1 stick margarine or butter
                • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
                • 4 eggs                                   
              21. Filling

                • 3 cups milk
                • 3/4 cup sugar
                • 1/2 teaspoon salt
                • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                • 3 eggs
                • 2 teaspoons vanilla
              22. Icing

                • 2 (1-ounce) squares chocolate
                • 2 cups sugar
                • 1 cup whipping cream
                1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
                2. Heat water and margarine or butter to boiling point.
                3. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water.
                4. Remove from heat and let cool.
                5. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time.
                6. Drop dough from teaspoon to form small eclairs onto greased cookie sheet.
                7. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until light brown.
                8. Set aside to cool.
                9. Prepare filling by combining milk, sugar, salt and flour; cook slowly until thickens. 
                10. Add 3 beaten eggs and continue to cook until mixture is even thicker. (This takes a while)
                11. Remove from heat, cool and add vanilla.
                12. With a serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise, but not all the way through.
                13. Pipe custard mixture into the center.
                14. Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar and cream.
                15. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage.
                16. Let cool and beat until smooth.
                17. Ice tops of the eclairs.

                Tuesday, April 2, 2013

                Taco Soup

                Taco meat is one of those things that I tend to make in big batches and freeze, it is a great help when trying to throw a meal together quickly.  However one person can only eat so many tacos so I also use it for enchiladas, quesadillas, and taco soup.  So here is one of our favorite soup recipes.

                2 pounds lean ground beef (I use 1 lb) 
                1 onion, chopped (I use onion powder)                                                                     
                1 teaspoon salt
                1 teaspoon ground black pepper
                1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
                1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, drained
                1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
                1 1/2 cups water
                1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
                1 (15 ounce) can white hominy, drained
                1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
                1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
                In a large Dutch oven, brown the beef and chopped onion over medium heat.
                Drain off any fat.
                Add salt and pepper, beans, water, seasoning mixes, hominy, and stewed tomatoes to the beef and onion.
                Bring to a boil.
                Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
                Top with shredded cheese, and serve with chips.

                I tend to leave out the beans just because my kids won't eat the soup with them in there. 

                Monday, April 1, 2013

                MENU FOR 4-1 TO 4-

                B- Mini Pancakes
                L- Cereal (It was just one of those days)
                D- Balsamic Steaks, Baked Potatoes, and Corn on Cob

                B- Chocolate Chip Muffins
                L- Pizza Hut (Grandmother is taking us)
                D- Taco Soup

                B- Yogurt and Fruit
                L- Daniel Boone's (Grammy to Dr)
                D- Grilled Chicken, Fried Okra, and Boiled Potatoes

                B- Bacon and Eggs
                L- Stuffed Pretzels and Mandarian Oranges
                D- Eastman Dinner kids at Mimi and Pops

                B- Cereal
                L- Popcorn Chicken, Pretzels, and Apple Slices
                D- Date Night

                B- French Toast
                D- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots

                L- Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes
                D- Leftovers

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