Name: divas can cook

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    Salmon Tacos (Citrus Brown Butter)

    April 16th, 2014

    Have you been in a fish mood lately or is it just me? I swear Spring makes me crave fresh fish, especially fish tacos! I pile that flaky, tender fish onto some chewy, yet crisp baked flour tortillas and load it up with a ton of fresh toppings and I’m happy happy happy!! So good!! Pass the strawberry margarita punch!!

    salmon tacos recipe (fish tacos) citrus brown butter

    If you like fish tacos as well, then making these salmon tacos are a must!! A great fish taco starts with some really great fish right? For this recipe we’re using  fresh salmon and drenching that bad boy in brown butter and citrus flavors!! *swoon* Brown butter is EVERYTHING! I’m obsessed with it these days. And if you’ve never had it then you’re going to be obsessed with too. It just makes everything better and pairs up GREAT with citrusy flavors.

     

    salmon tacos recipe (fish tacos) citrus brown butter I could eat this citrus brown butter salmon plain, but it just gets even better when you throw it in a flour tortilla shell that’s been heated in the oven so that it’s all chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. HEAVEN!!! And then to make your tastebuds go crazy, I’m loading the salmon tacos with fresh avocado, sweet corn, lettuce,  tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. If I had black beans I’d probably throw them in there too!! Drizzle on some of that leftover brown butter citrus sauce and baaaaaaaaaayby!!!!

    salmon tacos recipe (fish tacos) citrus brown butter

    These salmon tacos put me in the mood to just sit at the beach, eat tacos and drink margaritas.

     

     Watch me make these citrus brown butter salmon tacos from start to finish!

    Brown Butter Citrus Salmon
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: main
    Ingredients
    • 1.5 pounds fresh salmon fillets, pat dry (I used skin on)
    • ¼ cup honey
    • salt & pepper
    • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
    • Juice of 1 lime (1 tablespoon)
    • Juice of 1 lemon (1 tablespoon)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon honey (optional)
    • Zest of lemon, lime and orange (optional)
    • 8 flour tortillas, heated in oven until crisp on outside and chewy on the inside (optional)
    • TOPPINGS
    • lettuce, shredded
    • tomatoes, chopped
    • avocados, diced
    • sweet corn kernels
    • red onions, diced
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Brush salmon fillets generously with honey and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
    3. Place in a foil-lined pan (skin side down). Set aside.
    4. In a light-colored pot, over medium heat, add butter.
    5. Allow butter to melt, stirring often.
    6. When butter has melted continue to stir as the butter begins to foam and bubble slightly.
    7. Keep stirring or swirling the butter constantly as the butter solids begin to turn golden in color and release a fragrant aroma.
    8. *Remove butter from heat immediately and pour into a heatproof bowl. (brown butter can burn fast)
    9. Let cool.
    10. Stir in lime juice, orange juice, lemon juice, garlic powder, honey, salt and pepper into the brown butter.
    11. Pour over salmon fillets.
    12. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn the oven to a low broil and broil for about 2-3 minutes (watch carefully) or until salmon is flaky and tender.
    13. Remove from oven and shred salmon. (add citrus zest if desired)
    14. Place salmon in prepared tortilla shells and top with toppings.
    15. Drizzle on citrus brown butter sauce.
    16. Enjoy!
    Notes
    *Brown butter can burn fast so remove it from heat and place in a heatproof bowl as soon as butter begins to become golden and release a fragrant aroma. Butter will continue to cook even when it’s been removed form heat so you don’t want the butter to get too brown. A light golden color is perfect.

     

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    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

    April 8th, 2014

    Me and cookie bars are like THIS *crossing fingers*  Baby I love a good brownie/bar cookie recipe!! Matter of fact, you guys are probably gonna get tired of bar cookie recipes this summer because I have several that I’m going to be listing back to back as I prep for a bake sale. I’ve got key lime pie bars, pecan pie bars, butterfinger cookies bars, Oreo cookie bars…you get the point right? You’ve been warned!

    Today though I want to share with you this fab recipe for chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars!! These are a bake sale favorite of mine! I mean seriously, how can you turn down cheesecake sandwiched between two chewy, soft layers of chocolate chip cookies?

    chocolate chip cheesecake cookie bars recipe

    Cut them into bars,wrap them in plastic wrap, tie a ribbon around them and I kid you not,  watch how fast they sell! I’m not selling these today though, just going through several recipes to see which ones will make the cut. These chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars are at the top of the winner lists. I mean, just look at those layers of YUM!!

    chocolate chip cheesecake cookie bars recipe

    They are super versatile too. You can throw in some peanut butter chips, holiday m & m’s, nuts, whatever! I didn’t think I’d have any cookie dough left because I kept eating it! Why is cookie dough is so doggone good??? I bet a brownie bottom crust would have been lethal!! Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow. Holy crap I’m gonna be HUGE this summer if I don’t slow down! This is for a good cause though so I’ll take one for the team. *wink*

    chocolate chip cheesecake cookie bars recipe

    What I love most about these chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars is how chewy the cookie part is even when they are served right from the fridge! The texture of that creamy cheesecake layer and cookie layers are just perfect together!  Your teeth just sinks right in! These cookie bars are magical, rich and addicting. Make up a batch and share them….or…. just eat them all by yourself…. YOLO!!!.

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    Watch me make these chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars from start to finish!!

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: dessert,
    Ingredients
    • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided, plus more if desired
    • CHEESECAKE LAYER
    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • ¼ cup sour cream
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    2. Line an 8 x 8 pan with greased parchment paper. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars.
    5. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
    6. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients just until a soft dough forms and flour mixture is incorporated.
    7. Press half of dough into the prepared pan in an even layer.
    8. Cover with 1 cup chocolate chips (can use more/less chocolate chips if desired).
    9. Prepare the cheesecake batter by mixing together the cream cheese, sour cream, egg, powdered sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl until creamy.
    10. Pour cheesecake batter over chocolate chips and spread evenly.
    11. Mix ½ cup chocolate chips into remaining cookie dough.
    12. Drop remaining cookie dough over cheesecake layer until completely covered.
    13. Sprinkle on more chocolate chips (if desired).
    14. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center of cookie is set and golden.
    15. Allow bars to cool in pan and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours (Overnight is best)
    16. Slice into bars.
    17. Store in the refrigerator.
    18. Serve cold or room temperature.

     

     

    1 Comment "

    Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting~ The BEST!!

    March 27th, 2014

    Chocolate buttercream frosting is one of my FAVORITE kinds of frosting, especially when its whipped! Although I’m usually not crazy over frostings like some people, I’m a sucker for that buttery, creamy, fluffy, chocolatey buttercream!

    Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.55.31 PM

    I mean just look at the ingredients of this recipe : Real Butter. Cream. Powdered Sugar. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Real Vanilla Extract. Sweet mother of all things Holy!  This stuff is good!

    If you’re looking for an easy, chocolatey and downright delicious old fashioned chocolate buttercream frosting them let me introduce you to this recipe right HURRR! It’s my go-to recipe for crowd-pleasing chocolate buttercream frosting and it’s…well…amazing!!

    This Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting pairs up GREAT with my homemade yellow cake recipe! Check it out!

    homemade yellow cake recipe 3

    (I used a slightly different chocolate buttercream frosting recipe on this cake but after making it again with this whipped frosting OMG! I prefer whipped)

    To make the frosting that I had in the yellow cake video, (pictured above) just omit the heavy cream and follow this mixing method otherwise all other measurements are the same. In a large bowl cream the butter, add powdered sugar and mix until creamy. Mix in cocoa powder. Add in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy. Stir in a pinch of salt. Done!

    whipped chocolate buttercream frosting recipe

    This whipped chocolate buttercream frosting packs in two kinds of chocolate for that true chocolatey flavor; unsweetened cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips! The texture of this easy chocolate buttercream frosting is light, airy and fluffy, perfect for frosting soft layered cakes and cupcakes.  I could seriously eat this stuff by the spoonful!

    Don’t be tempted to use milk chocolate chips, dark or semi-sweet works just great and keeps the frosting from becoming too sweet.

    whipped chocolate buttercream frosting recipe

    Tips to making PERFECT Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (or any buttercream frosting)

    1.) Let butter soften at room temperature.  Do not microwave or you may risk melting the butter. Melted butter will make for a super thin frosting and then you’ll have to overcompensate with more powder sugar, etc. Making the frosting waaay to sweet and weird tasting. To speed up the butter softening process you can cut into smaller pieces. I just take a stick out of the fridge in the morning and let it sit until I’m ready to bake. By then it’s super soft, but still hold it’s shape which is what you want. If it’s a last minute frosting and I don’t have 30 minutes to an hour to wait for the butter to soften, I’ll cheat and throw the butter in the microwave for just a few seconds while watching it like a hawk to make sure none of it is melted and then let it sit for about 15 minutes to completely soften.

    2.) Cream that butter well. The first step and important one is making sure you cream that softened butter really well!! This prepares it for all those yummy ingredients!

    3.) Sift any dry ingredients. In this recipe, the only dry ingredients we use are powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. Sifting gets rid of any lumps and makes it all powdery light. Perfect for frosting!!

    4.) Thin or Thicken carefully. If you feel the frosting is a bit too thick for your liking, thin it out gradually with tiny DROPS of milk or heavy cream (yes a little liquid goes A LONG way in frostings). If it’s too thin, let it sit for a bit FIRST since frostings become firmer as they sit. If it’s still too thin, add  powdered sugar a little at a time. I’m not a fan of this really since it changes the way the frosting will taste. Melting the butter, even a tiny bit, usually causes thinner frostings.

    whipped chocolate buttercream frosting recipe

    Watch me make this Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe from start to finish!

     

    5.0 from 2 reviews

    Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting~ The BEST!!
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: frosting
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened, room temperature
    • ½ tablespoon heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
    • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
    • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
    • 2½ cups powdered sugar, sifted (spoon into measuring cup to measure)
    • pinch of salt
    Instructions
    1. In a large bowl cream butter until fluffy.
    2. Add in heavy cream and mix until light and fluffy.
    3. Mix in vanilla extract.
    4. Mix in melted chocolate chips.
    5. Mix in cocoa powder and powdered sugar until frosting is light, fluffy and whipped.
    6. Stir in salt.
    7. Frost cake or cupcakes.
    8. Store leftover frosting in a covered container in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before using.

     

     

    3 Comments "

    March Menu Ideas

    March 23rd, 2014
    Be sure to head over to my savings center to print out free manufacturers coupons for this weeks menu! Click here if you need help planning your menu.

    Hi guys!!

    Last month was ca-raaay-zy! I got off course with menu planning since I had so many projects going on (and yes totally blew our food budget), but today I took the time to plan out my weekly menu so I’m sharing it with you guys first (as opposed to when the week is complete) This way you all can take advantage of the coupons that I’m using and so forth.

    Don’t forget to check what’s on sale in your favorite grocery store using ziplist (in the navigation bar). I hadn’t plan on shopping at Traders Joes this week, but after seeing on zip list  that they had organic chicken breast and organic produce for sale I’ve decided to use them this week. I’m so excited that Spring is here!! There are so many fresh veggies and fruits on sale now!! I’m happy!! You’ll be seeing more fresh produce in my upcoming menus. I’m taking full advantage of what the season has to offer at such a low price!! Happy Menu Planning!!

    Monique

     

    Manufacturer Coupons that I’m using this week (you can print them out here) :

    menu planning coupons

    *forgot to include the coupon for snickers, hash browns, and popcorn! You can print those out as well. I’m making Snicker popcorn this week for move night and a hashbown casserole for a family brunch on Sunday.

    Local store sales that I’m using this week: (You can see what’s on sale at your favorite grocery stores through ziplist)

    Trader Joes Sales: Organic Chicken Breast, Baby Spinach, Organic russet potatoes, Organic baby carrots, sweet onion

    Target Sales: Kraft Shredded Cheese, White Grapes, Lean Ground Beef

    Food Lion Sales: Eggland Best Eggs, Fresh Broccoli, Cucumbers, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers

    divas can cook menu.002

    Weekly Menu

    Click photos for recipes if available.

    menu good green salad pizza casserole recipe

    MONDAY

    Breakfast: Cascadian Farms Organic Fruitful O’s,  Almond milk

    Lunch: Hubby’s Spring Sweet Pea Salad

    Dinner: Pizza Casserole (served with New York Brand Texas Toast and Garden Salad)

    Sweet Green Monster Smoothie Recipe Skinny girl pasta recipe stuffed bell peppers

    TUESDAY

    Breakfast: Strawberry Green Smoothie (added strawberry yogurt and strawberries to original green smoothie recipe), served with sausage biscuits (frozen)

    Lunch:   Skinny Girl Pasta

    Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers

    menu classic egg salad sandwich recipe homemade hamburger helper recipe cheeseburger macaroni

    WEDNESDAY

    Breakfast: Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal, Almond milk

    Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches (serve with potato chips, grapes, baby carrots)

    Dinner: Homemade Hamburger Helper, served with salad, frozen yeast rolls

    easy baked omelet oven roasted vegetables bacon  Screen-shot-2012-11-08-at-1.58.54-PM-300x156

    THURSDAY

    Breakfast: Turkey and Gouda Baked Omelet Pinwheels (turkey sausage, smoked gouda, cheese, onions, peppers,)

    Lunch:  Bacon & Chicken Roasted Veggies (added diced chicken breast)

    Dinner:  Family Eat OUT Day!!! (using Groupon.com)

    banana nut pancakes recipe  hot turkey and cheese sandwich recipe  grilled honey teriyaki bbq chicken recipe

    FRIDAY

    Breakfast: Banana Nut Pancakes (using Bisquick), coffee

    Lunch: Hot Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, homemade cajun fries

    Dinner: Honey Teriyaki Chicken (roasted), serve with glazed sweet carrots, rice, sesame broccoli

    cinnamon roll cinna stacks pancakes recipe  baked homemade chicken nuggets honey mustard dipping sauce recipe Mini sausage & Kale Pizza

    SATURDAY

    Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (using Bisquick) (serve with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon)

    Lunch:  Homemade Chicken nuggets, (serve with stove top mac n cheese, steamed broccoli)

    Dinner: Mini Sausage Kale Pizzas, green salad

    Sausage Hash Brown Casserole Recipe

    SUNDAY (on Sundays we usually eat up any leftovers from the week and I go grocery shopping. We’re going to a brunch this Sunday so I’m making a hash brown casserole)

    Breakfast: Hashbrown casserole

    Lunch:  Leftover from freezer or I’ll make a dish or soup using leftovers.

    Dinner:  Leftovers from freezer (I freeze leftover dinners from the week )

    DESSERTS & SNACKS

    Snicker Popcorn, (replace Twix with Snickers), Lemon Ricotta Cookies, Banana Bread (bananas were on sale last week. Got a ton and froze a lot of them),  Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches (Peanut Butter Banana).

    twix caramel popcorn recipe crunchy caramel popcorn how to make     lemon ricotta sugar cookies recipes lemon glaze recipe  easy moist banana bread recipe healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana)

     

    1 Comment "

    Moist Yellow Cake Recipe (Old Fashioned)

    March 21st, 2014

    Why does yellow cakes give folks such a hard time? It’s one of those cakes that if you find a great yellow cake recipe, you stick with it! I’ve been testing out yellow cake recipes off and on for awhile now.

    homemade yellow cake recipe 98

    The problem with homemade yellow cake is:

    1.) It’s hard to find a from scratch yellow cake recipe that has the texture of a fluffy box yellow cake but that buttery, homemade taste of a scratch-made yellow cake. I can’t tell you how many dry, crumbly and/or eggy tasting yellow cakes I’ve had in the past.

    2.) Um…I can’t think of anything else right now.

    homemade yellow cake recipe 1

    I’m here to tell you that YES YOU CAN have a scratch made fluffy, moist, yellow cake with a beautiful crumb texture. YES YOU CAN have that classic buttery-vanilla taste of a homemade yellow cake WITH simple ingredients. YES. YOU.CAN!!! YES. YOU. CAN!!! Sorry I’m literally sitting on the couch watching Nutty Professor  while I write this blog post. Remember that part?

    homemade yellow cake recipe 3

    Anyways, I’ve been fortunate to come across some really good yellow cake recipes, but something in me just can’t seem to stop searching, kinda like with macaroni and cheese. Never satisfied even when you’re satisfied. Well today I want to share the homemade yellow cake recipe I’ve been making for years.

    homemade yellow cake recipe 5

    It’s that classic, old fashioned yellow cake recipe with simple pure ingredients. No butter flavored shortening (which I normally put in cakes) or sour cream or yogurt (which I also love to put in cakes). It’s the kind of yellow cake I grew up eating, with homemade chocolate butter cream frosting, sprinkles and candles (yes yellow cake taste best with  candles. I don’t know why but it just does!)

    homemade yellow cake recipe 0

     This yellow cake recipe is the stuff old school birthdays were made of. You know, when most moms actually made every birthday cake from scratch. Wait, am I telling my age?? I digress…

    homemade yellow cake recipe 8

    This yellow cake recipe bakes up super moist, fluffy and velvety soft without the eggy taste that really irks me. My grandmother occasionally adds in butter flavoring to take the buttery taste over the edge, but I never seem to have that stuff on hand so I don’t add it in. I think it taste great without it. Although, if you really like the taste of boxed yellow cake, you may want to add that butter-flavored extract to replicate the taste.

    homemade yellow cake recipe

    Watch me make this moist, homemade yellow cake from start to finish!

    5.0 from 4 reviews

    Fluffy, Moist Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 2 eggs, separated, room temperature
    • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 2 cups cake flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325.
    2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
    4. Add in egg yolks and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Set aside.
    5. In a seperate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
    6. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
    7. Mix until batter is fluffy.
    8. Beat egg whites until foamy and thick.
    9. Fold egg whites into batter and mix until incorporated.
    10. Pour batter into prepared pans and spread into even layers.
    11. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
    12. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pans until pans are warm to the touch.
    13. Carefully remove cakes from pan and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
    14. When cakes are completely cooled frost with chocolate buttercream frosting.

     

    6 Comments "

    Hubby’s Spring Sweet Pea Salad

    March 16th, 2014

    “OMG I’m sooooo freakin fat today!!!” is what I was saying last week. Do you ever have days like that? When your clothes don’t look/fit right and all you wanna do is lay around and eat  cake and cookies all day? Well that was me last week.

    Meanwhile my hubby is sitting at the table looking fit and trim while munching on a green salad. He replied with “well, if you’d eat these salads I’ve been making, you would feel great like me.”  Whatever! I so didn’t want to hear that, but it’s true.

    good green salad 2

    He’s been hitting up this local salad bar for a few weeks now and bringing home all kinds of different custom made salads. He’s been bragging about how he makes the best salads and how he should open up a salad bar, have his own salad making youtube channel/blog and big daddy this and big daddy that!

    good green salad 1

    Well I decided to taste his latest creation and was pleasantly surprised by this simple little salad! I posted on Facebook last week how good this salad was and asked you guys to come up with a name for it. Lavonda McGowen came up with the name “Spring Sweet Pea Salad” and we loved it. Spring is right around the corner and this salad is perfect for it and I used Spring salad mix!

    Side note: Are you following me on Facebook yet? What are you waiting on, go on over there and chat with me! 

    Anywho, I just knew it would be boring from looking at it, I mean, where’s the frackin’ dressing???!!! I NEEEEED my ranch or caesar!

    good green salad 5

    This salad  ending up rocking my world honey and you all demanded that I post a video ASAP, regardless of how stinkin’ easy it is to make. Well your wish is my command. Hubby immediately went to the store to get the  ingredients so I could make this video for you guys. He’s such a sweetie pie aint he? He doesn’t have a  brother. Sorry.

    green salad 7

    I’m not really sure what makes this salad so good. It’s the slight sweetness of the sweet peas, the saltiness of the black olives, the nutty crunch of the sunflower seeds, juicy cucumbers and those diced hardboiled eggs!  It’s a beautiful medley I tell ya! And let’s not forget about the simple olive oil dressing.

    Yes that olive oil dressing and everything seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. It really lets all the flavors shine through, unlike when I drench my salad in ranch or casesar. I will def. stick to this salad dressing, which says A LOT because I am loyal to my ranch and caesar baby.

    good green salad

    This is how a green salad should taste.  Fresh, light and bursting with all kinds of flavors! Kudos to you honey bunch not only have you introduced me to my favorite chocolate chip cheesecake cookie bites but you’ve also created my new favorite green salad! You were clearly made for me!

    Watch me make Hubby’s Spring Sweet Pea Salad from start to finish!

    Hubby’s Spring Sweet Pea Salad
     
    Author:
    Serves: 1
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups mixed salad greens ( I used Spring mix)
    • 1 – 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (just enough to barely coat the leaves)
    • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
    • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼-1/2 cup cucumbers, chopped
    • ½ cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
    • 1 hard boiled egg, diced
    • 1-2 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds
    • ¼-1/2 cup black olives
    • 1-2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, shredded
    Instructions
    1. Place lettuce on a serving plate
    2. Coat lettuce leaves lightly with olive oil.
    3. Combine spices and sprinkle generously over salad. (you won’t need all of the spice mixture)
    4. Toss to distribute spices.
    5. Add toppings. Throw on as much as you like. I usually don’t measure this out but included a rough estimate above.
    6. Enjoy.
    Notes
    I never really measure anything out. I just load on the toppings normally.
    You can also add the olive oil and spices last if you wanted everything to be coated.

     

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    Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

    March 6th, 2014

    Chocolate and peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate. Why do they go so well together?? It’s like a match made in heaven, these two! If something is peanut butter and chocolate there is a 95% chance that I’m gonna love it. Such is true with these chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookies!

    2 chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookies recipe

    These cookies are like the beautiful offspring of a chewy homemade brownie and a bakery soft cookie. They are dangerous. Super chocolatey with that old-fashioned cocoa taste and just the right amount of sweet peanut butter.  You’re totally gonna crave a tall glass of ice cold water or milk and  oh yeah, one cookie is NEVER enough. Don’t even think you are just gonna “taste one” not happening.

    chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookie recipe 14

    I’m down 5 lbs so far simply by cutting back on my sugar intake, however I was helpless to these chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. I ate one after the other as soon as they came out of the oven and about 4 more once they’d cooled down. And I just HAD to eat another one for photos sake and another to know how to fully explain them for this blog post.  So…I’m just gonna like…. blame you guys for my beastly attack on these cookies, mmkay? Oh come oooon, take one for the team.

    chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookies recipe

    It seems like these cookies were even better the next day. I kept them in the fridge and they were still chewy and soft.

    chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookie recipe 5

    I don’t normally add chocolate chips to this recipe but I must admit, I enjoyed the semi-sweet chocolate morsels in there. Peanut butter chips are delicious and I’d been trying to think of something to do with them for about a week now.  What a great way to use to them up! Totally worth any cellulite I may have added.

    1 chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookies recipe

    My hubby and son loves Reese cups so I knew chocolate peanut butter chip cookies wouldn’t last long, which means I wouldn’t have to be tempted for days. Isaac kept saying “ahhhh man I wish I could just have one more!” lol I know his pain. Cookies are such a weakness for all of us.

    chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookie recipe 13

    Watch me make these chewy chocolate peanut butter chip cookies from start to finish!

    Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
     
    Author:
    Serves: 30 cookies
    Ingredients
    • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, can use less if desired.
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • ¾ cup peanut butter chips, divided (may need more or less)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick cooking mat. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars.
    4. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Set aside.
    5. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
    6. Add dry mixture into wet mixture. Stirring slowly until dry mixture is completely incorporated.
    7. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips and about ½ cup of peanut butter morsels.
    8. Use a mini ice cream scoop to scoop dough out and place onto prepared pans about 1½ inches apart.
    9. Press several peanut butter morsels into each dough ball.
    10. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cookies will not be done.
    11. Remove from oven and leave cookies on cookie sheet to finish cooking.
    12. When pan is warm, place cookies on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
    13. Enjoy!!

     

     

     

     

    1 Comment "

    Best Southern Fried Apples

    March 3rd, 2014

    I have a serious emotional connection to southern fried apples.  There is just something about them that takes me back to childhood Sunday mornings. Every Sunday my grandmother would make a fully loaded breakfast that consisted of butter grits, homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and yes, some good ol southern fried apples!!

    southern fried apples recipe 12
    That sweet, buttery cinnamon aroma drifted and lingered throughout the entire house and it was heavenly. Breakfast just wasn’t the same if fried apples didn’t make it in the line up.

    southern fried apples recipe 3

    Living in the south all of my life, I’ve had my share of “just ok” southern fried apples. It’s easy to get fried apples wrong. Very wrong. From using water, too much brown sugar,  overcooking, over spicing and so on. This southern fried apples recipe is the BEST! And I’m not just saying that because it’s just like my grandma Barb makes hers (ok maybe that’s why a teeny tiny bit).

    southern fried apples recipe

    The key to a good pan of southern fried apples is to keep it simple. No need to get all fancy schmancy by adding in syrups, extracts, juices, cornstarch, etc. I use to get all elaborate with my fried apples until I saw how my grandmother made hers. Simple just works.

    southern fried apples recipe 10

    These southern fried apples are pure perfection. Tart, sweet and spiced just right and not to mention easy as pie!! Get it? Apples. Pie. Get it? Ok never mind I’ve got nothing.

    Use these fried apples as a side dish for breakfast or dinner, throw them on top of biscuits, cornbread or ice cream and you’ve got something special.

    They are a true southern comfort food and just thinking about them makes me smile. I hope they will make you smile too : )

    southern fried apples recipe 9 

    QUICK TIPS TO MAKING THE BEST SOUTHERN FRIED APPLES:

    1. Use granny smith apples. They have that perfect firm yet tender texture when cooked and the tartness goes great with the sweetness of the syrup
    2. Peel the apples.
    3. Do not overcook. You want firm to the touch, yet tender to the bite with just a tiny bit of resistance. Mushy fried apples are gross and if you do accidentally overcook them never admit defeat! Turn them into country fried applesauce and pretend that you totally meant to do that.
    4. Use real, sweet cream butter. No spreads, olive oils, etc. Many folks down south swear by using lard. I prefer the taste of butter but hey, whatever floats your boat.

     

    Watch me make these southern fried apples from start to finish!

    Best Southern Fried Apples
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 large granny smith apples
    • 4 tablespoons real butter, chopped
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    Instructions
    1. Peel, core and cut apples into even slices.
    2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
    3. Add apples and drizzle them with lemon juice.
    4. Let apples simmer until most of butter is absorbed and apples are tender. (do not overcook. Apples should be firm to the touch, yet tender with a little give to the bite.)
    5. Stir together sugars and sprinkle them over apples.
    6. Toss to combine.
    7. Lower heat if needed.
    8. Let apples cook until sugars are completely dissolved and syrupy.
    9. Remove from heat and sprinkle apples with cinnamon.
    10. Toss to distribute cinnamon.
    11. Plate apples and serve piping hot!
    Notes
    Cooking time will vary based on apples used and thickness of apples.
    Granny smith makes the best apples for fried apples.

     

     

    1 Comment "

    Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches (Strawberry Banana)

    February 19th, 2014

    I’ve been doing a great job at cutting back the amounts of junk food sweets I’ve been eating. It sure hasn’t been easy especially when I want to make a Dove chocolate cheesecake so bad. Oh and a caramel pecan streusel pound cake. Did I mention I got a doughnut pan last month and have been dying to make some sour cream cake doughnuts? And I saw some carrot cake cookies on food network the other day….did you hear me, CARROT.CAKE.COOKIES. YALL. Omg *sigh* You get the point right, this struggle is real!! I do have a Saturday cheat day though. *Whew*

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana) 2

    Thankfully I’ve stocked my freezer and pantry with healthier desserts and snacks to help me through this trying time and it’s WORKING! Oh and I almost forgot those little Girl Scout trolls have just started resurfacing with their delicious boxes of cookies and sweet smiles!! FML!!! Ok breath Monique.

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana) 4

    Like I was saying, I have some tricks in my own little bag, one of them being these healthy ice cream sandwiches. I won’t sit here and tell you they taste just like ice cream sandwiches or even better, because they don’t. They just aren’t those soft, chocolately vanilla ice cream bars of nostalgic heaven I grew up with. But they are a tasty little treat that won’t leave you feeling guilty after eating it and conquers the “sweets demon” like a pro. Enough for me. I’ll definitely continue making these. They rock!

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana) 6

    I really wanna try banana chocolate and banana peanut butter next. And peach banana. I hear that peaches also “cream” up when frozen and pureed  so maybe I’ll try a peaches and cream batch as well. These babies will be my saving grace this summer I just know it! Hello felt stomach, my you sure look nice!!

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana) 1

    These health strawberry banana ice cream sandwiches are made simply with ripe frozen bananas that have been blended to create a creamy ice cream texture, a few fresh sweet strawberries sandwiched between two organic,natural graham crackers. I like how clean these healthy ice cream sandwiches are. I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Win!

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana)

    It’s super important that your banana and strawberries are really sweet for the best taste!

    Make up a batch, wrap them in plastic wrap, place them in a freezer bag and stash them away in the freezer for when an ice cream attack hits. You’ll thank yourself.

    healthy ice cream sandwich recipe (strawberry banana) 5

    Watch me make these Healthy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches from start to finish!

     

    ****Update*** I made a batch of peanut butter banana and banana nutella today and they are by far my favorites so far!!! I’d recommend dividing the banana cream up so that you can make and taste a variety and pick your favorite to create a large batch. 

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches (Strawberry Banana)
     
    Author:
    Serves: 11
    Ingredients
    • 5 ripe bananas
    • ¾ cup sweet diced strawberries (can use other fruits)
    • 11 sheets of graham crackers (I used Organic cinnamon sugar & chocolate)
    Instructions
    1. Slice bananas into disk.
    2. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
    3. Freeze for 2 hours or until frozen.
    4. Place banana slices in a food processor and blend until creamy.
    5. Scoop banana into a large bowl and fold in dice strawberries.
    6. Line an 8 x 8 dish with parchment paper.
    7. Spread banana mixture into the pan in an even layer.
    8. Freeze.
    9. Cut banana mixture into squares (use a graham cracker as a pattern)
    10. Assemble ice cream sandwiches.
    11. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag to store.

     

     

    2 Comments "

    Sausage, Spinach, & Tomato Queso Blanco Dip

    February 19th, 2014

    Picture this: It’s Saturday. I’m relaxing on the couch, munching on sour cream guacamole chips, watching reality TV (don’t judge me), while waiting on my clay facial mask to dry. My phone buzzes with a text message that says, “On our way!” You can imagine the look on my face, right? We’ve all been there.

    I totally forgot I was hosting a family meeting. Thankfully, I had completed my weekend marathon house cleaning. Gosh, I’ve got to stop cramming my cleaning in like that. So now I just needed to get normal looking and think of a quick, easy and delicious appetizer. My family consists of serious foodies and appetizers are mandatory for any and every occasion.

    queso blanco

    So here I am fumbling through the fridge, grabbing random ingredients like I’m competing on Top Chef.

    My fridge was stocked with Johnsonville Sausage, since I was supposed to be cooking with the sausage in honor of Mardi Gras for an upcoming blog post (which you’re reading right now).

    Johnsonville Chicken Sausage is packed with flavor. And unlike most other fully cooked sausages, Johnsonville doesn’t use any filler, which makes for a juicy and firm texture and bite. I grabbed a pack of Johnsonville Chicken Sausage Chipotle Monterey Jack Cheese and said, “Ok baby, show me what you’re working with!” Yes, I really talk to my food. You should too.

    I decided on a quick and easy Sausage, Spinach and Tomato Queso Blanco Dip. I didn’t have all the ingredients that I needed so I improvised. The results were great and we were scraping down the pan by the end of the evening. Mission completed.  

    queso blanco1

    The rock star ingredient in this recipe is definitely the Johnsonville Chicken Sausage – packed with just the right amount of heat from the chipotle peppers and that creamy Monterey Jack cheese, have mercy! It’s like it was made for this dip.

    Johnsonville has a bunch of delicious sausage flavors, which you can check out here. I’ve only had the chicken varieties and they did not disappoint, so bold and full of flavor.

    One of the reasons why I agreed to review Johnsonville Sausages is because I’ve been cooking with them for years. I no longer eat pork (which is why you won’t find any pork recipes on this blog) so I’m very limited on the types of fully cooked sausages I can eat. You know the struggle if you’re in the same boat.

    queso blanco3

    With Johnsonville, I can throw that juicy chicken sausage right in between a bun and have that firm texture and bite that I use to love with pork sausages. And of course the mom in me loves that they are made with the best cuts of chicken and without fillers. They make for a perfect party food, whether it’s an unexpected family meeting or a Mardi Gras celebration.

    Have you ever tried Johnsonville Sausages?  If so, which flavor is your favorite? If not, which flavor would you most like to try?

    Leave your comment below and automatically be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

     

    Visit the Johnsonville’s website to view all of their delicious sausage varieties!

    And while you’re at it, here’s the recipe for that delicious Sausage, Spinach, & Tomato Queso Blanco Dip!

     

    4.7 from 48 reviews

    Sausage, Spinach, & Tomato Queso Blanco Dip
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced
    • ¼ cup red onions, finely diced
    • 2 Johnsonville Chicken Sausage Chipotle Monterey Jack Cheese, diced
    • ½ cup spinach, finely diced
    • 1 large tomato, seeded, finely diced
    • 4 oz. can diced green chilies(optional)
    • ¾ cup heavy cream
    • 1 lb. White American cheese, shredded
    • ¼ cup milk, plus more if desired
    • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, diced
    Instructions
    1. Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.
    2. Add onions and jalapeno and cook until tender.
    3. Add sausage and spinach and cook until sausage is heated.
    4. Add tomatoes and diced green chilies, if using.
    5. Stir in heavy cream and cheese.
    6. Continue stirring until cheese is completely melted.
    7. Add enough milk to reach desired consistency.
    8. Stir in cilantro.
    9. Serve immediately with tortilla chips
    Notes
    Note: The cheese and sausage adds enough sodium so I served this dip with unsalted tortilla chips and buttered baguettes.

     

    Sweepstakes Rules:
    No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
    1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
    2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
    3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
    4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
    This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.  

    The Official Rules are available here.

    This sweepstakes runs from 2/19 – 3/23.

    Be sure to visit the Johnsonville Sausage brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!    

    289 Comments "

    I use ZipList! Do you??

    February 17th, 2014

    FINALLY I’ve joined Ziplist! A lot of you guys have asked me about it and I’ve been procrastinating for the longest. (I’m horrible at putting stuff off) but this year I am determined to stay focused and just “get’er done!” when it comes to many areas of my life, including my blog.  I’ve remodeled my blog a little. Can you tell? Mainly just to tidy up a little bit and add a few new helpful features.

    divas can cook

    Ziplist is one of those helpful features! You see that little recipe box up there in my navigation bar? Well you can now add any recipe from my site to that box and even use it to create menus, and shopping lists. And not just from my site, but from a TON of other popular food sites as well.

    If you’ve never heard of or used ziplist then you are gonna love it and I’m super excited to be the one to introduce you to what could possibly change your life!!  It’s basically designed to make meal planning and grocery shopping easier and boy does it!  You can sync it up with your cell phone so you can have your grocery list, menus, recipes, with you and even menu plan on the go which I love! Best of all IT’S FREE!

    You can read more about all the cool features right here. 

     

    divas can cook

    Once you sign up, you can start using it right away. I love all the features but one of my favorites is the section that shows me what’s on sale in the grocery stores in my area. I plan my weekly menus off of what I already have in my kitchen and what’s on sale so this really helps me out. *side note* Look, Whole Foods has chicken breast for $2.99/ lb this week!! Yep, best believe I’ll be taking advantage of that!

    I also love that I can share my list with my hubby. He is the designated “food runner” for this site. He goes out almost every day for ingredients for Divas Can Cook and my other two food blogs (coming soon!) because I’m ALWAYS forgetting something. Gosh I love that man!

    Ziplist is also super easy to use which is a plus because I HATE leaning new things. Wait, that sounded bad didn’t it? I actually love to learn but I don’t like fooling with apps or programs that are meant to simplify my life but requires a lot of time to figure out how to use it. Does that sound better?

    But anyway, back to Ziplist being easy to use. Let’s say you want to make my scrumptious, easy red velvet cupcakes! Simply go to the recipe on my site and click on the little blue save button. Voila! You now have that recipe in your stash.

    divas can cook

     

    Once you add the recipe to your recipe box, you can now add it to your weekly/monthly menu. Yep you can sit in the boring waiting room and pass time by planning out your families menu.

    divas can cook

    Or send the ingredients to your grocery list. You can add other ingredients that you need to take off the ones you already have. Ziplist does all the work for you. You can even tag recipes like “Taco Night” so that you’ll have a stash of recipes to refer to whenever you need a good one for Taco Night or “Must Try” to create a group of recipes that you want to eventually get around to trying.

    Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 4.22.13 PM

    Pretty cool huh?

    Have you used zip list yet?

    Whatcha waiting on?  Get Started!!

     

     

    No Comments "

    Pizza Jalepeno Poppers

    February 17th, 2014

    I started poppin’ jalapeños back in ’09. (I love saying that)  I use to always pass them up at parties because jalapeños stuffed with “stuff” just didn’t appeal to me. When I tried my first one I was hooked!  They quickly became one of my favorite appetizers. Mainly because they are so doggone easy to make and you can pretty much use whatever ingredients you have on hand to create a unique stuffed jalapeño popper or keep it simple with just cheddar cheese and cream cheese.

    pizza jalapeño poppers recipe

    I’ve made many varieties:  bacon & cheddar, philly cheesesteak, chicken alfredo, you name it! One of my favorites are these hot, cheesy pizza jalepenos poppers. Who doesn’t love pizza right? No, like seriously, who doesn’t love pizza?!? Show them to me because I seriously need to ask “WHY?!” Pizza is the best food on the planet. Take all of those flavorful pizza toppings and cram them inside of a jalepeno and you’ve got yourself a little party inside of your mouth.

    The recipe is pretty simple and you can customize it by adding your favorite pizza toppings.

    Wanna see how I make them? Let’s Go! You can find my Pizza Jalapeño Poppers recipe over on Hidden Valley!

    No Comments "

    Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

    February 12th, 2014

    My red velvet cake recipe is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. Recently I used my red velvet cake recipe to make red velvet cupcakes and wasn’t too thrilled with the texture anymore. (I get bored quick with a lot of things) They were too light and fluffy, yes that’s totally possible.

    easy red velvet cupcakes recipe easy cream cheese frosting recipe

    Great for a cake, not so good for cupcakes baked in paper liners. It could have been a user error since I know so many of you guys have raved about how good of a cupcake that batter makes. If you are content with it then by all means, continue using that recipe.

    easy red velvet cupcakes recipe easy cream cheese frosting recipe

    Hoooowever, I like my cupcakes to be light, fluffy  yet have some density to them so that they don’t tear apart at all when you pull off the paper. I remedied this situation easily with the one-bowl mixing method,  reducing the amount of oil and changing the ingredients ever so slightly. I also made sure I didn’t overfill the cupcake liners.

    easy red velvet cupcakes recipe easy cream cheese frosting recipe

    The results: Perfectly soft yet sturdy, super moist and delicious red velvet cupcakes with the perfect “is this is a box cake?” texture and classic, southern red velvet taste.

    Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 1.00.34 PM

    These red velvet cupcakes are finished off with a super easy 3-ingredient cream cheese frosting and  a sprinkling of pecan pieces. Easy, peasy, delicious!

    easy red velvet cupcakes recipe easy cream cheese frosting recipe

    Watch me make these easy red velvet cupcakes from start to finish!

    4.8 from 4 reviews

    Easy Red Velvet Cupckes
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: dessert, cupcakes
    Serves: 2 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¾ cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 oz red food coloring
    • ½ cup hot water
    • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • FROSTING
    • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
    • 4 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature (do not melt)
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325
    2. In a large bowl mix together sugar and oil until well combined.
    3. Beat in eggs until mixture is uniform in color.
    4. Add in buttermilk, vanilla extract and food coloring.
    5. Mix until well combined.
    6. Mix in hot water and distilled vinegar.
    7. Add flour.
    8. Mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and add to bowl.
    9. Add in cocoa powder.
    10. Mix to combine all ingredients.
    11. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
    12. Pour ¼ cup of batter into each liner.
    13. Bake to 18-20 minutes or until tops are spongey to the touch. (do not over cook. SEET NOTE*)
    14. Remove from oven and let cupcakes sit in pan for 5 minutes.
    15. Place cupcakes on a cooling wrack to finish cooling.
    16. Make the frosting by creaming together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until creamy.
    Notes
    *DO NOT OVER COOK-It’s ok if a few crumbs cling to the toothpick if doing the toothpick doneness method. In this case, cupcakes will finish cooking as it cools in the pan and be perfectly moist when cooled.

     

     

     

    7 Comments "

    How To Make Homemade Chocolate Covered Pretzels

    February 7th, 2014

    When I was pregnant with Ethan I craved white chocolate covered pretzels like nobody’s business!  I went to the mall to get those pretty little gourmet pretzels and was left highly disappointed. The pretzels were stale and the chocolate crumbled off with one bite. I ended up just getting a bag of Flipz to satisfy the craving.

    chocolate covered pretzels

    Had I remembered just how freakin easy it is to make homemade chocolate covered pretzels I would have whipped up a batch in a heartbeat.  Naaaa, on second thought, I was pretty lazy during my pregnancy. That wouldn’t have happened.

    chocolate covered pretzles 4

    Although these chocolate covered pretzels are crazy easy to make they do require a bit of time. I mean, all you’re doing is dip, drip, sprinkle/drizzle. Bam! It’s repetitive and if you bore easily like myself,  I HIGHLY advise you to make the process more enjoyable for yourself by doing the following:

    How to Save Your Sanity While Making Homemade Chocolate Covered Pretzels

    1.) Pick your design. Choose your design(s) and gather all supplies needed to create it. I just googled chocolate covered pretzels. Found two designs I liked which were sprinkles and drizzles. Keep it simple, not unless you’re all super creative and talented and all I have to say to that is…”SHOW OFF!!”

    2.) Get totally prepped. Get ALL of your supplies set out on the table and ready. This includes the bowls you’re gonna melt your chocolate in, the forks for dipping, the wax paper to place the pretzels on to dry and so forth.  Pretend that you are about to perform and surgery and you need a super neat and functional work space. Also if you’re making this as a gift, get a cute tin container to put them in, don’t just place them in a glad container,  boring!!

    3.) Pick the perfect time. Choose a day and time where you aren’t rushed or trying to multi-task. Night time is good or really early in the morning. Or a lazy Sunday. I just love Sundays. Making homemade chocolate covered pretzels while in a hurry is not fun. At all.

    4.) Dress for success. Put on something comfy. I don’t know why. It’s just fun making these when you are super comfy and your hair is pulled up in a high bun.

    5.)  Create the ambiance. Turn on some music, trashy reality tv, or invite a gossipy friend over to keep you entertained. Eventually you will zone out of dipping pretzels and go into auto-pilot mode.  Might as well have something to keep you entertained. Time will go by so quick.

    6.) Have a healthy snack.  Have some wine (yes that is a healthy snack. Um, hello..grapes) or something to snack on. I had some moscato and chicken wings. If not you’ll eat about 20 chocolate covered pretzels and feel really guilty when you’re done.

    7.) Have fun!! These chocolate covered pretzels really are super fun to make. They make a beautiful gift.

     

    chocolate covered pretzels

    They are much easier to make than cake pops or apple pie pops or brownie truffles or Oreo truffles… ok you get the point right.

    Store between layers of parchment papers. I prefer to keep them in the fridge.

    chocolate covered pretzels  1

    Watch me make these chocolate covered pretzels from start to finish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    How To Make Homemade Chocolate Covered Pretzels
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: chocolate covered pretzels
    Ingredients
    • Mini pretzels
    • 8 oz. white chocolate
    • 8 oz. milk chocolate
    • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided
    • Decorations (sprinkles, nuts, etc.)
    Instructions
    1. In a medium size bowl add white chocolate and 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening.
    2. Microwave, stirring every 6-10 seconds until completely melted.
    3. Use a fork to dip pretzel into and out of chocolate.
    4. Let excess chocolate drip off.
    5. Place on wax paper to dry.
    6. When chocolate has hardened, redip the pretzels (some white chocolate brands only require one dipping for a thick coating)
    7. Add sprinkles while chocolate is still wet.
    8. Add the milk chocolate drizzle once the white chocolate has completely set.
    9. To make the drizzled pretzels, use a fork and quickly swing chocolate over the pretzels back and forth. Let harden.
    10. Repeat the same instructions to make milk chocolate covered pretzels, except double dipping is not needed.
    11. Store pretzels between layers of parchment paper.
    12. I prefer to keep them in the refrigerator.

     

     

    1 Comment "

    January Menu (A Healthier Attempt)

    February 1st, 2014

    This is my first menu post. Depending on the response it gets, I’ll continue to do them once or twice a month.

    It’s mid January and I’ve been trying to make “healthier” choices this month like eating more whole grains, fruit, & salads. I’m taking it a day at a time because I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

    My biggest downfall is SWEETS!!! OMG I love sweets! I only made 3 desserts this week so that’s a big step.  I really didn’t cook much this week. We’ve been really busy with various projects so our menu has been pretty blah.

    I’m proud that we didn’t revert back to eating out on busy days though, just once this week like we budgeted for. There were lots of fresh fruit, yogurt and salad on sale since it’s January and a lot folks are trying to eat healthier. I totally took advantage of that and stocked up. I have frozen yogurt drops stashed away in the freezer for future smoothies. I froze a lot of fresh blueberries and strawberries that were on sale as well.

    menu IMG_3805menu menu

    MONDAY:

    Breakfast:  Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal w/ Almond milk

    Lunch:  Roasted Turkey & Provolone Sandwich, Mixed Fruit,  Homemade Potato Chips

    Dinner:  Spaghetti, Salad, Yeast Rolls (Sister Schubert)

    IMG_3818 IMG_4042 IMG_4052

    TUESDAY:

    Breakfast: Homemade Blueberry Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Bacon

    Lunch:  Chicken Ramen Noodles with steak, broccoli and red pepper flakes,

    Dinner: Honey Curry Chicken Legs, Stove-top Mac n Cheese, Steamed Broccoli, Yeast Rolls (Sister Schubert)

    IMG_3822 IMG_3831 IMG_4048

    WEDNESDAY:

    Breakfast: Cheese Grits, Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Mixed Fruit, Toast

    Lunch:  Chicken Sandwich, Homemade Chips, Baby Carrots, Chocolate Chip Cookies (Chips Ahoy)

    Dinner: Tomato Bisque (store bought), Grilled Cheese Quesadilla, Salad

    IMG_3821 menu IMG_4044

    THURSDAY:

    Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwich (eggs, cheese, tomato,) Blueberry Yogurt

    Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti, Salad, Yeast Rolls,

    Dinner:  Cheesesteak Sliders, Homemade Cajun Fries

    menu IMG_3805menu unnamed

    FRIDAY:

    Breakfast: Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal, Almond Milk

    Lunch:  Roasted Turkey & Cheese Sandwich, Homemade Chips, Mixed Fruit

    Dinner: (Went to Grandma’s House) Baked Chicken, Collard Greens, Rice & Gravy, Cornbread, Biscuits, Candied Yams, BBQ ribs

    IMG_4063  IMG_3836 menu

    SATURDAY:

    Breakfast: Cinnamon Raisin Granola, Strawberry Yogurt, Banana

    Lunch: Chicken Nuggets (frozen), French Fries (frozen), Steamed Broccoli & Cheese

    Dinner: Turkey Meatloaf,  Rice, Green Beans

    menu  IMG_3805menu menu

    SUNDAY:

    Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito (eggs,smoked cheese, tomatoes, green peppers, onions,) Blueberry Yogurt

    Lunch: Roasted Turkey & Cheese Sandwich, Homemade Chips, Mixed Fruit

    Dinner: (Out To Eat) Chicken Burrito & Mexican Rice

    fresh strawberry cobbler recipe fruit salsa cinnamon chips recipe Snickers Bar Brownies recipe

    DESSERTS & SNACKS

     Strawberry Cobbler,   Fruit Salsa w/ Cinnamon Tortilla Chips, Snickers Bar Brownies, Oreos & Vanilla Ice Cream (don’t judge me)

     

    9 Comments "

    Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

    January 31st, 2014

    Appetizers don’t get any easier and scrumptious than these hot, cheesy, messy Philly cheesesteak sliders. I think all sandwiches should  be made on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. They just makes everything so freakin delicious!

    What is it about a messy, cheesesteak that makes you want to devour it like a beast!?   You take one big cheesy beefy mouthful while nodding your head in approval at the delicious flavors you are experiencing.  Or is that just me?

    philly cheesesteak slider recipe 1

    We couldn’t get enough of these philly cheesesteak sliders and the entire pan was gone by the end of dinner. (We rrrreally like food in this house)  The steak strips are super seasoned with a homemade steak blend, along with the onions and peppers. I didn’t add any fresh garlic this time, but you certainly can.

    philly cheesesteak slider recipe

    The hawaiian sweet rolls are buttered down and toasted in the oven and fresh provolone cheese just ties everything all together. But this recipe just isn’t complete without a good pepper sauce for dunking! OMG I purchased a bottle from Firehouse Sub (go get a bottle if you have one in your area) I have yet to taste anything better on a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich than Captin Sorensens Datil Pepper Hot Sauce! NOTHING!!

    Add a pickle and a good spreading of mayonnaise and I am one happy girl!

    Watch me make these Philly Cheesesteak Sliders from start to finish!

    5.0 from 2 reviews

    Philly Cheesesteak Sliders
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: appetizer, sandwich
    Serves: 12
    Ingredients
    • l lb beef round steak, thinly sliced
    • STEAK SEASONING
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • ½ teaspoon oregano
    • 1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • ½ large white onion, thinly sliced
    • Provolone cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
    • 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls
    • Datil Pepper sauce for dipping (optional but so good)
    • pickles
    Instructions
    1. Mix together the steak seasoning.
    2. Sprinkle steak with steak seasoning, reserving about a teaspoon.
    3. Cover, refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight is great.
    4. Preheat oven to 375. F
    5. Cook steak in a tablespoon of butter until done. Drain & set aside.
    6. In the same pan, sprinkle onions and peppers with remaining seasoning and cook until tender.
    7. Line a casserole dish with foil paper.
    8. Slice the entire pack of rolls in half.
    9. Lay the bottom half in the casserole dish and top with steak, onions and peppers.
    10. Top with provolone cheese.
    11. Butter the top and underside of the top rolls with melted butter and place on top of the cheese. (can also add mayo)
    12. Bake for 10-12 minutes until rolls are golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.
    13. Serve hot with datil pepper sauce and a pickle.

     

    8 Comments "

    Strawberry Margarita Punch

    January 30th, 2014

    OMG I LOVE this strawberry margarita punch so much! Ok I LOVE margarita ANYTHING! Maybe it’s the hidden lush in me, but I can down about 4 cups of this stuff  back to back. It’s so good and refreshing. Sweet, tart, fizzy, and full of delicious strawberry margarita flavor!

    strawberry margarita punh recipe2

    Be warned though, this  strawberry margarita punch is…how do I say this…dangerous!! The alcohol really hides well in this stuff  (especially if you make it the day before) so it’s super easy to not even realize you’ve drank way to much until BAM! There you are  naked…on a bar… with a Vikings hat on…….doing some weird Irish step dance. This stuff will sneak up on you and fast.

    strawberry margarita punh recipe 5

    The beauty of this punch is that you can pretty much use any kind of berry-soda combination that you want to make a margarita-ish tasting punch. I’ve only used strawberry, raspberry and blackberry so I can’t vouch for any other flavors. Peach is on my list this summer though. Yes ma’am!

    strawberry margarita punh recipe 4

    You can strain the strawberry puree if you don’t want the little black seeds floating in your drink. I leave them in there though because I think it looks cool and the little seeds are kinda fun to chew on when you catch one in your mouth.

    strawberry margarita punch recipe

    Watch me make this  Strawberry Margarita Punch from start to finish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Sparkling Strawberry Margarita Punch
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: drink, punch
    Serves: 1 large pitcher
    Ingredients
    • 16 oz. fresh strawberries, hulls removed (can also use frozen)
    • 1 can frozen limeade concentrate
    • 4 cups water, divided. May need more (can also use sparkling water for a fizzier punch)
    • 2 cups orange juice (without pulp)
    • 4 cups strawberry soda
    • 1½ cups tequila, can use more
    • ½ cup cointreu or triple sec, can use more
    Instructions
    1. Process 1 cup of water and strawberries in a food processor until smooth.
    2. Add to a large pitcher.
    3. Stir in frozen limeade.
    4. Add in orange juice, strawberry soda, tequila and cointreau.
    5. Stir in 3 cups of water. (Can use more water if you think it’s too sweet, but remember punch is suppose to be sweet so don’t water it down too much.)
    Notes
    Want more fizz? Use sparkling water and serve it the day you make it.
    The strawberry flavors of the punch taste stronger the next day, but the taste of alcohol is pretty much nonexistent the next day so keep that in mind, depending on what you’re going for here.

     

     

    4 Comments "

    Chipotle Lime Chicken Drummettes w/ Avocado Sauce

    January 26th, 2014

    If anything in life belongs together is Chipotle and Lime. I don’t know why I love this couple so much but they totally work! Throw in some cool, creamy avocado and I could weep. Beautiful!! I guess that’s why I love this chipolte lime chicken drummettes with avocado sauce so much. You could totally use chicken wings as well.

    chipotle lime chicken wings recipe avocado sauce5

    They just look so fabulous and irresitable arrange on a platter, don’t you think? I could never pass up trying one if saw them at a party.

    chipotle lime chicken wings recipe avocado sauce1

    The chipotle chicken drummettes are spicy, smokey, salty with a very faint hint of sweet. They taste GREAT by themselves (the way my hubby prefers them) but pair them up with a cool, light and fresh tasting avocado sauce and YES!! They somehow become, dare I say, elegant.

    chipotle lime chicken wings recipe avocado sauce

    The avocado sauce cools down the spice of the drummettes beautifully, but it’s totally optional. Hubby thinks the sauce cools down the drummettes a little too much and takes away from their “kick”.  Pshhh!!!! That’s because he totally dunked them in the stuff.  And besides, you really have to act a little bougie when you’re eating these drummettes.: Hold the drummette with your pinky finger extended and then tap, tap, tap lightly into the sauce. Proceed by letting your teeth sink into the chicken ever so gently. Repeat.

    Watch me make these chipotle lime chicken drummettes w/ avocado sauce from start to finish!

    5.0 from 4 reviews

    Chipotle Lime Chicken Drummettes w/ Avacado Sauce
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: appetizer
    Serves: 5
    Ingredients
    • 20 fresh chicken drummettes or wings
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • CHIPOTLE SEASONING RUB
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1½ teaspoons chili powder (can more if desired)
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon Old Bay w/ Blackening seasoning (optional, but yum!)
    • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder (add more if you like heat)
    • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • ¾ teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon cumin
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Fresh cilantro, garnish
    • AVOCADO SAUCE
    • 1 avocado
    • 5 Tablespoons sour cream
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Brush wings with mayonnaise.
    2. Mix together chipotle seasoning spices.
    3. Spinkle spice mixture generously over chicken. Use your hands to really work the spices into the chicken.
    4. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
    5. Preheat oven to 450.
    6. Arrange chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet brushed lightly with oil.
    7. Bake for 20 minutes.
    8. Drain off the juice.
    9. Return chicken to oven and broil to crisp up the skin. Watch carefully, this only takes a few minutes.
    10. Arrange chicken on a platter and garnish with fresh cut cilantro and the juice of 1 fresh lime.
    11. Make the avocado sauce by pureeing avocado and sour cream. Add in cilantro, garlic and enough water to thin it out (if desire) Puree until smooth. Stir in lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

     

    8 Comments "

    Easy Taco Bites

    January 23rd, 2014

    These taco bites are packed with all the tastes of taco salad in a cute, tiny lil package. I barely had enough of these left over to photograph for this blog post because Isaac and I sat and just ate them one after the other. That’s how good they are.

    mini taco bites recipe

     

    The homemade mini tortilla bowls are buttery, flaky, crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. Don’t even think about using the corn chip Scoop things. These tortilla bowls blows them out of the water baby!

    IMG_3891

    I used ground turkey for the meat mixture and seasoned the dickens out of it. Top with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, taco sauce, black olive and sour cream, and you have a winning combination on your hands! These go super fast!

    mini taco bites recipe

     

    NOTE* I suggest making these at the location that you want to serve them. They don’t transport well since one hard jiggle can knock them over if they are fully loaded the way I like them. It’s so not fun filling these shells up but the taste payoff and presentation makes it so worth it. Alternatively you could just mix up the ground meat, tomatoes, cheese, etc. and spoon it all in with one scoop but that isn’t nearly as pretty!

     

    mini taco bites recipe

    Watch me make these Easy Taco Bites from start to finish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Mini Taco Bowl Bites
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: appetizer
    Serves: makes 48
    Ingredients
    • 48 (3 inch) flour tortillas
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
    • 1 lb ground ground turkey
    • HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING
    • 1Tablespoon chili powder
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • TACO TOPPINGS
    • Lettuce, shredded
    • Cheddar cheese, shredded
    • Cherry tomatoes, diced
    • Black olives
    • Taco sauce
    • Sour cream
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. Cut tortillas into 3-inch circles.*
    3. Mix butter and cilantro in a small bowl.
    4. Brush tortillas circles with butter mixture.
    5. Place tortillas into muffin tin, (buttered side down) making sure the bottoms are flattened.
    6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crisp.
    7. Let cool in pan.
    8. Brown ground turkey.
    9. Mix together taco seasonings and add to ground meat.
    10. Add in ¼ cup of water if needed.
    11. When meat is done, drain and set aside.
    12. Arrange the taco cups by first adding in taco sauce, ground meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Top with sour cream and an olive.
    13. Serve.
    Notes
    Cutting tortilla: You may need to microwave your tortillas to get them really pliable. Create a pattern circle and make sure it fits snug into the mini muffin tin. Stack the pattern tortilla on top of the other tortillas and cut out circles.

     

    6 Comments "

    Stay “TRU to YOU” with Truvia®

    January 19th, 2014

    How are those New Years Resolutions coming along guys? I’ve already started slacking off a bit when it comes to eating less sugar (my major weakness. Gosh I love sweeeeets!) but I’m determined to stick with this goal. It’s all about baby steps, refocusing and making smarter choices. In comes Truvia® because I am NOT about to give up my overly sweet daily coffee, no ma’am!

    A few of you guys mentioned Truvia on my twitter as a wonderful, natural sugar alternative and I’m so glad you did! I’ve only been using Truvia for a few days now, but I have high hopes that this will help me in cutting down my sugar intake. So far I can’t even tell the difference in my coffee. I’m not saying I’m giving up on sugar now, but I’m a don’t-knock-it-until-you-try-it kinda girl and I need to lose this muffin top pronto!

    Want to try a FREE sample? Get it here!

    Truvia Stay TRU To You

    I was honored when Truvia asked me to help promote their Stay TRU To You campaign. This campaign encourages fans to stick to their New Years Resolution by letting them  choose 1 of 3 prizes when they take the Stay TRU pledge from Jan 9-31. By taking the Stay TRU pledge you are automatically entered for a chance to win and will also receive a Truvia coupon.

    Simply visit http://bit.ly/truvia23 and enter the Truvia® Stay TRU to YOU Sweepstakes for a chance to win up to $500 in prizes!

    But that’s not all!!

    Truvia® sweetener and Kin Community have joined forces to inspire and encourage you even further with seven, sweet new video recipes.  From delicious desserts like healthy chocolate chip cookies to lightened up cocktails (hallelujah!!).  That cosmo has my name written all over it!

    Check out this delicious recipe playlist using Truvia® sweetener.

     How would you use Truvia® sweetener??

     

    *** I was asked to help promote Truvia Stay TRU sweepstakes and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my own.

     

    No Comments "

    Snickers Brownies

    January 17th, 2014

    I make no apologies for this Snickers brownie recipe.  Yes, I’m currently trying to lose 10 lbs and yes I realize these will not help. I also realize that I probably should be cutting back on sugary, delicious stuff if I want to lose weight and that I definitely should not have finished off the 95% of the pan.

    Snickers Bar Brownies recipe

    Yes I realize all of this and I’m good. It’s water under the bridge. And if you too find yourself in the kitchen whipping up a batch of these Snickers brownies knowing full well you definitely don’t need to be, then you can use the line I  use when your husband (or anyone) says “I thought you were cutting back on sweets.”  Look him dead in the eye while slowly chewing a piece brownie and say ” I’m. A Grown. Ass. Woman!” Be sure to squint your eyes a little and flare your nostrils slightly to show you mean business. Something about this works, totally shuts them up and makes them walk off.

    Snickers Bar Brownies recipe

    This was my cheat snack for the week and it was so worth it. I’m not even going to try to up my cardio routine to compensate. I’m just going to take it like a boss! These were GOOD!!! The way those Snicker bars just melted onto the chewy, fudgey brownie and became one! Mercy! Every bite was pure satisfaction.

    Snickers Bar Brownies recipe

    The beauty of this recipe is that it’s super easy and you can pretty much use your favorite candy bar( kit kat, reeses, 3 musketeers,) It will make you or whomever you are making them for smile with joy.

    Be sure to have a nice cold glass of milk or water nearby. All that chocolate goodness beckons for something cold to wash it all down with.

    Watch me make these Snicker Bar Brownies from start to finish!

    4.5 from 2 reviews

    Snickers Brownies
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: brownies
    Ingredients
    • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1¼ cups sugar
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 20 fun-size Snicker bars, chopped
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven 325.
    2. Line a 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper and grease lightly. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl mix together butter and sugar until well combined
    4. Mix in cocoa powder, salt and vanilla.
    5. Stir in eggs until well combine.
    6. Stir in flour just until all flour is incorporated.
    7. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
    8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs on it. (they will be under baked just slightly but will continue to cook as they cool. This will make for a chewy brownie)
    9. Remove brownie from oven and immediately top with chopped Snicker bars.
    10. Let cool until brownie pan is cool enough to touch on the bottom.
    11. Place pan in refrigerator until cold and chocolate is firm.
    12. Slice and serve.

    3 Comments "

    Creamy Cheeseburger Soup

    January 8th, 2014

    We’ve been having some MAJOR cold weather here lately. I’m talking -14 ! What tha!!! I’m so longing for some sunny skies, blue water and sand right now, but I guess I’ll just have to suck it up for a few more months. One thing I love to do when it’s freezing outside is COOK!!! I crank up that oven and spend all day cooking and baking up delicious, fattening treats and dishes.

    cheeseburger soup recipe

    It’s been a while since I listed a soup recipe on this blog so today I made this super cozy and delicious cheeseburger soup for lunch. I had all the ingredients in the refrigerator already since I went  shopping the night before to brace for the snow  and ice storm that was supposedly headed our way. So glad it changed it’s mind. Man oh man did this soup hit the spot!

    cheeseburger soup recipe

    This cheeseburger soup is EVERYTHING!! I’m really tempted to call it my all-time favorite soup. It’s creamy, cheesy, and comforting. Packed with cheese, meat, potatoes, and veggies and then topped with burger fixings like tomatoes, bacon,  buttery croutons, cheese, yep and even diced pickles if you’re brave enough to go there. We are in my house and love it! We had it for lunch and dinner.

    cheeseburger soup recipe

    I’m sure this cheeseburger soup will become a family favorite in your house. It’s rich, beautifully flavored with all the addicting flavors of a juicy hot cheeseburger.  No wonder my husband enjoyed it so much.

    With all the fun toppings this cheeseburger soup would make a great meal for a large event.

    cheeseburger soup recipe

    This soup is also called cheeseburger chowder, Mcdonalds soup or cheeseburger paradise soup. It normally calls for velveeta cheese but I find a homemade cheese sauce tastes much better.

    Watch me make this cheeseburger soup from start to finish!

     

    5.0 from 3 reviews

    Comforting Cheeseburger Soup
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: soup
    Ingredients
    • 1 lb ground turkey (could use other ground meat)
    • ½ lb ground turkey sausage (could use other ground sausages)
    • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1 cup diced onions
    • 1 cup diced carrots
    • 1 cup diced celery
    • 3 cups russet potatoes peeled and diced into small cubes
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 5 Tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
    • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
    • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (can use a mixture of cheeses if desired. I like smoked cheddar and sharp cheddar)
    • Toppings: shredded cheese, fresh parsley, chopped bacon, dice tomatoes, cheese, pickles, buttered croutons.
    Instructions
    1. In a large deep skillet brown ground turkey and ground sausage. Drain and set aside.
    2. In the same deep skillet at 2 tablespoons of butter and diced carrot, onions and celery.
    3. Sauté until tender over medium heat.
    4. Stir in cubed potatoes, chicken broth, italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
    5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer just until potatoes are tender (but not to soft).
    6. Remove from heat and set aside.
    7. In a large soup pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
    8. Whisk in flour a little at a time stirring constantly over medium heat.
    9. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
    10. Stir in warm milk and warm heavy cream.
    11. Stir in cheeses until mixture is smooth and creamy. Do not bring to a boil or simmer.
    12. Pour meat & vegetable mixture into the cheese sauce and stir until well combined.
    13. Taste and add in additional salt, black pepper, garlic powder or Italian seasoning if needed.
    14. Laddle soup into bowls and top with desired toppings.
    15. Serve hot!

     

    5 Comments "

    Chewy M&M Cookie Bars

    January 5th, 2014

    What do you make when it’s freezing, windy and rainy outside and you have two sick little boys on your hands? You make m&m cookie bars that’s what! I mean seriously, wouldn’t these just cheer you right up?

    chewy m&m cookie bars recipe homemade

    I use to LOVE it when my mom or grandmother made cookie bars growing up. Cookies are cool and all but there is just something about the cookie BAR. Thick, chewy, and chocked full of chocolate chips or whatever you choose to add in them.

    chewy m&m cookie bars recipe homemade

    I will go on record and say these are the BEST m&m cookie bars EVERRR!!! I’ve had plenty of cookie bars in my day and these lovelies bake up thick, chewy and soft in all the right places. They are full of m&m’s which makes me so happy!

    chewy m&m cookie bars recipe homemade

     

    I don’t know too many kids that wouldn’t love to come home from school to a plate of these babies and a tall glass of milk waiting on them.

    chewy m&m cookie bars recipe homemade

    Isaac said these m&m cookie bars were the “best things he’s ever tasted in his whole life” lol So I’m thinking I’ll be making these more often now. It’s really just a good blondie recipe with m&m’s added in. It has a delicious buttery taste that is pretty darn addictive. I’m not even going to tell you how many I had.

    Watch me make these chewy m&m cookie bars from start to finish!

     

    4.5 from 4 reviews

    Chewy M&M Cookie Bars
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: dessert, cookie
    Ingredients
    • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 12 Tbsp butter, melted
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 2 tsps vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups M&M’s, divided
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325.
    2. Line a 9 x13 baking pan with greased parchment paper. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl, cream together melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.
    5. Stir in large egg and egg yolk until combined.
    6. Stir in vanilla extract.
    7. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients, stirring just until flour is incorporated. Don’t over stir.
    8. Add in 1 cup of m&m’s.
    9. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan.
    10. Press remaining m&m’s lightly on the top.
    11. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
    12. Remove from pan and let cool completely
    13. Cut into squares.
    14. Enjoy!
    Notes
    I greased my parchment paper with butter-flavored shortening. This gave a beautiful, golden, crisp, buttery tasting bottom. Be sure to leave enough overhang on the parchment to make it easy to remove from the pan when done.

    Recipe adapted from cooksillustrated.com

     

     

    6 Comments "

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

    January 1st, 2014

    Bacon + Chicken.  This sounds like a win already, but add on lots of savory spices and a chili powder- brown sugar mixture and my friends let me tell ya, you have a  triple threat. The perfect blend of sweet-smokey-spicy. I made this for lunch and we loved it. Even Isaac liked it which was surprising because they have a little spicy kick to them and that boy does not like spiciness.

    baked bacon wrapped chicken tenders

    I wasn’t sure how I was gonna like it seeing that the chicken and bacon was tossed in brown sugar and chili powder and I don’t really like sweet tasting meat too much. Boy was I wrong. It was sweet but the other flavors totally balanced it all out. It was like a little party of flavors in my mouth, all happily mingling together. When they are served piping hot out of the oven they really taste like they’ve been grilled!

    baked bacon wrapped chicken tenders

    I’ve had something very similar to this in a bite-size, appetizer form but the chicken wasn’t seasoned before-hand so I wasn’t all that impressed. Seasoning makes them like whoa!  You can really throw on any seasonings that you like but I’ve included a blend below that I like to use. It’s simple.

    baked bacon wrapped chicken tenders

    Serve with broccoli and mashed potatoes for super yummy meal!

    Watch me make these bacon wrapped chicken tenders from start to finish!

    4.9 from 7 reviews

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Brown Sugar)
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main
    Ingredients
    • 1 lbs. chicken tenders (about 10 chicken tenders)
    • 10 strips bacon, sliced in half length-wise (I used turkey bacon)
    • ½ -1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Mix together salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder,italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
    3. Sprinkle mixture evenly over chicken tenders, (top and bottom) completely coating them generously in the spices.
    4. Wrap two sliced bacon strips around the chicken tender. Tuck in and loose ends.
    5. Mix together brown sugar and chili powder.
    6. Sprinkle this mixture generously over bacon wrapped chicken, top and bottom. Press the sugar mixture into the chicken to pack it on.
    7. Place the chicken on a greased grill pan.
    8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done and bacon is crisp. You can broil for the last few minutes if desired to crisp up the bacon more.
    9. Serve piping hot! Garnish with parsley if desired.

     

    12 Comments "

    Sausage Cheese Balls (without bisquick)

    December 18th, 2013

    One of my favorite appetizers growing up were sausage cheese balls! My grandmother only made them around Christmas time for some reason but that just made them even more special. I thought it was because they were hard to make, so you can imagine my surprise when I asked her for the recipe a few years ago. Super easy!!

    sausage cheese balls recipe without bisquick

    Normally sausage cheese balls are made with Bisquick, but I never have the stuff on hand so I make them from scratch. They turn out amazing and I actually prefer them this way now. Sorry Bisquick.

    These sausage cheese balls are moist, tender, meaty and cheesy! Like eating a mini sausage biscuit (or so my son says).

    sausage cheese balls recipe without bisquick

    The texture of these sausage cheese balls are perfect! I can’t even tell you how many dry, overly bready sausage cheese balls I’ve had in the past. There MUST be a balance. Not that I’m some kinda sausage cheese ball expert or anything…just saying. I know what I like. And I like balance.

    sausage cheese balls recipe without bisquick

    You can eat these sausage cheese balls plain which is how I like them or you can serve then with a dip. This may sound gross but I like them with a grape jelly dip. Trust me, it works!! You could also serve them with honey mustard dip or  a chili sauce dip or if you’re down south like me, try a good ol comeback sauce.

    Be sure to choose a sausage that is highly seasoned (most of them are) but if not, you”ll have a pretty bland tasting sausage cheese ball on your hands. It may be wise to bake a couple test sausage balls just incase you need to add in extra spices like onion powder, garlic powder, etc. I use Brims turkey sausage and Earth Fare premium cheddar cheese. The sausage is full of spices and makes a great sausage cheese ball.

     

    Watch me make these sausage cheese balls from start to finish!!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Sausage Balls
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: appetizer
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter-flavored shortening
    • 16 oz ground turkey sausage, room temperature
    • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 cups cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
    • melted butter & parselyy for garnishing, if desired
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper or a spilpat mat. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
    4. Cut in shortening until crumbly.
    5. Add in ground sausage.
    6. Use your hands to mix everything in until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the sausage.
    7. Add in the cream cheese and work it evenly into the mixture.
    8. Add in the grated cheese and work it evenly into the mixture.
    9. Use a mini ice cream scoop to scoop out the mixture into even-sized balls.
    10. Place on a prepared baking pan.
    11. Bake for 30 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
    12. Brush with butter and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
    13. Serve plain or with a jelly, mustard or bbq dip.

     

    5 Comments "

    Apple Fritter Coffee Cake

    December 15th, 2013

    *******WARNING****  This apple fritter coffee cake is so light, moist, fluffy and delicious that you will more than likely have two slices back to back. Don’t be too hard on yourself if  when  this happens. Just blame me and Nerdy Baker and move on. I can take it. (My husband told me to put this warning on this post)

    apple fritter coffee cake recipe

    If you love apple desserts just as much as I do then brace yourself for this baby. This apple fritter coffee cake packs all the flavor of homemade apple fritters in each bite. The cake is lightly sweetened with a buttery cinnamon flavor, the apples are perfectly tart and sweet and that perfect glaze hardens up beautifully just like on an apple fritter. GENIUS!

    apple fritter coffee cake recipe

    We love coffee in this house and coffee just isn’t right if it doesn’t have something sinful to go along with it. Yayyyy for cakes for breakfast!! The whole thing was gone in 24 hours, no lie. I’m not proud of this but it is what it is.

    I am happy to permanently add this recipe to my coffee cake favorites like this cinnamon roll coffee cake and this French vanilla  blueberry streusel coffee cake. Yum!!!

    apple fritter coffee cake recipe

    I saw this recipe on Nerdy Baker and adapted it to our liking and my occassional laziness. It is a WINNER for sure!!! My son would eat this everyday if I let him.

    Watch me make this Apple Fritter Coffee Cake from start to finish!!

    4.7 from 3 reviews

    Apple Fritter Coffee Cake
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • APPLE FILLING
    • 4 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced. (about 3 large apples)
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE
    • ⅓ cup butter, softened
    • ¾ cup white sugar
    • ½ cup apple sauce
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • BROWN SUGAR TOPPING
    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • GLAZE
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4-6 Tablespoons milk
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.
    3. Make the apple filling by placing the apples, white sugar, cinnamon and water into in a large saucepan.
    4. Cook until apples are tender. Juice will thicken as the apples cool. Set aside.
    5. Prepare the cinnamon coffee cake by creaming together butter and sugar in a large bowl.
    6. Beat in apple sauce, vanilla extract, and eggs until well combined.
    7. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
    8. Mix in sour cream until well combined.Set aside.
    9. Combined the brown sugar and cinnamon to make the brown sugar topping. Set aside.
    10. Pour half of the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
    11. Spread apple filling evenly over batter and sprinkle with a third of the brown sugar topping.
    12. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle on the rest of the brown sugar topping.
    13. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out cool (see note)
    14. While cake is baking prepare the glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla and just enough milk to make a glue-like texture.
    15. When cake come out of the oven, poke a few holes in the cake.
    16. Immediately spread the cake with the glaze.
    17. Let glaze sit for about 15 minutes to harden a bit.
    18. Serve and enjoy!
    Notes
    When you check for doneness don’t let the sticky apple filling trick you into thinking the cake isn’t done. Be sure to inspect to make sure if your toothpick comes out sticky after 30 minutes to prevent over cooking the cake. My oven required exactly 30 minutes.

     

    12 Comments "

    Cinnamon Pecan Snowball Cookies

    December 9th, 2013

    I’ve been wanting to make Snowball cookies for years. They pop up everywhere around the holidays and look so darn cute and dainty. Let me just go ahead and say grab a cup of coffee or hot tea because these snowball cookies compliment them soooo well. As soon as my husband tasted one (five actually) he immediately started a pot of coffee.

    cinnamon pecan snowball cookies

    Snowball cookies are also called Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes, but Snowball cookies just seem much more fitting for the winter time. If you’re  new to snowball cookies let me explain the taste and texture. They are a dry cookie,  but very tender and delicate. They have a slight crunch like a shortbread and then just melts in your mouth. They are heavenly and something about eating them makes me feel all royal and elegant and stuff.

    cinnamon pecan snowball

    The flavor of these cinnamon pecan snowball cookies are very light, buttery with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. The pecans compliments the taste beautifully but you could substitute it with your favorite crushed nuts like walnuts or macadamia.  I’ve seen other recipes online use different extracts like lemon or mint to change up the flavor a bit, heck, I ‘ve even seen one with mini chocolate chips and coconut!  I hope to get around to trying those later but for now, it’s all about good ol’ cinnamon, pecans and vanilla! Yum!

    cinnamon pecan snowball cookies

    What’s even better is that they are so easy to make and only require a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!

    Watch me make these Cinnamon Pecan Snowball Cookies from start to finish!

    5.0 from 4 reviews

    Cinnamon Pecan Snowball Cookies
     
    Author:
    Serves: Makes about 36 cookie
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1-1½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup pecans, finely crushed
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large bowl cream together butter and ⅔ cup powdered sugar.
    3. Add in flour, salt and cinnamon.
    4. Mix until a dough forms.
    5. Stir in vanilla and pecans.
    6. Scoop out a tablespoon size amount of dough and roll into a ball.
    7. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
    8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
    9. Place cookies on a cooling rack and cool just until warm enough to handle.
    10. Place powdered sugar into a large bowl.
    11. Gently toss warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat.
    12. When cookies are completely cooled off, toss them again, gently pressing the powdered sugar into the cookie if needed.
    13. Enjoy with coffee or hot the.

     

    10 Comments "

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