Thursday, December 6, 2012

Carmel Graham Cracker Bark

Remember the Heath Bars Amber posted back in 2010? Well, they are one of my favorite quick treats to make. You know, like when your husband calls to say he has a guys night in 30 minutes and needs to bring a treat. Or for last minute home teaching or visiting teaching treats. 
So, these are pretty similar to those. They are made with graham crackers instead of saltines and have a carmel middle instead of toffee.
I love them both!
adapted from cookiesandcups
Graham crackers - enough to line the bottom of a jelly roll pan, about 1 1/2 sleeves.
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz of white almond bark, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your jelly roll baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the bottom with graham crackers. Fit them in nice and snug. You'll have to break a few to fill in the gaps.
In a large saucepan melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your sweetened condensed milk. (I love this stuff!) Pour evenly over graham crackers. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until nice and bubbly. Watch it closely towards the end of the 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for a minute before sprinkling on your finely chopped chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for 3 minutes and then spread it around with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
Cool completely. I like to speed up the process by placing it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Peel off the foil and cut into desired serving sizes. These can be quite gooey if left at room temperature, so I like to store mine in the fridge. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick & Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken

1 Tbsp oil
1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
garlic salt
1 16 oz bag frozen stir fry vegetables
1 8 oz can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 10.5 oz can chicken broth
2 cups Minute Rice, uncooked
1 10 oz bottle sweet and sour sauce

*Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt to taste. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until cooked through.
*Add vegetables and pineapple with its juice, mix well. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
*Stir in rice and cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in sweet and sour sauce. Serves 4.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I know I rarely post anything on here, but I wanted to share this AMAZING pumpkin pancake recipe I found.  It's the best one I've ever had.  I'm just going to include the link since I haven't altered the recipe at all.  And I'm lazy.  Whoever put the link to Annie's Eats on this blog is very appreciated!  I follow it regularly and have gotten a lot of great recipes there.  I really like her style.  Anyway, these pancakes are so easy and so good.  I love the spongy texture.  Just be careful not to burn them (turn before the bubbles are popping).  I put about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in with PURE maple syrup and it was amazing on these pancakes.  The splurge on the good syrup is worth it.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

German Pancakes...YUMMO!!!!

So easy and delicious!  I make these for Christmas morning every year, doubling the batch to feed my hollow legged husband :)

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 cube melted butter

Combine eggs, flour, milk, vanilla and cinnamon powder in bowl, whisk until smooth.

Poor melted butter in 9x13 in. pan.  Poor batter over butter, do not mix.

Cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.


Pao De Queijo (aka Brazilian Cheese Puffs)

These things are like heaven wrapped up in a little puff! It is pronounced pow-je-kayjo. Chris had them all the time while he served his mission in Brazil & we've had them at Tuacano's as well. So I looked up the recipe & Chris made them. They taste exactly like the real thing & are actually super easy to make!
2 cups tapioca flour*
1 cup milk (Chris used 2%)
1/2 cup butter or margarine (he used margarine)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 mini muffin tin
*We found tapioca flour at the Natural Grocer store next to Kohls in St. George. It is also called manioc starch or tapioca starch. This recipe will not work with regular flour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the mean time bring the milk, salt and butter to a boil in a sauce pan while constantly stirring the mixture. Once boiling remove the mixture from heat. Slowly add tapioca flour, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed. Add the cheese and eggs to mixture. Mix until smooth (it won't be 100% smooth because of the cheese). Fill each mini muffin cup about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 16-18 minutes.
Eat while hot. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside! Delicioso!

Garlic & Olive Cheeseball

This is the cheeseball my neighbor growing up would bring to us every year for Christmas & we always loved it!!
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion salt
1/4 cube butter, softened
1/2 can (4.5 oz. can) black olives, chopped
Blend cream cheese, garlic powder, onion salt and butter in mixer until well mixed. Add olives and stir until well mixed. Roll into one large or two small cheese balls. Roll in chopped almonds or crushed Ritz crackers. I have also just spread it into a shallow bowl and served it as a cheese spread with crackers.
Don't be tempted to add more garlic powder & onion salt. It seems like so little, but if you put more it makes it taste too salty! Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Dump Cake

This was the first time I had ever heard of a dump cake. I was excited to try it out because the idea of just dumping all of your ingredients into a pan & baking it seemed perfect! However, this recipe is not a true dump recipe because you do have to put a little work into it. It's still easy nontheless & delicious!
1-15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree
1-10 oz. can evaporated milk
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking pan lightly with cooking/baking spray. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Pour into your prepared pan. Sprinkle your entire box of cake mix on top, followed by your graham crackers and toffe chips. Pour your melted butter evenly on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set and edges are lightly browned. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
The ice cream is perfect on the top! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Best Potatoes Au Gratin

Original recipe came from
I changed it up just a tad.
2 tablespoons of softened butter
4 large russet potatoes, well washed and diced
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced
crumbled cooked bacon, if desired
(You could add cubed ham to make this a main dish.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13 casserole pan with the softened butter. Toss diced potatoes in pan, set aside.

Combine milk and cream in medium bowl. Whisk in the flour, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Pour over diced potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon and return it to the oven for 5 minutes. Top with green onions and serve it nice and hot. So good!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Beef Enchilada Stack

Beef Enchilada Stack
1-2 lbs lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper chopped
1-1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 oz package taco seasoning mix
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes in sauce, undrained (seasoned ones are good)
1 (20 oz) can red enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
4 cups shredded cheese (16 oz)
1 cup sour cream
sliced green onions

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray. In a separate frying pan, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Stir in bell pepper, corn, taco seasoning mix, tomatoes and enchilada sauce. Heat to boiling, remove from heat. (If you like your bell peppers softer, put them in with the onions and beef) (If you like it spicy, use 2 taco seasoning mixes)

Spread about 1/4 of beef mixture in thin layer in glass pan. Top with 6 tortillas, overlapping. Spread 1/4 of beef mixture on tortillas. Add a layer of 1/2 of the cheese. Add 1/4 of beef mixture on cheese. Place on remaining tortillas. Spoon on remaining beef mixture. Spread on remaining cheese.

Bake about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Top each serving with sour cream and green onions.

I got this recipe from I doubled it and tweaked it slightly, it was originally made in a 9 inch square pan. My family loved it and is already asking me to make it again!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marinated Tomato Salad

I love this summery salad! I love to eat it with a sprinkle of feta cheese. I also loved it with a scoop of brown rice mixed in for a fantastic, light lunch. It would also be great served on toasted baguettes.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
a pinch of black pepper
3 whole green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 lbs sliced tomatoes
feta cheese, if desired

Whisk together all ingredients except for tomatoes and feta in a glass bowl. Add tomatoes, cover and refrigerate for 24ish hours. Serve with feta on top.
 Easy peasy! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

S'more Cups

The best thing about these little delights, was making them with my kids. It's a fun recipe for S'mores if you don't have a campfire handy!
The original recipe is from Pampered Chef, but when we made them we didn't use all of their fancy tools & whatnot. It was still super easy.

 7 whole graham crackers (1 cup finely crushed)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
4 bars milk chocolate candy, divided (I used Wilton's melting chocolates because I had a bag I wanted to use up & it worked great)
12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs using a rolling pin. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in small bowl, stir until mixed well. Distribute crumb mixture evenly into each cup of a 24 cup mini-muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup. (Or 2 Wilton's melting chocolates. Also be careful of the hot pan.)
Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using scissors dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 2-3 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Remove from oven.

Now the Pampered Chef recipe says to let the cups cool then take the remaining chocolate, melt it in a bowl & dip the top of the marshmallow in it. But as you can see I did not do this. It was so much more fun & easier for my boys just to plop a piece of chocolate on the top of the marshmallow as soon as it came out of the oven. It melted a little bit & then cooled & it worked out perfectly! After they've cooled, run a butter knife around the edges of them & they pop right out of the pan!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Crunchy Breadsticks with poppy seeds

These breadsticks are so amazing!
They're the crunchy kind.
We love them so much that we can't stop making them.
And the best part is that they're so easy!

Recipe from:
The Homemade Pantry:101 foods you can stop buying and start making

1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the counter
1 1/2 teaspooons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Combine sugar and yeast with warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups of the flour, salt and olive oil. Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed using the paddle attachment.

Dust counter with remainging 3/4 cup flour. Turn dough out onto the counter and knead the additional flour into the dough for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has lost most of its stickiness. (I'm not a kneader, so I switched out the paddle for the dough hook and let my mixer do all the work) Put dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. About 1 to 2 hours. I set my bowl in my super warm garage and it only takes an hour.

Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter again. Sprinkle the seeds on the dough and knead them in for about a minute or two. Cover dough with plastic and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide dough in half, then half again, and again until you have 32 roughly equal pieces. Let rest while you prepare your pans. Spray them lightly with cooking spray or line them with parchament paper. Take each ball and roll it like a snake, stretching a little as you go, until you have an 8-ish inch breadstick and no more than 1/2 inch in diameter. Lay on tray leaving 2 inches between each stick. Let rest uncovered for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until slightly golden. Let cool for crispier breadsticks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cheesecake made by Hayd

I love the library, I love cooking, and I love hanging out in the kitchen with my kids. So, I was more than happy when Hayden picked out this book from our library today. We came home and he found a cheesecake recipe that he was dying to try. I was busy chopping veggies and tossing them into the crock pot for our chili dinner. So, he got right to work, pulling out ingredients, checking the recipe about a million times to make sure he was doing everything just right. He was even super patient with his little sister who was determined to pour every ingredient in the bowl. Well, long story short, Hayden was super proud of this delicious dessert. My favorite part is the cinnamon in the crust....heaven! I also love how thin it is. I'm a big fan of dessert, but I'm not a fan of tons of leftovers that sit in the fridge begging to be eaten. This makes eight perfect sized portions.
5 tablespoons butter, slightly melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
(We didn't have any in the pantry, but we do have a ton of apricot freezer jam and a few ripe blackberries from the garden. So, Hayd decided that would make for a great topping and he was so right. I think cherry pie filling would take away from that cinnamon crust and thin layer of cheesecake that I love so much.)

To make the crust, stir together all your crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a spring-form pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs. Mix on high for 3 minutes, scraping down sides. Pour over your prepared crust. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until set. Turn off oven and crack door open. Leave cake in the oven for 10 minutes. Refrigerate at least an hour before adding your topping and serving.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cheese Crackers

I found a new cookbook that I think I'm going to need to own soon. It's going on my Christmas wish list. It's called The Homemade Pantry:101 foods you can stop buying and start making.
Here is one of the recipes we've tried. They're a grown-up version of Cheez-it crackers and are so crunchy and addictive, ask Tyler.

Cheese Crackers
Makes 40-50 crackers
3 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for the counter
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely grated cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup water
ice cube

Combine the cold butter, flour, dry mustard, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is crumbly and the butter starts to integrate into the mixture, about 30 seconds. Add the cheese and mix again on low speed for a few seconds.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine 3/4 cup water, the vinegar and an ice cube and let sit for a moment to get nice and cold. Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture to the dough and mix on medium speed for 20 seconds. Continue adding liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clings in a ball to the beater. (I only needed one extra tablespoon of liquid for a total of 7 tablespoons) Mix the dough for an additional 30 seconds. Don't over mix! Mound dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit 15 minutes before you are ready to roll it out. Preheat oven to 325 and grease 2 baking sheets. Turn dough out onto a little floured counter, press into a flat disc, and roll with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza wheel to cut dough into 2-inch squares (I went a little smaller). Transfer to baking sheet leaving a 1-inch space between crackers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Turn off oven, but leave pans in the oven for one hour as it cools. (I left them in for only 20 minutes because they continued browning too much for my liking.) They can be stored in an airtight container for 5-7 days.....ours only lasted on the counter for maybe 6 hours before they were all consumed. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Pudding Pops

I've been looking for a treat to have that is not 98% sugar or high fructose corn syrup to have with this pregnancy (because I seem to be craving desserts all of the time!). I found this little gem in one of my favorite cookbooks, Our Best Bites.12 medium strawberries (about 1-3/4 to 2 cups of roughly chopped berries)
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
1 (1-ounce) box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
6 ounces vanilla yogurt (I used strawberry yogurt because that is what I had in the fridge & it worked great)
1 cup milk

-Remove stems from berries and pulse with 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until completely smooth. Taste and add more sugar if needed. You should have just over a cup of puree. Set aside.

-In a blender combine pudding mix, yogurt, and milk and blend until combined. Layer or swirl the pudding mixture with the strawberry mixture in popsicle molds anf freeze until solid.
They were delicious and my kids absolutely loved them! Another thing that is great about them is that they don't melt as fast as ice cream or popsicles so they aren't as messy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parmesan Chicken Bake

I have tried a bunch of Chicken Parmesan recipes, but have not found one that I like because my the breading on my chicken always gets soggy and gross with the marinara sauce and cheese on top. So when I saw this recipe on pinterest I thought, 'Ingenious! Just don't bread your chicken and bake it instead with croutons on top!' The result was amazing! The croutons were crispy on top and softer on the bottom and it was delicious! And bonus, it was so easy to make.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
crushed hot red pepper flakes, to taste (I did not use very much)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 12 chicken tenderloins and it worked great)
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded
4 oz. Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons

Put the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer chicken on the top. Pour the marinara sauce on top and spread around. Sprinkle with the basil. Layer half of the mozzerella cheese and parmesan cheese on top of the marinara. Layer the croutons on top of the cheese. Finish off with the rest of the mozzerella and parmesan cheese on the top. Cook uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (if you use larger chicken breasts, you may need to do a little bit longer.)

Here is the link to the original recipe, he has a video if you want to watch him make it. I followed it pretty much exactly. YUM YUM!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

I love food!
I especially love good food.
This one hit the spot with it's sweet sauce.

Here's what you'll need:
4 7-ounce boneless pork chops (I cut three of Costco's chops in half lengthwise and had plenty for our family)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive)
1/2 cup apricot nectar (I didn't have any so I put my jarred apricots (drained well) in a blender - I know, it's not the same thing, but it was perfect)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (I used two)
1/3 cup apricot preserves

Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add pork to skillet. Cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Combine nectar, soy sauce, garlic and preserves in a small bowl; mix well. Pour over pork, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until pork is cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot over mashed potatoes or rice.

Note: There was so much yummy sauce left over, so I reduced it over high heat for 5-10 minutes to thicken it up a bit. It was delicious poured over our potatoes.