Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Laura's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is so stinkin' good.  Tony (the hubby) first tried these when one of his 2nd grade students brought a plate full of them to class for him one day...many years ago (that student is now heading into High School!)  They were an instant favorite of his & so I had to make a phone call to get the recipe.  We've been making them more often than we probably should since then!  The best pumpkin cookies out there!!  Thanks Laura!:)

Laura's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon milk
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate...Tony likes the milk chocolate best!)
2 cups flour

Mix sugar, oil, milk, pumpkin, egg and vanilla together.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Add the chocolate chips a mix in.  Place on baking sheet using a cookie scoop or 2 spoons, about 1 tablespoon of dough.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

These are enjoyed year round in our home! YUMMY!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes (IHOP taste-a-like)

I found this recipe a few years ago when looking for a pancake recipe that my hubby would enjoy.  He loves himself a pancake, but is pretty picky about them.  He likes them really light and fluffy, and this recipe passed his critiques!  This really is a perfect pancake!

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 1/4 cups flour
1 egg
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cooking oil

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and sugar in a bowl.  In a separate bowl beat the egg and then add in the buttermilk and oil.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Pour onto griddle and cook.  Serve with butter & syrup!:)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We got some artichokes in our Bountiful Basket a couple of weeks ago.  I had never actually cooked an artichoke before and so went searching for a tutorial on what to do.  I found this one that was wonderful!  It was really quite simple & I was excited to share the experience with my family!  The kiddo's were a little hesitant, but I'm pleased to say that they all really enjoyed them!  They are a lot of fun to eat...really, really good and VERY filling!  None of us even finished off the "leaves" before we were done.  So that left me with a whole bunch of artichoke hearts...and I knew just what to do with them!!  My favorite Spinach Artichoke Dip!!  And I have to say...the fresh artichokes in the dip was absolutely splendid!

bay leaf
garlic clove

Slice about 3/4 of an inch off the top of the artichoke and most of the stem.  Remove any smaller leaves along the bottom and then rinse in cold water.

Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a large pot along with a garlic clove, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf.  Place artichokes in a steaming basket or colander over the water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook artichokes about 25-45 minutes or until the leaves can be pulled off easily. 

Now to eat them!!  We served them with mayo & melted butter for dunking.  (Kyla and I liked the mayo better, the boys preferred the butter...)  Pull of one leaf at a time and dunk the white fleshy part.  Place in mouth and pull it through your teeth to remove the yummy soft fleshy part of the leaf.

When you're done eating the leaves, you get to the "choke" part of the artichoke.  It looks like this:
It's nice fine silky "fur" for lack of a better explanation, and it is hiding the best part of the artichoke!!:)  Use a spoon to scrap off the "fur" (it's really quite simple to remove) and what's left is your heart!  Now you can cut it into bite size pieces and dip and eat that too if you want, but if your belly is feeling like it's about to burst you can save them and use them in the most wonderful Spinach Artichoke Dip!!  Just chop it up and substitute it for the canned artichokes in that recipe!  SO YUMMY!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mom's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (and the best pie crust I've ever made!!)

This is the recipe I grew up eating & loving that my Mom would make.  I hadn't had this pie for over 12 years...but when my neighbor brought me over some rhubarb I knew I had to give Mom a call for the recipe and give it a try!  I call Mom quite often requesting recipes, matter of fact almost every time I call Dad teases "what recipe do you need now?":)  It's been this way the last almost 12 years since I've been married!  Anyway, I also got a fabulous pie crust recipe from Mom.  I've never had much luck with pie crusts...I really don't enjoy making them, I usually just end up buying them, but this will forever be the BEST pie crust I have ever made!!  It was so flaky and buttery and delicious!!  A definite keeper!!

Mom's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter

Combine the sugar with the cornstarch in a small bowl.  In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, egg and cornstarch/sugar mixture.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  Pour into uncooked 9" pie crust (recipe follows!) and dot the top with the butter and then top that with the top crust.  You can do a lattice top or whatever else you like, just make sure to cut the top so it can "breathe".   Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.  (I know that seems really high...but it works!)  After the 10 minutes, don't remove the pie, but turn the heat down to 425 degrees and continue cooking for 40 more minutes.  Check the pie when there is about 20 minutes left, if the crust is getting a little too browned go ahead and cover the edges with some tinfoil.  Remove from oven and let cool. 
side note:  it might be a good idea to place something under the pie while it is cooking...mine overflowed at the bottom of my oven and created a big mess...just a warning!:)

Now here's the crust recipe!  (This recipe also freezes very well!)

Pie Crust

4 sticks unsalted butter (don't know if margarine would work here or not, I just know the butter was PERFECT!)
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup ice water

Combine dry ingredients and butter to resemble coarse meal using 2 forks or a pastry blender (I recommend the pastry blender!:))  Add water a little at a time until dough forms.  Divide into 4 parts and flatten a little.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.  Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out and use or place in the freezer for future use!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

BLT Macaroni Salad

This would be a perfect side dish with any grillin' you might be doing for Father's Day!  (we had it with The Perfect Burger...SUPERB!!)  Anyway, this salad is really good...the hubby and kids loved it as well, which is saying a lot since Tony (the hubby) doesn't usually like pasta salads!  I think the bacon does it.  Anything with bacon in it gets a man's approval right??!:)

BLT Macaroni Salad
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 1/4 cups diced celery
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
5 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 jar (2.8 oz) Hormel Real Bacon Pieces

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Drain and rinse pasta in cold water until noodles are cooled.  Combine the macaroni, green onions, tomato and celery in a large bowl.  Combine the mayo, vinegar, salt & pepper in a small bowl.  Pour the mayo mixture over the macaroni mixture and stir to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  (It's better when it's sat over night!)  Just before serving stir in the majority of the bacon, reserve a few pieces to sprinkle on the top of the salad when serving! 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Perfect Burger!

This burger is so wonderful!  It would be a great addition to anyone planning on turnin' on the grill this weekend for Father's Day!  It gets the man in my life's approval, so I'm pretty sure all the MEN out there will LOVE this one! (don't worry'll love it too...Promise!):)  The seasonings give the burger just the perfect amount of zip!

The Perfect Burger!
1 egg
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ranch mix powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
dash pepper
1 pound lean ground beef (we think 93% is the best!)

In a large bowl beat the egg slightly.  Add the chili sauce, onion, horseradish sauce, worcestershire sauce, ranch, salt & pepper.  Stir to combine.  Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well.  I always get my hands in there to make sure it is thouroughly mixed, but if the feel of raw meat makes you sick you can use a spoon, just make sure the egg mixture is mixed well with your meat.  That will help the burger stay together instead of crumble on the grill!:)  Shape into 4 patties about 3/4 inch thick and place on wax paper.  Put in the frige for about 30 minutes before grilling.
Grill over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until done to your liking.  Serve on buns with whatever you like.

This is what we like:):
red onion, sauteed
cheese (havarti is favorite!)
bacon (didn't have it this time, but we do love it!)
It's always a tough job getting my jaws to open wide enough to fit all that deliciousness in, but it is so worth it!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Father's Day Goodies!!

If you're trying to think of something to make your Dad or hubby for Father's Day...look no further!!  Here's a line-up of Tony's (the hubby) favorite things.  I made him sit down with me and rate all his favorites so I'd know what to put on here! 

So here ya go!

Main Dishes:
This is Tony's #1

He also has a favorite burger will be posted later this week!!  It is so mouth-watering yummy!!  I can't wait to share it with you!

Side Dishes:

(when he first learned to make this it was made WEEKLY!!  Now it's at least once a month...he absolutely loves honestly is the BEST spanish rice!)
(Tony really likes the lime jell-o with pineapple combination!)

Other Favorites:
(Tony's #1 bread...he LOVES this stuff!)

Now for the DESSERTS!!

Here's just a few of his absolute favorites:
(Bad picture....YUMMY dessert!!)

Can you tell the hubby likes PB & Chocolate???  He's a BIG Reese's fan!!:)

So now I just have to decide what to make him for our Father's Day dinner!  Too many things to choose from!:)

P.S.  If you're looking for a fun idea for a gift for Daddy...HERE IS A SUPER CUTE ONE!  The kiddo's are going to be making some of these!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Candy Bar Cake

I think pretty much everyone in the world has had this cake by now, but it is truly one of our families favorites and is super easy to throw together that I just had to post it!  It doesn't use traditional frosting (which the majority of my kiddo's don't like) but uses cool whip instead.  We changed it from the original recipe because Tony (the hubby) isn't a big fan of toffee.  The Kit Kat's are a wonderful substitution!

Candy Bar Cake
1 box Chocolate cake mix (any variety works)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 bottle caramel butterscotch ice cream topping
1 carton (8 oz.) cool whip, thawed
6 Kit Kat bars

Bake the cake in a 9 x 13 cake pan according to package directions.  Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes.  Using a meat fork (or whatever else you can think of) poke holes all over the cake.  Pour the milk over the entire cake trying to spread evenly.  Then do the same with the ice cream topping.  Let cake cook completely.  I usually put it in the frige to help the process along. 

When the cake is completely cooled, break up all 6 Kit Kat bars into smallish pieces (not to fine, not to chunky!).  Reserve about 1/4 cup of the candy bars & mix the rest in with the cool whip.  Spread the cool whip on the cake.  You can either smooth it or make peaks (which is what I like to do) using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle the reserved candy bar pieces over the cool whip.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

This dish is simply so good!  I love the thyme in the cream sauce, it goes perfectly with the meatballs!  You can also use already cooked frozen meatballs if you would like.  Just cook them according to the package directions & add them to the sauce.  Both are really good!

Meatballs with Cream Sauce
Recipe fromTaste of Home
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (or 2 Tablespoons dried parsley)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons flour

Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)

For the meatballs, combine everything but the beef & flour.  Add the beef and mix well.  Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the flour, shaking off the excess.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Turn meatballs and continue baking for 12-15 more minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth.  Gradually add the broth and cream, and bring it to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or unitl the sauce is thickened.

Drain meatballs on paper towles and then transfer to a serving dish.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle the top with parsley.  Serve over rice or pasta.  Yield: 6 servings

Monday, June 6, 2011

Strawberry Cranberry Lime Soda

We enjoyed one of our favorite meals for dinner Sunday night.  Sweet Pork Burritos & Salad!!  (Honestly...if you have not tried this yet...YOU MUST!!!  The sweet pork is to die for...the lime/cilantro rice is killer...and the tomatillo dressing...WOW!!  Not kidding here!)  Anyway, it totally hit the it always does!:) 

 But, we wanted something fun to drink with it so I went looking for what we had on hand & found some great items for what turned out to be a really yummy, refreshing drink that was the perfect compliment for our burritos!

Strawberry Cranberry Lime Soda
2 liter of Cranberry Sierra Mist (how many depends on how many people you're serving)
Frozen sliced strawberries in sweetened syrup (I make my own, but I believe you can get it at the store as well), slightly need to be able to break them up to put in individual glasses
Limes, some quartered & some sliced

Grab as many glasses as you need.  Put 1/2 cup ice & 1/2 cup frozen strawberries and 1 quarter of a lime in the bottom of each glass.  Pour the soda until each cup is filled.  Place a sliced lime on the rim of each glass & add a straw! 


Friday, June 3, 2011

Seven-Fruit Salad

This is probably the most colorful salad ever.  It has an awesome taste of fruits that hit the mouth with a boom... that is what makes this salad wonderful!

Seven-Fruit Salad
1\2 cup lime juice
1\2 cup water
1\2 cup sugar
2 medium nectarines, thinly sliced
1 large firm banana, thinly sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups watermelon balls
1 cup green grapes
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped

In a bowl combine the lime juice, water, and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add nectarines and banana; stir gently to coat.  In a different bowl combine the remaining fruits.  Add the nectarine mixer; stir gently to combine.  Cover and refrigerate the salad for 1 hour.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raspberry Cream Pie

OK...raspberries were on a very good sale & we needed a dessert for a bbq on Monday, so we went searching for a recipe that used fresh raspberries.  We came across this raspberry cream pie that looked absolutely wonderful & decided we'd give it a try.  We were not disappointed!  It will be perfect for some hot summer nights (if only they'd get here!!).  Cool, creamy, oreo's...PERFECT!!:)

Raspberry Cream Pie
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman, adapted by Double the Deliciousness
25 whole oreo cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 containers (6 oz. each) raspberry yogurt
1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup crushed oreos
extra raspberries for garnish

For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Crush cookies in a blender or food processor or in a baggie:).  Stir in the melted butter and mix until all combined.  Pour into a 9" pie plate and press the crumbs around the bottom and up the sides.  Bake for 3-4 minutes.  Cool completely.

For the filling, mash the raspberries on a plate with a fork & then sprinkle the sugar over the top and mix together.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  With an electric mixer, mix the raspberry yogurt with the pudding mix until combined, about a minute. (It looks pretty yucky during this part...don't worry it will turn out fine!!)  Pour in the heavy cream & whip until the mixture is thick, about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mashed raspberries until just combined.  Pour into the cooled pie pan & spread evenly.  Freeze for 2 hours or until firm. 

For the topping, pour the whipping cream & powdered sugar into a mixer and turn to medium and mix until stiff peaks form.  Add the crushed oreos and mix until combined. 

Now you can either top the pie right now (like I did because I was taking to a bbq) & sprinkle on some raspberries, or you can cut it into pieces and then top it with the oreo whipping cream & raspberries. 

Looks and tastes wonderful!!

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