Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Almond Joy Pie

Just in case you're wondering...I sometimes fail at cooking! 

Take last week for starters.  I had some butternut squash & I'd always wanted to try my hand at butternut squash soup.  So, I talked to my Mom (they tease about how much I call her needing a recipe...they even answer the phone with "what recipe do you need" occasionally!), looked on-line and got a game plan. 

Well, I thought it was okay.  The first few bites it was quite good, but by the end of the bowl I had to force it down.  Tony (the hubby) and all 4 kids DETESTED it!  I had to bribe them with fresh homemade rolls to finish and there was so much whimpering at the table you'd think we owned dogs!:) 

My Eli (8 years old) who loves MAN eating shows, especially Diners, Drive-In's and Dives, and Man vs. Food, comented "In this food challenge, food definately won!"  (that will make sense to any Adam Richmond fans out there!:))  It made me laugh, even though they all hated it!

I asked Tony what he really thought (he doused his with Tapatio and ate it without complaining).  This was his reply, "I wouldn't put it on your blog!" 

So, needless to say, you will not be finding that one here today (or EVER!), but instead I'm giving you one of the best pies I've ever had...thanks to Pinterest.  (follow me, just click the icon on the right hand side)  Almonds Joy's have always been my favorite candy bar so to find it in PIE FORM....I'm totally there!

Almond Joy Pie
Recipe adapted from Barbara Bakes
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Chocolate Crumb Crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafers (the chocolate animal crackers work great and they are less expensive)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Crush chocoalte wafers.  I just use my blender...so fast and easy.  You can also put them in a large ziplock baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them.  Add the sugar and butter and mix together until all crumbs are moistened.  Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and let cool completely.

The filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3/4 cup cream of coconut (found by the drink mixers)
3 beaten egg yolks
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium sized saucepan.  Slowly stir in the milk and cream of coconut while whisking.  While stirring, cook over medium heat until it becomes thick and bubbly.  Continue stirring and cook for an additional 2 minutes; set aside.  Beat egg yolks in a seperate bowl, and then slowly add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture while continually stirring.  Return milk mixture to the original pan and place back on the heat and cook until bubbly then time it for 2 minutes while continuing to stir.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted.  Stir in the coconut and vanilla and then pour the hot filling into the cooled chocolate crumb crust. 

Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  Before serving, top with whipped cream, drizzle with hot fudge sauce and sprinkle with sliced almonds.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bourbon Chicken over Rice

I hate it when I have an awesome recipe to share & I just sit here in front of the computer with no idea what to write!  Gotta be honest....it happens quite often.  I'd say I have writers block, but I'm not a writer.  Have never been any good at it, so what do you call it?  Maybe a course in writing is needed.  I'm getting kind of sick of writing "This is good...try it" or "Delicious" or "We loved this one" (these are all phrases found quite often here!)  Hmmmm.

So anyway....here goes!:)

When I found this recipe I knew it would be something that I would love.  And I figured the rest of the family would as well since we are all rice lovers. (Hawaiian Haystacks, Spanish Rice, etc.)

So.....it not only is delicious, but it also made it on to our Budget Dinners list.  Very affordable to make since it uses small amounts of items most everyone has on hand.  Hope you enjoy!

Bourbon Chicken over Rice
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Budget Dinner Totals: Feeds 6 for $8.45.  That's $1.40 a person!
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5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup pineapple juice or apple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until chicken starts browning. 

In a bowl, combine the garlic, pineapple or apple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, water, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch.  Whisk it all together until the cornstarch is dissolved.

When the chicken is browned pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat.  Reduce heat to low and cover with lid and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pot Pie

This recipe is AMAZING!  I so loved it as did the family so I'm super excited to share it with you!

It was one of those, "what in the world am I going to make for dinner" nights.  (Honestly, I have those nights FAR TOO OFTEN!)  So I started looking in the fridge and noticed I had some pie crusts that needed to be used, and although I'd love to just eat some good ol' delicious pie for dinner, I figured it had better be something with some substance and nutrition.  (If I didn't have my kiddo's to worry about I just may have had a Banana Custard Pie for dinner!)

So this was made with what I had on hand, and I hadn't been grocery shopping for........a while!  (Just can't get into the swing of things still...January is kickin' my boo-tay!)  It's pretty easy to throw together and the results are filling and delicious!  Let me know what you think!

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pot Pie
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1/2-1 package (12 oz.) bacon (turkey is yummy!)
4 medium potatoes
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups milk (anything from skim to whole works)
3 oz. cream cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff...fresh is best!)
2 Pie crusts (homemade or store bought...just need one for the top & bottom)

Cook bacon until crisp-tender.  Lay on a paper-towel lined plate to drain grease.  When cooled crumble and place in a large bowl.

Peel potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces (1/2 inch squared works).   Cover with water in a large saucepan & boil for 15 minutes.  Drain and add potatoes to large bowl with bacon.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and cook in oil until cooked through and lightly browned.  If there are any juices, drain and then add to the potato & bacon bowl.  Add the spinach to the bowl now as well.

Now to make the alfredo.  This is my favortie Alfredo recipe (from Our Best Bites), IT IS SO GOOD!  But if you feel inclined to use a store bought one I guess that would work too!

In a blender, blend the milk, cream cheese, flour and salt until smooth.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium-high heat and then add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds stirring constantly.  Add the milk mixture and stir constantly until mixture begins to boil.  Once it starts boiling time it for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to thicken. 

Remove from the heat & whisk in the Parmesan cheese.  Cover with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes.  Pour over the potato, bacon, chicken mixture and carefully mix to combine.

Place an uncooked pie crust on the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Pour in the filling mixture.  (you may have some leftover depending on the deepness of your pie plate...the leftovers are so good just eaten with a fork...and yes I know this from experience!)  Take the other uncooked pie crust and cover the filling.  Pinch pie crusts together to create an air-tight seem and flute the edges (or anyother decorative edge you'd like to make).  Slit an "X" into the middle of the pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Orange Cream Muffins with Orange Glaze

Ever have one of those days when you just don't want to get out of bed? 

I have those days every now and again (ok...pretty regularly!) and this morning was one of them.  So, I sent my kiddo's on the bus to school and had my youngest join me in my bed and turned on some cartoons for him, so I could relax just a little longer.  It was a very nice morning!

Wish I had some of these muffins lying around this morning...maybe that would have helped get me out of bed!  There's just something about citrus in the morning that wakes me up.

These are delicious! (and made by Kyla!)

Orange Cream Muffins with Orange Glaze
Recipe adapted from Just a Pinch
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1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 2/3 sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons orange zest

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice

Line muffin tins with cupcake liners, or spray tin with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese and shortening and beat until creamed well.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. 

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture along with the milk and mix just until combined.

Stir in the orange zest.

Scoop batter into muffin tin and fill about 2/3 the way full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and they start to turn golden brown. 

Let cook for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Mix the powdered sugar and orange juice and drizzle over cooled muffins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Angel Hair Pasta & Chicken Bowl

We're back!  Our trip was great!  There are so many great memories to look back on!  So glad we were able to take our kiddo's and let them see where their Grandma grew up!

And....we got to eat at Hillbilly Hot Dogs!!  We ordered the Single Wide Burger (5 pounds of burger) and boy was it awesome!  Looked fantastic & tasted fantastic as well!  Also, loved the fried macaroni and cheese wedges.  I tell ya, they can fry anything! (Go to the end of the post if you'd like to see the hubby and son Rhett with the Single Wide!)

So anyway, we know we promised some Budget Dinners, and we're here to deliver.  And this is a good one!

Angel Hair Pasta & Chicken Bowl
Budget Dinner totals:  Feeds 6 for $6.50 which equals $1.08 a bowl!
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2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 chicken breasts)
2 carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch pieces
1 (16 oz.) package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz package Angel Hair pasta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. 

Heat remaining oil in same skillet.  Begin heating the water for the pasta.  Add the carrots to the skillet, cook while stirring for 4 minutes.

Add the broccoli and garlic to skillet and cook while stirring for 2 minutes longer.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, add the chicken broth, basil and Parmesan cheese to skillet.  Stir to combine.

 Return the chicken to the skillet and reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl.  Top with chicken and vegetables and stir to combine.  Serve Immediately.


Here's a couple pictures of the Single Wide...IT. WAS. HUGE!!!

It looks even bigger next to my 4 year old!
 We fed 8 people with that burger & boy was it yummy!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Whoopie Pies

This will be short and sweet since I've got about a quadrabillion things to do today!  We're flying out tomorrow for Kentucky to attend my Grandma's funeral.  Oh, how I LOVE that lady!  It's a bitter-sweet time for me.  I'm sad that she's gone, but I get to return to Kentucky where my Mom grew up and to the place where I spent weeks at a time during the summers with my family growing up.  Lot's of good memories, and I haven't been back in over 15 years.  It'll be hard going knowing she won't be there to greet me, and staying in her home that I have so many memories of her in............Oh my goodness!  I had to take a little break, I got myself going again...couldn't even see the keyboard!  I'd better stop so I can finish this up and get back to cleaning & packing!:)

So anyway, this is a cookie that Kyla and I came up with when we went on that whoopie pie kick a few months ago.   Remember THESE?  They were part of that kick as well!:) 

These are delicious!  Especially if you're a lemon lover, like myself.

Lemon Poppyseed Whoopie Pies
1 box lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon almond extract

Frosting (for filling):
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Mix cake mix, eggs, and oil together in a mixer.  Batter will be sticky.  Add the poppy seeds and extract and mix to combine.  Scoop dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes.  Remove and let sit on pan for about 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cookies have cooled, mix up your frosting.  Beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice until you get the desired consistency.  Add the lemon zest and mix to combine. 

Place half the cookie upside down and pipe (or spread with a knife) frosting on.  Cover with the other cookie to make your cookie sandwich. 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Banana Nut Muffins

I'm kind of having a hard time getting in the swing of things again.  Christmas break was just too short...I'M NOT READY for life to go back to it's craziness!!

We're really excited here though because we have something new that we will be implementing this year here on the blog. 

I made a New Year's Resolution this year (among many.  One other is to lose weight.  That's there EVERY year!  So...you might be seeing more healthy recipes in the future...if it sticks!:)) anyway, back to the original resolution...it is to save $$$.  The hubby and I are always talking about traveling.  It's something we talk about but don't really ever do.  So, I want to be able to save some money so that we won't just talk about it but DO it!

One easy way I've decided that we can cut down our monthly expenses in on our grocery bill.

So, to help me out with this new resolution....(drum roll please!)...we will be adding a new portion to the blog.  Budget Dinners

We will find some awesome (they still have to taste amazing!!) recipes, figure out how much each serving would cost and we'll let you know when we post the recipe how much it would cost you.  We're excited to find some awesome recipes that won't break the bank, but will taste like it!

Look forward to our first recipe next week!!  We can't wait!

But for now, here's the best banana nut muffin I've ever had...not one bit dry like some tend to be.  Try it, you'll see!:)

(Side note: these were made solely by Kyla. She helped out with an activity for the children in our church last Saturday. They served them breakfast and she was in charge of that portion. She baked about 8 dozen muffins (not all banana nut, we'll share the other later) as well as prepared fruit and helped serve! I am so proud of her...she did such a great job!)

Banana Nut Muffins
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1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 4-5 bananas)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffins tins with liners (or spray with cooking spray if not using liners).

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat to incorporate.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix together until just combined.  Add the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla & mix to combine. 

Using large cookie scoop (or spoons if you have to:)), scoop batter into muffin tins.  They should be about 3/4 the way full.  Sprinkle walnuts on top. 

Bake in preheated oven for 12-17 minutes, or until golden brown & toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes & then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen muffins

NOTE:  Recipe can be halved...just reduce the sour cream to 1/2 cup.  These also freeze really well.  So I suggest just making the 3 dozen and sticking the ones you don't eat in the freezer for future use!:)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sweetest Treats of 2011!

I've entitled this post "sweetest treats" because after looking at what the top reader recipes of 2011were,  there were only 2 that weren't desserts!  You are my type of people!!!:)

We had such a wonderful year.  Great recipes were found and tried and LOVED. 

Thank you for being such a big part of it!  We love hearing from you!

Sweetest Treats of 2011
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Let the count down begin...

Seriously if you have not tried these...YOU MUST!  I cannot eat hot dogs any other way now (actually I never really was a big hot dog lover to begin with, but now I crave these bad boys!)  There's a reason these are only one of 2 that aren't desserts that made the list!

These are the best PB balls I've ever had.  They are so perfect.  Not crumbly at all, just melt in your mouth happiness!

I love me some cupcakes & these were my favorites that were made this year.  Actually, they are my favorite cupcakes EVER!  Make these for your next birthday party instead of buying some and you'll have friends for life!  Promise!

I could just lick all the frosting off these cupcakes and be perfectly happy for the rest of my life.  The cupcakes aren't bad either!:)

Here's the 2nd non-dessert that made the list.  This salad is so wonderfully awesome.  All the flavors combine just right to make it a crowd and kid pleaser (at least for us!)

This truly has been one of my families favorites for the past 15 years.  It's decadent enough for adults, but not too over the top that kid's won't eat it.  Not that I've ever had the problem with my kid's...if it's dessert they'll pretty much eat it!

The name says it all.  I'm guessing a lot of you out there like yourselves some oreos, and that's why this one's so popular!  If you like oreos (and really, who doesn't?) you'll LOVE these!

This was my first try at cake balls & they did not disappoint!  The chocolate and caramel went so well together.  These were a BIG hit!

I made these on 2 separate occasions last year.  They were both made for parties & we received so many compliments.  They are so dangerous you need to make them to take somewhere or to giveaway or you may just end up eating them all!

I'll tell ya...I'm not one bit surprised this hit #1.  It is one of a kind...beautiful and delicious.  We absolutely LOVED it!

Hope everyone had a wonderful 2011...we look forward to some new fun and recipes this year. 

We're going to be adding a new category to our cooking.  We'll announce that later this week!

Thanks again to everyone for stopping by!

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