Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tortellini Artichoke Salad

I have a thing for the word TORTELLINI. 

Whenever I say it I just have to say it in my best Italian accent (which is horrendous I do have to say).

But no matter how bad my Italian accent is, and how un-authentic (probably not a real word) this dish is to Italy, it is delicious.

And perfect for summer.

Tortellini Artichoke Salad
Recipe from Taste of Home

2 1/2 cups frozen cheese tortellini (2 bags is perfect)
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 jars (6-1/2 ounces, each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup creamy Italian salad dressing

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Place in a medium bowl.

Add the tomatoes, onions, artichokes and salad dressing.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

What can I say about these brownies? 

Maybe that I love them, and that I may or may not have an awfully bad addiction to them!

The frosting on these is the creamiest & lightest chocolate buttercream frosting I've ever tried!  I accidentally eat a few spoonfuls before it makes it on the brownies every time!   Accidents do happen you know.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (chopped into chunks)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)

Buttercream frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup malted milk powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl add butter and unsweetened chocolate.  Heat in microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

Whisk the sugars, eggs, yolks, and vanilla into the butter/chocolate mixture.  Add the flour mixture and fold together with a spatula until well incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into pan & bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Cream butter, cocoa powder and salt for about 3 minutes on medium speed.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

In a small measuring cup, whisk together the cream and malted milk powder.  Turn the mixer to low and pour the cream in a steady flow until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.  You can also add more powdered sugar to help get the right consistency as well. 

Now spread a layer of frosting as thick as the won't regret it!

Just have a glass of milk close by when you dive in!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Creamed Corn

If you have any family members that don't like cream cheese, this is not the dish for you!!  That being said, I'm a "cream cheese makes everything better" kind of person so I LOVED this dish!

My 11 year old Caleb (the non-cream cheese lover) took one bite and wasn't about to eat any more.  Being the awesome mother I am....pause for the lightening bolt to strike....I told him he could not have anymore dinner until he ate 5 more bites of the corn. 

He did pretty good with the first couple of bites, but by the time he got to his last bites he was dry heaving!  I though we were going to have a lovely mess all over the table to clean up!  Sorry...I know this is a recipe blog & that puking is about the last thing you want to read about here.  Especially since I"m trying to convince you that this ones a winner and that you need to try it!

Sorry, again.

Don't let my son's reaction sway you, it really is a wonderful dish that goes really well with any summer-time grillin' you'll be doing!

Creamed Corn
Recipe adapted from Blue Bonnets & Brownies
2 pounds frozen sweet corn
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Throw all ingredients into your crockpot.  (Yes, it really is that easy!)  Cook on low for at least 4 hours.  Give it a good stir & serve!  YUMMY!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tomato & Mozzarella Penne Bake

I was told by a good friend that I needed to try this recipe she found on Pinterest.  (you can follow us by clicking the button on the right!) 

I'm so glad she looks out for me!:)  This is an awesome throw together, quick & easy, kid friendly, inexpensive, blow-your-mind-it's-that-good-with-just-these-few-ingredients-and-hardly-any-time kind of meal!

I absolutely love this one & it will definitely be a staple in our home!

Tomato & Mozzarella Penne Bake
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats
Budget Dinner: Total for pan: $7.50.  That's about 62 cents per serving!
1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2-14 oz. cans diced Italian tomatoes (I used Hunt's basil, garlic & oregano)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound penne pasta
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook ground turkey and garlic in skillet over medium high heat until meat is no longer pink.  Drain any juices.  Add the tomatoes, and oregano, and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain & then toss with the meat sauce. 

Place half of the mixture in a greased (just spray with cooking spray) 9 x 13" baking dish.  Cover with half of the Parmesan & mozzarella cheeses.  Top with remaining pasta and then Parmesan and mozzarella. 

Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

This was the "TO DIE FOR" potato salad that was served for Father's Day at our house.  I must have heard that phrase a bazillion times during dinner from my Eli.  If you haven't guessed yet....he really liked it!:)  As did the rest of the family.  It was a big hit!  We served it with Hawaiian Beef and creamed corn (recipe to come later this week).   It was a "TO DIE FOR" dinner!!

As long as you remember to bake your potatoes ahead of time, this salad is so quick!  I always hate potato salads because you have to wait for the potatoes to cool to eat (unless you like warm potato salad...GROSS...hope I didn't offend anyone!:)), but in this one they are already cooked so you can just throw everything together and it's ready to go!

And it's "TO DIE FOR!!!"

Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

4-5 large russet potatoes, baked, cooled & chilled
3/4 cup mayonnaise (can use light)
1/2 cup sour cream (can use light)
4 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed small
4 green onions, thinly sliced
8-10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Slice the chilled, baked potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.  (You can peel them if you'd like, but we really liked it with the skins on...and it's less work!)  Place them in a large bowl. 

In a small bowl combine the mayo, sour cream and buttermilk.  Add the celery seeds, salt & pepper and mix in.  Pour over the potatoes and carefully stir to combine (you don't want a mashed potato salad). 

Add the cheese, onions, and bacon and mix gently to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blue-Ribbon Herb Rolls

Rolls are one of my many weaknesses.  Especially warm right from the oven. 

These rolls are no exception.  They are packed with delicious hebs that are just perfect.

So, if you're not afraid to heat your kitchen up this summer...give these a go.  They may even be worth the heat!

Blue-Ribbon Herb Rolls
Receip from Your Taste of Home
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 3/4 cups warm water, divided
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons dill weed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg, beaten
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the oil, honey, salt, seasonings, egg, whole wheat flour and remaining water. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth adn elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into 1 inch sized balls; place 3 balls in each greased muffin cup. Cover and let rise until doubled, 20-25 minutes. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Yield: 4 dozen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Cookie dough is a favorite of mine.  So whenever I find a recipe that incorporates it I HAVE to give it a try!  Which is why this recipe had to be made A.S.A.P!  Cookie dough frosting??!!!  YUM!

I was not disappointed.  This cupcake was delicious.  I was a little concerned about the cinnamon in the cupcake & the flour in the frosting, but it totally works!!  (FYI, the cinnamon is not just gives the chocolate a little kick.  You can use less or cut it out if it scares you!:))

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Recipe from Your Cup of Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cookie Dough Frosting:
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Combine all cupcake ingredients & beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 the way full, a large cookie scoop works well for this process. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cook on a wire rack.

For the frosting:  Beat butter, cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.  Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar (I used all 3 cups).  Add milk to reach desired consistency (I just used 1 tablespoon).

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with mini chocolate chips and a mini chocolate chip cookie.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Is it unbearably warm in anyone else's part of the country right now?  We've had a couple of days of really warm weather.  (I realize some of you may have way hotter weather than I do, so I'm sorry to complain, but I'm a wimp when it comes to heat!) 

We broke down and installed our swamp cooler on Saturday, and boy am I glad we did!  (A little less sweat dripping down my back is a good thing!)

Which brings me to this recipe.  It's a crockpot recipe which allows you to not have to heat up your oven & consequetnly your kitchen. 

Yeah for the crockpot during the hot months!

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Caesar dressing (use your favorite brand...low fat works too)
1 cup cup freshly grated Paremesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
lettuce (iceberg, leaf, or romaine)
6 hamburger buns
butter or cooking spray

Place chicken in crockpot along with 2 cups of water.  Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove the chicken to a plate and then drain the water from the crockpot.  Shred chicken, discarding any fat.

Place the chicken back in the crockpot and add the dressing, 3/4 cup of the parmesan, parsley, and pepper.  Stir until combined.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes on high heat, or until mixture is hot.

When the chicken is about finished, spread butter on both sides of each hamburger bun.  (You can also just spray them with cooking spray to cut on some calories if you'd like)  Place on a cookie sheet and put in your oven with the broiler on.  Mine only took about 1 minutes to brown nicely, so you just need to keep an eye on them so that they don't turn black (yes, I have done that before!). 

Spoon chicken onto toasted buns, top with leftover Parmesan and the lettuce of your choice.
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