Monday, August 31, 2015

Campfire Potatoes

Kathleen wanted these for her birthday dinner and made them herself.  They were very good and fed 6 of us with leftovers!  We did cook them in the oven.
Campfire Potatoes

Taste of Home June/July 1994

5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste and seasoning sald
1/3 cup chicken broth

Place the potatoes and onion on a large piece of heavy-duty foil (about 20 in. x 20 in.); dot with butter. Combine the cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; sprinkle over potatoes.
Fold foil up around potatoes and add broth. Seal the edges of foil well. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 4-6 servings.

We cooked at 450 for ~1 hour, stirring several times covered with foil.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pull Apart Oat Rolls

These were the rolls I made for Kathleen's birthday dinner. They were light and airy--even with the whole wheat flour and the oats. Very tasty!

Pull Apart Oat Rolls

2 ¼ cups hot water
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
2 Tablespoons honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups quick oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 packages instant active yeast (1 ½ Tablespoons)
Melted butter for tops of baked rolls

Combine all ingredients in a 2-lb bread machine in the order listed. Run the dough cycle (if your machine has an option of dough cycles, choose the “short” one).

Roll into 24 balls (if dough is too sticky, flour your hands and/or add extra flour as needed) and place in a greased 9″x13″ pan. Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Bake 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown (cover with foil if necessary the last few minutes to prevent overbrowning).Brush tops of warm rolls with melted butter immediately. Serve warm with butter.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Best Ever BBQ Chicken

This was the main dish for Kathleen's birthday meal.  We all liked it.

Best Ever BBQ Chicken

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup Heinz ketchup (a must for us)
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2-3⁄4 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 dashes hot pepper sauce
8 large chicken breast halves, bone-in with skin Beth used butterflied breasts

In a saucepan, saute the garlic in butter until tender.
Add the next 8 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grill the chicken, covered over medium heat until almost done.turning occasionally.
Baste with sauce.

Continue basting and turning during the last minutes of cooking.

Serve with any extra sauce you set aside for dipping.
(The sauce is just that delicious!).

Friday, August 28, 2015

White Chocolate Churro Crackers

Addiction alert! These are so very easy to make and taste great. Just make sure you have others in the house to share these with, or else have great will power!

White Chocolate Churro Crackers

30 Club Crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate candy melts, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place crackers onto parchment paper side by side, row by row. Drizzle crackers evenly with melted butter then top with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for 12 minutest. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
Place melted white chocolate into a ziplock bag and snip a bottom corner, drizzle chocolate over crackers and let set up. Serve room temperature.

Makes 30 Servings

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Kathleen wanted a cream cheese frosting and this was a bit different than the usual.  We all liked it and next time I will NOT frost the cake a day ahead.  The red velvet bled through.  Still tasted great!
Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: enough to frost a 2 layer 9" cake or 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream or heavy cream, cold
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cold (you can use Neufchatel)
1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup if you prefer it less sweet)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Beth used clear vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer to soften the cream cheese, about 30 seconds.

Add sugar, salt and vanilla to the cream cheese and whip until fully combined and creamy. Check a small bit between your fingers to insure sugar crystals have "melted" into the mixture so there is no grittiness.

Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture then use mixer until it's fully combined and fluffy.
Use immediately for frosting, piping or filling. Store leftovers and whatever you've frosted or filled in the refrigerator.

Notes(from original author)

*I've always used the full cup of sugar, but yesterday I tried reducing it to 3/4 cup and I liked it better with less. Either way, it's delicious.

*I have a stand mixer and a hand mixer, so to save time, I usually let my stand mixer whip the cream while I mix the cream cheese mixture with my hand mixer.

*You want to work quickly and keep everything cold for best results when piping or frosting. If I have leftovers, I usually leave them in the piping bag and place the piping bag in a Ziploc and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. It still pipes beautifully one day after storing, however, I've only used that option for leftovers.

*If I have leftover cake that has this frosting on it, I slice individual pieces, wrap in wax paper and place the wrapped pieces in a freezer Ziploc bag. I either thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or allow to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or very carefully use the microwave on a 50% power setting. You want to thaw the cake without melting the frosting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chocolate Cake with Red Velvet Add In

Kathleen and I found this emulsion/flavoring at Home Goods while shopping the other day.  Since she decided she wanted a red velvet birthday cake, I made one and used this.  My Father in Law LOVED the cake.  It was very moist and quite tasty.

Chocolate Cake with Red Velvet Add In

Chocolate Cake mix
Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion

Mix cake according to package.  Add 2 T of the Red Velvet flavoring and bake as directed.  Instant red velvet cake!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Creamy Spinach and Cheese Green Chile Enchiladas

I was looking for a non meat option to use my freshly roasted hatch green chilies.  This fit the bill!  We all liked this.  See my notes in BOLD.
Creamy Spinach and Cheese Green Chile Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 cups fresh spinach leaves Beth used 5 c and 1 10 oz package frozen, thawed spinach
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chiles Beth used fresh roasted hatch chilies 1/4 c
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cans (10 oz each)  Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
8  Flour Tortillas (Burrito size) Beth used 10 tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
Green onions, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Diced avocado


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and cook until they are wilted and shrinks down. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro, green chiles, cumin, and chile powder. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

2. To assemble, spread about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the spinach mixture. In a medium bowl, combine both kinds of shredded cheese. Sprinkle cheese over spinach mixture, about 3 tablespoons per enchilada. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. When all enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the pan, top with the other 1/2 can of enchilada sauce and about 1/2 of the other can. We had some sauce leftover. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top of enchiladas. Bake 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges
3. Garnish enchiladas with green onion, cilantro, and avocado, if desired. Serve warm.

Note-these enchiladas freeze well. Cool completely, without toppings, and place in a tupperware container. Reheat individual servings in the microwave when ready to eat! You can also freeze an entire pan and reheat in the oven!

Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Roast and Freeze Hatch Green Chiles(picture heavy)

This was my first time to buy and roast the 'famous' hatch green chilies.  This year they are HOT, so I used gloves when peeling and chopping.  I did chop and freeze the chilies in 1/4 c quanities(see last picture)

How To Roast and Freeze Hatch Green Chiles

12 fresh hatch green chiles (Beth had more this this)
1 silpat liner
1 rimmed baking sheet
1 large ziptop plastic bag

Look over chiles and wash off any dirt, etc.

Put silpat onto  rimmed baking sheet and add peppers to the baking sheet. You can keep the chiles close together so don't worry if they are touching. Just making sure they are not laying on top of each other.

If you have an electric oven turn your broiler to high and move your oven rack up to the second to the highest spot. Add your peppers into the oven and place on the top rack. Keep the door slightly ajar and watch for the peppers to start looking black and blistered on the top.

Once they are ready remove the peppers, flip and add back to the oven and broil until the other side is black and blistered.

If you have a gas range you can either char the peppers once at a time over an open flame or use the broiler at the bottom. Keep a close eye so they do not catch on fire. You can also use a grill to get them charred and blistered.

Once your peppers are blackened add them to a large ziptop baggie. Seal and let sit for about 30 minutes to steam.

Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skin. It should come off fairly easy.
Once all the peppers have been peeled cut them down the middle and scrape out the seeds.***use gloves at this step 

After all the seeds have been removed you can cut off the tops and either store your chiles in the fridge (or freezer) whole or diced. The peppers will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Kathleen made this and mixed it with cheese corn.  We liked the addition of the sea salt. 
Salted Caramel Popcorn

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
1 cup salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
1½ - 2 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided

Preheat oven to 300°
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
Pop popcorn kernels using air popper into a large bowl.

In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.

Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.

Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp - 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.

You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the un-coated popcorn if desired! Coat with caramel as states!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pesto Chicken Wraps

I made this for lunch one day.  So easy and tasted great.  I used pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese since I had that in the fridge. 

Pesto Chicken Wraps

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared pesto, homemade or store bought
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 10-inch tortillas
4 slices Provolone and Mozarella cheese slices( or what you have on hand)
sliced fresh tomatoes and lettuce

In a bowl, combine the chicken, sour cream, pesto, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Lay the tortillas on a surface, then place 2 slices of cheese down the center of each. Divide the chicken mixture, and place half of it down the center of each tortilla. Top with tomatoes and lettuce, then roll up each of the tortillas.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dilly Coleslaw

My sister, Karen, was here last week. She loves dill pickles so I bought a LARGE jar. I saw this recipe and wanted to try it, but was nervous it would be tart. I was SO wrong. I made a half batch for just Don and me and we both really liked it.

Dilly Coleslaw

8 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, pickles and onion. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8 servings.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nut Free Basil Pesto

Kathleen(Happy 21st birthday to her today, by the way) seems to have developed a nut allergy in the past few years--never tested, but face starts tingling, throat closes up..... She LOVES pesto, so we found this recipe and adapted it. We used less oil than it called for since it seemed to have enough. Very good and NUT FREE!

Nut Free Basil Pesto
adapted from

Yield: 1 cup pesto

6 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil(we used a little less)

Place the basil, garlic, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Turn on the machine and blend for 30 seconds. Slowly stream in the olive oil while the machine is running. Process until smooth.

Serve with pasta, veggies, chicken, fish, as a spread, etc. Store the pesto in a jar or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This pesto also freezes well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mexican Spice Cheese Crackers

I made these last week for the girls to take to the beach.  I used fresh(organic, not from Mexico) cilantro.  Be aware!  These are addicting!
Mexican Spice Cheese Crackers

1 (13.7 ounce) box White Cheddar Cheese-its (Beth used regular Cheeseits)
¼ cup canola oil
1 (1 ounce) or 1/4 c. package taco seasoning
5 tablespoons chopped cilantro (dried or fresh)

Preheat oven to 250F.

In a large bowl, use your hands to mix oil and crackers, coating the crackers completely. Add the taco seasoning and cilantro and mix until well combined. Take care not to break the crackers as you mix with your hands.

Spread crackers on a large baking tray. Cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Store in an air-tight container or resealable bag.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I made these last week and you will want to make them VERY soon. I love anything caramel and the sea salt just added to the taste! These were so good. I forgot to put the first sprinkling of sea salt over the caramel layer, but topped the bars with the salt. We thought it was just enough salt.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

11 ounces caramel bits (or 11 ounces caramel squares, unwrapped)

3 tablespoons heavy cream

sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by lining with foil.(Beth just sprayed the pan with cooking spray)

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars and mix until combined. Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix). Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream, and microwave on high power at twenty second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Spread half of the cookie mixture in the prepared pan, pushing with your hands to form an even layer. Pour the melted caramel over the top and spread to cover. Sprinkle with sea salt. Top with remaining cookie dough.(Beth patted this out between my hands and laid the dough on top of the caramel)Sprinkle the top with more sea salt.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until very lightly golden around the edges. Be careful not to over bake! The cookies are best if they are soft and a little gooey. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Cool almost to room temperature before slicing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Curry Chicken

When we made the Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, we decided to make it a meal instead of just a side dish. There is this place near Jenna's work called Thai Lada that has excellent Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken, while it isn't curried, it tasted very similar. This recipe had great flavor and next time we will add it into the rice rather than just put it on top.
Curry Chicken Marinade
Adapted from:

2-3 Chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin

2 tbsp of oil *we used vegetable
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
1/2 tsp of red chilli powder *we used red pepper flakes 
1" piece of ginger, minced 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients of the marinade and add chicken. Refrigerate for a few hours. Before we marinated the chicken, we sliced the chicken very thin. We heated up a wok and a little oil and added the chicken in batches and cooked until there was no pink.

Serve over rice. We added this to our Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Chicken Shawarma

Since we have all been to Israel and have had the real shawarma, when I saw this recipe, I told Kathleen we had to try it. We didn't make the yogurt sauce, and grilled it on the George Foreman grill, but it was excellent!
Chicken Shawarma 
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade:
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt (or sour cream if you prefer)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag (or bowl).
  2. Add the chicken make sure each chicken piece is coated in the marinade.
  3. Marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  4. Combine the yogurt sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Cover and put in the fridge until needed (it will last for 3 days in the fridge).
  5. Heat grill (or large heavy based pan on stove) on medium high. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place chicken on the grill and cook the first side for 6-7 minutes until nicely charred, then flip and cook the other side for 5-6 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Quinoa From Scratch

We were looking to make healthy lunches for the week with quinoa, veggies, and chicken. Kathleen bought dry quinoa and we hadn't tried to cook it that way before. It is very similar to cooking rice; just make sure that you let all the water boil out and then fluff half way through the cooking time. This was very good!
Fluffy, Tasty Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa (any variety — white or golden, red, or black)
Olive oil, optional
2 cups water or broth
1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1. Rinse the quinoa: Measure 1 cup of quinoa and place into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.
  2. Toast quinoa in saucepan (optional): Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to let the water evaporate and toast the quinoa.
  3. Add liquid and bring to a boil: Stir in 2 cups of water or broth and the salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes: Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered. Don't peek!
  6. Fluff and eat! Remove the lid — You should see tiny spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve. If any liquid remains in the bottom of the pan or if the quinoa is still a bit crunchy, return the pot to low heat and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

I was looking for a good dressing that I could use on salad or over a chicken and quinoa bowl. This was really easy to make and very good!
Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Zest of one lime + 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb. honey
  • 2 Tb. heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Pour all ingredients into the jar with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. ground pepper.
  2. Screw the lid on tightly and shake until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tzatziki Sauce

Jenna here again. I confess, I am a lover of Greek food, so when I saw this recipe, I made it just as a dip for pita chips. It tasted restaurant quality and it does keep for longer than 2 days, depending on how often you make trips to the fridge...
Tzatziki Sauce
  • 2 cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and grated or finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (not dried dill) *we used dried dill and it was fine
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Stir all ingredients together until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 days. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thai Baked Pineapple Fried Rice

We were looking on Pinterest the other day and were also in the mood for Thai food, so we made this recipe. We added homemade curry chicken for a heartier meal. Everyone ate seconds, so this recipe was a keeper.
Thai Baked Pineapple Fried Rice

  • 1 ripe sweet pineapple * we used a can of pineapple chunks and cut into smaller pieces
  • 4 green onions, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cold cooked long-grain rice (like Jasmine or even brown)
  • 1 cup frozen diced carrots and peas, thawed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ¼ cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk *we didn't have this, so we added pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or Tamari for gluten-free)
  1. Cut the pineapple in half. Carve out the flesh while leaving the skin intact. Chop half of the flesh into small chunks (~1 cup) and set aside. Pat dry with paper towel. Cover the pineapple leaves with aluminum foil to keep from burning. Bake the pineapple boats for about 5 minutes to dry them. *we eliminated this step
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok on high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir fry for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add half of the beaten egg to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds without stirring. Then stir in remaining egg, cooked rice and carrots and peas. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander and chili flakes. Stir fry on high for 5-10 minutes to desired crispness.
  4. Add in pineapple, cashews, coconut milk and soy sauce and stir. Fill into pineapple shells and bake for about 10 minutes until heated through. *you can see we didn't serve in a pineapple shell. It was still quite tasty!
  5. Garnish with more cashes and green onion. Serve right away
The version I made at home is meatless but any kind of protein can easily be added. We've had it with everything from chicken, shrimp to sliced sausage even. *Johnson Notes: We made curry chicken to add to this recipe. Very good!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Root Beer Float No Bake Cheesecake Bars

I had pinned this recipe thinking I had root beer extract.  I found out that I did not have any, but quickly put it on my grocery list.  I am glad I did.  It is a tasty dessert.  The original recipe showed a picture with each piece topped with a cherry.  My pantry had no cherries, but that didn't hinder the taste!
Root Beer Float No Bake Cheesecake Bars

9 graham crackers Beth used 1 1/2 c crumbs
2 T sugar
6 T butter, melted
3 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz cool whip
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 T root beer concentrate

Crush 9 sheets of graham crackers with 2 TBSPs granulated sugar, and mix with melted butter.
Press into the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan.

Beat together the sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Mix in the cool whip. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture. Mix in the root beer extract.

Gently spread the mixture (minus the 1/2 cup) over the graham cracker crust. Then carefully swirl the 1/2 cup of the mixture into the top.
Refrigerate until firm.  Cut and serve.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Best Chip Dip

I found this to go with the burgers we made the other night.  Simple, easy and quite tasty!
The Best Chip Dip

8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c of ketchup
2 T milk
2 T of onion, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving with potato chips or fresh veggies

Makes about 1.5 cup

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Korean Hamburgers

I wanted to try a different burger and had all the ingredients for these.  We liked them.
Korean Hamburgers

1 lb ground beef
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 dash black pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Shape into 4 patties.  Grill or fry as usual.

To Freeze: Freeze uncooked in a single layer on plastic wrap, then wrap the stack in aluminum foil.

To cook: Grill or fry from frozen until done.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mango Soft Serve

Kathleen made this over the weekend for an evening snack.  It was DELICIOUS!
Mango Soft Serve
(yields 2-3 servings)

1 food processor or a high speed blender
2 cups of frozen mango
2-4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk
10 drops of liquid stevia (optional)We used Splenda

Add the mango to the food processor and let it go until it reaches a creamy consistency. Slowly add the heavy cream and continue to let it whip. I usually scrape the side once to push the mango back down towards the blade. And you are done! Scoop into bowls and enjoy! I like to sprinkle a little homemade granola or fresh strawberries on top.

Friday, August 7, 2015

No-Bake S'mores Brownie Cheesecake Bars

I made these last weekend to take to Don's parents.  They came together quickly and tasted great.  Best part was NO need to turn on the oven in this Texas heat!
No-Bake S'mores Brownie Cheesecake Bars

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
⅓ c. mini chocolate chips
⅓ c. Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits
⅓ c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
2 oz. meltable chocolate

In a medium saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened chocolate; cook and stir over low heat until just boiling.

Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla and most of the graham cracker crumbs (reserve 2 Tbsp).
Spread evenly into foil-lined 8x8 inch pan.

Sprinkle with ⅓ c. mini chocolate chips, ⅓ c. Mallow bits, and remaining 2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs and press down gently into the bars.
Refrigerate until firm.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar and beat with electric mixer until smooth.

Spread over chilled bars; drizzle with melted chocolate and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blueberry Lemonade Smoothie

I made this last week for breakfast. It was good, but VERY tart. I used bottled lemon juice and next time would cut it in half. It was refreshing, but needed more sweetener.


1 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh or bottled Beth thought too much, half it next time
1/2 c. blueberry, lemon or vanilla Greek yogurt Beth used plain Greek yogurt
(plain works great too)
1/2 - 3/4 c. crushed ice
1/4 c. water
(or more for consistency desired)
1 pkt. Stevia or Truvia  Beth used 2 packets of sweet and low

Blend all ingredients in the food processor for at least 45 seconds and and enjoy....even on the run!
Yield: 1 serving

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake

What goes better with dinner than dessert? Its Jenna here again! When I was with my friends a few weeks ago having fun and making tasty food, we decided we needed dessert to finish off our great lasagna meal! Shelby took the reigns in homemade strawberry shortcake. We made a few changes, but we made a double batch two nights in a row and there weren't many leftovers!

Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks
7/8 cup milk
For the strawberry sauce:
2 pounds of strawberries, washed, de-stemmed, and quartered
2 cups of sugar
Mix and sift together dry ingredients (we didn't one has time for that!). Work shortening with fingertips (or forks!) or a pastry cutter as you would make a pie crust or biscuits. Work quickly and keep everything cold (it works if it isn't cold...we started chit chatting during the process!).
Add liquid gradually and blend only enough to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Roll lightly into 1/2" thickness. *
Cut into 3 inch squares or rounds to a 1/2 inch thickness using a cookie cutter or mug, or cut into six to seven inch circles for larger shortcakes. *
Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven until shortcakes are crisp and very light in color.
Cooking time will depend on what size shortcake has been cut; the smallest being cooked in as little as 10 minutes or less, and the largest requiring 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven.*
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks, then split into halves as soon as possible.*
* We didn't to this!
Rather than deal with individual shortcakes, we greased two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans. We added more flour to the dough to make it form-able into a pan. We pressed half of the dough into each pan (they were probably about an inch and a half thick) and placed the pans in the oven. To be honest, again we were chatting and didn't keep a close eye on the cooking time. We initially set the timer for 10 minutes and then checked every couple minutes after. We wanted it to be brown on top, so they probably baked for 15-20 minutes, since we had two in the oven. We just checked the top and when they weren't gooey anymore, we called it good. After taken out of the oven, we just left them on the stove to cook and cut into slivers like a pie and got about 8 pieces from each pan.
While the shortcakes were in the oven, we placed the strawberries and sugar in a bowl, mashed them together so we created a sauce, with a few chunks of strawberries, and placed into the fridge to chill.
Serve the shortcake with whipped cream and strawberries! Enjoy a slice...or two (hey! It was vacation :D)!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Hi everyone! It's Jenna here. A few weeks ago, I spent some time with my best friends from college. Elizabeth happens to be Italian and can make the best lasagna. She kindly allowed me to share her recipe! This version, we made vegetarian, but Elizabeth adds beef when she makes it usually. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Karlowski (EB, really...)

9-10 long, Lasagna Noodles
onion diced
fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
2-3 tbsp. butter
garlic cloves (lots--they're Italian!)
16 ounces Ricotta Cheese
12 ounces (a jar and a half) Classico Traditional Basil Pesto
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 - 24 ounce Hunts Pasta Sauce (I think we used a traditional and a four cheese, or cheese/garlic)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the lasagna noodles according to the box. You want them to be pliable! Once they are done, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Melt butter, sauté onions and mushrooms (as much as you'd like) until translucent. Add a few cloves of garlic right before you remove the onions and mushrooms from the heat.

Mix ricotta cheese, pesto, a cup of mozzarella cheese, half of a cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 jar of pasta sauce, a few cloves of minced garlic, and two eggs together. Mix in the onions, mushrooms, and sautéed garlic. (If you were making this with meat, now is when you'd add the browned meat). Add salt and pepper.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish, spoon pasta sauce to cover the bottom, place three or four cooked lasagna noodles, more sauce, 1/3 of the cheese/veggie mixture over the noodles, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and a little more sauce. Then start again with the noodle layer, and continue until you've reached the end of your ingredients or have to start a new pan, like we did! We ended up getting almost 2 pans of lasagna and had to boil more noodles!. Make sure you end with sauce (not the ricotta cheese mixture) and top with a healthy serving of mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with foil and place into the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until heated through. Take off the foil and bake or broil until the cheese on top is brown and bubbly. Serve hot and with a good side of garlic bread and a salad. Enjoy...we sure did!

Monday, August 3, 2015


My friend Janet was telling me of a variation of a BLT.  I tried it this past week and used a bagel thin as my bread.  DELICIOUS!

bacon, fried
onion, sliced thin
cheese(your preference)

Toast the bread and spread with mayo.  Add other ingredients in order of your liking.  Dig in! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cottage Cheese Salad

I had copied this recipe back before I got married, so over 28 years ago.  This time I made it with Splenda, and much prefer regular sugar.  Splenda made it rather bland and I usually don't think of this as a bland recipe. 
Cottage Cheese Salad

2 envelopes plain gelatin
1/2 c water
1/2 c boiling water
1 scant c sugar
1 lb small curd cottage cheese
1/2 pt (1 c) whipping cream
1/2 t vanilla

Dissolve the plain gelatin in 1/2 c water.   Add 1/2 c boiling water and stir well.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 

Beat the cottage cheese and add sugar.  Beat well.  Add the gelatin to the cottage cheese and beat.  Next add the whipping cream and  beat until well combined(2-3 minutes.)  Add vanilla and beat well. 

Can be put into a mold or just in a bowl and refrigerate until set.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pecan Cheesecake Squares

These bars were full of flavor!  We loved them.
Pecan Cheesecake Squares
For the shortbread layer
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

For the cheesecake layer
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the pecan pie layer
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

For the shortbread layer: In a medium bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans. Press mixture evenly into bottom of a greased 9x13" baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven, and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

For the cheesecake layer: Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment, and beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in sugar. Add milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until combined. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled shortbread layer. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

For the pecan pie layer: In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Gently stir in the eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in 1 1/2 cups pecans. Pour pecan mixture over cooled cheesecake layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set and pecan pie layer is a rich brown color.