Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins....

My sister in law Nicole told me about this muffin recipe she got from the Barefoot Contessa. She told me they were good that I had to make them. I made them last night while my hubby was sleeping and figured he could take a couple to work with him this morning. He called me and told me how great they were. He even took some in and shared with co workers. I must agree. These are really great. Perfectly moist. Enjoy!

by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

Directions:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Too-Easy Tortellini Soup

My sister sent this recipe to me not too long ago. It's SO easy and GOOD!

-4 cups chicken broth
-1 package (9 oz.) Refrigerated cheese tortellini
-1 can (15 oz.) White kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great White Northern beans)
-1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
-Shredded Parmesan cheese
-Coarsely ground pepper, optional

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in tortellini. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans, tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 4-6 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in the vinegar. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper if desired. YIELD: 6 servings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Simply Lasagna

Sorry for the lack of photo- but take my word that it not only looked good, but was easy and delicious. This is from the Kraft Food and Family magazine.

Simply Lasagna

1lb ground beef
2 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese- divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 cup water- I used a bit more (almost a full jar, and it wasn't runny)
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Brown meat in large skillet, drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Stir until well blended. In separate bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, the ricotta cheeese, the parsely and egg. Mix until well blended. Set aside. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce unto bottom of 13 X 9 dish, top with a layer of 3 uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of meat sauce over noodles. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining meat sauce. Sprikle with remaining 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with greased foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

Peanut Butter Graham Bars

These may look a bit odd, and certainly sound a bit odd, but they are SO EASY and SOOOOO Yummy! I made them for a recent playgroup and they were a hit! They go together quickly- less then 30 min. and only need to chill a short time till firm. I got the recipe years ago from a Quick Cooking magazine and have made them a few times.

20 graham cracker squares, divided
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 14 squares crushed)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Line the bottom of a greased 11 X 7 pan with half of the graham cracker squares; set aside. In a 2 qt microwave safe bowl, combine the crumbs, sugars, butter and milk. Microwave uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave on high 2-2 1/2 minutes longer. Immediately pour half over crackers in prepared pan. Top with the remaining graham cracker squares. Spread with remaining sugar mixture.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and peanut butter, uncovered, on high for 45-60 seconds or until chips are melted. Stir until smooth and blended. Spread evenly over bars. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Cut into bars and Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sweet Potato casserole

1 Large can sweet potatos
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ c butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
½ c sugar

6 Tbs butter (melted)
¾ c brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
½ c chopped pecans

Drain juice from canned sweet potatoes and put into mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mash together (should be a little lumpy). Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Mix topping together and spread on top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
*This can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert

1 large box vanilla wafer cookies-crushed
1/2 cup margarine
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 bar German Sweet Chocolate
12 large marshmallows
1 pkg chocolate chips
1/2 cup hot water
4 eggs-seperated
1 cup nuts
1/2 gallon peppermint ice cream

Crush up vanilla wafers and mix with melted margarine and powdered sugar (set aside). Place the German Sweet Chocolate, marshmallows, chocolate chis and hot water in a microwave safe bowl. Cook until all is blended. Separate eggs. When chocolate mixture has cooled slightly add 4 beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.

Put 2/3 of crumb mixture in bottom of 9x13 pan. Spread 2/3 of chocolate mixture over this (spreading evenly and carefully). Sprinkle nuts next. Cut up ice cream (like slicing a loaf of bread) and place evenly in pan. Cover with rest of chocolate mixture, and top with remaining cookie crumbs. Place in freezer.

Variation: Use mint chocolate chip ice cream.

This is a Smith Family Christmas Classic, we eat it EVERY Christmas at least once.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Easy Pizza Sauce

I have tried a couple pizza sauce recipes and this is kind of my own combination of what I found I personally like best based on those I have tried. I never buy pizza sauce anymore, because I think this tastes better and is easy to do with stuff I normally have on hand.

Also, the last few times I have made pizza, I have made the crust Katie posted here and it is the best I have tried! (pictured above..) I recommend it!

1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
(*optional*- for a "bolder" flavor- you can add 1/2-1 tsp Paprika- it is good, but I personally like it a little better without- so, whatever your taste...)

Heat the oil in the saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic for a couple minutes until slightly browned. Add all other ingredients. Heat through. You can put on crust immediately or simmer on low for a short while as you prepare the crust.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

My sister got this recipe from her friend and made it for Christmas dinner. It was SOOOOOO good that I had to get the recipe and make it as well. It is super good and super easy. It tastes really good on a yummy roll with or without cheese, such as provolone/pepper jack/or swiss. It is pictured on a hot dog bun because that is what I happened to have when I made it and wanted to use them up. I would give it 5 stars- the picture doesn't do it justice-try it!

3 Cups Beef Broth (I use low sodium broth)
1 Tsp of each of the following:
-salt (may want to use less, if desired)
-onion powder
-dried parsley
-garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced)
2 pkgs dry Italian Salad dressing mix
5 lb. chuck roast

Combine all ingredients, except the roast in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir well. Place roast in a crock pot and pour the liquid in the sauce pan over it. Cook on low 10 hours. Remove meat and pull apart (will be very easy- will be very moist and tender). Put meat back in crock pot and cook on low 2 hours more.

*note- When I took the meat out to pull apart, I also poured the liquid into a bowl. When I put the meat back in, I poured back in the amount of liquid I wanted and didn't use it all.
*also- due to the long cook time, I put it in before going to bed and let it cook over night. Then, at dinner time, all I had to do was heat it back up! It worked great!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frosty Fruit Punch

This is a fantastic punch and it makes quite alot. It needs to be made the night before. Great for parties and a hot summer day.

3 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 lg can (12 oz) frozen orange juice (undiluted)
24 oz pineapple juice
Juice of 1 lemon
3 bananas
1 small pkg frozen strawberry
2 bottles 7-up

Boil the water and sugar together. Add the frozen orange juice, pineapple juice and lemon juice. Freeze. I seperate it into two containers to freeze faster.

When ready to serve, dump frozen juice into huge bowl. Add the 7-up, bananas and strawberries. Let sit for 20 min (or until starting to melt and become slushy) mash all together and serve.


When I first heard about these enchiladas I was skeptical because they are not like any enchiladas I've had before. My husbands family has been making them for years, and they are great. It's cheap, easy, and feeds a ton of people.
3 tbs oil
2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 cans crushed tomatos (reg. size 14-15 oz)
1 tsp vinegar
3 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs sugar
Corn tortillas
Fry onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes and cook until thick. Add rest of ingredients.
Fry tortillas in hot oil to desired crispiness. Place tortilla on plate cover with sauce, cheese, and fresh onions. My husband likes to place another tortilla on top and again cover with sauce, cheese, and onions. Enjoy!
Other variations:
Sauce can be made to taste. The original recipe called for 8 Tbs chili powder, but that was too much for the kids. You can play around with it.
Sour cream can be served on top also.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homemade Hot Chocolate

A few weeks ago we had some family over for some goodies. I decided it was time to make real hot chocolate. It was well worth the exhausting effort of doing a search and putting some ingredients in the crockpot. If you're going to the grocery store, make sure you have all of these ingredients. Your winters will never be the same.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 C water


  1. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Whisk in water, about a cup at a time. Heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Note: Do not allow the hot chocolate to boil. It should just simmer until warmed through.

Crockpot Directions: Whisk together all ingredients. Pour into slow cooker. Heat on low 1-3 hours.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baked Beans....

My mom has been making these for years. The recipe makes a lot and is great for parties or potlucks. Super easy and great recipe. Enjoy!!!

1 pound bacon (cut up)
1 pound ground beef
2 onions chopped
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
4 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans butter beans
2 cans pork and beans

Brown bacon, beef and onions together until cooked. Drain. Pour into crock pot. Add all other ingredients and mix. Cook until heated through (I prefer to cook on low for a couple of hours but you can put it on high until it is heated).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Candied apple pie cheesecake

I don't have a picture of this because it got devoured so quickly. I got this from Kraft Food and family, it was the Philadelphia Cheesecake Contest winner.

1 cup crushed Nabisco Ginger Snaps
3 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 8 oz pkgs Cream Cheese softened
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup apple pie filling, divided
1/2 cup walnut pieces, divided
1/2 cup toffee bits, divided

Heat oven to 325. Mix ginger snap crmbs, butter and 2 Tbsp sugar; press onto bottom and up side of 9 inch pie plate.

Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Stir in half each of pie filling, nuts and toffee. Pour into crust.

Bake 35 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with remaining pie filling, nuts and toffee.

I did not top with the remaining ingredients Kevin thought it was sweet enough. He did put extra walnuts on top though. I don't eat cheesecake, but my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and Kevin said it was the best cheesecake they had ever had.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Deep Dish Lasagna- Revisited....

A while ago, Nicole posted this recipe. She made it for my family and it was so good. So, I finally made it myself and it was just as good as I remember. I love all the different seasonings that go into it!! Enjoy!

Deep Dish Lasagne

12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I used oven-ready)
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
2/3 cup chopped onions
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 pound part-skim ricotta cheese (I used 1 lb cottage cheese)
1 (10 ounce) package chopped spinach, thawed and squeeze dried
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage with the onions, garlic and 1/2 the parsley; drain. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, oregano, and basil; mix well. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes; stirring occasionally.
In a bowl, combine remaining parsley and Ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, eggs, garlic salt, and pepper; mix well.
In lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish, spread 2 cups sauce mix. Begin layering with 4 noodles, 1/2 cheese mix, 1/3 remaining sauce, and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat this layer again and the last layer will be noodles, sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Bake covered in a preheated oven at for 45 minutes. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

**This makes a lot so I halved everything and there was still plenty for leftovers the next night!