Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fruit salsa with baked cinnamon chips

I made this for a baby shower and it was to die for.

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (I used boysenberry)

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray

Cinnamon sugar:
1 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter). 

4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. This salsa can also be serve with cinnamon graham grackers or cinnamon pita chips. Best when made and eaten the same day otherwise the fruit gives off so too much juice and it gets runny.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

dinner for one

One of the few perks of having an prolonged-MIA hubs is not having to cook meals. My dinners usually consist of yogurt and grapes. Or tortillas and turkey. Or chips and clam dip. And lots of chocolate for dessert. But last night I was in the mood for some substance. I took inventory of the possibilities and made this. Perfect for one. Turned out delicious, if I do say so myself. Just adjust the ingredients for the desired serving.

Portobello Asparagus Pasta

Penne pasta
mini portobello mushrooms, sliced
asparagus tips
heavy whipping cream

Boil the pasta and asparagus tips together, remove asparagus after about five min (don't want them to get too soggy).
In a saucepan, saute garlic and mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Add a splash of whipping cream.
Shake in some basil and oregano. Add asparagus. Simmer on low for a few minutes.

Drain pasta, add to sauce. Toss, salt and serve.

(Didn't have any, but a bit of parmesan on top would be delightful).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Was SO in the mood for this today (the soup AND the not really having to cook dinner):

16 oz split peas (rinsed)
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 c white onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 c hot water

1. Layer ingredients in order listed above. Do not stir.
2. Cover and cook until peas are soft. High: 4-5 hrs or Low: 8-10 hrs.
3. Remove bay leaf & garlic (if it has held together) before serving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

chocolate cream pie

3 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbl. cocoa
1/3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 c milk
2 Tbl. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Separate and set aside 3 egg yolks in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt. Add milk. Turn on the heat to high to get the mixture hot faster. Whisk continually to keep the cream from burning. Just before it starts to boil, turn it down to medium and continue to stir. Once it is boiling, allow it to boil for 2 minutes.

Take it off the heat and pour a moderate amount of hot mixture into the egg yolks. Quickly whip the yolks and cream and pour it back into the pan while stirring constantly to avoid burning. Boil 2 min longer. Remove from heat and turn off burner.

Add the butter and vanilla. Stir well and immediately pour into cooled pie crust (deep dish, if you're pre-buying like me!). Cover w/ plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the pie (this acts as a synthetic film so your pie won't get one). Put in fridge for several hours to set.

*don't double the recipe. I tried it once and ended up with two impossibly runny pies.

Whipped Cream:
In mixing bowl, whip together until stiff peaks form:
1 c whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

(*for Christmas pies, crush up candy canes to fold into the whipped cream).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

THE best caramel brownies, imho

It's all about pinterest people, pinterest. :0) I have found lots of yummy, yummy recipes in the last few weeks
from this site. YUM!

And now I give you, YUM-O caramel brownies. Make these. Make them now. And then enjoy THE entire pan!


For the brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped {I used ghirardelli baking chocolate--one bittersweet, 
2 bars of semi-sweet}
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups pecan, coarsely chopped (optional) 
{I've yet to put the pecans in. Kod isn't too much of brownie/nut guy and I'm not all the time either}
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel filling:
14 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil well with butter or cooking spray. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. (Alternatively, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.) Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, maintaining the oven temperature, and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add chopped pecans (if using) to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. To make caramel filling, combine the caramel candies and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Stir in half of the pecans. Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer, taking care to pour and spread it evenly otherwise it will be difficult to spread evenly over the caramel layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the 
remaining pecans on top of the final brownie layer. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook completely before slicing and serving. (To speed cooling, chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.)

Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Remove the foil and cut the brownies into individual squares. Store in an airtight container. 

The first time I made these I used the aluminum foil in the pan with cooking spray on top. The next time I just sprayed a nonstick pan with cooking spray and I felt like they were much easier to handle and cut apart.

Either way, YUM! ;0) 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Recipe from Lucy Staples {my MIL}

Crust: Mix 1/2 cup toasted coconut, 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs, and 6 Tbsp. melted butter. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Set aside.
* Note: BEFORE you begin preparing cheesecake, preheat oven to 350 and toast 1/2 cup coconut and also 1 cup chopped pecans (keep separate).

Filling: Over low heat, melt 14 ounce package of Kraft caramels with 5 ounces of evaporated milk. Stir together and set aside.

Mix 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla.  Add 2 eggs, beat well. Blend in 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips.

When you have baked the crust and mixed together the chocolate filling, layer in the crust:
Caramel mixture
Toasted pecans
Chocolate cheesecake mixture

Bake 40 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and loosen spring form pan.  cool cheesecake in pan on rack. Then, remove pan and side and chill on insert.

Serve with whipped topping, mini chocolate chips and pecans on top. {I had some hot fudge and caramel ice cream toppings that we put on top. You obviously can dress it up with anything!}

Yum, Yum, Yummy!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lettuce Wraps courtesy of Bountiful Baskets

I recently discovered Bountiful Baskets. If you haven't heard about it, check it out! It. is. AWESOME! In fact, our entire meal tonight was entirely {minus the sauce and canned chicken} made from the produce I received in my basket last week. I wanted to find some way to use the radishes and celery as neither of us like radishes and rarely eat celery by itself. So I googled a whole bunch of lettuce wraps recipes and couldn't find anything I really liked so I improvised. Minus the garlic overload, it was delicious!

Cut up the following (anyway you'd like):
honey roasted peanuts

throw in some canned chicken {what I had on hand} or the real stuff. I also think Chickpeas would be delightful too.

Chop up some parsley and basil, salt and pepper to taste and throw into a skillet to warm through.

For the sauce I threw in some sesame seed oil, soy sauce, tiny bit of honey, and lime juice.

I peeled off the leaves of a head of lettuce and we used these to wrap up the veggie mix.

It was yum-yum-yummy!!!

We also had a fruit melody consisting of mangoes, strawberries, and honeydew {all courtesy of bountiful baskets} and some foccacia bread with olive oil and pepper on the side. Mmm....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Adapted PW Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

This is definitely a recent Staples favorite. I "accidentally" adapted the recipe since I thought I had certain ingredients on hand when I had none. However, it turned out oh-so-yummy and will continue with my adaptions.


  • 8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells {I used double the shells and ended up with maybe 1/4 of the shells left}
  • 30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese {I used cottage cheese and neither of us really care for ricotta}
  • 8 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
  • ½ cups Grated Romano Cheese {I used a combo Parmesan/Romano that comes pre-grated in a tub}
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade {couldn't find fresh basil so I used dried}
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley {doubled, maybe tripled this}
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ½ pounds Italian Sausage
  • ½ cups Red Wine {okay, Kody totally made fun of me because all we had was red wine VINEGAR so I used it. It was SOOO good}
  • 1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes {I thought I had both of these tomatoes on hand but nope, so I improvised and found this super tomato-ey salsa on our shelf. It was perfect and actually didn't end up tasting so tomato-ey (which neither of us like)}
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.
To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serve with crusty French bread.

Yum! Yum! Yum! We will definitely be eating this one again and again.

Chicken/Turkey and pasta with peanut sauce

6 ounces fettuccine or linguine                 
2 cups fresh pea pods                                                       
1 cup turkey or chicken strips                                              
1 cup pineapple chunks                                                      
1 red pepper sliced                                                         
1/4 cup chicken broth                                                       
2 T creamy peanut butter                                                  
1 T soy sauce                                                             
1 T lime or lemon juice                                                   
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper                                                 
1 clove of garlic minced                                                    

Pre cook turkey or chicken any way you want. I just boiled mine.                                                                           Cook pasta according to package directions.                                                                                                            Place pea pods, chicken and red pepper in a large colander.  Pour hot cooking liquid from pasta over pea pods etc, in colander, drain.               
Return pasta mixture to hot pan.  Add pineapple.                                                                                                       For sauce, in a small saucepan stir chicken broth into peanut butter.                                                                             Heat and stir with a whisk until peanut butter melts.  Stir in soy sauce, lime juice, red pepper, and garlic; heat through. Add sauce to pasta mixture.  Gently stir to coat pasta with sauce.                                                    

Kody got this recipe from a co-worker. It was oh-so-delicious! I quadrupled the sauce because I used a little more pasta then what it called for. However, go easy on the crushed red pepper flakes as it adds a lot of spicy hot. I made the mistake of adding too much. Also, we didn't add the pineapple because neither of us really like 'warmed pineapple'. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bird Nest Crunch

Kenz threw a bird themed bridal shower yesterday for an old friend. This stuff was a hit and very addicting.

22 oz white chocolate baking squares
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 cups rice krispies
2 cups Peanut Butter Captain Crunch cereal
2-3 cups pretzel sticks

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Melt the chocolate in sauce pan at a very low setting. When all chocolate is melted, pour over dry ingredients and mix together. Scoop small spoonfuls onto wax paper and let harden OR evenly distribute mixture on a non-stick cookie sheet. Let cool. Using a knife cut into the cooled mixture, breaking it apart into small chunks.

*I added a big bag of Cadbury mini eggs to the mix after it had cooled.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Artichoke Dip

serves 6

6 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
1 cup drained, chopped canned artichokes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garlic power
5-6 slices pita bread, grilled

Heat cream cheese in microwave 1 min or so until hot and soft.
Add rest of ingredients (except bread) and mix well.
Cut the grilled pita bread into 8 triangles per slice.
Serve dip hot with sliced grilled pita bread.

Raspberry Cake

1 white cake mix
1 (16 oz) can raspberry filling
1 cup fresh raspberries, for garnish

Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Raspberry Sauce:
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 Tbsp warm water

Cake: Bake cake into two 8 inch round cakes. Cool and cut each layer, making four layers. Spread raspberry filling between the layers and chill for 30 min.

Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Sauce: Combine raspberry jam with warm water and mix well.

Frost sides of cake with frostings. Drizzle sauce over top and garnish with fresh raspberries.

Meg's Creamy Potato Soup

Meghan makes this all the time and urged me to fix it for Maddie's birthday party. I did, it's good. I think I threw in some cheddar cheese, though.

Saute: 1 onion, 1 stalk of celery (chopped) in 2 TBSP of butter until translucent

Add 3 cans of chicken broth, 6 potatoes (I sometimes use more if I have smaller potatoes), and 3 carrots cubed and sliced

Bring to boil and then simmer for 15 minutes

Add and stir in: 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 8 ounce package of cream cheese (add this in small slices)

Heat through and serve.

I often double this for lots of leftovers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Navy Bean, Tomato, and Spinach Soup

I know what you're thinking: Yuck. But trust me! This soup is heavenly! Dave and I have resolved to go half-time vegetarian. So this was a hit on our list of new menu items. Adapted from the Jan-Feb 2010 issue of Mothering Magazine:

Navy Bean, Tomato, and Spinach Soup

1 c dried navy beans (soaked overnight)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 Portobello mushroom, gills removed, diced small (I used mini portobellos. Same diff.)
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
4 c vegetable stock, bean-cooking liquid, or mixture of both
1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
3 oz baby spinach, chopped rough
salt and fresh-ground pepper

Soak navy beans in 4 cups water, 6 hrs to overnight. Drain and rinse. Place beans in a 4-qt pot with bay leaf and over with 3 inches water. Bring to simmer, and cook until beans become tender to the bite but are not falling apart. Depending on age of beans, cooking time can range from 30-90 min. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to beans and let cook about 5 min more to absorb. Set beans aside in their cooking liquid.

Heat olive oil in 4-qt soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add diced onion and mushroom. Cook 4-5 min, until vegetables soften around edges. Add garlic and rosemary. Cook 2 minutes more, adjusting heat as needed to avoid too much browing.

Combine any remaining bean-cooking liquid with veg stock to make 3 1/2 c. Add to pot tomatoes, cooked beans, and liquid. Bring to low simmer and cook about 15 min, or until well flavored. If soup seems too thick, add last 1/2 c of stock. Add spinach* and cook until just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*I omitted the spinach, just because I don't like wilted spinach in my soup the next day.


Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Made these yesterday for Sunday dinner. Easy, elegant, and delicious! From Ina Garten on the Food Network:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs small red or white-skinned potatoes
1/8 c good olive oil
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 Tbsp minces fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hr (mine only took 45 min), or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning (essential!).

Remove from oven, season to taste, and serve.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Caramel Pie

Chocolate & Caramel Pie

1 bag chocolate teddy grahams, blend to crumbs (I don't like teddy grahams so I used just a chocolate cookie crust, prefab)
(will be about 2 1/2 cups crumbs)
3/4 cup butter, melted

Combine in small bowl. mix until all cookie crumbs are moistened with butter. Press into pie pan. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until crust looks dry. Set aside to cool.

Caramel filling
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In heavy sauce pan mix milk, sugar, butter, corn syrup & salt. Stir continually over medium heat until reaches bottom of firm ball stage- 230 degrees on candy thermometer. This takes a while. Be patient. Don't overcook, you don't want it too hard.
Remove from heat & add vanilla. Pour onto cooled crust, about 2/3-3/4 full. Set aside.
** this makes enough for 2 pies, I made one and poured the rest on to waxed paper & we ate them.

Semi-sweet chocolate Ganache

6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp butter

in a small sauce pan, over medium heat, cook chocolate & cream until smooth & melted. Remove from heat. Add butter & stir. Pour over caramel layer.

Chill in fridge at least 45 minutes before cutting.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Brownie covered Oreos

Variations of this recipe have been circulating the internet recently. Here is the one I did. SUPER simple and a SUPER yummy and QUICK treat. YUM!

Make a brownie mix from a box {any kind will do}. Follow the directions on the box. Leave the mix in the bowl and dip one oreo after another into the mix, coating the oreo completely. Coat the Muffin tin generously in cooking spray. Drop the brownie covered oreo into a muffin tin and repeat until tin is full. Cook 10-12 minutes at 350 F {Don't overcook the brownies. Brownies are ALWAYS better gooey. ;0) }

You can sprinkle powder sugar on top or drizzle white chocolate over the brownie for aesthetics. I didn't do either and they were still yummy. 

I had a difficult time getting these out even after I drenched the pan in cooking spray.  Perhaps it'd help to line the muffin tin with cupcake liners? 

The Oreo cookie turns into a cake like consistency and the Oreo cream is SO yummy and a nice surprise in the middle. 


Sweet Potato Empanadas


  • 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, mashed or pureed
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tube refrigerated ready-made crescent rolls (uncooked dough)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • *Cook's Note: Omit the brown sugar if the sweet potato leftovers are already sweetened.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with a fork, and mix in the cream cheese, brown sugar if using, lemon juice, and pinch of salt until creamy. Remove the dough from the tube and separate into 4 rectangles. Working with 1 rectangle at a time, roll over the perforated lines in the dough to seal together. Cut the rectangle in half and then cut the halves into 2 triangles. Place a heaping teaspoon of sweet potato filling in the center of each of 4 triangles. Fold the dough over on each, as if you were making ravioli, and pinch the edges together. Cook's Note: Use a tiny bit of water if the dough is too dry to seal.
Continue making little triangle empanadas with the rest of the dough, 16 total. Place the triangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and into the preheated oven. Bake the empanadas until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and pinch of salt. While still warm, brush the empanadas with melted butter, and then gently toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve the empanadas with tangy plain yogurt for dipping.

**Made these for the Super Bowl also. These were SO good. I actually used yams rather than sweet potatoes because it's all I could find at the store. Same thing, right? I more than doubled the recipe and had uber amounts of the sweet potato mixture left over. Any idea on what I should do with it now? ha! I didn't serve them with the plain yogurt because I absolutely hate the taste of plain yogurt.