Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breakfast Pizza

Growing up we used to go water skiing on summer weekends and take a bunch of our friends with us. This is one of the many great breakfasts my mom would prepare for us to eat before we left. It's easy and great for a crowd!

1 1/2 packages crescent dinner rolls
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned, broken up and drained
1 pkg frozen hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 c shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Layer crescent dinner rolls in pan, pressing together at perforations. Sprinkle sausage, hash browns, and cheese over crescent rolls. In small bowl mix together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over pizza in pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: To spice this dish up- you could add 1/2 cup of salsa to the egg mixture or serve with salsa on the side.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mama's Fajitas

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kindergarten Texas Chili

When I first started teaching I was teaching kindergarten in Waco. Each spring we had a TEXAS unit where we taught the kids about all things TEXAS. It was a week full of bluebonnets, yellow roses and mockingbirds. Of course no TEXAS week would be complete without a chili cook off so of course we had one- between the kindergarten classes! It was a hoot- the teachers really got into it, typed up lists of ingredients, and the kids brought them in. I taught with some highly competitive, experienced teachers so of course I was motivated to beat them, and did with the recipe below!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 small can tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I love the petite diced)
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
2 t chili powder
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t red pepper
1 t pepper
1 can hot chili beans
shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat, onions, and garlic in large cooking pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours. Serve over Frito's and top with cheese.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you like thicker chili, omit the can of tomato sauce. If you are in a pinch, instead of all of the seasonings, use a chili mix packet.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Breakfast Pizza

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

I got this recipe years ago when I lived in Waco from a sweet friend who was a fabulous cook. It's an easy pumpkin recipe that is just perfect for this time of year!

1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
2 sticks butter
1 yellow cake mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, and vanilla together in large bowl. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle cake mix (dry) over the top of pumpkin mix. Drizzle melted butter over the top of the dry mix. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: You can add 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans to the top to add a nutty flavor!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Kindergarten Texas Chili

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Grandma's Pound Cake

This is my grandmother pound cake recipe and is my absolute favorite. I don't use shortening much- but it is VITAL to this yummy cake! It's one of the few cakes I think is perfect without icing. It's a simple cake that almost everyone has the ingredients to make just about any time.

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups flour
3 T COLD water
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a tube (aka angel food cake pan) pan well with cooking spray. Cream Crisco and sugar till light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour, COLD WATER, and vanilla till well combined. Your batter will fairly thick. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate to cool completely.

TIP OF THE DAY: The key in this cake is using COLD water. Do NOT omit this step!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chicken Parmesan

This is a great Italian meal that is a nice change from traditional lasagna and spaghetti. Because it takes awhile to bake I typically save it for a weekend meal or bake it the night before I want to serve it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg or egg substitute
2 T butter
2 cups spaghetti sauce (canned or homemade)
shredded mozzarella cheese
spaghetti, cooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound chicken to flatten. Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and Italian seasoning together. Dip chicken in egg; then in bread crumb mixture. Fry in butter in hot skillet, turning and browning for 10 min or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Pour spaghetti sauce in pan and lay chicken on top of sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

TIP OF THE DAY: When trying to pound chicken to flatten, place between two sheets of wax paper and use a meat mallet or rolling pin. It's a great way to get rid of any frustration you may have!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Grandma's Pound Cake

Friday, October 26, 2007

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

This is another great fall recipe that includes apples!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 T sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3 apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or a fork) until the mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil. Bake 15 minutes. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla till smooth. Pour over warm crust. In a small bowl, stir together apples, 2 T sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. In small bowl stir together all streusel ingredients and mix just till crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over apple layer. Bake 30 minutes. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chicken Parmesan

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hashbrown Casserole

If you like Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole then you are going to love this dish! It's a great alternative to baked potatoes and is ready in a flash.

2 lbs frozen hash browns, shredded or diced
1 (10 1/4 ounce) can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 11 x 14 baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix the above ingredients together in large bowl and place in prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on top- stirring about half way through cooking.

TIP OF THE DAY: To insure that your potatoes aren't too watery, thaw hash browns in microwave before making this dish. Dump them out on a paper towel and pat dry before putting them into bowl for this recipe. Also, to make this a complete meal, add a cup and a half of diced ham and you have a complete dinner!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness this week, we had pink day this week. I decided that in honor of the day, I needed to bake something pink to take as a treat to school. These strawberry and cream cupcakes were just the pink yummy treat I chose!

1 box white cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury)
1 1/4 cups strawberry-flavored soda pop (Big Red)
Vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar
1-2 T strawberry-flavored soda pop

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make and cool cake as directed on box for 24 cupcakes-except substitute soda pop for the water.

Cream butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl. Add 1 T of strawberry-flavored soda pop and then add sugar. Mix till well combined, adding additional strawberry soda pop if necessary. Add a tiny bit of red food coloring if frosting is not pink enough.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make this recipe even easier, use canned cream cheese frosting instead of making your own.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Hashbrown Casserole

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jeanie's Hamburger Casserole

Growing up we had some fabulous neighbors that lived across the street- Reagan and Jeanie. Jeanie made this casserole for us one time and it turned into a family favorite. I think of her every time I make this super simple but yummy recipe!

1 lb ground beef, turkey, or chicken
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package noodles
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 can corn (optional)
1 (10 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown onions and meat. Season meat mixture with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Boil the noodles in water for 6 minutes and drain. Drain corn. Mix all ingredients and turn into a two-quart greased casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apple Pie Bread

This is a sweet bread that smells as good as it tastes and is as simple as pie to make!

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t apple pie spice
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, use a fork to break up apples in the filling; set aside. With mixer in large bowl cream together butter and sugars. Stir in eggs, apples, and vanilla until well blended. Sift together flour, baking soda, apple pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into apple mixture, then stir in raisins and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

TIP OF THE DAY: Before using raisins in a recipe, soak them in a bowl of warm water to plump them up. By doing this the raisins won't have to try to soak up the liquid in the bread and your bread will be much moister.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Jeanie's Hamburger Casserole

Saturday, October 20, 2007

White Chicken Chili

Although I love to cook and make many things from scratch, I also use some ready made products to help me get good meals on the table fast. This white chicken chili starts with a mix made by McCormick that is spicy and absolutely wonderful! This is a meal that I can have on the table in less than 30 minutes and that my family adores!

1 T canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 package McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning Mix
1 cup water
1 can northern beans
1 can canelli beans

Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Add chicken- cook and stir for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in seasoning mix, water, and beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make this super simple meal even more simple- use pre-cooked diced chicken that can be found near the deli meat at the grocery store.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Apple Pie Bread

Baked Potato Soup

Madison LOVES soup- specifically baked potato soup. Because every potato soup recipe that I have ever seen makes very large amounts of soup, I have adjusted this one to make a much smaller amount.

2-3 large baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
4-6 cups milk
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 slices pepper bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Bake potatoes in oven or microwave. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Throw away potato skins. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Stir in potato, salt, pepper, bacon, green onions, and cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated but do not boil. Stir in sour cream and heat. Sprinkle top of soup with remaining bacon, onion, and cheese.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make the soup come together quickly, heat the milk in the microwave before adding it to the butter and flour mixture.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: White Chicken Chili

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crunch Top Apple Pie

Last year I tried making several versions of apple pies until I found one that I absolutely loved. I stumbled upon this one from Paula Deen (who I think is FABULOUS) and after trying it- declared it my favorite. I think the addition of applesauce is what makes it so great!

Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade or refrigerated)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
3 1/2 cups peeled and chopped cooking apples
1 (16-ounce) jar cinnamon applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you use the refrigerated pie shells (in the section with biscuits and cinnamon rolls) this is truly an easy pie to make. Double the recipe and make one for a friend!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rosemary Potatoes

I try to cook red potatoes fairly often as they are a healthier choice than white potatoes. This is a recipe I use often that goes great with a pork roast.

10 small red potatoes
cooking spray
1 T Parmesan cheese
1 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped (dried works fine too)
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and quarter potatoes. Lay quartered potatoes large cookie sheet and spray well with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes or until potatoes are done.

TIP OF THE DAY: When making recipes like this one, I usually line my cookie sheet with foil for quick clean up. Anything to save a bit of precious time!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Crunch Top Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lemon Lime Salmon

I absolutely ADORE salmon! It's so easy to prepare, so good for you, and so yummy! This is my favorite way to prepare it. When Kroger puts salmon steaks on sale, you can guarantee this is on our table!

olive oil
1 small lemon
1 small lime
4 salmon steaks
lemon pepper
garlic salt

Preheat oven to low broil. Spray broiling pan with cooking spray. Brush tops of salmon steaks with olive oil. Drizzle with lemon and lime juice. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Carefully flip steaks over and repeat process. Place in oven and broil on low for approximately 10 minutes- flipping after 5 minutes. The salmon should be flaky inside. Watch the salmon carefully so that it does not over cook. I usually leave the oven door cracked a bit and the light on so I can see it.

TIP OF THE DAY: Fish should NOT smell super fishy. I cook all fish within 24 hours of purchasing it just to be on the safe side.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Rosemary Potatoes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mini Meatloaves

Madison and Tony absolutely LOVE meatloaf so I make it fairly often. Although it's easy to make- it used to drive me crazy that it took so long to bake. So one day I decided to make it in a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan to cut down on the cooking time. It worked fabulously and in less than 30 minutes I had dinner on the table!

1 lb lean ground beef or chicken
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup herbed bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 can (15.25 oz ) Hunt's Family Favorites Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf
1 T brown sugar
1 t oregano
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. In large bowl mix ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, 1/2 can tomato sauce, brown sugar, oregano, salt and pepper with hands. Form into large balls and place one in each muffin tin cup. Press down till flat. Spread remaining tomato sauce on top of each mini meatloaf. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve on top of brown rice for a yummy, quick dinner!

TIP OF THE DAY: You can adapt your favorite meatloaf recipe to be made into mini meatloaves. Just cut the cooking time by 2/3 and check to make sure the center of each one is cooked all the way through.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Lemon-lime Salmon

Monday, October 15, 2007

Banana Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

By the number of banana recipes you can probably tell that I often buy bananas that go bad before they are all eaten. This is a great use of those bananas- a yummy banana treat for those you love! Edited to add: When Madison ate a piece of this cake tonight, she asked what the recipe was called. I told her it was Banana Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and she replied that it should be called: The Most AWESOME Banana Cream Cake EVER!

3/4 cup butter
2 1/8 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 t lemon juice
1 1/2cups mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix flour, soda, and salt. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture along with buttermilk- alternating between the two. Stir in banana mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake for between one hour and one hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes.

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add in vanilla and then powdered sugar. Mix on high speed until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

TIP OF THE DAY: Do NOT skip the freezer step! It sounds strange but is what makes this cake so yummy and moist! I was skeptical at first but promise, you will be amazed!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mini Meatloaves

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Surprise

Trying to decide what recipe to post today, I had an idea. For the past several months I've been posting recipes for the things I have been baking and cooking, things that I or my family love. But today I want to hear from YOU! If there is something you would like me to post a recipe for or even if there is something you wish I would post more often (probably vegetable dishes :) this is your chance to tell me. Please leave a comment with what you would like for me to post and I promise to try my best to fulfill your requests!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cinnamon Almond Bars

One of my favorite things about fall is the ability to find my favorite type of chip- Hershey's CINNAMON chips- in the grocery store. I buy lots of them because they are so yummy in oatmeal cookies. I decided to try something new the other night and came up with this bar recipe. Not only do they taste great- they smell fabulous while they are cooking!

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup white vanilla baking chips
1 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in pan; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.
Bake 5 minutes. Sprinkle chips and nuts evenly over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set before cutting into bars.

TIP OF THE DAY: To change up these bars, change the cinnamon chips to chocolate and the almonds to walnuts.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Sunday Surprise

Friday, October 12, 2007

Taco Soup

This is such an easy, healthy recipe and is definitely a staple around the Long household in the fall and winter. So easy and so good as leftovers.

1 lb. lean ground beef, chicken or turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1 large can ranch style beans
1 can kernel corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing mix
baked tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream (optional)

Brown onion and ground meat in large pot over medium heat. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix. Mix well. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring often. Serve over baked tortilla chips and top with cheese and sour cream.

TIP OF THE DAY: Make a double batch of this and freeze it for a busy weeknight!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Cinnamon Almond Crescent Bars

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownie Cake

This is a great cake- don't let the three parts deter you from trying it. The brownie like cake is wonderful when combined with the cream cheese layer and homemade chocolate frosting. It's a time consuming, but is actually a fairly simple and inexpensive cake to make. And of course- it's YUMMY!

3/4 cup water
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3 T baking cocoa
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Butter Cream Cheese Filling:
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T cocoa
3 T milk
1/2 t vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms and sides of cake pans with shortening and lightly flour. Heat water, butter, shortening, and cocoa in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in cocoa mixture with electric mixer on low speed; scraping bowl occasionally until smooth. Beat in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Fill layers with Butter Cream Cheese Filling. Frost sides and top of cake with Chocolate Filling. Store covered in refrigerator.

Butter Cream Cheese Filling:
Beat butter and cream cheese in medium bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla on low speed until smooth.

Chocolate Frosting:
Beat butter in medium bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in remaining ingredients on low speed until smooth.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you are in a big pinch for time, this could be made using canned frosting and even a boxed brownie mix.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Taco Soup

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Crock Pot Ribs and Beans

This is a great way to cook ribs without having to fire up your BBQ grill! Throw these few ingredients in your crock pot in the morning and you'll have dinner ready by the afternoon. What could be easier?

6-8 pork ribs
2 large cans BBQ baked beans
1 large bottle BBQ sauce
1 small white onion

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Cut onion into small chunks and throw in crock pot. Empty beans on top of onions. Lay ribs on top of beans. Cover with BBQ sauce and cook on high for 6 hours. Serve with Tony's Taters for a yummy dinner!

TIP OF THE DAY: You can use frozen meat in your crock pot- just add about 2 hours to the cooking time.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownie Cake

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tony's Taters

These potatoes are a nice change from baked potatoes and twice baked potatoes. My family, especially Tony- LOVES LOVES LOVES them!

5 -6 large baking potatoes
6 green onions, diced
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 T flour
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and dice potatoes and place in large pot covered with water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until potatoes are tender and fall apart when poked with a fork. Drain potatoes. In large bowl mix together sour cream, milk, flour, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, green onions, bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir in potatoes and mix well. Pour in 9 x 13 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: Instead of buying regular bacon, buy peppered bacon for extra flavor. To make a small amount of bacon for a recipe such as this, instead of cooking it on the stove in a frying pan- dice bacon before cooking and place on a heavy duty paper plate. Cover with a paper towel and cook in the microwave for 4 minutes or until done.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Crock Pot Ribs and Beans

Monday, October 8, 2007

Butter Pecan Cream Cheese Cookies

These are a quick, soft, yummy, and easy cookie to make with very few ingredients.

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 t maple flavoring (or vanilla)
1 box Butter Pecan cake mix

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add egg and maple flavoring and blend well. Add dry cake mix 1/3 at a time. Mix well. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly browned. I drizzled mine with a powdered sugar, milk, and maple flavoring icing.

TIP OF THE DAY: To change this recipe use a devil's food cake mix and vanilla flavoring for Devil's Food Cream Cheese Cookies.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Tony's Taters

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Candy Corn Kiss Cookies

When I found these cute little Hershey's Candy Corn Kisses, I knew I just had to make cookies and use them. So I altered the recipe on the back of the package and they turned out yummy and cute!

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 cup quick cooking oats, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Hershey's Candy Corn Kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat peanut butter and shortening with mixer until well blended. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat till fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together 1/2 cup oats, flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in remaining oats; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove wrappers from candies while cookies are baking. Place one kiss in the center of each cookie and press down. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Butter Pecan Cream Cheese Cookies

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Snicker Cookies

If you love Snickers candy bars, you are going to love, love, love these cookies! They are really fairly easy cookies but take a bit of time because you have to chill the dough. If you have a Snicker's lover in your family- you just have to make them!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 package Snickers mini candy bars

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt using a fork or whisk. In mixer cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add flour mixture in small amounts. Cover and chill dough 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To form cookie, scoop a tablespoon of chilled dough and flatten into a circle. Cut mini Snickers bars in half (you can use a whole mini, but they make really large cookies). Place a miniature Snickers half in the center and form the dough into a ball around the Snickers. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Decorate cookies with melted chocolate for an extra special touch.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 2-3 hours
Baking Time: 12-18 minutes

TIP OF THE DAY: Chill mini Snicker bars in fridge or freezer before unwrapping and placing in cookie dough. This will help them to spread less when cooking. Be sure to wrap dough VERY carefully and completely around the Snickers piece or it will leak out of your cookie.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Candy Corn Kiss Cookies

Friday, October 5, 2007

Oven Meatballs

I love meatballs but hate cooking them on the stove. After I cooked them in the oven one time-I vowed never to make them on the stove again. They are so easy and while they are cooking you can finish the rest of your dinner!

1 lb. lean ground beef or chicken
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup diced onion
2 eggs
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 t pepper

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with hands till well combined. Form meatballs and place on large cookie sheet (with sides) sprayed with cooking spray. If you don't have a cookie sheet with sides, use a 9 x 13 pan. Be sure the meatballs are the same size (I use my cookie dough scoop) and are not touching each other. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Take out of the oven and drop into a pot of your favorite spaghetti sauce. Heat and serve.

TIP OF THE DAY: Make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze half of them. Just place cooled meatballs on a cookie sheet, pop them in the freezer for a bit, then take them out and place them in a freezer bag to pull out for a speedy spaghetti or Swedish meatball dinner.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Snicker Cookies

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Maple Butter Blondies

My daughter Madison had the famous Applebee's Blondie the other night when we were out to dinner with my sweet mother in law. She doesn't like chocolate at all so it's exciting when she finds a dessert she really likes. I decided I would try to recreate it at home for her and this was my first attempt. The blondie is VERY rich- but of course once you add vanilla ice cream and maple sauce- it is a SUPER sweet treat! Madison loved them- the only change we will make next time is to omit the white chocolate chips in the blondies because she said they made it just a tiny bit TOO sweet!
1 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t maple flavoring
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup loosely chopped walnuts
1 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Maple Butter Sauce:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup butter
2 t maple flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In mixer blend butter and brown sugar. Add in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla and maple flavoring. Gradually add in flour mixture till well combined. Stir in chips and nuts. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Smooth blondie mixture in pan with a spatula. Batter will be thick and sticky. Bake for 2-25 minutes. The top of the blondies should be shiny and firm when you touch the center with your finger. Do NOT over bake or they will be dry.

Maple Butter Sauce:
Combine sugar, whipping cream, and butter in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add flavoring.

Place one blondie on plate and top with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with a few walnut pieces.

TIP OF THE DAY: When trying to spread sticky and thick batter either wet hands or spray hands with cooking spray before pressing batter into pan. Once you have pressed batter in pan, then smooth over it using a spatula to get rid of any finger prints.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Oven Meatballs

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mama's Marvelous Chicken Salad

I shared last week that I am a cornbread snob. Well, I must share another confession- I am also a chicken salad SNOB. The only chicken salad I like is my mother's recipe. It's a very simple recipe- which is what I think is the beauty of the recipe. I know some people use canned chicken or boneless chicken in their chicken salad, but to me- REAL chicken salad requires the time and effort of boiling and then de-boning your own chicken. It's so worth every minute of the work!

1 package skinless chicken breast with bones (usually 3-4 breasts)
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 small lemon
1 small lime
1 cup light Miracle Whip (I never measure this so I'm guessing here)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Place chicken breasts in large pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and boil until chicken is completely cooked. Drain and cool. De-bone chicken and dice into small bite sized pieces. Place almonds in a layer on cookie sheet and turn oven on to broil. Place cookie sheet in oven to toast the almonds. Be sure to watch them very carefully. Immediately take almonds out of oven as soon as they begin to turn brown. DO NOT wait or you will burn your almonds (trust me says the girl who has done it before :). Set almonds aside to cool. In large mixing bowl place diced chicken. Sprinkle with the juice of lemon and lime. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Miracle Whip- adding more than the cup called for if necessary. Carefully stir in toasted almonds. Cover and refrigerate. (You can skip that step but I think it's best after it's been chilled a bit). This chicken salad is best served on fresh croissants or fresh white bread. It's one of the only times I ever eat white bread but it just isn't the same on wheat.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you are going to the time and trouble of cooking and de-boning chicken- do double what you need and either use it for either some homemade chicken soup or freeze it for another day.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Maple Butter Blondies

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Peanut Butter Banana Bars

This is another easy recipe to use when you have bananas that are going bad and you aren't in the mood for banana bread or banana cake. Just a few quick ingredients and you have a moist snack bar! Please note- these are NOT super sweet- but still yummy.

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 cup bananas, mashed
4 cups uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, salt, vanilla, bananas and peanut butter. Stir in the rolled oats. Mix well. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into bars.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mama's Marvelous Chicken Salad

Monday, October 1, 2007

BIG Boy Breakfast Sandwiches

Tony takes both his lunch and his breakfast to work each day. He leaves for work early in the morning and usually isn't ready to eat before he leaves home. He is very much a creature of habit and for several years in a row wanted breakfast tacos every day. So, each Sunday I would make a large batch of breakfast tacos and package them in foil packets of two each. I couldn't believe he didn't get tired of them. Occasionally I would ask "Don't you want something different?" and he would say he still enjoyed the tacos. Well, finally a few weeks ago he decided it was time for a change. After making breakfast tacos every week for over three years, I was so excited! He still wanted some sort of egg, sausage, and bread combination so I created these breakfast sandwiches for him. The egg/sausage portion is BIG enough that just one sandwich satisfies even the hungriest man!

1 package Grands biscuits (I use the low fat kind)
1 carton Egg Beaters (you can use regular eggs but I use "fake" eggs to help with his cholesterol)
1/2 lb bulk breakfast sausage (I use Tony's venison breakfast sausage)
1/2 diced onion (I use the frozen diced ones)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook biscuits on cookie sheet according to package directions. While biscuits are baking, cook sausage and onion in large pan over medium heat till no longer pink and crumbly. Drain sausage. Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Sprinkle enough sausage on the bottom of each muffin tin cup to completely cover the bottom. Sprinkle cheese over sausage. Pour Egg Beaters over the top of sausage almost completely to the top of the cup. You will have a bit of Egg Beaters left- which I always save to use in place of real egg in a recipe. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully (it will be really full) place muffin tin in the oven. To keep from making a mess in the oven, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from oven and cool for 3-5 minutes. Slice each biscuit in half and place one sausage and egg cup in between the two pieces. Wrap in foil or serve immediately.

TIP OF THE DAY: When I make this I cook a whole pound of sausage at once and simply store the other 1/2 pound in the refrigerator or freezer for the following week.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Peanut Butter Banana Bars