Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cake Mix Rice Krispy Bars with Salted Caramel and Homemade Marshmallow Frosting

Cake Mix Rice Krispy Bars with Salted Caramel and Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

a.k.a. the dessert with the longest name ever

But that's what makes it great: if you say its name a few times, you burn enough calories to make up for the calories you just consumed :)

I am entering these Cake Mix Rice Krispy Bars with Salted Caramel and Homemade Marshmallow Fluff in the Creative Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups.

I was inspired by Shelly's Caramel Stuffed Krispie Treats. I thought, why not take the textures and flavors of rice krispie treats and caramel and put them into a bar. Made with a cake mix. So easy and delicious!

The bar starts out with a cake mix and has rice krispies for a nice crunch. Add a to-die-for salted caramel layer, and top it off with a homemade marshmallow fluff, and you've got one amazing dessert!

Cake Mix Bar
1 box white cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups rice krispy cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, and butter until well combined. Stir in the rice krispy cereal. Press the dough into a greased 9 x 13" pan. Bake for 20 minutes. The edges should be golden brown. Let cool completely before spreading on the caramel and marshmallow fluff.

Salted Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all ingredients except for the vanilla in a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat. Stir frequently and cook until it bubbles. Stir in the vanilla and remove from heat. Allow the caramel to cool for a few minutes before pouring it into a bowl and refrigerating it.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup water
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then let the mixture boil without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees. While the mixture is boiling, beat the egg whites in a stand mixer until they reach soft peaks. Once the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, pour it in a small, steady stream into the bowl with the egg whites with the beater going. Add in the vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Adapted from cooks.com

Once the bars are completely cool, spread the cooled caramel over it. Spread the marshmallow fluff over the caramel. Cut into squares and enjoy! Store in the fridge.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Raspberry Italian Soda Cupcakes

I am entering these Raspberry Italian Soda Cupcakes in the Creative Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups.
Raspberry Italian sodas and me go way back. So in homage of my beverage bestie, I made these cupcakes!
The cupcake batter swirls together like the raspberry syrup and cream in an Italian soda. The raspberry frosting is sweetly delicious. And the white chocolate ganache mimics the way the cream is poured on top of the Italian soda.
Make these today and you'll have a new best friend :)
Raspberry Italian Soda Cupcakes
16.5 oz box of white cake mix
1 1/2 cups (or 12 oz can) of club soda
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup raspberry syrup (I used Torani brand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cake mix and club soda. Divide the batter into two bowls. In one bowl, stir in the cream. And in the other bowl, stir in the raspberry syrup. Pour one bowl of batter into the other bowl, and stir just a few times. You want to swirl the colors, but not mix them together. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before decorating.
Raspberry Frosting:
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons of raspberry syrup
4 cups powdered sugar
Red food coloring (optional)
Cream together the butter, raspberry syrup, and food coloring (if using). Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time. Once all of the powdered sugar is added, beat on high for about two minutes.
White Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons whipping cream
Put the white chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second intervals and stir after each 15 seconds until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature before using.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Drizzle the ganache over the cupcakes and top with a cherry. Enjoy!
Adapted from  Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper Cupcakes by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cinnamon Spice Zucchini Cookies

It's summertime, and that means one thing!


For those of you who plant gardens, there are probably zucchini growing out of your ears.

I have a solution: cookies!

These cookies take five minutes to throw together and they are so delicious! The edges have a nice crisp to them, and the middle is soft and moist. I used yellow zucchini in these, so feel free to use whatever zucchini you have on hand. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Spice Zucchini Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the zucchini until well combined. Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg until well combined. Stir in the oats and cinnamon chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and enjoy! Makes 2 dozen.

Adapted from verybestbaking.com

Monday, June 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies {Gluten Free!}

I am a big breakfast fan. It was never more apparent than this past weekend when our family went on a weekend getaway. I stayed in the hotel room with our sleeping Tommy, while my husband got us breakfast at the hotel's continental breakfast. My husband ate his usual bowl of cold cereal, and then brought me up a tray with a waffle, Danish, bacon, yogurt, juice, and a muffin. And I ate it all. My husband sure knows the quickest way to my heart! ;)

These cookies taste like normal cookies, but with a lot less fat and sugar! And the oatmeal flour adds a nice texture and taste.

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups oatmeal flour (just blend regular oatmeal in the blender)
1/2 cup of your desired mix ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit

Cream together the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Mix in the vanilla and egg. Stir in the flour and baking soda. When combined, stir in the mix ins. Roll into small balls and bake on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet before removing.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pasta Salad Four Ways

Now that it is finally warming up, it's time to break out the pasta salads! I love making pasta salads for dinner because it's quick, easy, requires little time at the stove, and can easily be adapted to what I have on hand.

My pasta salad always involves pasta (obviously), salad dressing, vegetables or fruit, and cheese. I add meat when I feel like it.  I never use exact measurements because I go off of what I have, and how much I like of a certain ingredient (olives!). I like to use noodles that are on the smaller side with some shape or texture to hold the dressing. Penne and spiral pasta work well. I like to boil the pasta, drain it and rinse it in cold water. I then mix in some salad dressing so the noodles are evenly coated and won't stick together. I pop that in the fridge while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. It's nice because aside from the chicken (check out my recipe for "Leftover rotisserie" chicken) and pasta, you don't have to cook anything else. Stir it all together, and you've got dinner in minutes!

With all of the salad dressings and pasta out there, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few to get you started:

Greek Inspired Pasta Salad
Greek Vinaigrette Dressing
Chicken, cooked and diced
Olives, diced
Tomatoes, diced
Cucumbers, diced
Feta cheese, crumbled

Tex Mex Pasta Salad
Italian dressing
Chicken, cooked and diced
Black beans, rinsed and drained
Red pepper, chopped
Avocado, diced
Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

Asian Inspired Pasta Salad
Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
Chicken, cooked and diced
Red pepper, chopped
Broccoli, chopped
Green onion, chopped

Pizza Pasta Salad
Zesty Italian dressing
Tomatoes, chopped
Pepperoni, chopped
Green pepper, chopped
Olives, chopped
Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, grated

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spinach and Black Grape Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have to say, this is my new favorite salad (and by salad, I  mean the green, healthy stuff....not the mixture of candy bars and fruit...otherwise, that would still be my favorite salad). I love the juicy sweetness of the grapes that cut the acidity of the delicious vinaigrette. The parmesan cheese adds a nice salty element and the walnuts give the salad a nice crunch. All of the flavors complement each other so well. 

Spinach and Black Grape Salad
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup black grapes, sliced into thirds (be sure to use black grapes--they have the best crunch)
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped and toasted

Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all of the salad dressing ingredients except for the olive oil until well combined. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Drizzle desired amount over salad and enjoy!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Skinny Zucchini and Red Pepper Pasta


I came up with this pasta on the fly, but it's now one of my family's favorites! It's fresh, flavorful, and filling.


Skinny Zucchini and Red Pepper Pasta
8 ounces lean ground turkey
8 ounces noodles (I used bowtie)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 large red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 large tomato
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup canned grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil the water for the noodles. Before adding the noodles to the water, place the tomato in the water for 30 seconds. Carefully remove the tomato and slice a small "x" shape in the top. Peel the skin off the tomato using the "x" as a starting point. Once the skin is removed, cut open the tomato, remove the seeds, and finely dice. Cook the pasta according to the package's directions.
Over medium heat, cook the turkey, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, onion, and one tablespoon of olive oil until the turkey is browned. Add in the tomato, zucchini, and red pepper, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini and red pepper are tender, but not mushy. Mix in the grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and noodles. Stir in 3 more tablespoons of olive oil so the pasta isn't dry. Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Tofu with Savory Asian Noodles


I've always wanted to try tofu because it's so healthy. I finally purchased some at the store, and then scoured the internet for good tofu recipes. I'll admit, the only one that really appealed to me was a recipe for fried tofu.

Fried tofu.

Isn't that some sort of oxymoron?

So I came up with my own recipe. I have to admit, I love the caramelization of the marinade on the tofu. And I also came up with some Asian-inspired savory noodles. I wanted the tofu to be the shining star in the dish, so I made the flavors of the noodles pretty delicate.

Sweet and Savory Tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12.3 ounce package of extra firm tofu

Combine all of the ingredients except for the tofu in a large bowl. Slice the tofu into 1-inch thick slices. Put the tofu into the marinade and make sure the tofu is coated in the marinade. Let the tofu marinate in the fridge for at least two hours to absorb the flavors. After marinating, place the tofu onto a roasting pan or cooling rack (that's oven-safe) and broil in the oven until the marinade caramelizes on one side, and then flip and caramelize the other side. Use the leftover marinade as a dipping sauce.

Savory Asian Noodles
6 ounces linguine or fetticine noodles
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 squirt sriracha sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onion, sliced

Boil the noodles according to the package's directions. While the noodles boil, mix the remaining ingredients, except for the green onion, in a small bowl. When the noodles are finished cooking, drain the water and return the noodles back to the pan. Pour the sauce ingredients into the pan and stir to combine. Serve with the sliced green onions on top.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Easter Wreath

I wanted to make an Easter wreath that didn't feature plastic eggs or Peeps (I love peeps a little too much to use them as a decoration...I have no self control when it comes to those cute sugary treats). I decided to try to make an Easter wreath with some purple ribbon instead.

I used an 8 inch foam wreath.
Then I wrapped ribbon around the entire wreath, using pins to secure the ribbon.

Then I cut about 10 inch pieces of ribbon. I folded the corners over on one end, and put a pin through it. Then I would randomly twist and arrange the ribbon to resemble petals and thread it onto the pin as I went along.

 Since the ribbon flowers were already on a pin, I simply pushed the pin into the foam wreath to secure it onto the wreath. I liked the look of having the flowers on just a section of the wreath, but I decided to cover the whole wreath in flowers.
 Here's the final product. I loved the way it turned out. Now I just need to figure out where to hang it...

St. Patrick's Day Frame

I have a frame that hangs in my kitchen that I use to switch out subway art for the different seasons. For St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to do something a little different. I had some cute shamrock cut outs, which became the inspiration for this frame.

This frame came together in a matter of minutes, and you can totally change it to match your style.

All you need is:
Frame with glass plate
Scrapbooking paper
St. Patrick's day (or any holiday) cut outs or decorations

Simply open up the back of the frame and lay down the decorations on the glass plate. I had to tape the rickrack to the edges of the frame so they would stay in place. I also put pieces of tape on the backside of the shamrocks, so when I layed the paper down on them, they would stay in place and not slide down. Then close up the frame, hang it up, and enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Easter Bunny Cake

My husband and I joke that my family's traditions are centered around food, while his family's traditions are centered around games. My family likes to eat and talk around the table, while his family likes to play and talk around the table.
Since Easter (and hopefully Spring) is right around the corner, I wanted to share my family's traditional Easter dessert.....an Easter Bunny cake!

It's so simple to put together, but looks so cute! Let the kids help decorate it to make it a family activity.
Start by making a cake (I just always use a cake mix), any flavor. Bake the cake in two 8" pans, according to the directions on the cake mix box. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling the bunny.
One cake round will be the bunny's head. The other cake round will be the bunny's ears and bowtie. Cut the cake along the dotted lines as demonstrated:

Arrange the cake pieces on a cookie sheet. Frost the cake with desired frosting. I always use white frosting to get a white bunny. Immediately after frosting the cake, sprinkle coconut over the cake to give the bunny a fluffy effect.  I like to color some of the coconut pink for the insides of the bunny's ears. Give the bunny a face and whiskers with the candy of your choosing. Decorate the bowtie with candy. Admire your cute Easter bunny, and then dig in! ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

"Leftover Rotisserie" Chicken

I don't know about you, but I feel like I find so many "quick and healthy" dinner recipes that call for "leftover rotisserie chicken." I want to laugh every time I read "leftover rotisserie chicken." It seems like some recipes assume we eat rotisserie chicken every other day so we will always have leftovers. And since I do not eat rotisserie chicken every other day, I would have to cook the chicken for the recipe that night, making that recipe a lot less "quick."


Until I realized that I was spending waaaaay too much time every night handling yucky raw chicken. Now I cook the chicken all at once, and then freeze it. So now I have "leftover rotisserie" chicken whenever I need it!

Not only is this recipe so simple and easy, but it saves so much time during the week. And the chicken is super tender!

"Leftover Rotisserie" Chicken
Any size package of fresh (not frozen) chicken breasts
Chicken broth (use a good quality kind)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Trim the excess fat from the chicken and place in a glass pan. Do not overcrowd the chicken. Pour enough chicken broth over the chicken so that it is 1/2 inch high in the pan.


Cover the pan tightly with foil. Cook for one hour. When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the oven, but don't remove the foil for 15 minutes. After 15 minues, remove the foil and let the chicken cool to room temperature. Place the chicken in freezer safe resealable bags and store in the freezer.

When you're ready to use the chicken, just place it on a plate and microwave for a minute or two, until it is thawed enough to be cut through.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder with a Kick

My little guy loves keys. Loves them. The first thing he does when Daddy comes home is to reach in his pockets and pull out his keys. He knows which keys go to Daddy's car, and which keys go to Mommy's car (he likes Daddy's car keys the most). And, of course, he knows where the panic button is on each set of keys.
Tonight as I was tucking him into his crib, he rolled over and I heard a clink. Puzzled, I felt around his blanket and pulled out....the keys to my car. I have no idea when he grabbed them, but he kept them hidden from me while I fed him his bottle and rocked him. Apparently he was hoping to snuggle with them tonight....or take the car for a midnight spin ;)

So for those of you who need some spice in their food like my son needs keys, then this soup is for you. It's a comfort food with a spicy kick!


Cream Chicken Corn Chowder with a Kick
1 onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 cups diced potatoes
1 can creamed corn
1 can corn, drained
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 small can green chiles
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Several hearty dashes of hot sauce

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the flour, cook for one minute, stirring continuously. Add in the broth, milk, potatoes, creamed corn, corn, bacon, chiles and garlic powder. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Don't let the soup come to a full boil. Once the potatoes are tender, stir in the chicken. Season with the salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Don't be shy with the hot sauce!  Stir to incorporate the seasonings, and enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Skinny Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Growing up, my mom made a mean meatloaf. I loved it so much, that I requested it for my birthday dinner when I turned 9. All of my other friends had pizza parties and junkfood. I had meatloaf.

The other night I had a hankering for meatloaf. I wanted to keep it healthy, but full of flavor. And so these Skinny Mini Turkey Meatloaves were born.


Skinny Mini Turkey Meatloaves
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon beef base (you can use beef bouillon, but beef base is better)
1/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 slices smoked turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (I like to cook mine in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. )I used silicone muffin liners).
In a small bowl, mix together the oats and milk. Let the oats soak while the rest of the ingredients are prepared. In a large bowl, mix together the onion, garlic, beef base, barbecue sauce, egg, black pepper, and bacon until well combined. Stir in the oat and milk mixture until combined. Stir in the ground turkey until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the meat mixture into the muffin pan. You should be able to fill all 12 cups. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and brown sugar. Spoon a small amount on each mini loaf, and spread over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the mini meatloaves are cooked through.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Best Ever Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


My husband and I used to be on opposite sides of the Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate.

Chewy vs. Crispy

I am on the chewy side. I love a nice crisp on the outer edges, but the inside needs to be chewy! My husband, however, was brought up on thick, crispy cookies made with shortening. I like that buttery, melt-in-your-mouth center, while my husband likes a crispy cookie to dip in milk.

After several years, lots of testing, and lots of tasting, I have finally created a recipe that has won my husband over to the dark side.....I mean, the chewy side.

Best Ever Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 tablespoons  butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more if you prefer)

First, you need to brown the butter. There are some great tutorials with pictures online, but essentially you melt the butter over medium high heat until it bubbles, foams, and the milk solids brown. It should have a nice nutty aroma to it. Allow the brown butter to cool for a few minutes. Then mix it with the brown sugar in a large bowl. Next stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough until firm; about an hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Scoop the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes (or if you have a husband that likes to dip his cookies in milk, bake for 14 minutes). The edges will look done, but the middle should look soft and puffy. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, and then enjoy!

Adapted from Our Best Bites


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Buddies


Muddy Buddies + the flavors of chocolate chip cookie dough = Addictive!

When my husband eats more of these than I do, you know it must be good.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Buddies

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablepsoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate
1 teaspoon oil
3 cups Chex cereal (I used Rice Chex)

Measure out the Chex cereal in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, and salt. Mix well, making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar. Microwave the white chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir in the oil. Pour the chocolate over the Chex cereal and stir carefully until the cereal is well coated. Stir* in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips until well distributed. Pour in the flour/sugar mixture and remaining chocolate chips until all the cereal is coated. Enjoy!

*Adding the chocolate chips at this stage ensures that the chips don't just sink to the bottom of the bowl if they were added with the flour/sugar mixture.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hash Brown Crusted Quiche

This dish features all the favorite breakfast foods--sausage, eggs, and hashbrowns--in a beautiful, cheesy quiche! It's so easy to put together because hashbrowns form the crust!

Hash Brown Crusted Quiche
3 1/2 cups shredded frozen hash browns, thawed
3 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk or 2% milk
8 ounces turkey sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the hash browns with the melted butter and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate to form a crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.
Meanwhile, cook the sausage and onion in a small pan over medium heat until the sausage is browned and the onions are tender.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and add the sausage mixture and remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is done, pour the egg mixture over it and put it back in the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown and puffy.

Adapted from Food Network

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Almond Joy Brownie Batter Cookies


It seems as if our family has been playing "musical colds." Have you played this game? One family member gets sick, passes it on to another family member, gets better, and picks up a different cold. We all just rotate between colds to the music of sneezing and coughing. And there are cough drops and Alka Seltzer as prizes. 

It's not a fun game. 

However, after weeks of playing this "game," I think we are finally (knock on wood) done!

In order to celebrate, I made cookies! Better yet, they are super easy cookies that start with a brownie mix! All the flavors of an Almond Joy in a chewy cookie!

See that delicious coconut filling? Yum.....

Almond Joy Brownie Batter Cookies
1 box brownie mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup chopped almonds (or more if you prefer)
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips (or more if you prefer)
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the brownie mix, eggs, and oil until well combined. Stir in almonds and chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut and sweetened condensed milk.

Now, you can put these cookies together two different ways. You can scoop a large mound of cookie dough, flatten it in your hand, then scoop a smaller mound of the coconut mixture onto the cookie dough and wrap it up in the cookie dough. Or, you can scoop a mound of cookie dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, flatten it, then scoop some of the coconut mixture onto the dough, and place a smaller, flattened piece of cookie dough on top to cover it. Either way, these cookies will be on the larger side.

Cook on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 12 - 14 minutes, or until set. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, and then enjoy! These are especially good when they are warm.

Adapted from bakerunlive.com

Friday, January 25, 2013

Italian Cheese Loaf

Whenever I try a new recipe for dinner, I always watch my husband's face as he takes his first bite. If he eats it without changing facial expressions, then I know that the recipe is just okay, nothing noteworthy. If he gets this look of deep concentration, then it's either really good, or really bad. When he bit into this Italian Cheese Loaf, he got that look of deep concentration....and then devoured it....I took that as a sign that we have a winner here.

It's a warm, crusty loaf with a hearty filling of Italian spices, refreshing tomatoes, and melted cheeses.  

Italian Cheese Loaf

1 loaf (1 pound) French or Italian bread
8 oz. ground turkey or Italian sausage or ground beef, browned and drained (if necessary)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped (I used the white part and most of the green part)
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (I actually used the stuff in the can, and it worked great)
1/3 cup chopped olives
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 

Cut off the top half of the loaf of bread. Set aside the top half. Hollow out the bottom half of the loaf, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. 
Mix the remaining ingredients together and spoon into the hollowed out bottom half of the loaf. Top with the top half of the loaf and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. (When I baked this, it was only warm inside after 25 minutes. So I removed the top half and broiled the bottom half for a minute or two to get the cheese all melted)

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home Appetizers