Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year and Top 10 Recipes of 2011

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2012 is AMAZING for you all.

What a great year 2011 was. Here are my top 10 most viewed recipes for the year.

Cheesy Potato Soup - One of my all time favorites!

Parmesan Garlic Bread Sticks - We all LOVE these bread sticks!

Cheesy Crunchy Goldfish Chowder - Very fun for the kids.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake - AMAZING!!

Oreo Lollipops - So yummy and fun for parties.

Butterfingers - Only 3 ingredients!

Princess Cupcakes (multicolored cupcakes) - Fun for parties!

Birthday Cake Fudge - A favorite of the little ones.

Key Lime Fudge - AMAZING!

The BEST Teriyaki Sauce Ever
- Really! So good!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

This isn't an exact match, but it's still super tasty! The hubs and I both really enjoyed it on our salads. For some reason, it had a bit of a kick. I can't seem to figure out what in the world gave it the bit of spice it had - none of the spices used are spicy. Maybe, just maybe, I accidentally put something extra in there (I wouldn't put it past me.....). Looks like I have a mystery on my hands. And some pretty tasty dressing!

1/2 C mayonnaise
1/3 C white vinegar
1 t Canola oil
2 T corn syrup
4 T Parmesan cheese
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t Italian Seasoning
1/2 t parsley, dried
1 T lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and mix until well combined.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Roasted Chicken

Have you ever tried to prepare a chicken for baking with little ones around? I think this was the first time I've had that privilege. It was pretty entertaining, to say the least. Here is a piece of the the conversation.

3 Year old "What's that?!?"
Me "It's a chicken"
5 Year old "It's dead!"
3 Year old (patting the chicken) "I'm sorry turkey, I'm sorry"

This Roasted Chicken comes out so moist and tasty, it practically melts in your mouth! I like to serve this Roasted Chicken to company because it is so yummy, but also simple. And, all the work is done in advance so I'm not scrambling the last little bit before dinner. I usually make 2 Roasted Chickens and use the meat of the second for Chicken Pot Pie or Chicken Noodle Soup. The leftovers are also super tasty in Baked Chicken Taquitos, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Hawaiian Haystacks.

Look at all those yummy spices!

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 onion, quartered
1 (4 pound) whole chicken

In a small bowl, mix together spices. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity and pat dry with paper towel. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture (I like to rub most of the spice mix just under the skin onto the meat). Place onion into the cavity. Place in resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours. Preheat oven to 250. Place chicken in roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours. Let sit 10 minutes before carving.

Recipe from Allrecipes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cookie Dough Fudge

Cookie Dough Fudge is the last of the Fudge recipes for this year. They were all so fun to make and try.

Cookie Dough Fudge was my 10 year old's idea. I didn't plan on making Cookie Dough Fudge, but she was VERY persuasive. She smiled and batted her sweet little eyes at me and that was the end of that. Man, I am a sucker!

Cookie Dough

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups flour*
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into marble sized balls and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets. Freeze for at least 1 hour.

*I used fat free sweetened condensed milk and ended up using almost 4 cups flour. I am not sure if I had to use more flour because of the fat free milk (which is runnier than regular), or if it just needs more flour.

I used about 1/2 the dough for the fudge and made the rest into 1 inch balls and dipped in milk chocolate to make truffles.


3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't scorch. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until completely melted, then stir in vanilla. When completely combined, pour in frozen cookie dough balls while stirring. If you pour them in and then stir, the cookie dough balls will stick together. Stir the cookie dough balls in quickly so they don't melt. Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan.

Cookie Dough recipe from my friend Lisa, Fudge recipe from Kraft.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Woo Hoo! I Was Featured Again!

Looks like 2 of my recipes made it into the top 5 most viewed recipes and were featured this week on Sweets for a Saturday.

Birthday Cake Fudge made the #3 spot.

And Key Lime Fudge made the #5 spot!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Penuche Fudge

Oh me, oh my! YUMMY!! This was another one of my favorites. Actually, I claimed it as my favorite right from the beginning, but it ended tying for first with Key Lime Fudge by the time I was all sampled out. Just don't tell the other flavors of fudge, I would hate for any of them to be jealous.

Penuche Fudge was a last minute addition to my list of fudge flavors to try. My sweet little 5 year old asked me to make caramel fudge. As I though of what tastes kinda caramelish, penuche frosting came to mind. Little did I know that there really was Penuche Fudge.

1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup toasted nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

Coat a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with foil or plastic wrap leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides.
Bring evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 236 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes.
Transfer to a mixer bowl, and beat in confectioners' sugar on low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium, and beat until mixture is thickened and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla and nuts.
Spread mixture in pan, smoothing top. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 25 minutes. Unmold fudge using foil/plastic overhang, and discard plastic. Cut into 18 pieces.

Recipe from Martha Stewart.

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #54, Sweet Tooth Friday and Sweets for a Saturday #49.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Root Beer Float Fudge

Yes, I really said Root Beer Float fudge! Another super fun flavor of fudge. We all really enjoyed Root Beer Float Fudge and so did the neighbors. I loved how creamy it was. And I don't think you can go wrong with root beer. Super YUM!

Hmmmm, I'm now wondering if they make Coke flavoring.....

3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
3 teaspoons root beer extract

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over low heat, stir sugar, butter, salt and cream until melted and well combined. Bring to a boil and stir continuously for 4 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat and quickly stir in white chocolate chips and marshmallow creme. Stir until well combined and smooth. Mixture may be thick so don't be afraid to stir hard for a couple of minutes!

Working quickly before the mixture hardens, pour half into the prepared baking dish and spread with a knife or spatula. Stir root beer extract into remaining fudge mixture until well combined. Pour over white fudge and swirl the two layers using a knife. Refrigerate at least four hours. Cut into small squares and enjoy cold or room temperature.

Recipe from The Traveling Spoon.

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #54, Sweet Tooth Friday, Show Off Your Stuff #3 and Sweets for a Saturday #49.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peppermint Fudge

Peppermint Fudge was the easiest to make. My 5 year old did most of it by herself! It turned out so cute and festive looking.

1 (12 ounce) package of white chocolate chips or high quality white chocolate bar
1 (16 ounce) container vanilla frosting (next time I will make my own Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and use 2 cups. I prefer the flavor of homemade frosting to the store bought tubs.)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 drops red food coloring
2 Tablespoons crushed peppermint candies (I used 1 candy cane)

Line an 8X8 inch pan with waxed paper or foil and grease. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Stir the frosting into the white chocolate chips. Stir in peppermint extract. Spread into prepared pan evenly. Drop 8 drops of food coloring evenly spaced on top of the fudge. Using a knife swirl the food coloring. Sprinkle top of fudge with crushed peppermint candies and press down slightly. Cool for about an hour in the fridge. Once firm, turn fudge onto a cutting board and cut into small squares.

Recipe from Girl Who Ate Everything.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday 48 and Sweet Indulgences Sunday #35.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rocky Road Fudge

Rocky Road Fudge is a pretty "normal" fudge, if you ask me. It's one of those chocolatey types of fudge. The kind I thought was fudge growing up. Super, super tasty! The entire family LOVED this one. Yep, all 7 of us agreed this one was amazing. Even the the picky, contrary 10 year old!

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups mini marshmallows, frozen*

Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't scorch. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until completely melted, then stir in vanilla and nuts. Once the nuts and vanilla are though incorporated, add frozen marshmallows and quickly stir just enough to mix through. Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan.

*You want them frozen, trust me! They melt so quickly in the hot fudge that if they aren't frozen (and if you don't work quickly even when they are frozen), your fudge with be more of a marble fudge instead of having the beautiful whole marshmallows.

Recipe adapted from Kraft.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday 48 and Sweet Indulgences Sunday #35.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Maple Nut Fudge

Maple Nut Fudge. Who knew, right? It turned out absolutely delicious! My sweet hubby claimed this one as his favorite. He said he like the ones with nuts best. He is kinda nutty..... But that's just how I like him.

4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup genuine maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Line a 9-inch square baking dish with foil. Butter and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, butter, maple syrup, milk, and miniature marshmallows; cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy or digital thermometer reaches 235 degrees F. or until it forms a soft ball when a little of the mixture is dropped in cold water. Remove from heat.

Let cool to 115 degrees F; add nuts and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat until mixture loses its gloss and starts to harden around edge of saucepan. Pour into prepared baking dish. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

Yields 36 squares or 1 1/4 pounds.

Recipe from What's Cooking America.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday 48 and Sweet Indulgences Sunday #35.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Birthday Cake Fudge

Birthday Cake Fudge was the favorite of my 3 and 5 year olds. They love anything cake flavored. I don't think the sprinkles hurt either. My 5 year old brought me sprinkles before I even started the fudge and told me I needed to put them on the fudge. What a brilliant little cutie!

Come to think of it, the sprinkles were VERY important. My 3 year old brought me a piece of the Birthday Cake Fudge with tears streaming down her pretty little face and informed me that there was only one sprinkle on her piece. I guess next time I need to make sure the corners get well sprinkled. Sprinkles. Are. Important!

Compared to the other flavors of fudge we tried, I thought the Birthday Cake Fudge had the mildest flavor. Especially when sampling them all together. The flavor was more evident when tried alone. Super tasty either way, though.

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) margarine
1 (5 ounce) can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk
12 oz chopped white chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1/4 cup yellow cake mix (just the powdered MIX, not batter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Blue coloring
Rainbow sprinkles

Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil, leaving the ends hanging over the edges of the pan. Spray foil thoroughly with nonstick spray.

Place the sugar, margarine, and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add white chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, and cake mix, stirring until chocolate chips are melted. Add vanilla and mix well.

Working quickly, pour about 2/3 of the fudge in prepared pan. Add a few drops of blue candy coloring to remaining fudge, mixing and adding until you achieve the desired shade. Spoon blue fudge over the top, spacing it out. Using a sharp knife, draw swirls through the blue and white to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle the top generously with rainbow sprinkles before the top sets up.

Let sit at room temperature until cool, then place in the refrigerator until firm.

Recipe from Mrs. Bettie Rocker & Confessions Of A Cookbook Queen.

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #53, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Sweets for a Saturday 48, Susie QT Pies Scraps of Life Christmas Linky and Sweet Indulgences Sunday #35.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Key Lime Fudge

Fudge, fudge, fudge! When I was a kid, Mom made fudge every Christmas. It was always brown chocolatey fudge, 'cause that's what fudge is, right? Wrong! I made 8 different kinds of fudge and only 2 were a brown chocolatey kind. That means 6 weren't! Who knew, right?

Look at all that yumminess!

I decided to put them in these little containers to share with some neighbors. How "sweet". :D

Kinda cute (and YUMMY!!!), hu?

My neighbor said the Key Lime Pie Fudge was his and his wife's favorite. He said they were actually fighting over it. Really, I didn't mean to cause any marital discord, I was just trying to share a little yumminess. Moral of this story? Make sure to share enough with neighbors or friends that they don't have to fight over it. That is, if you can bare to part from any.

This Key Lime Pie Fudge is one of my favorites, too! I've decided fudge is kinda like kids, you love them all and don't really have a favorite. That's why this is just one of my favorites.

Key Lime Pie Fudge is the perfect combo of sweet and sour. And the graham cracker crust? Oh my! And Key Lime Pie fudge is even easy to make!

1/3 C. unsalted butter
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/4 C. graham crackers crumbs
3 C. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 T. key lime zest, about 5-6 Key limes (I like to chop mine up pretty fine)
1/4 C. key lime juice

Line an 8x8 pan with foil or parchment paper, extending it up and over the pan. Butter the sides and bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium sized bowl, melt butter and then stir in sugar and graham cracker crumbs and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until edge is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Pour sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips into a large saucepan and heat on low, just until chocolate is melted and all the lumps are gone. Remove from heat and stir in lime zest and lime juice. I also added 1 drop of green food coloring (optional). It just made it seem more limey to me. Spread mixture evenly onto the prepared crust.

Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. Lift the fudge from pan using edges of foil or parchment. Peel off foil and cut the fudge into one-inch pieces. Fudge can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one week.

Recipe from Family Bites

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #53, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Susie QT Pies Scraps of Life, Sweets for a Saturday 48, Show Off Your Stuff #3 and Sweet Indulgences Sunday #35.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Amish Baked Oatmeal

I have a ward cook book that has some recipes in it that I haven't heard of before. This is one of them. We are oatmeal fans, so I was sure we would love this Amish Baked Oatmeal. Sweetened and baked and served with milk (and fruit if desired). It was easy, super tasty, and nice change from our standard oatmeal.

1 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Warm milk
Fresh fruit, optional
Brown sugar, optional

Combine all but the last 3 ingredients and mix well. Spread in greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve immediately. Spoon into bowls and add warm milk. Top with fruit or brown sugar as desired.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

White Rolls/Cinnamon Rolls

I know I have said it before, but, I love bread. I. Love. Bread! Yes I do. This is an AWESOME recipe! One of the reasons I love this recipe because it makes a fairly large batch. Enough for a pan of rolls and a pan of cinnamon rolls. Another reason is because of the tender, delicious rolls it makes. They are really similar to the rolls at a local restaurant back home. Delicious!

4 cups very warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup margarine, melted
1 tablespoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
8 to 12 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water and sprinkle with sugar. Combine with eggs, margarine and salt. Add 5 cups flour and mix well. Add remaining flour, 2 cups at a time until dough is soft and not too sticky. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Put into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and wet dish towel. Let rise 1 hour. Punch down and shape into rolls. Put rolls in greased baking dish, just touching. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter while still warm.

If you are making Cinnamon Rolls, instead of shaping into rolls, roll into a rectangle 1/2" thick. Spread with softened butter, leaving 1" along the long side with out butter. Sprinkle sugar (I like to use brown sugar) and cinnamon over the butter. Roll from the long side toward the 1" strip without butter. Pinch the seam. Cut in 1" slices and put rolls in greased baking dish, just touching. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Now that I am finally on the hummus train (if only the kids would hop on, too.....), I decided to give another recipe a try. This hummus is full of flavor and very tasty on fresh veggies. It would make an excellent appetizer for your Christmas party.

1(15.5 ounce can) garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini or sesame paste
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dashes hot sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons salt

Place all ingredients (with 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid) in a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Add more reserved liquid or lemon juice if needed. Hummus should be thick.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Potato Dogs

My kids love Potato Dogs! They are quick and easy and a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. I sometimes will intentionally make extra mashed potatoes, just for these Potato Dogs.

10 hotdogs
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup cheese, shredded

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add hotdogs. Cook 5 minutes, or until heated through. Cut hotdogs lengthwise, cutting almost all the way through, but not quite. I cut mine until they would stay open, but were still attached at the bottom. Place hotdogs on a baking sheet. Spoon or pipe mashed potatoes onto the hotdogs (if they are leftover potatoes, heat them first), then sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Zucchini Bread

I decided to plant a garden earlier this year. I decided to plant zucchini in said garden. The zucchini plants grew large and had plentiful big, yellow flowers. They even sprouted several cute little zucchinis. A few of the cute little zucchinis grew into big, beautiful zucchinis, but most of them shriveled up and died (my gardener friend said it was because they didn't get pollinated). I was really looking forward to feeling like zucchini was coming out my ears, but I was buying zucchini all summer long. Really!?! How do you do that? I was looking forward to my zucchini growing like a weed and producing more than I wanted. That's what zucchini plants do. But not my zucchini plant.

We love zucchini at my house. We like it fried with onions and butter, and we like it in bread. I had high hope of making zucchini bread regularly during the summer and the fall, but only managed to make one batch. And it wasn't even from my own zucchini. Maybe next year, but not this year.

This Zucchini Bread is fantastic! We usually finish off the batch the same day it's made. If it survives through the night, it is a near miracle.

3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredient and mix well. Fold in zucchini and nuts. Pour into 2 large bread pans that have been greased. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe from my old friend, Lynda.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

This Banana Cream Pie is amazing! A flaky crust, sliced bananas, and a tasty, homemade pudding. YUM!! I had an extra pie crust to use from Thanksgiving, so I made Banana Cream Pie for my 10 year old - it's her favorite pie. What a sweet mom I am!

1 pie crust (I like to use my Perfect Pie Crust)
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk
2 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
3 bananas

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium and cook and whisk 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Slightly beat egg yolks. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of hot filling into egg yolks. Pour egg yolk mixture into hot filling in pan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook stirring 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine and vanilla. Slice bananas and arrange over bottom of pie crust. Pour filling over and chill 3 to 6 hours before serving.
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