Monday, February 28, 2011

Bean Casserole

I grew up on a farm and my kids love to go back to the farm to visit Granny and Papa. My mom and I cook quite differently, and the kids will often ask for "farm food" (the kind of food that Granny cooks). This is one of the things that my mom made while I was growing up. When my kids ask for farm food, this is one of the things that I make. It is so simple and all of the kids eat it so well.

Just a little word of warning. Do NOT eat this with pink lemonade and laugh while trying to swallow a mouth full of both. The result - funky, unappetizing stuff spewing from your (my) nose. Yes, I know that one from personal experience....

1 pound ground beef
2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
2 (15 oz) chili with beans
2 cups shredded cheese

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Add chili with pork and beans to the ground beef. Heat through, sprinkle with cheese and cover to melt cheese. Mom would pour the casserole into a baking dish and top with cheese and bake to melt. Either way works well, but I prefer doing it in the skillet - fewer dishes to wash. I also will sometimes leave off the cheese and let the kids sprinkle it on while they have the casserole on their plates. My 2 year old will end up with cheese with a small side of casserole when we do it that way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Open Face Enchiladas

My sweet husband grew up with Open Face Enchiladas, and loved them. His mom served them for dinner one night when we were at her house and I fell in love with them too. They are quick, easy and yummy. The kiddos love that they can put their own toppings on them.

Linked on Recipe Swap Thursday #26, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Anything Related #38.

1 pound ground beef
1 packet enchilada sauce, mixed (you could use sauce from a can, I just prefer the packet)
12 small corn tortillas

shredded lettuce
shredded cheese (I like cheddar or colby jack)
sour cream
sliced olives
sliced green onions

Brown ground beef, then add enchilada sauce and heat through. Dip each tortilla in the sauce and let sit for about 10 seconds to soften (don't leave in too long or they will fall apart). Remove with a spatula. Top with desired toppings

Friday, February 25, 2011

Princess Cupcakes

My sweet little 5 year old wanted to have a princess birthday party. I thought about just buying a princess cake for her, but then I came across the idea for these cute little cupcakes on Cheese and Chocolate. I saw the picture and had visions of pink and purple cupcakes dancing in my head. They turned out SO cute (if you ask me) and were a lot of fun for my house full of princesses to bite into. I used Vanilla Buttercream Frosting on them and they turned out quite tasty.

I have always just spooned my batter into my cupcake pans until about 3 or 4 months ago. Then I had an Ah Ha moment and tried putting my batter into a plastic bag and snipping off the end. Pure genius! I am sure that someone, maybe even lots of someones came up with the idea first, but they all failed to inform me of their brilliance, therefore, I get to claim the idea as my own. If anyone of them happened to be my friend, they are no longer. UnBFFed (that kinda looks bad.....) Disowned. This way cool little trick could have saved me many messes. I have heard of using a cookie/ice cream scoop, but this is WAY better (if you ask me). Just one little WARNING!!! Start with a smaller hole than you think you want. It is easy to make the hole bigger, but you can't make it smaller, so start small.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday 6 and This Weeks Cravings #18.

1 box white or yellow cake mix + ingredients to mix
2 - 3 colors of food coloring

Grease or line 24 cupcake tins. Preheat oven according to package directions. Mix cake mix according to package directions. Divide into 3 bowls. Color 2, or all three (I colored 2 and left one plain). Pour each color into a baggie and tie the bag into a knot. Snip off the end of the first (outside) color. Divide between the cupcake tins. Take the second color and snip off the end. Place in the center of each cup cake tin and squeeze out an equal amount (I probably used about 2 tablespoons of each color on each cupcake). Repeat with the third color. Bake according to the package directions

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Parmesan Garlic Bread Sticks

These bread sticks are amazing! I am a bread lover and have tried several different bread stick recipes, and this one is my favorite. They are a favorite of my kids as well. They are easy and make quite a lot of bread sticks. Even with all of my kids, I usually end up taking half of the bread sticks to my neighbor (I had better be her favorite!)

I love these bread stick with pasta. We ate them with Fettuccine Alfredo.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Mix warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. When it’s bubbly, add flour and salt. Mix and knead. Cover and let rise until double. Melt butter and pour half on the bottom of a cookie sheet. Place dough on the cookie sheet and roll out to the size of the pan. Cut into sticks with a pizza cutter. If you want fancier bread sticks, place dough on a floured surface and roll out ¼ inch thick. Cut into strips. Twist 2 strips together for each bread stick and place twists on the buttered cookie sheet. Pour remaining butter on top of the bread sticks and sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Let rise again until double. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes, or until browned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moist Chocolate Cake

When I was planning my little girls birthday cake, I knew I needed a good heavy cake in order to hold up with the weight of the fondant. I adapted this delicious cake recipe from Snips and Spice and it was perfect! It was nice and moist and heavy enough to handle the weight of the fondant.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday 6.

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 small package chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
5 eggs

Combine pudding mix and cake mix in a large bowl. Add eggs, sour cream, water and oil. Mix until well combined. Pour into greased pan bake at 350 until cooked through. I divided my batter between 2-8 inch round pans and baked for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marshmallow Fondant

My sweet little 4 year old (now 5 year old!) just had her birthday. I usually just buy a cake, but this year I decided to make one. The reason? It boils down to pride. I guess I have a bit of a pride issue. You see, for this past Christmas I made my parents a calendar with pictures of my sweet little kiddos. They were admiring the picture for this month which happens to be of my little 5 year old last year on her birthday. My papa told my mom what a beautiful cake I had made and that I must have really spent a lot of time on it. My mom informed him that I do not make cakes for my kids birthdays, but that I purchase them. Well, that did it. I decided that I had to make her cake this year just to prove that I can make a pretty nice looking cake too.

While I was scouring the internet, looking for a cake to make, I came across several that had fondant. I have never made or tasted fondant before, but decided to give it a try. After all, it did make some pretty cakes.

I made up a batch of fondant for her cake, but still had no clue what I was going to do with it (other than sample it - YUM!). I finally decided that I was on my own and had to use a little creativity - not my strongest suit. After 2 days of thinking, I came up with an idea and this is what I did. I am pretty darn proud of myself! I managed to make a cake that looked pretty good, tasted really good, and didn't even have to start over! Hoary for me!

I adapted this recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #12, All Things Related #37 and Sweets for a Saturday 6.

1/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavored)
1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup water
2 pounds powdered sugar, divided

Place the shortening in a shallow bowl, and set aside. Place the marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute to start melting the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff. Rub your hands thoroughly with shortening, and begin kneading the sticky dough. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Turn the dough out onto a working surface dusted with powdered sugar and continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes. Form the fondant into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with powdered sugar. Roll out 1 inch larger than you need to give a little wiggle room. Lightly frost your cake (or what ever you are using your fondant on) to insure the fondant sticks. Attach decorations with a little frosting as well. I used Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

I love pasta. My hubby loves pasta. My kids even love pasta. We love pasta! This is one of our favorite pasta dishes. It is quick, easy and super, super yummy! Did I mention that it's a little fattening? Not to worry though, just a little. Okay, okay, maybe a lot. Because it is a bit fattening, I only make this Fettuccine Alfredo on special occasions. We usually have it on Valentine's day and maybe one other time during the year. To make it a little less fattening, I usually add some chicken or broccoli. Both are delicious with this Fettuccine Alfredo!

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #12, All Things Related #37 and This Weeks Cravings #19.

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine noodles
Salt to taste

Melt butter with cream and nutmeg in a wide frying pan. Stir in pasta and quickly bring to a boil, stirring gently from time to time. Let boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes. Blend a little of the hot mixture with the egg yolk. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk and cheese. Blend thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fantastic Tuna Salad

Growing up, my mom would make us tuna fish sandwiches for lunch. She made them with just a little Miracle Whip......they were quite dry..... Needless to say, I was not a fan of tuna growing up, and I still can't stand Miracle Whip. I think the reason that the revolting stuff is called "Miracle" Whip, is because it is a miracle anyone likes it. Just my own personal opinion. When I married my sweet husband, for some strange reason, he liked that nasty stuff. *Shudder* I can proudly say that I have never purchased any and my hubby is still alive and thriving without it.

Anyway, I got to the point that I would rather starve than eat a tuna sandwich. Then one day it happened. I ate one. You see, my mom didn't make it. A friends mom did. I decided to be a good guest and eat the smelly thing. Well, as luck would have it, it was rather delicious! It wasn't dry, didn't have ANY Miracle Whip in it, and I didn't even have to gag it down. That's when I realized (I was in the 7th grade) that tuna was not all bad, just Mom's (sorry Mom, I still love you and will be down to visit next week - if you will still let me....). I decided to take what I could from that sandwich and make my own. To this day I still love a good tuna salad sandwich, or just plain old tuna salad (very tasty with buttery crackers).

2 (5 oz) cans tuna (I prefer Albacore in water)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/4 cup celery, chopped small
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

Put the tuna in a bowl and break up with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

This is what we made with the tuna salad.

It's a fish!! I found the idea in my Family Fun magazine this month. To make it, all you need is a heart cookie cutter and a circle cookie cutter. Stack 2 pieces of bread and place them on the counter. Cut out a circle with the round cookie cutter (If you have wide bread, you will only need 2 pieces of bread. Make the round cut on one side. If you have regular bread, you will need 4 pieces. Make the cut in the center). Next, use the heart cookie cutter to cut out a heart (if you are using the wide bread, cut the heart on the opposite side of the bread as the circle with the pointed bottom of the heart pointing towards the circle. You will want the point to be inside the circle so that when you cut, the tip is off. If you are using regular bread, cut out the heart and then cut the bottom of the heart off with the round cookie cutter). Spread one piece of each shape with the tuna salad (or any filling you would like) and top with the other identical shape. Put the fish together by putting the cut off part of the heart against the circle. So fun, so cute!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cheesy, Crunchy, Goldfish Chowder

This is such a fun soup! My little (big) guy got a Kids Cooking Club (Super Suppers and Desserts) cookbook for Christmas and found this recipe in it. My kids LOVE goldfish crackers so this recipe was a must.

Honestly, the soup was not our favorite, but the idea was awesome. Next time I will use a jar of Cheez Whiz in place of the shredded cheese. The cheddar didn't seem to go with the soup. Or you could even just add crackers to Broccoli Cheese Soup.

4 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced onion
1 bunch fresh broccoli, chopped
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1 pound cheddar cheese, grated
Goldfish crackers to taste

Put water, bouillon cubes, potatoes, onion and broccoli in a pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Pour the cream of chicken soup into a large bowl and add hot liquid to from the pot to thin a bit (so that it the soup will be smooth). Pour the cream of chicken soup into the pot with the veggies. Add grated cheese (or Cheez Whiz) and cook until melted. Serve topped with goldfish crackers.

Recipe from my little (big) guys kids cookbook.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cheesy Potato Soup

This soup is delicious! It is a perfect combination of cheesy, creamy, bacony (another word to add to my dictionary) goodness. This is one of my favorite soups and a family favorite.

If you like a creamier soup, smash down some of the potato chunks. Leave them whole for a chunkier soup. I usually smash some, but leave quite a few chunks.

Oh! I was just thinking (yes, it was a bit painful, but nothing that won't go away in a while). About 6 1/2 years ago I got a phone call while I was at work. The person on the other end of the phone told me that they were having a company party the next day and the caterer they hired just bailed on them - with less than 24 hours notice! Yikes! The caller asked me if I would be willing to cater the event the next day. Cater a luncheon of soup and bread 100+ people? Are you kidding me? As I am sure that you can imagine, I was a bit hesitant. I had never catered anything like that before and especially with that short of notice. She kept twisting my arm and finally pulled out the big one. She had already called my boss and arranged for me to be off the rest of the day as well as the next day. I surrendered.....gave in.....whatever you want to call it. I called my sweet hubby at work and told him what I had been talked into. I am sure he thought I was crazy (probably still does, but values his life so he says nothing), but agreed to help me out. I successfully pulled it off! Oh, yeah. I rock!! Anyway, point of the story is......this is one of the soups I made. The Human Resource Manager called me about 2 weeks later and told me that she was STILL getting compliments on the wonderful caterer they hired (aka ME!!).

Linked on It's a Keeper Thursday: Show Me What You've Got!, What's Cooking Thursday! and Bacon Mondays.

1 pound bacon
2/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large potatoes, cubed
4 green onions, sliced
1 ¼ cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Cook bacon until crispy and crumble, set aside. Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water, boil until tender and drain. Melt margarine in a large pan. Add flour to make a paste. Slowly add milk and cook until thickened, stirring often. Add potatoes, green onions, cheese, salt, pepper, and bacon. Cook until cheese is melted. Add sour cream just before serving.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taco Salad Meat

This Taco Salad Meat is so easy to throw together and I usually have everything I need to make it already on hand. It isn't just easy, it tastes good, too, and the kids love it. What more can you ask for?

The kids and I like ours like the picture shows, but my sweet hubby likes his with a bed of tortilla chips covered with the Taco Salad Meat and topped with cheese and sour cream. On a good day he will even throw a piece of lettuce on the top. I tried telling him that it could no longer be called a salad, but he insisted that the piece of lettuce on top, did in fact, qualify it as a salad.

Linked on It's a Keeper Thursday: Show Me What You've Got!

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got #11 and Anything Related #36.

1 pound ground beef
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans 
1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 package taco seasoning (The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning is great, I half the chili powder when I use it)
1 tablespoon chili powder

Brown ground beef in a large pot. Add tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over lettuce with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips and sour cream.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Simple Heart Cakes with Strawberries

I first saw these cute little cakes on The Dating Divas (they originally came from Woman's Day), and fell in love with the idea. I had everything I needed to make them and then they popped up on Real Mom Kitchen. I guess great minds think alike. :)

I made these for the kids and they were SO impressed. Mom can turn Twinkies into hearts! What can I say....I am a super cool mom (if only you could hear me laughing!). The hubby even though I was pretty darn clever. I guess I will have to keep my inspiration a secret and let them keep thinking such great thoughts about me.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday #4, It's a Valentine's Party, Letting the creative juices flow and This Weeks Cravings #19.

Strawberry glaze (I used Danish Dessert)

Cut each Twinkie in half on a diagonal. Put 2 halves together to make a heart and top with strawberries and glaze (I put mine in a baggie and cut off the corner).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

I love cinnamon rolls and so does my family. I found this recipe on The Pioneer Women and had to give it a try. The caramel icing was the thing that really intrigued me and it was fantastic! I couldn't believe how tender the rolls were. 2 Days later, they are still nice and tender. This recipe is my new favorite cinnamon roll recipe.

This recipe makes a lot of rolls. If you lack self control, find a friend to share with. Even better, find a few friends to share with.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday #4.

2 teaspoons Plus 2/3 Cup Sugar, Divided
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast*
4 eggs
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed potatoes
6 cups bread flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the rolls, mix together 2 teaspoons sugar, warm water, and the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Mix together the rest of the roll ingredients in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture gently. Cover dough and let rise until double in size. (This usually takes around 2 hours.)

While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small dish mix together 1 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Once the dough is finished rising, roll out dough in a rectangular shape to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread with 6 tablespoons melted butter and the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll up and cut into 1-inch slices. Place slices approximately 1 inch apart on a baking sheet greased with melted margarine. Let rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20- 25 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the caramel frosting, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in the brown sugar and salt. Cook on low for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool and then add the powdered sugar.

Spread a thin layer on the rolls once they have cooled off.

*You can use instant yeast and add it in with the flour instead of proofing it in the warm water with sugar. It cuts the rise time down quite a bit.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oven Pancakes

Oven Pancakes are my 4 year olds favorite breakfast food. She asks for them everyday, at least once. She quickly discovered that you can have breakfast food anytime of the day. If she doesn't get Oven Pancakes for breakfast, she asks for them for lunch after she gets home from school. If she doesn't get them lunch, she asks for them for dinner.

When the Oven Pancakes are baking, they puff up huge! The kids like to watch them bake the last few minutes and give me reports on how huge they are.

3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Melt margarine in baking dish in the oven. Put flour, sugar and salt into a bowl. Slowly whisk in milk. Add in eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Pour into 11x7 inch baking dish. Bake on a bottom rack for 20 minutes. This recipe is easily doubled and fits into an 9x13 inch pan. Serve with powdered sugar, syrup or berries and cream. We like ours sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chile Cheese Pinwheels

I tried out these Chile Cheese Pinwheels for the Super Bowl. They were fantastic! I first tried these at Bunko and fell in love. They are great dipped in salsa (Quick and Easy Salsa would be perfect with them!), or eaten just plain.

I adapted this recipe from one I found at Real Mom Kitchen.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
½ cup (4 ounce can) diced green chiles
½ cup (about 3) sliced green onion
¼ cup chopped ripe olives
4 (8-inch) soft taco-sized flour tortillas (I used the kind you cook)

Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chiles, green onion, and olives in a medium bowl. Spread ½ cup cheese mixture over each tortillas and roll up. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap twisting ends to close; refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap; slice each roll into ¾ inch pieces. Serve with salsa for dipping.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

There is only one word I can think of to describe these stuffed mushrooms - AMAZING! They are absolutely delish! Some of my most favorite things put together in one tasty little bite. Cream cheese, bacon and mushrooms. How can you go wrong? If you ask me, you can't.

I am not a football fan , but I decided to try these tasty little morsels for the Super Bowl. Honestly, I only like the Super Bowl for the food. Oh, and because it is the end of the football season. Pretty good reason to celebrate if you ask me. Anyway, these stuffed mushrooms were a hit. My sweet hubby said they were the best stuffed mushrooms he had ever eaten.

I adapted this recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

Linked on Anything Related #36, It's a Keeper Thursday: Show Me What You've Got! and Bacon Mondays.

16 oz whole mushrooms
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 T finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
Ritz cracker crumbs (or other buttery crackers)

Wash mushrooms and remove stems. Combine cream cheese, green onions and bacon. Stuff the mushrooms with the cream cheese mixture. Place the cracker crumbs on a plate (I used 8 crackers) and dip the stuffed sided of the mushrooms in the crumbs. Place the mushrooms on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I love buttercream frosting. I eat it on cakes, cookies, brownies, spoons and even my finger. I think it is delicious any way it is eaten. I think this recipe is absolutely perfect! My kids love it too. I made brownie bites (trial run for my little girls princess party in a couple weeks), and left the bag with the frosting in it sitting on the counter while I was cleaning up (and taking pictures). I turned around and 2 of my little helpers had eaten almost half of the bag! Luckily, the sugar high only lasted for about an hour.

I adapted this recipe from Wilton (in a booklet that came in my cake decorating kit).

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday #3 and It's a Valentine's Party.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I use butter flavored)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix butter and shortening together. Beat in powdered sugar and salt, then add milk and vanilla.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins. These blueberry muffins are no exception, they are delicious! I love the addition of the lemon sugar that is sprinkled on the top. And the batter......YUM!! I got to actually lick the bowl all by myself - no little helpers! Maybe because one of them was down for a nap and the other was licking the generously battered spoon. Regardless of the reason, I savored every little bit.

I found this recipe on Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday #3 and Sweet Tooth Friday.

2 cups frozen blueberries (or 2 cups fresh)
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
zest from one lemon

Stir together 1/3 cup sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside for topping.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with baking cups. Rinse one cup frozen berries under cold water and spread on a double layer of paper towels to dry well. Put remaining one cup berries in a food processor and pulse 3 to 4 times. Put berries and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat to simmer. Cook until the mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the berries that have dried on the paper towels in with the flour mixture. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy with a few dry spots of flour – don’t overmix. This is the key to moist and tender muffins.

Fill the muffin cups until they are about 3/4 full. Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer, gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.

Bake until the top of the muffins are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cheater Veggie Stir Fry

Yes, that's right, Cheater Stir Fry. I used to make stir fry the "real" way, but then I had kids. My kids are so good at getting me side tracked, I would always burn my veggies. Burned veggies are not to tasty if you ask me. I still wanted to have my stir fry, just not burnt stir fry. That's why I came up with my cheater version.

This time I used baby carrots, broccoli, yellow squash and celery, but any veggies work. I usually make this stir fry when I have a bunch of veggies sitting in my fridge that need to be used. I will sometimes add in chicken (at the request of my sweet hubby), but usually stick to the veggies.

8 to 10 cups chopped veggies, steamed until tender crisp (I usually use closer to 10 cups)
1 packet brown gravy (plus water to mix)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Make gravy according to package directions, adding in soy sauce and ginger. Pour over steamed veggies and serve over rice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sweet & Sour Meatballs or Chicken

I love sweet & sour sauce. I have a couple of really good sweet & sour recipes, but this one is my favorite. It uses barbecue sauce in it instead of the standard ketchup. I love the added flavor of the barbecue sauce. I usually use this recipe with meatballs (this time I used leftover Italian Meatballs), but it is also very good with chicken.

Sweet & sour meatballs would be a perfect addition to your Super Bowl party on Sunday. Even though I have no clue who is playing, I am excited for the game. Super Bowl = lots of yummy food!!

1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add cooked chicken or meatballs and serve over rice.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decadent French Toast

My husband and I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in Cedar City, Utah a couple of years ago. They had cookbooks for sale that were put together by the Cedar City Area Bed & Breakfast Association and I just had to have one. Recipes that are served in the B&B's, sweet! I pulled the cookbook out the other day and started looking through and thought to myself "I should make every recipe in this book!". Kinda like the Julie/Julia Project, only not all in one year and I really might not make every recipe. But it would be kinda fun. The Susan/B&B Project. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it though, so I will just stick with making a new recipe out of it every once in a while, and hey, I just might end up making them all before I die.

One thing that I really liked about this recipe is that it can be made the night before and then popped into the oven in the morning. I don't have to worry about messing up the measurements because I stayed up way too late the night before and can't see a thing through my eyelids. I also like anything that has fruit on it. Yummmmm!

This Decadent French Toast would be perfect to serve on Valentines Day, Easter, Mothers Day or any other special occasion (or even just and ordinary day).

This recipe was submitted by Big Yellow Inn.

16 slices firm bread
1 to 2 (8 oz) packages softened cream cheese (I used about 1 1/4)
Cinnamon sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Berries and sour cream

In a small pan, combine brown sugar, butter and maple syrup and cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour into a greased 11 x 17 inch pan. Spread cream cheese onto 8 slices of bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and top with another piece of bread. Place bread onto the sauce in the pan. Blend eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour over bread. Let sit for 45 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator (I let mine sit overnight). Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pieces from the pan and flip caramel side up. Top with berries and sour cream.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Italian Meatballs

These meatballs are amazing! Very delish. I tore this recipe out of a copy of Parade magazine and had it sitting in my "junk" pile. Today I decided to de-junk my junk pile and my 9 year old grabbed it and said that we had to make meatballs tonight. I had everything I need for them so we made them. I am such a sucker for these kids of mine.

I had my regular helpers helping me with the meatballs. One stirred everything together, and then they both helped shape the meatballs. I pulled out one of my cookie scoops to make the meatballs all even, then a light came on. Just scoop the meat out and put it on the sheet, no rolling needed. I did give the girls meat to "shape" while I quickly got all the meatballs ready to bake. I don't think I will ever roll another meat ball again. It was SO fast with the scoop. I'm feeling pretty smart!

1 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Combine bread crumbs and water in a large bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, eggs and spices. Add the ground beef and mix well. Shape into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
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