Monday, April 30, 2012

Ruth's Diner Mile High Biscuits

I love biscuits.  I've baked lots of biscuits.  But until now, I haven't found a recipe that was a keeper.  These Ruth's Diner Mile High Biscuits are fantastic!  They are flaky, tender, and moist (as long as you don't over bake them......)  They're made with buttermilk, which, I've decided, is one of my favorite ingredients to bake with.  If it has buttermilk in it, it's got to be good!

3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 stick cold butter (I find it easier to work with and cut into the flour mixture if it's cold)
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Cut the butter into about 8 pieces and put into the bowl with the flour.  Using a pastry blender (2 knives or a fork would work as well), cut the butter into the flour until it's crumbly, with the pieces of butter no larger than a small pea. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk and egg.  Mix adding just enough water to make a workable dough. Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (don't over mix). Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Either cut into 2 inch squares (I cut into the squares to avoid wasting any of the dough), or into 2 inch circles.  Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet just touching each other.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe from Deals to Meals

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dreamy Chocolate Mousse

You know what I love about this Dreamy Chocolate Mousse?  I love that there are so many things I can do with it.  I usually use it for a filling in cup cakes or a cake (like Moist Chocolate Cake), but it's also a great filling for Crepes, cream puffs, or just as a plain dessert.  It's rich, creamy, chocolatey, and just plain good!  The entire family loves it.  You just can't go too wrong with chocolate. :)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small cup or bowl and let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water to gelatin and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let gelatin cool slightly. Stir together sugar and cocoa in medium bowl and add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture and beat until well blended. 

Recipe from Hershey's.

 Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Beverage Teacher Gift

This is another one of the little prizes my little girl took to her teacher this week for Teacher Appreciation week at the school.  One of her teacher's favorite drinks is water, so we attached these little notes to some water bottles for her.  When I asked my little girl how many bottles of water she wanted to take to her teacher, she told me 2 cases.  I asked her if she though it would all fit in her back pack and she let me know she has big muscles. :)

I just typed up, and printed out the little note, the attached the note to some colored card stock.  To attach to the bottle, I punched a hole in the corner and tied them on with curling ribbon.  Super easy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amazing Homemade Hamburger Buns

I am SO excited about this recipe!  I don't remember being this excited about a recipe in a long time.  These Amazing Homemade Hamburger Buns are, well, AMAZING!!  We love our hamburgers, but these buns put our already loved hamburgers over the top.  I love how there is actually something to these hamburger bun instead of a weak, floppy piece of air.  These Amazing Homemade Hamburger Buns are tender, moist and full of delicious flavor.  They are so good, in fact, that my sweet little 3 year old kept sneaking them.  She even sneaked one after being threatened with a timeout!  That threat alone is usually a miracle worker.

2 tablespoons active-dry yeast
1 cup  warm water
1 cup  milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter

In a large bowl combine the yeast and water and let sit until it is foamy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add milk mixture to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover and let rise until doubled - about 1 hour in a warm spot. Place the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide the dough into 8 pieces for large buns, or 16 for smaller buns.  Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet.  Let rise again until they are about the size of a hamburger bun - about 30 to 40 minutes. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake at 375 for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Recipe from theKitchn.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

M&M Teacher Gift

My little girl is in kindergarten this year and absolutely adores her teacher.  Not only does she adore her teacher, she also loves taking little gifts to her teacher.  This week is teacher appreciation week at the school and her teachers favorite candy is chocolate.   My favorite chocolate is M&M's, so that's what she got. :)

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, I thought I would share this even though it isn't exactly a recipe.

I just filled a cello bag with come M&M's and tied a little note on with tulle.  My little princess sure was proud of it!

Linked on Tatertots & Jello.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sugar Free Strawberry Freezer Jam

Not only is this Sugar Free Strawberry Jam sugar free, it's also sugar substitute free!  It's not as sweet as traditional sugared jam, but is every bit as delicious.  It's perfect on a slices of fresh, hot bread like French Bread or Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat Bread.

4 pounds sweet, ripe strawberries, stems removed
2 1/3 cups apple juice
2 packages less sugar or sugar free jam pectin

Place strawberries in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher (I cheated and put mine in a food processor).  Pour apple juice in a small sauce pan and whisk in pectin.  Bring to a boil, stirring often, and boil 1 minute.  Pour hot syrup over strawberries and mix well.  Pour into 1 cup freezer containers (make sure to leave 1/2 inch at the top to allow for expansion when freezing).  Place in the refrigerator over night, then store in the freezer.  Keep opened containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

Recipe adapted from 5 Dollar Dinners.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Single Serving Brownie in a Mug

Brownies and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love the first brownie I eat out of a freshly baked batch.  The second brownie is pretty darn good, too.  But when they keep calling my name (bet you never knew brownies could talk.  Well, they can!) until the entire pan is gone, well, that's when I just hate them.   These Single Serving Brownies in a Mug bring back the love only relationship with brownies.  I can eat an entire batch and still only eat one brownie. :)  The brownies are rich and chocolatey and would be perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
a pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe mug and mix until well combined.  Place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.

Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake

I made a delicious ham for Easter and needed to do something with the leftovers.  Last time I made the amazing Yummy Ham and Potato Soup, but this time I wanted something a little different.  This Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake was perfect.  I loved it and the kids loved it (the hubby was MIA :))  I think it would also be fantastic with some Fresh Salsa or Quick and Easy Salsa.

10 eggs
3/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups ham, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine eggs, milk and spices in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.   Stir in ham and cheese.  Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Raw Brownie Bites

These Raw Brownie Bites are healthy and fantastic!  The kids weren't too big on them because they are dark chocolatey, but the hubby and I loved them.  They are chocolatey, but not too sweet so I can eat more of them. :)

3/4 cup  pecans
1/4 cup almonds
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (I got mine at the health food store)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons cacao powder (I used regular cocoa powder)
2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (I left these out)

Place nuts and dates in a food processor and pulse until fine.  Add salt, vanilla and cacao and pulse until incorporated.  Add cacao nibs and pulse just until incorporated.  Roll into balls and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Wayfaring Chocolate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Perfect Chicken Gravy

I don't make gravy very often because I usually don't have any leftover drippings from the meat I prepare.  When I happen to have some leftover drippings, we LOVE this Perfect Chicken Gravy!  It's full of flavor and SO good!  Even my gravy haters like it.

Gravy hater "Mom, do I haaaave to have gravy?"

Me "No, you get to have gravy"

Gravy hater "Can you just put a little on a little potatoes and give me lots of potatoes without it?  Pleeeease?"

Gravy hater (after trying her potatoes with the Perfect Chicken Gravy) "Um, Mom?  Can you please put gravy on the rest of my potatoes?"

2 cups chicken drippings (I get the drippings when I roast a whole chicken)
1/2 cup celery, diced small
1/3 cup onion, diced small
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste (I like a lot of salt)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the celery and onion and cook until tender - about 7 to 10 minutes.  Add chicken drippings, salt and pepper to veggies and heat until it starts to simmer.  Combine cornstarch with enough water to make it liquid - about 1/4 cup.  Slowly pour cornstarch mix into hot drippings while stirring the drippings.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy thickens - about 2 minutes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baked Stroganoff Sandwich

There are times when I come across a recipe and think, "Really?!?!  Who comes up with this stuff!?!?"  Well, this Baked Stroganoff Sandwich is one of those things.  Baked Stroganoff Sandwich happens to be the favorite food of my 10 year old's BFF.  That means we just had to try it.  The entire family enjoyed it (even if half of them picked off the veggies.  Really!?  That's my favorite part!) 

1 pound ground beef
1 package stroganoff mix plus ingredients to mix ( I used my Hamburger Stroganoff recipe)
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons butter

Turn oven on to broil setting.  Spread 2 tablespoons of butter on the inside of each half of the French bread.  Place bread on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven to toast.  Watch closely so it doesn't burn.  I use the middle rack to keep it from burning  as easily and it takes about 5 minutes of brown nicely.  Prepare stroganoff sauce and brown ground beef.  Combine the sauce and cooked ground beef.  Spread half of the meat sauce onto each side of the bread.  Top with sliced peppers, tomatoes and then sprinkle with cheese.  Return to the oven and cook until cheese is melted - about another 5 minutes on the middle rack.

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Viva La Chicken Casserole

I think everyone has heard the saying "Necessity is the mother of invention."  Well, this recipe is due, in part, to necessity.  The other day I filled my crock pot with chicken and salsa, and turned it on.  I was going to make a wonderfully creamy and delicious filling for tortillas.  The chicken cooked in the salsa all day, filling the house with yummy smells.  I pulled out the chicken and shredded it, put it back into the crock pot, and went to find the rest of the ingredients to make my chicken filling.  There was just one teeny, tiny, HUGE problem.  I somehow overlooked making sure I had everything I needed before I started cooking my chicken.  I would have even been okay if I checked before I went to the store.  But I didn't, so into the fridge my beautifully cooked chicken went.  And sat.  Awaiting for the chance to become dinner.  Knowing I had to do something with it before it went to waste, I made this tasty casserole.

There are some foods that just don't look pretty, but sure taste good.  This is one of them. I guess you could call it a "Don't judge a book by it's cover" casserole. :)

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 small onion, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup red salsa
2 (7 ounce) cans green chili salsa - I used about 2 cups of my homemade Green Tomato Salsa Verde
1/2 cup milk
15 corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheese - I used cheddar

In a large bowl, combine soups, salsas and milk and mix until smooth.  Stir in chicken, black beans and onion.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread about 1/2 cup chicken mix over the bottom of the pan.  Break up 5 tortillas and place over chicken mixture in pan.  Top with 1/3 chicken mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat layers 2 more times ending with cheese.  Bake at 300 for 1 hour.

This is a great casserole to make the day before or in the morning.  Cover and refrigerate, then bake for 1 1/2 hours at 300. 

Recipe adapted from my old friend Lynda.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Protein Balls (Edible "Cookie" Dough)

These Protein Balls are my new favorite snack.  Not only are the super yummy, they are healthy too!  No sugar, oil, or anything like that added.  The entire family likes them too.

1/3 almond butter (I buy the almond butter I grind fresh at the store)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I buy it from the bulk section at the health food store)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon agave or honey
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.  Roll into balls and store in the fridge.

I sometimes like to add 1/4 cup dried cranberries.  Chocolate chips would be good as well.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning

I know that's kind of a bold statement, but it really is The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning!  I made a few different kinds of taco seasoning this week, ranging from you-call-that-taco-seasoning!?!? to this stuff.  The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning.  I use taco seasoning a lot, and decided to try making my own.  It turned out to be not to bad of an idea.  At least once I tried this recipe.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  1 Tablespoon equals about 1 packet store bought mix.  Use to taste.
Recipe from All Recipes.

Linked on Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins - Crazy Cooking Challenge

These Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins turned out fantastic!  They are dense and moist, just the way I like them.  And the topping doesn't hurt a bit either.  Neither does the fact that they are still fabulous the next day.  I actually prefer them the next day.


They are huge!  Check out the dome on that baby!  I probably could have easily gotten 18 muffins out of the batch.

The kids loved them.  Devoured them.  Even though they asked for cup cakes instead.  Close enough, right?

2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries, dusted in flour (I use frozen blueberries and about 2 tablespoons flour)


1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl beat together eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture just until moistened.  Don't over mix, it's okay for the batter to be a little lumpy. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups so they are full. Mix the topping ingredients together with fork, and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon over muffins before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through (I tested mine by inserting a toothpick in the center).

Recipe from Baked Perfection.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Paleo Breakfast Bars - Like Healthy Cake

These Paleo Breakfast Bars are SO good!  They taste just like cake, but are healthy!  I made them for my little girls for lunch and, after sampling the finished product, told them they got to eat cake for lunch.  They were beyond excited and as soon as their big Sissy got home, they let her know they had cake for lunch.  She refused to believe I would feed the little ones cake for lunch.  Mom just isn't that cool. :)

4 Year old "Mom made us cake for lunch!"

10 Year old "Whatever."

6 Year old "Really!  Mom let us have cake for lunch!"

10 Year old (looking around the kitchen for proof) "If Mom let you have cake for lunch, it was some disgusting healthy cake."

4 Year old "Nu uh.  Mom makes good cake."

I had a piece leftover so I let her try it.  She took a very timid first bite and then her eyes lit up.  I ended up making it 2 more times in the next 2 days at her request.  Yep, it really passed the picky eater test.  She even hid a couple pieces to take to school in her lunch.  According to my 6 year old, the only thing that would make it better is frosting.

6 Year old "Mom, if you put frosting on my cake it would be healthy!"

4 Year old "'Cause frosting is good for our bodies, hu Mom."

Silly, silly girls!

½ cup almond butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon stevia (I use about 1/4 dropper full of the liquid)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix almond butter, eggs, honey or agave, vanilla and stevia.  Add salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  Mix well until all ingredients are combined.  Pour batter into a greased 8x8 inch baking dish.  Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe From Elana's Pantry.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

French Bread

This French Bread turns out SO good!  It is every bit as good as the french bread you can buy at the store.  It's tender, light and airy and delicious!  My kids love french bread and somehow managed to make an entire loaf magically disappear before dinner.  No one seemed to know what happened to it.  The second loaf disappeared pretty quick during dinner as well.

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
6 cups flour
1 egg white, beaten - optional
corn meal - optional

Pour water into a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar.  Let sit 10 minutes, or until foamy.  Add salt, oil and 3 cups flour.  Beat vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, then add remaining flour and mix well (I usually add 2 cups and then the last cup as needed).  Cover and let rise for 1 hour, stirring down every 10 minutes (I use a big mixing spoon and just leave it in the dough while it is rising.  Then I use my big muscles - ha! - and stir it as well as I can every 10 minutes.)  Shape into 2 loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal (optional).  Cut diagonal slits on the top of each load about 1 inch apart.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Gently brush with beaten egg white (optional) and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when lightly tapped.

Recipe from my sweet friend Mary.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Olive Garden Mostaccioli

This Olive Garden Mostaccioli is fabulous!  It's full of all kinds of good stuff.  Good stuff like chicken and pasta, cream, butter and cheese.  Lots of good for you stuff.  The family loved this amazing dish.  I was surprise to see any left in the pan when dinner was over with the way they ate it.  Yeah, it really is that good! 

I baked up a batch of French Bread to serve with the Olive Garden Mostaccioli and I almost thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  Oh.  Yum!!!

1 (16 ounce) box mostaccoli (I usually just use whatever pasta I have on hand)
¾ cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
¼ tsp white pepper
1 ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce 
Salt to taste
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 to 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Melt butter in a in a large pan over medium heat.  Add whipping cream and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook until it starts to thicken - about 5 minutes.  Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.  Add spaghetti sauce and salt to taste.  Cook until heated through.  Combine chicken, sauce, parsley and pasta noodles in a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Recipe from Little Brown House.

Linked on Get Your Brag On.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

These Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies were fantastic!  I wanted a chocolate treat, but was all brownied out.  These cookies turned out perfect!  They were soft and chewy and full of yummy chocolate.  I made them to give most of them away, but there weren't enough that lasted that long.  I guess I should have made a double batch.  I'm thinking I might just have to make some more right now.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I used York peppermint pieces)
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll into inch balls and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are firm. Cool on wire racks. 
Recipe adapted All Recipes

 Linked on Sweets for a Saturday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Fools Punch

I know it's too late for this year, but I had to share my fun trick I played on my kids.  I am not a huge April Fools person, but I usually try to come up with one harmless prank for my kids.  And it's usually food related.  This year I decided to make them some special April Fools Punch.  It was a hit!  The kids had no clue until the first one tried to take a nice drink.  

"Mom, my straw doesn't work!"

The next one tried to adjust her straw.

"Hey!  My punch broke?!?!"

She pulled out her straw, examined it, smelled it, and then finally licked it.

"Hey!  It's Jell-O!"

The kids loved my little prank and I loved watching the expressions on their little faces while they were figuring it out.  Priceless!

1 (6 oz) package gelatin
6 (8 ounce) clear cups
6 straws

Make gelatin according to package directions.  Pour equal amounts into each of the cups and place a straw in each cup.  Refrigerate until firm.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.
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