Saturday, June 30, 2012

4th of July Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Bars

 These 4th of July Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Bars are fantastic!  The family loved them, they're moist and very tasty.  Oh, and there's frosting.  And sprinkles.  Sprinkles make everything better.  The only complaint?  Not enough frosting.  Go figure.  They said sugar cookies are supposed to have as much frosting as cookie. :)  If you are like my sugar loving family (that's why they're all so sweet!), double the frosting.  Or triple.  It's up to you.

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sprinkles (the kind used on top of the bars)

Combine butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Add baking powder, baking soda and flour.  Mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed in.  Spread onto a greased 10x15 inch pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. 

1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
dash salt
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Combine shortening, powdered sugar and salt and mix until well combined.  Add vanilla extract, butter flavoring and milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until smooth and desired consistency is reached.  Frost cooled bars and sprinkle with additional sprinkles.

Frosting recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!  Bar recipe from Cookies & Cups.

 Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein

I loved this Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein!  The hubby wanted to know where the noodles were, but he still liked it and the kids did too.  I also love that it is packed full of all sorts of good-for-you stuff.  Hello veggies!  I think the water chestnuts were my favorite part.  I loved the little bit of crunch they added.  So yummy!

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup water chestnuts
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, stems removed and cut into bite sizes pieces
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
2 cup shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp Sesame Seeds

Heat wok or skillet over meduim-high heat.  Add sesame oil, minced ginger and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute to allow the flavors to infuse the oil.  Add chicken to the wok, and cook, stirring frequently for 3–4 minutes, or until the chicken is mostly cooked.  Add in broccoli, water chestnuts, celery, and  mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add in almonds, cabbage, and green onion.  Pour in coconut aminos or soy sauce.  Cook 2–3 minutes, until cabbage softens a little.  Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds.

Recipe adapted from The Food Lovers Kitchen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chicken in a Crockpot

Did you know you can cook a whole chicken in the crock pot?  It's true!  I had no clue until just recently (thanks to a sweet reader for letting me know!).  We love chicken around here, but I also use cooked chicken for so many things.  Things like Chicken Tamale Pie, Hawaiian Haystacks, Red Sauce Chicken Enchiladas, Green Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Pot Pie, Baked Chicken Taquitos, and Chicken Tortilla Soup, just to name a few.  Cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot is the easiest way I have found to cook a chicken and the meat comes out SO tender and juicy.  A major plus!

This time I cooked my chicken on a bed of baby carrots and sliced onions.  Dinner can't get any easier than that!

1 whole chicken
salt and pepper or desired spices, to taste

Rinse chicken and place in a crock pot.  Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

If you're a fan of peanut butter cups, you'll LOVE these Peanut Butter Bars (the family says they taste just like Reese's peanut butter cups!).  And you'll love me for sharing this super easy and tasty recipe with you.  Or you might hate me.  Hate me because they are so darn good and easy that you can make them whenever you want and will now have the constant temptation of these tasty Peanut Butter Bars lurking in your cupboard.  Did I mention they only have 5 ingredients?  Oh, and that they don't need to be baked in the oven so no heating up your house in the middle of the summer?  Well, it's true.

1 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups peanut butter, divided
2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Combine melted butter, 1 cup peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into a greased 8x8 inch greased pan.  Melt chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl, in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds.  Pour chocolate on top of peanut butter mixture and spread until smooth.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Six Sisters Stuff.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Asian-Style Carnitas

Pork roast is my all-time favorite roast.  It always comes out tender, moist and flavorful.  I usually don't add anything to it - it's perfect just the way it is, if you ask me - but it's always fun to mix things up a bit. 

1 pork shoulder roast (about 3 pounds), cut into large cubes
1/4 cup sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place pork in a crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over roast.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours.

Recipe from tgipaleo.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Oh. My. Goodness!  These cookies are AMAZING!  I made them last night after I put my 3 little ones to bed and half of the first batch disappeared before I got the second batch out of the oven.  I gave a couple to my hubby to see what he thought (he thought they were fantastic!).  Then my 11 year old ventured into the kitchen and asked for a cookie.  She looked at me with her beautiful, big, brown eyes and I couldn't tell her no.  As soon as she swallowed the first cookie, she excitedly exclaimed that they were the best cookies she had ever eaten.  Ever!  That's really saying something for her.  There's no chocolate in them!  She decided she just had to have another one and even said she would take one to her brother if she could have a second.  Somehow that second cookie turned into a second and a third.  I'm such a sucker! 

These cookies really are fantastic.  They are lemony, chewy, and just a bit crispy.  I think that makes them just about perfect!  Rumor even has it that these cookies won a cookie recipe contest.  Try them and you'll believe it!  Oh, and you'll probably want to double the batch.  They really are that good!

½ cup butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cup flour
½ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny). Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

Recipe from LDS Living.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

I love me a good cupcake.  In my book, a chocolate cupcake = a good cupcake.  My kids usually request chocolate cupcakes for their birthday parties, or just whenever I feel the need to make cupcakes.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I like them so much. 

The measurements are a little crazy, but the recipe makes an even 24 cupcakes.

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon hot water
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks + 1 tablespoon (17 tablespoons total) butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the sour cream. Repeat one more time, then add the remaining 1/3 flour. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling no more than 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Veggie Scramble

I'm attempting to get my family to eat a little healthier.  My kids like healthy food (and so does the hubby), but they really, really like not-so-healthy food.  I think they would be happy for the rest of their lives if I let them live off of canned ravioli, frozen pizza (yuck!), and sugary cereal.  Oh, and lets not forget about Ramen noodle.  Might as well throw in some Dr Pepper and chips for the hubby.  Yep.  That would make them some happy campers!  Luckily they have me to throw in some healthy stuff a few times a day.  I always cringe when I go out of town and the kids tell me all the things Daddy let them have to eat.  I remember asking that sweet hubby of mine to grab and can of veggies for dinner.  He brought me pork and beans. :)

I loved this Veggie scramble.  The kids and hubby liked it as well, but weren't too sure about the broccoli in it.  I think I'll try mushrooms next time.  And there will definitely be a next time.

1 cup broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
2/3 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup red pepper, diced
6 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil)
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add veggies and cook, stirring often, until tender-crisp.  Crack eggs into a small bowl.  Add salt and whisk.  Add to veggies and cook until cooked through, stirring often.  Serve topped with avocado and fresh basil, if desired.

Recipe from The Food Lovers Kitchen.

Linked on Breakfast Ideas Monday.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Butternut Squash, Apple and Pecan Hash

I am in LOVE with this amazing Butternut Squash, Apple and Pecan Hash!  The flavors blend so well and it comes out, well, amazing!  It kinda reminds me of pie.  Apple and squash pie.  My hubby didn't quite think so, but that's okay because he still thought it was delicious!

It makes my mouth water just looking at all that good stuff!

1 large apple, diced
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sliced green onions for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400.  Placed diced butternut squash on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until tender.  Place oil in a large frying pan and melt over medium high heat.  Add squash, onion, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, until apples are tender; about 10 minutes.  Add cooked butternut squash and season with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with green onions, if desired.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Breakfast Ideas Monday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf

After I had my kids dinner on their plates and handed them their plates, my teenager asked me a question.

Teen "Mom?  What's in meatloaf?  I probably don't want to know, but I promise I'll still eat it."
Me (giving him a strange look) "Ground meat like beef or turkey, eggs, spices, sometimes oats or bread crumbs."
Teen "Oh, really!?!  I heard it was nasty leftover stuff they couldn't make anything else out of.  I'm glad I can still like it."

Hmmm.  I knew meatloaf had a bit of a bad reputation, but didn't know why.  I guess I do now.  Thanks to my sweet teenager (is that an oxymoron?).  It's amazing the things I learn from my kids.  Most of which I wish I didn't learn....

3 pounds ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
3 eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon basil

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Shape into a loaf on a foil lined and greased baking sheet.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Recipe from The  Royal Cook - an original!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Frosting

I don't know about you, but I like love peanut butter.  Peanut butter with apples slices (I just got the nerve up to try that one with in the last year and it's now one of my favorite snacks!), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter and chocolate, and just plain old peanut butter.  I made some lovely chocolate cupcakes and was trying to figure out what kind of frosting to make when I found a bag of peanut butter cups hiding in the cupboard.  I know, I know.  If you find something, it had to have been lost, or at least forgotten about.  And how, exactly, does one forget about, or lose, an entire bag of peanut butter cups?  And how do 5 kids not find them and devour them in less time than one can blink?  It seems to be a mystery.  Mystery or not, this frosting was fantastic!  The perfect compliment to chocolate cupcake.  The kids love it.  The hubby loved it.  The kids friends even loved it.  But then, I can't think of a thing not to love.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

Combine butter and peanut butter in a medium sized bowl and mix until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Add vanilla and milk, 1 tablespoon at time, until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homemade Oreos

These Homemade Oreos are another one of the yummy treats I made for my son's bake sale scout fundraiser.  They didn't last long on the table.  I saved some for us to eat, but ended up taking the ones I saved back to the bake sale because the ones I took were gone so fast.  Well, I took back most of the ones I saved. There were a few that magically disappeared, but nobody seemed to know where they went.

2 boxes chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs

 Pour all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until smooth and combined (it will be very thick).  Drop batter by the tablespoon, 2 inches apart, onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 to 9 minutes.  Let cool slightly on the cookies sheets, then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling. 

1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
Milk for thinning, if needed

Beat butter and shortening until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and salt and mix until combined.  Add vanilla and milk, if needed, and mix until smooth.

To assemble the Oreos, generously frost (I piped the frosting on) the back of one cookie.  Place another cookie on top of the frosted cookies with the back to the frosting.

Recipe for the frosting from The Royal Cook - an original!  Recipe for the cookie from Real Mom Kitchen.

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Birthday Cake Crispy Treats

Today was bake sale day!  My oldest and some of his buddies did a bake sale to earn money for their scout camp coming up.  We got to make all kinds of yummy treats.  Rocky Road Fudge, brownies, Scotcharoos (the first to sell out!), Homemade Oreos, cup cakes and these tasty Birthday Cake Crispy Treats. 

1 (10.5 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup butter
3/4 + 3 tablespoons dry yellow cake mix, divided
4 cups crispy rice cereal
12 oz white almond bark or white chocolate chips

Place marshmallows and butter in a large pan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup dry cake mix until well mixed, then stir in crispy rice cereal and stir until thoroughly coated.  Pour into a foil lined and greased 7x11 inch pan and press down (I grease my hands and use my hands); let cool and set.  Remove the crispy treats and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1 inch thick bars (they will end up being about 3 1/2 x 1 inch bars).  Place almond bark in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until melted.  Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons dry cake mix.  Dip one end of each bar in the almond bark and sprinkle with sprinkles.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweets for a Saturday

Friday, June 8, 2012

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

If you haven't ever had roasted veggies, you are missing out!  Roasting is my favorite way to prepare my veggies.  These Roasted Carrots and Zucchini are SO good!  I know it's almost summer and most people don't like to use the oven, but these Roasted Carrots and Zucchini are worth it!  The roasting really brings out and intensifies the flavor.  Yum, yum, yum!

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into wedges or baby carrots
1 pound zucchini, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Place cut veggies on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with oil.  Mix the veggies and oil to coat the veggies (I use my hands).  Spread them out on the cookies sheet so they aren't touching and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 for 20 minute, stirring half way though.

Recipe adapted from Voracious Vander.

Linked on Weekend Wrap Up Party.
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