Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baked Cheesecake


For big holidays I always try to make a elegant dessert. I like to pretend I just care about my family that much but in all honesty I just want excuses to eat an entire pan of ANYTHING containing sugar. Last Christmas I found a recipe for Baked Cheesecake that I wanted to try. I've never been a huge fan of homemade cheesecakes but I am head over heels in love with it at restaurants. I looked for DAYS reading all the reviews and judging the pictures. I finally found one that everyone seemed to agree was amazing (I can't for the life of me find the link! Sorry!!) I took the advice from one of the reviewers and made a few changes and seriously almost fell over from the amazingness of this recipe. It's fluffy and moist. Looks AMAZING. Came out with NO cracks and melted in my mouth. I can't think of any restaurant that tastes as good as this. (Cheesecake Factory aside- seriously, it's in the name) I loved it so much at Christmas that I am making it again for Easter and I'm pretty sure I've found my staple holiday dessert. No more looking for me. I'm posting this early in the week so you can all have plenty of time to get the ingredients and make it for your family this weekend!

Baked Cheesecake

4 pkgs cream cheese (8oz pkg's) IF CREAM CHEESE IS ROOM TEMP. IT WILL BEAT BETTER.
3/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar together. Press mixture onto the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. (I used an 8 inch and it turned out fabulous) Place in freezer for 10 minutes.

Cream 3/4 cup of sugar and cream cheese until smooth, Beat in eggs, vanilla and cornstarch until just mixed. Stir in sour cream until blended. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake the cake at 400 for 10 minutes. Then WITHOUT opening the oven door reduce the temp to 200 then continue to bake for about 45 minutes. Until it is almost completely set. Then turn off oven and just let it set in there until the oven is cool. Usually about an hour and a half to two hours. Then refrigerate over night.

Follow these instructions to a "T" and I promise you will not be disappointed.

~Dayna~

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

I will have to admit that breakfast casseroles have never been something that I "crave"....I like them, but have never loved them. THIS one on the other hand was very tasty and enjoyable!! The family all said that they would even eat leftovers (which in my book...means they liked it). It was really easy and versatile. You could make it up the night before (if you chose to) and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning, then get your shower while it cooked...(its that easy!) or you could mix it all up in the morning. It would be great for a weekend brunch or even for dinner, for that matter!
Regardless of HOW you cook it...just cook it, its good!

Breakfast Casserole

1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent rolls
2 c. cooked breakfast sausage, cooked bacon, or chopped, fully cooked ham (2 c. of whatever kind of 
       meat that you want)
6 eggs
1/2 c. milk
dash of seasoning salt, garlic powder, pepper
2 c. frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 1/2 c. (6 oz) grated cheese (I used less)

Open up refrigerated rolls and unroll into a greased 9x13 pan. Press seams together to make a crust on the bottom of your pan. Place meat on top of crescent rolls. Beat the eggs and milk together and let rest; set aside. Put the hash browns over the meat, season with seasoning salt and pepper (or whatever seasonings you like) then pour the egg mixture over the hash browns. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake at 375 for 45 minutes OR until eggs are set. Serve with salsa or fresh cut tomatoes. 
*The original recipe said to cook for 30 minutes but the middle of my casserole was still runny, so I just kept adding 5 more minutes until it was set and done. SO the moral of my story is...cook it for 30 minutes and then check it and see if its done, add more time if needed. 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cheese it Chicken


I love chicken so much- but I run out of different ways to prepare it pretty fast. My mom made this recipe when we were growing up and I had been meaning to make it for Jack for years. I finally got around to it and it was just as delicious as I remember. Perfect meal for those days when you want a change but already have chicken thawing in the fridge. Pull it together super fast and please EVERY age group in your family.

Cheese-it Chicken
4 chicken breasts
2 cups crushed cheese-it crackers
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter

Combine eggs and milk. Crush Cheese-its. Dip chicken in egg/milk mixture and coat in cheese-its. Place in a 9x13 pan. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the chicken. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

You can cut chicken into strips or leave as a full breast. I like the strips as it gives you a little more coating per bite.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Resturant Style Cheese Toast

When I go to Sizzlers, I GO for their Cheese Toast. If you haven't ever eaten it...you won't know what I am talking about, BUT making this delicious Cheese Toast will make you want to go and have some. I actually like my recipe better than the real thing! We eat it with spaghetti, lasagna or soups...really anything. Everyone loves it and always requests that I make it when we are having "bread" of any kind with our dinner.
 Make it, eat it and you won't regret it one bit....
(okay, if you are dieting...maybe...but thats a BIG maybe).

Resturant Style Cheese Toast

2 cubes of BUTTER (slightly softened)...yes, the REAL stuff
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese ( I just use the stuff in a can)
1 loaf of sliced deli bread OR 1 loaf of homemade white bread (don't use the cheap, thin, store bought bread...it doesn't work very well...been there, done that... I used homemade because thats what I had, but any HEAVY bread would work)

In a bowl place butter. Soften in microwave for approximately 15 seconds...don't melt it, just soften. Mix the butter and the cheese. Preheat a large skillet or a griddle. Spread butter mixture on your bread and then place your bread, CHEESE side DOWN onto the surface of your hot pan. Cook until cheese has browned and then flip over and warm the other side...it won't really brown because it doesn't have anything on it. Enjoy!!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sloppy Tacos


I'm honestly not sure how this recipe came about, but slap taco in the name of anything and you could probably get me to eat it. I remember one day my dad was out of town and my mom made sloppy joes. We HATED sloppy joes as children (Before my mom perfected her recipe) and so this time she decided to change it up a bit. Give us an open faced sloppy joe topped with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Simplicity never tasted so good.

Sloppy Tacos
1/2 lb hamburger
1/2 lb sausage
1 can sloppy joe sauce
8 hamburger buns
cheese
lettuce
tomato
ranch

Cook hamburger and sausage. Combine and add 1 can of sloppy joe sauce. Heat till ready to serve- stirring occasionally. Separate hamburger buns. Butter them and put them in the broiler till edges are brown. Remove and serve immediately. Top your bun with hamburger mix, cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch.

I had this for dinner last night. I cooked the entire meal and we were finished eating all within 30 minutes. Perfect for those of you who are interested in quick meals.

~Dayna~

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flatbread Tacos with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Tacos are one of the easiest dinners around. When all of my kids were little we made tacos, of one sort or another, at least twice a week. Now that half of my children have moved on with their lives, leaving the nest to make their own way in the world, we don't eat them near as often. When I made this recipe, it was like a "treat" to the other half of my family that still resides at home. We don't eat tacos hardly ever and this was a little different, but very scrumptious! WARNING- When making the "flatbread shells" you might want to make a few extras because the family will eat them before you get to serve them as a taco...at least my family did...they LOVED them!!!

Flatbread Tacos

1 recipe of flatbread (included down below)

1 lb ground beef
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can corn, drained

Chipotle Ranch Dressing (recipe included down below)

Optional toppings: sliced olives, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, onion, chopped tomatoes, salsa
(whatever you like to put on your taco)

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until done. Add beans and corn and taco seasoning (I just used 1/2 package, put in the amount that you like) and heat until warm.

To serve, put 1 flatbread on a plate, top with meat mixture and then layer on other taco toppings. Top with the Chipotle Ranch Dressing and EAT UP!!!!!

*My family likes to put the mixture in the middle of the flatbread, apply the toppings...then roll it up like you would a taco....BUT...I like to eat mine flat. However you eat it, it's a great meal!!

Easy Flatbread

1 tube large refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I've used the Pillsbury Grands as well as generic, both
work very well...but you HAVE to use the great big ones)

Roll out each biscuit into a large, flat circle (make sure they are quite thin..they will thicken as they cook). In a skillet, cook each biscuit for 30 seconds or so on each side, until golden brown. DO NOT put any oil in the pan...thats right NO OIL. They are SO easy to make!

*Each can contains 8 biscuits...I made up 2 cans for 4 people. Like I said....the family can't get enough of the flatbread, they all wanted to "sample" it...and then "sample" it again. So if you want any left to serve as a "Flatbread Taco"...cook extra's.

Chipotle Ranch Dressing

1c. ranch dressing (bottle or make your own...we prefer homemade)
10 shakes of Franks HOT sauce
1/2 t. cumin
a few drops of lime juice (or lemon, we've done both)

Mix together and serve on your favorite mexican dishes, salads or sandwiches...its just an amazing dressing!...a staple in our house!

Happy Cooking~
Julie




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits


I think the sign of a good recipe is one where the page is splattered with food, maybe you've had to re-write words because you've spilled some sort of liquid that's deteriorating the page. You're not quite sure if it says to cook for 8 minutes or 80 minutes because the page is getting so thin. I hope you all have recipes like that! When I went to college my mom gave me a notebook full of recipes. Everything was hand written and I treasured it. It was packed with all the recipes I would need to survive. The very first one is for Baking Powder Biscuits. It's one of those recipes pages that's seen many better days. Which should be incentive enough for you to try it out.

Baking Powder Biscuits
4 cups flour
8 Tbs. shortening
8 tsp. baking pwd.
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk

Cut shortening into dry ingredients with pastry cutter or fork. Stir in milk quickly. Dough should be soft and light NOT sticky. (more or less milk may be needed) Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter or small cup. Place on greased baking pan. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

I just made a large batch of these biscuits so I could have breakfast sandwiches in the freezer (GREAT for fast easy breakfasts on the go). Make your biscuits a little thicker and a litter larger. When they are cooled- add a sausage patty or ham slice, egg patty and a slice of cheese. (I got sausage patty's and egg patty's at Wal-mart in the frozen breakfast isle). Throw in the freezer to have on hand or serve them hot.

Food is FUN!
~Dayna~

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Enchilada Soup

Soup has always been a favorite of mine, I think because I grew up eating a lot of it, especially through the cold, winter months. But after I got married and had a family of my own, I didn't make it much because my husband and children have never been big fans of it. Last week we had one of those "cold, wintery" days, so I made a batch of this soup hoping that it would help the family re-think their hateful relationship with this warm and wonderful comfort food that I love so much! Can I just say that my "one child" that always complains when I make soup, dished himself up ANOTHER scoop of this divine dish of goodness?!?!!...and then he proceeded to tell me that this was his very most favorite soup ever...."my very favorite"...he said!...That put a huge smile across my face as I thought about how many times I would be able to make this for dinner and not get a single complaint...from anyone! Woo Hoo...I love those kinds of meals.
Make this for your family and see if you can get the same reaction!

Enchilada Soup

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used the ones with sweet onions)
1-1 1/2 c. salsa (mild, medium or hot whatever you choose)
1 small can of chilies (optional...I didn't use)
1 can corn, drained
1 (14 oz) can enchilada sauce (I used mild...but use what your family likes)
2 cans cream chicken soup
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheese of your choice; cheddar, sharp, pepper jack, Monterey jack, etc....
(I used cheddar and Monterey jack)
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and seasoned with 1 pkg. taco seasoning
OR 4 chicken breasts, diced into bite sized pieces and cooked with 1 pkg. of taco seasoning.
(I used chicken, but only used 1/2 pkg. taco seasoning)

In a slow cooker combine beans and corn and set aside. In a blender combine salsa, chilies and diced tomatoes, then puree until smooth. Add to beans and corn. In a bowl combine enchilada sauce, milk and cream of chicken soup and mix until smooth. Pour sauce over ingredient in the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook on low for 4-6 hours OR on high for 2-3 hours...mostly to let the soup heat through and for the flavors to come together.

Cook your meat and set aside until the last hour of cooking...then add, stir to mix it all together.

About 30 minutes before serving, stir in grated cheese. Serve with Fritto chips, avocado and grated cheese. You could even add a dollop of sour cream if you wanted to.

*This recipe can be made to be really spicy or really mild, it all depends on the "heat" of the salsa, enchilada sauce and chilies that you choose to use. I prefer mine HOT but my family prefers a much milder heat...make it the way your family will eat it.

Happy Cooking~
Julie






Monday, March 22, 2010

Delicio Wraps


I'm sure all of you have your same "old-faithful" recipes. I do. We eat A LOT of tacos, Navajo tacos and hamburger helper (jack's own special recipe that may or may not show up on this blog). After we'd been married a little over a year I decided to go on a new recipe kick and try some new stuff. Some of it I found in recipe books- others I kind of made up. I got lucky on this recipe and it turned out amazing from my own brain! (Don't burst my bubble and tell me you've eaten this before!!!!) My mom makes it all the time. My brother makes it all the time and even my sister in laws family eats it. And now YOUR family can eat it. All because of me.

Taco Shells
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup lukewarm water (approx)

Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add shortening and cut into the flour mixture. Add water to make a moderately stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp rag and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll out taco shells and cook in a hot, slightly greased frying pan. Makes approx 7 shells.

Spanish Rice/Chicken
2 cups of cooked rice
1 cup chicken
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
1/4 cup of water (approx)

Combine rice, chicken and taco seasoning in a frying pan. Add water and let simmer.

Heat one can of refried beans.

Once Shells, Rice and Beans are hot you can start compiling your wrap. Spread a layer of beans onto your taco shell. Spread rice on top of that. Top with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Finish off with ranch, sour cream or guacamole.

Jack rolls his up like a taco but I leave mine flat and cut and dip it in ranch. It is SO amazing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Better than Anything Else" Dessert

I made this dessert for St. Patrick day, but only because I wanted something green for dessert, it has nothing to do with the holiday itself. I make this dessert often (more than I should) because its one of my favorites. Its light and yummy for spring and summer barbecues and it hits the spot when you need a little "pick-me-up" during the winter months. This dessert has MANY names...I've heard it called anything from "Best Ever Dessert," to "Better than Sex Cake," to "The Republican Dessert"....But regardless of what it is called and what you choose to refer to it as...Its just plain "BETTER THAN... ANYTHING ELSE" in my book and....it's absolutly delicious!
Look at that picture...doesn't it just look like it would melt right in your mouth?...
let me tell you a secret....
....it does!

"Better Than Anything Else" Dessert

Mix together:
2 c. flour
1 c. margarine
1 c. chopped walnuts
Cut flour and margarine together using a pastry blender or 2 knives. Add nuts and mix. Pat mixture in a 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool completely

Mix together:
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
Combine all ingredients together and mix with electric beaters, then spread onto cooled crust. Let refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Mix together:
3 (4 oz). pkg. of instant pudding (use vanilla, chocolate or pistachio...whatever your preference is. I have tried both the chocolate and pistachio and love them both equally as much)
3 3/4 c. cold milk (2% or whole...don't use 1% or skim, your pudding won't set)
Mix both ingredient together and mix with electric beaters until pudding is thick. Spread over cream cheese layer and chill.

Before serving, top with:
8 oz. whipped topping
chopped walnuts
grated chocolate bar (if you make a chocolate pudding)

Refrigerate any leftovers....hmmmm...won't be any, but just in case.........

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sweet Muffins


These muffins have been a family favorite of ours for about 20 years. My kids think they are mana sent from Heaven... (and who am I to tell them differently). I can't ever seem to make enough of them. They are filling and easy to whip up in the morning for breakfast. Often times, I serve them with a bowl of cereal, but the cereal goes untouched because everyone prefers to just to eat the muffins. Good luck in keeping ANY of these around for leftovers....they don't last in our house.

Sweet Muffins

2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Topping:
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
Cut together with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is crumbly and in small pieces.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend all ingredients for the muffins together. Batter should be lumpy. Spray muffin pan with pan coating and fill muffin cups 2/3 full...( I prefer NOT to use the cupcake liners, these muffins are TOO big and need to be made directly in the pan). Combine ingredients together for topping and mix according to instructions. Sprinkle a little bit of topping mixture to the top of each cup of muffin batter and bake for 20-23 minutes. (DO NOT over bake these or they are dry...just cook until lightly browned but done...check at 20 minutes)

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hawaiian Haystacks


You always hear of people eating Hawaiian Haystacks but I can honestly say I've never made them before last night. I went to a Young Women dinner a few weeks ago and this is what they served and I loved them! I knew I needed to make them at home. Jack tried everything he could to convince me to make something else for dinner- but in the end he went back for seconds. That's a win in my books. My favorite thing about this meal is that it is so filling. I don't feel like I need to go back for seconds! Plus it's another one of those so good so easy recipes. I love those! We topped ours with cheese, pineapple and chow mien noodles but this recipe could be easily changed to meet any one's taste buds. Load it with veggies for a delicious healthy dinner.

Hawaiian Haystacks
2 cups of rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of chicken (or you could grill your own)
1/2 cup milk
Toppings: Cheese, Olives, Peas, Celery, Pineapple, Chow Mien noodles, etc

Boil 2 cups of rice in 4 cups of water. In a separate saucepan combine cream of chicken soup, canned chicken and milk. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. When rice and gravy are done spoon rice onto your plate. Top with gravy and any toppings. Serve immediately.

Food is FUN
~Dayna~

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fruity Breakfast Scones

Years ago, Deron and I were in San Francisco touring Fisherman's Wharf. We went into a little cafe and ordered a "Sour Dough Scone with Fruit and Cream"...(if you have ever been to San Francisco, you know they are famous for their sour dough...everything). It was amazing!!! I have never been able to make anything that quite compares to that delicious treat until now. I was trying to think of some new recipe's to put on my breakfast menu and I decided that I would give these Breakfast Scones a try. I just used the same scone recipe (because it's my all time favorite- HANDS DOWN!) that I posted for my Quick and Easy Chili/Navajo Taco's, and topped it with canned pie filling and whipped topping....they just melt in your mouth. These have quickly became a favorite in our house and I am sure they will become a favorite in yours as well!

Scones

2 c. buttermilk
1 T. yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
1 T. sugar
1 beaten egg
3 T. oil
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
5 1/3 c. flour

Mix all ingredient in a large bowl (I mix it in my Bosch...but it can be easily done in a bowl). No need to let it rise (although, I place a HOT damp towel on the top of my bowl for 5 minutes or so, until my oil it hot enough to cook the scones). Form scones and fry in a pan of HOT oil. (make sure your oil is at least 2 inches deep in order to cook the scones evenly)

Top with your favorite canned pie filling: Blueberry, Cherry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry etc...
Then place a dollop of whipped topping on top and DEVOIR!...I know that you won't be able to hold back...they are too good to just look at!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicken. Bacon. Ranch Pizza


I love pizza. I could eat it for every meal. I love the sauce. I love the cheese. I love the toppings. Jack is not so in love. He hates pizza sauce. We actually have to order 2 pizza's when we eat it because his has to be completely sauceless. I'd like to say we have lots of leftovers..... it's a weakness-don't judge (they are small pizzas).

Because of Jack's hate relationship I have had to try different recipes to get my pizza fix at home. One that I absolutely love is Chicken Bacon and Ranch Pizza. SO good. SO easy. Win.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
1 large pizza crust (i use the packet where you just at water)
1/3 cup ranch (more or less depending on your likes)
2 cups mozerella cheese
1/3 cup chicken pieces
1/3 cup real bacon pieces

Prepare crust according to directions on package (or your own recipe). Top with Ranch dressing. Add cheese. Sprinkle chicken and bacon on top. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 475 degrees.

Food is FUN
~Dayna~

Poutine


My husband is Canadian. Right after we got married we went to Chuck-a-rama with my family and he made the weirdest concoction. He put gravy and cheese on top of french fries. We all thought he was SO weird. He claimed it was called Poutine (pooh-teen) and it was normal in Canada. We laughed at him and continued eating. He took me to Canada a few years later and made me order poutine from a real restaurant to prove it wasn't just him. It was amazing. Ever since then poutine has become a frequent food at our house. Give it a try and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Poutine
1 bag of french fries
2 cups brown gravy
2 cups mozerella cheese

Cook French Fries according to the package. Cook gravy (could be from a packet or homemade). While everything is hot pile a large mound of fries on your plate. Generously top with gravy and add cheese. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu with White Sauce

This recipe is worth the "little bit" of effort that you have to put into making it. Don't shy away from making it just because it sounds hard. I am the "easy queen" when it comes to cooking...I don't make things that are hard...so you know that it can't be too difficult. This recipe is very comparable to any Yummy Chicken Cordon Bleu that I have eaten at a restaurant!...Its delicious!!!! One of the things that make this chicken so good is the sauce...WOW! Defiantly a must when you eat this!!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
8 slices of deli ham, cut thinly
8 slices thinly sliced swiss cheese
2 cubes butter
4-6 c. crushed cornflakes

Prepare chicken by flattening it to 1/2" thick. (I do this by putting the chicken in a ziplock bag and then zipping it shut. Then I beat it with a rolling pin...it works like a charm) Place one slice of ham and one slice of cheese onto flattened chicken breast, then roll into a tight tube. Anchor each tube with a toothpick through the middle. (it could possibly take more than 1 toothpick if your tube is bigger) Melt butter. Dip rolled chicken into butter mixture and then roll in the crushed cornflakes. Place a small amount of melted butter in the bottom of a l9x13-inch pan then place dipped chicken rolls into pan. Cover pan with foil and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with White Sauce if desired.

White Sauce

2 cans cream chicken soup
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 c. sour cream

Milk (optional)

Mix in a saucepan over medium heat until blended and hot. Add milk if you want your sauce a little thinner. Serve over Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monte Cristos


Right after Jack and I got married he started talking about Monte Cristos. Everytime he'd describe them to me I vowed I would NEVER try them because they sounded so disgusting. Who wants to eat a grilled ham and cheese on french toast dipped in jam? Not I. So it was years before he finally convinced me to give them a chance- and I am so glad I did. This weird little concoction is so amazing. Give them a chance and I'm sure you will be equally surprised.

Monte Cristo's
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
8 slices of bread
4 slices of ham (sandwich meat)
4 slices cheese
Raspberry Jam

Combine eggs, milk and butter to make french toast mixture. Dip bread into mixture and cook on a skillet. Once french toast is done coat one side of each piece of bread with butter. Compile Ham and Cheese in the middle and cook like a grilled cheese sandwich. Once sandwiches are done serve immediately with raspberry jam on the side.

*Since this is Jack's recipe he would like to point out that some people prefer mozerella or swiss cheese. (we prefer the regular processed american cheese). You can also use any flavor of Jam. Raspberry is just our favorite.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coconut "Dream" Pie


If given a choice between cake and pie (except homemade carrot cake), I will choose... PIE hands down. I love homemade banana cream (with the homemade custard...watch for that recipe coming soon), fresh strawberry, raspberry...and yes, even pumpkin...really I just love pie. In reality, what is there not to like about a pie?! My sister-in-law,Sommer-who is an amazing cook, made a delicious Coconut Cream Pie for Thanksgiving this year. I think that I could have eaten the entire pan all by myself....BUT I didn't! From the looks and taste of it, I thought she had spent hours in front of the stove making this scrumptious filling and baking the divine flaky crust. I asked her for her recipe...and she smiled and told me that it was a "Dream Pie"...(I hadn't ever heard of Dream Pie until then) and was made with "Dream Whip"!...and the crust was a "FROZEN CRUST"....WOW, seriously, I would have never guessed!!! This recipe is so easy and tastes like you worked on it for hours. I have made it several times since Thanksgiving and it doesn't last long at my house, its one of our favorites. Thanks Sommer for sharing with us! 

Coconut "Dream" Pie

2 envelopes Dream Whip whipped topping mix
2 3/4 c. cold milk (2% or whole milk), divided (*don't use 1% or skim!)
2 t. vanilla
2 pkg. vanilla (4-serving size each) instant pudding (I've used sugar-free and it works fine too)
2 c. shredded coconut
1 baked pie crust (* I used Marie Callender's pie frozen pie shells)

Beat whipped topping mixes, 1c. milk and vanilla in a large bowl, on high speed for 6 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks.

Add remaining milk (1 3/4 c.) and pudding mixes; beat on low until mixed, then beat on high for 2 minutes. When pudding is all mixed together and thickened, add 2 c. shredded coconut and mix again for 1-2 minutes. Make sure you scrape the side of the dish to get the pudding mixture that tends to stick to the sides of your bowl. 

Put prepared pudding mixture into baked, cooled pie shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more. Top with whipped topping or serve "as is". (* I serve mine "as is". )



Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bruchetta


Tonight I had Girls Night with one of my bestest friends. I love having such great friends that live so close and I love having an excuse to cook delicious "girl" food that Jack refuses to eat. Thanks Margs for being my guinea pig! Love you. We made Bruchetta, Chicken Salad Cream Puffs, Summer Salad, Chocolate covered Strawberries and Strawberry Shortcake. That's a girls menu if I ever saw one!

My mother in law made this Bruchetta recipe at a family dinner a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! I hate onions so I was shocked that it was so good. I knew I had to try it out for myself. I made a few changes to accommodate my own taste buds and I think it turned out amazing.

Bruchetta
3 large tomatoes
1 small red onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 bundle of cilantro
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder
1 Italian Bread Loaf or Baguette slices

Take the core out of the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Remove seeds with spoon. Finely dice tomatoes.

Combine tomato, onion, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar and cilantro into a large mixing bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly. Salt and Pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Cut Italian Bread Loaf into 1/2 inch think slices. Arrange side my side on baking sheet. Brush tops generously with olive oil. Season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes- until bread tops are crispy.

Top bread with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs always seem like they would be so much work. Every time I make them I am surprised at how easy and simple the recipe really is. I've made them as an appetizer, a lunch or a dessert. For girls night we filled them with chicken salad. Delicious!

Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Bring Butter and Water to a rolling boil. Add Salt and Flour. Stir till mixture forms a ball. Take mixture off heat and add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Drop by tablespoon onto greased pan. Cook at 425 for 17-20 minutes.

Filling ideas: Pudding, Cream, Fresh Fruit, Cheesecake or Chicken Salad.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Summer Salad



I love Salad. Jack's not a huge fan so we rarely have it at our house. I have so many favorite salads that I decided to take what I like most about each one and make up my own salad. Super easy and SO delicious. I also decided to try this new recipe for vinaigrette that I found here it was SO good. Definitely one of my favorite salads and will be my go to recipe for the upcoming summer parties.

Summer Salad

1 package of mixed greens
1 green apple
2 cups grapes
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup craisins

Mix well.

Honey Vinaigrette

1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 c. canola oil

Mix In a blender.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Carrot Cake Pancakes

If you love carrot cake....you will LOVE these pancakes. Carrot Cake is probably the only cake in the world that I just LOVE, so this was a "must try" for me. I was a little nervous at first...putting carrots in my pancakes, but WOW...the results were amazing...I LOVED these pancakes. The family thought they were great...although I have one (whom will remain nameless) that just likes things plain and missed their "ordinary pancakes" the morning that I made these, but "he" said that he still liked these. It's a nice break from the "hum drum" pancakes that you make every time you pull out the pancake mix, it doesn't take much longer to whip them out and they taste 100% better...so try some today.

Carrot Cake Pancakes
(it's almost like having dessert for breakfast)

2 1/4 c. buttermilk pancake mix (I use Krustez)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. finely shredded carrots
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves

1 can of Cream cheese frosting (optional)

In a large bowl, put the pancake mixes, sugar and spices. Then add the other remaining ingredients (not frosting) and mix well. 

Heat a griddle or large frying pan to a hot temperature, and coat generously with cooking spray. 

Pour batter from a cup onto hot griddle to make pancakes the size that you want them. Cook until pancake bubbles and then flip to the other side and cook until golden brown. 

Serve with Cream cheese frosting OR your favorite butter and syrup. 

*The pancake mix that I use is one that you just add water to, but if your mix calls for oil and eggs, just add those as well...whatever your package directions instruct...and then add the rest of the ingredient for the carrot cake pancakes.  
*I found that the batter was a little "THICK" for my liking, so I just added a little more milk.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I LOVE Cinnamon Rolls. They are such a weakness of mine. I've tried to convince Jack to go anywhere on a plane just so we can go to cinnabon in the airport. I'm also somewhat of a cinnamon roll snob. I won't eat them from just anywhere. I have to have them a certain way. Large, fluffy, loaded with the goods. I can't help it. I was spoiled with these rolls growing up. After you try them you'll be somewhat of a snob too!


Aunt Mindy's Cinnamon Rolls


1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I just mix up some fake potatoes)
2 T. yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 t. salt
3 cups scalded milk
3 eggs
10 cups flour (about)

Combine yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Let sit. In a seperate bowl cream sugar, shortening and mashed potatoes. Once yeast has raised add it to the creamed mixture. Add salt, scalded milk and eggs. Mix. Add flour until your dough is sticky, but workable. Let raise in the bowl until double.

THEN: Roll out dough into a rectangle. Spread milk or melted butter over the dough. Cover with cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar (nuts and raisins are optional). Roll up and then cut into 2 inch slices with a thick thread. Place on a greased baking sheet. Smash rolls down until they are pretty flat and then let them raise again. Cook at 350 for 21 minutes or until light brown.

Cool and then top with frosting.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Easy Bean Salad

Can I just say, this is one of my all time favorite salads?! I love it. You can use it as a main dish on a day that you are in a hurry or you can use it as a side salad to compliment a hamburger, a hot link, a sandwich or anything else you are cooking. My sister-in-law (who always cooks wonderful food), Mindy, gave me this recipe after she brought it to several of our family parties and I just couldn't get enough of it. I am sure it will quickly become a favorite of yours too...give it a try! Thanks Mindy for sharing your recipe!

Easy Bean Salad
2 cans corn, drained
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans red beans, rinsed and drained
2 c. cheese
1 chopped red onion (optional...my family doesn't all like onions, so I don't put them in)
1 bag of Frito (or generic style) corn chips

Dressing
1 c. Mayonnaise
1 c. Salsa (any that you like)

Mix beans, corn, onion and cheese together. Mix dressing in a separate bowl then add to bean mixture. Chill. Top with corn chips right before serving. 
* I like to add the chips individually, to each person's serving...that way if there are any leftovers the chips won't be in the salad to go soggy. 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tangy Meatballs


Jack is not a huge fan of Meatballs, but when I saw the recipe HERE I thought it looked so yummy I just had to try it. We were not disappointed. I thought the sauce was a nice change from the normal BBQ sauce. I ate WAY too much! Even Jack really liked them. He told be they were totally bloggable. So there you have it.

TANGY MEATBALLS
2 eggs
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 can evaporated milk
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 lb. lean ground beef

Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1-2 tsp liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder

In large bowl; beat eggs, add oatmeal, milk, onions, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add ground beef mixing well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place into 9x13 inch pans. Bake uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove and drain. Place all meatballs in one pan. In saucepan, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil. Pour over meatballs. Return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Food is FUN not just fuel
~Dayna~

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Winner

And according to the random number generator at random.org...

The winner is..... #36

Jerry and Kimmie Cowan: Put me in!! I need all kinds of recipes. I love Mexican, but heres' the problem...Jerry does not like very many veggies, no onions, no tomatoes, no peppers, nothing...
Love the blog. So fun and I will be trying some of your recipes!! Great idea!!

Thanks Kim!

Keep checking back we'll have another giveaway soon. In the meantime check out all our recipes. Leave us comments and Happy Cooking!

Pull Apart Cheese Bread



This is such tasty bread and even makes for awesome leftovers...therefore it's a hit with my family. It could go as a side with soup, casserole, stew, meat and potatoes...really anything. We ate it with soup. The kids were dipping pieces in their soup and gobbling them right up. It was so good! (A great winter/cold weather comfort food.) I like how you can just break off pieces as you go along, taking as much or as little as you want...then put the leftovers in the refrigerator and warm them up or eat them cold, its good either way.

Pull Apart Cheese Bread

2 cans of GRAND (the big ones) refrigerator biscuits
16 oz. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 c. melted butter or margarine (butter works best)

Using kitchen scissors, cut each biscuit into fourths, placing pieces into a bowl. In a large separate bowl mix 1/2 of the cheese, the garlic powder and oregano. Add the cut pieces of biscuits and toss them in the cheese mixture to coat. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with pan coating and pour in the biscuit mixture. Don't smooth out or press down the lumps, you want it lumpy (makes it better for pulling apart). Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes, then pull out of oven and cover with foil. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes OR until the middle is cooked. When done, drizzle with melted butter and serve.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicken Nugget Tacos/Chicken Nugget Salad

**Go HERE to enter our Giveaway**


I love to cook, but honestly there are some nights when I seriously just want to put my feet up and not worry about dinner. We're not big Macaroni people at my house so I have to become a little creative on nights like that. So we created Chicken Nugget Tacos. Not a new idea, probably something you've made at one point as well but we LOVE them at our house. The hardest part of this recipe is grating the cheese. Now who doesn't like a recipe like that?

Chicken Nugget Taco's
1 bag of chicken nuggets
Flour Tortillas
Lettuce
Tomato
Cheese
Ranch

Bake Chicken Nuggets according to the package. Cut them into bite sized pieces once they are out of the oven. Layer Nuggets, Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato (and any addition toppings) in a Flour Tortilla and wah-lah-you've got yourself a dinner.

Jack likes to top his with Ranch and I like to top mine with fry sauce (weird? I LOVE nuggets dipped in fry sauce) Definitely a pleaser for any ages.

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Want another use for Chicken Nuggets? Try chicken nugget salad. We used to eat this all the time growing up.
Chicken Nugget Tacos
1 package chicken nuggets
shredded lettuce
cheese

Dressing: Mix 1 cup of Mayonnaise and 4 Tbs Lemon Juice (add more/less depending on preference)

Throw chicken nuggets, cheese and dressing on top of your salad. Easy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mock Cafe Rio Pork Burrito's

**Go HERE to enter our Giveaway**
For those of you who don't know me...I am a lover of Mexican food!! I love eating it, looking at it, smelling it, nibbling on it, and most of all just....eating it. Cafe Rio is one of my all time favorite places to eat...I've never once had something there that I wouldn't eat again. When my daughter told me about this mock recipe for the Cafe Rio Sweet Pork that she ran across and tried...I had to give it a try as well. I will admit...the Sweet Pork isn't what I usually get when I go and eat at Cafe Rio...BUT I do like it...and this recipe hit the spot and tastes just like the real thing! The original recipe is found here, and they made the Cafe Rio Salad out of their Sweet Pork, so check her recipe out too...its delicious as well!!!! I made the sweet pork exactly like the recipe says, but then we made ours into a burrito. Most of my family isn't a big fan of cilantro, so while I made the "Cilantro Lime Rice", I didn't add cilantro to my rice. Also...my family just likes the Black Beans right out of the can (and warmed up), so that is how we ate it...BUT I like the "Cilantro-Lime Rice" and the "Black Beans" the way that Cafe Rio makes them...so I am posting those recipes as well as the Sweet Pork. THIS is so yummy...you have to make it. It's a little extra work, not hard at all...but it does takes a little time to do the Sweet Pork... but you won't regret it, it's so worth it...especially if you crave Cafe Rio like I do and can't have it all the time. For the tortilla's I used the uncooked tortilla's that you can buy at almost any store (yes, for you locals...you can get them at our local store and they are amazing), but you could make your own (which would also be amazing) or use the regular store bought shells...whatever you prefer...NOW, when you get your Sweet Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans all prepared and made...its time to put your burrito together. I cooked the tortilla shell according to package directions and then I put the rice, beans and meat in it...I added a little Mozzarella cheese, folded it up then poured some green sauce on top..finished it by sprinkling some more cheese on top and putting it under the broiler for 2 minutes. SO GOOD!!! For the green sauce that you put over the burrito's, I used canned green enchilada sauce from the store...it tasted excellent! I am so excited to hear back on how you all liked it and what you did to tweak the recipe to fit your likings...YUM!!!!

Sweet Pork
2 lbs. pork (I had left over Pork Roast that was already cooked, so I just used the left overs and didn't
have to cook the Sweet Pork as long!! Woo Hoo...another way to use those dreaded leftovers!
3 cans of COKE (not diet)
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
dash of garlic powder
1/4 c. water
1 small can diced chilies
3/4 can (large) RED enchilada sauce (I used medium)

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziplock bag to marinade. Add 1 1/2 cans of Coke and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or over night (I just did mine for 2 hours). Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of Coke, water and garlic powder into crock pot on high for 3-4 hours (if you are using leftovers like I did...I only cooked it for 2 hours)...or until it shreds easily. Don't let it get too dry. Remove pork from crock pot. Shred pork by using 2 forks and tearing it apart. In a blender, or food processor (I used blender), blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and 1 c. brown sugar (or more if you want it sweeter). If it looks too thick add more Coke little by little. (Mine seemed just right). Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and let it cook on low for 2 more hours. Then serve as a salad or burrito...or just it it right from the pan..YUM!

Cilantro-Lime Rice
*when I made this, I doubled it.*
1 c. uncooked rice
1 t. butter
2 cloves garlic (I only used 1 clove...even though I doubled the recipe)
1 t. lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth (I used 1 bouillon cube and 1 c. water as a substitution)
1 c. water
* 1 T. lime juice
2 t. sugar
3 T. fresh chopped cilantro (if you are adding cilantro...add the 1T. lime juice and the sugar as well
when the recipe calls for it..I didn't add any of those)
In a sauce pan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 t. lime juice, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine 1 T lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Black Beans
2 T. oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in oil over medium heat until you can smell the garlic. Add beans, tomato juice and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving add cilantro (I think that this can be optional too)

Cilantro Ranch (House Dressing)
1 packet traditional Hidden Valley Ranch Mix (not buttermilk)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk and dice
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
juice from 1 lime
1 jalapeno

Remove the seeds from the jalapeno, mix all ingredients in a blender. Serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

Happy Cooking~
Julie