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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Maybe...just maybe, you have a little bit of zucchini still hanging around that you don't know what to do with. Well, I have just the recipe...you can make some of this moist and delicious Zucchini Bread. It uses 1/2 the oil that some of the other recipes do and freezes  really well, so you can make it and eat it later...like during the winter months when you are craving it but can't have it. This is my families favorite way to eat the infamous long green squash....maybe it's a family favorite of yours too.

Zucchini Bread
3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
3 t. allspice
3 eggs 
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. oil
1 c. white sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini (freshly grated)
1/2 c. chopped cashews

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and then lightly flour them. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Beat eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla and sugars together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in nuts and zucchini. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or UNTIL it passes the toothpick test (insert toothpick into center, if it comes out clean...its done). Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a clean dish towel or paper towel on your counter. Cover and cool completely....or snitch a piece, smoother it with butter and eat it while no one is looking (thats what I do).  Store in airtight ziplock bags. Freeze up to 3 months.

Happy Cooking~
Julie 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Naan- Indian Fry Bread


I've never been a huge fan of Indian Food. I can choke it down if I have to. I can even find something i'll try twice, but if it's my turn to pick the dinner place it won't be Indian Food. Now the Naan (Indian Fry Bread) is another story. I could eat that stuff for days. I think there is something about the fact that you can use this tortilla type bread to pick up your food and shovel it into your face. Who wouldn't like that! I decided I definitely needed to try this stuff at home. I was so pleased that the first recipe I found was amazing. Easy and delicious. That's my kind of recipe. My sister came over for dinner and between the 3 of us we ate over 20 pieces of Naan. Which is kind of gross. And kind of awesome!

Naan- Indian Fry Bread

2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. salt
3 1/4 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until it starts bubbling. Stir in milk, egg and salt. Gradually add flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a hot rag and let rise. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough and pinch off small handfuls. Place on a lightly greased tray and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat your outdoor grill, indoor grill or skillet to high heat. Roll each ball of dough into a thin circle. Place dough rounds on grill- brush uncooked side with butter cook 2-3 minutes- or until puffy and golden brown. Flip and brush the other side allowing it to cook 2-3 as well.

*I used my George Foreman grill for this. It was AMAZING. I made the dough more of an oval shape and cooked a few at a time. Place dough in grill and brush uncooked side with butter. Close grill and let both sides cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and brush other side with butter and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes as well.

~Dayna~

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Dip


I am a huge fan of this dip! I had never really eaten artichokes before now, but after tasting this dip I have grown quite fond of them. This is a recipe that my sweet step-mom cooked up for a family dinner. She could make dirt taste good..she is just a fantastic cook! I have NEVER tasted something that she has made that I haven't just absolutly adored. She put this yummy dip out on the table and before I really knew it was there, it was almost gone. EVERYONE at the party thought it was amazing...so I had to make up a pan and try it out for myself (since I didn't hardly get to taste it at the party because it was devoured so quickly). It's originally "Paula Deen's Spinach Artichoke Dip" recipe and it defiantly doesn't disappoint....but when does Paula Deen EVER disappoint when it comes to cooking?! She is an amazing cook- so is my step mom! Thanks ladies for sharing this with me....I will forever be grateful...and so will my hips!

Paula Deen's Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach
2 (14 oz) cans artichoke hearts (NOT the pickled), drained
1/2 c. mayonnaise (REAL mayonnaise)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 c. grated monterey jack pepper cheese

*I made a few changes when I made mine-I added an extra can of artichoke hearts (making it a total of 3 cans) and I don't use the pepper jack cheese...I use the plain Monterey jack cheese...but both ways are awesome!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking pan or casserole dish with cooking spray. 

2. Heat the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 4-5 minutes and then squeeze all the water out. Drain liquid from artichoke hearts. Pour artichoke hearts and cooked, dry spinach into a food processor and coarsely chop for 1-2 minutes. 

3. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Scrape into prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly so that it can set up, then serve. It tastes good cold or hot. 

Serve with crackers or tortilla chips!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Cake


I've admitted that I am somewhat of a cinnamon roll snob. I like my cinnamon rolls done right. That's why I am always a little bit hesitant to try anything with the words cinnamon roll associated with it. I'm just not convinced it's worth my time. What if one bite of this ruins my love for cinnamon rolls? You can see the dilemma. A few months ago I tried a recipe for cinnamon roll muffins. Wow. I can't even explain how bad they were. Ever since then I've been a little scared. When I saw this recipe for a cinnamon roll cake I debated about whether or not I should try it. I bit the bullet and decided to get up and make it Sunday morning for breakfast. Hubby was SO glad I put aside my fears. This cake was delicious.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cake:
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup real butter- melted

Topping:
1 cup real butter- softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined well slowly stir in 1/2 cup melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. In a large bowl mix 1 cup softened butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts. Drop evenly over the cake batter and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes- or until toothpick comes out clean. Place powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

~Dayna~

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Easy Onion Rings


I am an "Onion Ring" girl. If given a choice between REAL BATTER DIPPED (not powdered) onion rings or french fries, I would choose onion rings every time. I rarely make them because there aren't too many people in my house that enjoy them like I do (actually only one other person)...BUT last week I decided to cave in and make them JUST because "I" wanted some....I wasn't disappointed. I thought they were amazing and lipsmacken good (especially dipped in fry sauce). They're a little "naughty" because of all the fat...but they taste REALLY good!

Easy Onion Rings
1-2 large white onions, sliced thin (but NOT TOO thin)
2 c. Original Bisquick Mix
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1 t. garlic powder.
1 t. onion powder
Oil for deep frying

Heat oil (2" of oil) in a frying pan or deep fryer until HOT (I found it easiest to cook these in a frying pan). The best way to check and see if oil is hot enough for cooking is to the do the "wooden spoon check". Dip the spoon into the oil, if bubbles form around the spoon its ready, if not, let it continue to heat.

Put Bisquick, milk, eggs, garlic powder and onion powder in a bowl and mix well. Dip onion slices in mixture and then place in HOT oil. Cook until browned on one side, then flip and cook the other side.
Place cooked onion rings on a plate covered with a layer of paper towels. Continue until ALL onions are cooked OR your tired of cooking. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (I like ranch...of course OR fry sauce)

Fry Sauce: (some of you "outside of UTAH" aren't familiar with this stuff...but its YUMMY)

1 c. MAYONNAISE (not salad dressing)
1/4-1/2 c. ketchup

Mix until smooth and eat up. You can add more or less of either ingredient until you get it to your liking...this is just the way that my family likes it. I have also added barbecue sauce in place of the ketchup or combined WITH the ketchup, to give it an entirely different taste and we like that too....we here in Utah like it on burgers, tacos, as a dipping sauce for french fries, onion rings, tater tots, chicken nuggets....pretty much any greasy fast food dish....if we are going to splurge, why not do it all the way...right?!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, September 24, 2010

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich

I love chick food! I also love having a sister that lives 30 seconds away from me. We are always thinking of excuses to have a girls night out. One of our favorite places is Kneaders... (as you read in my last post). Yum-o. So after spending much moolah at this delicious bakery I decided to try my hand at my own version of their ever delicious Turkey, Bacon and Avocado. This sandwich is absolutely delicious. Not an exact replica of the Kneaders sandwich- the bread was more dense. But absolutely divine nonetheless. My sister and I decided we'll be looking for more reasons to have girls night IN.

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich

Make Facoccia Bread recipe found HERE

3 slices turkey
2 slices provalone cheese
6 slices avocado
4 slices cooked bacon
honey mustard

Cut your bread in half (my hubby tried to use chunks of bread- he didn't understand the cutting step) and layer each of your ingredients inside. Serve immediately with your favorite salad.

~Dayna~

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fat Free Pumpkin Bars


I love pumpkin in just about anything...cookies, cake, waffles, muffins and pie...(I think that about covers it). It's a taste that always reminds me of fall and colder weather... BUT I don't wait for fall to arrive to make these pumpkin bars, I make them year round. Someone gave me this recipe in one of my Weight Watcher classes and I went directly home from there and whipped me up a batch. Being they are pumpkin and fat-free really gave me incentive to make them up QUICK. I was so excited to taste one that I cut and ate a piece right after I pulled them from the oven. I couldn't believe how moist and tasty they were...it only took one bite when I knew that I was hooked forever! I think for the first several months after getting this recipe, I made a batch of these every week. They are super easy to whip up and they will stay moist for days and days (as long as you keep them covered). They also freeze really well...I like to freeze them in individual sandwich bags and when I want a piece I just take one from the freezer, thaw it in the microwave and then eat it with a spoon...just because I can~ and because there's no fat in them, I don't even feel guilty about it.
Give them a try...and eat to your hearts content!

Easy Fat-Free Pumpkin Bars

2/3 c. cold water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 boxed Spice Cake Mix (any brand will work...I've tried them all)

Mix all ingredient together with a mixer. Stir until well blended and all the lumps are gone. Pour into a greased 9x13" pan. Cook at 350 for 25-27 minutes (don't over cook or it won't be as moist). Cool, cut and serve.

*Remember that every oven is different. I like to touch the top of my bars slightly, right in the center, at 25 minutes and if there is no give in the bars then I pull them out of the oven....if they still sink a little I let them cook a bit longer. If you can make a boxed cake...you can make these, they are so simple!!!!

*I usually make a double batch so that I have a pan for everyone to gobble up and then one for me to freeze in baggies to eat later....see- I'm always thinkin' ahead!


Happy Cooking~
Julie

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Focaccia Bread


I've heard about Kneaders for years but I never actually tried it out till a few weeks. I feel sheepish for letting such good food go untasted for so long! One bite of their fresh Focaccia bread and fell in love. I knew I had to try it at home. I found a simple recipe and expected the worst. I could not have been more wrong. This recipe was easy and absolutely divine. The flavors that combine in this dense bread were amazing. This will definitely be a staple at our house from now on!

Focaccia Bread
1 Tbs. yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic pwd.
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 dash black pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Mix yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Let sit until bubble begin to form (approx 5-10 min). In a separate bowl stir together flour, salt, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Add the yeast mix and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well. When dough has pulled together place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl- place dough inside and turn to coat the dough in oil. Cover with a warm rag and let sit for 25 minutes. Punch dough down and place on a greased cookie sheet. Pat dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle (does not need to be perfect) Using your knuckles make indentions in the dough about 1/2 inch apart. Brush top with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

~Dayna~

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Good Morning" Breakfast Burritos

As you know I am always searching for and creating breakfast recipes (boredom at breakfast isn't a good way to start the day). Its one of those meals, that for some reason, seems limited in the variety of food we serve and eat. Our family loves breakfast burritos and we eat them often, they are easy and delicious. But I wanted to give the "regular breakfast burrito" a little "spicing up"...so this is what I came up with. My family appreciated my creative efforts and actually wanted more when the pan was empty. I should have doubled the recipe...next time I will. It would be a great "brunch" recipe or something that you could serve to a large amount of people...like on Christmas morning (ha ha ha...you know its just around the corner). Regardless of the time of year, it's a great, satisfying meal that is sure to start your day out right. Enjoy~

"Good Morning" Breakfast Burritos
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled
10-12 eggs, scrambled
2 c. grated cheese
1 package raw mushrooms
6 flour tortillas (10 inch rounds)

Cheese Sauce:
Cut 1/2 brick Velvetta Cheese into small cubes. Place in a microwave safe dish. Add 1/4 c. milk and stir. Microwave on high for 1:30 minutes then stir, continue to cook and stir every 30 seconds until cheese is melted and forms a sauce (if you like your cheese sauce thinner, add more milk...but we like ours a little thicker...don't add more milk until after its all done and you can see that you are going to want yours thinner). I have tried the NO NAME brands of processed cheese, none of them measure up to the taste or smoothy texture of the Velvetta brand. I recommend that you use the "real stuff" when making this.   

Saute mushrooms until tender, BUT not soggy. Set aside. Warm tortillas for about 15 seconds a piece or until they are slightly warm. This makes rolling the burritos much easier. Spoon scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese and mushrooms down the center of tortilla and roll up. Place in a 9x13" baking pan. Continue until all of your tortillas are filled. REMEMBER to SAVE some of your BACON out to put on top of the burritos. Pour Cheese Sauce on top and add bacon pieces. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until burritos are completely heated through.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Pasta Salad


My Aunt Sommer is one of the best cooks I know. Every time we get together as a family she always has some delicious dish to share. So at our annual family reunion it did not surprise me when she pulled out this amazing chicken pasta salad. It's everything you could want in a pasta salad. The crunch of the almonds, the sweetness of the fruit and the soft pasta all come together to form one big happy salad family. Perhaps my favorite part about this salad is it saves beautifully. If there are any leftovers (and that's a big IF) pop them in the fridge and it tastes just as good the next day. Most pasta salads go soggy or weird. Not this one. You're sure to get compliments with this salad-- that's if you are actually willing to share it!

Chicken Pasta Salad
12 oz Bow Tie noodles
1 cup grapes
1 cup mandarin oranges
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup celery (opt)
1/2 cup onion (opt)
1 cup canned chicken
3/4 cup mayo
salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles until soft. Rinse in cold water and cool. Once cooled combine noodles, grapes, mandarin oranges, almonds, craisins, celery, onion, chicken and mayo. Mix until everything is coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

~Dayna~

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet Cherry Grilled Pork


I forget how much my family likes pork (you know, "The OTHER white meat") until I cook it again and everyone thinks we are eating something new. I never think to buy pork until I am flipping through my recipes and see all these yummy things that you can do with it. In our house chicken and hamburger are the "staple meats" and thats usually what I use on a regular basis. A couple of nights ago I had an opened can of cherries that I needed to use and had bought some boneless pork chops on sale....I decided to create this little gem of a recipe and the family gobbled every bit of it down. My hubby said that he defiantly wanted this on a regular basis (nothing is "on a regular basis" in my house or there would be NO recipes for you to try out). Needless to say it was a huge hit...hope your family likes it too.

Sweet Cherry Grilled Pork
6-8 boneless pork chops (trim as much of the fat from them as you can)
cooked rice

Marinating Sauce:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle soy sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 can DIET coke (I used the caffeine free...but I don't think that it matters)
Mix all together. Place in a ziplock bag or deep dish and place pork in to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Grill pork on your outside grill until done.

Cherry Sauce:
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can cherry pie filling
2 T. lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat thoroughly.

Serve pork over cooked rice. Pour cherry sauce onto the pork and EAT UP!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Roll


I absolutely adore fall. I love the smells, the food, the feel and the holidays. Pumpkin flavor encompasses all those things and tastes like creamy nostalgia. When I made this recipe, Jack was not really that excited for them. When he tasted them however, his eyes popped and he just said, "Wow."

On the 20th of next month will be five years since I married Jack. We had pumpkin rolls at our reception and they always remind me of that special time. Hopefully trying this recipe may trigger some happy food related memories for you and your family.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Filling:
8 oz cream cheese- softened
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and eggs. Mix well. Add lemon juice and pumpkin. Mix.

In a seperate bowl mix flour, salt, spices and baking powder. Add to egg mixture. Spread batter into greased and wax-paper lined 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

While cake is cooling prepare cream cheese filling. Add cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix until well blended.

Spread cream cheese filling over cake. Roll up cake and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Slice and serve.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Easy Homemade Mall Pretzels

You can't go the Mall and not see the little shops that sell these wonderful hot pretzels. They sell them by the hundreds, if not thousands (gosh...why didn't I open my own shop and sell these years ago...I would be rich)! Some are dipped in cheese sauce, some in ranch, others covered in cinnamon and sugar...all of which just make my mouth water. I have always wanted to make my own pretzels but I was so intimidated by some of the recipes that I had seen. Some had miles of instructions which made little or no sense. Some had funky ingredients and others just intimidated me by the amount of time that it would take to create such a masterpiece. Yesterday I decided I was going to make homemade pretzels...no matter what. I had a recipe that I had stored in my files for years and decided that NOW was the time...and today would be the day...I pulled out the recipe and got to work. Much to my surprise, they were so easy. They do take some time...but anything that you cook takes time....BUT it wasn't hard. I loved that they tasted just like the pretzels that you get in the Mall. They were soft, they were chewy, they were mouth watering good!!!! I melted up some cheese sauce and ate to my hearts content...the only thing that would have made them better was if I would have had an arm full of shopping bags sitting in my lap, full of some "retail therapy"...just saying~
    ......BUT thats another post-for a different blog.....

Easy Homemade Mall Pretzels
Dough:
3 c. warm water
2 T sugar
3 t. salt
5 T. active dry yeast
9 c. flour
1/2 butter, melted

Boiling Water:
10 c. water
2/3 c. baking soda

Pretzel Salt (optional) * I didn't use...I don't like the salt on mine, but if you do, use it.

Instructions:
*Instructions are for a bread mixer (Bosch) or Kitchen Aid...but if you want to do it by hand that will work too...it will just take a little longer and use a little more muscle than it took to mix it up in my Bosch.


Pretzel Dough: 
In bowl, combine water, sugar, salt and yeast. Allow to sit for 5-6 minutes or until mixture begins to foam (yeast begins to bubble).

Add flour and melted butter to yeast mixture. Using the dough hook on your mixer, mix on low until ingredients is well combined...increase speed to medium and knead until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and has a smooth texture. This process usually takes about 5-6 minutes.

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with pan coating, cover with a HOT damp cloth and let rise until double. (50-60 minutes)

Boiling Water:
Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large sauce pan (if it starts to boil before you get your dough rolled out, turn water down and let it simmer until your ready for it, then turn the water back up...this will prevent your water from evaporating)

Pretzel Dough:
Lightly spray 2 large baking sheets with pan coating. Spray an area on your counter with pan coating (your work space). Divide dough in half. Leave 1/2 of the dough in the pan covered with damp hot towel to prevent it from drying out. Divide dough (the piece you took from the bowl) into 12 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 18-24 inch rope and twist it into the shape of a pretzel then place on prepared baking sheets. Slightly press down ends of pretzel to prevent them from coming up during the boiling process. Continue with the remaining half of the dough. (you should get a total of 24 pretzels)
Roll ball of dough into a rope

Form rope into the shape of a pretzel


One at a time (my pan was big enough that I could cook 3 at a time), cook pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds each; then remove with a slotted metal spatula and return to baking sheets (this process gives your pretzel the "chewy" texture that makes it so good). Let pretzels raise for 15 minutes. 


Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. (I tried both times but prefer 8 minutes because I like my pretzels a little "lighter" in color)  Remove from pan and cool on a paper towel or dishtowel. Serve pretzels warm with cheese sauce, ranch or with YOUR favorite dipping sauce.

Enjoy your own little "Mall Treat"!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Palacsintas


A few weeks ago we spent a week at Echo Lake with the hubby's family. I already blogged about how I loved taking turns cooking. Adam and Angeline made the most delicious Sweet Pork Tacos and Sam and Tiffany made amazing Palacsinta's for breakfast one morning. Sam served his mission in Hungary and brought back a love for Hungarian Pancakes (a crepe like pancake). They were absolutely divine and I couldn't understand why he hadn't shared this recipe before. Seriously people- everyone loves to be featured on my food blog. I think my favorite part about this recipe was the simple similarity to a crepe but filled with ingredients you would never think to pair together. It is absolutely heavenly.

Palacsinta
4 eggs
2 cups milk
3 tsp. sugar
2 cups sifted flour

Fill with:
scrambled eggs
mozzarella cheese
BBQ sauce

Mix eggs and milk thoroughly. Add sugar and flour slowly and mix until well blended. Pour 1/4 cup in the bottom of a well greased pan and slowly tilt pan in a circular motion to distribute the batter until it makes a round thin circle. Brown lightly on both sides.

Alternate fillings: nutella, pudding, fresh fruit, cream, jam, etc.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lemonade Pie


My step-mom is an amazing cook, I know I have said that before, but she IS! Every single time that we have a family dinner, she has some new fantastic dish for us all to try out. As soon she places it on the table, it is devoured in a matter of minutes...(we are a little like flies on fly paper sometimes). This last big family get together that we had, she made this "melt in your mouth, heaven on a fork, lumptious dessert" (I'm not even kidding, it was just THAT GOOD)! I was afraid if I ate another piece I wouldn't be able to contain myself and I would eat the entire pan. It was light, refreshing and yet it hit my sweet tooth in all the right places (and it wasn't even chocolate, imagine that). It sort of tastes like cheesecake, yet not so rich. Its easy and can be made well in advance (days) or just a few hours before you want to serve it. This recipe will be made AND EATEN at my house over and over and over, guaranteed!!!

Lemonade Pie
Crust:
100 Ritz Crackers, crushed ( 3 out of the 4 packages that come in a box)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2/3 c. butter, melted

Mix cracker crumbs and powdered sugar together until well blended. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is crumbly and sticks together. Press 2/3 of it in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Set 1/3 of the crumb mixture aside.

Filling:
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (6 oz) lemonade (frozen but thawed) from concentrate
1 (12 oz) tub frozen whipped topping
food coloring (if you want to make it a specific color)

Combine sweetened condensed milk and lemonade, whisk together. Fold in whipped topping and food coloring. Pour into prepared Ritz crust. Spread evenly. Top with crumb mixture. Freeze. When ready to serve, take from the freezer, let sit on the counter for 3-5 minutes or until you can cut pie. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in freezer immediately. 

*I made my pie with raspberry lemonade. You can use whatever kind of frozen lemonade you would like...or other variations such as limeade, pineapple, cranberry...the options are endless...be creative and explore...then share, I would love to hear what you make and try out.  

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Monday, September 13, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Pizza is one of my all time favorite foods. I could down an entire large pizza in one sitting and enjoy the whole thing (the guilt would come later) I haven't met very many pizza haters in my life- until I married one of them. Pizza with the hubby is a whole new experience. He refuses to eat pizza sauce so whenever we order pizza we have to get 2. One normal and one without sauce. Most times we order pizza and bread sticks and he'll just stick to the bread. Weird. So, because I am such a loving and fabulous wife I continue to search for delicious pizza recipes without all that pizza sauce. I found this one here that looked like it was something we would enjoy. I didn't expect much out of it. Not sure why. Who could go wrong with those ingredients. But I was shocked to the bone to discover how absolutely amazing this pizza really is. It's got the zip of buffalo chicken but doesn't burn your entire mouth. From the first bite I vowed to make this recipe every week for the rest of my life. It was THAT good! I hope you'll try this recipe and make the same vow!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
1 pkg. instant pizza dough (or your fav. pizza crust recipe)
5 chicken strips
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 Tbs. Franks Hot Sauce

Prepare chicken strips according to package directions. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions. Combine ranch and hot sauce- mix thoroughly. Press pizza dough onto pizza sheet. Top with ranch/hot sauce mixture and cover with cheese. Cut cooked chicken strips into small pieces and cover the pizza with them. For more of a buffalo bite sprinkle additional hot sauce over the entire pizza. Bake at 475 for 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer Chicken Sandwich

Yes, I am trying to hold on to summer for as long as I possibly can. I love everything about these HOT, carefree, beautiful days (yes, that even includes the HEAT)! The food that we eat during the summer months seems to be so different than the food that we eat during the other months of the year. Summer cooking is usually a little quicker (at least for me) and lighter and has a "simpleness" about it that I don't seem to impliment in my cooking during the winter months. So hanging onto the "simple summer cooking" is important to me...at least for a little bit longer. This chicken sandwich is everything that a summer meal should be, easy, light, little if NO dishes and very tasty! I grilled my chicken on the barbeque grill, but you could easliy cook it in a skillet on the stove or broil it in the oven...its very versitle. The avocado gives this sandwich the moisture that you crave with mayonnaise or other sandwich sauces, but without all of the "bad calories" that "those kind of sauces" have in them (although...they are still my guilty pleasure and I will continue to eat them on other things...just not this sandwich). Make this for dinner tonight and HOLD ON to summer for as long as you can too.

Summer Chicken Sandwich
1 c. orange juice (from a bottle or leftovers from breakfast)
1/4 c. oil
1 c. soy sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
2 t. sugar
2 t. lemon pepper

Put all ingredient in a large plastic container with a lid OR a strong ziplock bag. Add:

6 boneless skinless, chicken breast

6 slices Monterey Jack Cheese (don't add to your marinade...its for later)

Marinade for 4-5 hours (I put mine in the marinade right after breakfast and left it until I was ready to
cook it for dinner).
Drain chicken breast and grill or cook on your stovetop. Chicken is done when the juices run clear.
*cooking time will vary with each cooking method as well as the thickness of your chicken breasts. When chicken is done, melt cheese on top of each piece.

1 loaf French Bread, cut into 6 even pieces and split open
butter
tomatoes
3 ripe avocado's, peeled and smashed to make a sandwich spread
1 package canadian bacon

Butter each slice of bread (one side only, like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich) and place in a hot skillet, butter side down. When bread is toasted remove from pan. Spread desired amount of avocado on bottom half of sandwich, place chicken breast, tomatoes and canadian bacon on top. Place top of bread on sandwich and take a BIG BITE...taste the yumminess, now enjoy each and every bite.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, September 10, 2010

BBQ Beef Melt


I'll just throw out my disclaimer now. I really do love to cook-- but there are those days (more often than not) that McDonalds dollar menu wins the dinner fight. Lately I've just felt so overwhelmed with everything I need to do that by the time I get home from work I have no more energy to give. My poor husband! A few days ago I decided that I really did need to change. I need to become more organized and spend my time doing the things I need to do instead of watching reruns of Project Runway. Part of my re-organization goal was to cook at home- of course this meant I needed quick and delicious meals so McDonalds wouldn't sound so good! This is a meal my hubby and I threw together one night and we LOVE it at our house. He loves how good it tastes and I love that I literally only spend 10 minutes in the kitchen. It's fabulous.

BBQ Beef Melt
2 lbs Beef Roast
2 cups BBQ sauce
1 loaf french bread
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Ranch

Cook Beef Roast in crockpot on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. When cooked through. Shred beef and return to crockpot with 2 cups of BBQ sauce and cook for an addition hour (unless you are pressed for time- then just warm it all up on the stove). Cut french bread in half (horizontal) and load one side with BBQ beef. Top with mozzarella Cheese. Broil (both sides of the bread- the one with the BBQ beef on it and the "topper") for 3-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Replace top of french bread. Cut into 2" strips and serve immediately. Dip in ranch. (of course)

~Dayna~

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Julie's Frosting

NOTE...Today there are 2 recipe posts, 
 make sure you scroll down so that you can see them both.

NOTICE...this is not a repeat of my cookie recipe...
It's for the Frosting thats on top of them. 
This is just the only picture I had of my frosting at the moment. 


Many of you have requested that I post the recipe for my favorite frosting....here it is. This is the frosting that I use on ALL my frosted cakes, cupcakes, frosted cookies and cinnamon rolls...pretty much on everything that calls for frosting. I love it! I made this recipe up after years of trying to find one that I loved. I have used it for many years....and its my very favorite by far. Hope that it becomes your favorite as well! 
Julie's Frosting

2 lb. powdered sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1 T. vanilla
1/2 c. milk

Mix all ingredient together until smooth. Frost cake, cookies or cinnamon rolls. It's so good!!

*To flavor frosting, just add 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite flavor extract (mine is mint!) OR to make chocolate frosting add 1/4-1/2  c. cocoa and maybe just a little more milk but add the extra milk last...that way you can see if you really need it. If your frosting is too thick then add just a few tablespoons of milk at a time. IF by chance you add too much milk...add a little more powdered sugar. I don't usually make chocolate frosting because I adore the white frosting...and I've never been a fan of chocolate frosting on anything....So there you have it, my little frosting recipe. 

*Hint: To make frosting cake easier....freeze your cake first. This prevents crumbs from coming off your cake and getting into your frosting. 

*This frosting recipe will frost 1 double decker 9" round cake or 2 1/2 dozen cinnamon rolls. You can half the recipe if its too much for what you are doing BUT...if you think you might want to make something else that will need frosting in the near future, this frosting will last for up to 2 weeks in an air tight container in your refrigerator. I do that all the time and love that I don't have to make up more when I need it. When you are ready to use your frosting, remove container from the refrigerator and place it on your counter. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes or until frosting has softened up (as you all know, the cold from the refrigerator makes some things a little stiff). Enjoy...every bite! I ALWAYS DO!!!

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Summer Raspberry Bread

Raspberries are one of my favorite berries...I like them fresh, frozen, in jam or in a salad...I just love them. I have a big patch of raspberries in my back yard. We usually end up getting GALLONS of them during harvest time...way more than we can eat all at once. We eat some, but I usually end up freezing a good part of them or making freezer jam with them. I found this recipe and thought I would give it a try...but I never guessed that it would be so amazing. I love it, my kids love it and most of all, my hubby loves it. I made 4 loaves and they were gone before I had time to even put some away (you know..."hide it for another day"?!) We ate if for breakfast, for snacks and just whenever we walked by the plate of it sitting on the counter. Next time I think I will drizzle a little "glaze" over the top....just to make it that much better.

Summer Raspberry Bread

2 (10 oz packages) frozen raspberries, thawed and undrained
2 T. raspberry OR strawberry jam
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. oil
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, puree raspberries and jam. Whisk together eggs and oil. In a large bowl put all dry ingredients together and whisk. Pour egg mixture, as well as raspberry mixture, into dry ingredients. Mix all ingredient together  until well blended.  Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes (mine took 50...just watch yours) or until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to sit 10 minutes to cool before removing from the pans. Cool completely before storing in plastic bags or wrapping in plastic wrap. 

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Funfetti Cookies


I think there is a tiny bit of all adults who still love Funfetti cake and frosting. A few weeks ago I spent hours in the kitchen baking a chocolate cake from scratch. I made homemade frosting and even decorated it. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. That is until my husband smiled and said the cake was "good" but gosh he sure likes the frosting with sprinkles in it from the store. Boo! Honestly though-- who can resist the Funfetti delight? That's why these cookies are so fun! It's the perfect fast and easy cookie that will please both kids and adults. Plus the cookie dough is just amazing. Every time I placed a spoonful on the cookie sheet I placed a spoonful in my mouth. Mmm... I think these cookies are worth it just for the dough!

Funfetti Cookies
1 pkg Funfetti cake mix
2 eggs
2/3 cups shortening

Mix ingredients together. Place spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Pound cookie sheet once on the counter when they are fresh out of the oven so the cookies "fall". Cool and serve.

These cookies are perfect for any ocassion. Make them as an after school snack, birthday party or baby shower.

~Dayna~

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Smores Bars


I've already publicly professed my love for S'mores. This month I've gone a little bit overboard--numerous times a week I would find myself turning the oven burner on to high and waiting for it to turn red so I could burn a marshmallow and shovel a S'more in my mouth before anyone caught me. I have to be sneaky so the hubby doesn't eat my stash! The other day I found this recipe and knew it was right up my alley. It was just as good as I imagined. I think I might even be a grown up and make these instead of roasting a marshmallow over the stove. I know right, I'm awesome.

S'more Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 king size milk chocolate bars*
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (7 1/2 oz jar)

*I used 1 1/2 of the Giant Hershey Bars. I like my chocolate thick.

Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a seperate bowl combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to the buttered mixture and mix until combined.

Divide dough in half. Press half of the dough into an even layer on the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. You may need to break the chocolate to get it to fit into your pan. Spread marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Place the remaining dough in an even layer over the marshmallow. *I rolled out the dough in between two pieces of wax paper, cut it to the exact size I needed and then transfered it to pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned. Cool COMPLETELY before cutting into bars. I would suggest letting them sit overnight. I let them cool for a few hours before I cut into them. The chocolate was still warm and it melted all over the plate and made a huge mess. I let the rest of the pan sit over night and they were perfect S'mores. Also... these bars are SO rich. I'll be impressed if you can eat a normal sized bar without feeling overwhelmed. My suggestion is to cut them into very small squares.

~Dayna~

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cheesy Bacon Chicken

Bacon has its place in the world...and I've decided that it's not for breakfast, its on this crazy delicious chicken! I don't even like bacon and I (yes me, the bacon hater) thought this was a fantastic dish of yumminess! Its smothered in teriyaki sauce and cheese that just make it melt in your mouth. It's defiantly a "family pleasing" meal. Serve it over rice or just on the plate as is! Make this for supper and YOU WON'T be disappointed with dinner tonight!

Cheesy Bacon Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 c.-1 c. Yoshida's Original Sweet Teriyaki Sauce (or your favorite teriyaki sauce)
1-2 c. grated cheese (your favorite, I used Colby Jack)
1 lb. cooked, crumbled bacon (don't use "imitation bacon bits...it will ruin the taste for sure)

Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan, cook chicken breast until its "almost" done. Place "mostly cooked" chicken breast in a 9x13 cake pan and then pour teriyaki sauce over the chicken, just enough to cover the bottom part of the chicken, you don't want it to completely cover it. Top with grated cheese and cooked, crumbled bacon. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350...cook until juices run clear and your chicken is completely cooked. This is seriously one of my favorite recipes and one of my families as well.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birthday Sugar Cookies

I made these crazy delicious cookies in "honor" of my sweet new baby grandson who was born last week. He had his "ONE week" birthday on Tuesday. I know that most of us don't normally celebrate "ONE week" birthdays or even "ONE month" birthdays...but he was born 2 MONTHS early...so having a ONE week birthday was a huge milestone for him. In honor of our sweet baby and the joy he has already brought into our lives, we celebrated this special day because we are so glad to have him and thrilled that he's doing so well.

"Happy Birthday to my sweet little munchkin, Kenron...Grammy loves you!"

So the cookies....These fantastic cookies (that are so SOFT and SO moist, they melt right in your mouth) DON'T have to be made "just on special" occasions....they are so darn good that you are going to want to make them more often than that. They are soft and moist on day one as well as on day 2...and day 3...(they didn't lasts longer than that at my house, we ate them right up). I made smaller cookies and got 7-8 dozen out of the batch...(oh dear, now you know that we ate a TON of them!!!) I have tried recipe after recipe when making sugar cookies and I could never find one that fit ALL of my criteria for a sugar cookie. My hubby is really picky when it comes to his sugar cookies. They can't be too dry or too fluffy. They can't be too thin or too crispy...they have to be just right...YEP, thats what these cookies are is....just right! I can't wait for you to try them out...I know that you're going to love them just like we did!

Birthday Sugar Cookies
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. butter, softened (use the real stuff...it's the best)
2 t. vanilla

Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Add:

5 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. milk (add this last)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Flour area where you will be rolling the dough out. Lightly flour each side of your dough by turning it over from side to side in the flour that you have spread out. Roll out to desired thickness...I rolled mine to about 1/4" thick. Cut cookies out with your favorite cookie cutter or use the mouth of a drinking cup (thats what I did). Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes for smaller cookies...7 minutes for larger cookies. The trick to these is that you don't let them cook too long, watch them carefully. Cooking them 5 minutes for me, was PERFECT. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Friday, September 3, 2010

S'mores

*Don't judge the picture guys- I was in the mountains!

Well friends, it's already September and I've only managed to go camping once- and it was a disaster. To make up for a lack of summer camping my taste buds have decided to be on a S'mores kick. I've gone through SO much chocolate all by myself. It's embarrassing actually. I've made S'more bars, cooked them over my stove and the hubby and I made them at a hot dog roast last weekend. With all this S'mores action going on you would think I would get tired of them. Not so-- but having variety has helped spice things up a bit. Do you love graham crackers? Burnt marshmallows? Twix? Then this ones for you.

Twix S'mores
Graham crackers
Marshmallows
Twix Candy Bars

Use two fun size twix bars or break a regular bar in half- lay both on your graham cracker. Layer with a burnt (I refuse to admit there is another way) marshmallow and top with your other cracker. It immediately and start all over!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Halle's Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Halle is my 13 year old daughter with great goals of becoming a chef one day. She loves to cook and comes up with some rather tasty dishes. This recipe was one that she created and made for a family reunion....and let me tell you, it was a HIT. I love the way the bacon compliments the chicken, it all just makes your mouth water. This salad is a great way to wrap up your summer barbecues or those fun, easy dinners that seem to go hand in hand with warm weather and summer time cooking. This salad is delish, mark my word...you are going to want to eat the entire bowl full! I can't wait to make it again (oh wait...I will just have Halle make it)! I know that it will become a favorite in our house.

Halle's Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

1 16 oz. box Rotini (or other noodles) cooked according to package directions, drain and cool
2 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, cooled- then crumbled
2-3 c. grated cheddar cheese
4-6 grilled skinless chicken breast (you can grill it or you can buy already grilled chicken in the deli
      section of your grocery store...we grilled it on our grill), cut into cubes
Mayonnaise (the REAL stuff) 
* I like Best Foods or Western Family brands the best...but use your favorite
1/2 c. Ranch Dressing (more or less depending on what you like)
salt
pepper
season salt

In a large mixing bowl combine pasta, cooled crumbled bacon, grilled chicken (cooled completely) and grated cheese. Mix well. Add desired amount of mayonnaise, ranch and seasonings. Taste and add more seasonings as needed. (It's a "taste as you make" kind of salad) Stir all ingredients together. Serve.

Happy Cooking~
Julie

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas


Chicken Enchiladas are some of my favorite food. I usually make mine with a Cream of Chicken sauce, but this night I had some green sauce on hand and decided to use it instead. I'm a huge lover of green sauce. You should be too!

Chicken Enchiladas
10 uncooked tortilla shells
1 can refried beans
1 can pinto beans
1 cup chicken
4 cups cheese
1 large can green chili sauce

Cook tortillas according to package directions (use NO oil for a healthier version- they also fold easier) spread approx 2 Tbs. on the bottom of the shell. Top with 2 Tbs. pinto beans, 2 Tbs. of chicken and a small handful of cheese. Pour 2 Tbs. green chili sauce over the top and fold. Set in a 9x13 pan. Continue with the reamaining tortilla shells. When finished top with remaining green chili sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.