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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes


Sometimes I just crave a plain chocolate cupcake...these are just the thing that satisfies that craving. They are moist and rich and DIVINE!...AND ADORABLE!

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes


2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 1/2 cubes butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. coconut extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk

In a medium bowl combine flour and cocoa, whisk. Set aside. In another bowl cream together butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla and coconut extract, beat until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs and beat. Slowly combine dry ingredient, altering with milk. Beat until combined. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners. SPRAY liners with cooking spray and fill each liner approximately 2/3 full. Bake 15-17 minutes or until done. Cool completely and frost with Creamy Frosting (recipe below). 

Creamy Frosting:

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

Mix all ingredient together until its light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with shaved chocolate. 

Julie~

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kitchen Tip--- Egg Freshness

                                                                 image from http://familyvolley.blogspot.com/2011/04/family-fun-friday-egg-wrestling.html

My hubby is on a protein kick. He's been eating eggs for breakfast every day, eggs for snack and occasionally I even sneak them in for dinner. Needless to say we buy a lot of eggs. Whenever I need to check the freshness I simply place them in a bowl of water (about 4 inches). Eggs that stay on the bottom are fresh. If it floats it's past it's prime and should be thrown away. Quick and easy, and it calms my paranoid brain. (I am terrified of cracking open a rotten egg. yuck!) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fruity Tootie Pancakes

This is such a fun thing to serve for breakfast, especially if you have little kids (but adults love them too). They have a hint of fruit flavor, fun colors and just add a little "happiness" to those dull, plain pancakes!

Fruity Tootie Pancakes

6 eggs
2 c. flour
2 c. milk
3-4 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. Fruity Pebble Cold Cereal (I used the Western Family brand...either one works)

Mix eggs, sugar and salt until completely combined. Add dry ingredient and milk. Stir completely. Add cereal and mix JUST until combined (don't over mix or your cereal will be smashed). Cook on a hot pancake griddle (following instructions for your griddle). Serve with syrup or berries and cream.

Julie~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kitchen Tip--- Cooking Bacon


We love bacon at our house. I hate standing over the stove while it cooks though, so more often than not I bake mine in the oven. The ONLY thing I hate about this method is that it leaves my baking sheets an awful mess! I have to let them soak in hot water and I spend what seems like forever scrubbing my pans. So last week before I put my bacon in the oven I simply lined my baking sheet with tin foil and then placed the bacon on top. It was amazing! I simply waited for my grease to cool and wadded up my tinfoil for a quick and easy clean up. 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Puffy Pizza Pull Apart Bread


This is a super summer meal. ITS EASY and QUICK. You can eat it on the go or serve it with a salad and dine at the table. ITS PIZZA...and its YUMMY...so who wouldn't love it?!

Puffy Pizza Pull Apart Bread

3 cans refrigerator biscuits (just regular sized cans...not GRANDS)
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
Favorite pizza toppings...olives, pepperoni, sausage, ham, onions, chicken, mushrooms, veggies...etc...
3 c. grated mozzarella cheese
2 t. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut biscuits into quarters and place them in a large bowl. Pour enough spaghetti sauce in to cover the biscuits (but not to make soup). Add italian seasoning. Mix together (I just used my hands...it was easiest). Add MORE sauce if you want more (if it looks like it needs more). Add 1 c. cheese (reserve the rest for the top) Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and the rest of the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minute or until biscuits are done. 

Julie~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Banana Breakfast Cake


A good part of the time when I buy banana's they turn brown before we get them all eaten. My family enjoys banana bread, but sometimes its nice to try something else...hence the reason for the "Banana Breakfast Cake". It was easy and a huge a hit when everyone piled to the table for their morning meal!

Banana Breakfast Cake
4 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cube butter
4 T oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 EGG WHITES
2 t. vanilla
8 large ripe banana's 
1/2 c. milk

Spray (2) 8x8 baking pans (DON'T use a 9x13...I used a 9x13 and found that the outside tends to burn before the inside is cooked). Place flour, baking powder and salt in a medium dish. Whisk ingredient together and set aside. Beat butter, sugar and oil. Add eggs and egg whites. Mix well. Add vanilla. Gradually add your dry ingredients into butter mixture, altering with your milk. Place peeled banana's in a large zip lock bag, zip closed. SMASH banana's with your fingers until they are completely smashed. Pour them (squeeze the bag) into batter and mix well. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. 
Pour glaze over the top while cake is still warm....EAT while cake is warm.

Glaze:
3/4 c. powdered sugar
milk

Place powdered sugar in a bowl, mix enough milk to make a thin (not watery) glaze. Pour over warm cake, cut and serve. 

Julie~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kitchen Tip--- Egg Shell

                                                                                  image from http://www.photo-dictionary.com/phrase/859/egg-shell.html#b

I love finding kitchen tips that save my life! I can't remember where I found this idea but it only took one try before I became a believer for life. You know all those times when you crack an egg and a tiny bit of shell ends up in the bowl along with everything else--- and then you spend the next 5 minutes trying to out smart the shell with any utensil you can think of. Next time simply wet your finger and when you try to grab it the shell will stick to your finger without any trouble! 

You are welcome. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cinnamon Wiffle Waffles


If you follow Pinterest, you've seen these waffles ALL over the place. They are as simple as 1-2-3 (seriously) and THEY were SO STINKIN good! ANYONE can make them. With summer in full force, why not make this WITH the kids...they would love it! I've made these several times and every time I do, the family gives alot of "ohhhh's and ahhhh's"...which makes all the effort (practically NONE) worth it.

Cinnamon Wiffle Waffles

1 can refrigerator cinnamon rolls
2-3 cup strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
Whip topping

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray, place 2-4 cinnamon rolls on the waffle iron (close together)...I only used 2 cinnamon rolls because my kids usually only eat 1/2 a waffle at a time. Cook until your waffle iron light turns off and lets you know they are done. Top with glaze, strawberries and a dollop of whip topping if desired.

Glaze:
Frosting from the can of cinnamon rolls
3/4 c. powdered sugar
milk 

Warm frosting in a microwave safe dish. Stir in powdered sugar and enough milk to make a glaze. Pour over warm Cinnamon Wiffle Waffles.

Julie~

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coconut Cream Cupcakes


If you like coconut, you'll love these cupcakes. They are packed full of that light, heavenly taste in every bite!

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 cubes butter, softened
2 c. sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. coconut extract
1 c. buttermilk
7 oz. shredded coconut

Prepare muffin tins with liners and spray with pan coating. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl on high until light and fluffy (4 minutes). Add eggs, vanilla and extracts, mix well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, mix just until combined. Combine coconut and FOLD in by hand. Fill liners 2/3 full with cupcake batter. Bake for 15-20 or until top of cupcake springs back when you touch it. Cool and frost.

Coconut Cream Frosting:

2 lbs powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. shortening
1-4 t. coconut extract (more or less to taste)

Mix ingredient together until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes. Top with coconut if desired...as you can see, I didn't, but it wasn't because I didn't want to...its because I was a bit slow and it didn't stick. If you add the coconut you have to add it immediately after you frost ONE cupcake, that way your frosting doesn't stiffen, its still really soft, and your coconut will stick. 

Julie~

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dreamy Orange French Toast


"Orange" is one of my hubbies favorite artificial flavorings. He loves orange slices, orange gummy bears, 
orange creamsicle's, orange sherbet...you name it, if its orange, he likes it. One morning I was trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, I was feeling "awful thoughtful" and decided I would make something special for him (I know...I know...what a nice wife I am). I came up with this WHOPPER of a breakfast! It was perfect..(yes, really it was). They hubby thought he had "died and gone to heaven"...I hated to tell him that NO, he was just in the kitchen, at the table, eating breakfast and before too long it would be gone and real life would settle back in....(leave it to me to burst his happy little bubble). Needless to say, we will be making this again because everyone left the table smiling!

Dreamy Orange French Toast
6-8 slices bread (dense...homemade or deli bread)
5 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. orange extract
1 t. vanilla
5 T. sugar

Heat griddle (spray with pan coating) to approximately 350-375 degrees or use a frying pan on top of the stove(if using a frying pan, make sure to use a NON stick pan sprayed with pan coating). In a mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, cream, orange extract, vanilla and sugar. Whisk until completely mixed. Dip bread into mixture, flipping to ensure both sides are covered. Place dipped bread onto hot griddle. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes (longer if your bread is extra thick). Continue until all bread is cooked. Top with Orange Syrup and Orange Dreamy Cream (RECIPES below)

Orange Syrup
2 small box peach flavored Jell-o
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 t. orange extract

Mix gelatin, sugar, cornstarch and water together in a small saucepan. Stir continually so that all the lumps from the cornstarch are mixed in. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes. Pour into a cup with a spout and cool for 10 minutes or until slightly cooled and thickened. Serve over french toast!

*Syrup won't get really thick, but it's thicker than water

Orange Dreamy Cream
1 c. heavy cream
1-2 t. orange extract (more or less depending on desired taste)
1 T. sugar

Whip heavy cream until it will hold a peak. Add orange flavoring and sugar and whip for 2 minutes or until mixed...don't whip too long or you'll end up with butter. Dollop on top of french toast. 

Julie~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Farmers Favorite Breakfast Casserole


Another one of my families favorite breakfast's are the infamous "Breakfast Casserole"...ONE breakfast casserole isn't always the same as the next. There are probably at least "ONE MILLION" different twists to this family favorite...this just happens to be one of them and its a DANDY!!!

Farmers Favorite Breakfast Casserole
1 (28 oz) package frozen hash browns, cubed
1 t. season salt
1 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
12 eggs (yes, 1 DOZEN), beaten
4 T butter
1-2 c. grated cheese (desired amount)

3/4 of a 32oz brick of Velveeta Cheese, cubed
1/2-3/4 c. milk

In a large place 2 T oil. Heat. Add frozen hash browns and season salt. Fry until crisp. Place cooked hash browns in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Set aside. Scramble eggs in butter until almost set. Place in baking dish over the top of hash browns. Set aside.

Place Velveeta cheese and milk in a microwave safe dish. Cook for 30-40 minute intervals, stirring between each one. Continue process until Velveeta and milk form a sauce. Pour cheese sauce over eggs and hash browns. Top with crumbled bacon and grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with toast and jam for a COMPLETE yummy breakfast.

Julie~

Monday, June 11, 2012

Breakfast Burrito with Sausage Gravy


Breakfast Burrito's are one of my families favorite breakfast foods...no one ever complains...BUT there is only so many things that you can serve in a burrito and ONLY so often that you can make them before everyone gets tired of them. I was thrilled when I saw this new idea for Breakfast Burrito's on Pinterest. I knew immediately that I had to give it a try! I put my own little twist on it and now we have another SCRUMPTIOUS way to serve a family favorite!!!

Breakfast Burrito with Sausage Gravy

8-10 flour tortilla shells (your favorite...I like to use the "dough shells"...pre-packaged, that I cook myself)
8 eggs, beaten and scrambled
2-3 c. grated cheddar cheese (divided...some for filling, some to top burrito)
1 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
1 lb. sliced mushrooms, saute'd 
12-16 oz package frozen hash browns, cooked
diced onions
diced chili's
diced tomato

*THIS is what I used in our burrito's, you can fill your's with anything your family likes

Cook shells according to package instruction (if you use the dough shells) OR if using prepared flour tortilla's, place a small amount of oil in a large frying pan. Heat oil. Fry shells for 15 seconds (approximately) on each side or until warmed. Fill cooked shells with desired "burrito fixings". Roll "burrito style", place on a OVEN SAFE dish. Top with Sausage gravy (instructions below) and grated cheese. Put under the broiler in oven for 2 minutes. Finish off with diced avocado, tomato and a dollop of sour cream if desired.


Sausage Gravy
1-2 lbs sausage, cooked and crumbled
1-2 packages of  "Country Gravy" mix

Cook country gravy according to package instructions. When gravy is thickened to desired thickness (you can add MORE water to the mix if you prefer your gravy a little thinner) add cooked sausage and pour desire amount onto prepared burrito before putting in the oven. 
**NOTE~ YOU CAN use a homemade sausage gravy if you choose, that would taste EVEN better...but I ADORE this way as well. IT tastes spectacular and is only 1/2 the work....and besides, EASY and fast breakfasts are AWESOME!!

Julie~

Friday, June 8, 2012

Limeade Cupcakes


Citrus flavored "ANYTHING" is light and summery. Enjoy these fun cupcakes that are sure to please the kiddo's as well as the adults in your life...UMmmmm...I just happen to be ONE of those ADULTS IN YOUR LIFE and I just happen to LOVE these...so if you are needing to share the wealth, you can bring one to my house :)


Limeade Cupcakes
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. + 2 T. oil
5 egg whites
3/4 c. frozen limade concentrate, THAWED (just leave on the counter for a bit...it thaws quickly)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. + 2 T. buttermilk
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all dry ingredient in a mixing bowl, stir and set aside. In a seperate mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, eggs whites, limeade and vanilla. Stir until combined. Add half the buttermilk, stir. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately until everything is mixed together. Don't over mix or you cupcakes won't be light and fluffy. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter green (more if you want it MORE green). Line muffin tins with liners. Fill each liner 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely and frost with Limeade Frosting (recipe below). 

Limeade Frosting

4 c. powdered sugar
7-9 T Limeade concentrate, thawed (more or less depending on your tastes)
1/2 c. shortening
green food coloring (just enough to turn it a light shade of green)

Combine all ingredient. Mix until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Decorate OR leave plain. 

Julie~

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheesy Bacon Taters and Chili Ranch Sauce


The kids are out of school, and if you are like me....you frequently wonder what your going to fix for lunch! I usually serve leftovers (because I don't want to cook plus its a good way to use them up), but some days "there are NO leftovers" so I have to come up with something to make. These Cheesy Bacon Taters are a fun way to use up leftover baked potatoes...BUT they taste fabulous too. You can make them as a meal, a snack or a side dish...they are very versatile...AND one things for sure, no matter how you serve them, they will be gobbled right up!

Cheesy Bacon Taters and Chili Ranch Sauce

Baked potatoes (best if they have been refrigerated over night), sliced into thin pieces...the amount of potatoes depends on how many you want to make...I used 8-10 when I made mine
cooking spray
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread sliced baked potatoes out on baking sheet. They can be overlapping slightly. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes slices. Top with bacon crumbles. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted to your desired taste (some like it crispy, some don't). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce OR my Chili Ranch Sauce (recipe below)

Chili Ranch Sauce
1/4 c. ranch dressing
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cayenne
1/2 t. garlic powder
2 T. FRANKS hot sauce

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until completely mixed. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Julie~

Monday, June 4, 2012

Homemade Chicken Sandwich


Who doesn't love a good chicken sandwich? This tasty chicken gem is one that will please even the pickiest of eaters! Dinner will be a "happy night" when you serve these!


Homemade Chicken Sandwich

3 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 c. flour
4 T powdered sugar
1 t. garlic powder
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. chili powder

oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk milk and eggs together. Put the milk mixture and the chicken in a ziplock bag and soak in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Make sure all the chicken is covered. In another bowl combine the dry ingredient and whisk together. In a heavy pan, heat oil...be careful not to get it too hot or your chicken will cook fast on the outside but your inside will be raw...leaving you with a burnt crusty outside, which will ruin your sandwich. Remove chicken from fridge and place chicken  in flour mixture, a piece at a time. Coat completely then place into the hot oil. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, continue turning the chicken every 3-4 minutes until the juices run clear and the chicken is done. Place chicken on a paper towel to soak up any oil. Repeat until all chicken is cooked. Serve on a bun with your favorite cheese and condiments...we like homemade honey mustard or mustard mayonnaise....DELISH!

Julie~

Friday, June 1, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes


Strawberry Shortcake is ONE of my favorite desserts this time of year! Its everything that reminds me of spring! I created this luscious little treat one afternoon as I was CRAVING my tasty spring favorite...it was the perfect size, tasted FANTABULOUS and was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, until an hour or 2 later when my sweet tooth acted up again...darn thing...so YES, I had to have another one....BUT I didn't feel TOO guilty about having this small little treat (or 2)...it beats the calories of a MONSTER piece of cake, right?!


Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes, a little morsel of HEAVEN! MMMMM!!!!

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
2 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. CAKE flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 c. softened butter
4 eggs
2/3 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil
2 1/2 T (yes, TABLEspoon) vanilla
1 1/3 c. milk

Combine baking powder, cake flour, soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Combine sugar and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer. Add butter and mix for 2-3 minutes (or until crumbly). Add flour mixture. In another small bowl, combine eggs, sour cream and oil. Stir until smooth, add to flour mixture. Add milk slowly to flour mixture, stir until combined (JUST until combined). Line muffin tin with liners...SPRAY liners with cooking spray. Fill liners 1/2-2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until done. Cool completely before frosting with Strawberry Frosting (recipe below).

Strawberry Frosting:
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. shortening
1 T strawberry extract (more or less to taste)
Mix all together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 

Strawberry Sauce:
2 boxes Danish Dessert (mix according to package instructions)
1 lb strawberries, sliced
After mixing and cooking Danish Dessert let it cool slightly. Add sliced strawberries, stir. Pour over cupcake, top with whipped topping and ENJOY...every last crumb!

Julie~