Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brownie Cupcakes.

I promise these are best tasting and easiest homemade brownies you will ever make. And, you make them in the form of a "cupcake." I love that this recipe makes a small batch (about eight brownies), but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc! Because they are individual every brownie is equally crunchy on top and deliciously moist and dense on the inside. AND, the add-ins or add-ons are endless.
Brownie Cupcakes.
1/2 cup each - butter, semisweet chocolate chips, sugar, flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter and chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Use the microwave for melting - it goes fast! In a small bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Add flour and mix well.

Fill paper liners two thirds full. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tops begin to crack. Remove from oven and cool. Like I said, these are perfect just like that. Or you can frost them or you could mix something in before making (oreos, pb cups, etc).

As I began to think of what kind of "cake" I would prepare for Gary's birthday I thought about these and I thought about ice cream cake (which I made last year)...and then, I was visiting Joy the Baker's Blog and knew I had to combine these brownies with ice cream, ganache, and whip cream.

I knew for sure I would need mint ice cream as that is Gary's favorite. And after browsing the freezer section I went with this Cappuccino Chip another option since I don't care for mint ice cream.

Happy Birthday Gary!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brownie Peanutbutter Cheesecake Trifle.

I enjoy my trifle bowl. I think it is fun to use! I like getting to see the layers of deliciousness. I've done layers of fruit with was very pretty and you could do a seven-layer salad. You could do something classic like strawberry shortcake. Or, you could make your family and friend happy with this deliciousness:

For lack of a better name I am calling it Brownie Peanutbutter Cheesecake Trifle. I suggest making it for your next potluck or get-to-gether. People will look at it and try a small scoop. They'll taste it and go back for a second helping guarenteed. I made it for one of my Memorial Day celebrations. It went over well and what was left Gary scarfed up this evening!

Brownie Peanutbutter Cheesecake Trifle.

1 - 9x13 pan of brownies with chopped chunks of peanutbutter cup added to the batter
1 - small box cheesecake flavored pudding
1 - container whipped topping
chocolate fudge ice cream topping
additional chopped chunks of peanutbutter cup

Prepare brownies from scratch or package. Cut into small chucks and divide into two groups. Layer first half into the bottom of trifle (or other dish). Prepare pudding mix - adding in about a cup of melted peanutbutter. Allow to soft set and layer over the brownies. Top with whipped topping, peanuts, pb cup chunks, and drizzles of peanutbutter and chocolate fudge. Top with remaining brownies, whipped topping, peanuts, pb cup chunks, and drizzles of peanutbutter and chocolate fudge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pasta Pizza.

I'm putting together a fews slides for the department newsletter at work. I wanted to concentrate on dairy farming in honor of June Dairy Month. When looking up some information I came across the original version of this recipe. Good stuff!!

Pasta Pizza.
(adapted from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board)

3 cups rotini or similar pasta
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce (I used 16 ounces that I had canned...I think you can buy a 15 ounce can though...that would be plenty)
1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, garlic powder
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup garlic cheese, shredded
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain well and place in bowl.
Combine eggs and milk - stir into pasta. Stir in cheddar cheese and onion. Mix well. Spread pasta mixture evenly over a well-buttered 14-inch pizza pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook ground beef. Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and garlic. Spoon meat mixture over baked pasta crust. Arrange tomato slices over that. Top with mozzarella and garlic cheese. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

This was fairly quick to make and tasted delicious. It was surprisingly really easy to serve too! I think this would also be great with some additional pizza toppings - green peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Success! :)

Well, the recipe did turn out... as Holly commented on the previous post - it may just be a little dryer than the original.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Banana Bread

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2 handfuls dried tart cherries
Cinnamon and Sugar

Spray large bread loaf pan with cooking spray and coat with cinnamon sugar. Combine rest of ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour.

**This recipe is a nice change. Next time I make it, I will add the 1/4 cup of sour cream though!** :)

Banana Bread

The best banana bread I have ever had is my Aunt Debbie's recipe. I had some ripe bananas and decided to make her recipe but switch it up a little bit because that's just what I like to do! Unfortunately, after it has been baking for about a half hour, I remembered that I forgot to add one of the key ingredients: the sour cream!

So, I will share with you first, my Aunt's recipe and will later decide if my "flopped" recipe will be anything worth sharing!

Banana Bread

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
salt (a pinch)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients, place in large bread pan and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Enjoy! (And don't forget the sour cream!) :)


Hanging out in the wilderness all weekend, sleeping on the ground, packing and unpacking...yup, I'm talking about camping. I am not a camper. Never was, never will be. I don't get it. Maybe it's because I live in the country and the wilderness is all around me. Maybe it is because I enjoy a good sleep. Maybe it is because I have all I can do to keep my house kept up. I'm just not a fan.

Now let's talk s'mores. They go good with camping and fires. There is just something about that hard graham cracker crumbling all over and making a mess. And if your chocolate doesn't melt enough it's too hard. The marshmallow never says in place. I'm not a s'mores eater. They are too messy for my liking. Sure, graham cracker is good. Chocolate in the right form is great. Marshmallows not bad either. The combination is wonderful...just not in a traditional s'mores form. That is why I have fallen in love with two other forms of s'mores...

S'mores cookies which can be found here. These little gems are delightful. So, so good! I suggest you only make them if you have friends to share them with. And if you don't have friends, share them with strangers - it won't take long for those strangers to become your friends!

S'mores Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I think they would be just as good if you reduced the AP flour with a little whole wheat...)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips (I used a mix of regular sized and miniature)
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey bars, chopped (I used almost a whole pack...I was trying to get three pieces on each cookie)

In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes in 350 degree over, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of hershey bar into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

S'mores bars which can be found here. Again, amazing. Love, love, love them! I found this recipe over winter and have made them several times. They are rich, but oh so good.

S'Mores Bars
recipe from Lovin In the Oven

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

And so you see, for those of us who are not campers and not s'mores eaters. We have other options. Tastier options if you ask me. So, go, bake, and eat your s'mores as cookies or bars. Your taste buds will thank you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kit Kat Bars.

Each year for my boss's birthday I have been making her a special treat. This year I went with Kit Kat Bars. I'd been wanting to make these for about a year - no lie!! But, I thought they were a lot of work. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy cooking/baking things that take a lot of work, but I have to be in the right mind set.

After making these I realized they really are not that much work! And since they only require a stovetop and not the over they will definetly be on my summer treat list!

Kit Kat Bars.
(from my church's cookbook)

2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1 box waverly crackers (I used club orginal)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocoloate chips
2/3 cup peanutbutter
Boil butter, sugars, milk, and crushed graham crackers together for 5 minutes - stirring often. Place a layter of crackers on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Spread half of the boiled mixture over the crackers. Place another layer of crackers. Spread the other half of the boiled mixture over the crackers. Place another layer of crackers over top. Melt chips and peanutbutter. Spread over the the top. Refrigerate at least three hours before cutting. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Turkey Burgers.

Having lived on a farm always I've eaten a lot of beef burgers. A lot of beef in general. But, if an effort to eat a little healthier and expand my horizons I sometimes buy ground turkey. And with my ground turkey I like to creat these:

Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Turkey Burgers
(adapted from Taste of Home)

1/4 cup fat-free mayo
2 tablespoons dried basil, divided
1/4 cup milk
3 dry packed sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried onions
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1 pound ground turkey
Allow tomatoes to sit in water until they regain some moisture.

Combine the mayo and 1 tablespoon of basil. Cover and refridgerate.

Combine the milk, onion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and remainining basil. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to mixture. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.

Grill until done.

Serve on buns with basil mayo. Add a lettuce and fresh tomato. Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mushroom Pasta Pilaf.

This is a different take on traditional rice pilaf recipes. Since my husband does not like rice I have taken a pasta pilaf recipe that my mom found and adapted it the ingredients I had and our tastes.

While I find this dish enjoyable, I'm still not sure the husband will be impressed...see those slices of onion and chunks of mushroom...I think he'll pass, but if you like these two ingredients - it is a must make side dish which accompanys beef wonderfully.

Edited to Add: Gary surprised me and really enjoyed this dish! You, too, must, try it!

Mushroom Pasta Pilaf.
(Serves 6-8)
1 small onion - sliced or chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cup small pasta
1 can beef consomme
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam.

I think it is safe to say we finally made it past the wintery drear. Sure, it's a cold, cloudy weekend, but the time has come. It my possession are this season's first stalks of rhubarb from our patch!!

My best suggestion for this cold and blustery day is to get yourself some rhubarb and strawberries and making yourself a few batch of this easy and delicious jam. I promise this is the best strawberry rhubarb jam you will find. I've tried many recipes and finally found a winner in this!!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
(from my little rhubarb book)
4 cups fresh rhubarb, diced
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
1 3-ounce packing of strawberry-flavored gelatin dessert mix

Mix rhubarb, sugar, and strawberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; stir in dry gelatin. Pour jam into freezer containers. Store in the refrigerator 2 weeks or freeze to enjoy all year-round!

Makes about 3 half pints.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roasted Broccoli Pesto.

Have you ever roasted broccoli? It's delicious! And pesto? Again, delicious! And when you mix the two - amazing things happen. And it's a great way to pack a little more veggie in your day!

Roasted Broccoli Pesto.
1 small jar prepared pesto (or you could make your own)
1/2 head broccoli
dried, roasted, or crushed garlic
olive oil for tossing
olive oil for mulching
parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450. Prepare pasta as package instructs. Cut broccoli into florets. Toss with olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Process broccoli, garlic, oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor until broccoli is mulched into small pieces. Combine pasta, prepared pesto, broccoli pesto, and top with additional cheese.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to take this opportunity to Thank my Mom for teaching me about life it is from her love that I learned to be the Mother I am today. The girls asked me to be a guest blogger today and I thought what do I have to say then I thought...The reason I am a Mother is because I fell in love with the most wonderful man, even though there are times I would love to beat him senseless I truely LOVE him with all my heart. It is because of him that we have 3 wonderfully caring, thoughtful and loving children (Holly, Jake & Heidi), and because of them I came up with 3 recipes that are a favorite of theirs: Northwest Cheesecake Supreme with Cherries, Chocolate Eclaire Dessert and probably the favorite of the three Chocolate Chocolate Chip Carmel Bars.

Jack's favorite is the cheesecake:

For the crust combine: 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 T. Sugar
3 T. Melted Butter
Press into the bottom of a 9" Springform Pan. Bake at 325* oven for 10 minutes.

While that bakes beat: 4-8 oz. packages of Softened Cream Cheese
1 c. of Sugar
3 T. Flour
Add: 4 Eggs (1 at a time mixing well after each is added)
Blend: 1 c. Sour Cream
1 T. Vanilla
1 21 oz. can of Cherry Pie Filling
Mix until smooth, pour over prepared crust. Bake at 450* for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 250* and bake for an additional 60 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of the pan, cool before removing rim. Chill, remove from bottom base, place of serving platter and top with cherries just before serving. You can use the pie filling of your choice. My sisters got me a cheesecake pan and recipe book on year for Christmas and this is Jack's favorite one. Enjoy!

Next the Chocolate Eclaire Dessert...

In a medium sized kettle bring to a boil: 1 c. Water
1/2 c. Butter
When butter is melted turn burner down to low Add: 1 c. Flour
stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat, Add: 4 Eggs and mix.
Spread on a Greased 10 1/2" x 15" Jelly Roll pan. Bake at 400* for about 30 Minutes or until golden brown. Crust will bake lumpy thats ok! Cool.

Meanwhile Mix: Large Box of Pudding according to Package
Beat in: 1 8 oz. package of Softened Cream Cheese
Place pudding mixture on top of cooled crust.
Top with: 1 8 oz. Cool Whip and drizzle with Hersheys Syrup. Keep refrigerated. I got this recipe from my Sister-In-Law Cindy, turns out to be our son Jake's favorite. Yummy!

...and Lastly but the FAVORITE:

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Carmel Bars

Mix 1 German Chocolate Cake Mix with 1/2 c. Butter, add 1 Egg mix until mixture is crumbly Reserve 1 1/2 c. of crumb mixture, press remaining in a 9 x 13" ungreased cake pan. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes
Meanwhile heat 1/2 c. Butter, 1/2 c. Evaporated Milk and 1 14 oz. package of carmels over low heat until carmels are melted.
Pour Carmel mixture over cooled crust, sprinkle with 1/2 c. +/- Mini Chocolate Chips (use any type you have) and sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. I found this on a cake mix box, probably the best thing I ever did guess what Holly and Heidi said about looking at recipes on the packages of the products we use is true . Cool and Enjoy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Guest Blogger.

In honor of Mother's Day, Heidi and I have invited our mom, Barb, to be a guest blogger this weekend; watch for her post! And, to all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cookie Dough Pops.

Ever since I saw this I knew I had to make them. I planned a bake sale to raise money for a special fund for our patients. I plan to use boxes under the table cloth to bring demension and I have some silk flowers to dress things up. We had a ton of people volunteer to bake - so I knew we would have our bases covered - cookies, cakes, breads, pies, bars.

We needed something cute. So, I spent several hours last night making these:

Aren't they wonderful!?!? The pictures do not do them justice. BUT I was up until 11:00 pm working on them and woke up at 4:45 am to finish them up and get ready for the day. (Keep in mind I am an eight-hours of sleep kind of gal!)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pops
(Recipe from Baked Perfection)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened (it is even okay if it is melting a little)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Assorted candy melts

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (Should make approximately 20) and insert a lolly pop stick. Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.) Gently dip the cookie dough ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered (if your lolly pop stick falls out, just dip the end in the melted chocolate and put it back in the ball). Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a sandwich bag on a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough pop until you reach the desired look. Return to styrofoam block to dry.

I put a small plastic "candy" bag over the top of mine to protect them from the "elements." Let's hope these are a top seller!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Super Nachos.

My mom often made this fast, easy, and tasty dish when we were growing up. So now, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I share the recipe with you!

Super Nachos
1 can refried beans
1 lb. hamburger (prepared as taco meat)
black olives
green peppers
sour cream

This is super easy and great for warm days since it only requires a stove top. All you need to know is to layer everything into a cake pan (and adjust the ingredients above to your specific tastes). I recommend starting with the refried beans. And, you can eat this when the hamburger is still warm, or you can refridgerate and eat it when the hamburger is cold. Serve with tortilla chips and a margarita on the rocks!
And, if you are looking for a dessert to accompany this check out Heidi's post below!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Caramel Cashew Chocolate Peanutbutter Bars

I know the name is a mouthful but, trust me... these are delicious! :)

I was in the mood for all of these things, so I decided to come up with a fun recipe that incorporated them all. Here is the result!


Peanut Butter Cookie Bottom:

1 stick butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Combine all ingredients and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.


11 oz. bag of caramels
1/2 cup milk
chocolate chunks
lightly salted cashews

While cookie crust is baking, heat milk and caramel until melted.

Once cookie crust is done, pour caramel mixture over crust and add chocolate chunks and cashews in the amount of your liking. Bake for 10 - 12 additional minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blueberry Banana Bread.

I buy bananas most weeks with good intentions of eating them all up before they are too ripe. But it never happens.
Fortunetly, good things come out of ripe bananas! One of those things is this a tasty combination of banana, blueberry, and sweet bread.

Blueberry Banana Bread
(the original recipe is from a family cookbook)

3 c. flour ( I did 2 c. all-purpose flour and 1 c. whole wheat flour)
1 1/3 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. quik-cooking oats (I used old-fashioned oats)
2/3 c. oil
4 eggs/slightly beaten
2 c. banana
2 c. blueberries ( used frozen)

Combine dry ingredients; stir in oatmeal. Add oil, eggs, banana, and blueberries. Stir until just mixed. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.