Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Espresso Cookie Cups


This recipe has all the chocolate flavor you could want. My “taste-testers” all agreed that the cookie itself tastes more like a brownie. Either way you get a bite size treat with lots of chocolate flavor. I agree with Nicole, from Baking Bites,  in that the cookie has enough flavor without adding dark chocolate chips, next time I think I will omit. I like the sweeter flavor from the white chips and less of the bitter from darker chips.  I definitely recommend a glass a milk with these mini treats!

Chocolate Espresso Cookie Cups

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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (if desired)

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray or butter or shortening.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in instant espresso powder, egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, gradually blend in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes. Cool cups in the pan for an additional 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Baking Bites, originally from Demolition Desserts

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Curry Chicken

My husband rarely makes a request for a meal, but this particular dish is one of his favorites. He asked me several weeks ago to make it for him and I finally got around to it this week. I’m always more than happy to throw stuff in a Crockpot and come home to a meal, so this recipe meets my stamp of approval. Prep everything in the morning or the night before and serve some rice on the side. If you’re a fan of curry you won’t be disappointed in this no fuss recipe!

Curry Chicken

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1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, sliced

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup lightly salted cashews, coarsely chopped

Hot cooked rice

In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker combine chicken, peppers, onion, jalapeno, garlic, chicken broth, raisins, coconut, curry powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 1/2 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

In a small bowl, stir the coconut milk and cornstarch until smooth. Stir into chicken mixture. If cooking on low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Cover, cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with nuts.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sausage Pinwheels

When I was looking for something to serve with our Cheddar Soup I came across this recipe and thought it sounded perfect. I was a little worried that the biscuits would cause me some trouble and almost bought crescent rolls instead. I’m glad I stuck with the biscuits because you can’t beat the flavor of sausage and biscuits together. The biscuits provided a buttery-moist breading for the sausage and cheese. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers for breakfast this week!

Sausage Pinwheels

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1/4 cup cornmeal (I used about 1/8 cup)

1 (12oz) can refrigerated biscuits

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup crumbled, cooked spicy pork sausage

1/4 cup chopped green onion

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Sprinkle a clean working surface with cornmeal. Roll biscuit dough into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, sausage, and green onion, leaving a one-inch border on each side. Roll up, starting at long side, jelly-role fashion, and slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

Serve warm.

Source: Cooking with Paula, November/December 2008

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheddar Beer Soup

Cheddar soup is not a soup that I regularly make, but with the rainy, cold weather we have been having lately it sounded wonderful. This is actually only the second time I’ve had Cheddar Soup and the first time I have made it. Several years ago when I was dating my husband, his wonderful and talented  sister Melinda (check out her blog) invited us over for dinner and made a similar soup for us. (Melinda I don’t even know if you remember this!)  I remembered liking the soup, but I couldn’t recall how it tasted. The cheddar mixed with the beer creates a great combination of flavor. It’s very rich and filling, perfect for a cold Fall day.

Cheddar Beer Soup

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4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 (12 oz) bottle dark beer (I used Sam Adam’s Octoberfest)

1 cup whole milk ( I used 2%)

1 tablespoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch over, melt butter over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add flour to the vegetable mixture and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, beer, and milk, whisking to break up any lumps. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes or until soup begins to thicken. Add paprika, red pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire, stirring until combined. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

Source adapted from: Cooking with Paula Deen, November/December 2008

Monday, October 26, 2009

7 Layers of Goodness


Craving something sweet, but can’t decide what to make? How about a dessert with a little bit of everything? This dessert bar has been around for a long time, but still hits a sweet spot when you are craving multiple things. The graham cracker crust is the perfect base for all the nuts and chips you can handle. I will say I was surprised by the amount of sweetened condensed milk the recipe called for. I didn’t write the actually amount needed on my grocery list, so I had to go back to the store to buy another can. (FYI: My local grocery store only carries 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk; your store might be similar, prepare to buy 2 cans!) This recipe does make more than enough, so feel free to ½ the recipe if you are feeding a smaller crowd.

Baked Bars

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For the crust:
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

2 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1 cups unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 1/3 cups walnut halves, toasted and chopped

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cups white chocolate chips

3/4 cups butterscotch chips

3 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk (26 oz)

Make the Baked Bar crust:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a  9×13 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the coconut. Put the baking sheet in the oven and toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the coconut, and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Put the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, add the toasted coconut, and toss with your hands until combined. Add the butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely.

Make the Baked Bar filling:

Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Evenly spread the nuts in the bottom of the crust.

Spread the chocolate chips over the walnuts, followed by the white chocolate, followed by the butterscotch chips.

In a steady stream, pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the filling. Shake the pan very gently to make sure the sweetened condensed milk is evenly distributed.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Source adapted from: Dinner & Dessert, originally from Baked: New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Friday, October 23, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip


Buffalo chicken wings are one of those comfort foods that I love to have, but they are so messy to eat. This dip has the perfect flavor of buffalo wings, but in the convenience of a dip. Let chips or celery sticks do the messy part while you take in the this spicy buffalo chicken hands free! If that’s not enough to convince you, this recipe is also straight from the Crockpot.  Throw all the ingredients in the pot and in about 3 hours you have the next best thing to actual chicken wings… perfect for those lazy football Saturdays!!

Buffalo Chicken – Cheese Dip

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1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

3/4 to 1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Celery sticks and/or Tortilla chips

Heat oil in a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender.

Combine onion, chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese, and 1 cup Cheddar cheese in a 2 or 3 quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 2 1/2 hours. Remove lid, sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese. Cover and cook on low 30 more minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with celery sticks or tortilla chips.

Source: Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook, 2006

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baked Apples


I’m a big fan of a baked apples, especially when you throw in some cinnamon and sugar! Being that it is still apple season, I decided to bake some to serve with our dinner. They were so good, I ended up not even eating the actual meal and went straight for the apples! This would also be good as a dessert served with some vanilla ice cream.


Baked Apples

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4 Golden Delicious Apples

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 heaping teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse and core apples, removing all seeds. Place apples in a 2 quart shallow baking dish.

Combine sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a small bowl; fill the center of each apple and top with 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Add just enough water to baking dish to cover the bottom. Bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until apples are tender.


Source adapted from: r/bl11014g.htm

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shrimp Burgers


I've had my eye on this recipe ever since I got the magazine from Southern Living back in May. I am always looking for quick meals in the evening and different burgers and sandwiches seem to be some of the easiest to throw together. Everything in the recipe can be made in advance from the sauce to the shrimp patties. The flavors in the tarter sauce worked really well with the shrimp and created a really nice, subtle flavor. With each bite you get a good bit of shrimp. I enjoyed this so much I even went back for seconds…something I rarely do! I was a little worried about cooking these outside on the grill so I decided to use our grill pan and I think it was the better choice. The shrimp patties are very delicate and I was afraid it could fall apart on the outdoor grill. If you love shrimp, try it in a burger, it’s great!!

Shrimp Burgers with a Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Tarter Sauce

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For the Burgers:

1 1/4  pounds  unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp

Vegetable cooking spray

1  large egg, lightly beaten

1  tablespoon  mayonnaise

2  teaspoons  lemon juice

1/2  teaspoon  salt

1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper

3  tablespoons  finely chopped celery

2  tablespoons  chopped green onion

1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley

1 1/4  cups  crushed cornbread crackers (I couldn’t find these, so
I used Oyster crackers)

4  Kaiser rolls with poppy seeds, split (I used Hamburger buns)


Peel and devein shrimp. Cut each shrimp into thirds.

Stir together egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and ground red pepper until blended; stir in celery, green onion, and parsley. Fold in shrimp and cracker crumbs. Shape into 4 to 5 patties. Place patties on a sheet pan, coated with non-stick spray. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes before placing on grill.

Coat grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill burgers 4 to 5 minutes or until burgers lift easily off grill grate with spatula. Turn burgers and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and burgers are cooked through and lightly crisp.

Grill or toast buns until lightly toasted. Serve burgers on buns with Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Tartar Sauce and lettuce.

For the Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Tarter Sauce:
1  cup  mayonnaise

2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

2  tablespoons  horseradish

1 1/2  teaspoons  Cajun seasoning

1 1/2  teaspoons  lemon juice

1/4  teaspoon  paprika

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Source: Southern Living Magazine, May 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins


So a week ago Saturday I completed the first course for my MBA program. We ended our five week course with a 30 minute presentation from each member of the class. I absolutely hate speaking in front of people and will do everything  possible to get out of it. I knew baking muffins wouldn’t get me out of speaking, but I figured if I stuffed everyone full of muffins while I was presenting, there wouldn’t be as much pressure! I’m happy to report that I made it through the presentation, got an A, and the muffins were a hit. I have been waiting for Fall to arrive in order to try out this recipe. The muffins are full of pumpkin flavor and I loved the streusel topping.  This definitely put me in a Fall kind of mood!


Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel Topping

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For the Streusel Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl of an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment. Mix until pea-size bits of streusel form. Set aside.

To make the Pumpkin Muffins:
Grease the tops of two 12 mold muffin pans and line them with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 extra- large eggs (I just used 3 large eggs)

1 (15 oz) can of plain pumpkin puree

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, mix to combine the sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Once combined, stir in the walnuts.

Scoop the batter into the prepared molds, filling each to the top of the paper liner. Sprinkle approximately 2 tablespoons of streusel over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake tested inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the muffins from their pans.

Source adapted from: Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Liv and Kaye Hansen

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sticky Buns



Who can resist this caramel toffee sticky bun? So soft, flaky, and buttery. On my last visit back home my brother and dad kept going on and on about how they wanted my mom to make these sticky buns. I just couldn’t imagine why they would choose to have this sticky bun over my mom’s famous mini cinnamon rolls. And then she made them and they were wonderful. I will say that I still love my mom’s cinnamon rolls, but I wasn’t disappointed when the sticky buns were served instead. The puff pastry sheets used in the place of making a dough make this recipe so simple to throw together. I recommend you make them soon! After all, who can say no to this?


Sticky Buns

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12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), defrosted

For the Filling:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12 cup muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar using a hand or stand mixer. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with melted butter, leaving a one inch border of the puff pastry. Sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finish the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll into 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

Source adapted from:, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bringing back the Sloppy Joe!!

If I’m being honest, at some point in my life I gave up on the Sloppy Joe. Maybe it lost the appeal when I learned that it was made from a can, maybe it was the reputation others had about it, but I hadn’t had a Sloppy Joe for many years, until I found this recipe. This Sloppy Joe is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. The best part is that while it still contains tomato sauce, the main flavor comes from barbeque sauce. Oh how sweet it is! For those of you that also thought you hated Sloppy Joes, give this recipe a try, I think you will find it much more pleasing than the original!

Spencer's Sloppy Joes

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1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup barbecue sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco

Hamburger buns, split

Barbecue sauce, for topping, if needed

Heat oil in a large skillet with straight sides. Add the bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the ground beef to the vegetables. Stir and cook about 8 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink and fully cooked. Drain, if desired.

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, and hot sauce into the skillet. Stir. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve on hamburger bun and add extra sauce, if needed.

Source adapted from:; Down Home with the Neely’s

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Barbecue Rice

I found another rice recipe that I had to try and it was so good I had to share! The unique ingredient in this recipe is the liquid smoke which provided the BBQ flavor that makes it so good. This particular recipe is baked, so plan ahead for the time spent in the oven. Serve this to you family and they will probably ask if you grilled it!! On another note, I overlooked the fact that the recipe calls for cooked rice and initially threw uncooked rice into the skillet. Lets just say it took a while to pick out the rice from the pan!! 

BBQ Rice

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1/2 cup butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of chicken soup

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

2 cups cooked white rice

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Garnish: Fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Stir in soup, broth, and Liquid Smoke; increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat, stir in rice and garlic salt.

Spoon into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Source: Cooking with Paula (July/August 2008)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spice – Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin is becoming my favorite meat, which is a pretty big deal. Chicken has held the favorite status for much of my life and for whatever reason I didn’t think I cared for pork tenderloin that much. I’m not sure why I had come to that conclusion, but I have definitely changed my mind. The meat is super tender and juicy, it holds the flavor of whatever seasonings you add and it’s just an overall homerun. This particular recipe had a great spice mixture around the pork and a sweet mustard based BBQ sauce. Just writing about it makes me want to make it again tomorrow!! 

Spiced – Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with a Mustard Barbecue Sauce

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For the Sauce:

2 bacon slices, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup yellow mustard

5 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For the Spice Rub:

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat

Prepare grill to a medium to medium-high heat.

To prepare sauce, cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until almost crisp, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mustard and next 5 ingredients to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.

To prepare pork, combine brown sugar and next 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Rub mixture evenly over pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155 degrees (slightly pink), turning once. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Serve with sauce.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple Crumble Bars

I was in charge of bringing food to our small group last week and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try out this recipe!  I have been wanting to try a few new apple recipes and this one has been on my list for quite a while. I was hoping the bars would be like little bite size apple pies and that is definitely what it reminded me of. It has a crumbly crust and the filling  was typical of what you find when you bite into an apple pie. I think next time I make them I will add some cinnamon into the crumb mixture. The recipe contains cinnamon in the filling, but for me when apples are the main ingredient, you can always add more cinnamon!

Apple Crumble Bars

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For the Crust:

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Filling:

4 medium-size apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (I used Granny Smith)

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons corn starch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup fruit jam (I used apple)

For the Topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 x 8 pan with foil, leaving overhang on both sides to easy removal. Grease or butter foil.

To make the base, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, fork, or hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven. Spread the fruit jam evenly on the base while it is still hot.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large non-stick skillet, combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until apples are tender, but still firm. In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice. Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place filling on top of crust.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a small bowl until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the apple layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using the foil, lift out of pan. Cut into squares and serve.

Source adapted from: Annie’s Eats

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Twist on the Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love a chocolate chip cookie, but every now and then I get in the mood to shake things up. Though it might seem controversial to some, I happen to think this recipe is better than the original chocolate chip cookie (gasp). I love the Oreo-like cookie that comes from using the Dutch-processed cocoa and the white chocolate chips only make it better. I made two different sizes in cookie, using a regular cookie scoop and a mini scoop. I found the cookies to be a bit rich, so I preferred the bite-size cookie, but whatever size you decide to make, grab a glass of milk and get to snacking!!

 Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa

1/2 cup butter, cubed and room temp

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place oven racks in the upper and lower middle position. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugars, creaming well. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for 15 minutes. Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Let cookies cool for a minute or two before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before storing.

Source Adapted From: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I’m Addicted…to Maui Zaui!!

This pizza brings back memories of the beach, the palm trees, and the beauty of Maui for me. A year ago last May, my husband and I went back to Maui for the first time since our honeymoon. Being that we now live in an area where you can find great pizza just around the corner, this was the last place I thought I would find my all-time favorite pizza, but we met and fell in love and I haven’t quite been the same since. The pizza is from a company called, Round Table Pizza. Most of their pizzas are unique, but I can’t say that I have tried anything other than Maui Zaui. All the ingredients used are super fresh and the combination of the sweet and spicy Polynesian sauce just brings it over the top.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that it has taken me a whole year to recreate this pizza at home, but my first attempt was a success!! Both my husband and I thought the flavor of the sauce was very similar to the sweet chili sauce we use at home to dip in spring rolls, so when I was on a mission to recreate the dish this was the sauce I went for. Now that I know how to make this at home, I have made it almost every week and I still can’t get enough of it!! We have tried the pizza both on the grill and in the oven. My preference is grilling, but my husband likes it from the oven. So whatever you’re in the mood for, you have to try it!!

Maui Zaui

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12 in Pizza dough – most groceries stores now sell fresh pizza dough, my grocery store stocks their dough’s by the packaged cheeses.

About 1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce (pictured at right) IMG_1222

2 slices of thick sliced deli Ham, cubed

About 1 cup Pineapple, cubed

1 Roma Tomato, diced

About 1/4 cup Red Onion, diced

1/4 cup Green onion, chopped

3 to 5 strips of Bacon, cooked and crumbled

3/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 cup Provolone Cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

After the pizza dough is rolled out, place sauce down. If you are going for spicy, use more than 1/4 cup of sauce.  If you want a subtle kick, 1/4 cup or a little more will enough to produce  a thin layer of sauce all around the pizza. Cover sauce with the mozzarella and provolone cheese. Then place the ham, pineapple, red onion, bacon, and green onion all around the pizza. Bake or grill according to pizza dough package.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My First Nutella Experience

Ah Nutella, the delicious Italian Chocolate-Hazelnut spread.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to purchase Nutella at the grocery store! I think I was putting it off because I wasn’t sure where to find it (usually with the peanut butter and jellies). When I was looking for something to make over the weekend, I wanted something quick and easy and due to my laziness, I didn’t want to bake anything in the oven. This dessert delivered in taste and in convenience. Now that Nutella has my approval, you will be seeing more recipes with this tasty spread in the future!

Triple Chocolate Scotcheroos

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1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup Nutella, or a similar chocolate-hazelnut paste

6 cups crisp chocolate-flavored rice cereal

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips

Butter or spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a large saucepan (at least 6 quarts) over medium heat, bring the sugar and rice or corn syrup to a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and Nutella, then mix the rice cereal in until completely coated. Press the mixture into the greased pan, making sure the top is smooth.

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together in a clean, dry bowl set over a double boiler or microwave, stirring gently until smooth and well-blended. Spread over the rice cereal mixture, sprinkle lightly with salt (if using) and cool until set.

Serving: Once cool, cut into small bars with a sharp knife. These are pretty intense and certainly on the sweet side, so bite-sized portions are in order. Strong cups of espresso are nice to balance them out.

Source Adapted From: Dinner and Dessert, originally from David Lebovitz

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A little BLT – Bacon, Tomato, & Linguine Pasta

My mother-in-law first introduced me to this pasta dish. It is super easy to make and offers a new twist on the typical pasta dish. Most pasta dishes are very heavy in flavor, this is not one of them. The garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil makes this dish a very healthy and fairly low calorie meal. Throw in some bacon and it is a perfect BLT pasta dinner!

Bacon, Tomato, and Linguine Pasta

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8  ounces  uncooked linguine

2  teaspoons  olive oil

1/2  cup  chopped onion

About 8 slices of cooked bacon, chopped into  pieces

1 1/3  cups  grape tomatoes, halved

4  garlic cloves, minced

1  teaspoon  dried oregano

1  teaspoon  salt

1/4  teaspoon  pepper

1/4  cup  fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add bacon bits; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomato, garlic, and oregano; sauté 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Add pasta, reserved pasta water, salt, and pepper. Stir well, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Butterfinger Cake

In case you haven’t noticed a theme, I’m a big fan of Paula Deen’s food and recipes. You can say what you want about her southern accent and all the Ya’lls, but her food is simply delicious. Her magazine is a favorite of mine and I have found so many good recipes from it, this cake is one of them. I love Butterfingers and caramel, so when I saw them both as ingredients for this cake I was sold. I try my best not to use store bought cake mixes, but sometimes they are a super convenient solution and mixing Butterfinger in the batter sounded too good not to try!

Butterfinger Cake

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1 (18.25oz) package milk chocolate cake mix

2 (2.1oz) Butterfinger candy bars, finely chopped and divided

1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12.25oz) jar caramel ice-cream topping

1 (8oz) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

Garnish: chopped Butterfinger

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

Prepare cake mix following package directions. Add 1 chopped Butterfinger to batter, stirring well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake as directed on package. Let cake cool for 5 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in cake in 1 inch intervals, poking halfway through cake, Pour condensed milk and caramel topping evenly over cake. Sprinkle remaining 1 chopped Butterfinger over caramel. Cover, and chill.

Before serving, spread whipped topping evenly over cake. Garnish with chopped Butterfinger, if desired. Cut into squares to serve.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen (January/February 2009)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sugar Cookie Bars

First I have to address our love for Alabama football. College football is what our family lives for. Each Saturday we gather as a family, take in the games and eat lots of food. I usually make the dessert, so I wanted to start the season off right and decorate the cookie bars Bama style!! I saw this recipe a few months back and I was intrigued by the idea of making sugar cookies in the ease of a bar. This recipe was so simple, just throw some dough in the pan, bake, and ice…a HUGE time saver!  The cookie itself was really tasty, soft and buttery. I think my favorite part though was the icing, which was so soft and creamy! I'm pretty sure I caught my Husband licking the icing out of the pan! Have a good weekend. ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Sugar Cookie Bars

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1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and soda. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine baked for closer to 18 minutes.) Cool completely and frost.
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter; at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
food coloring (optional)
For frosting, combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1 to 2 cup increments until combined, then add milk and mix until smooth and spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.
Source Adapted From: The Repressed Pastry Chef, originally from Anissa’s Kitchen

Shrimp Po’ Boys

Sometimes when it comes to dinner I just want something that takes minimal effort. This meal was on the table in less than 10 minutes and yet it was delicious! When I know I have meals that require some kind of sauce, I generally prep and make the sauce the night before, which is exactly what I did with this sandwich. Not only does it make dinner a breeze the next day, but the flavors of the sauce generally marry very well together and make it that much flavorful! The sauce is definitely the star of the dish, so don’t leave it out!

Pan-Seared Shrimp Po’ Boys

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1/3  cup  reduced-fat mayonnaise
2  tablespoons  sweet pickle relish
1  tablespoon  chopped shallots
1  teaspoon  capers, chopped (I omitted this only because I didn’t have it on hand)
1/4  teaspoon   Tabasco
1  pound  peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 1/2  teaspoons  salt-free Cajun seasoning
2  teaspoons  olive oil
4  hoagie rolls
1/2  cup  shredded romaine lettuce
8  thin tomato slices
4  thin red onion slices
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a large nonstick  skillet over medium-high heat. Combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a bowl; toss well. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done.
Cut each roll in half horizontally. Top bottom half of each roll with 2 tablespoons lettuce, 2 tomato slices, 1 onion slice, and one quarter of shrimp. Spread top half of each roll with about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise mixture; place on top of sandwich.