Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last week I was given the opportunity to make brownie bites for a friend's daughters MS graduation. I had the worst experience with them and it took me days to figure out!! I had bought a Betty Crocker brownie mix that called for 2/3 cup oil and I under cooked them to avoid the crunchy edges I have had in other batches. So they turned out a gooey mess. I ended up at the last minute making another batch with the same mix (that's all I had) but I over cooked them and added less cream cheese. They turned out OK, but I suggest using another brand that contains less oil when using them for balls to be dipped.
But on a more exciting note, I purchased this really cool new tool at Micheal's. It worked so well dipping and making neat swirls on top of the chocolates. Like I said I had a tough time so it worked only when they were really cold. I made the best of my situation and double dipped the ones that ended up too gooey to dip and turned the rest into brownie cups with a mold I got (I will post more on that after I finish making up those☺). Their colors are purple and gold so I had fun experimenting with this fun gold dust that a friend of mine gave me. I had purchased golden yellow that turned out looking orange...the kids told me it looked like fry sauce - LOL!! So the dust was a great alternative. I thought they turned out amazing and for the first time was rewarded graciously for my hard work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

SuPeR eAsY SoFt PrEtZeLs

Super Easy Soft Pretzels as seen on Kara's Kitchen Creations:1/2 cup warm water2 Tbsp yeast (I use SAF)
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
4 cups flour
Add yeast to warm water. Add milk, salt, and sugar. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough. (Unlike most bread recipes, you want plenty of flour. That makes the pretzels chewier.) Knead on floured counter a few times. Let dough sit for about 5 minutes. Form into pretzels following the instructions below. Bake at 400 for about 15-18 minutes. Yum! -Makes about 10-12 pretzels
Pinch off a small ball of dough.
Roll it into a rope about 14" long.
Cross the ends over.
Now bring the ends down to the bottom of the pretzel.
Place the pretzel on a greased cookie sheet and tuck the ends under.
Keep forming pretzels till you run out of dough. Then brush all of them with milk.
If you want, you can sprinkle toppings on the pretzels.
We have tried poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic salt and Parmesan, and cinnamon/sugar. Or you can sprinkle them with salt. Most of the time I just leave them plain-and they are still heavenly!
-Sometimes I replace some of the white flour with freshly ground whole wheat flour and it works wonderfully and is more healthy.

Are Those Eggs Still Good To Use?

I found this on Tip Junkie today and thought I would share. I am always wondering if my out dated eggs are still good to eat or cook with.

Ever have an egg in your fridge and you were not sure if it was still good or not? There is an EASY way to find out. As eggs go bad, gases are produced inside the egg. As those gases are produced, the egg becomes more and more buoyant.
Here’s what you do!
Fill a glass with water, place your egg inside.
If the egg sinks to the bottom, it is still good and will be for some time.
If the egg floats to the middle of the glass, it is still good but needs to be used soon.
If the egg floats all the way to the top, you need to throw it away.
I swear knowing this is going to really impress someone at some point in your life.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

{Hats off to the Graduates of 2009}

My mom needed a treat for her graduates next week and thanks to Bakerella I found a really fun idea...
Graduation Cap Pops!!
I found Ghirardelli chocolates in squares, miniature PB cups, chocolate almond bark, mini M&M's, Twizzlers pull-n-peels, and sucker sticks.
Place the PB cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden, this makes the wrappers peel off better and the chocolate won't stick. This makes them look better around the edges. Than allow the pb cups to come back to room temp while you heat the chocolate according to package instructions. Dip your sucker stick in the melted chocolate and carefully insert into the pb cup about halfway. If they are still frozen they will break. Allow the sticks to set up.
Unwrap your squares, with a toothpick dab a small amount of chocolate on top, and place mini M&M over the chocolate. Than draw a line with your toothpick and place the licorice on top.
I wrapped the licorice around and under so it would take shape and hang better. Let set up well.
Last dip the end of your pb cup on the stick into some chocolate and place the chocolate square on top. Stick them into a foam block to dry. Mom my is going to bundle three of them in a sack and tie them up with ribbon and a tag. These are going to be so fun and tasty for her students. I thought they turned out so adorable and look yummy!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

++10 meals in 1 hour++

This week has been CRAZY!! But I found some great deals on meat and decided to do some freezer cooking. I purchased about 18 lbs. of chicken, 7 lbs. of hamburger and freezer bags.
I placed all but 7 chicken breasts in the crock pot and cooked on high for about 4 hours. After the chicken was cooked and cooled I spent about a half hour cutting, cubing, bagging and labeling the chicken. I than cooked half of the hamburger meat with a little dried onion, made patty's with the other half, bagged it and labeled it all. It took me less than an hour and about $25 for all the meals. Here is what I now have in my freezer:
1. - 2 chicken breasts marinated for grilling
2. - 1.5 lbs. cooked hamburger - Taco's
3. - 1.5 lbs. cooked hamburger - Mexican Manicotti
4. - 5 raw chicken breasts mixed with ingredients for Creamy Italian Crock-pot Chicken (see older post for recipe)
5 & 6. - 8 hamburger patties - stacked on wax paper ready for grilling
7. - cooked and cubed chicken - Chicken Enchilada's
8. - cooked and shredded chicken - Haystacks
9. - cooked and shredded chicken mixed with taco seasoning - Chicken Quesadilla's
10. - cooked and cubed chicken - Chicken Spaghetti

[Party Pleasers!]

This weekend I hosted a party and everyone really enjoyed the food so I promised to post the recipes. I made the cake pops and brownie/cake balls for dessert and I already posted them so check out this link for the recipe - CAKE POPS. I got creative using the left over chocolate and vanilla almond bark and double dipped the red velvet cake pops I had made and I thought they were easier and looked really fun:) I served these in a fun glass vase and the cake pops in fun cups full of sugar. The rest of my menu was spinach dip served with crackers and sourdough baguette, veggies with dip, fruit with dip and a lemonade slush

Spinach Dip
1 pkg Pic-A-Sweet chopped frozen spinach
1 16 oz. Sour Cream
1 c. Mayo
1 pkg Knorr Spinach dip
1/2 c. chopped water chestnuts (optional)
Place frozen spinach in pan, cover with water, bring to boil and boil for 3min. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain well. Cool spinach in fridge and than add remaining ingredients. Chill for 4-6 hours. Serve with crackers and sour dough baguette.
(I didn't have time to chill that long so I made sure the spinach was nice and cold and chilled the dip for an hour before I served - it still tasted really good:))

Fruit Dip
2 pkg 8 oz. Cream Cheese
2 jars Marshmallow Fluff
2 tsp. Vanilla (optional)
Use blender to mix all ing. well. Serve with fresh fruit: Apples, strawberries, bananas, etc.

Lemonade Slush
3 c. Sugar
8 c. Hot Water
1 can Frozen Lemonade (or favorite frozen drink)
2 liter Sprite
Dissolve sugar in hot water, add thawed can lemonade, mix well and place in gallon freezer bag. Freeze. When ready to serve partially thaw, dump into bowl and pour Sprite over top. It will turn slushy. You can garnish with lemon wedges:)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

--My Favorite Meatballs as seen on GTU--

This recipe was featured today on Good Things Utah and looks delicious. Check out Jenny Stanger's book called Dinner on Ice at her website FreezerDinner.com for more great tips and meals. I love bulk freezer cooking and can't wait for my copy to come in the mail to get more good ideas.

My Favorite Meatballs
Yield: 20 meatballs, Meatballs will last up to 4 months frozen

1 large onion, finely diced
1 C seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 C water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 T parsley flakes
1 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 large eggs
2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet sauté diced onions with olive oil and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, mix together the meat, eggs, cheese, parsley and bread crumbs. Add the onions and season with salt. Use your hands to mix it together. Add the water, it should be quite wet. Shape into golf ball size balls. Place meatballs in a hot skillet to brown the sides. Then place them on a cookie sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes. Cool and then use some right away and freeze the rest. Freeze on a cookie sheet for 1 hour (flash freeze) then pour all meatballs into a large zip top bag, label and freeze.To serve: Warm meatballs in the microwave and serve with spaghetti sauce on bread, over noodles, with a sour cream sauce or served as appetizers with a BBQ sauce etc...

Swedish Meatball Sauce:
Yield: Serves 4

6 oz sour cream
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
1 Cup of water

Mix together the sour cream, soup and water in a medium sauce pan and stir until boiling. Salt and pepper to taste (you can add in crumbled bacon and sliced green onions for freshness and flavor) add 8-10 defrosted meatballs to the sauce and serve over a cooked pasta of your choice.

Monday, May 4, 2009

*Pizza Crust*

I have been making homemade pizza's at our house a lot lately and would love to find a recipe so I don't have to keep buying the dough. I came across this one and heard it's the best. Can't wait to try it tonight:)

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the oil, salt and sugar. Let yeast mix sit for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and mix well.
Dump onto a floured surface. Knead into a smooth dough (about 5 minutes). Roll out and press down on a greased pizza pan (if you have it, dust with cornflour after greasing the pan).
Add toppings.
Bake at 425 degrees for around 12-15 minutes, until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

~~You can never go wrong with CHOCOLATE and PEANUT BUTTER~~

I had this dilemma...
A smooth, milky, melted bowl of chocolate and a pan of smooshed up peanut butter bars.
What was a chocolate loving girl like me suppose to do?
Remind myself that everything dipped in chocolate tastes better!

Last week while trying to come up with other flavors of cake balls I made a pan of peanut butter bars and was going to try and shape them into balls, put them on sticks, and dip them in chocolate - Oh my goodness - Heaven! I love Reese's PB Cups! They are my absolute favorite treat!! So when I came up with these my mouth was watering just thinking of the combination on a stick. BUT...after adding more peanut butter to the cooked and crumbled bars it became a mess. All week I have been trying to think up something to add to the mixture to make it stick together and form balls. Well nothing came to me and I figured I had to do something with it.
So low and behold the ginormous PB Cup...
I took silver cup cake liners, spread a small dab on the bottom of the liner, sprinkled the PB bar mixture into the cup filling it about 2/3 full, and than spreading more chocolate over top.
I placed them in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set up and VIOLA -- HEAVEN!!!!
Well we will admit (my dear hubby was the taste tester) they are a bit BIG and RICH!
So not wanting to have 50 huge PB cups in the house with a PB cup addict I decided to whip up something a little less overwhelming.
I put wax paper on a jelly roll pan, spread 3/4 of the melted chocolate all over the wax paper....
Sprinkled the PB bar mixture (see recipe at the end) over the chocolate, smashing it down into the chocolate...
Take the remaining chocolate and drizzle over top...yours will look prettier:) I ran out of chocolate and attempted to make it look edible. They are a little messy so spreading more chocolate over top to create another layer instead of drizzling may help.
Put them in the freezer to set up and cut with knife or pizza cutter and ENJOY!! Thank goodness we are going to a BBQ tonight and I can share these. Because my diet just isn't going to work with a huge pan full of PB and Chocolate:)

3/4 c. Margarine or Butter
3/4 c. Sugar
3/4 c. Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 c. Peanut Butter
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/2 c. Quick Oats
Cream sugar and margarine. Add eggs and vanilla, and than peanut butter. Gradually add combined dry ingredients. Pat into a jelly roll pan and bake 350* for 10-12 minutes. Cool.
To make the PB mixture for the PB Cup Bars crumble the cooled bars and add 1 cup peanut butter. Mix together until very crumbly and prepare as suggested above.