Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

  • So, the morning of Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to do another pie.  As I started looking up recipes, most of them either took too long or had to be refrigerated overnight.  I didn't want to do a peanut butter or chocolate one.  Then I started browsing around and found a lemon meringue pie.  It looked pretty easy and I thought, why not give it a whirl?  Of course I changed things.....

  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust ( I make my own)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar

  • Blend sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks together.

  •  Gradually add lemon juice, stirring until mixture thickens and is well blended.

  •  Pour filling into crust.

  • In another bowl, beat room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. 

  • Gradually add sugar, and continue beating until egg whites are stiff. Carefully spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F (205 degrees C) until meringue browns, about 10 minutes, or until the top starts to brown. Cool. 

Refrigerate to let it set up.  If you are short on time, you can throw it in the freezer.  Refrigerate uneaten portions.

Pie Crust

Smash about 12 sheets of graham crackers until finely crushed.  Melt 4-5 tablespoons of butter.  Blend into crumbs, 1 tablespoons at a time, until moistened.  Press into bottom of pie tin and up the side.  Bale at 350 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Once fall rolls around, I get in a pumpkin baking mood.  Hence all the pumpkin recipes.  One day I will get brave and try a pumpkin roll, but until then, these are just as good and bite sized versions of it =)

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix until well combined.  Add in cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Add in salt, soda, powder and flour.  Mix well.

Drop by teaspoon full onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.  Let cool on a cooling wrack.  Once the cookies are completely cool, frost the bottom of half the cookies and put them together with the unfrosted to make a sandwhich.  Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/16 tsp salt

Mix until well combined and there are no cream cheese lumps.  You may use more or less sugar, depending on the thickness you want. Refrigerate it to get it to thicken up before spreading on the cookies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Stroganoff

One of our favorite meals is chicken stroganoff.  My mom used to make this, but I've changed the recipe a bit from hers.  I used to think this was the normal way to make it, until I was telling someone how I made mine and they looked at me weird when I told them I used cream cheese and Italian dressing mix.  But believe me....this is sooooo much better than just using straight sour cream.  It is nice and thick.  I love it and whenever I make it, the whole family practically lick their plates clean.  This is super easy and a great meal if you need to feed a lot of people.  It's easy to double it, but as is feeds around 6ish people, depends on how big of appetites they have.

1 lb. cubed chicken breast
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
12 oz. cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can mushrooms
1/2 c. sour cream
dash onion powder or minced onions

Cook chicken with Italian dressing.

In a bowl or pan, add cream cheese, soup, mushrooms, and sour cream.  Add onion powder or minced onions.

Once chicken is cooked, add to the chicken.  Heat through.

Serve over rice or noodles.  I've done both and I love either of them!  Make sure and have some fresh bread on hand with some butter and yum!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

What do you do when it's cold and snowy?  You have yummy comfort food!  For me, I love love soups when it's cold outside, especially thick and cheesy ones.  I think it's my body's way of keeping warm....eat high calorie food to pack on the extra insulation.  Oh well....I guess I'll have to run an extra mile (or 2) on the treadmill tomorrow =)

1 lb ground beef, browned, drain the fat
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. diced celery( optional, i used a dash of celery seed to give the flavor)
3/4 c. shredded carrots
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 tbsp. butter
3 c. chicken broth
4 c. diced potatoes
1/2 c. flour
16 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 c. sour cream

You can either do it in a slow cooker, or stove top.

If you want to do stove top:
Dice potatoes and boil until soft, but not as soft as when you do mashed potatoes.

 In a skillet, brown the hamburger and cook with the onion.  Drain the fat.

 In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots, milk, parsley, garlic, salt ant pepper, bacon, and hamburger.  Add in cubes of Velveeta.

 Cook on medium heat until cheese is all melted, stir occasionally.  Add sour cream and flour.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve in Bread Bowls!!!!

This soup also freezes great!  Just place it in freezer bags, and heat up in a pan when you're ready to eat it again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

So my hubby was going to be pulling an all-nighter at work so I decided to make him a treat to keep him going.  He went in to work at 9:30am and will come home at 7am....I don't know how he does it and then functions the next day on a few hours of sleep.  So here's his reward for being such a great guy and working hard for his family so that I can stay home with the rugrats and make delicious treats like this:

8 package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips- optional

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 7x11 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  you can use a 9x13 if you want, but I like my brownies thicker. 

  • Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, egg, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Add more or less milk depending on consistency.  You want it thin enough to spread, but not runny.  It should be a little thinner than the brownie batter.  Set aside.

  • Mix together melted butter, 1 3/4 cups white sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the 3 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; mix into the batter.  Take 3/4 cup of the batter and set aside.  Stir in chocolate chips into the main portion of batter. 

Make sure that batter on the beaters doesn't go to waste

  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan. 

Make use of the spatula that spread the batter in the pan.

  • Spread the peanut butter filling over the top. 

  • Drop the reserved chocolate batter by teaspoonful over the filling. 

  • Using a knife, gently swirl through the top layers for a marbled effect.

  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out almost clean. 

  • Cool completely, then cut into bars.

Wait a second...only 1 beater got taken care of.....something needs to be done about that.......

I have no idea why my kids like to lick beaters and bowls so much or where they get that from.........

Usually I like to have a frosting on my brownies, but these defintely do not need one.  They were yummy, moist, rich, and "alicious!" as my almost 3-year old says.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

One of my favorite foods is chocolate chip cookies.  As many of my friends have noticed, I like to stuff things inside of it, stuff the dough inside other things, eat the dough raw (I know, salamanella and all those other things but it's well worth the risk =)  )  I came across this idea and of course had to try it out =)  It was soooo good!  I made my hubby take a bunch to work so I wouldn't eat them all, and quite a few of his coworkers said these were their new favorites.  I have a few more ideas to do with these that I can't wait to try out so keep an eye out for them =)

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp.  salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray. Cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla.  Add in salt, soda, and chocolate chips.  Gradually add in flour.  

Scoop out approximately ½ tbsp. dough and roll it into a ball and place in muffin tin.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately press in the center of the the cookies, just far enough to make a small well, like you would with tarts. 

 Let the cookies cool 15 minutes in the muffin tin before removing.  While they're cooling, make your filling 
8 ounces softened Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or regular sized or even sprinkles)

 Place cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla into a medium bowl, mixing until well combined. Place dollops of cream cheese filling into center of cookie cups and top with mini chocolate chips.

To make this a nice festive treat, put food coloring in the cream cheese or use different colored sprinkles.  This would be a great treat for the upcoming holidays.  It's bite size, so the perfect treat (unless you're like me and bite size just means you need to have more bites =P ).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mint Brownies

I found the original recipe over at How Sweet It Is, one of my favorite blogs to follow.  Onc eI saw it, I had to try it.  Afterall, what is 
Mint Brownies
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cups chocolate chips 
mint layer
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp creme de menthe extract
chocolate fudge layer
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 7x11 inch cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one and then add vanilla. Mix in flour, cocoa and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread batter in the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Let cool completely before adding mint layer. 
When cool, add mint layer.
Beat butter and powdered sugar together until combined. Add in creme de menthe and mix until smooth and mixture completely comes together.  Add more or less powder sugar until reaches spreadable consistency, but not runny. Spread on brownie layer, then refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours.
Melt chocolate and butter together, then pour over top of mint layer. Refrigerate until set, another 1-2 hours. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicken Pesto

I am doing this diet with some friends this month, it's called Game On!  The main thing is watching portion size and avoiding sweets, sugars, and those type of things.  I was trying to find some recipes that I could make for my family for dinner that we all could enjoy.  My hubby doesn't like "healthy food" so it can be a bit of a challenge.  I have been craving something with pesto so I decided to see what I could throw together.  I  think it was a hit.  The hubby ate 2 plates of it (he even wanted to eat the leftovers the next day) and my daughter ate 2 servings as well.  I liked it because it wasn't heavy, yet it was filling.  Pair it with a salad and some rolls and you've got a great meal on your hands.

1 c. pesto (either make your own or use the packet)
1/2 onion diced
2 chicken breast halves
10 oz. pasta (whatever kind you would like)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated (I used the Kraft  in the bottle)
1 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1 tbsp. oil
poultry seasonings (to taste)
garlic (to taste)

Prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Prepare pesto.  For a creamy pesto, use a bit of milk or cream instead of water.

In a skillet, add oil and chicken.  I added a dash of garlic and poultry seasonings, but those are optional. When the chicken is almost done, cut into cubes, or chunks and add onions and spinach.

Cook until onions are soft.  In a large bowl, combine pesto, pasta, and chicken.  Mix until well covered.  This could be served either warm or cold.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fauxstess Cupcakes

(I'm not a decorator and this was my attempt at doing the curly cues....next time I'll get the gel icing to do it)

2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Mix cocoa into water and let cool.

To cool mixture add:

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup mayonnaise (you can use fat free if you want to)
Mix until smooth.

2 cups flour, or regular

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Combine dry ingredients in mixer. Beat in cocoa mixture for 1 minute. (This batter might be thin but not always.) Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then set on rack to finish cooling.

Filling recipe
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
3tbs heavy cream (if needed, may also use milk)
1 cup marshmallow creme

Combine all ingredients together.  If it is too thick, add some cream, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.  You want it thin enough to be able to squeeze in the cupcakes, but not too thick, kind of like a soft frosting.

Once the cupcakes are cool, fill them with the filling. 

The way I did this was by using my hubby's marinade needle. 

 You can use a small decorator tip too. Just put it into the the top of the cupcake, insert it a bit inside, the squeeze the filling until it comes out the top a bit. Don't worry about this because the chocolate coating covers it. I squeezed it into a few spots in the cupcakes so I could make sure and have enough filling.
Once you have them filled, it's time for the chocolate topping.  this is super easy!
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. shortening
combine in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.  Microwave again for 30 seconds and stiff well.  Then microwave in 10 second increments until all the chips are melted.  Stirring well between each.

Now spread the topping on the cupcakes.  It doesn't have to bee pretty, but if you want it smooth, feel free to smooth it out.  Let the chocolate set for a while and it will harden.

Feel free to decorate how you like.  I did both sprinkles and attempted to write and make pictures.  I would suggest that you use the left over frosting to make the pictures/words but add some more sugar to thicken it up (i was lazy and didn't but should have)  Make sure and add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.  I did some.  You can do these for any holiday.  I had some leftover Valentine, Halloween, and Christmas that I  threw on.  These would also be great for a themed event like a wedding, shower, party or whatever.  Easy to decorate how you want.  You can add some food coloring to the frosting too.

This is the center.  If you like lots of filling, make sure and squeeze it into several spots.

This is me enjoying a cupcake.....i may or may not have already eaten several at this point...(it was my free day on this diet game I'm doing with a friend so I made sure and took advantage of it)