Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Sweet and Sour

I love sweet and sour chicken but it seems like whenever I get it nowadays at the restaurant it has a funny taste.  So I have tried making it from scratch and then it tastes too much like ketchup since most the recipes I have found use that.  Well, I went on vacation to visit my mom for a few weeks.  I didn't want to eat out a whole lot because I am cheap and I didn't want to gain 10 pounds while I was here =)  One of our traditions when we come here is there is a Chinese restaurant that we always go to.  It was actually the restaurant that we had our wedding luncheon at because my hubby's parents were friends with the owners.  One of the highlights was coming each year and seeing the owner, Kathy.  She loved seeing the kiddos grow.  Well, last time we went we found out that Kathy had retired so she wasn't there anymore.  My kids were sad because they loved seeing her.  So this time we won't be making our usual trip but I still wanted Chinese food.  So I visited one of my favorite blogs, The Country Cook, for a recipe I had been wanting to try.

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1-16 oz. bottle Catalina
1 packet onion soup mix
1 cup apricot preserves (or peach)
1-15.75 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
2 peppers, chopped, I used 1 green and 1 orange
rice for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.  In a bowl, combine the dressing, preserves, and onion soup.  Add in chicken.  Spray a 9x13 dish and pur the chicken mixture in.  Cook for 45 minutes.  Add in pineapple and peppers and then cook for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve over cooked rice.  Enjoy!!! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Cake

This has become one of my hubby's favorite desserts.  I love it because it is soooo easy to do!  i know my picture isn't all pretty.....but I promise, it is super tasty!

1 pgk. yellow cake mix
the ingredients to make the cake as instructed on box

1 1/2 c. cold milk
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs. hot water

Prepare the cake as instructed on the box using 2 greased and floured 9-in pans (don't skip the flouring part!)  Cool for 10-min. before removing from the pans to a wire cooling rack (be patient and wait....I would recommend waiting longer so your cake doesn't fall apart)

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.  Cover and refrigerate.

In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little water until it is the consistency of a thick glaze.  Set aside.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate, spread with pudding.  Top with the second layer of cake.  Spread chocolate glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, and ENJOY!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Orange Cream Cheese Bread

Awhile ago, I was craving some orange bread.  I tried making a yeast bread and adding orange to it.  It was okay, but didn't quite have the flavor I was looking for.  Then I found this quick bread recipe and thought I would give it a whirl.  I LOVED it!  It was moist, had a hint of orange, but not over powering, and wasn't overly sweet.  I will definitely be making this, over and over and over and over.

8oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder (yes, tablespoon)
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. orange zest

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 8 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in bread pans.  Combine cream cheese and shortening and cream until well combined.  Gradually add in sugar.  Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until well combined.  Add in flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually mix in the milk.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in orange zest.  Pour into pans.  Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing.

I think next time I make it I may try and substitute yogurt for the shortening to make it a bit healthier.  I also baked mine in the size smaller loaf pans and it cooked in about 40 minutes.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I love to bake cookies and am always looking for new recipes or ways to change up my current recipes.  My hubby is a chocolate and peanut butter freak so these cookies are a frequent visitor to our house....and lucky for me he eats most of them so I don't have to =) The kids love them too!!  If you aren't a fan of peanut butter, you can sub in regular chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and even mint chips.  They are even good if you add some peanuts or cashews to them.  (I told you I like to change things up with my recipes and see how many variations I can do)

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a large baking sheet with non stick spray
  2. Place butter and sugars into a stand or electric mixer and beat until light and creamy, a good 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla mixing until well combined. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mixing to combine. Add chips and mix to combine. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet 1 inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes, until baked through.

Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chicken Roll-ups

These are some of my favorite things!  They are pretty easy to make and everyone in my family loves them! (always a plus when everyone will eat what you make, right?)  I originally got this recipe years ago, from who knows where and have been making it ever since.  I don't always do it the same each time, depends on my mood but here's my basic recipe:

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (if they are small, use 3, if they are big, use 2)
8 oz. cream cheese
2-3 pgks. crescent rolls (I make my homemade ones but if you are short on time, Pillsbury will help you out)
2-3 cans of chicken gravy (once again, I make my own, but if you want to use canned stuff, it works)
1 can mushrooms, optional
2 tbs. melted butter
garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, other seasonings you prefer, just use to taste.
1/2 c. butter, melted (may need more)
1 c. bread crumbs, plain or Italian (may need more)

Here's a quick tip before you cook your chicken:  add a cube of boullion while you are cooking it and it adds lots of extra flavor.

In a bowl, combine your chicken, cream cheese, mushrooms, 2 tbsp. melted butter and seasonings.  Mix until there are no cream cheese lumps.

Spread out your crescent rolls (or roll out and cut into triangles if making your own). Place a heaping tablespoon onto the crescent rolls.

Roll up to form a bundle, starting from big end.

Roll the bundle in the melted butter, then roll in the bread crumbs.

Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 14 minutes at 375, or until golden brown.

While those are cooking, either heat or make your gravy.  If you are using the canned stuff, add some onion and pepper to it to give it a bit more flavor.

Once the bundles are finished, pour some gravy over before serving.  Have a yummy dinner!!

These freeze great too so don't worry about making extras =)

Gravy Recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon (let it dissolve in teh water before you add it to the pan)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • seasonings to taste: pepper, garlic, poultry seasoning, etc

Melt half the butter in a sauce pan, saute onions.  Add the flour to make a roux (kind of like a paste). Add the other half of the butter, water, and bouillon.  Add other seasonings to taste Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

S'More Cookies

Yes, I know I have done s'more cookies before, but this is a different version.  And my husband's new favorite.  I recently made these and took them to the job I am working during the holidays...trying to bribe my way into making everyone like me.  It worked =)  Well...until they ate more and more and ruined their diets and now they don't like me for that =) These are super good and you should go make them right now!!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey Bar chunks (I crunched up a king sized bar) you can use chocolate chips instead
1/2 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits (the min marshmallows you find in hot chocolate packets), they are found in the hot chocolate isle at Walmart and Target

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
 In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.
Place tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dinner Rolls

I love homemade rolls!    There really isn't anything that tastes as wonderful as a roll still warm from the oven with some butter melting on it....except chocolate.....that beats everything.  Since most the time I cook dinner spur of the moment (I have tried planning my meals and I am never in the mood for what I planned) I usually don't want to run to the store to grab rolls.  It is much easier for me to make my own....and cheaper because I can never just go in and grab 1 thing....  So here is my go to recipe: (It can be made in the bread maker or  by hand)

2 3/4 c. bread flour (if by hand you can use regular flour)
2 tsp. yeast
1tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4- 7/8 c. milk
1/4c. warm water
1 egg
1/4 c. butter

Bread machine instructions:  Have all ingredients room temperature.  Put liquid ingredients in first, and the do the dry, making a little well in the flour for the yeast.  Select the "dough" setting on the machine and let it do it's thing.  when it is done, shape the dough into balls and let rise until double and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  When they are finished, brush the tops with butter.  This will make about 12-18 rolls depending on how big you make them.

By hand: (the way I prefer)  Warm your milk to between 110-115 degrees and add 1 tbsp. sugar and the yeast (stir to combine) and let it foam up.  While that is foaming, combine all the dry ingredients, then mix in egg, butter and water.  I use my Kitchenaid with the dough attachment   Then add in your yeast mixture and let it knead until well-combined.  If you need more flour, add more.  If the dough is too dry, add more milk.  The dough should be slightly stick but not sticking to the bowl while mixing.  The amount of flour can vary each time you make it.  Sometimes I have to add more milk, sometimes more depends on the weather.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  Then spray a bowl with non-stick spray (can use the same bowl you mixed it in) and cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.  I like to set my oven on warm, place a hand towel on a cookie sheet, and put the bowl on the sheet in the oven.  It cuts rising time in half.  Once it has risen, shape into balls and let rise until double and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  I like to use my Pampered Chef brownie pan or a muffin tin to cook them so I don't have to worry about tearing rolls apart.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Brownines

Do you like Strawberry Lemonade?  These brownies are food form!!  They are super yummy!  They were a nice break from the chocolate recipes I usually do.  Instead of the lemon glaze, I got some of my homemade freezer strawberry jam and poured it over top.  It was fabulous!!
cup unsalted butter, softened
cup flour
eggs, large
tbsp lemon zest
tbsp lemon juice
cup granulated sugar
teaspoon sea salt
For the tart lemon glaze (I didn't do the glaze, but if you want it, here's the recipe):
tbsp lemon juice
tsp lemon zest
cup icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.  Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set. Cut into bars and serve. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lofthouse Copycat Cookies

Have you ever had Lofthouse cookies?  They are the fabulous sugar cookies that have colored frostings (depending on the season) and sprinkles.  They are super soft and super yummy and super addictive! The only down side is they are usually $4 for 8 cookies.  I'm a bit of cheapster and can't fork out that much money....but luckily I usually don't have to.  Here in Ogden, there is the Lofthouse cookie outlet over on 2nd street in the BDO outlet store (if you want specific instructions to get there and I will give them to you) and they sell them for $1.25 a box.  I love going there when I need treats to take to my daughter's school. that I have done my advertising speal, back to the post.  As you can tell, I really do like these cookies and have been wanting  to make some that could satisfy my cravings for them and I would have to drive clear out of my way for them (which is probably a good thing they are farther away because I would be in lots of trouble and not fit into  my pants even more than I already don't).  Usually with cookies, I am all about the chocolate....okay....with anything I am all about the chocolate.  But these cookies are some of my favorites, even though they don't have chocolate. =)  So now that I have bored you to death, I guess I should give you the recipe huh?  I got the original recipe here and did a few little tweaks to it.  This recipe makes a lot so feel free to cut the recipe in half.

Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar Cookies

6 cups all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda 
1 t. baking powder 
1 c. butter, at room temperature 
2 c. granulated sugar 
3 eggs 
4 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. butter, room temperature 
1 t. vanilla extract 
1 t. almond extract (optional but I love almond extract in frostings!)
4 c. powdered sugar (you may need more or less, depending on how thick you want the frosting
6 T. heavy cream (you won't need it all, I actually didn't even need any of it and you can use milk too)
Several drops food coloring 
Multi-colored Sprinkles

Cream the butter and sugar until it is well incorporated.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat until well combined.  Slowly ad the dry ingredients.  The dough may be a bit sticky,  so don't fret.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours. You can either cover the bowl and do it in that or take the dough out and wrap in plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray your cookie sheets with non stick spray.

Roll out your dough to about 1/4 thickness (I actually do mine a little bit thicker)  If the dough is too sticky to roll out, add some flour and sugar.  I usually have a bag of a flour/sugar mix that I keep on hand for my sugar cookie dough.  I just sprinkle some on the counter and incorporate it into the dough as you are rolling it out.  Then take whatever shape cookie dough cutters you want and cut out your cookies.  I use a cup to get the round ones.  Then back your cookies for about 7 minutes.  You don't want them to over cook because then they will be crunchy and not soft (unless you are weird and like your sugar cookies crunchy ;P )  Once the cookies are done baking, let them cool on a cooling rack.  Once completely cooked, frost away!  And don't forget to let your little munchkins help decorate a few.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Root Beer Cookies

Everyone in my family are HUGE fans of root beer.  I have tried several recipes to try and get the root beer flavor in them.  I've done several cupcake versions and a few cookie versions.  I haven't been completely satisfied with them.  It seems like the root beer flavor always bakes out of it.  But then one day, while visiting one of my favorite blogs, Chef in Training, I found her recipe for root beer cookies.  I figured, what they hey, I'll give them a try.  Boy am I glad I did!  They were super yummy!  My hubby doesn't like white chocolate chips and he even really liked these (enough that he requested I make a batch for him to take to work to share, which he only does with the really good ones =)  )


3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 small box vanilla instant pudding (dry)
2 eggs
2 tsp. Root beer concentrate
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
white chocolate chips (however much you like, but probably around 1 cup)

Cream butter and sugars together.  Add eggs and root beer.  Beat until incorporated.  Add pudding mix, baking soda, and flour until well mixed.  Stir in white chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoons (or about 1 in big, or use a cookie dough scoop) onto a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  They get a big glass of milk and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mini 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, salmonella 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 (ore 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, February 26, 2014

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

I have been looking for a good sweet and sour recipe. I posted one earlier that was pretty good, but it didn't have the breading.  My hubby wanted to have the breaded kind.  Then I found this and I have made it several times.  It's a hit!  This is definitely a regular now.  I have also been looking for a good friend rice recipe and lucky for me, the blog Life in a Lofthouse, had both the fried rice and sweet and sour chicken.  Score!!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

Courtesy of Life in the Lofthouse

The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup  oil

The sweet and sour sauce: (I actually doubled mine so I could have extra sauce for my rice)
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
       Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Cube your chicken Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs.  Heat your  oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
      On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated!
Try adding some diced ham, or green onion. Yum!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brocolli Cheese Soup

Once the cold weather sets in, my favorite thing to do is make soups!  Which bugs my hubby because he isn't a soup person (he is a meat and potatoes type person)  But oh well, every once in awhile I have to cook a meal that is for ME and not everyone else and they just have to deal with it.  You get what you get and you don't throw a fit! =)  I love broccoli and cheese soup but the canned stuff has way too much salt for me.  So when I found a recipe that didn't have any canned stuff I had to try.  I think this is a keeper!
3 tbsp. oil
1/3 of a yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken stock or broth
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. white cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish (you can sub yellow cheddar if you want)
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
seasonings to taste (I used some roasted garlic and herb seasonings)

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add onions and saute.  Add garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add flour to pan and stir until the moisture is soaked up, and cook for 1 minute.
Add stock a little at a time, mixing to incorporate all ingredients and work out any lumps.  Add milk.  Bring mixture to a simmer and add broccoli.  Simmer over medium heat until soup has thickened slightly, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and break up chunks by putting some in a blender or food processor.  Do as much or as little as you want, depending on how chunky you like it.  Return soup to heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.  The stir in cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted and thickened.  Ladle into bread bowls and garnish with extra cheese if desired.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

This Sunday I was home from church with a sick little baby girl so I had some extra quiet time while everyone else was away.  So I decided to make a it's not any different from when I have a houseful...I still make treats.  But I guess I just got a little bored since the baby was sleeping.  I wanted something simple, and something that I had all the ingredients on hand since it was Sunday.  So I figured this would be good.  And kid-friendly =)

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats
(Recipe from Chef in Training)


  1. Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, pour measured Rice Krispie Cereal.
  3. Chop and mash Oreos. You can do this by putting them in a ziplock bag to help keep the mess under control. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed.
  4. Add Oreos to Rice Krispy cereal and stir to combine.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and marshmallows together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they melt together.
  6. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal and oreos and use a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to quickly combine all the ingredients.
  7. As soon as all the cereal is combined, spread mixture into the prepared 9×13″ dish. Use the spatula to press the mixture around the dish, and flatten as needed.
  8. Let sit until completely cooled.
  9. Drizzle with melted chocolate or sprinkles if you want.