Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Froggie Dessert"

Ellery was in charge of treats for FHE last night. I gave her a few pictures of desserts to choose from, and this is what she chose. So we went to the grocery store to get the ingredients (lime sherbet, Junior Mints, gummy rings/lifesavers) and came home to assemble the frogs. However, the nurse from Addison's school called to say she had thrown up and needed to be picked really threw a cramp in Ellery and mine special activity. The long and the short is this...Addison is not sick, but threw up some birthday treat a boy in her class had brought to share. So the 2 girls made these frogs to keep themselves busy yesterday. They colored the paper plates to look like lily pads, even embellishing them with flowers. They had a great time and were very proud to show off their masterpieces to their dad last night.

Grilled Bacon Burgers

Grilled Bacon Burgers
(Simple & Delicious, May/June 2008)

I know, the picture kind of looks gross. But the burger is so juicy it is hard to keep it looking pretty. Reminded me of those Carl's Jr. commercials where they pride themselves on how messy their burgers are.

1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef
5 bacon strips
5 hamburger buns, split
Leaf lettuce, tomato slices and onion slices, optional

In a small bowl, combine the egg, cheese, onion, soy sauce, ketchup and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into five patties. Wrap a bacon strip around each; secure with a toothpick. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium-hot heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Discard toothpicks. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato and onion if desired.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Brown Sugar Chewies

A friend of mine suggested a few non-chocolate desserts for me to try out. This was one of them (from Paula Dean) and it was a hit. Marc requested "just a few chocolate chips be thrown in"--which I did. I didn't realize that the dough is warm, so the chips melted and this ended up being a swirled brown sugar-chocolate chewy....VERY yummy.

Brown Sugar Chewies
(thanks to Silvia Winert, who got the recipe from Paula Dean)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Turn off the heat, add the brown sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in the egg. Stir together the flour and baking powder and stir into the brown sugar mixture. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and
bake for 20 minutes. When cool, dust the top with a sifting of confectioners' sugar.

(Oh, I doubled the recipe, like always, and put it in a 9 X 13 pan)

Peasant Bread

We were invited over to a friends house for dinner on Saturday night. I was asked to bring this is what I made.

Peasant Bread
(thanks to Emily Owsley, who introduced the "Favorites" cookbook to me!)

1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
2 c. warm water
1 Tblspn. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt

Dissolve the 4 above ingredients together.
Then add:

4 c. flour
Stir until blended.

Do not knead!
Just cover and let sit for about 1-1 ½ hours, until it doubles in size.
With floured hands, remove dough and divide into two pieces.
Grease cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Put two shaped pieces of dough onto cookie sheet , cover, and let rise again for about another 1 ½ hrs.
Brush top of bread with melted butter (**this is when I also sprinkle with parmesan cheese)
Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes. Then add another basting of butter and turn down the oven to 375 degrees for another 15 minutes.

OPTIONS!! You can add anything to the bread dough (ie. rosemary, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, etc.) This bread comes out looking like 2 rounds of foccacia bread--very rustic looking.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Baked Pork Chops

A friend in our ward brought this recipe to us after Soren was born. It was so good, not only because I didn't do the cooking, but because it was the most tender pork chop I had ever had. I made the recipe myself last night, and sure enough, the pork chop was just as tender. This is a pretty basic recipe, but the pork turns out so good. I served it over rice, which was great. My friend who made this for me also put caramelized onions on top, which was awesome and made it a bit more "gourmet", but I didn't take the time to do that last night.

Baked Pork Chops
(thanks to Audra Croft who got the recipe from

6 pork chops
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 egg, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Rinse pork chops, pat dry, and season with garlic powder and seasoning salt to taste. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Dredge the pork chops lightly in flour, dip in the egg, and coat liberally with bread crumbs.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork chops 5 minutes per side, or until the breading appears well browned. Transfer the chops to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and cover with foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. While baking, combine the cream of mushroom soup, milk and white wine in a medium bowl. After the pork chops have baked for an hour, cover them with the soup mixture. Replace foil, and bake for another 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hearty Greek Pasta

My friend Veronica made this for me when I was visiting her a few years ago. So it isn't a new recipe to me, or to anyone else who has my cookbook. But it's worth sharing with those who don't. It is super easy, but tastes complicated--I love that! It is seriously "restaurant quality," as Marc would say.

Hearty Greek Pasta
(thanks to Veronica Haymore, a GREAT friend)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, sliced diagonally
3 Tblspn. olive oil
1 8oz. jar sundried tomatoes, drained and julienned
3 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ c. fresh basil (or smaller amount of dried basil)
1 12oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
¼ c. + heavy cream (I use a pint)
1 lb. pasta (bowties or rotini)
1 tsp. Dried oregano
salt & pepper

Brown chicken in oil until cooked.
Add sundried tomatoes and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add basil and artichokes to pan and sauté for one minute.
Stir in cream; remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Drain pasta and place in bowl.
Toss with sauce and feta cheese.

Monday, April 21, 2008

2 Pies!

Because I am trying to avoid chocolate, I am compensating by trying out new desserts to curb my sweet tooth. Here are 2 pies I made this weekend...both were great!

Sweet Banana Cream & Berry Pie
(thanks to Silvia Winert, a friend here in Cedar Park)

NOTE: I changed the name from "Banana Cream" to this--it is not a traditional banana cream, but a great twist on the traditional classic.

9 inch Baked Pie Shell
3 medium bananas
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Bake pie shell. Slice 2 of the bananas; arrange in pie shell. Beat cream cheese in small mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until well blended. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Slice remaining banana; arrange on pie.

Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup cold whipping cream
¼ cup powder sugar
1 tsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
spec of salt
1 box raspberries

Beat all the ingredients until soft peaks form . When whipped cream is firm fold in a box of fresh raspberries. Top the pie with the whipped cream and enjoy!

Pie #2

Key Lime Pie
(thanks to Angie Gubler, a "roommate"--but not really--from BYU)

4 tsp. grated lime zest
½ c. FRESH lime juice
4 large egg yolks
1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Mix yolks and lime zest.
Add rest of ingredients and pour into crust.
Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes (it usually takes a little longer than this) until center is set.

1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbspn. sugar
6 Tbspn. melted butter

Mix crust ingredients, press into greased pie pan.
Bake at 325 until crust begins to brown (approx. 15 min.)
OR just pie an already made Keebler crust!

Top with dollop of REAL whipping cream!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A new look!

I was tired of looking at my boring ole' blog site. So I decided to take a few extra minutes and spice it up a bit. I found the background template at Looks rather springy to me--fits the mood around here. I'll probably change it as my mood or the weather changes. But for now, we are going with green grass.
I also have started adding pictures of my food due to multiple requests. Guess we are all visual learners--I know I am, I just didn't know how to put the pictures in. It was easier than I thought, so I will try to have pictures from here on out.
Hope you like the new look!

Crumb-Coated Ranch Chicken

This is something you could make in a last minute pinch for dinner--super easy, super fast, super tasty! I am using the leftover chicken to make a cobb salad for lunch tomorrow, too!

Crumb-Coated Ranch Chicken
(Simple & Delicious, May/June 2008)

2/3 cup ranch salad dressing
2 cups coarsely crushed cornflakes
1 tablespoon Italian
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each)

Pour salad dressing into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the cornflake crumbs, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Dip chicken in dressing, then coat with crumb mixture. Place in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Coconut Sandwich Cookies

I was stuck at home with no car today and had the urge to bake. I usually resort to something chocolate, but unfortunatley, that doens't seem to sit well with Soren. Bummer! So I tried out a new recipe....and was very satisfied with the result--the look and taste!

Coconut Sandwich Cookies
(Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, Dec. 2007)

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut

3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Creamy Vanilla Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, bakind powder, and salt; set aside. Place 1/2 cup coconut into small bowl; set aside. Place remaining coconut in a food processor; pulse until coarsely ground. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and ground coconut; mix just until combined.

Drop dough by level tablespoon onto two baking sheets, 1-2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dividing evenly, spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies. Roll edges in reserved coconut and chill until ready to serve.

Creamy Vanilla Filling

Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup room temperature butter until light and fluffy.

With mixer on medium, beat in 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down bowl as necessary.

Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla; increase speed to high and beat until filling is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bacon-Chicken Crescent Ring

I made this for breakfast this morning and got a 10 out of 10 rating from both my dad and from Marc. Guess it's a keeper! OH, it presents VERY well and would be great for a baby shower brunch (or something like that)!

Bacon-Chicken Crescent Ring

(Simple & Delicious, Nov/Dec 2007)

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 can (10 ounces) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped
sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Italian
salad dressing mix

Grease a 14-in. pizza pan. Unroll crescent roll dough; separate into 16 triangles. Place wide end of one triangle 3 in. from edge of prepared pan with point overhanging edge of pan. Repeat with remaining triangles along outer edge of pan, overlapping the wide ends (dough will look like a sun when complete). Lightly press wide ends together.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over wide ends of dough. Fold points of triangles over filling and tuck under wide ends (filling will be visible).

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 8 servings.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Triple Layer Carrot Cake

I made this cake for a baby shower last weekend. It is not a new recipe to me, but I have had a few requests for the recipe, so I figured it was worth posting. I got this recipe from Marc's brother, Doug. I think i t may h ave originally come from Southern Living, but I always just give credit to Doug. It is, by FAR, the best carrot cake I have ever had!

Triple Layer Carrot Cake
(thanks to Doug Leavitt, my brother-in-law)

2 C. flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Salt
2 C. sugar
1 ¼ tsp. Cinnamon
¾ tsp. Ginger
¾ tsp. Nutmeg
**Combine all the above ingredients

1 ¼ C. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
**Add oil & egg

2 ½ C. shredded carrots
½ C. finely chopped pecans
1 tsp. Vanilla
**Stir in above 3 ingredients

Grease & flour 3 round 9inch pans, then line with parchment paper.
Spoon batter into pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
Remove and continue to cool.
Prepare cake using Cream Cheese Frosting.
Dust with flaked coconut and shredded carrots.
(this makes the cake look gourmet!)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla1 to 2 tsp milk
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring to spreading consistency.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Skewered Chicken & Red Onion

This is a great fall-back recipe....when I haven't planned anything for dinner, but want more than leftovers or noodles. I always have these ingredients on hand and it doesn't take much prep work. Plus, every person in my family loves this!

Skewered Chicken and Red Onion
(thanks to Jessica Lee, I think)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges

Preheat to 375.
Stir together vinegar, garlic, salt, honey, and oil in a large bowl; season with pepper.
Add chicken and onion to the marinade.
Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 15 minutes.
Thread pieces of chicken and onion onto skewers.
Place is baking dish; drizzle marinade on top.
Bake until chicken is cooked through, 35- 40 minutes.
Place chicken and onions on serving plate and drizzle with juices from baking dish.

I ALWAYS just throw the skewers on the BBQ (I've never done the baking method) and they are done in about 10 minutes! Easy!
Also, they are really good with fresh pineapple threaded on the skewers, too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

French Dip

This is almost embarrassing, but I had never had French Dip in my life until last night! When I had my freezer mishap a few weeks ago, one of my thawed items was a beef roast. I called my trusty neighbor for suggestions on what to do with all of my meat and she gave me this recipe for French Dip. The best part was that after I made it, I was able to freeze it! I pulled it out the night before and then warmed it on the stove last night. YUMMY!

French Dip
(thanks to Cheri Taylor, the best neighbor!)

3 lb. beef roast
2 c. water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
Bay leaf
3-4 whole peppercorns

Put together in a crockpot and cook on high for about 4+ hours. Shred meat and serve on crusty rolls with sauce on the side.

I used Ciabatta rolls from Costco and topped the meat with Provolone cheese.
I served them with tator tots and a fruit salad--we all loved our dinner last night!

2 new favorite things

#1 CaraCara oranges!
I love oranges and have always been partial to good ole' California Navel oranges, but these are SO much better! They are a cross between a California Navel and a blood orange--the flesh almost looks like a dark grapefruit--and they are SO sweet! I have only found them in large bags at Costco (which is fine because I devour them!), but I am going to keep my eyes open from now on to see if they are sold in regular grocery stores, too. They are awesome!

#2 Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
A good friend and my sister-in-law both recommended this barbeque sauce to me. Again, I was quite partial to my old stand-by...a BBQ sauce from a local restaurant in Northern California, Emil Villa's. My parents would buy the sauce by the case and so I assumed it was the BEST sauce ever. But Sweet Baby Ray's is REALLY good, much better than generic Kraft BBQ sauce--a littel sweet and a little kick, but definitely NOT spicy. The best part is that it is sold at most grocery stores (some Costco's), and even our WalMart--so now I don't have to sneak a bottle of Emil Villla's sauce home in my suitcase every time I go to see my parents!