Friday, December 11, 2009

Dark Chocolate/Mint Morsel Chocolate Cookies!

Try saying that three times fast!

These cookies are really simple and really good! During the holiday season Nestle always had a great assortment of morsels to chose from and the Dark Chocolate and Mint morsels add quite a kick to this cookie! But you can always use regular semi-sweet chips and they will taste great too! Here's the simple recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups of your choice of morsel

Preteat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set but still soft. I like to bake mine for 9 minutes- they seem to be very moist and soft! Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Candy Coated Red Velvet Truffles

Now the name may be a mouthful, but I can guarantee you this treat is nothing but a mouthful of Heaven. I cannot believe how many compliments and requests I get for these delightful finger desserts! It many not be as easy as chocolate chip cookies, but it's worth the time and effort. Thankfully one batch makes about 60- so you're covered for quite a while!

Here's how to make these great treats!

Item Needed:
*1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix (plus ingredients on box to make the cake)
*1 can cream cheese frosting
*2 to 3 14 oz bags of chocolate chips (or candy melts- I used 3 bags of colored candy melts for the orange and black candy for the picture above)
*vegetable oil (if needed for thinning out candy melts)

Make it:

Mix and bake your red velvet cake as directed on box.

Once cooled, crumble cake into large mixing bowl.

Add entire can of frosting to bowl- mix until blended!

Roll mixture into half inch balls with your hands and place onto cookie sheet.

Once mixture is used up and you have rolled all the balls, place cookie sheet into freezer for 30 min, or fridge for up to 2 hours to allow cake balls to firm.

Once firm, melt 1 bag of chocolate in a bowl. Heat in increments of 30 seconds- stirring in between (or as bag directs). Make sure it melts to a consistency that drips when you run a fork through the candy. If it's still too thick, add a few drops of vegetable oil until thinned out.

I wasn't able to get pictures of the dipping process since I was by myself- but I will try to explain as best as I can!

Drop a cake ball into melted candy. Spoon candy over cake ball so it covers it completely. Using a fork, lift it out of the bowl- letting the excess candy drip from the fork. Poke with toothpick and drop onto a cookie sheet topped with wax paper. If you want to use sprinkles, act fast, and sprinkle after every 2 to 3 cake balls as the candy coat hardens quickly. Try to allow as much candy coating to drip off so the melts last longer and go further.

Once all cake balls are dipped, allow to harden at room temperature, or stick in fridge. Just to warn you- if you put them in the fridge, the candy coating may not look as smooth or may look cracked. It's not hugely noticeable, but something worth noting.

One candy hardens- serve them, eat them, or give them away at gifts!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Home-Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Spice up your favorite childhood meal with a delicious grown up taste with this easy remake of macaroni and cheese.

1 package of Kraft deluxe macaroni & cheese (or you can use the generic brand, or I've even used the Velveeta shells as well)
1 cup cubed ham pieces or Canadian bacon (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (red, if you have it- if not- use whatever you like!)
8 RITZ crackers

Make it:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the macaroni and cheese as directed on package.

Stir in 1/2 cup of grated cheese, the sour cream, ham and pepper.

Spoon into greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.

Sprinkle remaining cheese. Crush and sprinkle the crackers on top.

Bake 20 minutes- let stand for 5 before serving.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brownie Candy Cups

These are another awesome sweet treat from Bakerella. Be warned. They are like super duper amazing Reeses Pieces Cups. So if you like Reeses, you'll love these. I guarantee it.

These are much easier than the last post, so be relieved. They only take a mere 35 minutes.

I tweaked Bakerella's recipe a bit to fit my normal person's list of house cooking items. I don't have mini cupcake pans or foil liners. So, I just used what I had. And here's what I did. And here's how to make them. Oh, and they turned out amazing. Did I mention that yet?

Items Needed:

1 box of Duncan Hines Chocolate Lovers Double Fudge Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
20 regular sized Reeses cups unwrapped
20 cup cake liners

How to Create Deliciousness:
1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Place liners in your cupcake pan, or use free-standing liners like my beautifully colored silicone liners.

3. Combine brownie mix, contents from fudge packet in mix, eggs, water and oil.

4. Stir with spoon until blended.

5. Fill each liner about one third of the way. You can fill them higher if you want more brownie, but you'll make a less amount. The brownie mix doesn't raise very high like regular cupcakes do.

6. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and remove from oven

7. Push 1 Reeses in center of each “brownie cupcake” until even with surface of the batter.

8. Bake 5 more minutes.

9. Remove pan and allow pan to cool for about 5 minutes. I placed them into the fridge to harden up the melted chocolate, and then removed them from the liners once they were cooled.

10. Serve and eat!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Holiday Baking

Usually "Holiday" refers to the Christmas season, but we're not quite there yet, and I'm way behind on my blogging. So this Holiday post refers to the wonderful day we celebrate our fathers. I know, it's August. I'm late... way late. But I couldn't pass it up to share these SUPER cute cookie/cupcake/brownie desserts that everyone will love.

Unfortunately I can't say this is the easiest and quickest baking experience, but if you have a few hours, and you enjoy baking, it's totally worth it. Not to mention their extreme cuteness.

The hardest part I had was balancing the mixing, stirring, baking, cutting, decorating all at the same time. You need to be able to cook brownies, cupcakes, and sugar cookies, which is why it's not the simplest project. But you can even spread the baking over two days if you wish to keep sane and have a somewhat decently clean kitchen.

Of course I found this awesome idea from none other than the awesome Bakerella. She is amazingly creative. Here is her post, and it's way better than mine. So maybe don't look at it just yet...

Before you start baking you'll need to print out some templates from Bakerella for the tray, french fry holder, and tissue paper. I printed the trays on card stock, french fry holders on vellum, and the father's day paper on tracing paper. Just be careful if you use the tracing paper, it can smear if it's not dry.

Once you have printed those out, start baking! I'd suggest starting with the brownies first. They are the easiest and allows them to cool for cutting. While they are baking, start cutting and assembling the trays and fry holders.

Secondly, bake your cup cakes. I definitely recommend using paper cupcake liners as opposed to none or the silicone cupcake liners. These are the ones I baked with the silicone liners.

Sure, they look good in the liners, but once they are peeled off, they look better in the trash.

They got destroyed. So, as I mentioned before, paper is better for this project. After we said our eulogies, we started round two of the cupcakes, and they turned out much better. Just let them cool before peeling off the paper liners.

Your next step is making the delicious french fries. These are made with the sugar cookie dough. Make your dough (from scratch, or if you want to have a life, use a mix). Spread the dough out on parchment paper or on a silicone mat. Cut the dough in small strips with a long cut down the center, hot dog style (remember that from kindergarten?). I failed to remember to take pictures of the french fry steps, so please refer to Bakerella if you need help. She has some great visuals. Remove alternating strips so it won't bake into one giant cookie. (See example) Sprinkle on sugar, and bake for about 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If they spread out too much and become steak fries, you can immediately cut them in half as soon as you take them out of the oven. If you wait too long they will harden and break. So slice fast! Once the fries are done, load 'em up in their cute holders and refrain from eating them all.

Once your cupcakes are cooled, cut them in half. These will be used as the buns. Then cut your brownies to be the meat- using a cookie cutter that's similar diameter as the cupcakes. Or, if you're ghetto like me, you can use the top of a PAM spray can. I didn't have a two inch circle cookie cutter, so the PAM top worked like magic.

Now comes the decorating part! You'll need one can of frosting as well as green, red, and yellow food coloring. Separate icing in to three bowls, one bowl using a bit more than the other two. The bowl with more frosting will be used for the lettuce since you'll need more green than yellow or red. SO mix the colors until you are satisfied with your lettuce, mustard, and ketchup. Place the icing in piping bags, or you can use plastic sandwich bags, cutting small holes at the tip of a corner. Now decorate your "meat" with delicious mustard, ketchup and lettuce.

Last but least, assemble your burger, placing the meat in the buns, and pressing lightly so they stick together a bit. Just don't squish too much or your beautiful lettuce will look more like mold. For the finishing touch, dip your finger in water, and lightly rub the top of the bun with the water and sprinkle sesame seeds. The water helps them stick.

Place the burger in a tray with the tissue paper, pair it with a bag of fries, and you've got yourself one darn delicious happy meal!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Heavenly Combo

I found this recipe on Bakerella which she found from Betty Crocker. The thing I like the best about this recipe is it's SOO easy and SOO good. Want a super easy recipe that will taste like you spent extra time? This is totally the answer.

One box of brownie mix (and the water, eggs and oil it calls for)
One tube of pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
Extra chocolate chips (optional)
Confectioners Sugar (optional)

And that's it!! If you want to make things harder on yourself, you can make the cookie dough from scratch, but that just seems foolish.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix brownie mix together according to the box directions. Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan or greased glass dish.

Remove the cookie dough from it's package and make balls or scoops like you would if you were making regular cookies. Drop the cookies into the brownie batter, pressing lightly so it squishes it a bit into the batter.

You might not need to use all the cookie dough, so if there's extra, don't let it go to waste- let is go to your waist! Anyways, after you've devoured the left over cookie dough, place your delicious pan of goodness into the oven, and bake for 35- 40 minutes.

Now you have a few choices. You can leave it be, and enjoy the delicious creation you just made just as it is, or you can add toppings. Bakerella did a chocolate ganache topping, but I thought it was too much work. So I just topped with extra chocolate chips once it was out of the oven, so they'd melt a bit. Once it was cooled, I sprinkled with confectioners sugar. I'm sure you could even frost it like a cake, but that'd be a bit too much for my personal pallet. Once it's cooled, serve as is, or cut into pieces and display proudly!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Talking to Myself

Sometimes I get bored, and when I get bored, my imagination can go a bit disarray. Thank goodness for cameras and Photoshop, or I'd be a total wreck. The other day I experimented with an idea I had come up with months ago- but never applied it to myself. So I thought what the heck. I have appropriately named it "Talking to Myself."

talking to myself

And as you can see, I am having quite the enjoyable time. Probably sharing gossip- you know us women. You can't stop us. Never.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

French Onion-Pork Chop Skillet

Total Time = 35 - 40 min | Serves 6

This has become one of my favorite go-to recipes when I don't feel like creating a terrible mess. With only 5 ingredients, it's super easy but still tastes incredibly yummy.

I cut down the amounts when I was cooking and taking these pictures since I was only cooking for two, so if you think it's odd that I only have two pork chops when the recipe requires six, just ignore me! Here's how to make this great dish!

What you Need:
6 boneless pork chops - 1/2 inch thick
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 6 oz stuffing mix for chicken
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Make it:
Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Make sure to spray it with cooking spray. Add chops and onions.

Cook for 10 minutes or until done, turning the chops and stirring the onions after 5 minutes.

Once pork chops are done, remove from pan, and continue to cook and stir onions for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Return the pork chops to the skillet and top with the onions.

Meanwhile, I turn to say hello to Pete, my cooking buddy. He likes the smell of pork!

Mix stuffing mix and 1 1/2 cups of hot water.

Spoon the stuffing around the edge of the skillet. Top off the meat, onions, and stuffing with the mozzarella.

Cover the skillet, and cook for five more minutes. Once cheese is melted, remove from heat, dish it up, and eat it! I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simple Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Makes about 6 Enchiladas | Serves 2 - 3

This is a recipe that has been passed down from my mother-in-law to my husband, who then taught me how to make these easy yet super delicious enchiladas! I don't have a specific serving amount, because it really depends on how big your tummy is! We usually eat 2 per person, but they are small, so I always make extra- just in case! You can also put them in a tupperware and throw them in the fridge for lunch the next day. They usually stay pretty well for about 5 days if you keep them refrigerated. This is also a great dish for a large party. Just double, triple, or quadruple the amount!

1 cooked chicken breast
6 corn tortillas
1 10 oz can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 10 oz can of green or red enchilada sauce
2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese mix
3 T. of olive oil (maybe more, just make sure you have some spare available just in case!)

Make it:
Set your oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the olive oil in a small pan, the closer to the size of the tortilla the better. Heat the oil on medium-low to medium. You don't want it getting so hot it spits.

While you let the oil heat up, shred your chicken. I like to use my fingers, just pulling apart the chicken into thin shredded pieces.

Once oil is hot enough, place one tortilla at a time in the oil for about 3 to four seconds per side.

Tortilla will usually bubble up once in the oil. if it doesn't, the oil isn't hot enough. Place cooked tortillas on a paper towel to help drain the excess oil.

While tortillas are cooling, mix together shredded chicken, 1 cup of cheese, and the entire can of soup. Sometimes I even sneak some sour cream in there, but my hubby isn't a big fan of sour cream. If you want to try it with the sour cream, I usually add one or two spoonfuls.

Open your can of enchilada sauce and pour a layer of sauce on the bottom of your 1.5 qt dish. A 1.5 qt dish is plenty big for up to 8 - 10 enchiladas. If you're making more, you'll want to use a 3 qt dish.

Once tortillas are cooked and your chicken mixture is all mixed up, scoop two to three spoonfuls of chicken mixture onto a tortilla.

Roll up the tortilla and place in baking dish seam side down. Repeat until all tortillas are finished.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tops of the rolled enchiladas and finish off with the remaining cheese.

Cook for 20 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes. Dish entree and serve!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Layered Enchilada Bake

Total Time = 1:10 | Serves 8

What you Need:

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups of salsa
1- 15 oz can black beans, drained
½ cup Italian dressing
2 tbsp taco seasoning mix
Flour tortillas (6-9)
2 cups Shredded cheese
Sour cream for garnish

How to Make it:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is warming up, cook your ground beef.

Add salsa, beans, dressing and seasoning mix together with the ground beef once it’s finished cooking.

Spread a thin layer of salsa at the bottom of your 13 x 9 pan (or you can use a 1.5 qt, you just might not use all the ingredients).

Arrange tortillas in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, then cover with a layer of the meat mixture and 3/4 cup of cheese.

Repeat layers once more.

Top the Layered Enchilada with one last layer of tortillas and the rest of the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 min. Top with sour cream or your favorite garnishes and enjoy!

**You can also add onions to this recipe. I personally don't like onions in this, but if you can't live without them, chop up 1 large onion and add it to the meat mixture! Proceed as normal.