Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Grandma Helen's Ginger Filled Cookies



7 C. flour
1 c. Molasses
1 c. melted shortening
2 tbsp. baking soda dissolved in hot water
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt


Ground raisins
Thick plum jam

Mix melted shortening, sugar, and molasses.  Add remaining ingredients.  Roll out dough and cut circles.  For the filling, mix the ground raisins and the thick plum jam together.  If the jam is too thin, add raisins and cook thicker with flour.  Put some of the filling in the middle of a circle cookie, and top with another cookie.  Seal the two cookies together.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Haylee’s Note:
This is Darin’s grandma’s recipe.  Darin’s mom makes these every year around Christmas time and they are a family FAVORITE!  They always seem to disappear quickly.  I haven’t made them myself yet, but I hope to soon!  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Family Circle’s Blueberry-Strawberry Shortcake


4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling and to sweeten cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup solid vegetable shortening, very cold
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 quart blueberries
3 cups heavy cream, whipped

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add buttermilk and mix just until dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough evenly into thirds; wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 325 degrees Roll each piece of dough on lightly floured parchment to a 10-inch circle. Prick with a fork and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

To assemble: Set aside a few strawberries and blueberries to top finished dessert. Place one pastry disk on a serving plate and cover with a third of the remaining berries, followed by a third of the whipped cream. Repeat layering two more times and finish with reserved berries.

Haylee’s Note:
We loved this dessert!  It was delicious!  Darin grew strawberries and blueberries in our garden this year, so I think I will make it again!  I think this is a really pretty dessert, and perfect for a patriotic celebration like 4th of July!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



1 c. mashed potatoes
2 tbsp. yeast
½ c. warm water
½ tbsp sugar
2 eggs
¼ c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 c. scalded milk
6 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in water and add ½ tbsp sugar. Cream ½ c. sugar and shortening then salt and potatoes. Add scalded milk (cooled). Add salt and eggs then flour. Double 1-2 hours roll out and cut. Double again. Fry and glaze while hot. Makes 40


4 c. powdered sugar
½ c. water
½ tsp vanilla

Chocolate glaze:

2 tsp. butter
2 sq. chocolate
1 c. powdered sugar
¼ c. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate. Add remaining ingredients.

Haylee's Note:
These are really yummy and fun to make, even though they are time consuming. Our family always made these on the FHE before halloween and took them to the neighbors. It was a fun tradition.  To see some of our neighborhood donut parties, click HERE.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ellie Krieger’s Babaganoush


1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl.

On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley, tahini, and lemon juice. Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley.

2006, Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved

Haylee’s Note:

I actually made this because I wanted to make a dish using an ingredient I had never heard of.  I hadn’t heard of tahini (and now I’ve found its also in humus).  This was a little more work than I was expecting, but it was EXCELLENT!  Even my kids liked it!  Fun new recipe!  Photo credit and original recipe can be found HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peach Pie


Double pie crust (recipe below)
1 egg, beaten
 5 cups sliced peeled peaches
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
 1 cup white sugar
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening
5 T water

Preheat the oven to 450

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.

Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown to fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving. This tastes better warm than hot.

Haylee’s Note:
I don’t think I have ever bought a premade pie crust.  The original recipe calls for a store bought one, but I just assume do the work myself—it taste better, it is cheeper, and it is actually really easy.  We LOVED this recipe.  You can get the original recipe HERE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Peach Dessert


2 packages graham crackers
2/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. square melted butter

Put graham crackers in the blender to make a powder. Add sugar and butter. Mix the press down into the bottom of a 9x13 pan

3 oz. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. whipped cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and 1/2 of the powdered sugar. In separate bowl whip the cream. Slowly add the two together and add remaining powdered sugar. Pour filling on top of the crust and add fresh sliced peaches to the top.

Haylee’s Note:
This is one of my favorite summer desserts ever!! Nothing beats juicy, delicious, fresh peaches…except for juicy, delicious, fresh peaches on top of a yummy dessert!! Give it a try, you will be hooked!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blackberry Ice-Cream


1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 c juice from smashed blackberries

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

Haylee’s Note:
This is the Cuisinart Vanilla recipe then I just added the blackberries.  Honestly, I think there are better tasting recipes than this, but this one is sure quick and easy and it still tastes really good.  You can find the original recipe HERE.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pina Colada Cake


2 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
5 egg whites

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with a mixer for 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for another minute. Add coconut milk and coconut extract to butter mixture. Gradually add flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat for 2 minutes. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans and divide batter evenly between them. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 23-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes to cool before removing cake from the pans.

Pineapple Filling:
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
In a saucepan combine all ingredients over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture gets a glossy look. Set aside to cool.

Frosting: 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 16-ounce container whipped topping, or 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add coconut milk, powdered sugar and coconut extract. Mix well and then fold the whipped topping or cream into the mixture.

To assemble, cut both cakes open, making four 8-inch rounds. On top of one, place half the pineapple filling and top with a cake layer. Next add a layer of frosting, then a cake layer. Place remaining pineapple mixture on the cake and top with the last cake layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle with coconut.

This is best when refrigerated for at least four hours

Haylee’s Note:

Have you ever been to Si Foster’s food blog? You MUST!!  If the recipe is on her blog, it is BOUND to be DELICIOUS!!  And her pictures are AMAZING!!  This cake won at the Utah State Fair.  We LOVED it!   I did my frosting a little different, because I like mine a little thicker.  To get the original recipe, and to see other yummy things from Si’s blog, click HERE

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ina Garten’s Summer Borscht


5 medium fresh beets (about 2 pounds without tops)
Kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
16 ounces sour cream, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced English cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving

Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and the pepper. Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Cut the beets in small to medium dice. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of fresh dill.

Haylee’s Note:

I found a list of 100 foods to try before you die, and borscht was on the list.  I thought it was going to be nasty, and I was just going to eat it so say that I had, but it was actually VERY good!  So good in fact, that I would make it again!  You can find the original recipe HERE.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Steve Butter’s Chocolate Cheesecake


1 ½  c chocolate cookie crumbs
¼ c melted butter
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
(Mix ingredients and press in a 10” spring form pan)

2 lbs cream cheese (4 packages)
1 ¼ c sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 c whipped cream
2 tbsp. flour
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the cream, then add sugar, then whip, then eggs, then whip, continue to add one ingredient at a time.  After filling is fully whipped, pour half of the filling into the pan, then sprinkle with 2 c. chopped Oreos and the pour remaining filling on top.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce to 225 and bake for 1 hour.

2 c. sour cream
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla.

Mix ingredients then pour on top.  Bake for another 7 minutes at 350, then refrigerate immediately.

Ganache :
Mix: 1 c chocolate chips
1 c. whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Scald the whipping cream then add chocolate chips and vanilla.  Stir for 1 minute, then refrigerate for 10 minutes, then pour over cheesecake.  When cold cover with plastic.

Haylee’s Note:
Cheesecake is not my favorite dessert.  But this is without question the best Cheesecake recipe in the history of EVER!!  Love love love this!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rice Pudding with Blueberry Compote


Rice Pudding:
2 c water
1 c rice
1-2 c milk
1/4 c sugar
Pinch salt
1 t. Vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
Put all ingredients in pan and cook for 45 minutes on stove, covered

Blueberry compote:
In a separate pan combine:
1 c blueberries (I used canned pie filling)
2 Tbs water
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Cook for 10 minutes add 1 c blueberries pour over rice and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve warm.

Haylee’s Note:
I got this recipe from my sister, Heather.  We all really liked it, and when she made it for a brunch she got rave reviews.  Enjoy!  (And thanks Heather for another recipe!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Barefoot Contessa’s Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce


4 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 racks of lamb, frenched and cut into 8 chops each
Yogurt Mint Sauce, recipe follows

Place the garlic, rosemary, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the herbs are finely minced. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and red wine and combine. Place the chops in a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the chops, turning to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

When ready to cook, prepare a grill with one layer of hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat. Remove the lamb from the marinade, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot with the cold Yogurt Mint Sauce.

Yogurt Mint Sauce:
6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 ounces Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until it's a coarse paste. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Haylee’s Note:
This was my first time ever cooking lamb, and let me just say, it will probably be the only way that I ever cook lamb!  This recipe is amazing and the mint sauce is incredible!  You can’t go wrong!  To get the original recipe, click HERE.

Greek Potatoes


8 large potatoes, peeled, cut into large wedges (about 6-7 wedges per potato)
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
sea salt
fresh coarse ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 420°F.  Put all the ingredients into a baking pan large enough to hold them. Season with salt and black pepper. Toss everything to distribute evenly. Bake for 40 minutes. When a nice golden-brown crust has formed on the potatoes, give them a stir to bring the white underside up. Add 1/2 cup more water if pan appears to be getting dry, and pop back into oven to brown other side of potatoes for another 40 minutes or more if needed.

Haylee’s Note:
These are the best potatoes I think I have ever made!  We made these to go with a Greek meal, but I think these would be great with ANYTHING!  This is definitely a keeper!  For the original recipe click HERE.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cranberry Pear Pork


5 boneless pork chops
1 can cranberry sauce
1 can pears
1 jar grey poupon
3 gloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Generously season the pork with salt and pepper.  Lightly brown both sides of pork 2-3 minutes per side in the olive oil.  In a food processor, combine the cranberry sauce, pears, grey poupon, and garlic until smooth.  Move pork (and any drippings) into a crockpot.  Pour sauce mixture over pork, and cook in crockpot, on high, for 4 hours.  Serve warm over rice.

Haylee’s Note:
This is the first meal that I’ve ever invented!  I’m curious for someone else to try it and tell me what they think.  I really liked it, but was hoping for a major WOW factor, but didn’t get it.  I served this to my parents and family, and they all seemed to like it too.  Give it a try then give me some feedback!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jadi's Honey Whole Wheat Bread


Mix together:

2 3/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp yeast
1/8 cup sugar (I add 1-2 Tbsp. more)


1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups wheat flour
3 cups white flour
Add more flour until the sides of the bowl are clean. You will probably end up using 7-7 1/2 cups of flour total.

Remove bowl from kitchen aid and let dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour. (I spray a large bowl with pam)
Cut dough into two equal pieces and roll each ball of dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin to get out the air bubbles. Roll up dough starting with the short end of the rectangle. Tuck ends under and place in greased bread pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. When bread is done slide a butter knife around the inside edges of the pans and drop the loafs of bread out onto a wire rack to cool. I also rub butter on the tops of the loafs after I take them out of the oven.

Haylee's Note:
I got this recipe from my wonderful sister-in-law Jadi. To get the recipe from her blog click here. (Her picture is much prettier too!) She is such a wonderful cook, and we love this bread. Thanks Jadi!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mel’s Sweet and Sour Chicken


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.
Haylee’s Note:
We LOVED this dish!  Definitely a winner!  But, I am really excited to try a combination of this and another one from my mom.  The way this chicken is prepared is so yummy, but I REALLY love THIS sweet and sour sauce.  I think if you combined the two you would end up with the ULTIMATE sweet and sour chicken! For the original recipe click HERE.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Winner Winner!!

We finished the recipe contest, and let me say that judging was REALLY hard!!  All of the recipes were DELICIOUS!!  Darin and I disagreed on who we thought should win, but let’s be honest, I had the final say, and I DID take the kids opinions into account.  So, here are the winners:

1st- Katie’s Meatball’s with BBQ Sauce
2nd- Sarah’s San Francisco Chops
3rd- Nikki’s Cookie Salad

Bridget, Ionana, and Miranda—your recipes were FABULOUS as well!  
We loved them!!  Thanks for submitting!

Katie, Sarah, and Nikki—if you will email me your address, I will mail out your prizes!  Just don’t get too excited, they aren’t THAT great!  But thanks for the recipe!  Great job everyone!

Katie's Meatballs with BBQ Sauce


1 egg slightly beaten
1 15 oz can evaporated milk
1 C quick oats
½ Tbs onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic
¼ tsp pepper
Combine above ingredients and add
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef.

1 C ketchup
¾ C brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp liquid smoke
¼ tsp garlic powder
Boil sauce ingredients in a pan, simmer 2 min. Form meat into 1” balls, line up and bake uncovered in a casserole dish at 350° for 18-20 min. Pour sauce over meatballs. Bake 10-12 min longer. Serve with oven fries or tater tots.

Haylee’s Note:
Wow!  This is the best meal I think I’ve made in a LONG time!  Meatballs with homemade BBQ sauce sounded time consuming, but I was amazing at how quickly this meal whipped up!  The kids, the spouse, and I all LOVED this meal!  On a scale of 1-10, it gets an 11!  Katie said this meal was “Yummo!”  I would have to agree!  Major YUMMO!!  Thanks Katie!! 

Sarah’s San Francisco Chops


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is simmering and hot. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side in the hot oil until golden. Transfer the chops to the slow cooker. Add the garlic to the drippings in the skillet and stir constantly over medium heat until the garlic is aromatic and golden (but not burned or it will turn bitter!). Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours until the meat is tender. If using bone-in pork chops, fish out the bones from the slow cooker. Remove the chops from the slow cooker to a shallow pan or plate – they will most likely be falling apart in tenderness at this point. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the slow cooker. Return the chops to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker heat to high and cook for 30 minutes to an hour longer, until the sauce is slightly thickened. If you want a super duper thick sauce, once you remove the chops from the slow cooker, pour the sauce into a pan and place it over medium heat on the stove. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thick. Add the pork and heat through.

Serve the tender chops over potatoes or rice and garnish with green onions, if desired.

Haylee’s Note:
This recipe is SOOO yummy!  I’m not a huge pork fan, but this was delicious!  It has a great flavor and I always love a good crockpot recipe!  My kids loved it too!  We added a few toasted sesame seeds the second time and really liked it!  Thanks for the recipe Sarah!  Easy ingredients, easy to make, and the kids loved it too!!

Nikki’s Cookie salad


1 can manderine oranges
1 can pineapple tidbits
1cup of buttermilk
1 pkg vanilla pudding mix
1 pkg cool whip
1 pkg fudge stripe cookies

Dump the pudding mix and buttermilk into a bowl and mix up. Crush cookies into bite size pieces and put them and all other ingredients into your bowl and mix together. Put in fridge for at least 1 hour before eating.

Haylee’s Note:
I knew looking at this recipe that it was going to be a good one, and it did not disappoint!  I had heard of this cookie salad before, but this was my first time having it!  I took it to a family party and it was a HIT!!  Everyone loved it!  I kept seeing all of the kids sneaking back for more and licking the bowl!  Thanks for the recipe Nikki!

My brother Rick, loving the salad!

Bridget’s Easy Mexican Skillet


1 lb sausage (whatever kind you like or even ground beef can be used but be sure to season it!)
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 C uncooked macaroni ( or whatever kind of pasta you have...I use shells a lot too)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chilli powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Brown the meat and drain, add onion and green pepper and sauté about 5 min. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and let simmer until noodles are cooked ( about 15 min). Serve with sour cream and Chips and salsa. 

Haylee’s Note:
I’ll be honest, this recipe didn’t sound very tempting.  I’m not sure why.  But when we ate it we both LOVED it!  It has a great flavor and texture.  I love that it is so fast and easy, and it calls for ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand.  I also love that you can mix this up to work with what you have by changing the meat and the pasta.  This will be a great “go to” meal!  Thanks Bridget!  It was delicious!

Ioana’s Peach-Tomato Salad


2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 small peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Toss tomatoes, peaches and onions in a salad bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and oil, and season with sugar,salt and pepper. Mix well. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, for the flavors to combine.

Haylee’s Note:
Wow!  The flavors in the salad are amazing!  And this recipe is truly perfect for summer!  I love that it is so quick to fix, and it is a flavor powerhouse!  I doubled the recipe and took it to a family dinner!  It was a hit, everyone loved it!  Thanks for the recipe Ioana!

Miranda’s Italian Sausage Charlotte


Meat Mixture

1 1/2 lbs mild Italian sausage links
1 medium zucchini, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I leave this out)
1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 jar (16 oz) white Alfredo pasta sauce, divided

1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/8 tsp salt
16 slices firm white bread (give or take)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbls fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400'. For meat mixture, remove casings from sausage links; discard casings. Cut sausages crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until well browned and no longer pink, turning as meat browns.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini and mushrooms. Cut bell pepper into 1/4-inch strips. Remove sausage from skillet; drain well on paper towels. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and add 1 cup of the Alfredo sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in sausage and vegetables. Pour mixture into a baking pan, mounding slightly in the center.

For topping, in a small bowl, whisk together remaining Alfredo sauce, milk, and eggs using a whisk. Add pressed garlic, 1 tsp if the Italian seasoning, and the salt. Cut crusts off of bread. Dip bread into egg mixture, coating lightly; overlap in a circular pattern over sausage mixture, leaving center open.

Drain tomatoes; transfer into a small bowl. Add remaining 1 tsp seasoning mix, mix well. Spoon tomato mixture into opening. Grate cheese over top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges of bread are deep golden brown.

Haylee’s Note:
Well played Miranda!  This recipe was a hit for the whole family!  And summer is the PERFECT time for this recipe!  I gave some to my neighbor to try and she loved it too!  This recipe is definitely a keeper!  We were all fighting over the few leftovers that remained!  Thanks Miranda!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jalapeño Poppers


18 Jalapeños
18 slices of bacon, sliced in half
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 Green onion, diced
BBQ sauce
36 toothpics

Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise, and remove seeds.  (BE SURE TO WEAR GLOVES WHILE DOING THIS!!)  Mix cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and green onion until evenly combined.  Put cheese mixture into a pastry bag and pipe into jalapeños.  Wrap jalapeños with bacon and secure with a toothpick, then drizzle with BBQ sauce.  Place on baking sheet, and bake at 250 for 1-2 hours, or until bacon is crisp.

Haylee’s Note:
This recipe is from my sister in law, Heather.  She said that sometimes she’ll turn the temperature up at the end just to speed up the cooking process.  We made these for a work party for Darin, and since then, I've NEVER been able to pick what to make for the work parties because everyone always requests this. Whenever we make them, you better get one fast, because they are gone in a hurry!  Enjoy!    

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tyler Florence’s Blue Cheese Souffle with Fresh Figs and Honey


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the ramekins
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for the ramekins
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, warmed
5 eggs, separated
Pinch salt
Ground white pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Pinch cream of tartar
8 fresh black mission figs, split in 1/2 lengthwise
1/2 cup honey
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare 4 (8-ounce) ramekins by greasing them with softened butter and then coating them with sugar, tapping out any excess.

Make a thick bechamel sauce base by melting the 3 tablespoons of butter over low-medium heat in a thick-bottomed pot. Just as the foam subsides, add the flour, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to coat the flour with fat and remove the starchy taste; do not allow the roux to brown. Add the warm milk to the mixture and continue to whisk until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cheese until incorporated evenly. Chill the mixture while whipping the egg whites.

In a separate clean bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar just until soft peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the bechamel mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and place on a cookie sheet. Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes.

The souffle is done when it has puffed over the rim, the outside is golden, and the center jiggles slightly.

Serve with fresh figs and a drizzle of honey. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Haylee’s Note:
This recipe was A LOT easier that I thought it was going to be, and it turned out delicious!  I was surprised how well the sweet went with the blue cheese!  I just wish I would have gotten a better picture right from the oven when it was even puffier!  Now I just can’t wait to try a chocolate soufflé!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chocolate Pistachio Baked Alaska


One recipe brownies (CLICK HERE).
Pistachio Ice-cream (We used Ben and Jerry’s)

4 large egg whites 
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Use a round cookie cutter and cut brownies into individual servings.  
Place on wax paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes.  

Scoop pistachio ice-cream onto brownie and freeze for another hour. 

  Make meringue and cover brownie and ice-cream completely.  (You can spoon it on or pipe it using a pastry bag).  Freeze for at least 2 more hours. 

Place in a 500F oven until golden brown or you can do it like the pros and torch it!

Serve immediately.

Haylee’s Note:
Baked Alaska has always been pretty intimidating to me, especially because this was my first time making meringue.  It isn’t particularly hard, but it DOES take a long time.  I think this would be a good dessert for company though because everything is prepped and ready hours before.  I did a second baked Alaska with mint chocolate chip and I’m not sure which we liked better, they were both excellent!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Contest and Give Away!

Sometimes I wonder if anyone even reads this blog anymore.  
So, for those readers out there (if there are any) 
I've decided to spice things up a bit with a contest and give away!

If you would like to enter just leave a comment 
or send me an email with a recipe you would like me to try.  
I will make the recipes, review them, and we will give out prizes (that will be mailed to you!)

We will be judging the recipes based on:

1- Flavor
2- Familiar ingredients (if I have to go to a lot of work to find an ingredient, I probably won't make it).
3- Kid friendly (luckily my kids are GREAT eaters, but they will help in the judging).
We will probably give out a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize (if that many people even enter), so let's start trying those recipes!  Ready, set, go!!

(Entries must be submitted by Saturday, August 18th at Midnight)..I'll start cooking next week!  Good luck!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fabio Vivani’s Cold Gazpacho


1 quart tomato juice
2 red bell peppers
1 green jalapeno
1 large English cucumber
20 leaves of fresh basil
pinch salt
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
6 Canned plum tomatoes
additional basil leaves for garnish
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Pour tomato juice into a jar blender. Slice one red pepper, the entire jalepeno, and half of the cucumber, and add to blender. Add basil leaves, pinch of salt, and red wine vinegar.  Slice three of the canned plum tomatoes, and add to blender.  Puree until no chunks remain.  Transfer soup to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until ready to serve.  To serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Dice the remaining red bell pepper, cucumber, and plum tomatoes.  Chop basil for garnish.  Generously garnish each bowl with diced tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and red peppers.  Drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Haylee’s Note:
My husband, Darin, saw this recipe on Yahoo.  When he told me about it, honestly I didn’t think is sounded very good, but I was AMAZED at how delicious it actually was!  I don’t think it gets much healthier, especially since we made our own tomato juice, and everything had JUST been picked out of our garden!  For the original recipe click HERE.