Monday, April 30, 2012

Pesto Mozzarella Chicken

This is a quick, super easy, and amazingly delicious dinner. It only requires 3 ingredients and about 3 minutes of active time. My family loved it!


Pesto Mozzarella Chicken

Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Prepared Pesto
Mozzarella, shredded or sliced

Smother chicken with pesto and place in baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Top with mozzarella and return to oven until melted.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 by 30: Homemade Oreos

There are roughly 20 weeks until my 30th birthday and I still have 23 recipes on my 30 by 30 list to complete! What that means for me is that I need to get down to business and make a few a week to catch up! :)

My daughter wanted to bake with me yesterday so we looked through my list and decided on homemade Oreos. The best part about this recipe is that it is so easy! You would think that it would be time consuming filling the cookies but it took about 5 minutes (with a 6 year old doing the filling!) to fill all the cookies. Seriously... easy peasy!

They tasted great, too! They are a little softer than the original but still crunchy enough to dip in a glass of milk. We will definitely be making these again!

Homemade Oreos
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Puffy Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

I LOVE butterscotch and think it is a perfect addition to a chocolate chip cookie. This cookie gets a double dose of butterscotch thanks to butterscotch chips AND butterscotch pudding. I accidentally grabbed the small box of pudding (1 oz) instead of the large box (3.4 oz) but the flavor was still there and these cookies were great! I can't wait to try them again with the correct box of pudding!


Puffy Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Pennies on a Platter

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco stick (I used plain) 
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (3.4 oz) package butterscotch instant pudding mix
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking soda
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugars, butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Add pudding mix; stir until incorporated.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour with the baking soda and salt. Blend into the egg mixture.

Add additional flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. I use a total of 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour, depending on the humidity level of the day.

Fold in chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

Drop spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet. (To achieve a more round, cleaner look, roll the balls of cookie dough in your hand instead of just dropping on the cookie sheet.) Bake exactly 10 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through. The cookies may not look done, but that is the trick to keeping them puffy and soft. Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet on top of wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on the cooling racks.

*Recipe Note: Make sure your baking soda has not been opened over 1 month.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are perfect when you are looking for a chocolate fix. Filled with cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and just enough peanut butter... they are amazing! When eaten warm from the oven the chocolate chips are melted and the cookie is fudgy. If eaten later, they are soft, delicious, and perfect for dunking in a glass of cold milk. Either way, they are yummy!


Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
3) In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
4) Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
5) Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
6) Stir in chocolate chips.
7) Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls.
8) Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will still be soft but will set up after cooling. Place cookies on cookie rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Apple Pillows

Last weekend we had a family sleepover and all camped out in the living room. We had a ton of fun and also had some yummy snacks. These apple pillows were one of them. Super easy to put together and incredibly delicious! My only complaint is that there wasn't more of them!


Apple Pillows

1 package crescent rolls
1 small apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 TBSP brown sugar
3 TBSP white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Milk, for brushing
Cinnamon & Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350.

Seperate crescent rolls into individual triangles.

In a medium bowl mix together apples through cinnamon. Spoon onto crescent rolls and roll up. Brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Greek Beef Tacos

Holy moly these tacos were AMAZING! It is a great combination of flavors, loaded with veggies, and topped with one of my all time favorite foods - FETA! You can't go wrong with feta! :)

Make these ASAP... you won't be disappointed!

Greek Beef Tacos
Recipe from Cassie Craves

For the tacos:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Splash of red wine vinegar
Whole wheat flour tortillas

For the sauce:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Half of a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For topping:

Black olives
Feta cheese
Diced cucumber
Minced red onion

1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, Greek seasoning, garlic and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Add spinach; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Add a splash of vinegar, if desired.

2. To make the sauce, squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can. Combine sour cream, cucumber, and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon some of the beef mixture into each flour tortilla. Top with sauce and desired toppings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD:BWJ - Lemon Loaf Cake

I love anything lemon so this loaf cake was a perfect pick for me. It was fantastic and very lemony!

Thanks to Truc of Treats and Michelle of The Beauty of Life for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blogs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Burger Potato Bites

Aren't these adorable? They are too cute and super yummy! I served them as an easy dinner with some watermelon slices but they would also be perfect as an appetizer for a party.


Burger Potato Bites
Recipe slightly adapted from BHG

16 frozen waffle fries
1 lb ground beef
1 TBSP grill seasoning
4 slices cheddar cheese, cut into quarters
Cherry tomatoes, sliced

Cook fries according to package directions.

Mix ground beef and grill seasoning; form 16 small patties (about 1 TBSP per patty).

Cook patties in a skillet until done, about 5 minutes.

Place one patty on each waffle fry and top with a slice of cheese. Place in oven until cheese is melted. Top with cherry tomato slice.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Cherry Vanilla Bean Pancakes

My daughter is usually in charge of deciding what type of pancakes we make on pancake morning. Usually she comes up with her own creations and other times she browses through  my pancake folder on Pinterest. That is where she saw these pancakes and she immediately asked to make them.

I was hesitant at first since cherries aren't in season yet. I was pleasantly surprised to find out these pancakes call for frozen cherries which are available year round. :)

The pancakes have chopped cherries in them and are topped with cooked cherries and a delicious vanilla bean glaze. SO GOOD!


Whole Wheat Cherry Vanilla Bean Pancakes
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, well beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
contents of 1/2 vanilla bean
2 cups frozen cherries

Stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Fold in vanilla beans. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Chop 1 cup of cherries into fine pieces. You can either stir them into the batter (the pancakes will turn reddish-blue in color) or drop the cherries in the batter while each pancake is cooking. To cook, heat a griddle or skillet on medium heat and pout in 1/4 cup of batter. Flip once tiny bubbles appear on the pancakes.

Heat remaining cup of cherries in a saucepan or in the microwave. Mash with a fork and stuff in between pancakes and drizzle juice on top. Top with vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Bean Glaze

1 heaping cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
contents of 1/2 vanilla bean

Add sugar to bowl and stir in heavy cream and vanilla until mixture resembles a thick batter. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, stirring until smooth – about 3-5 full minutes. Mixture may look lumpy at first but just continue to stir and it will come together. Fold in vanilla beans and pour over pancakes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I don't usually blog this quickly after eating a meal but this pasta was too fantastic to not share immediately. It was incredibly easy and A-MAZ-ING!!!! I loved the combination of pasta and enchiladas... two of my favorite foods. My husband requested that this go on our regular menu from now on and it should be on yours, too! Make this ASAP! :)

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Recipe adapted from HERE

2 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 10 oz cans red enchilada sauce
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
16 oz penne, cooked and drained

Tomatoes, chopped
Olives, sliced
Sour Cream
Avocado, chopped

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onion and bell pepper; saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.

Add chilies, salt, chili powder, enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in cheese and stir until melted. Add cream cheese and melt.

Pour sauce over noodles. Garnish as desired.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


These hashbrowns were easy, delicious, and the perfect Saturday morning breakfast! My friend, Bri, posted these on her blog and I adapted them to fit for our family. We LOVED them! Looking forward to the weekend so I can make them again!


Adapted from All Recipes

3 large potatoes, shredded
1/2 medium onion, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, shredded
1/4 cup flour
1/2 - 1 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg

Vegetable oil for cooking

Squeeze as much water out of the potatoes. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.

Pour enough oil into skillet to cover bottom. Heat over medium heat. Add potatoes in one even layer. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until evenly browned. Can cut into sections to make flipping easier.     

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

30 by 30: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is one of those recipes on my 30 by 30 list that isn't necessarily fancy or complicated. It's just something that I realized I have never made and wanted to give it a shot.

There are SO many pineapple upside down cake recipes floating around out there. Honestly, I couldn't decide which one to use so I ended up just creating my own recipe.

It was AMAZING! So delicious, so juicy, and the fresh pineapple put it over the top. We inhaled this cake and I will definitely be making it again!


Pineapple Upside Down Cake


5 TBSP butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice


1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
3 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rum extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup pineapple juice
7 TBSP butter, melted

Fresh pineapple, sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9" cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

Mix brown sugar, butter, and pineapple juice; pour into cake pan. Top with pineapple slices.

In a bowl stir together the flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder.

In large mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff.

In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks until lemony yellow. Stir in extracts, pineapple juice, buttermilk, and butter. and remaining melted butter. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert cake onto serving dish.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember when I made banana bread last week and mentioned the reason why banana bread and chocolate chip cookies are similar? They are similar because I can't NOT try a new recipe when I see one. It's kind of funny when I try new CCC recipes considering I did a whole chocolate chip cookie week and compared 8 different recipes. The truth is, when a cookie claims to be the best I have to give it a try.

These cookies are fantastic. Everything you could want in a cookie... soft, chewy, chocolatey. These cookies have cornstarch with I think helps them to fluff a little bit. Definitely a great cookie!


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Apple a Day

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

5. Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Easter and Happy Pancake Morning! We enjoyed delicious carrot cake pancakes this morning and they were a hit! I hope you all have a fantastic Easter with your families!


 Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

3 cups flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Dash cloves
2 eggs
2 2/3 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots

8 oz cream cheese
3 TBSP pure maple syrup
Dash cinnamon

For pancakes, mix dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix wet into dry.

Cook pancakes on griddle until done.

For frosting, beat ingredients until smooth. Spread on pancakes and serve.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

What do banana bread and chocolate chip cookies have in common? They are both foods that I will ALWAYS try a new recipe for! That isn't because I haven't found "the one" yet, but mostly because I am always curious to see if the new recipe can top "the one".

This banana bread combines your basic banana bread with a snickerdoodle. Seriously, how can that be wrong?

LOVE this bread and will definitely be making it again!


Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
Recipe from Lovin' From The Oven

For the bread:

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups flour

For the swirl:

1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan. Mine was 9 x 5, but you could use any sort, I suppose. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed

Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!

In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon.

Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eyeball on it!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tropical Fruit Salad

The weather has been so warm here lately and we have been spending a lot of time outside in the backyard playing. My kids love fruit and have been asking for all different kinds to eat while outside. Last weekend I decided a fruit salad would be a nice snack. This salad was delicious! We loved it!


Tropical Fruit Salad

1 mango, peeled & cubed
3 kiwis, peeled & cubed
1 banana, peeled & sliced
1 (10 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained
3 TBSP coconut
1 tsp lime juice

Mix all ingredients & serve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Scones

It's been a while since I  have made scones so I was happy to have a chance to make some. I had strawberries in the fridge that needed to be used and this scone was the perfect way to use them. These scones were fantastic and I can't wait to make them again!

Strawberry Lemon Scones
Recipe adapted from Munchkin Munchies

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 cup diced strawberries
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Powdered sugar & milk for drizzle

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender, cut in butter cubes until mixture has coarse crumbs. Gently add both kinds of strawberries and the lemon zest. Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Gently stir until moistened.

3. Place dough onto a well floured surface. Gently knead the dough by folding and pressing it about 7 times, turning the dough a quarter turn after each fold. Move dough to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet (or stoneware baking sheet without parchment). Pat dough into a ¾ inch-thick circle. Cut circle into wedges and separate each slightly.

4. Brush wedges with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 16-20 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle scones with lemon curd and top with sanding sugar. Mix powdered sugar and enough milk to make a glaze. Drizzle over scones.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TWD:BWJ - Pizza Rustica

This was one of those recipes that I wasn't expecting to like but ended up really enjoying! It is very quiche like and while I don't usually like quiche I actually like this!

The crust is slightly sweet and pairs well with the creamy filling. The filling is ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, and meat. The recipe called for procuitto but I used genoa salami instead. I loved the saltiness it provided for the filling.

Thanks to Emily of Capitol Region Baking and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blogs.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No Bake Granola Bites

I love homemade granola and homemade granola bars! When I saw these on Pinterest (yes, another wonderful idea from Pinterest! :) ) I knew I would be making them.

My son had a play date today so I thought it would be a perfect time to make them. I love how quickly they came together and they were so delicious! You seriously can't eat just one! :)


No Bake Granola Bites
Recipe from Smashed Peas & Carrots

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Tuna Pasta Salad

This is a perfect lunch or weeknight dinner! It takes very little time to prepare and is loaded with flavor. It can be made in the morning and refrigerated until ready to eat or you could make it right before serving. Either way it is a delicious, easy peasy meal!


Tuna Pasta Salad

1 box medium shell pasta
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 12 oz can tuna, drained
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 package ranch dressing mix

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Beat cream cheese, sour cream, milk, and ranch mix until smooth.

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Anya's Apple Banana Pancakes

These pancakes were created by my 6 year old daughter, Anya. She said she was daydreaming when she came up with the idea. :) I gotta say, I think it is adorable that she daydreams about pancakes! I think I may have a little foodie on my hands!

The batter has a mashed banana and a grated apple and the combination is delicious! We all loved these and I hope you will, too!


Apple Banana Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, grated
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large banana, mashed
3 tablespoons oil

Mix flour through apple in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together egg through oil in another bowl. Mix wet into dry.

Cook pancakes on griddle until done.

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