Friday, March 30, 2012

Pretzel Bites

photo from getoffyourbuttandbake blog

Oh wee!  So, so divine.  So, so good.  So, so easy since you just use Rhodes rolls.  I made both the cheddar dip and the cinnamon sugar ones.  Oh my goodness, so good!

Recipe from
Texas size Rhodes Frozen roll dough
*as many as you like – each roll makes four bites
coarse salt, parmesan, garlic, cinnamon & sugar
Vanilla glaze (optional)
Take a thawed roll.  Cut it in four equal sections.  Place dough bites on greased sheets. I placed five across and five down on large baking sheets.  Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and let dough rise until double in size. (about 35-45 minutes) Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil.  When dough has risen, plop about 10 pieces into the boiling water, tossing gently for about 45 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon, and place bites on paper towels to drain slightly.  Move bites to greased baking sheets, and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until done and golden brown. 
Brush bites with melted butter, sprinkle with Kosher or Sea Salt, garlic and toss in Parmesan cheese.  You can also make Cinnamon and Sugar bites. Make a mixture of Cinnamon and sugar:  About 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, and mix together well. After you butter the pretzel bites, toss in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
You can serve the Parmesan Pretzel bites with a cheddar dip, and the Cinnamon and Sugar Pretzel bites with Vanilla glaze.  So yummy . . . so simple!
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Combine sugar, milk, butter and vanilla and mix well. 
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2  to 2 cups of grated Cheddar Cheese.
Melt the butter in a med. size saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir until blended, and
butter has turned lightly golden brown.  Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar Cheese until smooth and all of the cheese has melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Shake a few red pepper flakes into sauce for added zing!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

Pic courtesy of

I first got the idea for this cake from Bake or Break, but I wanted an easier, less dense version. So, I went the trusty, old route and found this highly ranked beauty. Note: My cake looked nothing like picture above. I kind of mixed the Bake or Break recipe with the one and came up with something totally new and scrumptious. It was like having cake that tasted like my favorite cookie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake
adapted from

1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c butter, softened
4 eggs
1 (18.25 ounce) package butter cake mix (I just used a yellow cake mix with great results)
2/3 c water
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9x13, bundt, 2 9-inch rounds, or whatever you want to use. Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each one. Add cake mix alternately with the water. Stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 min., or until cake tests done. Cool.

Optional: I put a chocolate ganache over mine, but I think it would be good plain, or with some rich or milk chocolate frosting, or even with peanut butter frosting. Most of these recipes can be found on the blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easy Chicken Stir Fry

photo from mariescookingadventures blog

Easy.  Yummy.  Enough said.  Oh yeah, Ramen-so cheap.
Easy Chicken Stir-Fry (with Ramen Noodles)
 Recipe from mariescookingadventures blog
What you need: 
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cubed 
  • 2 packages chicken flavor, ramen noodles
  • 1 bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, your choice of the stir-fry mix you want. I like the ones with water chestnuts. :)  (we just get the Great Value mix from Wal-Mart and it is great!) 
  • 4-6 cups of  water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

What you do: 
1.   Break ramen noodles to desired pieces. I break it into 4ths. Set seasoning packet aside.
2.   Put in full bag of stir fry vegtables into a large pan or skillet. Add water and broken noodles to pan at this point.
3.  Cook on medium heat, covered. Continue to add water as needed. Don't let the pan be dry. You always want a little water in there until the noodles are soft and cooked.
4. Cook until noodles are tender, stir occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, cook diced chicken in a separate pan. We heat a skillet to medium heat with a TBSP oil and then saute the chicken until cooked...but you can really cook the chicken any way you would like.
6. Remove stir-fry from heat and stir in cooked chicken and seasoning packet.
7. Stir to combine and serve.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes

picture courtesy of

I made these tonight with marinated steak and rice pilaf (also one of my new faves!) and it was a huge hit. I kinda felt like a celebrity chef. :) My husband (the ultimate critic) usually tastes one dish at a time. No sound means its ok. If he says something...holy cow...stop the press! So tonight he said, "mmm....these are good potatoes". In your world this may be of little significance. Yes, I may be deprived of compliments on my cooking but when the man says SOMETHING I know. I don't doubt. I know. So lets just say this was a home run. And I would also like to mention that the rice and steak was also amazing thus adding to my celebrity-chef-feeling status. Recipe from


2 whole Golden Potatoes

2 Tablespoons Butter
1 piece (about 2 Inches Long) Parmigiano-Reggiano, Sliced Thinly
¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
¼ cups Heavy Cream
¼ cups Cheddar Cheese Blend

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Scrub potatoes.

You need 2 wooden spoons with handles of the same width. Place a spoon on each side of the potato and start slicing the potato into thin slices. The spoons will stop the knife from cutting all the way through the potato.
Slice the butter into thin pieces. Alternate the butter and the parmesan, stuffing them in between the slices of the potato. Season the potato with kosher salt. Drizzle the potato with olive oil.
Bake at 400ºF for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle heavy cream over the potatoes. Top with cheddar cheese.
Place back in the oven for 10-12 more minutes. Remove and serve!

Friday, March 23, 2012

BBQ Chicken Salad

photo from

This is obviously a pretty basic recipe but sometimes I just like to be told what to do instead of thinking about it.  I really liked combining the bbq sauce with the ranch, too!
BBQ Chicken Salad (and some avocado dressing)
 Recipe from
What you need

For the SALAD
  • 3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce  (1 cup, 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • lettuce (red, romaine, green leaf)
  • frozen corn (cooked and chilled)
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cucumber (seeded and cubed)
  • 2 tomatoes (diced)
  • tortilla strips (if desired)
  • 1 green onion chopped
For the chicken: place chicken breasts and 1 cup BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup water in the CrockPot. Then, let cook 4-6 hours on LOW and shred for the salad.
For the salad: shred the lettuce, cook the corn, slice the cucumber and tomato, prepare the beans! I put all of the ingredients on a plate for serving, but could leave in bowls of tupperwares. 

BBQ Sauce Dressing 
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
Simply combine the BBQ and ranch in a bowl and mix (or whisk) until blended. You can use more or less as desired, best results are obtained, in my opinion, from equal parts 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brown Butter Parmesan Chicken Linguine

Pic courtesy of How Sweet It Is

I'm still sitting at the dinner table as I write this. It was THAT good. There are some meals in life that are better than dessert. This is one of them. My kids had seconds. That never happens. It was seriously one of the best meals I've had in a long time. I could seriously go on, but just go make it and see for yourself.

Brown Butter Parmesan Chicken Linguine

adapted from How Sweet It Is

serves 4

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), cut into pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 to 3/4 pound whole wheat pasta (preferably noodles)

2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for topping

fresh chopped parsley for topping

Heat a large skillet oven medium-high heat and add canola oil. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel then toss with salt, pepper and paprika. Add to the skillet and brown on all sides, cooking for about 8-10 minutes total. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Turn heat down to low and add 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add sliced onions with a pinch of salt and stirring occasionally, cook until caramelized – about 15 minutes.

While onions are caramelizing, heat a small saucepan over low heat and add 5 tablespoons of butter. Whisk constantly until butter has brown bits on the bottom, then immediately remove from heat. I usually whisk for about 30 seconds more just to make sure the bits don’t burn. Set aside. At this time also prepare the water for your pasta and cook according to the directions.

After onions have caramelized, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium and add wine. Let the wine bubble and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and pasta both to the skillet, tossing multiple times to coat. Turn off heat and stir in grated cheese. Drizzle brown butter (make sure you get the brown bits!) over top, tossing to coat a few more times. Serve with additional cheese and chopped parsley.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perfect Pumpkin Roll

photo from melskitchencafe
So I admit that I had to scrap my roll the first time.  I only lightly greased the wax paper and mine needed to be heavily greased.  Other than that--this really is the perfect pumpkin roll.  So, so, so good!

Perfect Pumpkin Roll
From melskitchencafe
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed (canned) pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan. Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Once mixed, pour mixture over the waxed paper. Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.
Lay a large dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture – a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel. When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top. Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool. While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake. Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving.

Monday, March 19, 2012

ginger steak salad

I was craving salad tonight and found this recipe. It ended up being amazing! Beau and I couldn't eat it fast enough (its perfect serving sizes for dinner for 2)! I added a few more things to our salad and it turned out really good. I put in the cherry tomatoes she suggested, some raw halved walnuts for texture and goat cheese (soooo good). I also used a mixture of spring mix and butter lettuce and left out the jalepeno. I didn't worry about the sherry either for the marinade i just added a little cooking white wine that I had on hand but it would be fine without. Finally, like the last thing I posted, I cooked the steak on my iron skillet which is what ms. pioneer woman suggests and it turned out fabulous, tender, flavorful. I'm telling you if you don't have one get one.


  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 whole Rib-eye, Strip, Or Sirloin Steak
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • _____
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Finely Diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • ½ whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Diced
  • _____
  • 2 whole Green Onions
  • 8 ounces, weight Salad Greens (baby Lettuce, Endive, Radiccio, Etc.)

Preparation Instructions

Combine steak marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Mix and place steak into bag. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Combine salad dressing ingredients and slice green onion.

When steak is finished marinating, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a hot skillet. Cook steak about 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Remove from skillet and keep on a plate, allowing to cool slightly.

Toss salad greens in 3/4 of the salad dressing. Place steak on cutting board and slice thinly, then pour juices from the plate over the top. Mound tossed salad on a platter, then place sliced steak on top of salad. Pour remaining salad dressing over the top. Sprinkle green onions over the salad, and add cherry tomatoes if that makes your skirt fly up.


Pic courtesy of Stephanie's Kitchen

It was recently brought to my attention that we don't have a snickerdoodle recipe here. Well, since these are one of my favorite kinds of cookies, I better get posting. I have tried lots of snickerdoodles and these are the best. They are so light and buttery and the cream of tartar gives it that little tang that I adore. Love 'em.

from Stephanie's Kitchen

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in eggs. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated.
3. Mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Shape in to 1 1/2 inch balls and dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake or they will be too crispy. Bake just until light and golden.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Granola

photo from

I am going all granola-ey!  Okay, that was lame.  I love making granola lately.  This makes such a huge batch, it's really moist, and super tasty!

Homemade Vanilla Granola
Recipe from

8 c. oats
2 c. sliced almonds
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
craisins or raisins, to taste (optional)
3/4 c. canola oil
1 c. honey
3 Tbsp. vanilla (use the real stuff if you have it-- it tastes much better)

Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Combine first 8 ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl. In a saucepan combine oil, honey, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute then pour over oat mixture. Mix until all ingredients are moistened. Divide and spread mixture over 2 large cookie sheets and bake at 300-degrees for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on pans until the granola hardens (it may be a little chewy and that's ok.. if you prefer it not to be chewy at all, allow to dry completely). Break up granola and store in large Ziploc bags or containers. Serve plain, with yogurt, or with milk.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Double Chocolate Mousse Torte

Pic courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I made this for dessert after a Sunday dinner of roast and potatoes. I didn't know quite what I was getting in to with this one- it was a little (just a little) intense, but it was SO worth it. Everyone loved it. Christian even broke his "no sweets" challenge for the night and he probably had like 5 pieces. Mmmm, I wish I had a piece now!
PS- I didn't use Mel's chocolate cake recipe in her original post. My friend told me I needed to try the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder can. Oh my, it was SO moist and delicious. Perfect for this recipe.

Double Chocolate Mousse Torte
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped finely (it is important the chocolate for this mousse layer is chopped finely or it won’t melt completely when added to the warm egg yolks)
1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
vanilla to taste

For cake:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one 10-in spring-form pan. (I used my Demarle large round mold.)

  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.

  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill while making mousse.

For mousse:
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken – mine did not but it was very thick like custard or pudding). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of cornstarch in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over the cooled cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top with whipped cream and some berries if that's your thing.