Friday, April 27, 2012

Queso Blanco Dip

photo from
Finally a cheese dip that doesn't clump up!  I did do a lot of altering.  First, I would half this because it makes a ton and the cheese isn't cheap.  Second, I would switch the amounts of monterrey jack vs. american because I personally prefer the taste of monterrey jack.  And third, I didn't add any of the veggies except for the tomato which is technically a fruit anyhow.  I like a plain cheese myself.

Queso Blanco Dip

From Annie’s Eats

Yield: about 2 cups


1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

12 oz. white American cheese, shredded*

4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded

¼-2/3 cup milk

1 tomato, seeded and finely diced

2 tbsp. cilantro, minced

*White American cheese can be found at the deli counter in most grocery stores.


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and jalapeño to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add both of the shredded cheeses and ¼ cup of the milk.  Whisk or stir until completely melted.  Mix in the tomato and cilantro, and add additional milk gradually as necessary to achieve desired consistency.  Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Black Bean Brownies

So....why am I, Claire, posting this??? When I could probably out-eat any person in my family in a sugar-eating contest? Something to brag about, I know. After all, I have eaten a dozen krispie kremes in one day. Annnnnyway, the results of eating all that sugar got to me. So, I am participating in a local biggest loser contest. So, in order to satisfy my INSANE sugar craving to some degree so I don't become a serial killer, I have been on the hunt for fake-out recipes. I found this and was very skeptical of its worthiness as a "brownie" because after all, they did get a five star rating on They were great! Awesome! Would I eat them if I weren't dieting? Sure, you bet. Brownie to brownie they are definitely not as rich, but an absolutely excellent substitute. Not to mention it could really be a meal considering the protein. And I loved the texture. TRY them but do NOT omit chocolate chips...they are the real favor in this. Next time I am going to try and even use half applesauce half veg. oil to cut calories and maybe even splenda instead of real sugar!



1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 eggs

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 pinch salt1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Directions: combine all ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender. Pour in prepared, greased pie dish then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.  Calories: 126 per slice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

  • This is an amazing recipe for scalloped potatoes that is free of all the creamed soups and cheese!  It is so delicious, you would never know it.  And I even accidentally left out the onions.  That's how good it is...
  • Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

  • adapted from

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Paprika
  1. In a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish, layer potatoes and onion.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, mayonnaise, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
  3. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until tender.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Photo from
I want everyone to know that I don't eat all of this stuff by myself.  I sound like a real porker!  I made these for someone else.  I might have eaten several of them-but certainly not all of them.  They were good.  Real good.  I had to bake them about twice as long--weird, I don't know why--but don't give up!  They were good.  Real good.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Recipe from


  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 8-oz cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.

  2. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir until combined and very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.

  4. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

  5. To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 dollops over batter in the pan. Swirl in with a knife or spatula.

  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

  7. Let cool completely in pan on a cooling rack before lifting out the parchment paper to remove the brownies.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Throw and Go BBQ Chicken

photo from
Don't you just love crock pots?  The house smells good all day.  You look and smell like an awesome wife.  Yet-all you did was throw some junk in a pot and push start.  I love it!  This is a really yummy recipe.  I was a little worried that there wasn't more liquid in the pot, but it all worked out-don't worry!  I actually halved the recipe and it made 6 sandwiches for us.  Don't forget the money maker--throw a dill pickle on there (lesson learned from Claire, thank you!)

Throw and Go BBQ Chicken
Recipe from
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup Kansas City Style bbq sauce (I used Cattlemen’s Kansas City Classic)
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
  • rolls or buns to serve on
  • butter
  1. Place all the ingredients in the crock pot in the order listed above.
  2. Cook in the crock pot on high for at least 6 hours.  Remove the chicken and shred.  Return to the crock pot and mix into the sauce.
  3. Butter the inside of your buns or rolls.  Place them on a cookie sheet.  Broil them in the oven on the second highest level for the oven rack (this prevents burning).  Broil until golden brown.  You want them toasty because this bbq chicken is so moist and saucy you will end up with soggy bread if you don’t toast them.  Sandwich bbq chicken inside toasted buns or rolls.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lo Mein

I was dying over this meal tonight--so fresh and healthy! I couldn't get enough, and sadly, my husband wasn't home to enjoy it with the rest of the fam. I'll just have to make it again (can't wait!)...

Lo Mein

adapted from

1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced very thinly (optional--try it without for a vegan meal)

Chicken Marinade:

1 Tb soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

2 Tb oyster sauce (can substitute stir-fry sauce)
2 tsp soy sauce
4 Tb beef broth
1 Tb granulated sugar

8 ounces linguine, prepared to al dente
1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped cabbage, such as Napa
1 cup snap peas
1-2 cups bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced in 1 inch segments, white and green parts
*note: I like to chop up the white parts small and leave the green parts in longer pieces

This part is optional (I left the chicken out to make a healthy vegan meal): Combine marinade ingredients with the chicken and allow to sit for 20 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, beef broth, and sugar. Set aside.

Boil noodles as per package instructions. Drain the noodles and toss with the sesame oil.

Heat a wok (or large, deep frying pan) over medium-highheat. Add the 1/4 cup of oil. Add the chicken. Stir fry chicken until cooked – about 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add another 1 Tb of oil to the wok if needed. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir-fry until garlic browns, then add the carrots. Stir-fry for about 1 minute, then add the shredded cabbage and peas. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add the noodles, bean sprouts, and green onions and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Add the sauce to the wok. Return the chicken to the pan. Mix everything together and serve hot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Banana Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

photo from kuki's kookbook blog

 These were good the first day, better the second, and divine the third.  They were like Pringles, once you pop one you just can't stop!

Banana Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting
From kuki's kookbook blog
·                     1 stick butter, at room temperature
·                     2 cups sugar
·                     2 eggs
·                     1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
·                     1 teaspoon vanilla
·                     2 cups flour
·                     1 teaspoon baking soda
·                     1/2 teaspoon salt
preheat oven to 350 degrees. cream together butter, sugar, eggs, banana and vanilla until light and creamy. add flour, soda and salt. pour into an 11x13 inch jelly roll pan. bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake bounces back when pressed on. cool completely and then top with frosting.

brown sugar frosting:
·                     1 stick butter, softened
·                     8oz cream cheese, softened
·                     1/2 cup brown sugar
·                     2 cups powdered sugar
·                     2 teaspoons vanilla
·                     1/4 teaspoon salt
·                     milk, if needed
in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, whip all ingredients together until light and fluffy. if frosting is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Creamy Crockpot Hot Cocoa

photo from
So good, so rich, so yummy, so easy for a crowd!

Creamy Crockpot Hot Cocoa
recipe courtesy of

  • 1.5 cups whipping cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of milk chocolate chips

Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Pretty much whenever I see "slow cooker" I am all over it. That so captures my lifestyle right now. I love love love slow cooker meals. I found this recipe at but I adapted it...a lot. And then when Jason said, "Can you keep that recipe?" I knew I had found not only a success but a new family staple. This was RIDICULOUSLY easy and so delicious.

4 thin chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
4 T butter
3 T minced onions
1/2 t cumin
1 t parsley
Dash of Mrs. Dash or season salt
Salt and pepper
4 c water plus 4 tsp bouillon chicken base (or just use chicken broth or water and real bouillons)
1 large can of refrigerator biscuits or two small cans

Place all ingredients except for biscuits in the crock pot on high. Cook for 5-6 hours. One hour before it time to eat cut up your biscuits with kitchen shears. Cook for an add'l hour. Break up chicken with fork (should shred effortlessly) and serve. I know it might seem too runny before adding biscuits...the biscuits will absorb a TON of the liquid. Some people on said they added veggies. Sky is the limit with the versatility with this recipe.

Quinoa with Cilantro and Black Beans

Cilantro. Enough said. Why is that stuff soooo amazing? I love it. Especially in warm weather. And enough about Quinoa already!!! :) I have been hearing and hearing about this super food and have eaten it once or twice but never prepared it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As did all my kids. I was shocked. This recipe is VEGAN (I know, I know...who knew? I certainly didn't think about that) except for the fact that I added chicken b/c I was afraid my husband might tell me to find another home if I cooked a meal without meat. :)



1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped (I used about 3T minced onions)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I used the refrigerated minced garlic)
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I am sure you could use whatever broth you have around)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 c of grilled chicken chopped *OPTIONAL*
Squeeze of fresh lime (this was not in the original recipe but I will certainly try this next time)

Fry onions and garlic in oil in sauce pan on medium heat until lightly brown. Mix Quinoa in and add broth. Add seasonings. Cover and reduce heat and cook for twenty minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Add corn in and stir. Cook add'l five. minutes. Then add in rinsed black beans and chopped cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over and toss. I served this is the main entree along with fresh fruit.

Perfect Whole Wheat Bread

What makes whole wheat bread "perfect"? Fluffy, moist, light, soft, delicious bread that you would prefer over a piece of cake during your late-night-after-the-kids-have-gone-to-bed-sugar-binge. Yes, this is the one. You will absolutely LOVE it.
courtesy google images

**A Few Notes before you begin: I grind my own whole wheat flour- I cannot guarantee a similar result of perfection with store-bought whole wheat. If you have a Bosch, you can buy a wheat grinding attachment (I have it and love it). I grind 20 cups at a time and store what I don't use in a ziploc in the refrigerator. If left out at room temp., it will go rancid in less than a week. Vital wheat gluten is found in the baking section of your grocery store- I also refrigerate this after opening. And, of course, I keep my yeast (Red Star brand from Costco) in the freezer at all times.

Perfect Whole Wheat Bread
Amy Foulger

*Makes 2 large loaves, or 3 small
3 cups warm water
3/4 Tbs. salt
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. powdered milk
1 1/2 Tbs. yeast
1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
1/2 c. slow-cooking oatmeal
4-6 c. whole wheat flour
(see recipe for below for eggwash and oatmeal- optional)

Mix all ingredients in your Bosch until blended. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then, mix it again for 5 minutes. If needed, add flour for desired consistency. Dough should be slightly sticky. Place dough in a greased, oven-safe bowl and rise in 185 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size. Punch down your dough, pinch off 3 loaves (or two large loaves, depending on your loaf pan size). Shape dough into greased loaf pans**(see below) and put back in 185 degree oven to raise for 20 more minutes (don't go over this time around as loaves will raise fast as they bake). Remove from oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

**For a straight-from-the-bakery look, you can apply an eggwash (2 Tbs. water+ 1 egg) and oatmeal on top of your loaves right before raising the second time (while in loaf pans). Mix the egg and water, spread on loaves with a pastry brush, and then sprinkle oatmeal on top. Raise in oven.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mozzarella and Prosciutto Sandwiches

We had amazing weather here in LA over Easter weekend so Beau and I decided to go to the beach and spend the day exploring Malibu. While there we ate lunch at a walk-up-window style Italian Cafe that looked really good and then ate outside. Beau ordered a sandwich that was sooo good and upon further examination I realized that I could totally make it at home and didn't need to pay someone $13!! Although the ingredients are not something you would have ready on hand they are not hard to find and make a super yummy low maintenance and fairly healthy italian sandwich and it's fun to play around with depending on what you like!

Bread: Ciabatta -toasted
Spread: small amount of olive oil with a sprinkle of dry basil (i wanted to try pesto and got it out to use but it had gone bad :( but i bet it would be good on it)
Meat: Prosciutto or any other italian meat- (i just bought an italian 3 pack with calabrese salame, prosciutto and capocollo at Trader Joes that was really yummy)
Cheese: Fresh fresh fresh mozzarella..mmmmm
Veggies: arugula (lots of arugula a must!!) and sun dried tomatoes ( i used fresh tomatoes because Trader Joes has some right now that taste like they are straight out of the garden and it makes the sandwich a little more moist)

Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

photo from

This tasted even better than it looks.  It was a nice variation on a normal chicken meal.  I used tenderloins instead of breasts which worked much better for my needs...and the baking time!  This was the number one rated recipe last year!

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley

1   10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter

1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. 
 2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers. 
 3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
 4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk...
then the cheese....
and finally the cracker crumbs. 
5. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 
8. Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Santa Rosa Rice Salad

Pic courtesy Google images

We made this for Julie's shower and it was seriously SO scrumptious. It was so light and fresh, but still felt like a real meal. I absolutely loved it. It's the perfect summer salad.

Santa Rosa Rice Salad
from Laina Lefler

• 1 box long grain & wild rice with seasonings
(Uncle Ben's 6 oz)
• 3 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 3 oz chinese pea pods, ends removed
• 2 medium avocados, diced
• 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
• 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
• 1/2 green pepper, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1/3 cup Rice vinegar
• 1/3 cup oil

Cook Rice according to pkg. and cool. Add peppers, pea pods and pecans. Mix dressing and pour over rice mixture. Add avocados just before serving.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Classic Chocolate Bundt Cake

Pic courtesy The Sister's Cafe

I made this cake last night for Julie's baby shower and so many people raved and requested the recipe, so here it is! It's so moist and chocolate-y but not too rich. Julie made this for a dessert contest and won second place. And, the lady that won first place was a professional baker. So, pretty impressive.

Super Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake
submitted by Melanie of The Sister's Cafe

1 devils food cake mix (Dry–don’t make it according to directions on the box)
1 -4 serving instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups milk or semisweet chocolate chips (I like milk)

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips, in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer 1 minute.
Stir down sides. Continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 350. Cool 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platter.

8 Tbsp butter (not margarine)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup evaporated milk (I used 2%-it worked great)
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in cocoa and milk. Bring mixture just to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar with electric mixer until thickened and smooth. Pour warm frosting over warm cake. This recipe makes a lot of frosting.

Impossible Quiche

Pic courtesy Google Images

I made this for Eloise's blessing brunch and people loved it! I've been making this for years and it's actually from Mom's recipe collection. I love it and it's so easy.

Impossible Quiche
Rosalee Byers

1 1/2 c milk
6 Tbl butter, softened (or you could really get by with less)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 heaping cup of Bisquick or other quick mix
pepper to taste
any veggies, meat, cheese you like

Preheat oven to 350. Combine milk, butter, eggs, salt, and Bisquick in blender. Pour in to greased 10" pie pan or 8x10 casserole dish. Put any meat, veggies on top and poke it in with a fork. Put a thin layer of cheese and season with pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and middle is firm. Let stand for 10 min. to set.