Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spicy Chicken Farfelle

This is my new favorite...yum, I'm drooling as I type it! I've now made this several times for entertaining, and it gets rave reviews every time! Even my 4 and 6 year old ask for seconds on this one!

Spicy Chicken Farfalle
Source: adapted from Becky Higgins

16 oz. Farfalle pasta
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) (still frozen is fine)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed OR garlic salt (I use 2 tsp crushed garlic)
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. bacon, crumpled*
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated)
1 (12 oz) Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice

*I found already cooked and crumbled bacon at the grocery store that worked perfect :)

Place frozen chicken in crock pot with bottle of marinade on low for 6 hours. Pull marinated chicken out of the juices, allow to cool a little bit, and shred. Set this aside.

Boil the pasta. While pasta is boiling, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter, adding garlic, whipping cream, pepper, parmesan cheese, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cooked, drained pasta with sauce, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded parmesan cheese on top.

Serves: 8-12

Cook as normal, freeze. When pulling from the freezer, allow to thaw and then heat in microwave until warm.

Calories: 780

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

D's Cut Outs

I let D decorate the gingerbread men and some snowmen on her own, with zero assistance...this is what a 4 year old gives ya :)

Friday, December 23, 2011


These are a time tested favorite in my home, my mom has been making them as long as I can remember!


1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups Corn Flakes
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp green food coloring
red hots for decoration

Melt butter and marshmallows, I do this in the microwave. Stir in vanilla and then cornflakes. Using two wet spoons, scoop out "wreaths" and set on wax paper to set. Rinse spoons to keep them lightly moist with cold water to prevent sticking. Add red hot garnish.

I store in the fridge until ready to serve. They can be frozen, but they may become a little soggy then.
Serves: I made 30 wreaths from a batch

Calories:  68

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thick Cut Out Sugar Cookies

These are fabulous, but beware...dough gets thick and it blew the motor in my inexpensive stand mixer! Oh, Well, Merry Christmas to me as I got a new KitchenAid Mixer out of the deal!!

** I am not a professional decorator :)  My kids LOVE to help!
Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Source: The Peppermint Plum

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. After mixed add sour cream. Mix together salt, baking soda, and flour. Slowly add to Mixture.

On a floured surface roll out cookies to 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. I had a hard time letting myself roll them thick, so most were right at 1/4 inch! 

Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. If they start to brown on the edge, they were baked TOO LONG. Let them sit on the tray a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

Frost with Vanilla Buttercream
2 cups butter, softened
1 bag powdered sugar (approximately 8 cups or 2 pounds)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well, color if desired, frost cookies.

Serves: 7 dozen cookies (3.5" size cutters)

Calories: 75 calories (without frosting)
If you were to use all of the frosting on the cookies, it would add 64 calories each, I only used about half (I frost lightly), so that makes my frosted cookies: 107 calories

A few of my "designs" this year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cheesey Potatoes

This is my go to side when entertaining, a favorite of mine at home for just us too, I'm drooling just thinking of the yummy Cheesey Potatoes!!

Potato Casserole

2 pounds hash brown potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion (I skip this!!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute any shredded cheese, my favorite is monerery jack)
1/2 c. melted butter, seperated
2 cup crushed corn flakes

Melt 1/4 cup butter, stir in cream of chicken soup, sourcream, cheese, onion (if used), salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and poor into a 9x13 baking dish.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and mix with 2 cup crushed corn flakes. Cover top of casserole.
Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes, until casserole browns.

Serves: 10-12

This freezes great, or I like to make half, and freeze half. To cook frozen casserole, thaw and cook as normal.

Calories: 277

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rolo Pretzels


hmmm, the combination of sweet + salty = delicious

Rolo Pretzels


Preheat oven to 350. Place a single layer of pretzels on a cookie sheet. Place a rolo on each pretzel. Place in oven for approximately 3 minutes, until the rolo is just melting. Take out of oven and immediately push an M&M into the middle of each rolo. Allow to cool

Variation - use pecans in place of the M&M
33 calories for 2 pieces

Friday, December 16, 2011


Sea Salt Caramels:
Adapted from: Not So Humble Pie
Makes 60-70 large caramels

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, separated
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Line a 9 x 9 cake pan with lightly buttered parchment and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and one cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, slowly bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture boils add the remaining cup of cream in a slow trickle so that you do not cool your caramel mixture and it continues to boil uninterrupted.
Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil for 5-6 minutes without stirring.
Add butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each melts. Clip on your candy thermometer and allow to boil over medium-low heat until the mixture just hits 250°F (Firm Ball stage) stirring occasionally. This should take about 30-40 minutes, if your temperature is climbing too quickly you might need to reduce heat all the way to low. By the same token, if you're not hitting 250°F by 40 minutes you might want to increase the heat a bit.

Once you've hit the right temperature, quickly remove from heat. Stir in the teaspoon of vanilla and pour into your prepared pan. To prevent any crystallization, don't scrape the pan as you pour, just allow what clings to the pan to remain in it. Set your pan on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

Remove the cool caramel sheet from the pan and cut into pieces. Lightly press each piece onto a plate sprinkled with Sea Salt and wrap in cellophane, parchment or waxed paper.
These should keep for roughly 1-2 weeks, when wrapped and in an air tight container on the counter.
They should keep 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Best served at room temperature.

55 calories each (when yielding 70 caramels)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candy Cane Blossoms

we will be making a second batch of these...

Candy Cane Blossoms
recipe form Hershey's

1 bag of Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp milk
Red and Green colored sugar - to decorate

Preheat oven to 350. Remove approximately 35 candy wrappers.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 inutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Remove from oven, press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Yields approximately 35 cookies

99 calories per cookie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mint Fudge

This recipe is fantastic, it came from the mom of a friend of mine.

Layered Mint Chocolate Fudge

1 - 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - 14 ounce can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, separated
2 tsp vanilla
1 c white almond bark
1 Tbsp Peppermint Extract
1 drop of green food coloring

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, add vanilla. Spread half the mix into an 8 or 9 inch square pan that was lined with wax paper. Chill for 10 minutes or until firm. Leave the remaining half of the chocolate mixture at room temperature.

In another heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt white almond bark with remaining sweetened condensed milk. Add peppermint & food coloring. Spread on chilled chocolate layer. Chill 10 minutes or until firm.  cover with remaining chocolate mixture. Chill 2 hours or until Firm

I cut my pan in 7x8 rows for 56 bars (I did neatly trim the edges so there was a small amount of "waste" to taste!) 56 bars yeilds 73 calories per bar.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hashbrown Egg Bake

Hashbrown Egg Bake

1/2 package (1 lb) frozen hash browns
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (split)
Cover greased baking dish with potatoes. Layer sausage on top of the hash browns. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese over sausage. Mix eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over hash browns and sausage. Cover and refrigerator overnight. Bake uncovered at 350° for 60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turkey Cookies

Late is better than never right? These are the adorable cookies my sister-in-law made via pinterest

cute, right? Have no fear, a few ended up "scary" looking

Once A Month Cooking 1

This is my November menu, I didn't make it until the end of the month, and I wanted to try everything before posting :)  I used the October menu from from Once a Month Mom. Great resource, great place to start.

I ended up with 23 meals, 4 for lunch and 19 for supper. Although no one like my lunches, so I turned those 4 into like 12 for just me!

Lunches - I don't think I'll make either again, as the kids wouldn't eat them with me!
    •  3 servings
    • 2 bags  
    • Thaw and reheat, microwave or stovetop
  • BBQs
    • 2 bags
    • Thaw and Reheat, microwave or stovetop
  • Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf – used turkey instead, pretty mushy and not a meatloaf flavor we preferred
    • Accidentally only bought 1 pound meat, so made 1 instead of 2!  
    • Instructions: thaw in fridge. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing.
  • Salsa Chicken
    • 2 bags  
    • Instructions: Dump bag contents into a slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken if desired. Stir in sour cream just before serving and heat until everything is combined. Serve over rice with shredded cheese
  • Chicken Enchilada Lasagna – only used 9 tortillas, recipe said 16, ended up throwing out all 3 meals, mine turned out mushy and flavorless
    • 3 meals  
    • Instructions: Thaw in fridge. Bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and enchiladas are heated
  • Mama’s Meatballs and Gravy
    • My advice: Best served with spaghetti sauce, otherwise a bit to mushy/moist  
    • 2 pans
    • Instructions: Bake covered at 350F for 1 hour (no need to thaw). Uncover, and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve meatballs and gravy over mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Ground Beef Stroganoff – I'll skip the red wine vinegar
    • 2 bags  
    • Instructions: Thaw. Reheat in microwave or on stovetop. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles.
  • Chicken and Stuffing Bake
    • 2 bags
    • Instructions: Thaw in fridge. Bake uncovered at 375F for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
·         Harvest Pancakes – bad texture
·         Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – bland taste

Crossed off items are ones we will not add to our journal to eat again.
I kept a running list of what I had so I knew what was in the freezer, it worked great!

Now I need to start my next month! Our freezer is now empty!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stationery card

Bright Happy Holiday Card
Turn family photos into holiday cards at
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cream Cheese Frosting

There are many recipes out there for Cream Cheese Frosting, but this combination has been my favorite blend!
Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese
4 T butter, room temperature (softened)
1.5 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar.

Store in the refridgerator in airtight container, best within 3-5 days, Freeze up to a month.

I have left frosted cupcakes out on the counter all day and still ate them with no ill side effects!

Ices approximately 12 cupcakes or muffins.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix

I love anything Pumpkin Pie, and Chex mix is such a perfect snack, so I found this Chex Mix recipe to make for a Thanksgiving Day snack!

1/4cup brown sugar
1tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4cup butter
2teaspoons vanilla
2cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
8oz pecans
In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

1 Serving (1/2 cup) 16 servings: Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 80); Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 2 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g)
You can make the mix up to 2 weeks ahead of time, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snicker Salad

My son's FAVORITE salad is Snicker Salad, my daughter doesn't like it because she doesn't like snickers....seriously, who doesn't like snickers?!?!

Snicker Salad
1 (3 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip
3 regular size (or 9 fun size) Snicker bars  - cut into bite size pieces.
3 medium (or 4 small)  apples - cut into bite size pieces
Mix Pudding and Milk well, fold in whip cream. Add cut up apples and snickers. Enjoy!
Best served that day. Can serve 1-2 days later, however it does start to get a little runny.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almond Bark Puffcorn

Here is the easiest recipe, and so yummy !

Almond Bark Puffcorn

1 package of Almond Bark
1 BIG bag of puff popcorn
Sprinkles (optional)

Melt the Almond Bark, start with 30 seconds, stir, then in 15 second intervals until a smooth consistency, do not over cook.

Pour over Puff Popcorn and stir. Add sprinkles if you like (I did but my bottle was too little and included yellow, so you barely see any!)

Lay out on wax paper to dry

Once dry, break apart and put in large bowl. Enjoy!

I ate a lot of this when I was pregnant last summer :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lemon Cookies

Using inspiration from these Chocolate cookies from Lil Liz-bits, we made Lemon Cookies. I wasn't sure if my kids would eat the lemon, but they loved them!

Lemon Cookies
1 box of cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening
Powdered Sugar (I only used 2-3 large spoonfuls)

Preheat Oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, shortening and eggs together

until well combined

Roll into 1" balls and roll balls in powdered sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Take out and leave on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Move to wax paper and let cool

Nutrion (24 cookies):
Calories: 149
Carbs: 18
Fat: 8
Protein: 1

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

First, let me just say, yum! I found the recipe at House Beautiful

Makes 10 cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

233 calories in cupcake alone
417 calories frosted

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookies N Cream Cupcakes

The following is a historical blog post from my first ever attempt at making homemade cupcakes:

Yum, Yum...this past week was my Dolly's 1/2 birthday, and she requested cupcakes. After rummaging through the cupboards, I realized I didn't have a box mix on hand, and would have to try cupcakes from scratch, yikes! Sounded scary to me, but was actually just as easy as a box!
my son walked in half-way through, and asked, "Where's the box mom?"  I replied, "There isn't one." Then he said, "then how did you make the cupcakes?" HA!  Shows how my cupcakes have been thus far :) Hopefully being at home now it'll improve!!
I found a recipe in my fun kiddy cookbook: "3 Books in 1: Silly Snacks, Classroom Treats, and Cookie Dough Fun"

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-2/3 c sugar
1 c milk
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
1 c crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (about 10 cookies) - this was enough for me for the garnish, too
1 container vanilla frosting (I used cream cheese - my favorite!)

1. Preheat oven to 350, line 24 regular muffin cups with paper baking cups
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Stir in sugar. Add milk, butter and vanilla; beat with electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Add egg whites; beat 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup crushed cookies.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpicks inserted into centers coue out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove to racks; cool completely
4. Frost cupcakes; garnish with additional crushed cookies

We decided to try making 12 big and 24 mini-muffins. I took the mini muffins out at 15 minutes, but it was still a touch too long. So I cut off the bottom part of the cupcake, as the top was still good. We then made sandwiches with these!
I let the kids decorate most of the cupcakes, and besides a mess, here is the "pretty" cupcakes I ended up with!
and of course I forgot to take a picture of the 1/2 birthday girl, who was mad at me because a 1/2 birthday does not equal presents and a party!

Nutrion: (24 servings)
Calories: 228
Carbs: 39
Fat: 8
Protein: 2

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

Yum, Yum

I found this recipe at Amanda's Cookin' and it is fabulous!

Cream Cheese Cookie Bars
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I use fat free)
1 egg
1/2 t almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and egg until nice and frothy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat for 1 minute more.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Press the dough into a large jelly roll (cookie sheet) pan. (Mine was 10.5x15.5) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the pan cool completely.

1/2 cup butter softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring or icing paste

To make the frosting, in a medium sized bowl (or your stand mixer) combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and food coloring. Mix for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Frost your pan of cookies.
Cut the cookies into bars and serve.

Don't forget to lick the frosting bowl clean.

Add sprinkles if desired, like we did for this Valentine's treat.

** You may want to ignore this part of the post. I did a little math and calculated that if you cut the pan into 54 bars like I did, there are 148 calories per serving, using fat-free cream cheese. Sadly, it is easy to eat 2 or even 3 bars without blinking, oops!

I did freeze half my bars (so I'd stop eating them!!) and when I took them out a week later they were still fabulous as if they were freshly baked that day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

A while back I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Roll Pancakes that sounded delicious! I told my husband about them (he typically makes the kids pancakes on the weekend) and he was sold :)

Typically, this is what he does to spruce them up!

So, when the weekend came for Daddy's pancakes, he searched for the recipe without me and didn't find the same one I had found. His recipe called for flour, and it was pretty lumpy and difficult to put in the pancakes. We tried my recipe the next day, and there was too much butter and the mix was too runny!  This weekend we cut the butter WAY down, and here is what we got:

Perfect! (although a little messy this morning :) )

Here is our preferred recipe:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 ounces cream cheese 
1tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp milk

We use Bisquick pancakes, I know lots of people out there make their own batter, but the Bisquick is so easy!  We tried it with frosty, and although delicious, we prefer in our house to use syrup and whip cream

or on just plain Maple Syrup :)

Yum! Enjoy :)