Friday, December 22, 2017

Chocolate Caramel Layer Bars


Chocolate Caramel Layer Bars

2 sticks of butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

Stir together and place in a non-stick aluminum foil lined 9 x 9 pan.  Pat down 
leaving a little rim around the edges to hold the caramel and chocolate.  Bake 
30 minutes at 350°.  While it's baking, unwrap 1 - 11 oz bag of caramels and
cut in half.  Put in a microwave safe container with2 tbsp. of milk   Heat until
soft and mix together.  Spread caramel mixture over the shortbread.  Top 
with 4 Hershey's bars and allow to soften before spreading out.  Place in 
refrigerator to harden the chocolate.

Who doesn't love chocolate and caramel together and this bar has all that and a buttery bottom layer of shortbread.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chocolate Bark with Craisins and Potato Chips

This is such a simple recipe that all the ingredients are in the title of this post...chocolate bark, Craisins and potato chips with a delicious result.

Chocolate Bark with Craisins & Potato Chips

1 pkg chocolate bark
2 cups crushed ripple potato chips
3/4 cup Craisins, cut in smaller pieces (approximately in half)

Melt the chocolat bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir in the potato chips and Craisins.  Spread out evenly over an non-stick aluminum foil lined baking sheet.  Cool to harden.  Break into small pieces and store in an air tight container.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baileys Caramel Brownie Balls


It’s that time of year to enjoy an adult beverage and this time it’s inside of these little brownie balls.


Baileys Caramel Brownie Balls


Melt together in a large saucepan ~

¾ cup butter

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips (1/2 bag)


Allow to cool slightly and then stir in ~

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

¾ cup flour

Spread out on a greased 12 x 17 pan or use non-stick aluminum foil.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°Allow to cool before breaking up the brownie into small pieces and placing in a mixer bowl.  Using the paddle attachment on low speed gradually add in ¼ cup Baileys Caramel liqueur and mix until it forms a ball.  Shape into 1” balls and roll in ½ cup of Natural Sugar in the Raw to coat the balls.  Chill until set.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Orange Muffins

I love the flavor of oranges and what better way to start off your day than with a muffin that's packed full of orange flavor and a hint of cinnamon.

Orange Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/2 of an orange
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cups flour

Cream together butter and sugars.  Stir in eggs, extracts and sour cream.  Add in juice and milk and gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Scoop into greased or lined muffin cups.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  Allow to cool before icing.  Or you can just eat them warm without the icing.

Orange icing

3/4 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1/2 of an orange

Stir together and spoon over the muffins.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Candy Cane Bark

This treat is super easy to make and it's perfect for the season and a good way to use up candy canes.  I tried to find the ones that came pre-crushed but they were out at the store so with a large sealable plastic bag and my meat tenderizer...I had pieces within minutes.

Candy Cane Bark

1 package vanilla bark 
2 cups Rice Krispies
10 candy canes, crushed

Line a 10 x 13 pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  Melt the vanilla bark in a microwave safe bowl.  When completely melted, stir in the Rice Krispies and smooth out evenly on the pan.  Sprinkle the candy cane pieces on top and lightly press in so they stick.  Cool in the refrigerator for a half hour.  Remove and break up into bite size pieces.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Taco Bake

This taco bake will please those that like a milder Mexican dish.  It has some of the spices but sour cream and cream cheese both work to make it a creamier hot dish.  I use my own taco seasoning so if you use some from a package, adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.
Taco Bake

1# extra lean ground beef, seasoned and browned
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups cooked macaroni noodles
1 cup sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp milk
1 cup shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend

In your frying pan, add the taco seasoning, tomato sauce and sour cream to the browned ground beef and stir until completely mixed.  Put the cooked macaroni noodles in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Microwave the cream cheese and milk for 1 minute and stir until completely blended.  Spread over macaroni noodles.  Top with the taco beef mixture and spread evenly over the cream cheese.  Top with the shredded cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Peach Kuchen Bars

This was my first attempt to make a kuchen and it turned out very good.  Next time, I will be making the original kuchens that are popular here in North Dakota.  They make them sooo good out in the middle regions of the state.  If ever traveling through, stop in a small town and head to their grocery stores for kuchen and sausage.  I chose peach because it’s my favorite but you can use any of your favorite fruits. 
Peach Kuchen Bars

Crust –
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
Mix together and spread out over a greased 13 x 9 x 2 pan.  It’s easiest to lightly wet your fingers for spreading the dough.  Make sure to make an rim along the edges of the pan to hold the custard filling.

Thaw 1 package (16 oz) of frozen peach slices.  Cut each slice in half (lengthwise) and place evenly over the crust.

Custard –
4 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 cups whipping cream
Stir together and pour over the peaches.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the custard.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until custard is set

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nutella Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

What better way to brighten up a cold and snowy day than with a luxurious chocolate dessert….this one will definitely do that and it’s easy to make.  I had a fresh jar of Nutella on my counter so I decided to add that to my recipe.  I used dark cocoa since that’s all I have on hand but regular will work just as well.
Nutella Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Bottom layer ~

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp dark cocoa (I used King Arthur Flour Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup Nutella

Mix together in a bowl and spread into a greased 9 x 9 pan.

Top with ~

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dark cocoa

Combine in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter.  
Pour 1 3/4 cup of hot water on top.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Crock Pot Pasta e Fagioli

A chilly day here in the valley that started off with fog and still isn't above freezing.  It seemed like a good time to make something in the crock pot while watching college football and making Christmas greeting cards.  

Pasta e Fagioli

1/2# extra lean ground beef, cooked
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
3 oz pancetta
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz Cannellini beans

1 15 oz Light Red Kidney beans
 32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 cups Ditalini
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese freshly grated

Cook ground beef in a large saucepan.  Add in garlic, onion and pancetta and cook until soft and put in the crock pot with the beans.  Add in chicken broth, oregano and parsley.  Cook over medium heat for 3 hours and add in the Ditalini.  Allow to cook fully before serving.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cinnamon Apple Scones

Scones are a great way to start off the day or warm up the house mid-afternoon with the comforting smell of cinnamon.  I had one apple left and decided to make these scones with it.

Cinnamon Apple Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar

1 apple – I shredded it
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 large egg

Cinnamon and sugar topping

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the dough turns into coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together apple sauce and the egg.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined. Turn out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a circle that is approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 slices and put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are spread out since the scores will spread slightly.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  

Cinnamon Sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

I always keep an old salt shaker full of this on hand for lots of occasions.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blackberry Peach Jam

I took the opportunity to combine some of the best Fall fruits and make a delicious freezer jam to enjoy later this winter.

Blackberry Peach Jam

3 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups blackberries
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Chop the peaches and blackberries into small pieces in a food processor.  Place in a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Skim off foam from the top.  Continue to boil until it thickens.  Strain the jam to remove the seeds if preferred.  Place into containers that you can put in the freezer. Allow to cool completely before putting covers on containers and placing the freezer.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Swedish Meatballs

I have an admission to make…I’ve always used a packet to make Swedish Meatballs in the past.  Never again.  These are sooo much better.  The meatballs are nice and tender and the gravy is rich and creamy.
Swedish Meatballs

¼ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
1 lb extra lean ground beef
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1 large egg

Place the panko bread crumbs in a bowl and pour the milk over it and allow to set for 10 minutes.  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix completely.  Scoop out into meatballs and place in a hot frying pan with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. 
While they are cooking, start your sauce in a dutch oven.
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup cream
½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in the bottom of your dutch oven.  Stir in flour and allow to cook for a minute.  Gradually stir in the beef stock.  Add in the cream and Worcestershire sauce.  Allow to thicken and add in the meatballs as they are done.  Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin!  I’ve been baking pumpkins the last couple of weekends and using some while freezing the rest.  This is a recipe for a twist on your ordinary snickerdoodles with pumpkin and spices. 
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ cups flour
In a medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugars.  Add in the pumpkin and vanilla.  Gradually stir in the dry ingredients.  Using a cookie scoop, make balls of dough and roll in ¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon mixture.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350°

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cranberry Walnut Bread

A few weeks back, I had a Panera sandwich that was on Cranberry Walnut bread so I decided to try making my own bread.  It’s loaded with lots of cranberries & walnut…great for sandwiches.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries, minced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Mix together warm water, honey, olive oil and yeast in a bowl and let it bloom for 10 minutes.  Increase speed to medium and knead for 4-5 minutes.  Add in dried cranberries and walnuts and knead until completely mixed.  Remove from the mixer and pour 1 tbsp. of olive oil in the bowl and turn the dough so it's covered on all sides.  Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until it has doubled.  Turn out and shape into a loaf and put into a greased loaf pan.  Allow the dough to rise again.  Bake for 35 minutes at 350°.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Double Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

Delicious, moist chocolate muffins with a banana taste mixed in.  This was the perfect start to a rainy Fall morning but will taste good anytime of the day.  

Double Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

2 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk

Mix together in a medium sized bowl.  Gradually stir in the remaining ingredients -

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa (I used King Arthur Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Using an ice cream scoop, fill almost all the way and scoop into a lined muffin tin.  Bake for 22 minutes at 350°.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 18 muffins.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cheesy Hash Brown Soup

A co-worker was telling me how much he loved this soup his roommate had made him last Spring.  I was going to try it then but the weather got nice and all thoughts about soup vanished as grilling took over.  Fall is here now and even though the first day of it was not soup weather by any means, the second changed all that.  I decided to add a little kick in the soup by using pepper jack cheese and my go-to for every soup recipe - hot sauce.

Cheesy Hash Brown Soup

32 oz chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. flour
32 oz frozen shredded hash browns
8 oz pepper jack cheese
4 oz cheddar cheese
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups ham, diced
3 dashes hot sauce (I used Frank's)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat up chicken stock, milk (shake in a covered container with the flour before adding) and cheeses over medium heat.  Add in the hash browns and ham.  Cook about a half hour and add in hot sauce, salt and pepper. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Caramel Apple Tart

It's definitely caramel apple season in my home.  This dessert has the smooth, silky caramel on top of an apple tart.  

Caramel Apple Tart

Tart Shell ~
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup cold butter, sliced in small pieces
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla

Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor with the blade and pulse until combined.  Add in butter slices.  Pulse again until just combined so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  In a small dish, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out until the dough is ¼” thick.  Butter  the bottom only of your tart pan.  Place dough in pan.  Only lightly pressing down and on the sides.  Trim off any extra.  Return to refrigerator while your oven heats up to 350°.  Cover the bottom of the dough with aluminum foil and add pie weights.  When the oven is heated, bake for 30 minutes.

Let the tart cool for 15 minutes.  While that is going on, melt 1/2 cup butter and allow to cool slightly.
When cool, stir in ~
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Skin and slice 2 apples and lay in a circular pattern on your tart crust.  Pour butter mixture evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 50 minutes.  Allow to cool.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat 20 caramels and 1 tbsp of milk for 1 minute.  Drizzle over the top of the cooled tart.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Caramel Apple Snack Mix

This is a fun snack mix that is full of Fall flavors.  It makes quite a bit so the whole family will have plenty of snacks for watching football games or to take along to work/school.

Caramel Apple Snack Mix

8 cups popcorn
4 cups Golden Grahams cereal

8 oz cashews
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz dehydrated apples
Combine popped popcorn, cereal and cashews in a large bowl.  In a large saucepan, melt butter.  Combine with brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Mix together well and pour over popcorn mixture.  Bake for 1 hour at 250°, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from roaster and spread out on wax paper.  Store in a airtight container.