Monday, November 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Caramel Apple Crisp

This dish is delicious but also very rich.

4 apples cored, peeled and sliced (I used Cortland)
1 8oz jar of caramel sauce warmed
1 cup of peanut butter warmed
2 T milk
3/4 c flour
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2c butter cubed

Heat the oven to 375*, spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
Place the apples in the baking dish, pour both caramel and peanut butter over apples, mix to coat evenly.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes
Serve with ice cream and whipped cream!

Quick and Easy Au Gratin Potatoes

I was in a pinch the other night and wanted to make Au Gratin Potatoes but didn't want to bake them for over an hour, so here goes!

4 large potatoes sliced thin
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 onion minced
3/4 cup milk
4T butter into 4 pieces
8 slices American Cheese

Heat oven to 400*, in a large stock pot boil water enough water to cover potatoes, place potatoes in pot and boil for 10 minutes.
Spray a 9x9 safe pan with non-stick. Layer cheddar cheese, boiled potatoes, milk, onion, butter and American cheese.
** add black pepper if you wish before putting on American cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, uncover and bake for 5 more. The dish should be bubbling and browning on the sides.
Serve and enjoy!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Super Easy Peanut Butter Layer Treat

MMMM There is not much that can go wrong when you mix peanut butter into a dessert. I whipped this up one night when we were having company and then again 3 days later because it went over so well.

1 package of graham crackers  (save 2 for the last step)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup cream cheese
3 cups of whipped topping, separated into 1 and 2 cup increments
3T powdered sugar
chocolate sauce
3 T peanut butter

Spray a 9x9 inch pan with non stick spray. In a gallon size ziploc bag crush the graham crackers, remembering to leave 2 for the last step. Spread the crumbs into the bottom of the pan evenly.
In a microwave safe bowl combine the peanut butter, cream cheese and 1 cup of whipped topping and heat for 30 seconds until it is easy to mix. If you prefer not to microwave use a mixer to combine ingredients.  Add in powdered sugar and mix thoroughly.
Spread this mixture over the graham crumb layer, I find it easier to spread it if it is warmed.
Use the 2 cups of whipped topping that was set aside and spread this over the peanut butter layer.
With the chocolate sauce drizzle enough to your liking over the top and then warm the 3 T of peanut butter for 30 seconds and drizzle over the chocolate. Next use the last 2 graham crackers, break them into small bits in your hands and sprinkle over the top.
Let it set in the refrigerator with tin foil on top before serving (approx 30 min)


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lemon Parsley Pasta with Lemon Sauce

MMMM If you live in Rochester, NY you are lucky to have access to one of the best public markets. The pasta in this recipe is purchased from there, however if you don't have the pleasure to live here, this is the website if you wish to order...

1/2 lb Lemon Parsley pasta
1 T olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 jar Artichoke Hearts, chopped
1/2c white cooking white
2 T lemon juice
1/4c Parmesan cheese

Boil and cook pasta for approximately 9-11 minutes until cooked. Place pasta in strainer in the sink and let sit when completely cooked. In the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, heat the olive oil and add in garlic until sauteed.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add pasta back into the pot and stir to coat. Take off of heat source and let sit for approximately 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Homemade Nutty Goat Salad

I get this every time that I go to Great Northern Pizza but it's so easy to make at home!!

2 cups lettuce
1T goat cheese (I like the option available to my grocer, it's a goat cheese rolled with cranberries and cinnamon)
1/4 cup pecans
Croutons if you wish

I just do a olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but be careful to not add too much balsamic vinegar otherwise it's overwhelming.

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients and toss with dress, enjoy for a great summer meal!

Simple Summer Turkey Crissoant with Cranberry Mayonaise

I ordered this at a local bistro and couldn't stop thinking about it for 2 weeks so here goes my spin on it!

1 Croissant 
1 Roasted Turkey Breast
2 T Mayonnaise
1 T Cranberry Orange Chutney (typically in the specialty jelly areas of your grocery store)
Muenster Cheese

In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise and chutney, add more or less chutney to taste. 
Cut the croissant in half and on both sides spread the mayonnaise mixture, top with turkey, lettuce and cheese, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Simple Juicy Pulled Pork- Slow Cooker

I make this in 2 quantities, either a whole pork shoulder for large gathering or half a shoulder for dinner with left overs.

Pork shoulder approximately 7 lbs
1 can rootbeer
1 small Vidalia Onion sliced (approximately 1/3 cup)
1t ground cloves
2 bottles of any barbeque sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup honey

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray, pour the rootbeer and place onions in the bottom of the cooker. Trim the layer of fat off of the pork shoulder and discard fat. You can leave the bone in the shoulder as it is difficult to remove.
Place the pork shoulder in the slower cooker and sprinkle cloves on top and place garlic on top of the pork. Cover with 1 bottle of barbeque sauce.

Cook for 8 hours on low, use a thermometer to check temperature on pork package to ensure pork is cooked fully. Drain the liquid mixture in a strainer and return any onions/ pork to the slow cooker that may have fallen into the strainer.

Once pork is cooked use 2 forks to shred, it will shred easily. Remove the bone.
With the 2nd bottle of barbeque sauce and 1/4 cup honey, cover shredded pork and mix well. Serve!!
I sometimes top mine with cheese :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Easy Cheesy Rice

1 cup Uncle Ben's Brown Quick Rice
1 10oz can of Cream of Chicken Soup
10oz water
1t garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to *375

Spray a 9x9 glass dish with non-stick spray. Place rice in the pan to cover the bottom. In a small bowl mix Cream of Chicken, water, garlic powder and pour over the top of the rice. Seal with foil and cook at *375 for 25-30 minutes until rice is fluffy. Once rice is done add on cheddar cheese and place in oven until cheese is just melted, stir and serve!

Quick Tomato Soup

I took a spin on the Barefoot Contessa's Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons...

1 T olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
3 cloves of garlic minced
4 cups of chicken broth
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup parm cheese
1 cup orzo cooked
1t oregano
Sourdough Croutons

In a large stock pot heat oil on medium heat, add in onions until they appear translucent. Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes on low heat making sure not to let the garlic burn. Add in the broth, tomatoes and orzo and bring to a simmer. Before you are ready to serve add in the parm cheese and oregano, top each bowl with croutons (approximately 4-6).

I also made grilled cheese with sourdough bread to pair with the soup.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Easy Summer Chicken Pasta Salad

My best friend's mom makes this dish and I absolutely love it! I count on it when I am visiting them in the summer months. You can make this various ways but omitting the pasta and serving it on rolls or including the pasta and serving it as a side. Sometimes I enjoy it as my main dish with a side of grilled corn.

 4 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts- not breaded
1/2 lb shells
1 1/2 cup Mayonaise
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup grapes quartered
1/2 cup diced celery
1 T Dijon Mustard
1T Dill
1t Pepper

Preheat oven to *375
Bake 4 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts until juices run clear
While chicken is baking boil enough water to cover shells, cook shells until al dente.
While both pasta and chicken are cooking, wash and quarter grapes.

After chicken has finished baking cube and put on a plate in the fridge to cool if you plan to eat the dish fairly soon. If you are making it for later you can leave it out.
Drain pasta and cool with cold water to stop from continuing to cook.
In a large bowl mix pasta, chicken, grapes, celery and cover with mayonaise, ranch dressing and seasoning, mix until thoroughly covered.

Place a layer of saran wrap lightly over the bowl and put in the refrigerator to cool.

Enjoy as your main dish or with grilled corn!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is so easy and quick to make. My family has been making this for years as both a good comfort food as well as something that we bring to friends who need a meal.

1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 onion minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1t pepper
1 bag frozen veggie blend thawed (carrots, peas, green beans)
2 1/4 inch thick deli chicken (honey roasted is great) cubed
1 2pack of Pillbury pie crust in the dairy section- I normally don't do name brands but this is necessary, I find that store brand pie shells are just not as good.

Heat Oven to 375*
Spray pie pan with non-stick spray. Put pie shells in packages on counter to warm to room temperature.
On the stove heat the butter until melted in a large stock pot. Add in onions and saute until translucent. Add flour and stir until mixture is bubbling. Add in the chicken broth and milk and stir until mixture is bubbling. Add in the pepper, veggies and chicken. All mixture to simmer on medium low heat until bubbling. Place bottom pie shell in pan, add in the filling and then seal with top pie shell, crimping around the edges.
Use a sharp knife to add in some steam vents to your pie.
Place pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch any dripping as the pie cooks. Place tin foil around the edges to protect from burning or get a crust protecting metal ring- they are awesome and reusable!
Cook for 45 min or until crust is golden brown.

Chocolate Roll Cake

Here is a recipe that I use for a Chocolate Roll Cake. The recipe makes 2 rolls and then I make 2 different frosting, one with a cream cheese filling and one with a cocoa filling. The recipe is made for 2 rolls so cut in half if you wish to only make 1 roll. It is quite simple so don't be intimidated!!

2- 10x12 cake pans
2 pieces of wax paper 10x 12 (cut to size)
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 box Devil Food Cake
Preheat oven to 350*
Spray the bottom of the cake pans with non-stick spray. Place the wax paper in the bottom of the pans and spray them with non-stick spray.
In a mixing bowl beat eggs on medium for 5 minutes, add in water and beat on low for 2 min. Add in cake mix for 2 more minutes on medium. Divide the batter in half and bake for 12 min or until cooked throughout.
While the cake is cooking place 2 clean hand towels on your counter, sprinkle with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. When the cakes are done, remove from oven and quickly remove cake from the pans (flip cake pans on top of towels, they will fall right out). Peel off the wax paper slowly, if you want your cakes to look symmetrical now is the time to use a knife to quickly trim edges to straight lines. Using the short end of the towel, roll the cakes up and place seam side down on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
Use the next 30 minutes to make your filling!

Filling is super easy:
1 8oz cream cheese softened
1/2 cup Cool Whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1t Vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter softened

Beat all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth.*Remember you made enough filling for 2 rolls so only use half of the filling for the first roll.
For the 2nd roll I add 3T of cocoa powder or 3T of mocha latte powdered flavor depending on what flavor I'm going for to the remaining filling. 

Unroll your cake that is in the towel and smooth filling over entire roll. Re-roll your cake without using the towel, wrap in tin foil and place in fridge seam side down until ready to serve. When ready to serve remove from fridge and bring to room temperature (about 20 min). I also put my rolls in cake pans when in the fridge just to protect them.
Enjoy! The first picture is the vanilla roll, the second is a chocolate filling.You can also sprinkle some powdered sugar on top if you please. I saved an old spice container, washed it and filled it with powdered sugar to get a nice even dusting of sugar.

Creamy Cool Whip frosting

This frosting is best made and served just before serving. Anything that you don't eat should be put in the fridge ASAP as the consistency of Cool Whip will change as it  warms to room temperature. 
Also if you make extra just freeze it!

1c Cool Whip
3 oz of cream cheese
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1t Vanilla extract
1/4c butter softened

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. It may be a bit runny if your Cool Whip has thawed. Use a spatula to spread t. If you want to thick frosting add in more powdered sugar and less Cool Whip.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings bake

I made this on a whim when I found a bunch of ingredients but wasn't sure what to make with them... There is no originating recipe for this that I know of...

Heat oven to 375*

1 cup rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups chicken broth
1 T garlic powder
1T paprika
1t pepper
1 bag frozen soup veggies *whole baby potatoes, baby carrots, pearl onions
2 chicken breasts cut into cubes

* For 2nd half of recipe you will need a box of Bisquick mix and 1 cup cheddar cheese.

In a 9X13 dish, spray with Pam, pour 1 cup rice into dish and spread evenly.
In a medium mixing bowl combine cream of chicken, broth and spices,
Add to the baking dish in the following order: bag of frozen veggies, cubed chicken, broth mixture. Make sure the veggies and chicken are spread evenly in the dish.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes,

After 45 make the following while the dish is still in the oven baking:

Dumplings made from Bisquick box recipe ( I boiled mine for 10 minutes uncovered and then added to the dish, followed by the 1 cup of cheddar cheese sprinkled evenly in the dish. Cover and bake for 10 more minutes.

Total this takes about 1 hour 10 minutes to bake however if you thaw the veggies and skillet cook the chicken before putting the dish in the oven then you are only waiting until the rice is done to add the dumplings on top.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Artichoke Sun Dried Tomato Tortellini

Super quick recipe that is tasty! You can make it two different ways, I have given both recipes to use. The first recipe is for people who are a bit more conservative with their food, the second has more flavor for those who like to experiment!

1lb Tortellini
1 8oz block cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
2T butter
2T pesto

Cook the tortellini as directed. Drain and allow it to sit in the strainer while you create the sauce. In the same stock pot that you made the pasta, turn heat to medium low and add in cream cheese, milk and butter until the butter has melted. Add the pasta back to the pan and add in the pesto. Stir on medium low to continue making the sauce until the cream cheese has been blended throughout.

2nd version
1/2 cup artichokes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1t black pepper
While making the sauce and before adding the pasta back in, add in 1/2 cup of artichokes, 1/2 cup diced sun dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese with 1t black pepper. Once the sauce begins to steam add in the pasta and pesto, mix until completely blended.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Sloppy Joe Skillet

This is a super easy meal that I make when I am in a pinch for time. It takes 20 minutes and uses 2 dishes which makes clean up quick!

1 lb ground turkey meat
1T Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 16oz can kidney beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 16oz can Manwich

On the stove boil a small pot of water and at the same time in a large skillet pan put ground turkey on medium heat to cook. Add in the elbows and allow to boil for 10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, use a spatula to break the turkey into small pieces and add in the Worcestershire sauce. Once the turkey and pasta are both cooked, drain the pasta and add to the skillet, add in the remaining ingredients and turn heat to low, stirring to mix the ingredients. You don't need to wait for the turkey meal to cool to feed to younger kids as the room temperature Manwich and other ingredients will quickly cool it to an edible temperature.
Enjoy!! (Serve with a side of garlic bread!)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Frosting

Fluffy, light, delicious, peanut buttery... what more can I say? This is the frosting I used on top of the chocolate cup cakes and it was a hit. My niece was literally eating it out of the bowl.

2 cups confectioner sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup stick of butter room temp
4 T milk

Place the confectioner sugar, peanut butter and butter in a medium bowl. Add in the Milk 1 T at a time and use a hand mixer to blend in between each addition of milk. Add more milk as you go until it is the desired consistency, for a thicker frosting use 2T for something smoother use 3-4T.

I used a ziploc bag and cut a rather large corner off to pipe the frosting on in a nice dollop.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tortellini vegetarian soup

This is one of my favorite quick winter soups to whip up. There are many variations of it with sausage, diced tomatoes etc. Here is a quick easy version.

1 bag frozen tortellini
3T butter
1 small onion minced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 bag fresh baby spinach
3 cups chicken broth
1 can cannelloni beans
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large pot boil water and cook tortellini until  it begins to float. Drain into a strainer and leave to the side. In the same pot melt butter on medium low, add in onion until sauteed and then add in garlic, cook for 2 min. Add in spinach and stir until spinach has wilted completely. Add in broth and turn heat up to medium. Drain cannelloni beans and add in with tortellini and then when the soup has heated to desired temperature sprinkle parm cheese on top. Enjoy! I often serve with fresh rolls or big croutons.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homemade chocolate cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup canola oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour add in 1/3rd cup oil.
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

The batter is somewhat thicker than typical cupcake batter but it tastes great.

The cupcake in the picture isn't iced yet (obviously); I'll create a frosting this weekend and post.


Samoa Girl Scout Cake

This Samoa cake is one of the BEST cakes I have ever made. It does take a bit of time and attention to make two batters as well as the topping but it is so worth it.
Some other recipes recommend to make the frosting first however I made it as the cake was cooking and then chilled it in the fridge until the cake was cool enough to frost. Also some recipes have you make the Dulce De Leche homemade in the crock pot or by boiling the condensed milk, honestly just buy Dulce De Leche it's so much more convenient. Happy baking! 

Batter #1 Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup All Purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar on medium high until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add in milk and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly and mix until well combined.

Batter #2 Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup milk

Beat oil and sugar on medium high until combined. Add in egg, mixing well. Add in milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly and mix until well combined. Stir in boiling water.

Grease and flour the bundt pan well. Layer the cake, pouring some of the brown sugar batter, then cocoa batter, then brown sugar, until both batter bowls are empty. Tap the bundt pan on the counter a couple of times to remove bubbles. Bake approximately for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (mine only took about 50 minutes). Let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn it out onto a cooling rack until completely cooled before frosting.


  • 1 18oz bottle Dulce de Leche
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 T coconut rum
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cup toasted coconut divided
To toast the coconut you want to put the coconut in a fry pan on medium heat, you will start to hear it sizzle and then see it begin to turn golden, stir throughout the toasting process to ensure that no area cooks more than the rest, it burns pretty quickly so keep a watchful eye. As soon as you feel it is done, TURN OFF THE HEAT!! trust your instinct with this otherwise you will burn it. 

Beat Dulce de Leche, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and salt for 3 minutes. Add in  1 cup toasted coconut. Chill for 1 hour.
Frost the cake and then use 1 left over cup of coconut to coat the cake. Wa-La!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gluten Free vegetarian taco dip

My cousin Tess is the queen of this dip. We have many gluten free people in our family so we can't make a taco dip with the store mixture due to allergies. Here is an awesome recipe that pleases everyone and often disappears first on the appetizer table!! Enjoy super easy for kids to make as well.

1 block cream cheese
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa
1 2 cups Taco cheese

Heat oven to 350
In a 9x9 pan spread cream cheese evenly on the bottom, layer with refried beans, salsa and then cheese. Bake at *350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with corn tortillas or fritos.