Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Squares

Chocolate Oatmeal Squares - Adapted from The Marathon Mom

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup rolled oats
2 Tablespoons flour (I used spelt)
2 Tablespoons flax seeds
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Melt peanut butter, butter, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when melted.

Stir in oats, flour, flax seeds, and chocolate chips. 

Pour into a wax paper or foil lined 8x8 baking dish. Refrigerate until cooled. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Salad

A couple months ago one of my friend's posted this recipe on her blog. I've tweaked the recipe a little to suit our tastes and my hubby asks for it to be on the menu at least every two weeks!

Southwestern Chicken Salad - Adapted from Brown Sugar Toast

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1-2 T. oil
1 T. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salad greens (we usually use the "spring mix")
black beans, rinsed and drained
about 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
ranch dressing
broken tortilla chips

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken strips and sprinkle with salt - this helps the chicken not to splatter and pop so much. Brown chicken on both sides, then sprinkle with taco seasoning and garlic powder. Stir to coat both sides of chicken, then cover and cook on low for about 5 minutes. 

We assemble individual salads on each of our plates, but you can layer the salad in a serving bowl if you'd like. Layer in this order - salad greens, black beans, corn, chicken strips, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, ranch dressing and tortilla chips. The reason I didn't put amounts for the "condiments" is because we do it "to taste" instead of measuring! 

We get about 4 servings out of this recipe - you don't have to overload on the chicken since the black beans provide protein as well.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lemon Bars

Lately I have been craving all things lemon - it must be the lovely springtime weather we've been enjoying! When my mother-in-law asked me to bring a dessert for dinner last Sunday, I immediately knew I would bring lemon bars. They were a hit! I love that they aren't too sweet but they have a definite lemony taste.

Lemon Bars - Adapted from All Recipes

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 T. grated lemon zest*
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 large lemons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, confectioner's sugar, and 2 cups flour. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together white sugar and remaining flour. Whisk in the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. The bars will firm up as they cool. Once cool, cut into bars and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Refrigerate leftovers

*It is best to zest the lemons before cutting and juicing them. When zesting, make sure you only get the yellow of the peel - the white underneath is very bitter. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CrockPot Cream Corn

This recipe is so easy and super delish! Next time I'm going to add a can of green chilies for a little zing.

CrockPot Cream Corn - Adapted from Southern Plate's CrockPot EBook
(Printable Recipe)

3 (12 oz) packages frozen corn
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 stick butter
salt & pepper to taste

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place corn into the crockpot and put block of cream cheese on top (in the center). Slice butter all over corn and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook on Low for 3-3 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice to incorporate the cream cheese as it melts. You do not want to cook this on high or the corn will get tough.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Broccoli Salad

I love this salad! It is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy and crunchy and chewy. So good!

Broccoli Salad - Adapted from my Southern Plate cookbook

4-5 cups chopped broccoli (you can chop and use the stalks too)
1/2 cup raisins (I used some golden and regular raisins)
1 (3oz) package real bacon bits
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup mayo
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine broccoli, raisins, bacon bits, onion, and walnuts in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk may, sugar, and vinegar together until sugar dissolves. Pour over broccoli mixture. Stir until well coated and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Peppermint Brownies

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law mentioned how much he likes Starbucks peppermint brownies - that got my attention because I've been loving chocolate and peppermint together lately! So I decided to come up with a similar recipe to Starbucks. If you've had one from Starbucks, you will notice that mine don't have the extra layer of chocolate frosting on top. I decided that a decadent brownie topped with peppermint frosting was enough richness for my brownies!

Peppermint Brownies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking pan.

In a large bowl whisk together first seven ingredients. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; beat until well combined.

Spread in prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Peppermint Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T. water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a medium bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or more water if the consistency is too thin or too thick - you want the frosting to be spreadable, but not too thin.

Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into squares. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To Die For Brownies

Seriously, these are the most amazing "from scratch" brownies I've ever made or eaten. My family and friends agree too! Yes, there are black beans in them, but no! you cannot tastes them at all!

The black beans take the place of oil and eggs and they also add good fiber and protein! Sounds pretty healthful to me...except for the outrageous amount of sugar. But all brownies I have ever made from scratch or from a box have a ton of sugar in them.

Ok, here's the recipe:

To Die For Brownies (adapted from $5 Dinners)
(Printable Version)

2 (15oz each) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa (I used Hershy's Special Dark)
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 (12oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Puree black beans in blender with water until smoothie like consistency. {I added a 1/2 cup of water first and then added a little more during blending}

Combine black bean mixture, sugar, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer until well combined.

Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. {Feel free to lick the bowl since there are no eggs in it!}

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. {Mine were done in 30 minutes and they were a little gooey in the middle - Love that!}

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Homemade Grilled Pizza

I know grilled pizza sounds hard, but it really isn't! Jacob and I tried it for the first time tonight, and loved it. I especially liked that I didn't have to use the oven and heat up the house.
  • Make sure your grill is clean! You don't want your pizza to stick. 
  • Turn grill on to medium heat.
  • Mix up your favorite pizza dough. This is my all time favorite recipe. It's super quick and easy and oh so tasty!
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured baking pan or stone. We made two smaller pizzas so they would be easier to handle.
  • Brush olive oil lightly onto both sides of the dough. You don't want to overdo on the oil or you will have flare-ups!
  • Gather all your toppings. We used sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, onions, and parmesan cheese. The onions didn't get quite cooked, so next time I will grill the veggies a little before putting them on the pizza.
  • Take pizza dough, toppings, and spatulas {pancake turners as we call them} out to the grill.
  • Lightly spray grill rack with cooking spray.
  • Carefully pick up pizza dough a lay it on the grill. Don't worry, it will not fall through the grate!
  • Close lid and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until the bottom is browned and there are bubbles on top {like pancakes get}.
  • Use pancake turner and flip the dough over.
  • Working quickly, slap on your toppings and close grill lid. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until bottom is browned and cheese is melted.
  • Carefully remove pizza to the baking pan or stone you used to roll the dough out on.
  • Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Beans & Rice

red beans & rice

One of my friends shared this recipe with us. I love that you can just throw it in the crockpot and forget about it!

Red Beans & Rice
(Printable Version)

1lb small dried red beans, rinsed & sorted
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 T. Tony Chachere's (creole/cajun seasoning)
7 cups water
1 lb sausage or kielbasa, sliced
Hot cooked rice

Add first 7 ingredients to a large crockpot. Stir gently, cover and cook on High for 5 hours. Add sausage and cook 2 more hours. Serve over hot rice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brownie Bites


I made these adorable little brownie bites to give my family for Valentine's Day. They really are pretty easy even though there are several steps involved!

Brownie Bites
(Printable Version)
1 family size brownie mix
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 T milk
2 drops red food coloring
1 cup semisweet (or dark chocolate) chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the mini cupcake holders in a mini muffin tin. Make brownie mix according to package directions and fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in pan 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating in 30 second increments as needed until all chips are melted. Spoon into a quart size ziplock bag. Let chocolate cool in bag 10-15 minutes. Cut the tip off the bag {just the very tip!}. Pipe chocolate into heart shapes onto waxed paper. Refrigerate until hard.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, 2 T milk and food coloring. The mixture will not look like frosting. Beat for 5 minutes {this is very important!}. Add remaining tablespoon of milk as needed for the right consistency. You want the frosting to be light and fluffy so it will be easy to pipe onto the brownies. Fill a large ziplock bag or decorator's bag with frosting. You can use a large star tip, round tip, or no tip at all. I used a ziplock bag with just the icing coupler in it because I didn't have a large round tip.

Now you are ready to assemble the brownie bites! Pipe frosting onto cooled brownies starting at the edge of the brownie and ending at the center. Carefully remove chocolate hearts from waxed paper using a metal pancake turner. Gently stick a chocolate heart into the frosting on each brownie. You have to work fast because the chocolate will start to melt in your hands.

Yield: about 48