Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bran Muffins (the best in the entire WORLD!)

I grew up eating these muffins and love, love, LOVE them. They are great to make in advance, keep in the freezer and then microwave and eat on your way to work!

3 cups buttermilk (or make sour milk using milk and vinegar)
3 cups bran (not bran cereal, wheat bran. It's like tiny flakes. I found it at Harmons.)
1 cup oil (I have successfully and deliciously made these using 3/4 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup oil)
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups raisins or chocolate chips

Combine the buttermilk and bran in a bowl; set aside to soak.

Mix the oil (or applesauce and oil), eggs, sugars, vanilla, soda and salt. Add the bran mixture, flour, baking powder. Add the raisins or chocolate chips. Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into greased muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 3 -4 dozen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Taco Salad

Taco Salad is one of those go-to meals that always leaves everyone full and happy. I love that you can add as much of one ingredient as you like, skimp on others, or totally leave one out. Everyone can make their own personal salad that they will love. So I thought I'd share the ingredients we like with our taco salad. The top salad is mine, the bottom one is Brian's. I like to crumble my chips up and Brian likes to eat his salad almost like nachos.

1 pound of hamburger, cooked according to the directions on a package of taco seasoning
black olives, sliced
romaine lettuce, shredded or cut up
cheese, your favorite kind, shredded
salsa (we LOVE the mango salsa from Costco)
tomatoes, diced
beans (I switch between pinto, kidney and black cause I love them all)
taco chips
sour cream (which our dinner guests loved mixing with the salsa and then putting on the salad)

Now we just layer on what we love and want, and use the salsa as the salad dressing. Unless you are our friend, Kristen. She uses Catalina dressing on her taco salad. Another plus of this meal, just buy some tortillas and if your kids or guests don't like salad, you have all the ingredients for them to make tacos. Win-Win!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Candy Bar Cookies

I was trying to figure out what to do with our leftover Halloween candy and Brian wanted some cookies. This might be something you already do but I haven't before. In place of chocolate chips, I used Halloween candy. All we had left were Crunch bars and Milky Ways, so I chopped them up and added them to the Oatmeal cookie recipe I've posted on here before. I'm excited to try this another time with other type of candy.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups (or more) chopped leftover Halloween candy

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add the dry ingredients, mix well. Stir in the Halloween candy. Drop by teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Peachy Oatmeal Muffins

Don't those look yummy?? I got this recipe from my friend, Aubrey, (thanks Aubrey!) but I changed the recipe a little bit. I wanted them to be more peachy and less nutmeggy. Check out the picture below...loaded full of yummy peaches.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour (white, wheat or combination - I used 1/2 and 1/2)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup oats
3 cups diced peaches (I used the peaches I canned, but you could also use fresh)

Combine the first seven ingredients and mix until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients, except the peaches, and stir just until combined. Fold in the peaches.

Pour the batter into greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 10 -12 minutes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Curry Chicken Crepes

Oh deliciousness! I love curry and I love crepes so why not put them together. I can't wait to try some other fillings in these crepes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I adapted this recipe from one I found on Cooking During Stolen Moments.

5 teaspoons melted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, add batter to the skillet while away from the heat. Tilt the skillet so that the entire bottom of the skillet is covered in batter. Return to heat and cook until the top starts to look dry, about 20 seconds. Flip the crepe and cook another 20 seconds. Keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 10 - 12 crepes.

Curry Chicken
2 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen broccoli
2 -3 cups cooked rice

Stir fry the chicken with some of the chicken broth, until almost cooked. Add the onion, green pepper and remaining chicken broth. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk, curry, ginger and crushed red pepper. Add the peas and broccoli and cook until heated through. About five minutes.

Now just put as much curry chicken and rice as you want on a crepe, roll it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Red Sauce Enchiladas

We LOVE enchiladas at our house! They are so easy and delicious. I also love that I can add whatever we feel like to the inside. This is how I make enchiladas with red sauce.

1 package whole wheat tortillas (there are usually 10 in a package)
chicken or beef, shredded (I will sometimes use canned, which makes prep even quicker)
2 cans of black olives, sliced
2 cups cheese
3 cans mushrooms
2 cans red enchilada sauce
2 cans tomato sauce or tomato soup

Mix together the enchilada sauce and the tomato sauce.

Lay out a tortilla shell. Layer some chicken or beef, olives, mushrooms and cheese. Cover with a spoonful of enchilada mixture. Fold in the sides and roll the tortilla closed. Put the enchilada in a 9x13 baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until all tortillas are filled.

If there is any meat, olives, or mushrooms left, mix them in with the remaining enchilada mixture. Pour the mixture over the enchiladas. Cover with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Enjoy! We love ours with mango salso on the top!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Caramel Apple Peanut Butter Squares

Another apple recipe! This is a great time of year for apples... and caramel, since I seem to make most of my apple recipes with caramel. Then combine some peanut butter and white chocolate on the top and your mouth just starts to water.

2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
2/3 cup and 2 Tablespoons chunky peanut butter, divided
1 1/4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 - 14oz package caramels, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
2/3 cup white chocolate morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats and salt. Mix in brown sugar. Cut in butter and 2/3 cup peanut butter until crumbly. Reserve 3 cups of the mixture. Pat remaining mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle chopped apples over the mixture.
Place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 2 Tablespoons peanut butter. Spoon caramel mixture over the apples in the pan.
Sprinkle reserved oat mixture over the top, followed by chopped peanuts, patting down slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
Place white chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until melted and smooth. Drizzle over the top of the cooled bars. When the drizzle is set, cut and serve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

I was trying to figure out a way to use my leftover potatoes when Brian suggested twice baked potatoes. Well, I had made the mashed potatoes with the skins, and wouldn't have saved the skins anyways, so I couldn't make the normal twice baked potatoes. After some thought, I made this recipe instead. This is not a stand alone dish, you should serve it with something else.

For every pound of mashed potatoes:
2 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
3 slices of bacon, cooked
1 cup cheese
1 teaspoon salt (unless you salted them before)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tablespoon chives
anything else you like in your twice baked potatoes

Mix all ingredients together and stir until well combined. Transfer to a small casserole dish. Cover with cheese, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Another recipe where the picture does not do justice. This recipe is made with homemade cheese sauce - how is that not yummy?? Next time though, I'm going to serve this over noodles. This is another recipe from Cooking During Stolen Moments.

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
4 cups broccoli (I used frozen)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup breadcrumbs

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and cook until thickened to gravy consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Add the broccoli, chicken and thyme. Pour into a 9x9 casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and combine with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the chicken mixture and return to the oven. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes more, or until browned and chicken is fully cooked.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are sosososo good. They are different from regular cookies because of the apples and caramel and very easy to make. I have been adding apples to my recipes to use the apples I got from my cousin's tree and this is a recipe I will be using again and again.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking oats (make sure they are quick cooking)
3 cups peeled and diced apples
25 caramels
1 1/2 teaspoon water

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, the sugars, and the vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs and beat one minute more. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until combined. By hand, fold in the oats and apples.

Scoop by Tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

While the cookies cool, place unwrapped caramels and water in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave in 30 second increments until the caramel is melted and smooth. Drizzle over the top of each cookie and let the caramel firm. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crockpot Ranchy PorkChops with Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

This is a very yummy blend of flavors. I like that I can put the pork chops in the crockpot and they can cook all day. Then, all I have to make is the mashed potatoes when I get home. I made this for a large group of people and they were gobbled right up. I don't remember where I got this recipe, sorry!

6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken soup
3 pounds potatoes, cubed
5 Tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheese (I actually used monterey jack)
6 cloves garlic (or less, if you are not a garlic person)
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a crockpot. Heat for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

Place potatoes into a large pot of water. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10 - 12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low until potatoes are mashed. Add butter, cheese, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed.

Serve the soup gravy, from the crockpot, over the mashed potatoes and pork chops.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mint Chip Cookies

Cookies + Mint = equals a HaPPy me! I have had this recipe to try forever and don't know why I didn't try them sooner. It came from the inside of a bag of Andes Mints baking chips. Try'll LoVe them!

1/2 cup butter - softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 package (10oz) Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
2 2/3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed. Stir in the mint chips and then the flour. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Form dough into balls and slightly flatten. Raise one oven rack one level above the middle and bake on non-stick baking pans.

Bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes. Cool on pans for two minutes before removing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

This picture, in no way, captures this casserole. It's quite tasty but no matter how many pictures I took, I couldn't get a perfect one. So don't base this recipe on the picture. You will fill your entire crockpot with this recipe. This recipe came from my friend, Krista. Thanks, Krista!

1 bag (32 oz) frozen hash brown potatoes
1 pound bacon, diced OR ham, cooked and cubed
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup cheddar or monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper (more or less to taste)
Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the crockpot, followed by a layer of bacon or ham, then the onions, green pepper and cheese. Repeat the layering process two or three times, ending with a layer of cheese.
Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Pour over the crockpot mixture, cover and turn on low. Cook for 10 - 12 hours.
Serve it with salsa!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sloppy Joe Mashed Potato Cups

I thought this was a great idea, then I started doubting the flavor combination. I mean, really? Sloppy joes and mashed potatoes? I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Then I ate one. Trust me, this is YUMMY! This would be best when you already have left over mashed potatoes or sloppy joe mix. But you could make this just to make it, too. I got this idea from Cooking During Stolen Moments.

First, make sloppy joe mix. I've included this recipe before, but here it is again.

For every pound of hamburger:
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
tomato sauce (use as much to match your sloppiness liking)
salt and pepper to taste
hamburger buns

Brown hamburger with onion. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until thickened.

Now for the mashed potatoes:
2 lb. potatoes
6 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Cube potatoes and boil until tender; drain. Return the potatoes to the pot. Mash with butter, sour cream and salt and pepper. The potatoes will be heavier than regular mashed potatoes.

Grease muffin tins - (12 to 18 of them). Press 1/4 cup of potatoes into each muffin cup. Using a spoon or your fingers, leave a hollow spot in the center of the mashed potatoes. Add about 1/4 cup sloppy joe mix into each potato cup. Cover each with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before taking out. I ran a knife along the side of each cup and then used the knife to take them out. If you take them out right away, they will not keep their shape.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sundae Cupcakes

Another AMAZING cupcake for this month's Cupcake Hero:November peanut butter challenge. This cupcake is modeled after my most favorite way in the entire world to eat peanut butter - vanilla bean ice cream smothered in hot fudge and peanut butter!! Yummy-licious-ness!! So this cupcake is a vanilla bean cupcake, filled with hot fudge sauce and peanut butter. Then I made a whip cream frosting and drizzled more chocolate and peanut butter over the top. OH MY!!

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 vanilla bean*

Beat the butter until it's soft. Add the sugar and eggs, beat until light and fluffy. Combine the dry ingredients together, and the milk, vanilla and vanilla bean specs together. Add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternatively to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.

Pour the batter into greased cupcake pans, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcake springs back when touched. Cool completely before icing.

*If you have never gotten the vanilla bean specs, as I like to call them, out of a vanilla bean - it's very simple. Just cut the bean in half and, using the non-sharp edge of the knife, scrape the knife along the bean from the closed end to the open end. You will see all the specs come out. Get as many as you can. Every spec makes a difference, in my opinion.

Whip Cream Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons whip cream
4 -6 cups of powdered sugar

Beat together the butter, vanilla and whip cream. Add as much powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.

Hot Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 can evaporated milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the sugar and cocoa. Gradually add the entire can of evaporated milk. Boil on medium heat for 5 minutes until thick. (In a side note - this is the most amazing hot fudge EVER!)

Peanut Butter Filling
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 can condensed milk

Mix together until completely blended. (I did this to help the peanut butter set up and so it wouldn't just be this big chunk of peanut butter in the middle of the cupcake.) For the peanut butter on top, just melt some peanut butter, without the condensed milk, in the microwave.

Take the cooled cupcakes and hollow out part of the middle. The hollow does not need to be too deep because the hot fudge will soak into the cupcake.

Pour 1 Tablespoon of hot fudge into the center of each cupcake. Put 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter filling into each cupcake. Spread the whip cream frosting over each cupcake and drizzle hot fudge and peanut butter over each cupcake. Good luck only enjoying one!!

Caramel Apple Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Oh my - these are delicious!! I am so glad I had a work party that I could take these to, so I wouldn't keep eating them!! As I was dreaming of what cupcake to make for the Cupcake Hero: November - peanut butter challenge, the thought of caramel apple and peanut butter sounded interesting. I've never had this flavor combo before and decided it couldn't hurt to try. Oh yumminess. They were a HUGE hit at my work party.

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups apples, chopped (I actually used apples I had canned)
14 oz bag of caramels
2 Tablespoons milk

Mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl. Add the milk. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the caramel is melted. I would save a handful of caramels to melt later on when icing the cupcakes.

Pour the peanut butter batter into well greased cupcake pans, filling just under half way full. Sprinkle apples evenly over the batter. Pour caramel over the apples. Cover with the remaining peanut butter batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring bake when touched. Cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting
1 cup butter
4 - 6 cups powdered sugar
6 oz white chocolate, melted
3 - 5 Tablespoons milk

Beat together the butter and melted white chocolate. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and as much milk to reach desired consistency. Add more powdered sugar, as needed.

Pipe icing in a circle over the top of the cooled cupcakes. Melt the remaining caramels and drizzle over the icing. Enjoy!