Tuesday, August 30, 2011

S'mores Dip

I served this yummy dessert dip a few days ago at my husbands welcome home BBQ.  He spent the last seven months in Afghanistan.  Everyone loved it!  If you like s'mores, this is a simple way to have them anytime you want.

Let's get started:

S'mores Dip

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup marshmallow creme

1 cup of small marshmallows

Graham Crackers for dipping 


In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk on High for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted. Stir to mix well.

 Pour into 9-inch glass pie pan, spreading evenly.

Drop marshmallow creme by tablespoonfuls randomly over chocolate mixture.

 Microwave on High about 30 seconds or until marshmallow creme is softened.

 Immediately with a knife, make several small swirls through marshmallow and chocolate, creating a marbled appearance.

Top with small marshmallows, place in oven and broil until marshmallows start to turn brown.  Keep a close eye on them because they  burn.

Serve immediately with graham sticks for dipping

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caramel Popcorn Fudge

Yes, my friends you read that correctly.  It's caramel popcorn fudge!!

I've already professed my love of Pinterest.  That's where I got the inspiration for fudge.  It was just too neat not to try.  What a combo huh? Seriously...caramel fudge topped with salted popcorn...holy moly!! 

The inspirational recipe (found here) used vanilla fudge but I opted for the great caramel + popcorn combo.

**A note of caution--if you make this it needs to be eaten pretty quickly and stored in an air tight container so that the popcorn does not go stale.  Also, my caramel fudge was a little softer than what I wanted.  I've increased the cooking temperature in the below recipe in hopes of solving that problem.

Let's get started:

Caramel Popcorn Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 cups caramel bits
1 tablespoon milk (used for melting caramels)
1 7-oz.  jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (give or take) salted popcorn

Melt caramels in a double boiler over medium heat with milk.

Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Continue boiling 7 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Candy thermometer should reach somewhere between soft and hard ball stage, approximately 240 degrees F.

Remove from heat, stir in melted caramel till combined.

Add marshmallow creme,  and vanilla, stir until blended.

Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Top with salted popcorn and light press down so that popcorn will stay in place.

Let the fudge cool, and cut into squares.

Store in an air tight container to preserve popcorn. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pie a la Apple

I have discovered Pinterest and it has changed my life! 

I found a variation of these precious, single serve apple pies and had to try them....immediately!  They were calling my name, loudly I might add. Along with dozens of other yummy dishes I can't wait to try.

These are a perfect twist on the traditional pie.

Let's get started:

Pie a la Apple

Serves 4

5-6 Granny Smith apples that can stand on their own
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pie Crust (homemade or pre-made)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the top of 4 apples off and discard.  Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon or melon baller very carefully.

I used all of the inside of the apple that I could.

This recipes will make 4 baked apple pies (in the apple).

Remove skin from remaining apple(s) and slice very thinly.  These apple pieces will give you the additional filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking.

Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon make adjustments as desired.  Same goes for the sugar.

Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples.

Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips.

I added a strip inside the top of the apple, which can be seen in the photo above. 

Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips.

Place apples in an 8x8 pan.  If your apples are big you may need a bigger pan.  Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan.

Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.

How yummy does that look?  The entire thing is edible too!

Enjoy my friends!

The Pinterest website is down right now so I'm unable to give you the website that gave me the inspiration for these little pies. The original recipe did not bake the apples.  The sliced apples were baked in the crust while sitting in a muffin tip for support and then added to the hollow apple.  There was no crust included on the top either.

Here's the link.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Bites

These little bites are the perfect finger food.  And they will be perfect for football season.  Surely, I'm not the only one excited about football season....right?  We are dire hard Arkansas Razorback fans in this house.  I was born and raised in Arkansas, my Dad has had season tickets to the games since I was a child.  He used to tell me that he'd disown me if I supported any other college team...especially one in the SEC.  He was probably kidding don't ya think?  Lucky for him I'm a loyal fan.

Enough about football and more about food.  That's why your here, after all. Like I said these are the perfect finger food and are great served with ranch dressing for dipping.

Let's Get Started:

Buffalo Chicken Bites

2 boneless, skinless, cooked and shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup of Buffalo Sauce (I recommend Frank's-use more or less to suit your taste)
4 ounces of cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever you prefer)
1 pie crust (I used a refrigerated pre-made)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan add shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, and cream cheese.  Heat of low heat until the cream cheese is completely melted.  Stirring occasionally.  Add sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Using a floured rim glass, cut circles out of pie crust and set aside.  Roll out remaining dough to make additional circles.

Of course I used a Razorback glass to show my support!!

Add about a tablespoon of your buffalo chicken mixture to one side of each cut out circle, leaving enough room on the edges to seal.  Sprinkle with blue cheese.  Fold over, seal edges with a fork.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with ranch or blue cheese salad dressing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baked Pears with Butterscotch Sauce

My husband is on his way home from a seven month deployment in Afghanistan as I type these words.  We are all so very excited.  The anticipation of his return has left me a little antsy to say the least.  So, in between cleaning the same things over and over, coloring my hair, painting my toe nails, and the dozens of other things that must be done before he gets home I keep finding myself in the kitchen to relieve a little stress.

These pretty little pears were just the thing the too!  They were so much easier to make than I had anticipated and turned out beautiful and delicious.  My 11 year old son, Seth, said that these were the best thing that I've ever made.  That little devil can be so sweet sometimes.

Let's Get Started:

Baked Pears with Butterscotch Sauce
4 ripe but firm pears
1/2 lemon
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Scotch whisky (optional)

Heat the oven to 375°F.
Cut pears in half lengthwise and, using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the cores.

Rub them all over with the lemon half to prevent browning.
In a large (10-inch), heavy-based, ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

Arrange the pears in the pan, cut side down, in a single layer.

Bake the pears uncovered, basting occasionally with the liquid in the pan, until they begin to soften and color slightly. Depending on the pears’ ripeness, baking time can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour (mine only took about 25 minutes).

 Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Transfer the pan to a burner and boil the mixture left behind over medium-high heat until it reaches a rich, golden-brown color and smells like caramel, 2 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk the cream into the caramel until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, and Scotch, if using. Serve the sauce over the warm pears.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I got this recipe years ago at a recipe exchange. 

The banana cake is rich, moist, and bursting with banana flavor.  I love the flavor of this cake. 

The cream cheese frosting is simple and a great compliment. 

I've made this as a cake and cupcakes. 

It's also super easy to half...which is a great option if you'd like only 12 cupcakes instead of 24 calling your name!

Let's Get Started:

Banana Cupcakes

4  very ripe bananas-mashed
2 cups white sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease cupcake liners or 9 x 13 pan

Combine sugar and self-rising flour in a large bowl.  Add bananas, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Beat until combined on low-medium speed. 

Pour dough into prepared cupcake liners.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until inserted toothpick is clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) box of cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, softened
1 (1 pound) box of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth on medium speed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Layer Brownies

Hands down these are my favorite brownies!  My mother has made them for years and years.  Everytime I go home to visit she makes them for us.  

They are so easy to make and they use a...dare I say... cake mix.  I prefer to make my baked goods from scratch. I tried a few times to actually make them without using a boxed mix and  couldn't pull it off. Can't blame a girl for trying though.

Chocolate Caramel Layer Brownies

Let's Get Started:

1 (14 ounce) package of caramels, unwrapped
2/3 cup (5 ounce can) evaporated milk, divided
1 box of German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Melt caramels in a heavy sauce pan or double boiler with 1/3 cup of evaporated milk, stirring constantly until melted. Set aside.

Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine cake mix, melted butter, and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk.  Stir until well combined. 

Press only half of the cake mix into prepared pan, covering the bottom. Bake for 6 minutes .

Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Pour melted caramel over chocolate chips, add nuts if desired. 

Crumble remaining cake mixture in small pieces over the caramel layer.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Let brownies sit in the refrigerator for 30 to allow caramel layer to set (If you can wait that long).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon Maple Syrup

If you like to dip your bacon in pancake syrup then this is for you!  My children loved it!  Loved it so much one of them wanted to just eat..or drink...the syrup.  The origianl syrup recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease.  I couldn't bring myself to do that but feel free if it tickles your fancy!

Let's Get Started:

Bacon Maple Syrup

1 pound of bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 cups of pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons bacon grease or butter

Heat syrup in a small pan over medium-low until it just begins to boil. Add bacon and butter (or bacon grease) and simmer for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let syrup and bacon "infuse" for at least 15 minutes to an hour. Re-heat if needed.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/4 cups AP flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/4 buttermilk
1/4 white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pinch of salt in a medium sized bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, oil, and beaten egg. Mix until smooth. Everything can be combined in a blender just add the wet ingredients first.
Refrigerate for a several hours. as long as overnight for best results. Batter can be used immediately.
Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto a hot skillet. Flip pancakes when edges start to brown just a little.
Makes 8-10 pancakes
Easily doubled
I freeze any extra pancakes and re-heat in the microwave for about a minute when needed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

If you are looking for a change from your regular chicken salad, this is it my friends!  It's...it's..it's just down right yummy!  I'm not a fan of mayo so this is perfect for anyone who shies away from chicken salad because of it. It's great served with tortilla chips too!  I usually boil my chicken for an hour or so with a little chili powder and cumin before shredding. 

Let's Get Started:

Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, more as needed
Generous pinch ground cumin

3 cups (about 1 pound)  shredded leftover chicken

1/2 cup medium-diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup small-diced avocado
2 Tablespoon diced onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño with seeds removed (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lime juice, and cumin.  Mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, tomatoes, avocado, onions, cilantro and jalapeño. 

Add sour cream mixture and gently fold all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors blend. Before serving, adjust the salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.

Print Here

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

Refreshing and flavorable Blackberry Mint Iced Tea. 

I have some blackberries that I've been trying to use.  They are wonderful sweet blackberries straight from Arkansas.  I've got a busy day planned and not enough time for baking, which is what I'd like to do with them.  But, it's summer, insanely hot, so  what is more perfect than  iced tea?  Made the southern way of course.

Let's Get Started:

Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups sugar
 fresh mint leaves 
Pinch of baking soda (keeps tea from tasting bitter)
4 cups boiling water
2 family-size tea bags
2 1/2 cups cold water


Combine blackberries and sugar in large container. Crush blackberries with wooden spoon.

Add mint and baking soda. Set aside.

Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags; cover and let stand 3 minutes. Discard tea bags.

Pour tea over blackberry mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Pour tea through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding solids and seeds.

Add 2 1/2 cups cold water, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint leaves, if desired.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Churn Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream

Maybe I've been under a rock or something but I had no idea that you could make ice cream without an ice cream machine!  And it is so rich and so good!

I found this wonderful recipe on a website a few days ago.  I copied and pasted it to a recipe folder on my computer desktop but did not save the site.  So I apologize for not being about to give credit for the genius inspiration behind this recipe.  I of course, made a few changes to it because that's what I do.

I used blueberry syrup found near the pancake syrup if you don't want to make your own syrup.


Let's Get Started:

No Churn Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream

1 (8 ounce) box of cream cheese
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whipping cream, cold
3/4 cup blueberry syrup

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Slowly add condensed milk, creaming between each addition to avoid lumps. Just kind of drizzle it in slowly. Stir in vanilla extract and heavy cream. Switch to the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted.

Spread half into an 8×8 inch, square baking dish. Drizzle half of the blueberry syrup over the cream mixture. Top with remaining cream mixture, spreading evenly. Drizzle with the rest of the blueberry syrup. Using a knife, swirl the syrup into the cream mixture. Cover with foil and freeze overnight.


*Allow to sit out for 10-15 minutes before serving.
*Run spoon under hot water for a few seconds to help it move through ice cream.
*This is best eaten within one week.

Print Here

Roasted Potato Salad

Roasted Potato Salad

This started out as a copy cat recipe to Whole Hog Cafe's potato salad in Arkansas.  My mother found a recipe for it in her local newspaper.  I've made it several times and thought  it was close but not the same....don't ya hate that?  It's been tweaked a little over time and in my opinion is closer to their potato salad now.  Maybe not exactly the same but still a great potato salad.  If you like theirs, you are probably going to like this one too.

Let's Get Started:

3 pounds red potatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon dry ranch dressing powder
1 1/2 cups cooked bacon, chopped
1/3 cup chives, chopped
2 1/2 cups sour cream
3 1/2 cups mayonnaise
splash of white vinegar

Roast potatoes at 475 degrees F for about 45-50 minutes--until very soft.  Cool slightly and slice. Place in a large bowl.

Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon, chives, sugar, all spices, and vinegar in a bowl until well combined.

While potatoes are still warm pour sour cream/mayo mixture over potatoes and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.  I recommend overnight.

Immediately after making the potato salad it will be very creamy.  It's important to let it sit in the refrigerate as long as possible to thicken up.