Monday, March 30, 2009

Gooey Chocolate Cookies

These cookies were adapted from a recipe on Stephanie's Kitchen. They are soft and chewy with a yummy melted chocolate filling. They're best when eaten warm and fresh out of the oven, but if you're eating them the next day, they're also delicious warmed up in the microwave for about 10 seconds each. Just be careful not to burn your tongue (not that I know that from experience or anything...)

Gooey Chocolate Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped or mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until mixture is light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not over mix).
3. Shape dough into 1 - 2 inch balls (depending on how big you want your cookies). Push a couple of chocolate chunks into the middle of the ball and cover completely with dough.
4. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet two minutes. Serve immediately or move to a cooking rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A GIVEAWAY! Plus...a Blogiversary & Better Than Almost Anything Cake

Today is this blog's one year blogiversary! I know that I've had lots of fun having a place to post some of my favorite recipes that I've been making. I've also loved reading everyone else's recipes and getting new ideas of what to cook. To celebrate our Blogiversary I'm doing a giveaway. I'll be giving away a Betty Crocker 10th Edition Cookbook to the lucky winner. As you might know, I have a soft spot for Betty since I learned to cook from her, and I think that every cook should have this book in their collection. To enter, leave a comment on this post answering this question: What is your favorite recipe? Deadline for entering is Friday, April 3rd at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. I'll randomly select the winner and announce it next Saturday, April 4th. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner! And thanks to all of our family and friends for supporting our blog!

Today's recipe is a rich, moist, delicious cake. Since we're from Utah we call this "Better Than Almost Anything Cake" or "Better Than Kissing Cake" but you can call it anything you want!

Better Than Almost Anything Cake

1 chocolate cake mix (and ingredients needed to prepare cake according to package directions)
1 jar Mrs. Richardson's butterscotch caramel ice cream topping
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip
3/4 cup chopped Heath Toffee Bars or toffee bits

1. Prepare cake according to package directions for 9 x 13 inch cake.
2. As soon as cake is done cooking, remove from oven and poke the top of the cake in 1/2 inch intervals with the handle of a wooden spoon.
3. Heat caramel in the microwave on high for one minute. Pour over the top of the warm cake, spreading evenly so the cake is completely covered. Cool completely.
4. Spread cool whip evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Top with toffee pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 48 hours.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Southwestern Pasta Salad

This week we had a potluck at work and the night before I was trying to figure out something to take that didn't involve me running to the store and wasn't too labor intensive. The guidelines for the potluck were pretty specific, too, so I was stumped. It had to be healthy, green, and tasty. I figured everyone would be bringing green salads, since that would be an easy thing, so I was trying to think of something else. I ended up throwing this together and it was a hit, everyone loved it! This is a great side dish or main dish. If you want to jazz it up just a little more for a main dish, go ahead and throw in some diced cooked chicken and corn.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

1 pkg. (12 - 16 oz) whole grain rotini, cooked and cooled
1 can (15 oz) low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (color of your choice, I used orange)
1 can olives, sliced (use a small can or a large can, depending on how much you like olives)
5-6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
8 oz pepper jack cheese, diced
2 avocados, diced
handful chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 cup ranch dressing
2 Tb. taco seasoning mix

1. In small bowl, combine ranch dressing, taco seasoning, cilantro, and lime juice. Mix well.
2. In large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour dressing over pasta mixture and mix until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately.

*If you are not going to be serving right away (I made mine the night before to take to work) you can still mix everything together except the avocado. Refrigerate up to 24 hours and add the avocado right before serving. It's just as delicious as it is when you first make it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

I made these beauties for our annual Pi Day celebration on Saturday, and they turned out delicious. As an added bonus, they're lime which means they work for St. Patrick's Day, too. But let's be there any time when cupcakes aren't appropriate? I don't think so!

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

1 package yellow or white cake mix
1 package (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
4 eggs

Key Lime Filling
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. cool whip or 3 cups fresh whipped cream
1 cup lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest

fresh sweetened whipped cream
1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
24 lime slices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
2. Mix all ingredients for cupcakes with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Divide batter evenly between cupcakes wrappers. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Move to cooling rack and cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, make filling by mixing cream cheese, lime juice, and lime zest with electric mixer until well combined and creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in whipped cream.
4. Fill the cupcakes with key lime filling using the cone method or a pastry bag fitted with a long tip.
5. Top with whipped cream and garnish with lime slices and graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days (in my ever so humble opinion, I think these are even better the second day). Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homemade Brownies

I have a confession. I've only ever had two kinds of homemade brownies that I've liked. Most homemade brownies are cake-y and not chocolate-y enough. These ones are perfect: rich, fudgy, nutty, and delicious. Did I mention they're one bowl brownies? And take only minutes to make? And they stay soft and delicious for almost a week? I think I'm in love.

Baker's One-Bowl Brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In large glass bowl heat chocolate & butter on high for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate & butter are both completely melted. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour and nuts until just combined.
3. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes (do not overcook). To test doneness, insert toothpick in center, brownies are done when it comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool completely, cut and serve. Makes 24 servings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is a simple recipe that can be adapted in numerous ways. My mom always used to make these when we were growing up, and it's kind of a sentimental recipe for me. My granddad also loved them, and I can't ever eat them without missing him. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family & I do!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large bell peppers (any color)
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (variety of your choice)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup cheese (variety of your choice, I like mozzarella or colby jack)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean peppers and cut lengthwise in half. Remove seeds & membrane. Place in sprayed 9 x 13 inch glass pan.
2. Cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain well.
3. In food processor or mini chopper blend tomatoes to desired consistency. Add to ground beef, cooked rice, and spices. Add half of the tomato sauce. Mix well and heat through.
4. Spoon rice mixture evenly into peppers. Top each with a spoonful of tomato sauce. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle cheese evenly over the tops of the peppers, and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Note: here are a couple good combinations:
*diced tomatoes with green chilis and sharp cheddar cheese (add a sprinkle of chili powder to the rice mixture),
*diced Italian style tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (add a sprinkle of basil and parsley to the rice mixture)

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Blog Award!

I received my very first blog award from Lisaloo at One Step At a Time.

I am passing this award on to:

1. Priscilla's Baking Adventures.
2. Amber's Delectable Delights
3. The Sister's Cafe
4. Stephanie's Kitchen
5. The Sister's Dish

The rules of the award are:

1)Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award with their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogger community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Post the rules.

Lemon Jell-O Dessert

If heaven was a dessert, I'm pretty sure it would be this...smooth, creamy, light, fluffy, lemony. I know that the title for the dessert isn't anything exciting, but this is an old family recipe that my grandma and mom have been making for as long as I can remember (and I'm sure it's been much longer than that) and I can't make myself change the name.

Lemon Jell-O Dessert

1 pkg. (4 serving size) lemon flavored Jell-O
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons, squeezed)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk, chilled
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Bring water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in Jell-O until completely dissolved. Add lemon juice, zest, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool 2-3 hours or until syrup stage.
2. Beat syrup with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Set aside.
3. In large stand mixer, beat chilled evaporated milk until stiff peaks form. Fold in gelatin mixture. Set aside.
4. Melt butter and mix well into graham cracker crumbs. Press into bottom of 9 x 13 inch glass pan. Spread gelatin/milk mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with additional graham cracker crumbs, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.

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