Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

Preheat oven to 270 degrees.

3 lbs. raw Almonds* (about 8 c.)
3 Egg Whites
3 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. White Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 c. Brown Sugar

Place parchment paper inside a large 10 x 15 inch pan. Lightly beat egg whites. Add vanilla and beat until frothy but not stiff. Pour almonds into a large mixing bowl and pour egg mixture over almonds. Stir until well coated. In a seperate bowl, mix brown sugar, white sugar, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle over nuts, tossing to coat. Spread evenly on prepared pan. Bake for 1 hr. stirring every 15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool and store in air tight container.

*Costco sells a large 3 lb. bag of almonds that I use when I make this recipe. It's the perfect amount for a nice coating on the almonds.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkin Squares with Cider Caramel Sauce

Photo from Family Fun

I tried this recipe from the Family Fun Magazine, Oct. 2009, pgs. 88-91. It was delicious!

It was extremely moist. Some of my kids ate the cake plain, some with only ice cream, and others with the works: ice cream & caramel sauce. I would highly recommend the works. Pour the sauce on while warm and it melts the ice cream a bit--so so good.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Garlic-Parmesan Chicken

This is literally one of the easiest things I've ever made and I thought it was delish!

1/2 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
6 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves

Mix cheese, dressing and garlic powder. Moisten chicken with water and coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min. or until chicken is done.

Cottage Ranch Dip

1-12 oz. carton Cottage Cheese
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing Mix
2 T. Milk
1/2 c. Mayonnaise

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on low. Turn to high and blend until smooth. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.

I just made this recipe and loved it!! I was looking for an easy dip to go on Ritz crackers and this worked out perfectly. I didn't blend it due to time constraints but I'm sure it would have been good that way too. Super easy, super yummy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Feta Bruschetta

(From the Taste of Home Contest-Winning Recipes)

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
10 slices French bread (1" thick)
1 4-oz. package crumbled Feta cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

In a small bowl, combine butter and oil; brush onto both sides of bread. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Combine the feta cheese, garlic and basil; sprinkle over toast. Top with tomato. Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve warm.

These were delicious. (I love feta cheese & garlic, though.) Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and reheated in the microwave. All amounts can be varied depending on how strong you want the flavors.

Pasta Fritatta

(From the Taste of Home Contest-Winning Recipes)

I had to make a few variations because out of necessity. What I changed is in parenthesis.

1 large onion, chopped
1 T. vegetable oil
12 ounces sliced deli ham, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. minced fresh parsley (used 1 T. dried)
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (thought I had but didn't so I used a pinch of oregano and basil instead)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked angel hair pasta

In an ovenproof skillet (don't have one so I used a regular skillet), saute onion in oil. Add ham & garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Remove and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and the egg whites. Add cheese, parsley & seasonings. Add the ham mixture and pasta.

Coat the same skillet (I used an 11x7 baking dish) with cooking spray if necessary. (It was necessary.) Add pasta mixture. Cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. (I just stuck it in the 400 degree oven for an extra 3 minutes.) Uncover. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until set. (It took about 18 minutes in an 11x7.) Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

This goes great with a green salad!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Bars

This recipe is from Kraft Foods. They are the best homemade cheesecake bars I've ever tried. :) YUMMY!! Enjoy!


1 cup PLANTERS Pecan Pieces, divided
1-1/2 cups crushed NILLA Wafers (about 50)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla
4 eggs
24 KRAFT Caramels
1 Tbsp. water
3 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

How to make it:

HEAT oven to 325°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Remove 1/2 cup nuts; set aside. Finely chop remaining nuts; mix with wafer crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream, flour and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Microwave caramels and water in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until caramels are completely melted when stirred. Pour over cheesecake; top with reserved nuts. Melt chocolate; drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homemade Samoas

My friend had this on her blog and I couldn't help but resist passing it along. I made individual samoas last year but this bar idea looks fantastic!
Cookie base:
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Working at low speed gradually add flour and salt until crumbly. Pour crumbly mixture into 9x13 pan lightly greased or lined with parchment paper and press into an even layer. Bake 20-25 minutes until base is set and edges are brown. Cool completely.
3 c shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12 oz chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
10 oz semi sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 30 bar cookies.
Here's a note my friend included: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.(If you are really want the original Samoa cookie, the recipe is found here. Both recipes were found on
Here's a bonus recipe for copy cat thin mints as well. I've made them before and they're tasty!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cake Frosting

Here you go Ashlee!

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
2 T. water
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients except vanilla in a pan. (Use a double boiler if you have one - which I don't - so I boil water in a big pan and then put the ingredients in a smaller pan and hold it on top of the boiling water.) Turn stove on high. Beat while heating until the frosting is stiff and thickened. (Takes probably 10-15 minutes. Basically you just want it thick enough to spread without sliding off.) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat some more. Add food coloring if desired. Spread on cake.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Clam Sauce

This recipe is by "Nanners" from found it today, changed it a bit, and it was delicious! I've never made a cream sauce from scratch (sad, I know!), and this was so easy that I had to share. Sorry the photo isn't the best, but you get the idea. Add some rosemary bread and veggies and you have a yummy meal. Enjoy! :)

Weeknight Pasta With Clam Sauce
Recipe #111506 35 min 15 min prep

8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
2 (6 1/2 ounce) cans minced clams
1 T butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper

1-Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
2-While pasta cooks, drain the clams and reserve 3/4C of the clam liquid.
3-Melt butter over medium heat in skillet.
4-Add garlic to butter and sautee 1-2 minutes- do not brown.
5-Add cream and clam liquid.
6-Bring to a boil, stirring often.
7-Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
8-Add the clams and parsley till clams are heated.
9-Turn off heat and add Monterey Jack cheese and pasta and toss well.
10-Serve hot and season with parmesan and fresh ground pepper if desired.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Roasted Chicken

I'm so excited to be a part of this group! I love cooking and baking and I love new recipes so I'm excited to be a part. Thanks for having me.

This week Smith's had really cheap whole chicken's ($0.59/lb which made them about $3-4 a piece) and so I decided it was time for me to roast my first chicken. I'm sure that some of you are pros at this but it was a first for me and it was delicious.

Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken
1-2 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
salt and pepper
your favorite seasonings

1.Preheat the oven to 450F.
2.Remove insides and neck from chicken and place in roasting pan (or a cookie sheet lined with tin foil because I don't have a roasting pan)
3.Brush chicken with melted butter or olive oil.
4.Season with salt and pepper and your other favorite seasonings. I used some tarragon, poultry seasoning, and season salt. Lemon pepper or straight BBQ sauce brushed all over would be delicious too.
5.Reduce heat to 350F and cook 20 minutes per pound of chicken. The thigh meat should read about 180F on a thermometer when it's done.
6.Carve it up like a turkey and enjoy!

I also have an extra bonus for this post. If you haven't seen this site it's incredible. Everything in the picture below (except the doilie and wrappers) is made from cake. The box and everything. It's truly amazing! I don't know how she does it. How easy would this be to replicate Nancy?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chicken & Spinach Manicotti

I told myself to remember to take a picture of the finished product as I was making this and then wouldn't you know it? I forgot! But it was yummy...and pretty.

2 T. butter
1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. mushrooms (I always prefer fresh to canned and then I throw the extras in a green salad.)

Add & simmer 5 minutes:
1 c. cooked spinach (I used almost a whole bag of fresh spinach instead and let it wilt. The rest I put in the salad.)
2 c. cooked white chicken - cut in small pieces
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt & pepper

After cooled, add:
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
2 T. cream

Boil a package of manicotti noodles until almost cooked thoroughly. (I went one minute below recommended cooking time on the package.) Stuff manicotti with filling. Pour 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add stuffed manicotti. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Santa Fe Soup with Melted Cheese--Crockpot

Santa Fe Soup with Melted Cheese
Makes 8 servings

1 lb. Velveeta Cheese, cubed
1 lb. ground beef, browned & drained
15 ¼ - oz. can corn, undrained
15 – oz. can kidney beans, undrained
14 ½ - oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
14 ½ - oz. can stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. dry taco seasoning
Corn chips or soft tortillas

1. Combine all ingredients except chips or tortillas in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on High 3 hours.
3. Serve with corn chips as a side or dip soft tortillas in individual servings in soup bowls.