Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cupcake Desserts(ROTW)

A couple weeks ago, for the ROTW,  I picked these incredibly delicious Strawberry Cream Cupcake Desserts. I found the recipe in a Pampered Chef catalog. You can also get the recipe on their website. Their version is much cuter than mine. I didn't take the time to make the cupcakes. I just doubled the cake part of the recipe and put it in a 9X13 pan. I also used yellow cake mix instead of white. It still tasted wonderful! I loved the pretzel crust!

Check out the recipe here.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I have been wanting to try making my own spaghetti sauce for awhile now. I came across this recipe for Mom's spaghetti sauce on a few weeks ago. It was really yummy with a ton of flavor! The sauce wasn't difficult to make, but it seemed to take a long time to put it all together. I guess anything would compared to just dumping a jar of premade sauce into a slow cooker. If you want to try making your own sauce, I recommend giving this recipe a try. Be forewarned makes a ton! I made it in my large slow cooker instead of a pot and it was practically overflowing! The only thing I didn't love about this recipe was the sausage, so if you don't like Italian sausage just leave it out.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork(I didn't use pork. It had plenty of meat without it)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 5 large cans tomato paste
  • 10 tomato paste cans water
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 6 leaves fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the ground beef, pork and sausage until it is brown. Drain off excess fat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Cook for 3 to 4 hours on medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Recipe courtesy Chris Divito
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken Tetrazzini and garlic bread

Tuesday: Tortilla Casserole (This has been on my list for 3 weeks and I still have yet to make it)

Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada soup

Thursday: Bourbon Chicken

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday and Sunday we will be having Easter Dinners with family.:)

Go to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great meal plans! Pin It

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Candy Apple Pie

Ok, Ok I know it is not a great pic but it is by far the best and this pie was so great I just had to share it with you. It is an apple pie but not in the terms of a fall/winter time but more of a summer apple pie. As you can see in the picture, it barely contains itself when you cut into it but, it is so yummy to eat. This would still go perfect with a big scoop off ice cream, perhaps butter pecan?
Candy Apple Pie
courtesy of Sherry Knackstept

For the crust:
3 TBL sugar
11/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp group cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
(with all of that posted I will say that I used 11/2 cup honey Ohs (the cereal), 1/4 cup stick melted butter, no sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon) I am trying cereals as bases right now

For the Filling:
5 granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbl butter

For the cream cheese topping:
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 TBL fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
11/2 tsp vanilla

For the topping:
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat Oven to 370〫
In large bowl combine the sugar, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and evenly pressing into a 9" pie pan. Bake for 16 min. Cool on Wire rack.
For filling, in a medium sauce pan oven medium heat, combine apples, brown sugar, salt and butter. Stir occasionally, cook until apples just start to soften, about 10 min. Pour into crust, juice and all.
For the cream cheese topping, combine cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well and spread the cream cheese evenly over the apples.
Bake until golden brown crust forms, about 30 min. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
Top with carmel sauce and pecans.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meatballs (I used for meatball sandwiches)

I have never made meatball sandwiches before, but decided to give it a try this week. I found a great recipe for meatballs at I put them in toasted sourdough buns with provolone cheese melted on the top of  the meatballs. Mmmm...they were sooo good.

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (a mixture of 1 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork will work well also)
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (or use enough to hold the meat together)
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste)
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt (or to taste, I use 2 teaspoons seasoned salt)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk (can use up to 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • favorite spaghetti sauce(1 jar)
  1. Mix all ingredients(except sauce) together in a large bowl.
  2. Shape into small meatballs (at this point you can place on a jelly-roll/baking sheet and freeze to use later, or cover with plastic wrap refrigerate up to 24 hours before using).
  3. Drop the meatballs into simmering pasta sauce, do not stir for at least 20 minutes or you will risk breaking the meatballs.
  4. Continue cooking in the simmering sauce for another 20 minutes (depending on how fast your sauce is simmering 40 minutes total should fully cook the meatballs).
  5. After the 40 minutes cooking time continue cooking your sauce with the meatballs in for as long as desired.
  6. **note** you may also bake the meatballs at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until cooked through. 
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolate Muffins with Peanut Butter Chips

Yummy! These were made at the request of my husband who just needed something made of chocolate. He is easy to please :). I added the peanut butter chips to my half of the muffins and dark chocolate chips to his half. These are moist and full of chocolate flavor, not too sweet and not a chocolate cupcake.
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup fat free milk (can be made with whole or 2% milk)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 TBL vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips (reg size works) or peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 400〫
Grease 12 muffin pan or 6 jump muffin pan

In a small sauce pan over low heat, heat butter to melting, turn off heat and add chocolate chips. Leave to melt, stirring a few time to mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool a little (about 10 min).

In a bowl using a electric mixer, mix milk, sugar, egg, sour cream and vanilla together. Lightly beat eggs in small bowl and add to milk mixture. Mix until mixture lightens up, about 3 min. You want to add some air to the eggs without over mixing. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix until just incorporated.

In large bowl sift together all dry ingredients. Add chocolate mixture to dry ingredients and blend until just incorporated. Do not over mix, should stay light and airy (you can add the chocolate chips/butter chips at this point or wait). Mix in chips now if desired.

Fill muffin pans 1/2 full (sprinkle with a few chocolate chips/peanut butter chips/both) and bake until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean, about 15-20 min. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 min in pan, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling or serve warm. Can be frozen too.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Homemade Pizza

I make homemade pizza quite often, but I have finally found my all time favorite homemade pizza recipe. This was Soooo good! It took A LOT of self control not to devour enough to make me sick. I used a crust recipe that I have used before, but I think what made this pizza even better than usual was the combination of the toppings I chose.

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

The best sauce I have found for pizza, is Lawry's spaghetti sauce. It comes in a packet. You add water, oil and tomato paste.


hard salami, thinly sliced(I buy the pre-sliced)
parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella  cheese
onions, thinly sliced and sauteed in oil
sliced black olives

Add crust ingredients in order given, to your bread machine and set it to the dough cycle. When the dough is complete, roll it out on a floured surface. The original recipe makes enough for a thick crust in a 9X13 pan. This time I rolled it out to fit a medium to large size pizza pan and I also used some for a smaller size pizza for the kids. The larger pizza had a very thick crust. We could have made 2 in the bigger pizza pan with thinner crusts. When using a 9X13 pan, I oil it first. Let the dough rise again for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Take out of the oven. Add sauce(I don't use very much sauce. I think it takes away from the flavor of the toppings), Parmesan cheese(sprinkle over sauce), salami, pepperoni, cheese, onions and olives. Bake ate 375 for approx. 15-25 minutes (time will vary depending on size of pizza).

Crust recipe inspiration

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lemon Rice with Pine Nuts

I made a great citrus marinade for my Mahi Mahi tonight and wanted to bring the flavors through the entire dish. I looked for a lemon rice recipe and couldn't find one that had ingredients that I already had on hand and/or that my family would eat so I took it upon myself to create one. I served this with charred roman lettuce (from the bbq) with citrus vinaigrette and tomatoes. The meal was a winner and I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.

Lemon Rice
2 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 gloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup pine nuts
long strips of zest cut from one lemon (take your time and don't get the white part or you will have a bitter flavored rice)
2 cups of white rice (or my favorite is jasmine rice)
4 1/4 cups water
3 cubes chicken bullion cubes or 3 TBL of chicken flavored bullion powder (you can use 4 cups of chicken stock/chicken broth from the can instead of cubes and water
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 TBL fresh
salt and pepper to taste

In large saucepan with cover, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pine nuts, cook for 1 min or until pine nuts start to slightly brown. Add Rice and cook for one min longer. Add water, bullion, thyme, and lemon zest strips. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low and simmer until all liquid is gone and rice is soft about 10-15 minutes. Fluff with fork and remove lemon zest strips before you serve.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

S'mores Pizza

Last weekend we had to cancel a trip to the desert to go camping. My son was heartbroken and asked if we could still make "shmores". I found this recipe, which can be made in the oven and is very kid friendly. My 4 yr old son made these (almost) completely by himself from start to finish (because he had to cut the pizza himself this was the best piece for the photo). They do taste just like smores (without the black charred marshmallow) and were delicious. He was so proud of himself for making us dessert and it gave me and him a chance to make more memories in the kitchen. I hope you will make these with that special kid in your life.

S'mores Pizza
courtesy of
1 1/4 graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 ounces chocolate chips (use milk chocolate for true smores taste or dark for a little health kick)
Mini Marshmallows as needed

Heat oven to 400〫

Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter together and press into a pizza pan (I used a spring form pan coated sides with cooking spray and lined bottom with foil). Heat whipping cream to a boil, turn off and pour chocolate chips into hot liquid, let sit for 30 sec to start melting, stir until smooth. Pour chocolate over the graham cracker bottom. Top with marshmallows ( I used about 11/2 cups of mini marshmallows). Toast in the oven until marshmallows melt and top is just brown (about 5-8 min) but keep an eye on it. Chill in the refrigerator until firm then cut like a pizza and serve (if you use the springform pan, remove the pie from it completely and cut like a pizza.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coconut Lime Banana Bread

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe on for coconut banana bread. The thought of coconut in my banana bread was quite intriguing. I decided to go ahead and give the recipe a try. I went ahead and used my "go to" banana bread recipe that I always use. I also added some coconut and vanilla to the bread batter. Then I used the coconut, lime glaze from the inspiration recipe. The result was quite tasty. I loved the addition of coconut! The lime flavor was nice also, but pretty tart. If you don't like lime, you can substitute lime juice with water.

2 cups flour(or use 1 cup wheat, 1 cup white)
1/2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium ripe bananas
1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons 1ime juice(add more if needed)
1 tablespoon coconut

Preheat oven to 325

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Then mix or beat together eggs, applesauce, butter, vanilla and sugar. Add mashed bananas to the wet ingredients and mix well (I just throw the whole bananas into my kitchen aid mixer with the rest of the wet ingredients and beat, leaving it still a little lumpy). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Fold in coconut.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for about 70-75 minutes. Mix glaze ingredients together and add to the top of warm bread.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

I found this recipe originally in the recipe section of our local newspaper's website. I love finding new places to get more menu ideas and I'm glad I found this site because I LOVED this recipe for beef bourguignon! I adapted it a little bit to work with my very much beloved slow cooker. For those of you who do not share my same fondness for slow cookers;) can get the original directions here.

2 pounds beef chuck shoulder pot roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 slices bacon, chopped (about 4 ounces)
Vegetable oil

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
2 cups Burgundy or other dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried marjoram leaves, crushed
8 ounces baby carrots (about 1-3/4 cups)
8 ounces fresh pearl onions, peeled or frozen pearl onions or medium onion in chunks

Fry bacon in a large pan until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel. Brown beef in the same pan with bacon grease. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once lightly browned, remove beef with a slotted spoon and place in a slow cooker. Add bacon and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve with hot egg noodles(optional)
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday!

Here is my list of meals for the week:

Monday: Chicken Tortellini Soup

Tuesday: Grilled steak, baked potatoes, broccoli and garlic bread

Wednesday: Soft tacos

Thursday: Cranberry chicken with white rice

Friday: Baked potato soup in the crock pot with biscuits(new to me recipe)

Saturday: Tortilla casserole in the crock pot (new to me recipe)

Enjoy more menu ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I have been meaning to post this since last week when this was the ROTW . I love carrot cake, as does Amber, so when I chose this we both were a little excited. I thought it would be a nice way to get some carrot cake without eating an entire cake (not that I have ever done that ☺) I changed a few things just to help with the calorie count and for taste purposes. I left out the oil and used apple sauce, I used Splenda for baking and I left out the cardamom because I think it does strange things to my mouth. These were so moist and the frosting, while very good, can be done without or you could serve just a little on the side, so spread on it as you eat it. Great recipe and so glad I made them.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I don't usually add chocolate chips to my oatmeal cookies. I usually like either chocolate chip cookies, or oatmeal cookies...not combined. Not that I wouldn't eat them(there's few sweets if any that I ever turn down!)it's just not my preference. For whatever reason I've been on a coconut kick and I decided to make some oatmeal cookie bars using coconut and chocolate chips. They did in fact turn out really good! I just used my usual oatmeal cookie recipe with a few additions. Enjoy!

1 cup butter, softened(I like using salted for these)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 &1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 &1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats(quick or regular)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut

Mix eggs, sugars, butter and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda. Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Stir in oats 1 cup at a time. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut. Pour into a lightly greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken(lighter version)

My mom gave me a recipe a while ago for sweet and sour shrimp. I believe it is a Weight Watcher's recipe. I love this recipe and I make it using chicken in place of the shrimp. The chicken is sauteed instead of batter fried, making it a much lighter version of sweet and sour chicken.

1 T oil
1-2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken, cut up
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-2 carrots, sliced
snap peas
peppers(sweet or bell) cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
green onion


Mix, bouillon cube, ketchup, water, cornstarch, vinegar and brown sugar in a cup and set aside. In a wok or frying pan heat up 1 tablespoon of oil. Saute vegetables until tender. Push vegetables to the side and add garlic and chicken. Saute until the chicken us cooked through. Once chicken is cooked through, add sauce. Heat until it comes to a boil. Stirring constantly. Once sauce thickens, remove from heat. Serve with white rice(optional).
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crustless, Low Calorie Pumpkin Pie

If you have been reading this blog for a while then you know that I love pumpkin. I am working to lose the last bit of weight and just needed a slice of pumpkin pie ( I know it is March and not November ☺) so I found this recipe which I tweaked to fit what I have in the kitchen. This pie is great and it is only 121 calories for a big ol piece. YUM! I cannot wait until tomorrow when I can eat another piece. It is best served cold as it is too soft to cut and serve when it is warm.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 12oz can of evaporated skim milk
4 egg whites (can use 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBL pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup splenda for baking sugar substitute

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth
Pour into a 9" pie pan sprayed with cooking spray
Bake at 400〫F for 15 minutes then lower to 325〫and bake for 45-50 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted in middle of pie comes out clean.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oatmeal Scotchies (I love these!)


These cookies are one of my all time favorite cookies! I love butterscotch chips and these cookies are packed with them! The recipe is simple and it comes from the back of the Nestle Toll House butterscotch chip bag. I don't make them  often because I consume WAY too many when they are in my house! Especially the first day I bake them.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
  • 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) butterscotch flavored chips 

COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Recipe courtesy of Nestle Toll House 

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken Tortellini Soup

The other night I decided to make chicken noodle soup with tortellini in place of egg noodles. I had seen some other tortellini soup recipes with more of an Italian twist, but I decided to just stick with my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe that I always use and love. My only change was the noodles. Everybody loved it! My daughter had 3 bowls that night. My husband even commented again on how much he liked the soup, the following day(that surprised me). I think this recipe is definitely heartier than regular chicken noodle soup, making it feel more suitable for an everyday meal. Enjoy!
Chicken pieces with bone in, skinned(I used 4 thighs, but it could have used a little more chicken)
1 cup carrots, sliced or baby carrots
1 cup sliced celery
Chicken boullion cubes(about 8 more or less depending on amount of water used)
Frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini

Put chicken and vegetable in a large stock pot. Fill pot with approx 10 cups of water. Add boullion cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Use approx. 1 cube per every cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Remove chicken from broth. Remove chicken from bones, cut up, discard bones and return chicken to pot. Bring soup back to a boil and add tortellini. Cook tortellini according to directions on packaging.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday(sometimes Tuesday)

Here is the list of my family's meals for the week...a day late:

Day one- Mexican Lasagna (with green sauce this time, my preference)
Day two- Hamburgers, baked fries, ranch beans and corn

Day three- BBQ chicken thighs, baked potatoes, broccoli and garlic bread

Day four- Spaghetti (with sauce cooked in the slow cooker)salad and garlic bread

Day five- Grilled steak, baked potatoes, broccoli and garlic bread(can you tell we like garlic bread at our house!)

Day six- Tacos with ground beef and home fried shells

Also on my kitchen to do list- 

Banana bread (found a new recipe with a coconut glaze)
Carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting
For more meal ideas go over and check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.


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