Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saltine Cracker Toffee Bars

My mom introduced me to these almost two years ago. I had never heard of making toffee bars with saltine crackers! And I haven't stopped making them since. They only require a few simple ingredients, probably stuff you've already got on hand. You can pretty much find similar variations of this recipe just about everywhere, so I just put on my take of this delightful dessert.

Saltine Cracker Toffee Bars
From: Um, everywhere!
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
saltine crackers
1 package Hershey's milk chocolate chips (other recipes use semi-sweet, but not me!)
Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a regular cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (being in Europe means my jelly roll pan is too big to fit in the ovens!) with parchment paper. You could use foil or eek! wax paper, but coming from experience you'll be disappointed. Just use parchment paper. Then salt side up, fill up your pan with the crackers. Melt butter in a saucepan and then add brown sugar. Boil 1-3 minutes. This part seriously depends on how you like your toffee bars. The longer it boils, the harder they will be. About 2 minutes is good for me. Pour mixture over crackers and spread until even on all crackers. Put into oven for 6 minutes. Pull out of the oven and sprinkle on chocolate chips. The reason I say Hershey's is because they are hands down 10 times better for this than Nestle. I'm not kidding. I don't know what it is, but Hershey's is SO much better. Okay, so after you've put on your chocolate chips, you can either let them sit there until completely melted and then using the back of a spoon, spread it around. Or, if you just can't find Hershey's milk chocolate chips for some reason, like you live in Belgium (grr), and you have to use Nestle's, then you can put them back in the oven for no longer than 5 minutes. That should help those little buggers. After you've spread your chocolate around, add the chopped nuts. Let cool, then cut and serve, or eat them all soft and hot, like us! Either way their delicious, and your friends won't believe you put saltines in them!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rice Crispy Treat Solutions

I hope Jenny doesn't hate me for posting something that I didn't plan on posting and it's not quite a recipe. I just decided to get on here and post this before I forget.

I LOVE Rice Crispy Treats. And I use to make them all the time. But I got so sick of them being so darn hard. I fooled around with the recipe, but there are so many out there that use the same ingredients but have varying amounts of I thought I couldn't screw it up too much right? Am I the only one with this problem? Well, I figured it out! So I have three simple solutions to making fantastic rice crispy treats. Or, at least they work for me.

1. Use less rice crispies than marshmallows. Seems silly, but every recipe I see calls for more rice crispies. Less is more. For a 9x13in pan, I use a whole bag (16oz) of marshmallows and only 5 cups of rice crispies, and 1/4 cup butter.

2. Grease your pan. Gee what an original idea. Seriously, don't skip this part, even if you think "it's just rice crispy treats). Or you can use parchment paper.

3. Stick it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. That's all. Cut and enjoy. They come out soft and chewy, the way they were meant to be!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe comes from my friend Sarah. Recently, I substituted half of the peanut butter for nutella. Yum.
Perfect peanut butter cookies.
Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c white sugar
2/3 c brown sugar
1 c butter
1 c peanut butter
1 t vanilla
2 eggs

2 c flour
1 c rolled oats
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 pkg semi sweet chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweetheart Custard Dessert

I didn't feel like making mine into a heart, but whatever floats your boat.
Sweetheart Custard Dessert

From: The Sisters Cafe

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
powdered sugar

2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 Tbs. semisweet chocolate chips (I used white chocolate chips as my husband doesn't do chocolate)
1 tsp. shortening

Roll out each pastry between waxed paper into a 12 inch circle; using an 11 inch wide heart shaped pattern, cut each pastry into a heart shape.(I didn't waste my time with this, I just rolled out my crust.) Place on greased and floured baking sheets; prick with a fork. Bake at 450 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; gradually stir in milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook
and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. combine the egg yolks and lemon juice. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolk mixture; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Cover; refrigerate until cool. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently whisk the lemon custard, then fold in whipped cream.

Place one pastry on a serving plate; spread with half of custard. Arrange half of the berries over filling. Repeat with second pastry and remaining custard and berries. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Drizzle over the top.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lime Ranch Chicken

This was great. I love me a good quick fixer.
Lime Ranch Chicken

From: Cooking with Anne

1 lb. chicken, cut into strips
1 packet ranch salad dressing mix
1/4 cup lime juice
cooked rice

Combine ranch dressing mix and lime juice. Toss mixture with chicken strips and let chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Grill, bake or cook in a skillet and serve over cooked rice.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Festive Rice Medley

Festive Rice Medley

From: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook

1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice (I use regular rice unless I'm in a super big hurry)
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup sweet yellow pepper chopped
2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, minced
2 Tbs. green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika, optional

Cook rice according to package directions. In a large skillet, saute the peppers in oil for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add the cilantro, onion, garlic and salt. Stir in the rice and paprika if desired. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deli Monte Cristos

These were absolutely outstanding. Love, love, lots of love.
Deli Monte Cristos

From: Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Cookbook

4 slices rye bread
4 thin slices deli ham
2 thin slices deli turkey
2 Tbs. deli coleslaw
2 Tbs. Thousand Island dressing
2 slices swiss cheese
2 eggs

On two slices of bread, layer a slice of ham and turkey, coleslaw, salad dressing and cheese. Top with remaining ham and bread. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. Dip both sides of the sandwiches in eggs.

In a nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook sandwiches over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pesto Pepper Tortellini

Using the frozen tortellini puts this easily into the yummy quick fix category. My kind of meal, these days.
Pesto Pepper Tortellini

From: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook

1 pkg. (19 oz.) frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, julienned
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbs. butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup walnuts, ground (I used pecans because I highly prefer them)
2 Tbs. fresh basil, minced
1 Tbs. green onion, chopped

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute red pepper and garlic in butter until pepper is crisp tender. Stir in cream; cook for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the walnuts, basil and onion; heat through. Drain tortellini; add to sauce and toss to coat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I love me some good Falafel so I was quite happy to find this recipe and quite pleased with it.
From: The Noshery1 cup dried chickpeas

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. dried hot red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. baking powder
4-6 Tbs. flour
vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahini sauce
Pita bread

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.(I used canned because I'm too lazy for that, or more like, I don't remember)

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. Add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion and green pepper. Drizzle with tahini thinned with water.

Monday, July 25, 2011

BLT Salad

Always good for a nice side salad!
BLT Salad

From: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook

1 lb. sliced bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup butter, cubed
4 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3-5 Tbs. fresh basil, minced
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic minced
6 cups romaine, torn
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Set bacon and drippings aside. In another large skillet, melt the butter. Add bread cubes; cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove to paper towels, coo.

For dressing, whisk the mayo, basil, vinegar, pepper, garlic and reserved drippings. In a large bowl, combine romaine, tomatoes and bacon. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with the croutons.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garlic Chicken and Gravy

Garlic Chicken and Gravy
From: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup white wine or additional chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. flour

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cook chicken and garlic in butter over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until browned. Add 1/2 cup broth, wine, basil and oregano. bring to a boil. reduce heat; cover and simmer for 7-9 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining broth until smooth; stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over chicken.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Classic Cobb Salad

Oh so yummy and fresh. Gotta love it.
Classic Cobb Salad

From: Smitten Kitchen

Dressing: (This could easily be halved and still have more than enough.)
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped (I left this out)
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
6 strips cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 med. tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 avocado, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Puree the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

On a large platter, combine the iceberg, romaine lettuce and watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives or just throw everything together in a bowl.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crushed New Potatoes

Crushed New Potatoes

From: Home Cooking Montana

4 new potatoes
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. chives, sliced
2 Tbs cheese, grated(any kind you like...I just used cheddar)
1 Tbs. Parmesan
herbs of choice (optional)

Preheat Broiler. Wash potatoes well and place in salted water. Bring water to a boil and cook till fork tender.

Mix oil with the crushed garlic. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the parchment paper. Using a potato crusher, crush the potatoes carefully but not until they are flat. You could also use the back of a large spoon. Pour some garlic oil over each potato. Sprinkle each with some salt and pepper. Add some Parmesan/Pepper Jack/cheddar or whatever cheese, chives and desired herbs. Broil for 7-10 minutes or until nice and crispy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roasted Pepper Tortellini

I loved this as did the hubs and the kids. It was a definite winner for our family.
Roasted Red Pepper Tortellini

From: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook

1 pkg. (20 oz.) refrigerated cheese tortellini
5 Italian sausage links
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 jar (15 1/2 oz.) roasted sweet red pepper, drained
1 can (15 oz.) pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage in oil over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Cut it into 1/4 in" slices. (I like to peel the the casing off and break it into chunks before cooking it.)

Place the peppers in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth, drain tortellini. Add the tortellini, pureed peppers and pizza sauce to the skillet; stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses; cover and heat until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Taco Dip

This dip is so yummy and fresh. We love it.
Taco Dip

From: Unknown

2 pkg. cream cheese
3/4 cup mayo
2-3 tsp. taco seasoning
1 red pepper, chopped
2 green onion, chopped
1 can corn, drained or equal amount frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grilled Prosciutto Asparagus

Oh my goodness. Heaven in my mouth!
Grilled Prosciutto Asparagus

From: Taste of Home, April/May 2011

12 slices prosciutto
4 oz. goat cheese
24 spears of asparagus, woody ends chopped off

Spread the goat cheese evenly over the 12 slices of prosciutto. Cut each slice in half long ways, so that you have two long strips. (I found it easier to cut my prosciutto into strips while it was all stacked on top of each other and then spread with the goat cheese.) Wrap each piece of prosciutto around 2-3 asparagus spears. Secure prosciutto with a toothpick. Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet Vinegar Cucumbers

I don't know what else to call this. My mom used to make this quick side growing up. Sometimes she would just make it for us to snack on because this so yummy what kid wouldn't want to snack on it? Mine do...
Sweet Vinegar Cucumbers

From: Mom aka Ruth Solter

Cucumbers, peeled and sliced

Pour enough vinegar in a bowl so that it will just cover cucumbers. Add sugar until mixture reaches desired consistency. I usually just taste it and add a bit more and taste again. Add cucumbers and let stand about 15 minutes to soak up the vinegar. (My kids rarely can wait this long.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Linguine with Sun dried Tomatoes and Avocados

Linguine with Sun dried Tomatoes and Avocados

From: The Sisters Cafe

1/2 lb. linguine, prepared according to pkg. directions
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (I like to chop my tomatoes into smaller pieces)
1-2 tsp. crushed garlic
1-2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped 0r 1 tsp. dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes
1-2 lg. avocados, chopped
salt, to taste
parmesan cheese

Drain excess oil from sun dried tomatoes. Saute with garlic over medium heat for several minutes. Add basil, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Toss with hot pasta and gently stir in avocados. Serve topped with fresh parmesan cheese.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baked Potato Bar

I know this really doesn't require a recipe but is more of a refreshed idea for me when I'm looking back through the blog looking for ideas.

Baked Potato Bar

Baked Potatoes
Sour cream
Salad dressings of your choice
chopped veggies of your choice. We like, tomatoes, corn, green onions, chives, shredded or sliced carrots, chopped lettuce or bagged salad etc...
shredded cheese
crumbled bacon

Friday, July 15, 2011

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

My kids LOVED this. They kept coming back for more.
Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

From: Food and Wine

1 lb. asparagus
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp.fresh-ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/4 lb. butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tough ends off of the asparagus. Cut the spears into 1" pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes

Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 Tbs. remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper. Remove from heat.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done. about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter vinegar, asparagus, parmesan and the remaining 1 3/4 tsp. salt. Serve with additional parmesan.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake with Almond Glaze

Oh.My.Gosh. This was too die for good. It was stinking hot outside so the cake started to gush pretty quickly, but I think that wouldn't have happened it I chipped the heavy cream after whipping it and before putting it on the cake. Alas, it still tasted divine.Strawberry Shortcake with Almond Glaze

From: The Sister's Cafe

1 yellow cake mix
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 sm. pkg. vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. almond extract

Almond Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs. butter, melted
2 tsp. almond extract
1-2 Tbs. milk, as needed

Whipped Cream:
1 pint whipping cream (this made way more than I needed, I will probably use 1/2-3/4 of a pint next time)
powdered sugar, to taste for sweetening

1-2 lbs. fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the shortcake ingredients together for a few minutes until well combined. Pour the batter into two round cake pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes. let cool for a few minutes and then gently remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Mix the glaze ingredients together while the cake cools. Once semi cooled, prick the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Spoon the glaze over the two rounds, letting it sink in. Save about 1/3 of the glaze and set aside.

Whip cream with powdered sugar, using a mixer. Slice strawberries and set aside.

Place one of the glazed cakes on a cake stand or large plate. Top with whipped cream and a layer of strawberry slices. Place second cake on top. Top with whipped cream and more strawberries. Drizzle the remaining almond glaze over the top and down the sides. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I know, I know, it has been a while. Ok, so more that a while. But I'm posting now. Does that count for anything?

These bars were incredible. So so yummy. I might half the recipe next time and use a smaller pan simply because these are so rich that they lasted us for days.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

From: The Girl Who Ate Everything

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. sugar, divided
3 lg. eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add vanilla and eggs, 1 at a time. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 Tbs. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

In a small bowl, combine all Steusel ingredients. Thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle cream cheese mixture evenly with Streusel topping.

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mom's Rice Pudding

Mom (also known as Ruthie) asked me to post this recipe for the well-being of man. Truly. There's not a problem in the world that a big bowl of mom's warm rice pudding can't solve... or at least make you so full you can't remember. I added it to the Breakfast category because it really does make a lovely breakfast... in fact, I think we'll have it tomorrow.

Mom's Rice Pudding
½ c uncooked rice
1 cup water
½ c sugar
1 T. cornstarch
Dash of salt
2 eggs
2 ½ c. milk/cream
1 T. lemon juice
½ c raisins
1 tsp.Cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Cook 1/2 cup rice in the 1 cup of water or however you normally cook your rice. Mom always cooked it over the stove, but I use a microwave rice cooker.
Heat oven to 350 deg. Blend ½ sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to beaten eggs. Stir in rest of the ingredients. Pour into an oven safe casserole dish. Place in a pan of water. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours. Do not overbake. When the middle is just set it is done. Stir about every 15 min.

Note from Mom:
How much cream do I use? About 1/3 ratio. Or whatever I have on hand. This is not exact science guys. Of course, when I make this I x5 it.