Archive | February, 2012

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil on a stick!

19 Feb

These are perfect for a party! So easy to put together too.  These pictures aren’t the greatest, but you get the idea!  Pour some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette before serving.

Christmas Time!

19 Feb

If there is anything good about being sick, it’s that I’m actually getting a chance to relax and catch up on my blog among other things!  Here are somethings made this past Christmas.  My mom, my sister, and I have been making Christmas Cookies together since I was a little girl.  It’s one of our favorite things to do over the Holiday’s!  My best friend Erin would often join us too – however, we would eat more cookie dough than decorate and bake cookies! Enjoy these pictures!

 

 

All our toppings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gooey Butter Cookies

19 Feb

These are a crowd pleaser!  I made these for a cookie swap this past Christmas…yes, I’m a little late blogging the recipe! But these are great to make all year round.  And they are super easy to make.  Enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Add cake mix, and stir until well blended. Roll into 1inch balls and roll the balls in the confectioners’ sugar. Place 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Yields about 2 Dozen.

Recipe from:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gooey-butter-cookies/

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

18 Feb

Another great Pioneer Woman Recipe!  I haven’t come across a recipe yet that didn’t satisfy.  Did I mention that she is coming to NY soon for a book signing?!!  I will definitely be attending along with my camera (I’m hoping someone could be so kind to snap a picture) and of course her new cookbook! Do I have her sign the new cookbook or do I print a recipe and have her sign that?  So many decisions to make! 
Where was I?  Oh yes, her beef stew.  Great home cooking.  I made this last weekend for DH and to his surprise, he loved it!  He really shouldn’t have questioned whether or not he would like it, as all the PW Recipes I have made thus far have been crowd pleasing.  This is a perfect meal to make on a cold winters day.  It’s a great meal to make when you have a day’s worth of chores to do and don’t have time to keep checking the progress.  It’s a great meal to make any time!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 2 Hours30 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 pounds Stew Meat
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can Beer, 12 Ounce Can (I used a bottle of beer we had on hand and just measured out 12 oz.)
  • 4 cups Beef Stock (or 4 Cups Water + 4 Beef Bouillon Cubes) – I added in a little extra beef stock during the cooking phase as the liquid in the stew started to dry up.
  • 2 cups Water (additional, If Needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 whole Carrots, Washed, Unpeeled, And Roughly Sliced
  • 4 whole New Potatoes, Quartered

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. Cut pieces in half. Set aside.

Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

*UPDATE: The liquid should cook down to a thicker state. If it gets too thick/reduces too much, add additional water or beef stock as needed.

Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. (If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water or some beef stock a little at a time to replenish the liquid.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve in bowls next to crusty French bread.  I served with some brown rice.

Enjoy!

Recipe from:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/01/beef-stew-with-beer-and-paprika/

Chocolate Pudding served in a martini glass!

10 Feb

My MIL made chocolate pudding a few weeks back.  I love how creative she was serving them – In a martini glass with some whipped cream on top and white chocolate chips!  Doesn’t it look awesome and so fancy?

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

10 Feb

This cake was made for my husbands birthday a few weeks ago. It was one of the best cakes we have ever had!

I should start by saying that I did “attempt” to make this cake last year, also for his birthday, but the cake batter and I had a falling out! I can only assume that I filled the cake pans with too much batter because when I checked on the progress of the cake, the batter had literally exploded and was all over our oven! The grates had dried up batter and the sides and wall of the oven for a mess. Needless to say, it wasn’t pleasant!

This year, I was especially careful at filling up the batter only halfway in each pan. If you have someone in your house who likes to eat batter, the extra batter will disappear and be used right up! Joking aside, there wasn’t much batter left over anyway…so a spoonful here and there is no big deal!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING (recipe follows)

Directions

  1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. 2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings. VARIATIONS: ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost. BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost. CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes. “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa 3 cups powdered sugar 1/3 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Recipe from: Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
http://www.hersheys.com/pure-recipes/details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY’S

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

10 Feb

Oh boy! Get ready for a taste of Heaven! These brownie bites are the real deal. You won’t be disappointed after your first bite…I promise! They were a tad bit to rich for me, but still awesome! The guys ate these brownies right up, so I know they were good!
I also brought some to work and everyone raved about them. They may not compare to Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles, but they are pretty close! And with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, these are the perfect dessert to make for that special someone in your life.
Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.
Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.
Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.Yields about 40.

Recipe from – http://
www.bakedperfection.com/2009/07/peanut-butter-cup-brownies.html