Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cheesecake Salad

I have been known to say "This is to die for".  After getting teased I haven't said it in a very long time.  But this recipe is To Die For.   Once we went camping with a group from church.  This salad was served at the dinner.  The following Sunday the bishop had the recipe printed in the bulletin and it said, "THIS IS TO DIE FOR".  After that I decided to only say that when it was really amazing. 
I got this recipe from Dori.  She brought it to a family party and I think we would've licked the bowl if we didn't have manners.  If you take this to a pot luck it will be all gone when you go home.   In the picture I have raspberries but blueberries are also yummy.  This recipe is super fast to make.

By: Home Run Recipes
3 Small Boxes of instant Cheesecake Pudding
3 Cups Milk
1 pkg graham crackers (about 8 crackers)
3 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 (16oz) cool whip
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 bag frozen raspberries, or blueberries

Mix the milk and the pudding together in a large bowl.  After the pudding is all mixed and starting to set up.  Fold in the cool whip.  Next, crush up the graham crackers.  Then add to the graham crackers crumbs the sugar and butter (this is the same process for making a graham cracker crust).  Gently fold in the cracker crumbs into the pudding mixture.  Right before serving add the frozen berries.  The juices will start to spread through the salad as the berries defrost.  In the summer fresh berries will work well.

Pumpkin Pancakes

My sister gave me this recipe.  You mix the batter the night before.  I have made it right before eating and they were fine but it does make a difference.  You want 3 bowls for this: one big and two medium sized.  Our favorite way to eat these is with the caramel syrup.  I always use the left over pumpkin from G H Pumpkin Bread.  The recipe calls for one cup of pumpkin.  There is just a little more then that left over so I go ahead and add it to the pancakes and it taste great. 

Pumpkin Pancakes
by: Home Run Recipes

 2 Cups Flour 
2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Salt
4 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Pumpkin
3/4 Cup soft butter
1 Tbsp Vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, salt.  Separate the eggs.  Put the yolks in the big bowl and the whites in a medium sized bowl.  Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form then set aside.  Beat the yolks then add milk, pumpkin, butter, and vanilla.  Then add the dry ingredients.  Fold in the egg whites.  Store in fridge till morning.  Cook pancakes on warm griddle.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Texas Caviar

My husband brought this one home from work.

By: Home Run Recipes

2 cans black eyed peas
1 can Shoe Peg Corn
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1 Green Pepper
1 Bunch Green Onions
3 Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
3 Avocados(I like to add more)
8 oz. Zesty Italian Dressing
2-3 bags of Frito Scoops

Rinse black eyed peas and corn, then add to bowl.  Next add rotel tomatoes.  Chop the peppers, onions, cilantro, and avocados.  Mix all together then add 8 oz. Zesty Italian Dressing
Serve with Frito Scoops. (Can make the day before but wait to add the avocados right before serving)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wheat Bread

This is the best whole wheat bread recipe. My friend Joylynn  taught me how to make this bread.   It doesn't taste like it's 100% whole wheat.  It's not heavy and it cuts nicely.  Another secret to this is misting the bread.  HUH!  If you want the crust to stay nice and soft then get a spray bottle with water and spray  the bread immediatly out of the oven.  Trust me this works, the bread will steam but that's about it. 
Here's some info. on 3 key ingredients that help make this bread amazing.

SAF Yeast - It's a professional instant yeast, not an active dry yeast.  You only have to let your dough rise once with this.  No need to Proof the bread.  You use about 25% less then active yeast.  

Dough Enhance - It makes your dough stronger, improves the texture, and extends the shelf life.  It makes bread lighter, and fluffier.  It doesn't contain gluten. 

Vital Wheat Gluten - A natural food protein that enhances the natural flavor.  It helps strengthen the dough by becoming highly elastic when water is added.  It will rise and stay risen.  You find this in specialty breads.  It expands freshness & improves quality of bread.  Wheat gluten is a nutrient supplement, a processing aid, stabilizer, thickener, and texturizing agent.

Whole Wheat Bread
By: Home Run Recipes
Makes: 2 loafs

6 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 Tbsp. SAF Yeast
3 Cup Warm Water (You can use milk or buttermilk as part of the liquid.  This makes is taste much better and it doesn't get as crumbly as fast.  Buttermilk is our favorite.)
1/4 cup Oil
1/3 Cup Honey 
3/4 Tbsp. Salt
1/4 CupVital Wheat Gluten
3/4 Tbsp. Dough Enhancer

Preheat oven to 200-250 degrees.  Mix together 3 cups whole wheat flour and yeast. Then add 3 cups warm water, oil, honey (milk or buttermilk maybe added as part of the liquid).  Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Cover bowl and let rise for 15 minutes.
Next add salt, vital wheat gluten, dough enhancer, & 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Mix together for a couple of minutes.  You want the dough to be sticky but firm enough to handle.  If you need to add more flour start with 1/4 to 1/2 of cup more.  I use a bosch so I know I have enough flour when the sides of the bowl are clean.  Knead for 10 minutes. My mixer does this for me. I spray my counter and hands with Pam, makes the dough easier to work with.  Form 2 loaves on your greased counter.  Put into pans.  Put into preheated oven.  Let rise until desired height, takes about 15-20 minutes.  Turn oven up to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  All ovens vary so make sure it's completely cooked through.  Right after you take the loaves out mist the top of the loaves with  a water bottle.  This makes the crust softer.


This motivates me to exercise harder.  When I am exercising I  think of how much I love it and so I try to burn more calories.   It is great on ice cream, cake, brownies, waffles, doughnuts, or can be used as a filling.

Ganache from Nestle

1/2 cup Choc. Chips (your favorite)
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Place cream in small, uncovered, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 25 to 30 seconds. Add chocolate chips. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes; stir until chocolate is melted.
Pour over cake, brownies, ice cream etc.

Ganache from Martha Stewart 
* This is more of a liquid but can be thickened very easily

3 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Heat Cream to a boil, then pour over Chocolate.  Let it sit for 2 min. Add Butter and mix till Smooth.
*****If you don't want this so runny add more choc.  We love Dark Chocolate so I just add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of chocolate chips depending on how hard I want this.

Ganache from Alton Brown - Good Eats (I love this show)
*this is great for glazing a cake.  It has a nice shiny texture.  Surprisingly thick though.
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. 
**** Another idea**** if you wanted a sweeter mousse-like filling to put between the layers just take half of the warm ganache, stirred in about 1/3 c white chips until they are melted and whip it until it's fluffed up a bit.  This works good for filling. Remember ganache will only be as sweet as your chocolate you are using.

Oreo Cake

 We don't love cake at our house.  This shouldn't be called cake.  We do LOVE ganache at our house.  So anything with ganache on top tastes better.  Well, we haven't tried in on chicken yet.  I learned a few tricks from my friend Patty on how to make cake taste better.  Whenever she is using a cake mix she always adds a small box of pudding(same flavoras cake mix), this makes the cake alot more moist.  You just dump the dry pudding mix in with the cake mix.  This recipe came from The Cookin Mamas Blog.  We did make a few changes, but nothing major. 

 Oreo Madness
by: The Cookin Mamas

2-layer size devil's food chocolate cake mix ( I used choc. Fudge. )
1 small box instant chocolate Pudding
4 squares semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut up
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups thawed cool whip
12 Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, coarsely crushed

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Prepare and bake cake mix as directed (add the dry pudding to cake mix) on package in two 9-inch round baking pans. Cool 5 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping and crushed cookies. Place one cake layer, top-side down, on serving plate. Spread top of layer evenly with cream cheese mixture. Cover with remaining cake layer, top-side up. Spoon chocolate glaze over top of cake. Let stand until set. Store in refrigerator.

* The Chocolate you cover this cake with is like a ganache.  Check out the other post of different Ganache recipes.  Also, it's fun to toss in a handful of  mini chocolate chips to the cakes to add something fun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spinach and Bacon Pasta Toss

 This is one of our Favorites.  Super yummy and takes about 20 minutes to make but so worth it. 

Spinach and Bacon Pasta Toss
by: Home Run Recipes

1 lb Wide Egg Noodles
3/4 cup Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 pt. Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, defrosted and chopped  
1 bag(6oz) Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves (4cups)
1 cup Kraft finely shredded Italian style 5 or 6 cheese blend, divided
8 slices Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Defrost Chicken and cube it.  Cook Bacon and crumble.  Cook noodles according to package reserve 1/2 cup water (I never remember to do this and it still taste great).  Meanwhile in a large skillet heat dressing, then add chicken and cook about 7 min. till it is done.  Add cherry tomatoes and cook for one minute.  Stir in noodles and reserved 1/2 water or tap water.  Remove from heat. Add Spinach, 1/2 cup cheese, and bacon, toss lightly to combine.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  **** To give it more flavor add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more dressing.  The noodles sometimes soak up the moisture and you don't want this dry.  I have always added more dressing. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ice Cream Cake

Here's another of Wendy's recipes.  This is a very pretty dessert.  This cake has coconut in it but people don't always notice.  So if someone doesn't like coconut they may still like this. 

Easy Ice Cream Cake
by: Home Run Recipes

Half gallon of Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Cube of butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Coconut
2 Cups Rice Krispies

Put Ice Cream in Fridg. to soften while you mix the rest of the ingredients together.  Melt the butter in a pan.  Add the brown sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved or is no longer crunchy.  Take off the heat and add walnuts, coconut, and rice krispies.  Spread 1/2 the mixture in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.  I put it in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden it a little.  Don't forget about it because your ice cream is melting in the fridg.  Next spread the half gallon of ice cream on top.  Sprinkle remaining half of mixture on top of ice cream.  Keep in Freezer.  When ready to serve top with the following Sauce:

1 pkg. Danish Dessert, strawberry flavored
2 pkgs. Frozen strawberries, add to Danish Dessert after it has cooled

Serves 10 to 20

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ceasar Chicken Pitas

My amazing friend Erica brought this yummy meal the day I came home with my second child.  It's super Fast and Easy.  You can make this ahead of time.

Chicken Caesar Pitas
by: Home Run Recipes

1 package of pitas
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1 Bottle of your favorite Caesar Dressing (We use Kraft, pick one you love because this is what it tastes like)
1/2 a package of shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 Large Chicken Breasts

Boil the chicken.  Shred it and add 3/4 of the bottle of dressing.  The pitas soak up the dressing so be generous.  Next add the parmesan.   
When you are ready to assemble Cut pits in half.  Put a leaf of romaine lettuce inside.  Fill with chicken mixture and enjoy.

Honey Lime Enchiladas

This recipe came from The Cookin Mama's Blog
It is so delicious.  
Honey Lime Enchiladas
by: The Cookin Mamas
6 tablespoons honey (I melt the honey in the microwave)
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 3 small chicken breasts)
1/4-1/2 cup minced onions
1 clove garlic minced
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce, (I actually use a big 28 oz. can because it's yummy)
1 cup heavy cream (to lighten them up, I substituted sour cream)

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, minced onion & garlic, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade(I don't always have left over marinade, guess the chicken absorbs it all sometimes). Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.
Makes a 15 X 10 1/2  pan

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Flourless Brownies

Photo courtesy of Nestle

Flourless Brownies   
by: Home Run Recipes


Estimated Times

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 35 mins
Cooling Time: 4 hrs 30 mins refrigerating

Servings: 16 brownies


2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
4 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, finely ground (optional)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


PREHEAT oven to 300º F. Line 9-inch-square baking pan with foil. Grease bottom and sides.

HEAT 1 1/2 cups morsels, butter and water in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until morsels and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in cocoa until smooth. Remove from heat.

BEAT eggs and sugar in medium mixer bowl until thick, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg mixture, one half at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes or until risen in center and edges start to get firm and shiny (center may still move and appear underbaked). Cool completely in pan on wire rack (center may sink slightly). Cover; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

PLACE cream in small, uncovered, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 25 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/2 cup morsels. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes; stir until chocolate is melted.

SPREAD ganache over chilled brownie. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using two opposite sides of foil, carefully lift the entire brownie out of the pan and place on cutting board. Carefully peel away foil from brownie. Cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 
*****We love to add frosting to these, it's got flour in it so if you want flourless leave it off.  Our best Bites has one of the most amazing recipes for frosting.   


Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.

Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. It should still be liquid-ish though, like this:

It’s okay if you have lumps, because we’re gonna strain those out right now. Place the mixture in a mesh strainer and stir with a rubber spatula to push it through.

You should end up with a nice, smooth mixture. It’s almost like pudding before it’s set.

Put this mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it’s fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don’t want it warm at all. When it is chilled, you can move on to the following step.
It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You’ll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Don’t be scared. It’s going to look like a goopy mess and kind of lumpy and separated like this:

But you just wait. It’s gonna blow your mind in a few minutes. Beat on med-high for 7-8 minutes. Yes, that long. I know it seems like forever, but that’s when the magic happens!
After 7-8 minutes it will have transformed from that sloppy mess into something gorgeous, fluffy, and incredibly light and silky.
Use it to fill or frost cupcakes, cakes or other pastries. You can’t go wrong putting this on just about anything :)

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by ourbestbites.com
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.
It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.

Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)
One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes .

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ice Cream Jello

Vanilla ice cream just sits in our freezer.  We are weird but we never remember it's there.  I was making jello for dinner last night and I decided to add ice cream in place of some of the water.  Mainly I was looking for an excuse to use the ice cream up.  This turned out to be super amazing.  I'm sure I am not the first person to do this but I am going to take credit for inventing it anyway. This will definitely become a regular.

3 oz.  box watermelon jello
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 gallon of vanilla ice cream

Mix jello and water.  Boil until jello is completely dissolved.  Pour in a serving bowl.  Next add ice cream and stir with a spoon until it's all melted.  Place in refrigerator for 4 hours.  It has a very light, mousse type texture, delicious!

Nacho Rice

My friend Wendy put together a family cookbook.  I talked her into letting me copy it.  She is an amazing cook and we have loved everything we've tried in the cookbook.  Here's one of our favorites.  It's a cheesy rice that you can use as a side dish, filling for inside tortillas, or as the main dish.

Nacho Rice
by: Home Run Recipes

2 cans Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 cup Water
2 cups Salsa (the salsa gets spicier as you cook it, start with something mild at first)
1 1/4 cups rice uncooked, long grain 
2 pounds raw chicken cut in cubes

Put everything in a crockpot for 7 to 8 hours.  Or a Slow cooker for 3 to 4 hours.
Serve in a tortilla shell.  Garnish with topping of your choice - cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, salsa, lettuce, etc. You can also serve as a side dish along with your favorite south of the border main dish.  This also makes great Super Nachos the next day.   You could also cook this in the oven on 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Just keep on checking it if you do.  All ovens cook differently.

Caramel Syrup

This syrup has become a staple in our home.  About 10 years ago I discovered it in an old cookbook.  We lived in Oregon at the time, due to us being at sea level  it took 7 minutes to cook.  Here in Idaho we live at a much higher elevation so it cooks faster about 4 or 5 minutes

The recipe calls for Buttermilk.  I don't always buy buttermilk but I found a little secret, cultured buttermilk.  It's a powder that last much longer then regular buttermilk.  It doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it.  I have one in the fridge. and one in storage.  I have made the syrup with this and with regular buttermilk, and it tastes exactly the same. Be sure to make the buttermilk mix separately, then add to the rest of the ingredients. I skipped this step once and the syrup had buttermilk lumps.

 Use a big pot because this syrup foams up while cooking.  The picture above is the color when you first start cooking.

This is the color of the syrup when it's done.  Notice the color change.  If you cook this too long it will turn into thick caramel.  Not a bad thing just hard to pour over pancakes, french toast, waffles, ice cream, brownies, etc. 

This syrup hardens when you put it in the refrigerator.  Store it in something you can microwave.  We've used a mason jar, or pretty syrup container.

Caramel Syrup
by: Home Run Recipes

1 1/2 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Buttermilk (if using the powder follow the directions on the side of container)
1/2 cup Butter
2 Tbsp. Corn Syrup
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Vanilla

In a large pot combine sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 4 to 7 min.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.