Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cookies and Cream Brownies

I made a similar Oreo brownie using mint oreos not too long ago.  This time I decided to go classic cookies and cream and also add a crumble of Oreos on top of each brownie so you know what you will get inside.  These make a great treat for kids and adults.


1 box of Family Size brownie mix
1 package of double stuffed Oreos


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.  Mix brownie mix as per package directions.  Dip each Oreo into the brownie batter until coated completely.  Drop one brownie battered Oreo into each greased muffin tin.  Crush 4-6 Oreos in a big ziploc bag using a rolling pin.  Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top of each brownie battered Oreo.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before trying to remove brownies from tins.

I also made a batch in a small 9x9 pan and just layered some brownie batter on the bottom then a layer of Oreo cookies and then a layer of brownie batter and baked it according to the package directions for that size pan.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beef Taquitos

I made these for dinner when I was on the search for finding something new to make using ground beef.  I can only eat meatloaf, chili and meatballs so many times.  While browsing on Pinterest I saw a picture of taquitos that looked so delicious.  I found this recipe which is super easy and really yummy.  Everyone in my family enjoyed it so I will be making this one again.  I'm also going to make these using mini tortillas and serve them as an appetizer at my next get together.  To make them healthier you can definitely use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef as well as using low fat cheese.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing on the taquitos
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1 cup salsa, plus more for dipping
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
Sour cream

Heat the oven to 400ยบ. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook them for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the beef and use a wooden spoon or a spatula to break it up while it cooks, until it is no longer red, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the salsa, the chili powder, and the salt and pepper. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Place the tortillas on a plate and cover them with damp paper towels. Microwave them until warm and pliable, about 45 seconds. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of the beef mixture, spreading it to an inch from the edges. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the beef.

Roll up the tortillas and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet with the seam sides down. Brush the taquitos lightly with vegetable oil, then bake them until the filling is heated through and the tortillas are lightly browned, about 8 to 12 minutes. Serve them hot with sour cream and/or salsa. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, January 23, 2012

COOKIE SWAP - Double Chocolate - Peppermint Crunch Cookies by Heather

I have to say that chocolate and peppermint are my two most favorite flavor combinations.  I'm sad that candy cane season is over.  I say why wait for Christmas time to have these delcious dark chocolate peppermint cookies!!  I might have to make some this week!


2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large eggs
4 candy canes or 16 red-and-white- striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir 2 cups chocolate chips in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Measure 2/3 cup melted chocolate; transfer to small metal bowl and reserve for drizzling.  Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted chocolate from medium bowl. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Measure 1 level tablespoonful dough; roll dough between palms to form ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until cracked all over and tester inserted into center comes out with large moist crumbs attached, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely.  Rewarm reserved 2/3 cup chocolate over small saucepan of simmering water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over, arranging some pieces with red parts showing. Chill just until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes.

*Can be made 3 weeks ahead. Store airtight in freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Chip 'n Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars

I have found myself slightly addicted to Pinterest.  I go on daily and can easily spend an hour searching through other peoples pins, especially food related ones.  This recipe I found during one of those browsing sessions.  The original recipe comes from a really nice blog Kevin and Amanda.  The picture that was posted for this recipe was gorgeous......it was similar to the one above but topped with vanilla icecream and covered with chocolate fudge....YUMMY!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I as did.  I brought it to a friends house and everyone loved it!


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) milk (or semi sweet) chocolate chips
1 pkg Double Stuffed Oreos
1 Family Size (9×13) Brownie mix
1/4 cup hot fudge topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to thoroughly combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly incorporate into the mixer until the flour is just combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.

Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish that’s been lined with wax paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with a layer of Oreos.

Mix together brownie mix, adding an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos.

Sprinkle an additional 1/4 - 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top of Brownie batter

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 15-25 minutes. Brownies are down when a toothpick inserted 2″ from the edge comes out clean or with moist pieces clinging to it. Let cool completely before cutting.

*To half this recipe for an 8×8 brownie mix, simply half the chocolate chip cookie dough ingredients. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

COOKIE SWAP - Snickerdoodles by Sharon

I'm always looking for a good snickerdoodle recipe and this one is delicious.  My kids absolutely love cinnamon and sugar on anything so this cookie was the favorite at my house when I brought home all the cookie swap cookies.  This cookie is light and soft and chewy, so good!


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix butter, sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl combine flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.  Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture until combined well.  Chill dough and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator.  Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl.  Remove chilled cookie dough from refrigerator and form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place balls on chilled cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove cookies from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

I pulled out sausage for dinner the other night and I was about to make my usual sausage and peppers when I thought, "let's make something different".  I found this Amelia Durand recipe under the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network website for Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya and it sounded delicious.  I made quite a few changes however to use the ingredients I had on hand and even with all the changes this came out D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  You can view the original recipe here but I think I'll stick with the way I made it because everyone loved it exactly as is.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sausage, sliced ( I used sweet italian sausage but you can of course use kielbasa or andouille)
1/4 pound pancetta, cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chiles
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups long grain rice (I used long grain brown rice and needed to increase my cooking time 100%)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 dashes tobasco
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pound medium shrimp, deveined (20 to 24 count)


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the sausage and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove the sausage to a bowl, and set aside.  Add the pancetta to the same pot and cook 6-8 until crispy. Remove to the bowl with the sausage and set aside.  Add the butter, onion, celery and peppers to the same pot and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, thyme, and tomato paste and cook until all the vegetables and herbs are blended well.  Add the stock and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice, and add the sausage, pancetta, salt, pepper and tobasco. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. (if you are using brown rice simmer covered for 45 minutes)
Add  the parsley, the lemon juice and the shrimp, and stir well. Cover the pot, and remove from the heat and allow the jambalaya steam, for 15 minutes, before serving.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Roasted Beets (How to....)

Roasted beets are so delicous and very easy to make.  My favorite way to eat them is in a salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts!! YUM! 


4 - 6 raw beets, skin on
Olive oil
coarse salt
fresh ground black pepper


Wash beets under running water making sure to clean off any dirt by rubbing with your hands.  Dry beets with a clean towel. 

Cut off top of beet exposing the inside of the beet, place on a small square of foil.
Drizzle the top of the beet with olive oil

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Close up foil around beet and seal tightly.  Place beet packets on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven at 425 degree F. for about 45 minutes.  Check beets around 30 minutes by opening packet and inserting a for into the center of the beet.  If the fork easily goes down into the beet then they are done.

Let packets cool on baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes so you can handle them. 
To peel (use latex gloves to protect your skin or you will end up with purple hands)
The skin of the beet will peel off easily by rubbing gently with your hands.

Slice and enjoy in your favorite salad.  I will post the recipe for our roasted beet salad soon!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

COOKIE SWAP - Caramel-Kissed Chocolate Crackle Cookies by Andrea

Love these cookies!  They taste as good as they look.  My kids couldn't resist the caramel kiss on top of each cookie. YUM!


1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners sugar
40 caramel-filled chocolate kisses


Melt chocolate chips, let cool and set aside.  Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl to blend.  In a separate bowl cream together butter and brown sugar using a mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Beat in eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate until combined.  Add dry ingredients into wet mixing until combined.  Stir in nuts.  Cover cookie dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a 1-inch ball.  Roll balls in confectioners sugar and place 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes until cookies are set and tops are cracked.  Let sit for one minute and then gently press a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Storage tip:  Refrigerate in an airtight container in a single layer for up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 month.  Redust with confectioners sugar if needed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

I found this recipe on Six Sister's Stuff.  I love this blog and not only because it was created by 6 sisters but because they have a million really good, easy recipes.  I am always looking for good slow cooker recipes especially for chicken so I was thrilled to find this recipe.  I tweaked it just a touch to use less orange because the blog author felt it was too "orangey".  I think the adjustments worked out well because everyone in my family really liked this recipe.  I will definitely be making this again. (on a separate note I wish the picture was a better one....I'll have to take a new one the next time I make this)


1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/3 cup flour
olive oil (I used a combination of grape seed oil and extra virgin sesame oil)
1/2 Tbl. salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 Tbl. ketchup
4 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup water
4 Tbl.  brown sugar

In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, ketchup and water, set aside.

Pour the flour in a small bowl or a gallon sized ziploc bag.  Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess.  Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken.
The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot.

After the chicken is done cooking, put the pieces into the crock pot. Then cover the chicken with the sauce mixture and give the pot a stir.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.

Serve over rice.

Monday, January 9, 2012

COOKIE SWAP - Jell-O Pastel Cookies by Regina

I loved these little fruity Jell-O cookies.  It's a nice change from the typical holiday cookies that we usually see.  You can make really any flavor that you like but Regina felt that the Strawberry and Lime were the best tasting out of the bunch.  I think these would make really cute Easter or Spring cookies. 


3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, soften
1 cup sugar
2 pkg. jello (3oz. serving size)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 400*F.  Mix flour and baking powder & set aside.  Beat butter in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium until creamy.  Gradually add sugar and 1 pkg. of the dry jello, beating until light & fluffy.  Add egg & vanilla; mix well.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended.
Shape into 1 inch balls (or use a cookie scoop like I use) then flatten with the palm of your hand.
Sprinkle lightly with remaining pkg. of jello.  Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Every year for our annual Chanukah get together I always make the applesauce. For years I have been making a microwave version from one of the Silver Palette Cookbooks. It is pretty easy but has a whole cup of sugar in it so I really wanted to try to find one that has less sugar since the apples are pretty sweet as it is and no one needs the extra sugar. After searching a few blogs I found this one from skinnytaste.com that you make in the slow cooker. It is sooo easy. The hardest part is peeling the apples. I altered it slightly because it said to cook for 6 hours on low and I found after 3 1/2 - 4 hours it was done. I also added a little water to the pot, about 1/2 cup because I was worried the apples might burn without any liquid. It was really delicious and my whole house smelled of warm apples and cinnamon!


8 medium apples ( I used 4 Granny Smith and 4 Gala but any combination would work)
1 strip of lemon peel
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
3 inch cinnamon stick
5 tsp light brown sugar (unpacked)
1/2 C water


Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place them in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, lemon juice, brown sugar and water.

Set slow cooker to low and cook for 4-6 hours. Stir occassionally, apples will slowly become delicious applesauce. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Use and immersion blender to blend until smooth or if you prefer a chunky sauce, leave sauce intact.

Makes about 3 cups.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

COOKIE SWAP - Surprise Cookies by Jennifer

This is a big, soft, cakey cookie.  My kids really loved these.  Their sweet and delicious and the surprise marshmallow under the frosting is really yummy.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
chocolate frosting for surprise cookies


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
     In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder,baking soda, and salt
     set aside

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
    about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk and vanilla, and beat well. Add reserved flour mixture, mix
    on low speed until combined.

3) Using a tablespoon drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
     Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

4) Remove baking sheets from oven, and place marshmallow, cut -side down,in the center
     of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to over, and baking until marshmallow begin
     to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
    Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5) Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing
     outward until marshmallow is covered..