Monday, December 31, 2012

Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting

For my second Christmas dessert, I made a red velvet ice cream cake. I really did not care for the red velvet cookie or the homemade cream cheese ice cream that made up the actual cake, but the frosting was AMAZING and surprisingly easy! It is a must have for your recipe collection! Here is how I made it,


8 oz of cream cheese
1 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

To begin with, whip 8 oz of room temperature cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Then, whip in 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and a pinch of salt. In a separate chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream to very stiff peaks. Then,gently fold your cream cheese mixture and whipped cream together. The frosting is done, and you can use it to frost your favorite cake, cookies or cupcakes!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Paula Deen's Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

I typically am in charge of holiday desserts, and I had a really hard time deciding what to make for Event #1 this year. I wanted something a little lightish because that is what sounds the most appealing to my pregnant self. : ) I definitely don't think of strawberries for Christmas, but hey, they're red! Also, my kids love them, and the only way I would spring for them at $3.99/lb is for Christmas. So, I decided to create a less diabetes inducing version of the Paula Deen original. Here is my recipe,


  • 1 frozen pound cake

For the custard:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (recommended: Jell-O)
  • 2 cup water
  • 3 lbs of strawberries (if berries are extra large, they can be cut into quarters) 


Slice cake, using a serrated knife, horizontally into 3 equal layers.

For the custard:

Mix together cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping in a bowl; set aside.(Note, I recommend whipping the cream cheese first. I didn't, and I couldn't get my mixture totally smooth.)

For the glaze:

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin; add water. Cook stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Add slowly to your strawberry mixture and stir until they are lightly coated. I used about 2/3 of the mixture. I didn't want my cake to be soggy!

For assembly:

Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for remaining cake, glaze and custard.Chill and serve! YUM!

See more recipes at

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cranberry Pecan Sticky Buns

I've seen Ina make this recipe on her show a few times, and every time I think, "I really need to remember to make that." I was able to pick up puff pastry on sale this week, so it was a good chance to give it a try. After reading the reviews and based on our own preferences, I did make some changes. Here is how I made mine,

  • 1 stick tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
And for the filling,
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 6 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Place 1  small spoonful of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of cranberries. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful - they're hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.


We all really liked these. I thought the dried cranberries were an obvious swap. They added a nice little tart kick to the roll. Next time I make these, I may skip the pecans. Pecan rolls need pecans, but we are just not huge fans at this house. I think these would be perfect cranberry cinnamon rolls! I might add a little more sugar and cinnamon too!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My favorite apple crisp recipe...

I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I lovvvvve fruit crisp. This year for Thanksgiving, instead of attempting another apple pie, I decided to go with a crisp. I just really love the buttery crunch. In my opinion, it gives it an extra special kick that apple pie doesn't have. Whenever I make a crisp, I loosely follow Ina Garten's recipes. However, over the years, I've found a few tricks that I like better. Here is my apple crisp recipe,

  • 5 pounds crisp, tart apples (I used Granny Smith here.)
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crumb Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups flouf (Half white with half whole wheat is great, if you have it.)
  • 3/4 cup granulated
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (You may be able to use less. Just make sure all of the crumb topping is "wet" with butter.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 baking dish

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, melted butter and walnuts in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This twice baked potato casserole is one of our family favorite side dishes. It definitely isn't the healthiest thing in the world, but it makes enough to feed an army! It's great for potlucks or family get togethers for that very reason. Here is how you make it,

  • 5 lb russet potatoes
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 0.25 c chives, minced (I omitted because green onions and chives are one thing I really don't like!)
  • 2.5 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 0.5 t pepper
Directions -

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Boil potatoes over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife.Transfer to a colander to drain.
2. While your potatoes are cooking, cook bacon until crisp and browned, turning once. (We bake in the oven at 425 for 17 minutes.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Chop in to bacon bits.
3. With an electric mixer, whip the potatoes. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
4. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, bacon and a generous amount of black pepper. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

(Note, this picture is before the final step of baking these. If possible, I prefer to finish them off wherever we're eating, so they're nice and warm when served!)

See other great recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Heath Bar Ice Cream Cake

It was almost 80 degrees here in Kansas City today, so we're flashing back to a summer recipe I never got around to sharing. When my husband turned 35, he requested an ice cream cake. It just happened to work out that ice cream sandwiches were on sale for $1.99 a box, so I decided to use this fake-out ice cream cake recipe instead of paying a fortune for a DQ cake.

This is the recipe,

24 ice cream sandwiches
8 oz Cool Whip
1 cup of Heath candy bar chips (You really could substitute any candy, but the Heath chips are easy!)
1 bottle of chocolate syrup
1 jar of caramel syrup


  1. First Layer: 12 ice cream sandwiches, placed over bottom of an 8x13 pan
  2. Second Layer: half the container of Cool Whip
  3. Third Layer: half of the Heath chips, topped with half of the chocolate syrup and half of the caramel topping
  4. Fourth Layer: the rest of the ice cream sandwiches
  5. Fifth Layer: the rest of the Cool Whip
  6. Sixth Layer: the rest of the Heath chips, topped with the rest of the caramel topping and the chocolate syrup
  7. Freeze for 6-8 hours and eat as desired.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our sweet little, and the reason I've been out of commission...

Just after we moved in to our new house, we discovered I was pregnant again! We were absolutely thrilled, and the timing was so great since we had an extra bedroom. At 6 weeks, life met us with a major blow, and I miscarried. I know, of course, that miscarriages are super common. I just didn't see it coming at all. We were absolutely devastated...and then imagine my surprised when I found out we were pregnant again...only 4 weeks later. It was a worrisome first trimester (and a really long one with a short break!) but we've come out on the other side! I'm so happy to share a pic of our sweet little, and I ask for your prayers as this pregnancy, like my last, is high risk due to a low HcG hormone. Believe me, we'll be praying too!

As I start feeling a little better and as the holidays set in, I hope to have more time to update! Life just gets crazy sometimes, and the blog is the first thing to go. That being said, I'm ready to get back to it!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chili Mac Skillet

Over the course of the last couple of months, I have kind of gotten away from talking about our grocery budget. We've just been too busy for me to document it, and I've been realizing that our lives have really changed since I started the $50 a week grocery project. For the last few months, we've been working with closer to an $80 a week budget. That being said, we got bad news about our health insurance plan, and it's going to set us back an extra $2,600 in 2013. Ahem? Where is that money going to come from??? I spent yesterday trying to get my coupons and our budget in order and taking inventory of the pantry. We have a few months before the rubber meets the road, but I figure we better start "practicing." We may be back to $50 a month for awhile. I feel like I at least need to give it a shot. Anyway, this week, I spent right at $60, and we'll make do with a lot that we already had around the house. I adapted this Chili Mac recipe using mostly ingredients that I already had for a cheap "nice" Saturday night dinner, and I thought it turned out really great!


8 ounces shell pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup green bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups frozen grilled chicken breast (chopped)
1o ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes, mild
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon of Ranch dressing
A splash of lime juice
Black pepper to taste
Shredded cheese and Sour Cream for garnish

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking. Heat oil in 9 inch deep cast iron skillet. Add onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, beans, shell pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Circle "Sammy"

Circle Sandwich is hands down one of our favorite family meals. As far as I know, my mom "invented" it some time in the mid 90s, and we've been loving it ever since. It's perfect for a family dinner, a potluck or for taking a meal to someone in need. 

Here are the ingredients,

For the bread,

2 tubes of Pillsbury French Loaf (I grabbed these at 50% off at the store last week!)
1 tablespoon of seasoning (I use Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper)

To make the bread, spray a baking sheet or pizza stone with Pam. Then, you just need to open your tubes of French Loaf and pinch the ends together, so they form a circle. Next, you make a few slits in the top of the bread with a paring knife and spray with Pam. Finally, you "fill" the slits with your seasoning blend. Bake as directed until the circle loaf is golden brown.

While your bread is baking, you can prepare your sandwich fillings. I used,

Italian dressing (Also a must!)
3 different kinds of deli meat (I used chicken, ham and pepperoni. The pepperoni is a must!)
2 different kinds of cheese (I used provolone and cheddar.)
A few different kinds of your favorite sandwich veggies
Mayonnaise, Mustard, etc.

Once your bread has cooled enough for you to cut it, slice it in half. Dress the inside with Italian dressing and layer your meat and cheese. Add the veggies. My mom usually serves extra sandwich dressing (mayonnaise, mustard, etc.) on the side at the table.

See, pretty easy! But so, so good.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Free Fun

Let me tell you, we are ALWAYS in the market for free family fun. Sometimes it is hard to come by, or I already feel like we've already done every free possible thing in Kansas City! This past weekend, we were at a local outdoor shopping area, so I could return a few shirts that I ordered online that didn't fit. We stumbled upon a pretty extensive outdoor festival. They had free bounce houses, face painting, and some really amazing Lyra performers that the girls and I really enjoyed! Of course, I just couldn't resist sharing the sweet pictures the face painter took of my daughters. So amazingly cute! Not only are they gorgeous, but they are kind, sweet and smart! The whole package! (And you gotta love the matching Denver Bronco shirts! GO BRONCOS!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

I was up and at 'em early this past Saturday morning. I needed to hit the grocery store, but I didn't have a meal plan. I figured The Pioneer Woman's blog was probably a surefire bet for a quick idea, and I was right! I ran the recipe for her Dr. Pepper pork by my husband, and we had a Sunday night football dinner planned! Incidentally, he's been complaining that "everything" I made is spicy lately, so I didn't tell him about the chipotles! My version of the recipe only used 1/4 of the can, and he didn't complain! He just said they "had a little kick," so the switch was a good one! I also made mine in the crock pot, and I was very happy with the results! Here is the recipe and instructions for cooking this in the crock pot,
  • 1 whole Large Onion
  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder ("Pork Butt") - 5ish lbs
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 oz of Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce (canned)
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons of Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar 
1. Peel the onions, chop and place in the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Rinse your pot roast, and place it in the crock pot. Generously season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour the Dr. Pepper, Chipotles and Adobo and vinegar over your roast.
4. Sprinkle with brown sugar 

I cooked mine for 10 hours on low in my crock pot. That being said, my crock pot cooks VERY hot. The liquid was boiling. If your liquid doesn't boil on low, it may take you 10 hours on high! Regardless, when the meat is super tender and you are able to shred it with a fork, take that baby out of there and give it a good shred! After I removed the fat and shredded mine, I returned it to the liquid and kept it on warm. So yummy!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Honey Lime Shrimp and Noodles

I actually got organized this morning and made a REAL meal plan! I found this recipe for Honey Lime Shrimp, and I decided to change it up a little and serve it up over noodles. My family was REALLY happy. My husband ate all the shrimp, and my kids ate ALL the noodles. I was really surprised by how affordable a shrimp dish could be too. I think the whole dish came out to about $6 or $7. Not bad!

Here is how I did it,


Marinade -

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T honey
juice of one small lime
zest of one small lime
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Noodles -

1 lb of spaghetti noodles (prepared as directed)
3 T butter
2 T honey
juice of one small lime
zest of one small lime
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Soy sauce to taste

1. Mix all of your marinade ingredients together and place in a ziploc bag with the raw shrimp. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes or so and then. Give them 10 minutes or so to come to room temperature before you cook them.

2. While the shrimp is marinating prepare your noodles as directed.

3. When the shrimp are done marinating, heat a pan to medium hot. Place shrimp in a single layer on a skillet and cook on each side for about a minute. They should caramelize and look nice and brown. (See my shrimp in the very middle? It is perfect!)

4. Once your shrimp is done, take it out of the skillet. Add all of your sauce mixture for the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrap up all of the brown shrimpy bits off of the bottom. Once the butter is melted, toss your noodles in the sauce for a minute or two.

5. Transfer your noodles to a big bowl, top with the shrimp and serve family style!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baize Green by Sherwin Williams

You may remember that we bought a house over the summer! (I would link
 you back to our announcement, but I accidentally deleted it!) In my post, I mentioned that I was going to entertain some frugal decorating posts. Now, I realize I'm not much of a decorator at this point, and we really have not done a THING to our house. Just this weekend, we did finally get a bathroom painted. I love seeing other people's paint colors, and I discovered while I was researching paint colors for this housethat you can Google just about any color and you will come up with all kinds of photos from other people's real life experiments! I found it so helpful, so I am paying it forward!

Our new house is a big, traditional Colonial. It has a big of a Martha Stewart feel, I think, which I love. I'm NOT in to contemporary or modern at all. Anyway, my objective for this house is for it to be "fun" and cheerful. I want my kids to remember it was the bright, warm and loving house that they grew up in, so I've carried that over in to all of my decorating ideas. My kids will share this bathroom, so the objective here was gender neutral AND bright. The paint color is Sherwin Williams Baize Green. I've purchased new towels from Target in "Fiery Pink" and a nice shade of aqua called "Sea Going." I may add some accessories as we go, but I'm just not great at that! So maybe not!

Caramelized Pineapple Sauce

This weekend I was looking for a fast and easy dessert for our family Labor Day dinner on Sunday. I decided to go with banana splits, and I used this recipe for caramelized pineapple that I saw on $10 Dinners. It was REALLY easy and delicious. I might have cooked it a little too long, as it wasn't very "saucy," but no one complained! We all agreed that it tasted like pineapple upside down cake without the cake, and it was just great for banana splits! I was actually really pleased with how nicely it pairs with chocolate syrup too, and it made for a very affordable dessert for our whole family!

Here is the recipe,
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • One 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
Melt the butter and sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the pineapple and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and coated in caramel, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

As sort of a last minute "we have a super busy weekend" event, we went out to On The Border for dinner last night. My husband and I nearly died when our two entrees and two kids meals cost $40 after tip. I mean, we sort of saw it coming, but we just eat out so rarely anymore that it was a shock!Gosh, it was so painful on the old wallet!

I've been holding on to this recipe for Chili's Cajun Chicken Pasta for awhile. After our super expensive dinner out, I decided to give a copy cat recipe a try. It was really quite fast, and even with having to buy the spices, it was pretty cheap! The cream, noodles, chicken and tomatoes only cost about $6. Not so bad, right? We EVEN had leftovers -- enough for someone to eat for lunch the next day, which is a miracle for us!

I changed the original recipe up a little. Here is how I made it,

1 package of precooked chicken breast strips
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning 
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups heavy cream 
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 box penne pasta, cooked and drained 
2 roma tomatoes, diced 
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, fresh shredded, to taste (I intended to use parmesan, but discovered I was out. Cheddar worked just fine in place.)
Directions: Cook noodles as directed. In a separate pan, heat heavy cream, two tablespoons of butter and seasonings (only use half of the cajun seasoning) over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Dice tomatoes. When the cream mixture begins to bubble, add the cooked noodles. While your noodles as sauce are warming through, microwave the chicken strips. Once they are heated through, sprinkle liberally with cajun seasoning. Transfer noodles to a bowl and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle these liberally with cajun seasoning also. Place chicken strips on top, sprinkle with cheese and serve. YUM!

This dish is a little on the spicy side, but all of my family really loved it. Even the baby! Of course, we were all very happy to eat such delicious food at home for $6 instead of out for $40!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My littlest sweetie....

Ok, so she's not my tiniest kid these days, but she's still my tiniest girl. AND SHE's FOUR?!?!?! How did that happen??? 

Happy Birthday, Sweet Thing!

The Best Pasta Salad You've Ever Eaten...

Whenever we have a family get together planned, I always check the sale ad before I commit to what I'm bringing. This week, veggies were on sale at Aldi, so I committed to bringing a pasta salad to my father in law and daughter's birthday celebration. I always use the same method for pasta salad and people always act like it is the best pasta salad they have ever tasted. Last night, I sent my leftovers home with family, and now my people are mad at me because they wanted to snack on this! So, here is how I do it,

Ingredients -

1 lb of pasta, cooked as directed
4 or 5 different veggies (diced) (I've used bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 bottle of ZESTY (very important) Italian dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions -

While your pasta is cooking, dice the vegetables and place in a large bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Once your pasta is cooked, drain and rinse until it is nice and cold. Place the noodles in the bowl with the veggies and top with half a bottle of dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I use a ton of black pepper and a little salt.) Once everything is mixed together, you can cover with saran and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. Before serving, top with the remaining half a bottle of dressing. Serve cold!

See! I told you it was super easy!!! We actually have this as our main dish for dinner a lot in the summer too! It's just so refreshing and healthy!

See more recipes at Beauty and Bedlam!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Marinara

Whoa! I'm back! After endless seemingly endless complications and half a million boxes, we're finally almost 100% settled in to our new house! Now, if we could just find my husband's wedding ring, we'd be golden! Our new house is easily twice the size of our old house, and we are just so happy with the space! My kids have a huge finished basement to go nuts in, and they have just been thrilled. My six year old's first request was for a trapeze down there, which was good for a laugh! Regardless, I haven't heard a peep about the trapeze since the first day we moved in, their totally happy with their sea of toys and room to do cartwheels!

Of course, I'm really happy to be back to cooking! I even have empty cabinets in my new kitchen! The new kitchen is not without it's quirks, but I'll get used to it. (I'm really missing my island!) We'll make some changes over time too. And, you'll notice that my pictures have a new setting! We have a really sunny eat in kitchen nook that I think will be very picture taking friendly! I ALSO have a super old and ugly table (see above) that isn't the hottest back drop. Someone gave us this table ten years ago when my husband moved in to our first apartment. It's been in the basement of our old house since 2006, but we had to break it back out since we have both a formal and informal eating space now! We'd planned on replacing it before we moved in, but I haven't found an alternative that I like either. I'd rather stick with something free that I hate than pay for something new that I hate.

Sunday is my husband's new work day. I was happy to try out a new recipe in the crockpot while the kids and I hit the pool this afternoon. My oldest daughter really loved it! She had three huge bowls! Here is my adapted recipe,

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce
  • 1 handful of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 orange bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 box of rigatoni (I use rigatoni because it's so much easier for little people to manage.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  • Directions -

    • Place chicken in a 4-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce, tomato, Italian salad dressing, Italian seasoning, garlic and bell pepper; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender. Melt in 2 tablespoons of butter when the chicken is cooked.
    • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve chicken and sauce with pasta; sprinkle with cheese.

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Brown Sugar and Butterscotch Scones

    Here is another version of my amazing scone recipe. They were so great! My husband said they were his favorite yet!

    • 4 cups flour
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
    • 1 cup room temperature butter, cubed
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2/3 cups milk
    • 1 cup of butterscotch chips
    Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cube the butter and mix in to the mixture until the butter is pea sized. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Stir into the flour mixture until the dough is moist, do not over mix. Knead in the butterscotch chips. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times. Divide dough into two equal balls. Pat each ball into an 8 inch circle. (Be careful to make sure it is not too thick in the center.) Place each ball onto a parchment paper lined or greased cookie sheet. Score each circle with a knife into 6 wedges. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until done and lightly golden. Allow the scones to cool.

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    Pampered Chef's Veggie Pizza

    I've had this pizza once before, and I thought it was amazing. It's usually served as an appetizer, but I knew my family would accept it just fine as a quick lunch after church. Today, I baked the crust when I got up and assembled later in the day when we were ready to eat. It's super fast to prepare when the crust is already cool and ready to go!

    Here is the recipe (adapted from,)

    2 8 oz packages of crescent rolls
    1 8 oz brick of cream cheese (softened)
    1.5 tablespoons of mayo
    1.5 tablespoons of sour cream
    1 teaspoon of minced garlic
    1 teaspoon of dill
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups of assorted veggies (very finely diced)
    1/4 cup of grated cheese

    (For my veggies, I used broccoli and carrot slaw and broccoli crowns. I intended on adding radishes, but I forgot to buy them! I definitely recommend using "dry" veggies to keep everything from getting soggy. That way, leftovers will hold up just fine in the fridge for a day or so.)

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll crescent dough; separate into sixteen triangles. On a baking stone arrange triangles in a circle with points in the center and wide ends toward the outside. (I placed mine around the edges and let them overlap a little. I filled the center with a leftover crescent, and I had two leftover that I rolled and baked when I baked my crust.) Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to press the seams together. Trim any excess. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool completely.
    1. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and dill weed. Season with salt and black pepper; mix well.. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust.
    2. Dice all of the veggies in to a fine dice.
    3. Sprinkle vegetables and grated cheese over pizza.
    4. Slice and serve!

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Salsa Con Queso Macaroni

    I'm always so excited when I find a new recipe for my family to try. Since we eat at home almost 100% of the time, I just get soooooooooo bored with our regular menu items. I always get really discouraged when I try to find new recipes because it seems like everything is a boring version of the same thing. That being said, Mexican Mac and Cheese?!?!?! So not boring! I used this recipe from TheWellFedNewlyweds. for inspiration, and switched it up a little bit and adjusted it to feed a family of 5. This is how I made it!


    1 lb large macaroni shells pasta
    2 tsp. vegetable oil
    1 medium red onion, diced
     4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 jalapeno, chopped (I left it in big pieces, so my kids could pick it out.)
    1 tsp. cumin
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    2 T. flour
    2 1/2 cups milk
    6 T. cream cheese, diced
    16 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded, divided
    2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    1 box of Tyson grilled chicken strips
    Salt, pepper and lime zest to taste

    Directions -

    Boil pasta as directed. Follow the "al dente" instructions.

    While your pasta is boiling, in a separate pan, saute onion and jalapeno over medium heat until your onion is translucent. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder and flour. Once this mixture is warmed through, and milk, chicken, cream cheese, 12 oz of cheese, salt, pepper and lime zest. Stir until your cheese sauce is hot and melted through. Next, add your tomatoes and pour over your drained pasta. Stir everything together and spread in an 8x10 pan. Bake for 25ish minutes until it is hot and the cheese on top is melted.

    There are a lot of ways you could mix this up! Next time, I will definitely add spinach. You could also swap out the chicken for ground beef. In a pinch, I think you could easily switch out the spices and veggies for a cup or so of jarred salsa. I love how adaptable this is!

    I served mine with Pineapple and Avocado Pico de Gallo, and it was a hit! We enjoyed restaurant quality food without the restaurant price!

    Pineapple and Avocado Pico

    A friend of mine made pineapple and avocado salsa for our Bible Study last summer. I was skeptical at first, but I was blown away by how delicious it was. When I asked her for the recipe, she basically said she didn't have one and made me guess what was in it! Ha! It's been so long since I had it that I didn't remember exactly how she made it anyway! I just sort of "winged it," and it is just as good as the first time I had it. Here is how I made it,

    Ingredients -

    1 pineapple, diced
    3 avocados, diced
    1 red onion, diced
    1 lime (zest and juice)
    2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
    Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

    (I considered using a jalapeno, but I opted not to. You could totally add one if you want something more spicy!)

    Instructions --

    (Are you ready for this?)

    Combine ingredients and stir!

    This makes a good sized batch to share at a party or take on a picnic! I will serve this as an appetizer before a new dinner we are trying out tonight, but I'm thinking we will use any leftovers on black bean tacos tomorrow. It's going to be awesome!

    See more recipes at

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Favorite Recipes from Easters Past

    I haven't decided quite yet what recipes I will be making for our Easter dinner this year, but I did promise I'd take dessert! Stay tuned on that one! I'm trying to minimize what work I am doing this year because I have little people singing in the choir in three services this year, so I think I'll stick only to two desserts. If you're looking for inspiration, here are some of our other favorites! I just won't be making them this year!

    Ina Garten's Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake

    Charoset (Apples and Walnut Salad)

    Paula Deen's Banana Pudding