Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Caramel Chex Mix

My daughter brought this home from a Young Women activity one evening.  They had made it and she loved it.

1 box Corn Chex
1 box Wheat Chex
1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1.  Mix cereal together in a large baking dish.
2.  Cook butter, brown sugar and corn syrup on medium-high heat stirring constantly until it becomes a little frothy and then add baking soda.  Continue to stir until baking soda is mixed in well.  It will become very frothy.
3.  Pour over cereal and mix well.  I pour 1/3 of the caramel over the cereal at a time.  Bake at 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes and mix again.
4.  Pour onto parchment paper and let cool.  You can add chocolate chips, M&M minis, coconut, or nuts if you like.

Chicken Parmesan

Found this little gem over on

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
4 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, or more if needed
1 cup olive oil for frying
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup grated provolone cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1.  Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy plastic on a solid, level surface.  Firmly pound chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/2-inch.  Season chicken thoroughly with salt and papper.
3.  Beat eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside.
4.  Mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan in a separate bowl, set aside.
5.  Place flour in a sifter or strainer; sprinkle over chicken breasts, evenly coating both sides.
6.  Dip flour coated chicken breast in beaten eggs.  Transfer breast to breadcrumb mixtrue, pressing the crumbs into both sides.  Repeat for each breast.  Set aside breaded chicken breasts for about 15 minutes.
7.  Heat 1 cup olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until it begins to simmer.  Cook chicken until golden, about 2 minues on each side.  The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
8.  Place chicken in a baking dish and top each breast with about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce.  Layer each chicken breast with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and provolone cheese.  Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese on top and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
9.  Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is browned and bubbly, and chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes:  I didn't have fresh basil so I used dried in a much smaller amount.  I also didn't have fresh mozzarella so I used shredded.  It all still tasted great so any variation will probably work.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Yummy Meatballs

This recipe was made for a recent Young Women Funderaiser dinner.  For that event, they cooked them in crockpots and that is the recipe and directions that I'll post.  However, I thought of them as a last minute idea and was able to make them on the stove in a shorter period of time.  It works either way and they are DELICIOUS!!!

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vinegar
4 tsp. prepared mustard
1 cup BBQ sauce
4 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 pckg.  frozen meatballs

Combine ingredients and pour over meatballs in crock pot.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, stirring the meatballs to coat evenly every 45 minutes to an hour.

Notes:  If you make these on the stovetop, just cook/heat the frozen meatballs in the oven first while making the sauce and then combine the two.  Or, you could make homemade meatballs as well.  They just need to be cooked before going into the sauce if you are doing them over the stovetop.  I served these with rice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

From Boxed Cake Mix to Bakery-Worthy Cake

Found this amazing tip over at Midget Momma.  I've tried it.  I love it.  It's an amazing tip and one that I think everyone should use.  It's easy to make those boxed cake mixes taste amazing!

1 box cake mix
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
Dash of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
3 whole eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease cake pans.
2.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3.  In your mixer bowl, place your wet ingredients.
4.  Add half of the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl with the wet ingredients and mix together.
5.  Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend them in.
6.  Mix for 2 minutes on Medium speed in your mixer.
7.  Pour the batter half way in the prepared pans or 2/3 of the way in a cupcake pan.
8.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the cake) then turn the oven up to 325 degrees for about an equal amount of time.  Check to make sure that your cake is not getting too dark and keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes so that it doesn't overbake.

Strawberries and Cream Cake

This cake is absolutely divine.  I've made it three times lately and there is never any left.  I only know one person who won't eat it and that's my husband because he hates strawberries.

I found this gem over at Lauren's Latest and I'm beginning to realize that I need to visit her site more often.  It's full of great recipes.

One recipe for a white cake plus ingredients for that cake
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup fresh strawberries + more for garnish

1.  Make vanilla cake according to recipe.  Cool completely.  Slice cakes in half lengthwise to create 4 layers.

2.  Whip heavy cream with vanilla and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Remove half of the cream and set aside.  Stir diced strawberries into the remaining cream.

3.  Place one layer of cake onto a serving platter.  Spread 1/3 of the strawberries and cream filling over the top.  Add another layer of the cake and continue layering until all 4 layers are in tact.  If filling looks like it's being pushed out from the sides of the cake, simply scrape the edges to even everything out.  Frost the entire cake with the remaining plain whipped cream.  Top with sliced strawberries as a garnish.

4.  Refrigerate 4 hours to overnight to set completely (so it will cut nicely).  Slice and serve.

Notes:  I found the most amazing recipe for making any boxed cake mix taste divine and that's what I used for my white cake.  I'm posting it next.

Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti

Oh boy! This was delicious.  Takes a little time but it's not hard.  I think I got this one off of

Chicken Baked Ziti Ingredients:
12 oz. ziti (or any pasta shape)
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
1 batch alfredo sauce (see below)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Toppings such as additional shredded Parmesan, chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions for Chicken Baked Ziti:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling water according to package instructions.  Drain.  Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and alfredo sauce.  Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
3.  Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11x7-inch or 9x13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese.  Layer the remaining half of hte pasta evenly on top.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden.  Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings, if desired.

Directions for Alfredo Sauce:
1.  Heat olive oil in a large sate pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine.  Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
2.  Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth.  Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Homemade Pop Tarts

For my birthday last year, my friends and I did a cooking class in another friend's home with a certified chef.  We made these pop tarts and they were delicious!  The variety of fillings could be endless.  You could do sweet or savory, breakfast or lunch or dinner, dessert or a meal.  It's awesome.  I have yet to make them since only because I haven't had the time.  But this summer I plan on whipping up several batches of several different kinds.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pastry Ingredients:
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Directions for Pastry:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Work in the butter with your fingers, a pastry blender, or a food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it.

If you've used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured surface, if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3x5 inches.  You can roll this out immediately or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, to taste
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Directions for Cinnamon Filling:
Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and flour.

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. cold water

Directions for Jam Filling:
Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.  Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Alternate Fillings:
9 Tbsp. chocolate chips
9 Tbsp. Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste
9 Tbsp. of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or nut paste.

Assembling the Tarts:
If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes.

Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a rectangle about 1/8" thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9x12.  (You can use a 9x13 pan, laid on top, as a guide.)

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Set trimmings aside (see Notes).

Cut each piece of dough into thirds - you'll form nine 3" x 4" rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough.  This will be the "inside" of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on.  Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it.

Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.  Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle.  Repeat with the remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries.  Refrigerate the tarts (they don't need covered) for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the Tarts:
Remove the tarts from the fridge and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes until they're a light golden brown.  Cool in pan on rack.

Notes:  Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it's a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack.  While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes until they're golden brown.