Thursday, August 4, 2016

Good & Chewy Cookies

This recipe was my Nana's and my Mom says she often came home from school to these freshly baked cookies. My family loves them and I hope yours will too!

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs. Mix together flour, baking soda and power and salt, then incorporate into sugar mixture. Beat in vanilla, milk, coconut and oatmeal, then stir in Rice Krispies with a wooden spoon. Drop with a cookie scoop onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until just barely beginning to brown. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lettuce Wraps

* Adapted from Our Best Bites
2 tsp. canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
3 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bag coleslaw mix (4 c.)
1 can water chestnuts, drained and minced (8 oz.)
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onion
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced (1-2 Tbsp. juice)
1/2 tsp. Sriracha/ hot chili sauce (optional)
1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
2 heads iceburg lettuce

   Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat on stove top.  Add oil, garlic & ginger.  Saute about 30 seconds until fragrant, then add chicken(or turkey), mushrooms, and salt.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through.
   Add cole slaw, water chestnuts, and green onions.  Cook about 2 minutes, until slaw starts to wilt.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and hot sauce.
   Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
   Carefully remove individual leaves from head of lettuce.  You can use kitchen shears to trim edges if desired.  Spoon mixture into lettuce and serve with sauce below (or you can use a soy or teriyaki sauce).

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. water
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. ginger, minced

*wisk all ingredients until combined.

*Serves 6-8

Cowboy Caviar

1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 bag frozen corn
2 c. cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 large avocados
1/2 small red onion
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. lime juice
salt & pepper, to taste

*Combine all ingredients and chill in fridge a couple hours before serving.
*Great with tortilla chips, nachos, or on grilled chicken.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Skillet S'mores

This recipe has been all over the internet & has been on my Pinterest board for months. My 15 year-old daughter requested this for her birthday party, in lieu of a cake. I ended up using a bag and a half of chocolate chips because my cast iron skillet is huge. We prefer these with mini marshmallows, so you don't have to cut the large ones in half. Serves about 8.

3 Tbs. butter
1 to 1 1/2 (12 oz.) bags milk chocolate chips
3 cups marshmallows (large marshmallows, cut in half or mini marshmallows)
Graham crackers, broken into squares, for dipping

Place oven rack in the center position of oven and place 8" cast iron skillet on the rack. Preheat oven to 450°F with skillet inside. Once oven is preheated, use a pot holder to remove hot skillet from the oven. Place pat of butter in the skillet and use a pot holder to hold the handle and swirl the skillet so that the melted butter coats the bottom and sides. Pour chocolate chips in an even layer into the bottom of the skillet. Taking care not to burn fingers on the sides of the skillet, arrange marshmallow halves over the surface of the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted to your preference (watch closely!). Use an oven mitt to remove the skillet from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with graham crackers for dipping. Be careful because the dip (and skillet) will be very hot!

Grilled Marinated Chicken & Pineapple

This marinade is my Mom's for her Flank Steak, but she also uses it for this delicious meal. 
We've also added chunks of red or green peppers and it's delicious!

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. minced onion (I use 2 Tbs. dried)
3 shakes Lawry's seasoned salt

Chicken breasts or tenders
1-2 fresh pineapples, skinned and cut into spears

Mix marinade in a mixing bowl. Marinate chicken and pineapple (and peppers, if desired) in separate Ziplock bags and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Discard marinade and grill.

Chicken Rice Salad

This salad works well for a large group. We've served it at baby showers, book clubs and countless gatherings. It needs to be started the night before you serve it, so please keep that in mind:) Recipe from family friend Valerie Terry. Serves about 12-14.

Mix in a large bowl: Cover and refrigerate overnight:
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
3 c. cooked rice, with no salt added
4 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
1 (20 oz.) can well-drained crushed pineapple

Next day, add and combine well. Refrigerate until serving:
1 cup chopped celery 
1/2 cup each red & green peppers
1/2 cup seedless green grapes
1/2 cup seedless red or black grapes
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
3/4 cup cashews (optional)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

We loved this flavorful, creamy pasta! It was so quick to make 
and my whole family gave this a thumbs up!
Recipe slightly adapted from Food.comServes 8.

1 lb. penne pasta
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 (15 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 pinch pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. tomato paste
3/4 cup water
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
18 oz. fresh spinach, stems trimmed

Boil pasta until tender (7 to 10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

Meanwhile, cook onion & garlic in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until softened and transparent, about 5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes with juices, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Whisk until creamy. Add Parmesan cheese, then fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3 to 5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated with the creamy tomato sauce. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Creamy No-Cook Mints

It's St. Patrick's Day next week! It's a holiday I don't really relate to because we're not Irish, we don't drink and I think Leprechauns are silly... BUT, I'm all about making yummy green food!

These mints taste a lot like butter mints, they are super simple to make and they won't heat up your kitchen. These would be really cute in pink or blue for a baby or bridal shower. Or, leave them white and sprinkle with colored sugar for Christmas or holidays. Serve in mini cupcake liners or candy cups or on a small tray. Recipe from Cupcake Rehab. Makes 24-30 one-inch mints. Recipe is easy to double. 

3 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (I used peppermint extract)
2 drops green food coloring (or color of choice)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
superfine sugar (can sub regular granulated sugar)

Place cream cheese, extract and food coloring in bowl. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Continuing on that speed, gradually add powdered sugar and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until mixture becomes very stiff.

To make mints, shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls. Roll in superfine sugar and place on waxed paper coated in superfine sugar. Press them lightly with back of fork to flatten and to form ridges. Store mints tightly covered in the fridge. They also freeze well.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Swig {Knockoff} Sugar Cookies

I was preparing to make sugar cookies for Valentine's Day, when I came across a friend's post on Instagram. She had just visited St. George, Utah for the weekend and had posted about Swig's famous sugar cookies that I've heard so much about. I have never tried them, but I found a recipe online and made them as a dessert for my kids' lunches this week.... Then I made them again today... for Valentine's Day... which is this weekend! They are SO good! Now, I'm going to hide the rest of them in my freezer so I don't eat any more!

I like them for 2 reasons: They aren't overly sweet and I don't have to roll out the dough and cut them into shapes. Kind of lazy of me, but these do the trick. I even added some Valentine's sprinkles and VOILA... Very festive (easy) sugar cookies!

So, until I actually get to try a sugar cookie from Swig, these are my favorite little sweet treat.
Recipe slightly adapted from Tastebook (added vanilla & decreased salt in frosting). 
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

1 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbs. water
2 eggs
Dash of almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream together butter, vegetable oil, sugars, water, eggs, almond and vanilla extracts. Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture. Mix until everything is combined. Your dough should be a little crumbly and not sticky at all.

Roll a golf ball sized ball of dough and place it on your cookie sheet (I used a cookie scoop). Now it's time to give these babies their signature rough edge. Put 1/4 c. of sugar in a dish (this is in addition to the sugar listed above). Stick the bottom of a glass in it. This is going to be your cookie press.

Firmly press it into the center of your dough ball. You want your dough to spill out over the sides of the glass. If there is a lip, it's even better.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 8 minutes. I like to take mine out just before they begin to brown and let them cool for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Once they are cool, put them in the fridge.

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sour cream
About 1 (2 pound) package of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 Tbs. milk
red food coloring (optional)

Start by creaming together butter, sour cream and salt. Slowly add powdered sugar. When it gets too thick, add a splash of milk.

Alternate this process until your frosting is the desired consistency. Add 1 drop of red food coloring and whip on high for 1 minute. Frost cookies when cool and store cookies in the fridge until ready to serve.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Pies

I didn't grow up eating Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, but I do remember eating them last summer in Lake Powell and I can see the appeal. The soft, slightly spicy cookies are sandwiched around a layer of marshmallow cream! These knockoff cookies tasted even better than the boxed variety and my family loved them. I had NEVER purchased a bottle of marshmallow creme before making this recipe, and if you'd rather substitute a buttercream frosting, THIS version would be great too. Recipe from Recipe Shoebox

Soft Chewy Oatmeal Cookies:
   1/2 cup butter, softened
   1/2 cup shortening
   1 1/4 cups sugar
   3 Tbs. molasses
   2 large eggs
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   3/4 tsp. coconut extract (can use less if you don't care for coconut flavor)
   1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbs. all purpose flour
   1 cup oats, ground slightly in blender (don't skip the blending--it really makes the texture)
   2 tsp. cocoa powder
   1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
   1 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. baking soda
   3/4 tsp. salt
   1 tsp. cinnamon
   1/4 tsp. nutmeg
   1/4 tsp. ginger

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting:
   1/2 cup butter, softened
   1/2 cup shortening
   1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
   1 jar (7-ounces) marshmallow creme

In a medium bowl, whip together butter, shortening, sugar, and molasses on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract. Beat together. Add flour, blended oats, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Beat together until just mixed.

Form about 2-tablespoons of dough into balls (I didn't make them quite this big) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until they look slightly underdone. Take care not to over-bake, as they will lose their fabulous chewy texture. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

When cookies are completely cooled, place a large spoonful of marshmallow frosting on the flat side of a cookie and sandwich together with another cookie.

Whip together butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. When smooth and fluffy, add the jar of marshmallow creme and whip together until well combined.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

I have a thing for anything coconut and curry and this recipe satisfies both of those favorites. My kids and husband adored this dinner and they all asked for seconds. If you don't like shrimp, chicken would be delicious in this dish. It seemed like a lot of spice to me as I was making it, but believe me, it's perfect! Serves 6. 
Recipe very slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (reduced salt). 

For the shrimp marinade:
     1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
     1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
     1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
     2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
     1-2 pounds large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the sauce:
     1 tablespoon canola oil
     1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
     1 teaspoon ground pepper
     1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from about a 1-inch peeled piece of ginger
     1 teaspoon kosher salt
     2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
     2 teaspoons ground coriander
     1/2 teaspoon turmeric
     1 teaspoon curry powder
     1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
     1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk, light or regular
     1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked rice for serving, if desired

For the simple shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the marinade. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over hot, cooked rice, if desired.

Egg, Bacon and Broccoli Bake

We liked this savory casserole, stuffed with broccoli, peppers and bacon. 
Serves 6. Recipe slightly adapted from

4 green onions, chopped, divided
6 corn tortillas (6 inch), cut in half
2 cups small broccoli florets
3/4 cup finely chopped red peppers
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
8 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream, divided
1 cup finely shredded cheese (such as cheddar-Jack or Mexican)
Salsa (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Reserve 1 Tbsp. onions for later use. Place 6 tortilla halves on bottom of 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray; cover with remaining onions, broccoli, peppers and bacon.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl; stir in 1/3 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup cheese. Pour over ingredients in pan; top with remaining tortilla halves and cheese. Cover.

Bake 45 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, uncovering after 30 min. Sprinkle with reserved onions. Serve topped with remaining sour cream & salsa.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to try new recipes and to mix it up, but my husband would choose basic chocolate chip cookies every time! To satisfy my need to branch out, I tried {and loved} these soft cookies. The addition of sour cream lends a cake-like texture to an otherwise "typical" cookie. I doubled and adapted the original recipe, because making just 2 dozen cookies (and half bags of chocolate chips) is a waste of time, in my opinion. They also freeze very well. Makes 4 dozen cookies. Recipe from

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, or 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream 

2 cups chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. 

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with sour cream, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Cover, and freeze for 10 minutes.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until centers are set and cookies are pale golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

No-Cream Pasta Primavera

If you're looking for a healthy dinner that's full of fresh vegetables and bursting with the flavors of lemon, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs, this is your dish! My kids loved it and it would be elegant enough to serve to company. Serves 6. Recipe very slightly adapted from

1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta ( I use Dreamfield's low-carb pasta)
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned (I used the whole pepper)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
5 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil*
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley*
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a bowl, toss squash, zucchini, carrot, red bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, and asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Arrange vegetables on the baking sheet, and roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender.

Heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender. 

Mix in cooked pasta, lemon zest, basil, parsley, and balsamic vinegar. Gently toss and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with roasted vegetables and sprinkle with Romano cheese to serve.

*I LOVE fresh herbs, but if you want to substitute dried basil and parsley, use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of each.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Marinated Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad

We recently purchased a new grill and have been grilling up a storm. It's amazing the cooking possibilities it opens up. This, in my opinion, is the perfect summer dish: Fresh ingredients with lots of flavor; great dish for entertaining. I realize as I'm posting this that I should have posted it earlier. Hopefully it is still grilling weather wherever you are. If not, keep this on the back burner for next summer. 

4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup medium barley
2 cups fresh or frozen-then-thawed corn kernels
1-1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup minced red onion
4 slices cooked thick or center cut bacon, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
salt & pepper to taste 
Tomato Vinaigrette: 
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red onion
salt & pepper to taste
1-Cook barley with a pinch of salt according to package directions. Drain when barley is tender to make sure all excess water is removed. Place into a large bowl to cool slightly.
2- Make the Tomato Vinaigrette: Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor or blender, then process until smooth. Place 6 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette into a plastic bag and set the remaining aside. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt & pepper, then add it to the bag with the vinaigrette and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3-Meanwhile stir corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and bacon into the cooled barley. Add enough of the reserved tomato vinaigrette to coat and stir well. Gently fold in avocado then season with salt & pepper to taste. Place into the refrigerator.
4-Heat a grill to high and grill chicken for 4-5 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes off the grill, then divide salads onto plates and top with grilled chicken.

recipe from:  Iowa Girl Eats

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Chicken

This is our favorite recipe for grilled chicken.  I like it so much that I braved 95 degree heat with 70% humidity to grill this for dinner last week. We have been eating it pretty much once a week all summer. If you don't have a grill you could use a grill pan on your stove. Don't forget to serve a side of the warm balsamic sauce for dipping along side the chicken. So good! 


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. In a sauce pan, combine balsamic vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir then simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about 1/3.
  2. Season chicken by lightly sprinkling it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium heat and place the meat on the grill. Use a pastry brush to brush each piece of chicken with some of the balsamic bbq sauce.
  4. The chicken will need to cook until it reaches 160 degrees which was about 8 minutes on each side. As the chicken is cooking, brush each side with sauce every few minutes.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked through, allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Be sure to serve the remaining warm balsamic bbq sauce for dipping.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cookie Tutorial

I've always liked to cook, but I really love to bake! My Mom often made freshly baked cookies for us when we were growing up and now I equate the smell of warm cookies to comfort, home and smiling kids. The cookies that remind me of my Mom are her Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Good & Chewy Cookies or Oatmeal Chipper Cookies. She always jokes that she should have blue fur and googly eyes!
I love putting a homemade cookie in my kids' lunches for school and we almost always have cookies on hand for unexpected company, late-night homework sessions or an after-school snack. Making cookies as often as I do has helped me figure out what works best, so I thought I'd share some helpful tips to take your cookies to the next level of AMAZING:)
  1. Use a cookie scoop. This simple tool will make your cookies look uniform in size. I have medium and a small scoops that I love from Pampered Chef, but I've also seen good scoops at Wal-Mart, Target and some grocery stores. My medium cookie scoop is also my secret weapon when making muffins, as it measures the perfect amount of batter for the muffin tin.
  2. Use parchment paper, if using a metal cookie sheet. It keeps your cookie sheet clean, keeps cookies from sticking and eliminates the need for cooking spray. Costco sells a large roll that will last for years, but you can also find it at the grocery store. Parchment paper is magic as a pan liner when making brownies or bar cookies as well. Simply lift the paper with the baked brownies onto a cutting board and you can easily cut them into neat squares. I also use parchment paper when making a favorite recipe, Oven Omelet Roll.
  3. My first choice of cookie sheet is actually a baking stone like this one from Pampered Chef (I have nothing to do with the company, but I love several of their products). When I bake multiple batches of cookies, the cookies baked on the stone turn out more uniform, don't burn cookies on the bottom (as metal cookie sheets tend to) and stay softer even longer than cookies baked on a metal sheet. 
  4. Chill the cookie dough, if possible. Even if you stick the cookie dough in the fridge (or freezer!) while you heat up the oven, it will help. Chilled cookie dough holds its shape better and the cookies tend to bake up fluffier and won't go flat. 
  5. Bake cookies in the top half of your oven. In my ovens, I use the second spot from the top for the oven rack. This helps prevent the cookies from burning on the bottom, and speaking of that...
  6. Always set your oven timer for less time than the recipe says and don't over-bake the cookies. I like to take them out of the oven just before the cookies begin to brown and let them sit on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing them with a metal spatula to cool on a cooling rack. 
  7. Let the cookies cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. I use a piece of parchment paper in between the layers of cookies so they don't stick together. 

Well, I hope that inspires you to make a hot batch of cookies:) We have 
so many good recipes here to try! Happy baking!!!

Bacon-Topped Petite Turkey Meatloaf

This meal thrilled my whole family for 2 reasons: First, this meatloaf is flavorful and not dry and second, it's topped with BACON! Winner! I've made this 4 times and it literally gets cheers from my kids & the hubby when I serve it. Recipe slightly adapted from

3/4 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with a paper towel
2 Tablespoons onion, minced
2 Tablespoons red pepper, diced 
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 large egg
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1.3 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
5 slices center-cut bacon, cut in half
2 1/2 Tablespoons barbecue sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a petite loaf pan with oil (If you don't have one, a muffin tin would work) and set aside.

In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment), mix the zucchini, onion, red pepper, breadcrumbs, BBQ sauce, egg, paprika and salt. Add the turkey and combine just until mixed through. 

Divide meatloaf mixture evenly between 5 loaves and smooth tops with a spoon. Place 2 bacon halves over each loaf and top each with 1/2 Tablespoon additional BBQ sauce.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Serves 5. 

Nutritional information per loaf: *Calories: 259 *Fat: 10 g *Carbs: 17 g *Fiber: 1.2 g. *Protein: 25 g *Sodium: 940 mg.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Boston Brown Bread

If you've ever eaten at The Cheesecake Factory, you've probably tasted their DIVINE brown bread they serve as an appetizer. I was looking for a similar recipe and found this slightly sweet and definitely delicious bread that my whole family loves! Makes one (9 x 5") loaf. 
Recipe from

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan, knocking out excess flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and brown sugar. Mix in molasses and buttermilk until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for one hour, or until done. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Fresh Apple Cookies

I am shocked it's been so long since anyone has posted a recipe here! I use this blog for meal planning every week and I'm grateful for a collection of amazing recipes. THANK YOU readers for not losing hope! We still have about 150-300 readers each day. Now that school has started for my kids, I will be posting all the fun recipes I made over the summer. I'm starting with this one because it seems like a great cookie for FALL! They taste a lot like a Snickerdoodle cookie, but with fresh apples! Recipe from my friend Marlynn Avery.

1/2 cup shortening (I sub butter)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 apple, peeled and grated 

Roll cookies in: 
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream shortening and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add vanilla, flour, soda, salt and baking powder. Grate apple and mix in. Roll into 1 inch balls. Dough will be moist. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 25-30 cookies.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage and Peppers

My cute Mother-in-law gave me this wonderful recipe from I love that it only uses one pan and it could be a meal all by itself. I have served it with a green salad or with a slice of french bread, but it's hearty and filling enough to stand alone as well. I used the Aidell's Chicken & Apple sausage that I can find at Costco.

  • 1.5 pounds (about 3 large) potatoes, russet or new (I used Yukon Gold)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered, layers separated
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. chopped rosemary (fresh or dry)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 pound Italian chicken sausage, each link cut into 6-7 slices (I used Aidell's Chicken & Apple Smoked sausage)
Cut the potatoes into small 1" x 1/2 inch pieces. These take the longest to cook so cutting them small ensures everything cooks evenly. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray one large non-stick baking sheet, or two small ones with olive oil spray to prevent the potatoes from sticking.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onions, peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic powder. Mix well to be sure everything is coated with oil and seasoned evenly. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the center of the oven; bake for 15 minutes.

Use a spoon to toss so nothing sticks or burns.

Add the sausage to the baking sheet with the potatoes and vegetables and bake, tossing once or twice for 25-35 minutes, or until your potatoes are cooked through. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your potatoes and sausage, keep an eye so they don't burn.

4 servings: 324 calories per serving, 11.4 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 33 g. carbohydrate, 4 g. fiber
WW Points +: 8

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

It's getting HOT here in Southern California and I love using my slow-cooker when it's too warm to turn on my oven! This recipe is simple and the chicken turns out so moist, sweet and flavorful. We all really loved this one and I hope you will too! Recipe from

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Line a crock pot with a Reynold's Slow Cooker liner for easy clean up. Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper and put into slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil and garlic. Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot but leave the sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce.

Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces (it should fall apart with a fork), then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles. Serves 4-5.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fruit Salsa & Baked Cinnamon Chips

My family has made this recipe for as long as I can remember. It's an impressive snack to serve at a party and easy to customize to your taste. The "recipe" is just a guideline, so feel free to use fruit that's in season or whatever sounds good to you:) I'd recommend making the Cinnamon Chips a few hours ahead of time so they get nice and crisp.  

Baked Cinnamon Chips:
Flour tortillas (I think thick, store-bought tortillas work best)
softened butter or butter spread
cinnamon & sugar, mixed

Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread each tortilla with butter using a rubber spatula and sprinkle generously with cinnamon & sugar. Cut into 2 inch strips using a pizza cutter. I cut either end into a long strip, then cut each strip in half. Then, I cut the remaining piece into strips and then into thirds (SEE PHOTO BELOW). 
Arrange on prepared baking sheet in single layer and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Here's the slightly TRICKY part: These are best when they are crisp, but they are not good when they burn! Keep a close eye on them so they don't get too brown. 

While one pan of tortilla strips is baking, get the next pan ready to go.

When baked, remove tortilla strips from the oven and cool on the pan or remove to a baking sheet. As I mentioned, these are great if they sit out for a few hours before serving so they get a little crisp. 
Fruit Salsa:

strawberries, hulled and chopped
blackberries, coarsely chopped
apples, diced (I use a combination of green and red apples and I leave the skin on)
fresh oranges, peeled, sectioned and coarsely chopped
kiwi, peeled and diced
pineapple (fresh: peeled and chopped) or (canned: tidbits, well-drained)
mango, peeled and chopped

Drain fruit well and combine. I usually add a little brown sugar or powdered sugar. Serve as soon as possible or refrigerate until serving.

Skinny Baked Zucchini Sticks

This is a yummy snack or appetizer that we can't get enough of! These zucchini sticks are baked instead of fried and they are a fun way to eat your vegetables. Recipe from

3 medium zucchini sliced into 3" x 1/2" sticks
1 large egg white
1/3 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
cooking spray
1/4 tsp garlic powder
fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, place breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cheese and shake well. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer and spray more cooking spray on top. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with 1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping.

Servings: 3 • Size: 1 zucchini (sauce extra) • Points+: 3 pts • Calories: 121.9 • Fat: 2.4 • Carbs: 21.0 g • Fiber: 6.0 • Protein: 6.7 g
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