Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swiss and Cheddar Quiche with Bacon


1/2 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust (or make your own)
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 whole green onions, chopped
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese, divided
4 ounces (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, divided
6 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Let piecrust come to room temperature (about 15 minutes) and roll out slightly to make the round a little bit larger. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold edges under and crimp. Poke several holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Bake for 7 minutes; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. Cook bacon pieces in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle green onions, bacon, 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese into the baked crust.
4. Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, salt, peppers and nutmeg. Pour into the crust; sprinkle with remaining Swiss and cheddar cheeses.
5. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Let stand for about 10 minutes before slicing.


*If you can find Applewood Smoked Bacon, it makes a world of difference in the flavor of this quiche- completely delicious.
Source: (Adapted from Southern Living)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Strawberry & Cream Angel Cake

3 cups fresh strawberries, divided
4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp.  zest and 1 Tbsp. juice from 1 orange
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping
1   prepared angel food cake (10 inch), cut horizontally in half
CHOP enough strawberries to measure 2 cups. Refrigerate remaining whole berries for later use.
BEAT Neufchatel, sugar, zest and juice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add COOL WHIP; beat on low speed just until blended. Gently stir in chopped berries. Spread about 2/3 of the COOL WHP mixture onto bottom half of cake. Cover with top of cake and remaining COOL WHIP

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate (Or 1 pkg chocolate chips and omit the sugar)
1/4 cup  butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup  milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp.  vanilla
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
ADD sugar (unless using chocolate chips), milk and cream; stir until well blended. Microwave 5 min. or until sauce is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved, stirring after 3 min. Stir in vanilla.
SERVE immediately.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snickers Bar Pie

Snickers Bar Pie

Yield: 2 pies
Prep Time: 25 min
This pie won a blue ribbon in the kid's division at the San Diego County Fair, and it also received a 2nd place prize in a community pie contest.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter
3 regular-sized Snickers candy bars, chopped
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed (or about 8 cups of stiffly whipped, sweetened cream)
Two prepared graham cracker pie crusts or chocolate cookie pie crusts
chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, chopped snickers and chopped peanuts for garnish


1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese sugar and peanut butter until creamy.
2. Stir in chopped candy bars.
3. Gently fold in the whipped cream just until mixed.
4. Divide between the two crusts. Drizzle chocolate and caramel syrup on top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and additional chopped snickers. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.


*For the pie pictured, I made a crust out of Chocolate Teddy Grahams. 2 cups of ground Teddy Grahams, 1 stick of melted butter & 2 Tablespoons sugar, mixed together and pressed into a pie plate. Baked at 350 F. for 7 minutes, and cooled before adding filling.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cranberry Orange Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup walnuts, chopped, optional
1 cup fresh cranberries, sliced in half


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 9x5-inch bread pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, water, orange juice, oil, egg and orange zest; mix well. Stir dry ingredients into wet and stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts (if using) and cranberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.


*Greasing the bottom of the pan only and not the sides helps to avoid the bread from falling in the center.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Cookies- Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Nicknamed "Black Friday Cookies," these treats can be mixed up and baked rather quickly to enjoy after a long day of shopping on Black Friday... the day after the American Thanksgiving.


3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat mats). If you use parchment paper, give it a light swoosh of nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar with cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in egg whites (start w/ just two) and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened. You're looking for a brownie-like, thick and fudgy batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white-- then a 4th one if it still seems too thick. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
3. Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet. I like to use a spring-release cookie scoop. Bake about 14 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


*If you're baking this as a "gluten-free" recipe, just make sure that the brand of chocolate chips you are using is gluten free.
*Let the cookies cool completely before you attempt to remove them from the mat or the parchment. They're delicate, so gently peeling the paper away from the cookie works best.
Source: (Adapted from Francois Payard's Chocolate Epiphany )

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pepperoni Dip


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, and oregano. Spread cream cheese mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Spread pizza sauce evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Arrange the pepperoni, onion and green bell pepper over the sauce.
3. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese on top. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.


*Add black olives if you'd like.
*Great served with Fritos Scoops (dip-worthy corn chips).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sea Glass Jello


3 (3 ounce) boxes Jell-O or generic store-brand gelatin (any colors you'd like)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (substitutions will not work)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (Knox brand, in the Jell-O aisle)

Directions: (see step-by-step at

1. In three separate containers (use rectangular tupperware or pyrex loaf pans), mix jello package with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir each until dissolved and then refrigerate until firm (at least 4 hours, or overnight).
2. Once the jello flavors are firm, use a sharp knife to cut the jello into small squares (1/2-inch or so).
3. Spray a 9x13-inch pyrex pan lightly with nonstick spray. Use a metal spatula to scoop out the jello squares and place them into the prepared pan. Mix the colors up so they're not bunched all together.
4. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup of cold water. Sprinkle in 2 envelopes of gelatin and stir. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water to the bowl and stir until dissolved. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and let cool.
5. Pour the white gelatin mixture over the cubes of jello and let it fill up the pan. Refrigerate overnight. Slice the jello into squares and serve. These are firm enough to serve on a platter as a hand-held dessert.


*Because I wanted to copy the look of what is usually found in sea glass, I used orange, lime and blueberry jello. The blueberry jello only comes in a 6-ounce package, so you'll need to divide it in half. You can certainly use whatever flavors you'd like.
Source: (Adapted from The Food Librarian)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deep Dark Brownies


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
5 ounces semisweet chocolate bar, finely chopped
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x8-inch pan. Line with parchment paper and let it hang over two sides. Butter the parchment.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, combine butter and espresso powder. Heat on low and stir until butter has melted. Add chocolate, and stir constantly until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in both sugars until combined. Let cool slightly.
4. Whisk eggs and vanilla and keep moving the batter around until combined and no longer grainy-looking. Add flour mixture to batter and stir just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a greased spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a just a few moist crumbs attached (28 to 30 minutes). Don't over bake! Let cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve or store.
Source: (Adapted from Baked)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Dinner Rolls


1 cup warm water (105° F. to 115° F)
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp salt
4 to 4½ cups (or so) all-purpose flour
additional melted butter
1. Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. If it does not become foamy, your yeast is probably old and not active- it’s best to throw it out and start again.
2. With a wooden spoon, stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be needed). The dough should no longer be sticky. Place round ball of dough into a new bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days.
3. Grease a 13×9″ baking pan. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal-size pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows (4 rows by 6 rows) in the prepared pan. Cover with a dish towel and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or so). You can leave them to rise longer if you need to.
4. Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake until rolls are golden brown and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. If they are browning too quickly on top, tent foil over the rolls until finished baking. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired. Break rolls apart to serve.
Servings: 24
Cooking Tips
*In this recipe, don’t use quick-rising dry yeast.
*Before adding the yeast mixture, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the water (it’s important that it’s in the temperature range indicated)
*These rolls may be baked early in the day and re-warmed when ready to serve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Pot Italian Casserole

Recipe from a friend's blog, Recipes to Warm the Heart
What I used:
1 lb. ground beef
1tbs. minced garlic (in the jar)
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.5oz.) beef broth
1 cup water
2 cups macaroni pasta, uncooked
1 green bell pepper, sliced into chunks
1 can (6oz.) tomato paste
a hint of Italian seasoning
shredded cheese of your choice to top it all off

Brown your meat with your garlic until meat is cooked through.  Add tomatoes, broth and water, mix well.  Bring to a boil.  Add your pasta and pepper; mix well.  Cover and reduce heat to med.; simmer for 15 min. or until pasta is tender.  Add your tomato paste and Italian seasoning; mix well.  Top with your choice of cheese!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peppermint Hot Cocoa - Great gift idea!

I made this tonight, and WOW!  Had to share it right away.

1 serving of your normal hot cocoa mix (I use Carnation because Swiss Miss just isn't good enough)
1 T of crushed peppermint candies

While still in a wrapper, I put the peppermints on a cutting board and hit them with a hammer a few times.  Original, huh?  Use a plastic cutting board or your wooden one will have dents, like mine, and your glass one will shatter.  No, the glass info isn't from experience, just common sense.  Put the crushed peppermints in a bowl or Tupperware and use as needed.

Make it a Peppermint Mocha by using coffee instead of water, or a shot of espresso and milk, with chocolate syrup.  It's just that easy.  And cheap!

Need a gift idea? Layer cocoa mix and crushed peppermint candies in a jar and decorate it all fancy.

Twix Cheesecake


20 Oreo cookies (with creme filling)
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
16 chopped Twix "Fun Size" Candy Bars (2 cups total)
chocolate syrup
caramel syrup
6 chopped Twix "Fun Size" Candy Bars


1. Prepare the crust: Crush Oreos (either in a plastic bag or in a food processor) and mix with melted butter. Use your fingers to press into a 9-inch pie dish; place into the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm.
2. Prepare the filling: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar and eggs until mixture is smooth. Stir in chopped Twix bars. Pour into frozen pie crust. Bake until set, 35 to 45 minutes; let cool.
3. When pie is completely cooled, drizzle with chocolate and caramel syrup and garnish with more chopped Twix bars. Chill until firm.


*Twix bars are a shortbread and caramel cookie candy bar covered in chocolate. They're sold in the USA.
*This is a great recipe to use up a zillion Twix bars that your kids will come home with on Halloween night.
Source: (Loosely adapted from Real Simple)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Corn Dog Muffins


2 (8.5 ounce) packages corn bread mix
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
9 whole hot dogs, diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
ketchup, mustard, sour cream, honey mustard (for dipping)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease mini muffin tins.
2. In a large bowl, stir together cornbread mix and brown sugar. In a small bowl whisk together eggs and milk, and then stir into dry mixture until moistened. Mix in hot dogs and cheese.
3. Spoon a good Tablespoonful into muffin tins, making sure you get some hot dog in each spoonful.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing. For easy removal, cut around outsides of the muffins, then tip upside down onto a large cutting board & urge the muffins out using a knife to tap the bottoms of the muffin tins. They should slide right out.
5. Serve warm with desired dipping sauces.


*Alternately, you can use your favorite cornbread mix, follow the instructions on the box, add in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and mix in chopped hot dogs too. If your favorite cornbread mix doesn't have a sweet element to it, add in 2 Tbsp. brown sugar.
*You can use paper liners if you'd like.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies


1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 cup peanut butter chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a strip of parchment paper, so that it comes up two of the sides that are opposite each other. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray too.
2. Prepare the brownies: In a small bowl, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in the microwave until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir briskly until well-combined, then stir in the vanilla. Meanwhile, in a large bowl- use an electric mixer to beat together the sugar and eggs. Scrape in the partially cooled chocolate mixture and mix to combine. In separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the flour ingredients and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 22 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Prepare cookie dough layer: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter and brown sugar. Mix until creamy. Add milk and peanut butter and mix to combine. Stir in flour and salt. Spread the peanut butter cookie dough in an even layer over the cooled brownies.
4. Prepare ganache: In a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips cream and sugar for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Continue to microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each heating time. Continue heating and stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle the ganache over the peanut butter cookie dough layer and carefully spread to cover the top. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips. Refrigerate until the dough and the ganache topping are set (at least 1 hour). Use a knife to loosen the sides, then carefully grab the parchment paper and remove the whole pan of brownies to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut them into squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Source: (Adapted slightly from Food Network)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sloppy Tacos

What You Need

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar  (16 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Medium Salsa
1 pkg. (12 oz.) hamburger buns (8 buns)
1 pkg.  (6 oz.) KRAFT Singles

Make It

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain.
STIR in salsa; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.
FILL buns with meat mixture and Singles.

Pepperoni Tip

Is your pizza greasy when you use pepperoni?  Here's a great tip!  Put your slices of pepperoni on a paper towel.  Place another paper towel over them and microwave them for 30 seconds.  The grease will go onto your paper towel and not on your pizza!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole



7 ounces thin spaghetti
1 tablespoon salted butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
Two 10.75-ounce cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 cup nonfat milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, but only cook it until it's al dente (you still want a little bite to it). Drain the pasta and set it aside.
3. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix milk and soup until smooth. Add this mixture to the vegetables in the pan. Stir in cheddar cheese. Continue to heat the mixture until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add in chicken, pasta and tabasco, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle Jack cheese on top.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and golden brown.


*Turn this casserole into a day-after-Thanksgiving meal by adding leftover turkey instead of chicken.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte


1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot brewed, strong coffee
2 tablespoons half & half cream
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar, or more to taste
whipped cream, optional
ground nutmeg


1. In a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, spice and vanilla. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes- watch closely and remove it from the microwave when the milk is hot and frothy.
2. Pour the pumpkin milk into a tall mug or glass. Add hot coffee. Pour in the cream. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Stir, and taste. Add more sugar, if desired.
3. Optional, but oh so good... add whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve immediately!


*Feel free to lighten up the recipe by using nonfat milk and fat-free half & half. It won't be as rich, but it will still give you that yummy pumpkin latte flavor.
*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice in your collection of spices, make your own! Mix equal parts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg- and measure from there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Washington Apple Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
4 eggs
2/3 cup  water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream, divided
3   Granny Smith apples (1 lb.), peeled, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp.  water
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 6 ingredients and 1/2 cup sour cream in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Stir in apples; pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup fluted tube pan.
BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 min. Loosen cake from side of pan with knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool cake completely.
WHISK powdered sugar, remaining sour cream and 1 tsp. water until well blended. Drizzle over cake. Let stand until glaze is firm.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vermont Maple-Pumpkin Pie

5 NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/4 cups)
1/4 cup  butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup  sugar, divided
3 eggs, divided
1-1/4 cups  canned pumpkin
1 cup canned evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp.  pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
3 Tbsp.  chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup

Heat oven to 350.  Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate.  Beat cream cheese, 1.4 c sugar and 1 egg with mixer until well blended.  Spread onto bottom of crust.  Mix remaining sugar, eggs, pumpkin, milk and spice; carefully pour over cream cheese mixture. (Note: Crust will be full).  Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes, or until center is set.  Cool completely.  Serve topped with remaining ingredients.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Louisiana Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup  butter, melted
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
3 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla
3 eggs
1 Tbsp.  red food coloring
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
MIX cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.
MELT 4 chocolate squares as directed on package; place in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Remove 2 cups batter; mix with melted chocolate and food coloring. Carefully spread over crust; cover with remaining plain batter.
BAKE 26 to 28 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Melt remaining chocolate; drizzle over dessert. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frosting Tip

Do you ever have trouble spreading frosting on a cake?  Here's a professional cake decorating tip:

Get a tall drinking cup and fill it with hot water.  Dip your knife in hot water and then spread the frosting.  As the frosting starts to stick to the knife, dip it in water again.  Shake excess water off as much as possible, but don't worry if a little remains on the knife. 

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken & Potatoes

1 large green pepper, chopped
1 lb.  red potatoes (about 3), very thinly sliced
1 tsp. paprika
8 small  bone-in chicken thighs (2 lb.), skin removed
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 lb.  (4 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup  chopped fresh parsley
PLACE peppers in slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray; top with potatoes. Sprinkle paprika over chicken. Place 4 thighs in slow cooker; cover with soup and remaining thighs. Cover with lid.
COOK on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).
USE slotted spoon to transfer chicken and vegetables to platter; cover to keep warm. Set slow cooker on HIGH heat. Add VELVEETA and Worcestershire sauce to reserved liquid in slow cooker; stir. Cover with lid; cook 5 min. Stir until VELVEETA is completely melted and sauce is well blended. Spoon over chicken and vegetables; top with parsley.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1/4 cup  oil
3 eggs
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp.  vanilla
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp.  ground cinnamon
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 5 ingredients with mixer until well blended; spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
BAKE 20 to 22 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely.
BEAT cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in cinnamon. Spread over cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Thanks to Wendy and Recipe Girl for this recipe!
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquidy. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake.
When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.


*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!
*It's best if you pour the batter onto your skillet, wait a minute or so and then swirl the cinnamon onto the batter. That'll give it a chance to set a little before you add the swirl.
*If your baggie of filling begins to get too thick, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up again. On that same note, it shouldn't be too runny. The consistency of soft toothpaste is perfect. If it's melty and runny, it will tend to run all over your pancakes. Once you micro it, let it sit on the counter at room temp for a while until it thickens slightly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta - version 2

This recipe is from my friend Wendy at Recipes to Warm the Heart.

1 lb. Pasta (You can use many different kinds if you so choose.)
1 cup Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed
1 cup bacon, cooked and cut up
1 1/2 cups Milk
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Dash of Seasoned salt
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Butter, melted 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta; cook until al dente.  Drain and return to the pot. While Pasta is cooking go ahead and cook your chicken and bacon.  Add in the chicken and bacon to your pasta and mix well.

Preheat your broiler. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and garlic powder over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes a smooth texture (about 5 minutes). Stir into the pasta mixture. Add in the Mozzarella cheese and seasoned salt along with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer pasta to a 9x13 baking dish and top with Italian bread crumbs. Pour melted butter over crumbs and broil until browned, around 5 minutes or so. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole- version 1

1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Lower Sodium Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 can  (10-3/4 oz.) reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp. GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
1 lb.  boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups small fresh broccoli florets
12 slices  OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Smoked Ham, chopped
6 KRAFT Extra Thin Swiss Cheese Slices
HEAT oven to 375ºF.
PREPARE stuffing as directed on package.
MIX soup and mustard in medium bowl; stir in chicken, broccoli and ham. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with cheese and stuffing.
BAKE 35 to 40 min. or until heated through.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1   onion, chopped
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp.  yellow mustard
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
8 slices  OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
4 cups (1/2 of 32-oz. pkg.) frozen bite-size seasoned potato nuggets
HEAT oven to 400ºF.
BROWN meat with onions in skillet; drain. Stir in ketchup and mustard; spoon into 9-inch square baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
TOP with remaining ingredients.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until casserole is heated through and potato nuggets are golden brown.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ranch Potato Salad

I've been looking for this recipe for the longest time. I LOVE IT!  Especially if you're not usually a potato salad fan.  I know its a little late for the picnic food, but I'm posting it anyway!

  • 2 pounds new or red potatoes cooked,and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • ¾ cup Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover.
Add the salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, green onion, and dressing together until well coated. Chill covered for at least 1 hour.

Season with salt to taste and serve garnished with chives and freshly ground pepper.

This recipe was found at Hidden Valley

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cinnamon Bread

I got this recipe from Melissa Witcher's blog Redfly Creations.

Cinnamon Bread
makes 2 loaves


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon 

Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs.  Add milk, flour, and baking soda.  Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan).  Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan.  Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping.  Swirl with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min.  or until toothpick tester come clean.  
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.
Or you can make this bread in muffin tins to make it a little easier to freeze and take out as needed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Nuts – pecan halves (or any other type of nut)
Mini pretzels
Rolo chocolate candies
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Unwrap your Rolos – try not to eat all of them. Place pretzels on the baking sheet in one layer. Top each pretzel with a Rolo. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the chocolate just begins to melt. The Rolo candy should be soft but not completely melted. Remove from oven, carefully use a spatula to lift the pretzels on cooling rack and immediately squish the Rolo candy with a nut. Watch the caramel ooze out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shortbread Candy Bars (Great for leftover Halloween candy)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/4 t salt
2 cups flour
1 c chocolate chips
2 cups assorted chocolate candies, or roughly chopped candy bars


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and salt on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. With mixer on low, add flour in three additions and beat until combined (dough will be crumbly). Press dough evenly into an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake until golden brown and firm, 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Scatter chocolate chips on top of shortbread. Bake until soft, 1 minute. With the back of a spoon, spread chocolate evenly over shortbread. Scatter candies over top. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate briefly to set chocolate, then cut into 16 bars.
From Everyday Food