Monday, December 24, 2012

5 Ingredient Reese's Cup Freezer Pie

From: Coupon Cousins

1 Keebler chocolate cookie pie crust
1 large box of instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

In a large bowl, mix the pudding with the milk. Whisk in the Cool Whip. Unwrap the Reese's Cups (about 15 large ones or 25 of the minis) and chop them roughly. Fold the chopped candy into the pudding mix. Pour all into the pie crust. Top with a few more chopped Reese's. Store in the freezer until about 15 minutes before serving.

2012-12-04 09.09.21

Thumbs UP!! Oh, yuuuuum. This was so delicious and SO easy to make! I will absolutely make this again in the future. Oh, and I do realize the "large box of pudding" is kind of vague... I used the 4 oz (give or take an ounce) box and it was just fine. I'm sure the larger box of pudding would be fine to use as well. HIGHLY recommend this!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


From: Smitten Kitchen

2 1/4 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

Optional, for even more of a ginger kick: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (with the wet ingredients) or 1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger (with the dry ingredients).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until fluffy, about three minutes on medium. Add egg and molasses and beat until combined. Add dry ingredient and beat at low speed until just combined. Thoroughly scrape down bowl, ensuring ingredients are evenly mixed.

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Transfer your cookie dough to plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least two hours, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and spread at least two inches apart on baking sheets that have either been greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, which is a long range. In the 10 to 12 range, the cookies will be softer. In the 13 to 15 range, a bit snappier. In both cases, you’ll want to leave them on their baking sheets for long enough that they’re firm enough to be transferred to a cooling rack with a spatula, anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Cool cookies completely before packing up.

2012-11-21 11.19.06

Thumbs up! I am not a huge fan of gingersnaps, but my mom is, so I made these in honor of her! And she did enjoy them. :)  They were extremely simple to make, and you can even freeze the balls of dough up to 2 weeks and just bake them as you need them. Doesn't get much better than that.

The day before I made this recipe I realized I didn't have any allspice. I almost went and bought some, but the market with bulk bins was closed for the night. Then I realized how easy it is to make your own allspice:

2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves

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I had whole cloves, but I just ground it all together with my mortar and pestle and it worked perfectly. No more purchasing allspice for this gal!

Brownie Mix in a Jar

Easy and yummy gift that can be used for everything from Christmas to housewarming to secret sister to "just because"!

Brownie Mix in a Jar
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Layer other ingredients in a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the flour mixture. Note: Be sure to wipe out the inside of the jar with a dry paper towel after adding the cocoa powder.

Here are the instructions to attach to the jar:

*Brownie Mix in a Jar
*Empty jar of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl.
*Use your hands to thoroughly blend mix.
*Add 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted.
*Add 4 eggs, slightly beaten. Mix until completely blended.
*Spread batter into a sprayed 9x13 inch baking pan.
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Makes 2 dozen.

Barbecue Chili With Corn

From: Here

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 can (22 oz) southern pit barbecue grilling beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 box frozen corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups corn chips

In heavy 3-quart saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese and corn chips. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender. Top individual servings with cheese and corn chips.

2012-12-11 12.06.31

Thumbs UP!! Oh man, there is NOTHING bad about this recipe. I did use venison instead of beef, and canned corn instead of frozen. It is such a simple recipe but I devoured this. Actually, all of us did! I highly recommend this recipe and I'll definitely be making this again in the future!  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Double Thumbprint Cookies

From: Here

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1/4-1/3 cup cherry jam or preserves, or seedless raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. For each cookie on an ungreased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet place 2 dough balls side by side with one side touching. Press thumbs into each ball to form an indentation in each. Press in center of each with thumb and taper bottom of cookie with fingers to form a heart shape. Repeat with remaining dough balls, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack. While warm, fill each indentation with jam or preserves. Cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.

Thumbs up! Although making the heart shape is a lot of trouble. It's cute for Valentine's Day or your anniversary, but for an everyday dessert, I say go with the regular one thumbprint cookie. Also, I prefer peanut butter jammies over these shortbread cookies, but to each his or her own. My mom loves the shortbread instead, so I like switching between recipes. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

From: Here

For the chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 cup flour
2tsp salt
2tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the egg wash:
2 eggs
4 tbsp water

For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 – 4 cloves minced garlic

3/4-1 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
¼ cup soy sauce

1 tsp ground black pepper

Combine the flour and spices together in a medium bowl. Prepare the egg wash by gently beating together the eggs and water. Pound the chicken breasts so that they are even and season with salt and pepper. Dip the meat into the flour mixture, followed by the egg wash, and one more time in the flour mixture. If you need to, press the flour mixture into the meat to get good contact. 

Heat a skillet with a half of an inch of canola oil covering the bottom. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and  fry the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Since the meat was pounded thinly, it should not take longer than that. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Combine the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan, cook slightly, making sure the garlic does not brown. To the garlic, add the honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Simmer together for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Dip the cooked chicken breasts into the sauce and serve over noodles or rice.


Neutral. I thought I would devour this chicken because of the name. Double crunch? I love crunchy chicken! Honey garlic? Perfection! Although the flavor wasn't bad it was hard to get the skin and the chicken to come off in one piece, if that makes sense. And the flavor just wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't a favorite of anyone else in the family either, so I'll just mark this one off as "done" and move to the next recipe. But I would certainly not tell anyone else to not make it - it just didn't fit our family.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes

From: Here

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 & 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
10 grinds black pepper – coarse 

Peel the sweet potatoes and slice about 1 & ¼ inches thick. Add ½ teaspoon salt to water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add potato slices and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until somewhat softened. Remove carefully to a wire rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Blend the topping ingredients together really well with a fork, making to sure to get the sugar completely incorporated. Line a large, heavy sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a flat bottomed bowl, slightly mash each potato slice, taking care that they stay intact. Drizzle each slice with a mixture of the butter and oil and sprinkle evenly with ½ of the topping mixture. Make sure you avoid getting the topping on the sheet between the slices if possible – it will burn and smoke before the potatoes are done.
Gently turn over each slice, drizzle with the remaining butter/oil mixture and sprinkle with the remaining seasonings.
Roast at 375° for 20 minutes, carefully flip each slice and return to oven for about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Thumbs up! I didn't get a picture of the finished product unfortunately. But these were such a great little snack during the day. Delicious and healthy! You can't go wrong! I love finding new ways to eat sweet potatoes. I'll definitely be making these again!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup - Panera Style

From: Here


  • 2 T. Butter, melted
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 4 c. half and half
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups, julienned carrots
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Saute onion in butter.  Set aside.   Whisk butter and flour over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Stir constantly and slowly add half and half.  Add chicken stock, still whisking. Simmer 20 minutes.

Add broccoli, carrots and onion.  Cook over low heat until veggies are tender – about 20-25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  The soup will have thickened by now.

Carefully transfer soup mixture to blender and puree.  Return soup to pot (or crockpot) over low heat.  Add cheese.  Stir until well blended.  Add nutmeg right before serving.

2012-10-09 19.25.35

Thumbs up! Oh man, what a delicious, delectable soup! I do love the soup at Panera and although I'm not sure this is the real recipe, it is DIVINE. Definitely will be making this again in the future!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

From: Made It. Ate It. Loved It.

Chicken Breading:
3-5 chicken breast
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil

Rinse chicken, trim off fat or extras and then cut into 1 inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken into cornstarch and coat all the way. Dip into eggs. Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chicken until browned. Place in baking dish. Three chicken breasts can be in a 9x9 dish  but five chicken breasts fit better in a 9x13 pan.

3/4 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Whisk until smooth. Then pour evenly over chicken. Turn chicken so the sauce gets on both sides and then put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and then cook for 15 more minutes. 

2012-10-29 20.06.45

Verdict: Thumbs up!! Oh my goodness, sweet and sour chicken is one thing I can go crazy over at Chinese buffets. But now that I can make my own (and it tastes just as good!) I will eat more sushi and wontons at my next buffet!

Look - I have tried other varieties of sweet and sour chicken (Here and Here) but I will never make another kind again. I am obsessed with this recipe.

Also, the best part of this recipe! Only myself and Hunter really like the chicken with sauce. Stephen and Brianna would rather just have the chicken nuggets. So what I can do is go ahead and make the chicken nuggets - either using this recipe with the cornstarch, or using my faithful recipe I've used for years. Then I just set out 12-15 nuggets, spread this sauce over them and cook them for 10-15 minutes (even after I've already fried them in the skillet) just to let the sauce caramelize. Then two people can have regular chicken nuggets, and two can have the sweet and sour, and it doesn't take any extra time.

And the sauce is delicious over rice, too!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

From: Here

Cake Ingredients:
2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
4 Tbsp pineapple juice
2/3 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup stick butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple rings
6 maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin tins with nonstick spray.

In a mixing bowl, add eggs, white sugar, and pineapple juice. Beat for two minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and turn mixer back on for two minutes.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar. Stir on low heat for one minute.

Spoon a layer of the brown sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin, then place a pineapple ring on top. (I sliced my pineapple slices into little chunks.) Add a cherry in the middle of each pineapple. Pour cake mixture over and fill the muffin tin to about 3/4 of the way full.

2012-11-22 09.27.23

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake to help loosen in case it sticks a little. (I didn't need to do this at all.) Place a wire cooling rack on top, and quickly flip over. You may want to place something underneath the wire rack to catch any drippings... although I will tell you I do NOT recommend using wax paper. It made my wire rack slip and I had to eat all four of the mini cakes that fell on the floor. I was devastated.

2012-11-22 09.49.49

2012-11-22 10.09.14

Thumbs up! Ohhhh my goodness. Bite-size pineapple upside down cake? Life is good. That's all I have to say about this. HIGHLY recommend you make these!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cherry Swirl Coffee Cake

From: Betty Crocker

4 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
3 eggs
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp milk

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 1 (15x10x1-inch) pan or 2 (9-inch) square pans with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, stir all coffee cake ingredients except pie filling; beat vigorously with spoon 30 seconds.

Spread two-thirds of the batter (about 2 1/2 cups) in 15x10-inch pan or one-third of the batter (about 1 1/4 cups) in each square pan. Spread pie filling over batter (filling may not cover batter completely). Drop remaining batter by tablespoonfuls onto pie filling.  

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake. Serve warm or cool. 

Thumbs up. This was yummy and really easy to make, but isn't going to be a regular dessert around here. I have similar recipes I prefer over this one. It was good though, and I wouldn't tell you not to at least try it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Lemon

From: Real Simple

12 oz spaghetti
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1-lb package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juice squeezed
1 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve one cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, red pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the broccoli mixture, lemon juice, Parmesan, and the reserved pasta water to the pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until combined and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and serve.

Thumbs up! I made this one night when Stephen was out of town and I just needed something for me and the kids to eat that was quick and I knew would go over well. This definitely fit the bill! It was so delicious and incredibly simple, I highly recommend this for everyone!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hamburger Soup

From: Crockery Cooking cookbook

1 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 envelope onion soup mix
3 cups boiling water
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup macaroni, cooked and drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crumble beef into slow-cooking pot. Add pepper, oregano, basil, seasoned salt, and dry soup mix. Stir in water, tomato sauce and soy sauce; then add celery and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Turn control to high. Add cooked macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes.

Thumbs up! A great, simple, delicious soup! Definitely one that I will make again!

NY Baked Ziti

From: My friend Lora

1 lb ground chuck
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried leaf basil, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried leaf oregano, crumbled
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz ziti, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Saute ground beef, onion and green bell pepper in a large skillet until onion is tender and beef is lightly browned. Drain off excess fat; add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir well, stir in ziti and 1 cup of the cheese; transfer to a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Neutral. I've got several other pasta recipes in my repertoire that I enjoy more than this one so I probably won't make it again. Not bad, just didn't seem to have a lot of flavor to me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Easy Garlic-Cheese Biscuits

From: Betty Crocker cookbook

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup stick margarine or butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix baking mix, milk and cheese to make a soft dough. Beat vigorously 30 seconds. Drop dough by 10-12 spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Mix margarine and garlic powder; brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Thumbs up! Incredible. Absolutely delicious. I regret making only half a batch of these! I made only half a batch because my Bisquick recipes tend to turn out dry and crumbly. These were moist, soft, and addicting!! They tasted a lot like the cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster (I have that recipe somewhere, used to make them all the time!) I HIGHLY recommend you make these. They are simple, FAST, and absolutely perfect. A new staple for our dinners around here!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oven Barbecued Chicken

From: Great American Brand Name Cookbook

1 2 1/2-3-lb broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
1 cup unsifted flour
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In paper or plastic bag, combine flour or salt. Add chicken a few pieces at a time; shake to coat. Place in greased 13x9 baking dish; drizzle with 1/4 cup margarine. Bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in remaining 2 Tbsp margarine until tender. Add remaining ingredients; simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Pour over chicken; bake 30 minutes longer or until tender. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thumbs up! The only thing about this recipe that confused me was the part that says "refrigerate leftovers." We didn't get that far. Stephen doesn't love barbecue chicken recipes, but I do, so I'm always trying new ones out on him. He actually liked this one as much as I did! And the kids ate it like crazy too. Winner!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bourbon Street Chicken

From: My friend Kelly

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch (if you want thick sauce)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken.  Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.  Serve over hot rice.

Thumbs up!! New favorite around here, especially considering the fact that every single person at my dinner table loved this! This will definitely be made again soon. Easy recipe and delicious, just the way I like it! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baked Apple Chips

From: Here

2 apples

Remove apple core. Thinly slice the entire apple. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place apple slices on it. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 275 degrees for two hours. At the end of one hour flip them over so they bake evenly.

Thumbs up! Um, I was going to take a picture of the finished product but they didn't last long enough...  I love easy snack recipes like this! The only "con" is how long it takes to make these. But it's worth the wait. And the house smelled incredible! Highly recommend! I will be making these again!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

From: Here

For the shortbread:
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups AP flour
For the caramel:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate topping:
1/2 tsp fleur de sel, optional
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

To make the shortbread:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and flour until crumbly. Press into a 9x9 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

To make the caramel:
Add the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk to a medium sauce pan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir vigorously for 3 minutes. Pour caramel over (warm or cool) shortbread.

For the topping:
Sprinkle the fleur de sel over caramel. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and return to oven for one minute. Spread the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cool completely and cut into squares. 

Neutral. My pictures don't look ANYTHING like hers. I'm not sure what went wrong with this recipe. It still tasted fine, but I'll be honest - after a couple of pieces I just ate the chocolate off the top. What!?!? The chocolate chips didn't melt like they were supposed to, the caramel soaked into the shortbread instead of making a layer, and the shortbread was thick and moist instead of crumbly. I won't be making this again but let me know if you have success with it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vanilla-Glazed Apple Cookies

From: Taste of Home

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup finely diced peeled apple
1 cup raisins
Vanilla glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2-4 Tbsp milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Beat in egg and milk. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts, apples and raisins.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks.

In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm cookies.

Thumbs up! I left out the walnuts because I didn't have them on hand, but these were delicious. My house smelled so good while these were cooking. Made me think of fall coming soon! I definitely recommend these, especially if you need something kind of last minute. Yum!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pudding Cookies

From: Here

1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour
1-2 cups chocolate chips (or whatever add in you would like)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together flour and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add in pudding package and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips or whatever add-in you choose. Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 8-12 minutes.

 Don't worry if you get a little messy.

Well, these were easy and they turned out great, but I certainly couldn't tell a difference due to the pudding. I don't usually keep pudding on hand so I'll probably just stick to my other chocolate chip cookie recipes.

My favorite homemade cookie recipe

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

From: Here


2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup milk
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 heaping cups shredded cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.

This recipe has all the things I love about a good recipe - it's cheap to make, it's easy to make, and it tastes delicious!!  I love chowders and this one was definitely a keeper. I will certainly be making this again. Yummy!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cheese Sauce

From: My Mom

1/2 - 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 cup milk

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add salt, pepper, and flour. Mix well. Add the milk right away. Stir until it thickens. Add cheese and stir until melted through. Let sit for a couple of minutes off heat to thicken up.

No picture, sorry! I wish I had a picture - this turned out beautifully. This was one of my favorite things my Mom used to make - broccoli with cheese sauce. I've had this recipe for years but never actually made it. Now that I've made it I can see it's going to be an addiction. I was literally scraping the cheese sauce from the pan to eat it. Delicious!!

Now, this is a recipe that she's made for years so there weren't many details involved. I will say this: I had the heat on medium-low to medium the whole time, even after I added the cheese. But the broccoli was almost done and I was noticing that the sauce was still really liquid-y... and I honestly didn't think it would thicken up on its own. So I decided to help it out - turned up the degrees a little bit, to about 7 on my stove (it goes up to 10) for about 2 minutes, stirring every so often so it didn't scorch. As soon as it started bubbling I turned the heat off completely and kept stirring. It thickened up beautifully and like I said, tasted wonderful. I know my Mom also uses this on asparagus. After eating it again for the first time in years I will probably eat it on everything from french fries to cereal. Just kidding!! Seriously, I highly recommend this sauce!

Caramel French Toast

From: My old recipe index cards

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
French bread slices
2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine first three ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat for five minutes. Pour into a 9x13 pan (spray well with cooking spray).

Arrange bread slices over syrup in dish.

Combine milk and next four ingredients in a bowl; whisk. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over bread slices. Bake for 50 minutes.

Okay, so I have tried overnight french toast before. And it was basically a disaster, turning out mushy and disgusting. This old index card was pretty much the same recipe (a few tweaks) so I went online to figure out what went wrong the last time. Apparently, the recipe should say to REMOVE the bread slices from the liquid in the 9x13 pan BEFORE you bake them. Not bake them in the liquid like the recipe seems to read.

So that's what I did this time. I have to admit, I was pretty excited, because people online were saying how puffy their french toast was, and how delicious... well, this turned out okay. It wasn't mushy, so that's a victory. But the caramelized sauce wreaked havoc on my baking sheet (maybe I should have known that would happen??) and the french toast had a great flavor but it just seemed like so much hassle. After sitting out for a few minutes the syrup started to harden (in a good way) and I did enjoy it, but it took WAY longer in my opinion to make the five slices for myself than it did to make nine slices the "old" way (in the skillet) for the rest of the family. And dirtied up a lot more pans.

I probably won't be attempting another overnight french toast recipe, unless someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong. Any advice??

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Italian Sausage Stew

From: Here

1 1/2 lb Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups water
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 ribs celery, cut into chunks
2 small onions, cut into wedges
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp rosemary, crushed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 large green or sweet red pepper, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp parsley, minced and fresh
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

In a soup kettle over medium heat, brown sausage; drain. Add water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, Worcestershire and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat for one hour or until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.

Add the ketchup, pepper and parsley. Cook 12-15 minutes longer or until pepper is tender. Discard bay leaf.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir into stew. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

This was very good! I subbed sweet Italian sausage and it added a great flavor. I'd definitely make this again. Very filling and loved this taste!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasted Okra

From: Here

18 fresh okra pods, sliced 1/3 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper, or to taste
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the okra slices in one layer on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Neutral. It was okay, especially if you really have to stay away from fried foods. We don't (yet) so we definitely prefer the original deep-fried, greasy, clog-your-arteries recipe. If you must watch your diet this is a great alternative though!

Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken

From: Here

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp cornstarch
6 tsp water
sesame seeds, for garnish

Place the chicken thighs in the crockpot and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. In a medium-sized bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine well. Pour over the chicken in the crockpot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours. When done, remove chicken from stock pot and cut into chunks. Prior to putting the chicken back in the stockpot, combine some cornstarch in water and whisk it into the crockpot to thicken up the sauce a bit. Throw the chicken back in and stir around to recoat the chicken in the sauce. Serve hot over a bed of white rice (optional) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Thumbs up! Okay, blurriest picture ever - sorry about that. I loved this recipe. Crockpot? I have all the ingredients on hand? Everyone in my family eats it? You know that's a winning recipe. I loved the flavor of this sweet chicken, and I definitely loved it over rice. I didn't use as much honey as the recipe called for because that was going to leave me with hardly any honey in the pantry! So I added more ketchup and used less honey. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs because it's what I had on hand. Also, my hubby doesn't like onions so I used dried diced onions instead of slicing a fresh onion. After I cut up the chicken and put it back in the crockpot I just left it on "warm" while I cooked our side dishes. The chicken was falling apart after 3 1/2 hours so I knew it didn't need to cook anymore. Definitely recommend this recipe! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

From: Here

1 20-oz pkg refrigerated 4-cheese ravioli (or tortellini)
1 16-oz jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 Tbsp white wine
2 medium-size fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Thumbs up! Okay, this is NOT a pretty picture - I do realize that. I remembered when the stuff was half gone that I was supposed to take a picture!! I did make some changes to the recipe. I absolutely could not find sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce (they said they used Classico) so instead I substituted Bertolli's vodka sauce. I didn't have any white wine so I needed to substitute that. I wondered about white wine vinegar but thought it might disagree with the sauce?? Anyway, I ended up adding a little vodka to the sauce jar, shaking it, and stirring that mixture in. I'm not really sure what the point of that step in the recipe is, actually. I used canned tomatoes instead of fresh (gasp!) and I did use some dried basil. When I got to my mom's house for lunch, we went straight out to the garden and cut some fresh basil though, so that was delicious. I would definitely recommend this recipe. If I can find the sun-dried Alfredo I would absolutely try that because I'm sure it would be awesome.

I am posting this on Mommin' It Up's Pin for the Wednesdays!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Blondies

From: Taste of Home

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla just until blended. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to brown sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until done. Cool and then cut.

Thumbs up! A big thumbs up. I made this one day just because I had all the ingredients on hand... I ended up making it six more times over the next two weeks, and one of those was a request from Stephen as his birthday cake! I do cook mine longer than the recipe calls for - about 25 minutes usually, so just keep an eye on it. I highly recommend you try this EASY recipe!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Yellow Summer Squash and Corn Soup

From: Here

1 pound yellow summer squash
2 ears corn
3 large shallots
2 large garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups water

Cut summer squash crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Shuck corn and, working over a bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Halve cobs. Chop shallots and mince garlic. Wearing rubber gloves, chop chile, with seeds if desired.
In a 5-quart heavy kettle combine all ingredients (including cobs) except water and cook over moderate heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in water and simmer mixture until squash is very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard cobs. In a blender puree mixture in batches until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to another bowl. Season soup with salt and pepper. Divide soup between 2 bowls and garnish with corn, chiles, cilantro, small dollops of sour cream, and squash.

This is the only picture I took while I was cooking... sorry. Not a great representation of this recipe! This was a good, quick, easy recipe. It didn't have a ton of flavor... I could have used a little more "mmph" in it I think, but it definitely had a great base to work with. I'd make it again in a pinch and just add some more fresh herbs to it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Donna's Dip"

From: My friend Karen who got the recipe from her friend Donna!

16 oz container of sour cream
1 package Ranch dip mix (dry)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits

Mix together. Awesome dip for chips!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Microwave Coffee Cup Egg Scramble

From: Here

2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper

Coat 12-ounce microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add eggs and milk; stir until well blended. Microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir. Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Top with cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Oh. My. Gosh. Thumbs up! I wasn't really sure how this would turn out but it was actually really easy and delicious! And FAST! It is perfect for breakfast or even a snack during the day. I did actually add some crumbled bacon too, and it was so good! I think I will be eating eggs every morning from now on...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Homemade Salsa

From: Here

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 10-oz can original Rotel
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed (I used minced)
1/2 - 1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro
juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with chips or over tacos.

Okay, you are SO lucky that I remembered to take a picture before this was all gone. Whew. You can't imagine the process I have gone through for my entire marriage, trying to find the perfect salsa for my husband. He loves the salsa in restaurants but I cannot find a store-purchased salsa that fits that style for him. Not even the "restaurant-style salsa" you can find in the store. So when I saw this recipe I had to try it. It looked great and looked like the perfect consistency. I would highly recommend this salsa. Now, we did both agree that it doesn't need an entire lime in it. I think I could tweak this a little the next time - perhaps just a tad more cilantro and leave some jalapeno seeds in to make it just a tiny bit hotter, and maybe just a half of a lime. I will say this, even without those tweaks, our family ate an entire bag of chips with this salsa right after I made it!  

Easy Chunky Tomato Soup

2 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T flour
1/2 cup milk
1 jar (26-28 oz) tomato pasta sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until softened.

Add flour; cook and stir until moistened. Gradually add milk, cooking and stirring about 2 minutes or until smooth and bubbly.

Stir in pasta sauce, tomatoes, and broth. Cover; cook over medium heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, just until mixture boils. Top each serving with cheddar cheese.

What I did differently from the recipe:
Nothing! It was too easy to change!

What I'll do differently next time:
Maybe add some pasta noodles or ground beef.

Thumbs up! Easy and would make again, perhaps with adding the noodles or beef.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberry Cake Roll

 From: Here

4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon water
About 10 strawberries (add more to taste)
2 cups heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 17x11x1 inch pan and line with parchment paper.
2. Beat the eggs. Add the sugar while beating.
2. In a little bowl, sift the flour and the baking powder. Reserve.
3. After beating for 2-3 minutes, slowly add the flour and baking powder and mix with a spoon. When the batter is homogeneous, add the water. Combine slowly.
4. Pour the batter on the pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes. Don’t over bake because it will be hard to roll.
6. While the cake is baking, whip the heavy cream. You can add sugar to taste, but it’s very good without it! Cut the strawberries into little pieces and mix with the heavy cream. Refrigerate.
7. Lay a waxed paper on your counter (or a clean kitchen towel). As soon as your cake is out of the oven take out the cake from the pan with the parchment paper, turn over on the waxed paper and remove the parchment paper, roll with the paper and let cool. 
8. When the cake is completely cool, unroll then spread the heavy cream with the strawberries on the cake. Roll again and you’re done!

Thumbs up!! I am starting to love cake rolls! This was super easy and very delicious! At first I thought it was a bit plain but within just a couple of bites it really grew on me! This cake lasted less than 12 hours after it was made, if that tells you anything.

I do recommend putting sugar in the whipping cream as you're making it. It just wasn't quite sweet enough on it's own, I thought. Also, in the original instructions you can see that she tells you to whip the cream, refrigerate it, and then you would end up putting it on the cake a couple of hours later. I didn't do that. I whipped it and then spread it on immediately. It still tasted the same, but I didn't give it time to thicken. I realized this later in the evening when I sliced a piece of cake and used some of my refrigerated leftover whipped cream. It was so much thicker than it had been earlier. As you can see I also topped mine with blueberries from our bushes! The mixture of strawberries and blueberries - delicious!

I definitely recommend this recipe to ANYONE. Totally yummy and I will certainly be making this again! By the way, I didn't use fresh strawberries. I had some frozen from last summer and used those. They were perfectly fine!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Family Fit Fried Potatoes

From: Here

2 large potatoes, scrubbed clean with skin on
½ large onion
1-2 tsp Kosher or Sea salt (to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
olive oil

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, then slice to no more than 1/4 inch thickness. Slice onion in thin slices. In a frying pan heat ½ inch of olive oil to medium heat. Place potatoes in frying pan. Top with onions (do not put onions in before potatoes, because they will burn before the potatoes cook through). Salt and pepper. Put a lid on it and let it sit for several minutes. When the bottom layer of potatoes start to brown, turn them. Leave the lid off for a few minutes, turn the potatoes again, and put the lid back on for about 5 more minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork pierces them easily.

Yum! Thumbs up! Great side dish, quick, easy, delicious if you like potatoes! I didn't get a picture of these before they got gone but I will definitely be making these again in the future. 

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

From: Here

1 package Rhodes bread dough
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning, or oregano, or basil, or parsley, or any combination
Garlic powder or garlic salt
Any other pizza ingredients you might want

Loosely cover the frozen bread dough with plastic wrap. Allow dough to thaw for a few hours at room temperature. When dough is completely thawed it will be puffed up a bit. When dough is completely thawed it will be puffed up a bit. Brush dough with olive oil or whatever cooking oil you prefer. Lay pepperoni on dough covering entire surface. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Next, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese. You can use grated from a can if that is what you already have on hand...but you can buy the shredded Parmesan in a bag. Lightly sprinkle with Italian herbs...basically, some dried oregano, parsley and basil. Be careful, not too much....oregano can be very strong and you don't want too much! Add a sprinkling of garlic powder. Roll up dough starting at one edge of square.  Place rolls on baking sheet, leaving space between. Brush some melted butter on top of uncooked pepperoni roll. You do not need to let rise. Bake it right away. It will rise up in the oven perfectly. Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 15 to 25 minutes.
Oven temps. and times may vary. When done, top of roll should be golden brown and you should be able to make a tapping sound on the crust with your fingernail...just the same as when baking bread.  Make sure you allow pepperoni roll to cool completely before serving.

My picture is AWFUL! It doesn't do justice to this food, so please click over to the original recipe to see beautiful pictures. :)  This is basically the same recipe as the calzones we make (and I've made those into strombolis before) but I wanted to try this because of the bread dough. I've never used bread dough before. I cooked these for 25 minutes and they were still a bit doughy in the middle. But once I finally got them cooked all the way through they were delicious!! I think if I did this again I would stick with pizza crust from a can or homemade dough. Or maybe just do a calzone - those never end up doughy for me! But I would recommend that you try this recipe, for sure!

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

From: Here


  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia flavor, optional but very tasty (you can substitute vanilla or almond extract)

  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-well muffin pan. Or line the pan with paper muffin cups, and grease the cups.
2) To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and flavor. Set aside.
3) To make the muffin batter: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
4) In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and oil.
5) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
6) Fold in the grated carrots, stirring to combine.

7) Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.
8) Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
9) Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4" to 3/8" of the top of each muffin cup. But don't try to use all the batter; unless you have particularly deep cups, you'll have abut 1/3 cup batter left over. Bake it in a separate custard cup, if desired.
10) Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the cake part of one (not into the cream cheese filling) comes out clean, about 20 minutes. The tops of the muffins will feel firm to the touch.

11) Remove the muffins from the oven, and as soon as you're able to handle them, transfer them to a rack. If you serve the muffins warm, the filling will be molten. If you wait for them to cool, it'll firm up.

Thumbs up!! When I make these the next time I will use just a tad less muffin mix and a tad more cream cheese on each muffin. They were definitely tasty!! I just would have loved more cream filling than what I did! I highly recommend making these. Super easy and delicious? That's a great recipe!!

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia flavor, optional but very tasty (you can substitute vanilla or almond extract)

  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-well muffin pan. Or line the pan with paper muffin cups, and grease the cups.
2) To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and flavor. Set aside.
3) To make the muffin batter: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
4) In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and oil.
5) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
6) Fold in the grated carrots, stirring to combine.
7) Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.
8) Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
9) Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4" to 3/8" of the top of each muffin cup. But don't try to use all the batter; unless you have particularly deep cups, you'll have abut 1/3 cup batter left over. Bake it in a separate custard cup, if desired.
10) Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the cake part of one (not into the cream cheese filling) comes out clean, about 20 minutes. The tops of the muffins will feel firm to the touch.
11) Remove the muffins from the oven, and as soon as you're able to handle them, transfer them to a rack. If you serve the muffins warm, the filling will be molten. If you wait for them to cool, it'll firm up.