Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paula Deen's Chocolate Chip Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

From: Here

Cake base layer:
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 

Filling layer:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.

Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped nuts on top of filling. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Anything that involves cake mix, lots of butter, and chocolate, is okay in my book. This was a great cake recipe. Not too sweet, so you can eat a lot at once. But definitely satisfying to your sweet tooth! I would love to throw in some butterscotch chips next time, or chocolate and peanut butter chips together. Yum! A great, versatile recipe that is super easy to make.

Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

From: Buns in My Oven

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small package chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, and milk in a bowl and mix until combined. Spread into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with the chocolate chips and bake for 30 minute or until the edges pull away from the pan.

Thumbs up! People. Seriously!? How could this be anything OTHER than delicious!?!? I'm telling you. Awesome, delicious, easy cake. A go-to recipe for SURE! It does not get any easier than this deliciousity!! (New word.)

Revolutionary Mac and Cheese

From: Macaroni and Cheesecake

2 cups dried pasta
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup loosely packed cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dijon mustard, can omit and substitute nutmeg instead (for either, start with a little and add more to taste)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently and ensuring milk does not boil.
Turn heat off, add cheese & salt & and stir to combine.  Stir in the mustard or nutmeg & cayenne a little at a time, to taste. Cover and let stand for a couple of minutes, then stir again and serve. If not creamy enough, add milk a little at a time, and gently stir.
If you would like to bake it at this point, place in a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

As a side dish this makes enough for 4 people with no leftovers (can easily be doubled).

Meh. I made this for a family dinner one night, and my entire family agreed there was nothing really revolutionary about this macaroni and cheese. Was it good? Sure. Was it as good as my grandmother's famous recipe? No. Was it a couple of minutes faster than cooking the macaroni in water? Yes. If you're not used to making homemade macaroni and cheese, this will be a great recipe for you. But if you already make your own, this probably won't be anything different than you're used to.

Carabba's Bread Dip

From: Macaroni and Cheesecake

2 tbsp. chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil (or 1 tbsp. fresh-if using fresh reduce parsley to 1 tbsp.)
1/8 tsp. dried rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. fresh)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients except olive oil & lemon in a blender or food processor and chop until all ingredients are similar in size. Stir in the olive oil & lemon juice.

To serve:
In a small dish, place 1 1/2 tsp. spice mixture. Pour 3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil over top of the spice mixture. Serve with french bread for dipping.

Makes 1/4 cup.

Thumbs up! I love this picture - someone's hand is sneaking a piece of homemade Italian bread. :)   I made this as a surprise for Stephen because he loves those dips you get in the restaurants. This was incredibly easy to make, and it was such a yummy dipping sauce. A big "yes" from the whole family! Highly recommend!

Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds

From: Here

4 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 cup melted butter
8 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Brush both side of potato slices with butter; place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion; continue baking until the cheese has melted.

Thumbs up! Okay, people, this is one of Stephen's new obsession. I've been making these for a few months now and they are super easy. We always have all of these ingredients in the house, so I can whip them up whenever he gets a craving for them. I strongly urge you to butter both sides of the potato like the recipe states. Stephen tried to make these on his own one time and didn't think that was a big deal... it is. It helps with cooking the potatoes, and anyway, why would you want LESS butter!?!? A huge thumbs up from our family! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cook Bacon in the Oven

Save time! Save the hassle of cleaning up - washing a skillet full of grease, getting popped by the grease while the bacon is cooking...

You, too, can cook bacon in the oven. I first heard about this on Our Best Bites and I have done this multiple times now, with great results.

Turn your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. It doesn't need to be nonstick. Lay out bacon slices in a single layer. You don't need to wait for your oven to preheat. Place pan in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, and then start watching it until it's at the crispiness that you like.

You can save the drippings or wrap them up and toss them!

I LOVE this way because it doesn't take up an extra stove eye and it is SO easy to clean up. The picture above is turkey bacon but I've done regular bacon as well. They both turn out perfectly.

You're welcome.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Southwestern 2 Bean Chicken

From: Gracious Pantry

4 raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/3 home cooked beans)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/3 home cooked beans)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice (low sodium if possible)
1 lb frozen and thawed corn
1 12-oz jar of your favorite salsa

Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and salsa over that and then layer on the beans and corn. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until the chicken easily falls apart when the pot is stirred.

Thumbs up! You cannot get any easier than this, people. And this is such a delicious meal! So filling and tasty. I used my canned tomatoes from last season and they were so yummy! Also - full disclosure - I didn't have any salsa in the house so I used taco sauce! Haha! It didn't matter. This is such a great meal. Freezes great too! I will definitely be making this again in the future!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Little Smokies

From: Here

1 pound Little Smokies sausage
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon gluten free Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

The Directions.
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Dump it all in! Stir well and cook on low for 4 hours, or high for about 2. Make sure the smokies are hot throughout and serve out of the crock with toothpicks.


Thumbs up! I will make this again and again - perfect for appetizers, potlucks, and parties! These were really delicious and I highly recommend them! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

In my quest to feed my family more homemade foods - foods that I know all the ingredients - I realized I had forgotten how much we love muffins! I know I've made homemade muffins before but I was looking for a new recipe - one that made big, fluffy, blueberry-popping muffins. If you've made muffins in the past you know they have a tendency to be very dry. This recipe is a definite winner. I'll never buy muffins at the store again. My next flavor with this recipe will either be apple cinnamon or cranberry orange! Or strawberry! Who knows!?

From: One Fabulous Mama

1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups AP flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Mix together the milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Add in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until the batter is cake-like. Fold in one cup fresh blueberries. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

She notes that these freeze really well. Also, if you use self-rising flour you can omit the baking powder! Also, I used fresh blueberries from our blueberry bushes last season. YUMMY!