Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Big Giant Cookie!

Jeff was recently promoted to management at his company, so to celebrate I made him a big giant cookie!  It was kind of like those ones that you can get at a cookie store for a lot more money, all covered in frosting and they can write a special saying on them.  Well, he doesn’t like frosting on his cookie – instead, he uses cookies as a base for an ice cream sundae.  So, I forgoed the frosting!

What I did:

  • Made cookie dough.
  • Pressed into a 9-inch spring form pan.
  • Baked it.
  • Let it cool.
  • Popped the sides & bottom off of it.
  • Put the cookie on the plate.
  • Said “Congrats! I love you and am so proud of you!”

Couldn’t be simpler!

The recipe that I used:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks (ish) – this time, I used chips and chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine first three dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. In bowl beat together oil and sugars. Add in egg and vanilla.
4. Beat in dry ingredients.
5. Mix in the chocolate chips.
6. Spread into 9-inch springform pan.
7. Add more chocolate chips on top.
8. Bake for 20 minutes or so until light brown.


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Mississippi Mud Brownies

I love recipes meant for a jelly roll pan (10×15).  They’re usually fairly easy to make.  They make a lot – enough for me to bring some to my co-workers and for Jeff to take some to his.

This Mississippi Mud Brownies recipe is fabulous for all those reasons above – easy, tasty and plentiful!  I usually make them without nuts, but the true recipe is supposed to have them.  These are definitely “eat with a fork” kind of brownies, not “grab one and head out the door” brownies.



Mississippi Mud Brownies


2 packages brownie mix (each 19.5 ounces) – and the things to make them with (eggs, oil & water usually)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
Chocolate Frosting – I use about 3/4 of a container of store-bought frosting cause that’s how I roll

1. Make the 2 packages of brownie mix according to directions.
2. Stir in chopped pecans.
3. Pour batter into a greased and floured 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan.
4. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven; top warm cake evenly with marshmallows.
6. Return to oven, and bake 5 minutes.
7. Microwave frosting for 45 seconds or so until pretty melted.  Drizzle Chocolate Frosting over warm cake. Cool completely.


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(You can see other Everyday Life posts here.  If you wanna.)

Day #17: My Little Monkey

Today, Phinehas learned 2 new skills.

  • How to pick his nose.
  • How to climb out of the pack n play.

I’m so proud.

Icky on the first.  But major bummer on the second one.  He takes a nap in his Pack N Play at Aunt T’s house twice a week.  And when we travel to Jeff’s parents’ house (like we will this weekend for Christmas) and if we go to my mom’s house (like we will this weekend and next week for Christmas), that’s where he sleeps.  So the fact that he can climb out of it is not a good thing.  What to do?  What to do?  While I ponder that, I used the over-ripe bananas we had to make Monkey Bars (what I call them – you probably call them Frosted Banana Bars).

When I bake, I often move a chair over so that Phinehas can watch. I may or may not bribe him occasionally with oranges or chocolate chips.  May or may not.

I love recipes like this – where it is easy and makes a jelly roll pan full of goodness.  A jelly roll pan means that there’s enough for me AND for Jeff to take some to work.  Make lots of people happy!

Monkey Bars

From Taste of Home

The only thing I change is that I don’t make my own cream cheese frosting – I dislike working with powdered sugar!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas.
2. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool.
3. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-4 dozen.


monkey bars

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spaghetti sauce copy

95% of the time, I make my own spaghetti sauce. Kind of. I do it one of two ways: totally from scratch (well, I do use canned tomatoes, but that’s as homemade as it gets in this kitchen) or I take already made spaghetti sauce (Hunts brand) and spice it up to make it my own. Tastes wonderful!

I just combine these ingredients in my crockpot, let simmer for 3 hours or so, then let it cool. When it’s cool, I package it up in smaller portions in freezer bags or put some in a jar for use during the week.

I make it without browned hamburger because some recipes call it no meat and having it without meat gives me the flexibility to use it in any dish. If I’m making true spaghetti, I’ll add meat in later.

Yeah, it’s not truly homemade. But it is taking something existing and making it my own. Hence, semi-homemade.

5 cans of Hunts spaghetti sauce (any flavor really)
1/2 t basil
1 T parsley
1/2 t red pepper
2 t chili powder
1 T oregano
2 1/2 t garlic powder
5 T sugar

Dump it all in a crockpot. Let simmer for 3 hours or so. Taste occasionally and add more spices if desired.

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Recipe: Jambalaya


JambalayaCollage copy

This is one of my favorites because it’s so easy to make.  The original author included shrimp, but I substituted chicken for that.  This last time, I added in some ham chunks, but in the end, while tasty, I don’t think it was my favorite way to make it.   But if you’re going to do that, go for it…just reduce the amount of sausage and chicken.

To make it easier on myself to make it again, I made 4 extra bags of the rice and spice mixtures.  It was just as easy to make 5 of them as it was 4!

Notes: This spice level is just right, so if you’re making it for young kids, you might want to back off the cayenne.


Slightly adapted from Pennies On A Platter

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup long-grain white rice
3 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 Tablespoon beef bouillon granules (or 3 bouillon cubes)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, such as andouille, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup cooked chicken

1. In a medium bowl or canister, combine the rice, onion, and spices. Stir to fully mix.

2. In a Dutch oven or a large heavy bottom saucepan, combine the rice mixture with the rest of the ingredients.

3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Discard the bay leaf and serve while hot.

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Recipe: Crockpot Roast Beef

Roast Beef Collage copy

This is a great roast beef recipe – pretty easy (just slightly more complicated than ‘throw everything in and walk away’) and with wonderful flavor.  I think it makes amazing roast beef sandwiches the next day too!

I did simplify it from the source where I got it, but if you’re okay with more steps, follow hers!

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast in the Crockpot
Slightly Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
1-2 T steak seasoning
black pepper to taste
1-2 T olive oil (depends on your pan)
1/4 cup water to deglaze pan
2-3 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced like you’d do for onion rings
Bunch of carrots – I used the baby carrots, but you can peel and slice regular carrots
1/2 cup water with one beef bouillon cube boiled in (normally it’s 1 cup for 1 cube)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce


1. Trim as much fat as you can from roast, and cut if necessary to fit into Crockpot.

2. Rub meat well with steak seasoning and black pepper. Heat heavy pan with small amount of olive oil and brown roast well on both sides. This will take a few minutes, but it’s worth it.

3. In a measuring cup in the microwave, heat the 1/2 cup water until boiling.  Add in the bouillon cube.  Let cool slightly and mix in balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce. Peel onions and cut into thick slices. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce mixture.

4. Place onions and carrots in bottom of Crockpot. Put meat on top of onions and pour beef stock mixture over. Set Crockpot to low and cook 6-8 hours, until beef is tender. The meat might be partly submerged in liquid after this much time.

5. Remove meat from crockpot and cover with foil to keep warm. Drain liquid from Crockpot and remove as much of the fat as you can with fat separator or skimmer. Cook down liquid by about 1/3, and serve sauce with meat and onions.

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oatmeal butterscotch cookies

These are one of my favorite cookies! I really like them frozen, so I usually have a batch in the freezer at all times. When I take a batch to work, they don’t last at all…they go super quick!

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Found from Baking Junkie


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 bag butterscotch chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars.

2. Add in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

3. Add to wet ingredients. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Form into small balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 8-9 minutes (a few minutes longer for crispier cookies).

5. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool completely.

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