Monday, December 27, 2010


One of the first things that I learned how to make was rolls. Rolls are relatively easy and take very few ingredients, but they do take some patience. You need to give yourself time for them to raise. I just made these for dinner tonight and they smell heavenly.

1 c. milk
3 TBS sugar
5 TBS oil
1/2 c. water
1 pkg yeast (I do 2 TBS)
2 tsp salt
2 c. flour

Combine milk, sugar, and oil and heat until lukewarm (if this is hot it will kill your yeast. Lukewarm means not too hot or too cold. I do it for 30 seconds on the microwave, stir it around and maybe another 10 seconds). Dissolve yeast in water and mix thoroughly-add to milk mixture. Let rest for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture gets foamy on top. Stir in 1 c. of flour, add salt and then the rest of the flour.

I actually don't always add all of the flour. Just until the dough pulls away from the sides and bottom of the mixer/bowel but is still sticky. This is different all of the time. If you add to much flour the rolls will be tough.

Let dough raise 30 minutes to 1 hour. I usually do it longer so the rolls will be fluffy.

Cook in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Then brag to all of your friends that you made rolls from scratch for dinner. Don't skip this step ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple (yet delicious) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo compliments of google
1 spice cake mix
1 regular sized can (15 oz.) of pumpkin
1 bag of chocolate chips

Mix it all together, put it on a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. So delicious!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brocccoli Salad

Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
2-3 bunches of raw broccoli (chopped into small pieces)
1 bunch of green onions (finely chopped)
18 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1 cup sunflower seeds
8 ounce can water chestnuts (drained and chopped)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Whisk the following dressing, pour over broccoli mixture and mix well:
1 cup mayo
4 T. apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar

By Kathy Ruggiero

Monday, November 22, 2010

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 (10.75 ounce) cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups milk
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 cup cooked medium egg noodles

Heat oil in 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender. Stir soup and milk into pan. Heat to a boil. Add chicken and noodles. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 5 min. or until vegetables are tender.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homemade Syrup

I grew up with homemade syrup. I now can't stand store bought syrup. Homemade syrup is so good and it isn't that hard to make. The best thing about it is that it makes a lot so it will last you. This is my SIL's recipe who is a contributor to this blog. I hope she doesn't care that I shared it, I just couldn't stand knowing that all of you out there reading this blog didn't have this recipe!

4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 TBS corn syrup
2 c. water
1 TBS vanilla
1 tsp maple

Combine everything except vanilla and maple. Bring to a boil and cover, boiling gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool a little, add vanilla and maple.

See not hard at all! So much better than anything you can buy!

Cream of Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Okay not the best picture but I am just trying to give you a general idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are done. Don't want you cooking blind here (and for a long time, I could not cooking anything without a picture!). This recipe comes from a cookbook that I LOVE. My MIL gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I cook a lot out of it. Especially the soups. It is called "Favorite Brand Name Best Loved Recipes of All Time." Yes it is a LONG name, but good recipe book.

I made this for Halloween dinner this year. We had already had chili at our ward party and pizza the night before at our family get together so I couldn't think of anything "Halloweeny" to make for dinner. I decided just to have a nice comforting soup and broccoli cheese is one of my favorites.

1 pound fresh broccoli
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 TBS butter or margarine
2 TBS all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (8 oz) cheddar cheese

Chop broccoli florets; thinly slice stems. Combine broccoli and broth medium saucepan; heat to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 7 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender (if you want it chunky like I do, leave 1 cup of broccoli pieces out and add later to soup with the puree)

Transfer in thirds to food processor or blender. Process until fairly smooth. Melt butter in same saucepan; add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until bubbly. Add milk and pepper; heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; add broccoli puree. Stir in Cheddar cheese; heat just until cheese melts (do not boil), stirring constantly. Serve.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I found this recipe on this blog. It is so good (if you like pumpkin pie) and is a nice alternative to pumpkin pie. The other thing I love about it is that it is a gorgeous presentation without being hard! It is really easy (just remember you have to make it the night before because it has to sit in the refrigerator over night). I took it to a Halloween party and it got rave reviews. I think it would also work perfectly for Thanksgiving dessert!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
Here's the Recipe:
2 (14-ounce) packages Gingerbread Mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box Cook-and-Serve Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 (30-ounce) can Pumpkin Pie Filling
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/3 teaspoon Ground Cardamom or Cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container Frozen Whipped Topping
(Shelf-Stable Cream can be substituted here.
Just refrigerate, whip, and add a little powdered sugar and vanilla.)
1/2 cup Gingersnaps, Optional
Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions;
Cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool.
Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon
into the pudding.
Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large,
pretty bowl.
Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread,
Then add a layer of whipped topping.
Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding,
and whipped topping.
Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired (I just sprinkle cinnamon on top).
Refrigerate overnight.

Sloppy Joes

Sorry for the blurry picture. That seems to be how I roll lately. Okay so everyone probably has their go to recipe for Sloppy Joes. I actually have never really liked sloppy joes, but my husband absolutely ADORES them. So I had to find a recipe that I could eat. This has been my favorite one. I always think I must like Sloppy Joes, but then I try them other places and I still don't. I guess I just like this recipe. It must be a keeper huh? It is from my old reliable Betty Crocker cookbook.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup ketchup
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
6 hamburger buns split

1. Cook beef, onion, and celery in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients except buns (did they really need to tell us not to put the buns in....hmmm maybe). Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

3. Fill buns with beef mixture.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate Syrup

Inspired by Emily's many recipe posts, I'm going to add my first recipe to the blog!

Chocolate syrup for Ice Cream. It was a sauce my Mom always made for ice cream. I don't think I ever tasted store bought chocolate sauce. How lucky, because that stuff is... well so inferior to the homemade variety. I have to try the fudge sauce Emily posted. That stuff looks good!

On to the recipe.... (sorry no yummy picture)

chocolate Sauce

2 Cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 Cup hot water
1 can sweet & condensed milk

Dissolve sugar,cocoa and water in a saucepan. Add milk and cook 8-10 minutes. Makes 1 quart. (we always make this in a double broiler.. basically a water bath cooking method. If this doesn't make sense, just do this and be careful of the heat. It will work! And you might be eating it by the spoonful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

My kids LOVE macaroni and cheese, especially the Kraft kind. There is something about the flourencent orange color that makes me definitely want to limit how much we eat it (they now have whole grain kind, which I am thrilled about). My mom made homemade macaroni and cheese while I was growing up and I LOVED it!

My mom is one of those cooks that doesn't use a recipe very much. She throws in a dash of this and a pinch of that. I however, need a recipe for most things so I have asked her to write down her secrets over the years. This one is so good!

1 1/2 cups of macaroni (I use all sorts of pasta for this)
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 TBS flour
4 shakes onion salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham if desired

Bring 5 cups of salted water to a boil. Add about 1 1/2 cups of macaroni . Boil until tender.

In another saucepan melt 2 TBS of butter. Take 1 1/2 TBS of flour and stir with 4 shakes of onion salt (that is as exact as we can get, but four shakes should do it :) Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of half and half. Turn down the heat and stir with whisk while the mixture thickens. Add grated cheddar cheese. Take the pan off the heat and let the cheese melt while you stir it in. Tast to correct the onion salt :)

Add drained macaroni and stir all together. If it is too thick for you, add more milk.

I also put about 1 cup of chopped ham into this if we make it for dinner and the kids love it!

Meatballs and Marinara Sauce

I had never eaten a meatball until I got married. I LOVE meatballs and used to buy the big bags of them at Costco. I now make my own because they really aren't that hard! I found this great recipe in "The Essential Mormon Cookbook" along with a recipe to dress up your jar of marinara sauce. So good!


1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 lb. lean ground beef (you can also use ground turkey)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, pressed (optional)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 recipe Pasta sauce (see below)
1 lb dried spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, ground beef, egg, the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and form meatballs. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Place Pasta sauce and meatballs in a medium saucepan and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese on individual servings. Makes 6 servings.

Pasta Sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup fresh or canned mushrooms (optional)
1 (28 oz) jar pasta sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme

In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add mushrooms, if desired, and heat about 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Do not overcook, as garlic will become bitter. Add jar of pasta sauce, sugar tomato, oregano, and thyme. Cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Caramel Popcorn

One of my favorite memories from growing up is my mom making a huge batch of caramel popcorn on a Sunday evening any my family all sitting down to watch some old Disney movie together. It is a tradition that I have carried on with my kids.

This recipe is a little different from the others as it isn't an exact science...I looked and looked for microwave popcorn that is unbuttered and unsalted, but it is hard to find so I make my own. If you have a popcorn popper (what in the world are those things called) all the better. As I don't have one I just make it in a large stock pot with a lid as my mom did. you cover the bottom with oil, just enough to coat the bottom, not a ton over medium or medium/low. Place ONE popcorn kernel in the pot and put the lid on. When that kernel pops you know the oil is hot enough. I then poured in enough popcorn kernels to just cover the bottom of the pan. Do not dump them in or you will have popcorn out your ears. In order to not burn the popcorn I take hot pads and shake the pot back and forth over the burner so it doesn't sit in one place too long. It really isn't that big of deal, but is harder than the other methods.

Once the popcorn is done I place it in one big bowl or two medium bowls depending one how much I made/want

Then you need a recipe for caramel. I usually use my good old Betty Crocker recipe. The same one that I use to actually make caramels at Christmas. Here it is for all of you who need a good recipe, and it is I assure you.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat all ingredients to boiling in 3 quart heavy saucepan (I have had this overflow on my burner before so I use a stock pot) over MEDIUM heat, stirring constantly. Don't be tempted to turn the burner higher because it will burn (yes I know that from experience).

I don't cook this recipe as long as it says because I want a thick caramel sauce (not as thin as an ice cream sauce recipe), not caramels. The recipe says 35 minutes, I cook it for about 20 minutes, until dropping a little bit in a bowl of cold water forms a soft ball that loses it shape when out of the water.

After your caramel is done you pour in a thin stream onto the popcorn while someone else stirs it in until it is all blended. How carmely it is depends on your taste, for me it is drenched in caramel!

It really isn't as hard as it may sound, I make it quite a bit and it gets easier the more you do it.

Hot Fudge Sauce

My mom made most things we ate growing up from scratch. Let's be honest, things from scratch are so much better than store bought (usually). Due to time however, I can't do as much from scratch as I would like (homemade bread is a rare treat at our house these days). Ice Cream toppings however I HAVE to have from scratch. Okay I don't have to have them from scratch, but I really really like them better homemade, like way better).

Another one of my go to cookbooks is Betty Crocker. I LOVE that cookbook. It has a lot of really good basics and some more daring recipes at the same time. I tried out this fudge sauce the other day when my brother and his family came over and we all went crazy for it! I mean like "have a little ice cream with your hot fudge" crazy. So good!

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cups sugar
1 TBS butter or stick margarine
1 tsp vanilla

1. Heat milk, chocolate chips and sugar to boiling in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.

1. Stir in butter and vanilla until mixture is smooth and creamy. Cool about 30 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Serve warm. Store remaining sauce covered in refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

Yet another recipe I get asked for a lot. This dip is so good, but look out because you may start downing it with a spoon, it really is that yummy. I got this from my Layton ward cookbook and use it all of the time.

1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 jar marshmallow cream
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with fresh fruit-heavenly!

Fabulous Lasagna

My husband's favorite food is lasagna. Needless to say that is a dish that I try to make well since it is his favorite and I don't want him wishing he was at Olive Garden if I am going to go to the trouble to make it. I don't have a picture for this one since I just made it, realized I needed it on my blog, and didn't take one...oh well you have all seen lasagna before right? Well, picture that and you are golden.

The funny thing about this recipe is it is the one from the back of the American Beauty Lasagna noodles box. Yep it is the best one that I have ever found. I have tried them all. The only thing we do different is I use cottage cheese instead of Ricotta (we aren't big ricotta's a texture thing). It is pretty easy though a little time consuming, but so yummy! Each time I bring this somewhere I am asked for the recipe. So you can either go and look at the back of your lasagna noodles box, or keep reading.

1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey, just as good)
2 cups of spaghetti sauce (your own or from a jar)
1 package (I use 9 pieces) lasagna noodles, prepared according to the package directions
4 cups cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (dried is fine too but use less)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet brown meat; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Spread about 1/3 cup meat sauce on bottom (I don't think I even do that much, just enough to make it not stick-I'd rather use the meat higher up :) of 13x9x2 baking dish. Arrange 4 pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce (I use my 9th noodle to break in half in case my noodles aren't long enough for my dish...which for some reason they never are!) overlapping edges. Spread on-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce. Repeat twice beginning and ending with pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 additional minutes, or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting (never happens here).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chicken Alabam

Yet another chicken recipe! Years ago when I had my third little baby, my mom came to stay with me. I always feel a lot more confident cooking around my mom because I feel if I get in a jam, she will know a way to get me out of it and make whatever I am cooking turn out all right. I decided I wanted to try a recipe in the Lion House "Classics" Cookbook. I am so glad that I did, because it was heavenly!
My Mom and I both agreed that it was one of our favorites and we have both made it over and over again.

8 pieces chicken
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
dash thyme
5 TBS butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock, or 2 chicken bouillon cubes, or 1 1/2 tsp chicken soup base granules and 1 cup water
1/2 light cream (I also have used evaporated milk)
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 TBS pimiento (optional)

Dredge chicken pieces with mixture of flour, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme. Brush chicken with 3 tablespoons melted butter and brown in oven, or shake off excess flour and saute chicken in about 3 tablespoon cooking oil.

Saute onion lightly in 2 tablespoons butter for 5 minutes. Stir in excess flour from dredging chicken. Add soup stock; cook and stir until thickened. Add light cream; cook until smooth and thick. Add lemon juice, then pimiento; blend well. Pour sauce over chicken in 2 to 3 quart casserole; cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours, or until chicken is fork tender. Serve over cooked rice.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ritzy Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup, condensed
1 can (10.75 ounces) cheddar broccoli soup, condensed
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups cooked white rice
25-35 butter- flavor crackers, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken in a greased 9x13- inch pan.

In a bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except crackers. Pour over chicken. Bake 45 minutes, or until chicken is done. During last 5-10 minutes of baking, sprinkle cracker crumbs over top. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Swiss Chicken

8 boneless chicken breasts
8-10 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c. water
1 box Stove Top Stuffing
1/3 c. melted margarine

Put chicken in 9x13 inch pan. Place cheese slices over chicken. Mix chicken soup with water and pour over chicken. Sprinkle stuffing mix over top. Drizzle margarine over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours (I would do just 1 hour as I felt that the extra 15 minutes made it a little dry) uncovered.

Hearty Beef Stew

My sister in law, Amy made this stew for me once and I had to have the recipe. It is heavenly! I am posting it for her. My SILs have some serious cooking skills. I am trying to get them to post on here...we will see.

4 cups water
5 beef bouillon cubes
1tsp pepper
2 cups cubed cooked beef (sometimes I used leftover roast, it is good)
6 carrots, peeled, thickly sliced
3 potatoes cubed
1 med onion chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 small bay leaf
2 T flour

Bring water and bouillon cubes to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring until bouillon dissolves completely. Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper.

Stir beef, carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic into bouillon mixture. Return to boil. Place bay leaf on top; cover tightly and reduce heat.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove about 1/2 cup of the liquid to a small bowl. Blend with flour.

Increase heat to boiling point. Stir flour mixture into stew. Cook, stirring continually until juices are thickened, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

This is a very thick stew. If you don't want it so thick, add more water or beef stock.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken

Don't you love slow cookers? You put in the ingredients and then... forget about it (I hope you inserted a Brooklyn accent when you read that last part). So I prepared a yummy chicken dish that was super easy (remember me? Miss Simplified).

Here is the yummy recipe... *note- the recipe makes a ton. So I'll give you the original and you can prepare it according to your individual family needs. Seeing how I was making din din for two... I cut it way down.

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 envelopes (o.7 ounces each) Italian salad dressing mix

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

8 cups cooked rice

Dip chicken in butter and then sprinkle generously with dry dressing mix. Place chicken in a 6- to 7- quart slow cooker. Mix any remaining butter and dry mix and pour over chicken. Cover and cook 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat. Remove chicken and stir cream cheese into liquid in slow cooker. Add water in necessary to make the consistency of gravy. Return chicken pieces and cook another 30 minutes on high heat. Serve chicken with sauce over rice. Makes 8 servings.
This was from the "101 Things to do with Chicken" cookbook by Stephanie Ashcraft... I fancy her recipes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quinoa Pasta Salad

Have you heard of Quinoa? I hadn't until my awesome SIL Stacey (she has some great recipes) gave me this recipe to try four my family's Fourth of July picnic. Quinoa is a supergrain. It is super healthy for you, gluten free and pretty cute (when it is cooked it gets a curly tail). You can find Quinoa at a health food store and I have heard that Winco might carry it in their bulk section.

This recipe makes a ton so I halved it.

3 c. small shell pasta (I use whole wheat pasta)
1/2 c. red Quinoa
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 can pineapple tidbits
2 gala apples (add these last)

Cook the Quinoa in a small sauce pan with 1/2 c. water for 15 minutes. You may have to add more water.

After Quinoa has been cooked, combine it with all of the ingredients together adding the gala apples last.

2 tbs lime juice
3 tbs honey
c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. cream cheese softened
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Coat above salad evenly.

Chicken Fried Chicken

I love fried chicken. I have tried to make it before with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but to no avail. I was so happy when I found this recipe on It is so good!

30 saltine crackers
2 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs dry potato flakes
t tsp season salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 egg
1/4 vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1.Place crackers in a large resealable plastic bag; seal bag and crush crackers until they are coarse crumbs. Add flour, potato flakes, seasoned salt, and pepper to bag and mix well.

2. Beat egg in a shallow dish or bowl; heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

3. One by one, dredge chicken pieces in egg beat, then place in bag with crumb mixture, seal bag and shake to coat.

Reduce heat to medium and cook coated chicken in skillet for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown and juices run clear.

Spinach Chicken Pizza

I got this recipe at a women's conference. My family loves it!

Pizza Crust
4 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 T. olive oil
1 3/4 cups water

Pre-heat pizza stone in oven at 500 degrees.

Put flour, yeast, salt in bowel-mix. Combine oil and water and add to dry ingredients while mixing. Let mix until ball forms. Knead for 2 minutes in mixer or on floured surface. You can add a little water if it is too sticky. Let rise for 1 hour (I sometimes let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes and it is fine) Roll out dough thin on parchment paper. Top with desired sauce and toppings. Place parchment paper with pizza on top of hot stone in oven. Bake pizza for about 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Spinach and Chicken Topping for Pizza

1-2 T. butter
fresh mushrooms
spinach leaves
1-2 fresh garlic cloves
1-2 green onions chopped
1-2 chicken breasts cubed
mozzarella cheese
Brown chicken, remove from pan. Melt butter and saute green onions, mushrooms and garlic. Place butter mixture on unbaked pizza crust. Add spinach leaves and chicken, top with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes on hot pizza stone.

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

I made this salad for a Fourth of July picnic. It is so good and tastes so fresh. Also really easy to throw together. I got it on My Kitchen Cafe. I love the taste of the lime zest in it. Although it isn't as pretty the next day, I think the lime taste intensifies and I LOVED it.

*Note: This fruit salad is best served right away (or at least within an hour of making) because the strawberries tend to stain the light colored fruit.
Serves 4
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained well
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
2-3 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced into thick half moons
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered
Zest from one lime, about 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
Combine the fruit in a medium-large serving bowl. Add the lime zest and poppy seeds, if using, and gently toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and again, gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the honey. Serve.

Fish and Chips

I recently made this for a World Cup party. The USA was playing England and I thought it might be fun to try something English. I found this recipe here. I LOVE Sophistimom's blog, it is so good!

1 pound firm white fish, such as halibut
salt and pepper
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
pinch cayenne pepper
2-4 tablespoons oil
1-2 tablespoons butter
tartar sauce (recipe follows)
french fry dipping sauce
1. Cut fish into 4 inch, by 3/4 inch, by 3/4 inch strips. Pat dry. Season with salt on all sides.
2. Set out shallow trays. Fill the first with flour and mix in a teaspoon of salt. Fill the second with the beaten eggs. Fill the final with panko, and mix in a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
3. Working with two or three pieces at a time, dredge the fish in the flour, and tap off excess. Coat in egg, and finally in the panko mixture. Place in another tray until ready to cook.
4. Set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Cook 4 to 5 fish sticks at a time, rotating in the oil until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Oven Fries

large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
pinch cayenne pepper
oven fries sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large glass bowl, toss potatoes with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3-5 minutes on high. Stir halfway through heating time.

2. In a small bowl, mix together starch, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, pepper, rosemary, and cayenne pepper. Pour over heated potatoes, and toss to coat.

3. Coat a baking sheet with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Place potatoes on the oiled baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes. Turn each potato over, return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika. Mix together and serve with oven fries

Creamed Asparagus-Lemon Fettuccinie

I first had this when I was a new married from my ward cookbook. It was so yummy, but I forgot about it for a while. I made it again recently and remembered why I love it.

Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs butter
1 C heavy cream
1 lb fresh asparagus, thinly chopped in 1 to 2 inch pieces
1 lb fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I use about 1/2 cup)
ground pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add cream; allow to cook at low for 3 to 5 minutes. Steam asparagus until tender; rinse under cold water. Heat oil in a large skillet and add asparagus. Mix hot cream mixture and tomatoes together and stir in lemon juice and pepper. Top hot fettuccine with sauce and sprinkle with lemon zest and Parmesan cheese

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chocolate Fondue

I love fondue, but I have never made it. Today is National Chocolate Day and I wanted to do something special for my family (pay no attention to my poor scratched table). I decided chocolate fondue for dessert would be perfect. I wanted to make it from scratch as I had some high expectations. I found this recipe on Here is the original, but I tweeked it a bit. The original is for dark/semi sweet chocolate lovers, that isn't me. I added a little more sugar and cream and it came out more like a fudge sauce. We loved it! My little boy ended up with two fondue forks in is had saying "this is a good idea!" We had a great time.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat.

Add cocoa, sugar, and cream. Heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Serve with slices of fruit (banana, pineapple, strawberries, apple), chunks of pound cake and marshmallows.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Em has invited the sisters to contribute to this amazing cooking blog. Seeing how Em's stuff is all gourmet (and tastes incredible!)... I feel a tad intimidated. So... you know how on those workout videos where there s the gal in the corner doing the "simplified version" of the workout? Well, that is going to be me... Miss Simplified.

Here is a delicious recipe that I just found from the cookbook "101 Things to do with Chocolate" (yes... my kind of cookbook). Super simple.

Here is the cute little cookbook by Stephanie Ashcraft

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 devil's food cake mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter of margarine, softened

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs and butter until dough forms. Stir in peanut butter and chocolate chips. Bake 10-11 minutes. Makes 30-36 cookies


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gum Drop Popcorn

This is a recipe shared with my by my sister in law Stacey. It is heavenly and I usually want to eat ALL of it myself.

4 quarts of popcorn
2 cups whole nuts (optional)
3 cups colored miniature marshmallows
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups gum drops (or Dots candy)
1 tsp vanilla

Put popcorn into a big bowl. Add nuts, marshmallows, add gum drops/Dots on top of popcorn. DON'T MIX. Melt butter in heavy sauce pan, add sugar and corn syrup-bring to a running boil. Stirring, let simmer for 3 minutes. Take off and add vanilla. Blend well. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Kitchen Cafe's Lemon Berry Trifle

I have always loved the look of Trifle. I have never tasted it, and to be honest felt it was way above me when it came to actually making it. Well, the other day I was checking out My Kitchen Cafe, which I LOVE and think she is a cook I would aspire to be like and came across this recipe for Trifle. I actually had ALL of the stuff to make it which is a rarity and thought it would be perfect for our End of the School Year I tried it. I made it all from scratch, I did, the pound cake, the lemon curd. I can't tell you how much I wanted to bronze the thing instead of eat it, but eat it we did. A lot of it. It was so good! I always have worried about trifle being too soggy for me, but it wasn't at all. This is a recipe totally worth the work.

As an after thought though, there is no shame in buying pound cake and lemon curd. I don't know if I could go to store bought now that I have tried it from scratch (again, it was divine) but another idea is to make the pound cake, lemon curd and berry syrup before and then just whip the cream and assemble it when you need it. Okay so here is the recipe.

Disclaimer-This recipe is copied 100% from My Kitchen Cafe except the photos, they are mine (like you thought otherwise...still working on that aspect of the blog.)

*Note: the trifle should be assembled about 5-8 hours before serving so all the flavors can blend together. All of the components can be made from 1-3 days ahead. Look through the recipe for more specific details.

*Serves 8-10

Berries (can be cooked up to a day in advance and refrigerated):
4 cups berries (a combination of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries), you can use fresh or frozen – if using frozen, they need to be thawed and drained
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Lemon Cream (the lemon curd can be made up to 3 days in advance):
3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 recipe lemon curd (see below) or an 11-ounce jar lemon curd

Pound Cake (can be made a day in advance or longer, if it is frozen):
1 9-inch round or loaf lemon (or plain) pound cake, homemade (Danielle used this recipe, I wanted to try a new version and typed it up below – both are fantastic) or store-bought, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the berries begin to break down, about 3-4 minutes. Take the berries off the heat and let the mixture cool. This can be done a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the berry syrup until ready to use.

In a clean bowl, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Put the lemon curd into a second bowl and whisk in about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream to loosen it up a bit. Then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the cream into a large glass or trifle bowl. Add a layer of pound cake. You may need to break the pound cake slices into smaller pieces and jigsaw them together to fit. Then drizzle on about 1/3 of the berry syrup. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely coat the pound cake – just drizzle it across and let the berries fall where they may. Spoon a layer of lemon cream over the top, smoothing to the sides. Repeat all the layers, 2 or 3 more times, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It is best to make this several hours before serving and refrigerate it.

Recipe Source: the idea for the lemon berry trifle came from Danielle, a reader, who saw it on this blog. I made my own changes to the method and recipes.

Lemon Pound Cake:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 324 degrees. Butter and dust with flour a 9-inch round cake pan (or I suppose a loaf pan would work, also). Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Place the butter in a large bowl and using an handheld or stand mixer, beat until soft. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes (perhaps longer for a deep loaf pan). Invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons), strained
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Strain the yolks and whole egg through a fine mesh strainer into a heavy medium saucepan (this took a bit of work – I pressed on the egg mixture with the back of a spoon, moving it around, until they moved through the strainer). Add the sugar and juice; whisk to combine.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and chill in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies-No Really They Are

I got this recipe from my friend Melissa. I have been looking for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. This so far is my favorite!

1 stick of crisco butter bar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs

beat all together until smooth

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon

Add mixture slowly to the butter batter.
When mixed thoroughly add 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of butterscotch chips.

Note** Something that I found to make the difference in cookies is to cook them until the edges are barely golden and the inside isn't soggy looking. They will look not quite done but when they cool off they turn out soft and perfect!! In my oven that is 9 min. per dozen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

There are much more complicated recipes for garlic mashed potatoes. This recipe was simple, but still had the taste of garlic that I love. Found in Betty Crocker (one of my staples. Gotta love Betty)

6 medium round red or white potatoes
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/3 to 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c butter softened
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper

1. Place potatoes and garlic in 2 quart saucepan; add enough water just to cover potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Shake pan with potatoes over low heat to dry (this will help mashed potatoes be fluffier).
2. Mash potatoes in pan until no lumps remain. Add milk in small amounts, mashed after each addition (amount of milk needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on kind of potatoes used).
3. Add butter, salt and pepper. Mash vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. If desired, sprinkle with small pieces of butter or sprinkle with paprika, chopped parsley and chives.

Green Beans with Bacon

My very favorite cookbooks are The Essential Mormon Cookbook and Essential Mormon Celebrations by Julie Badger Jensen. She rarely lets me down and this recipe was no exception.

2 (16 oz) packages frozen green beans (I used fresh green beans and it was divine)
1 lb bacon
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook beans according to package directions; drain and set aside. In skillet, cook bacon. Remove bacon from skillet. Pour off bacon drippings, leaving about 3 tablespoons in skillet. Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender. Add vinegar, sugar, and green beans. Stir together and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving dish. Crumble bacon over top and serve. Makes 12 servings.

Brining a Turkey

My parents gave me a coupon for a free turkey. Since I never have a chance to make a turkey when it doesn't matter, I decided that I wanted to try a new turkey cooking procedure. I wanted to attempt to brine a turkey. My SIL Amy gave me the basics and they are as follows

1 c. salt
2 gallons of water

That is it...easy huh? She added some dried basil and oregano to hers and she mentioned that if you are brining a chicken you should also add 1/2 c. of sugar.

The trick is finding a pot big enough to cover your turkey in the brine. I have seen it where people used a huge cooler with ice in it (you have to keep the turkey cold. At least at refrigerator temperature). I decided to use my sink and kept ice in it. It was a lot more work than some methods because I had to be around it and adding ice all day...lame.

It is recommended that you brine your turkey at lease 6 hours and max of 12 (although I have heard of longer). I actually brined my turkey for 4 hours since that is all I had.

The purpose of brining a turkey is to allow it to keep is juices while cooking. Nobody likes a dry turkey right? Well, even with only brining it 4 hours there was a huge difference. I have been thinking about getting a small turkey (my original turkey was 13 lbs) and trying different methods out. I would love to try deep fry a turkey (so good!) or brine one for the full amount of time. Good luck! Let me know if you try this and how it turns out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ham Broccoli Braid

I love the blog My Kitchen Cafe. The other day they had a BBQ chicken braid featured on there. I have wanted to do one of these forever. I used her roll dough and instructions on how to do the braid and improvised the rest. I wanted to do a ham, cheese and broccoli braid. I loosely followed a recipe I found on This recipe uses refrigerated crescent roll dough, but I prefer the homemade stuff.

2 cups of ham chopped
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough

I add a couple of dollops of mayo so it isn't as dry

# Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
# In a large bowl, combine ham, broccoli, onion, parsley, mustard and cheese. Stir well.
# Unroll crescent roll dough, and arrange flat on a medium baking sheet. Pinch together perforations to form a single sheet of dough. Using a knife or scissors, cut 1 inch wide strips in towards the center, starting on the long sides. There should be a solid strip about 3 inches wide down the center, with the cut strips forming a fringe down each side. Spread the filling along the center strip. Fold the side strips over filling, alternating strips from each side. Pinch or twist to seal.
# Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until deep golden brown

Coconut Sticky Rice

I am in love with Thai food. I especially love this dessert. I finally found a recipe for it somewhere on the internet (I am so bad at remembering where I find thing.) Josh and I went through a kick where we would make it just about every night. The kids aren't that into it (more for us) so we would make it after they went to be and eat it while watching "24" "Lost" etc. Good memories. There are a lot more complicated recipes for this rice out there, but this one is really good and way easier than any else I have seen.

1 cup sticky rice (or just use regular medium or short grain rice-long grain will not get as sticky, but still tastes good)
1 can coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
mango or peaches (but mango tastes best)

Cover rice with cold water and rinse, repeat until water runs clear, about three times.

In medium pan, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice and stir briefly. reduce heat to low simmer and cover. Cook 20-25 minutes (I think 20 is good, 25 might burn)or until all of the water is absorbed.

In another pan combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Boil for 3 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Mix the milk mixture and rice together. Stir well.

Cover top of rice directly with aluminum foil. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve with cubed mango.