Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Serving Up {Brownies}: White Chocolate Brownie Decadence

I interrupt the scheduled post to bring you something that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  Seriously!  This may only be slightly exaggerated, but don't risk it.

I generally try to stay ahead of my posts by 2-3 weeks (I admit that the word "try" is key) so I really am in here typing away, BUMPING ANOTHER RECIPE that was already scheduled, because these brownies are simply worth it.  And you are worth it.  It is 2:00 p.m. and I have had nothing substantial to eat yet and yet I have already eaten two of these brownies - and I am worth it :)

I earmarked this recipe a year ago and had high hopes that they would taste as good as they looked.  Leigh Anne at Your Homebased Mom has rarely posted anything that I haven't really liked.  So over the weekend we were invited to a BBQ and my husband told me that he volunteered me to bring a dessert "so that you can make one of those little recipes that you like to pin" - he knows me so well.  I did exactly that and made two little recipes that I had pinned - one white chocolate brownie (for me) and one chocolate brownie (for hubby).  I was thrilled with how they both turned out but it has been these little white squares of danger that won't give me any rest....they just keep calling my name.  And now you have the recipe and you can make them and you can see exactly what I mean.

One Year Ago: Cilantro Ranch Dressing

(recipe from Your Homebased Mom)
printable version

1 cup butter
1/2 cup white chocolate,chopped
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the brownies, melt your white chocolate and butter either in the microwave or a double boiler; watching and stirring often so the white chocolate does not burn.  Once the butter and chocolate are melted, whisk in the eggs and vanilla and then add the sugar.  Add flour last.  Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan.   Bake for 25-30 minutes.   Cool completely before frosting.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup white chocolate, chopped
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. whipping cream (or more to make desired consistency)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt the butter and white chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, whipping cream and vanilla, using additional whipping cream to reach desired consistency for frosting.   Frost brownies once cooled.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Serving Up {Cookies}: Frosted Banana Cookies

Oh my goodness.  I cannot believe that after all this time of blogging these cookies have not been posted.  I have seriously let you down and I offer my sincere apologies!  But the flip side is that once you taste these cookies I know that you will forgive me :)

I love baked banana goods and these little gems taste just like sweet nuggets of banana bread. Which would be good in and of itself, but then we add the frosting!!!  It is a browned sugar frosting and it's deliriously yummy, not to mention it pairs perfectly with the banana flavor.  Who knew?  This may just be your newest favorite frosting!

One Year Ago: Shredded Sweet Pork
                        Cilantro Lime Rice

(recipe from Kelli S.)
printable version

1 1/2 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. banana extract
4 bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs, flavorings and bananas; mix well. Add flour, soda and salt. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Brown Sugar Icing:
6 Tbs. brown sugar
4 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbs. cream (or canned milk)

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add powdered sugar until you reach a desired consistency.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Blackberry Syrup

I am quite spoiled here in the Pacific Northwest when it comes to summer berries.  Fresh fruit stands are plentiful, as are farms that allow you to pick your own berries in picturesque settings.  I love it!  Blackberries are considered almost a weed up here - they grow wild on the sides of the roads and in empty fields.  Because blackberries are EVERYWHERE here, you would not believe how inexpensive they are.  Two summers ago I purchased 100 pounds of berries, picked and delivered to my home, for only $1.50/pound.  We froze most of them and have enjoyed them in jams and in smoothies and in this syrup.  For this recipe you could use any berry, raspberry or blueberry specifically, but with our freezer full (or at least it used to be full) of blackberries, we use blackberries and the result is delicious!

One Year Ago: Egg Pie (German Pancakes)

(recipe from Food Network)
printable version

1 pint fresh blackberries (I have used frozen too)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. cornstarch

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Add the blackberries and mix with a wooden spoon, crushing some berries on the side of the saucepan.  Let mixture come to a boil and remove from heat.
Combine lemon juice and cornstarch and whisk until combined.  Add cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and return the pan to medium heat, stirring until thickened.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Serving Up {Entree}: Frito Mess

This meal is not really attractive to look at.  It isn't even healthy.  But it comes together in less than 5 minutes, my kids LOVE it, and when we are in the doldrums of summers and mom wants something quick that does not require the oven to be turned on...well this just hits the spot.  The original recipe did not call for ground beef, but by adding it I feel like it makes the dish into more of a meal.  Combine with some fresh fruit and you are set for a cool, light summer meal.  

One Year Ago: Frosted Banana Bars
                        Creamy Lemon Pasta


2 cans corn, drained
5 green onions, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained***
1 bag chili cheese fritos

Toss all of the ingredients, except fritos, together in a large bowl and stir until well combined and thoroughly coated with mayo.
Just before serving, add the bag of chili cheese fritos and toss to combine.

*** The original recipe did not call for beef, so feel free to leave it out.  I add it so that I can call this meal dinner without any guilt :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Serving Up {Cookies}: Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookies

Oh yes!  You did just read Butterscotch POTATO CHIP Cookies.  Salty...check!  Sweet...check!  YUM...huge check!

So here is the subconscious funny behind these little babies needing some sweet and some salty.  I have been having an "issue" with a neighbor.  Totally embarrassed to even admit that my neighbor hates me.  Actually I'm okay with that, but I am not okay with the fact that she hates my kids.  I mean, she isn't the one having to referee their arguments or beg them to practice the piano - what is there for her to hate?  But I digress....

Anyway, after the fourth time that she yelled (make that screamed) at my children in the middle of the afternoon for being on the trampoline, and the second time that her screaming included the phrase "you little S%#@" (yes she did!) I decided it was time to take her some cookies and apologize for my children having had disturbed her.  It went pretty well.  I gave her my cell phone number and told her to call me any time that my children were bothering her and I would take care of it immediately.  It was still going pretty well.  And then as I was leaving she quickly added that she thought my husband was rude because he called her "honey" (as in, "stop screaming at my children honey") at which point the sweet in the cookies was overpowered by the salty and I told her that I didn't believe that being called "honey" was anywhere near as rude as being called a "little S%#@".  Oh boy, did I get my momma bear on and I looked her right in the eyes and said, "let me make sure that you are 100% clear on this.  You now have my cell phone number and while you are welcome to call me, you will NEVER address my children directly again".  It suddenly wasn't going as well anymore and she slammed her door.  But she didn't throw the cookies at me!  If she had, I would have taken them home and eaten them myself because they are good enough to pick up off the ground and eat.

Wow!  I hadn't planned to share my neighbor drama, but it sure felt good.  Thanks for listening!  Even if you don't have a salty neighbor that you are trying to win over, this recipe is a winner.  I believe I may just be adding potato chips to a few more sweet things - think of all those recipes that use pretzels to create crunchy and salty....my creative juices are running!  This could be fun!

                        Oriental Chicken Salad


1 (18-ounce) package white cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups crushed plain potato chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degress.
Mix the cake mix, butter, brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes.  When well combined, add potato chips and butterscotch chips and mix in by hand with a wooden spoon.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Make 9-12 minutes, or just until edges are set.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Serving Up {Pasta}: Rigatoni

Pasta is pretty much a staple in our home.  The kids kind of demand it!  Okay, so I admit that they don't have to ask more than once as I am a pretty big fan of pasta too.  This super easy, super quick, super delicious pasta dish is one that I grew up eating.  It just never goes out of style!

One Year Ago: Coconut Banana Muffins
                        Cashew Chicken Salad

(recipe from Linda W.)
printable version

1 pkg. rigatoni noodles, cooked and drained
1 pound hamburger or sausage, browned
2 pkgs. dry spaghetti sauce mix, Italian flavored
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces mozzerella cheese, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese, cubed

Combine the cooked meat, sauce mix, tomato sauce and water in a large dutch oven pan.  Heat and add 1/2 of the mozzerella cheese and 1/2 of the cream cheese; melt slightly.  Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and stir to combine.  Add the remaining cheese cubes and transfer all to a large baking dish.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Serving Up {Ice Cream}: Strawberry Daiquiri Ice Cream Shake

Last summer I experienced a delicious Key Lime Ice Cream Shake as a sample at Costco and immediately recreated it at home (and posted it here).  With only three ingredients (if you count ice as an ingredient) it just is so simple!

Then one day at the store I saw a variety of non-alcoholic cocktail mixers and realized if the Margarita mix can make such a delicious ice cream shake, why not shake it up with another flavor?  I purchased the strawberry daquiri mix and went home and combined it with ice cream and ice and a new treat was created!

One Year Ago: Homemade Oreo Cookies
                        Creamy Beef Taco Mix

printable version

3 parts vanilla ice cream
1 part Strawberry Daiguiri Cocktail Mix
1/2-1 tray ice cubes

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Serving Up {Fish}: Thai Barbecued Salmon Filet

Sometimes I will be really excited to share a recipe only to realize, either when taking the photos or when editing the photos, that the photos just don't do the meal justice.  I mean, this lasagna is one of my favorite but do you know how difficult it is to photograph?  It is downright ugly (note to self to re-photograph).

Not the case with this meal!  Forgive me for not being humble, but it is gorgeous (even though I forgot the mangoes)!  And it is equally delicious!  I really love to make salmon, or most fish for that matter, because it really can be an impressive meal, yet it cooks so quickly that you aren't stuck in the kitchen forever slaving over it.  This recipe uses a marinade that you prepare ahead of time, so the most time consuming part of the entire meal is cooking the rice.  Now that is my kind of meal!

One Year Ago: Philly Steak
                        French Bread

(recipe from Chef Dave Prows, Good Things Utah 2003)
printable version

2 Boneless Salmon Filets
Marinade (detailed below)
1 cup julienne carrots
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced red bell peppers
1/4 cup fresh mango
1 tsp. lemon pepper

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice vinegar
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. chopped ginger
1/2 cup honey
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. julienne red onion
1 Tbs. fresh limejuice

For the marinade, add all the ingredients together in one bowl and allow to sit overnight.
30 minutes before cooking, add the vegetables and salmon to the marinade.

Make a bowl with several layers of foil and place the fish flat on the foil and pour the marinade and the vegetables and mangoes over the top. Season with lemon pepper. Seal the foil bowl around the fish and place on the hot barbecue grill.  After 10 minutes on the grill, open the foil bowl and remove the fish. Place
the fish on the grill and baste with the marinade until the fish has finished cooking. Remove the fish from the grill and top with the vegetables and mangoes. Serve with rice (chef suggest Jasmine or Sticky Rice)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Serving Up {Salad}: BBQ Potato, Bacon & Corn Salad

I love the 4th of July...the parades, the fireworks, the flags, the family, the BBQ!  I know it is July 3rd, but should you still be undetermined on what you are taking to your potluck tomorrow, may I suggest this BBQ twist to the all american potato salad.  The flavors are amazing - I mean it has ranch, BBQ and dijon!  It's like someone was reading my mind...okay, I never actually thought to combine those flavors before reading this recipe, but I knew a good thing when I saw it.  This is one of my favorite summer potluck dishes because  it is totally unique, and the fact that it is delicious is just an added bonus!

Happy 4th of July to all!

One Year Ago: Root Beer Float Homemade Ice Cream
                        Welsh Cakes

(recipe from Kraft Food & Family, Summer 2006)
printable version

1/3 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup favorite BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp. grey poupon Dijon mustard
3 lb. small red potatoes, cooked, quartered
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
½ cup sliced celery
½ cup chopped red peppers
½ cup chopped red onions
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled

Mix dressing, BBQ sauce and mustard in large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except for the bacon; mix lightly. Sprinkle top of salad with bacon.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.