Monday, February 28, 2011

S'mores Stuffed Brownies

DELICIOUS and ridiculously easy!  (I got this recipe from

Batch prepared in 8x8 inch baking pan

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
4 1/2 full graham crackers
3 1/2 full size Hershey's bars (I found that I needed 4 full bars)
16 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions.  Line foil into an 8x8 in baking pan and spray generously with cooking spray.  Pour half the brownie batter into lined pan.  Layer graham crackers over brownie mix, then Hershey bars and marshmallows.  Pour remaining brownie batter over marshmallows.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out mostly clean from center.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Carefully remove foil and brownies from pan.  Peel any foil away from edges and cut into squares.

Lindsay's notes:  I used a Betty Crocker brownie mix, and I don't know if the batter is too thick or what, but when I poured the second half on top of everything, it didn't spread out as nicely as it did on the website.  As it warmed up in the oven it spread over everything, it just doesn't look as pretty as on Picky Palate, because my marshmallows weren't all covered by a thin layer of chocolate.  It still tasted DELISH though!  These are good a little bit warm, but maybe even better totally cooled (the next day) because you can really taste the yumminess of the s'more on the second day because the chocolate bar is cooled.  Yum, yum, yum.

Chicken Taco Soup

Tiffany made this one night when they had us over for dinner, and it's definitely become a family favorite over here.  I sort of use the measurements as a guide, and just throw whatever amount I want in there.  It's pretty hard to mess this soup up.  (Keep in mind that the recipe says that these measurements make two generous servings.)

1/3 cup diced onions
1/3 cup diced green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, rough chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup salsa
2/3 cup corn, canned or frozen
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup refried black beans (I've used just regular refried beans before too and it's fine)
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (I usually just use dried parsley)
3/4 cup shredded colby jack or sharp cheddar (I've always just used sharp cheddar)

Saute onion, green bell pepper and garlic in vegetable oil until softened.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  Serve with tortilla chips, extra cheese, salsa, avocado, sour cream and/or tomatoes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Food is Good

I read this article the other day and it got me thinking...

Here is an expert:
"North Korea's public food distribution broke down in the nineties, and ever since then, the nation has careened between beggary and starvation.  Other governments, meanwhile, have glumly faced two unappetizing choices: donate food which will be diverted to prop up the regime, or allow even more North Koreans to starve."

It's amazing to me that we live on the same planet as people that are oppressed and abused by a few men in power. I know it's more complicated than that, but that is the pattern I see. Not only the same planet, but mere hours away, people are stripped of freedoms and are taught to fear (Colorado City).

But here is the point of this post: I have no idea what oppression is. If I need ingredients for one of these recipes, I throw the kids in my car and drive a few miles down the paved road to a grocery store. In that grocery store, there has never been a shortage of the things I need. All foods in all seasons are right at my fingertips. When the kids start to get antsy, I go down the cookie isle, tear open a crinkly package of cookies all lined up identically in their plastic beds, and we snack while we shop.

And if we want to have a blog where we share recipes and eat as much food as we want, then no one bats an eye. I guess I am just blown away that there are many, many people out there that don't live this way. Not even close.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creamy Chicken Soup

When you get a special request from Sheri, you know you've made it to the big times.

3 T butter
1 large onion diced
3/4 cup celery diced

2 cans chicken broth
2 cups potatoes (I use the red kind and leave the skins on)
2 cups carrots (I put way more of all these veggies than the recipe calls for. For the kids.)

Simmer until tender (about 20 mins) then stir in:
1/4 t pepper
1 t seasoned salt
1/2 t thyme
1/8 sage
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped to bits
2 cups cooked chicken (I add about three breasts)
1 cup frozen peas

Cook 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of milk (I use non-fat, it works fine) and heat.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Applebee's Maple Butter Blondie

I took the advice of the anonymous comment I found and omitted the salt and increased the cream cheese a bit in the sauce...(not a full half cup, just a few extra blobs).

Applebee's White Chocolate and Walnut Blondie

A Gooey Dessert Worthy of a Restaurant

From the Kitchen of Todd Wilbur
Servings: 8
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 30-60 min

Dare to indulge at home? Do it right with a warm, white chocolate
and walnut blondie under a scoop of ice cream and chopped
walnuts, dripping in sizzling maple butter sauce.

For Applebee's regulars, this is a hands-down favorite. In a hot
skillet comes a delicious slice of white chocolate and walnut
cake (it's similar to a brownie in texture) topped with a scoop
of ice cream and warm maple butter sauce bubbling as it hits the
pan. Commence with the salivating.

To re-create this pile of pleasure at home you start by making
the cake from scratch. For the white chocolate, get a couple of
4-ounce bars or one 8-ounce bar and chop it into chunks. White
chocolate chunks
work best in this recipe, but you can certainly
use white chocolate chips in a pinch. While the blondie cake is
baking, whip up the sauce -- it will be fluffy at first. When
you're ready to serve the dessert, zap the sauce in the microwave
until it's hot and creamy. Arrange the decadence in a hot skillet
and serve it sizzling to happy, drooling mouths.


4 egg whites
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces white chocolate (cut into chunks)

Applebee's White Chocolate and Walnut Blondie - continued(page 2)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To make the blondie cake whip the egg whites until they are stiff
and form peaks. Add softened butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar,
1/4 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla and mix with an electric
mixer until smooth.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking
and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
ingredients and mix well until smooth. Mix in milk, white
chocolate chunks, and walnuts. Pour ingredients into a greased
9-by-13-inch baking pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until
cake is golden brown on top. Slice cake into 8 equal slices when

While cake bakes, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a
medium bowl with an electric mixer.

To prepare dessert, heat a small skillet on your stove over high
heat for about 5 minutes. A cast-iron skillet is best. (You can
also serve the dessert on a plate, but you'll miss out on the
showy sizzle.) Arrange the cake in the center of the skillet or
plate. Heat up the sauce for 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave
until hot. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the cake, then
drizzle some of the sauce over the top, followed by a tablespoon
of chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe! I was looking for just the sauce recipe since that is the best part of the blondie and thought your second version was definitely worth a try. I used to work at an Applebee's and have been addicted ever since (I also order extra sauce :).
As is, the sauce recipe turned out saltier and not quite as creamy as Applebee's sauce. It was still delicious and my family devoured it! After two more batches (for a total of 3 batches in 24 hours), I'm pretty sure I have it just right. I eliminated the salt and increased the amount of cream cheese to half a cup. Perfect!

Angel Lush Trifle

This is the Trifle I brought for GNO last night. I love this kind of recipe where you can change the flavor of the pudding or use whatever fruit you want in it.

1 small instant sugar-free vanilla pudding
1 (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice; undrained
16 oz. fat-free whipped topping; divided
4 bananas; sliced
1 package angel food cake; cut into bite size pieces

Mix the dry pudding with pineapple and juice. Gently stir in half of the whipped topping. Layer half of the cake, pudding, and bananas in the trifle dish. Repeat layer. Spread the remaining whipped topping over top. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tonight's Menu

On nights when I don't know what to cook, or don't have a whole lot of time, I pull out this frozen halibut.
Then I crack this joke: "Just for the halibut" a few times throughout the evening.

I get it from Costco, and it is killer - a bit pricey, but there is enough in there for about three different meals, so it's worth it.

The husband likes it, the babies like it, and two fillets are only 200 calories! Yeaah booy.
I usually serve it with asparagus (another crowd pleaser- "eat the paintbrush!").

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I thought we needed some pancakes/waffles to go with Megan's syrup recipe. :)
These have lots of "good stuff" in them and are really yummy!

4 c. wheat flour
2 c. white flour
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. oat bran
1 c. buttermilk powder (or regular milk powder)
3 Tbl. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Mix all together and store in fridge for up to 6 months or in freezer for up to 1 year.

Add per 2 cups of dry mix:
2 Tbl. oil
2 eggs
2 Tbl. honey
1 c. water (more for pancakes)

This is great because you can make little batches at different times and you can also put cooked ones in the freezer for later use.
*I usually buy the wheat germ and oat bran at Smith's in the natural foods section. It's Bob's Red Mill brand.

I Love Ken Jennings

Today's post cracked me up.


I only make this every once in a great while; super easy recipe but the best way to mix it is to use your hands. I don't like touching raw hamburger and after I make it, I usually wash my hands and use anti-bacterial several times throughout the day. Brad is the only one who will eat it so at least when I do make it, it will last him a couple of days.

2-3 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1 package stuffing mix
1 c. ketchup

1/2 c. ketchup for over top

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Foam into loaf in a 13x9 greased pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Pour remaining 1/2 c. ketchup over top and bake 15 minutes longer.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Have you ever used polenta in your cooking? Anytime I see it on cooking channels, I always want to try it.
I imagine the corn-ey stuff at Chevy's, but it probably doesn't taste like that.

Do you know any good polenta recipes? Is anyone polenta savvy?

Chocolate Scotcheroos

WARNING: Do not leave these on your counter expecting them not to be consumed by you or other family members!
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice krispies cereal
(or 6 cups cocoa krispies cereal)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Place corn syrup and sugar into 3 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. mix well. Add cereal. Stir until well coated. press mixture into 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into bars when cool.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spicy Tuscan Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

Just tried this knock off Olive Garden soup tonight....Yummy!
Soups scare me sometimes cause if you don't like it SO much goes to waste, I am very pleased with how tasty this was. Wish I had some yummy rolls to go with it.
(Oh, and I only used regular flavor sausage cause it's all I had, plus my kids don't like spicy so much....and no bacon) I realized after I added the cream that I could have reserved some creamless soup for the milk allergic folk and then poisoned it for the rest of us. Too late, pigs in a blanket for him....

Spicy Tuscan Soup

serves 6

1 pound Spicy Breakfast Sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage)

1 whole Medium Red Onion, Diced

2 slices Bacon, Diced

3 cloves Garlic, Minced

3 whole Medium Potatoes

1 quart Warm Water

3 cubes Chicken Bouillon

¼ bunches Kale, Roughly Chopped

½ cups Heavy Cream

Salt And Pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot or Dutch Oven, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up as you cook it, until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.

Add diced onions and bacon to stock pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are clear.

Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Leaving the skins on, slice potatoes in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices. Cut the slices in half again, unless using small potatoes. Add warm water, bouillon cubes and potatoes to the Dutch oven and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are almost done.

Add kale, cooked sausage and cream.

Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mom's Baked Chicken

Here's a little piece of my childhood. My Mom would make this chicken every other Sunday. It's a good Sunday meal because it will bake the whole time you are at church. Unless you are scared to leave your oven on while you are away... Corey. ;)

1 egg
2 cups milk
Stuffing mix (my Mom ALWAYS uses Mrs. Cubison's dressing mix, but I'm sure any dry stuffing would be fine)
Melted butter

Blend the stuffing in a blender. Mix egg and milk together. Dip whatever chicken (uncooked) pieces (breasts, legs, thighs, etc) you desire into the egg/milk mixture. Put blended stuffing in a big zip lock bag, add chicken and shake to coat. Put chicken in an oven safe dish. Drizzle melted butter over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 3 hours at 300 degrees.

Almond Cake

For you Amanda! ;)

2 c. sugar
3/4 c. real butter; softened
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
4 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. almond extract

Using a mixer- cream the sugar, butter, and shortening. Add the eggs, milk, and almond extract and mix well. Slowly add the flour 1 cup at a time until well blended. Pour into greased and floured pan. Bake 20-30 minutes; until the edges are brown; at 350.

Cool completely.

3/4 c. real butter; softened
1-2 tbsp. milk
3 c. powder sugar- or more
1 tsp. almond extract
food coloring

Using a mixer- add the butter, milk,and almond extract. Add the powder sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it is the consistency you want. Add food coloring for color and frost cake. Leave it for an hour to set then cut into small pieces.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad

I think I may have given this to some of you already, but here it is again. It's worth it! I originally got it from Tammy Matthews, so the credit goes to her.

1 head of romaine lettuce (you can use more or less depending on how many you are feeding)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (more or less if desired)
1/2 cup ranch dressing (more or less if desired)
green onion

Mix all together and eat with tortilla chips and cheese.

* It's best to eat this all the night you make it. It tends to get a little soggy when you keep it overnight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fiesta Chicken, Refried Beans, and Spanish Rice

I got these recipes from my friend Sheena (she posted them on her recipe blog).  I didn't make the refried beans (I just used canned ones - gasp!), so I can't vouch for those, but the chicken and rice are both really good and REALLY easy!  I served these more like burritos (chicken, beans, rice and cheese rolled up in a tortilla), but I think next time I'll try them as chicken tacos with the beans and rice on the side. 
Fiesta Chicken Tacos
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 12-15 chicken tenders)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups salsa
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning Mix
Fixings for tacos (shells, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cilantro, guacamole, etc.)

Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour chicken soup on top, then salsa on top of that, then sprinkle taco seasoning all over the top of that. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the meat and serve with taco fixings.
**I usually put my chicken in the crock pot when it is still frozen and it turns out great!

Refried Beans

2-3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed

6-8 cups water
2 tsp. salt: you may need to add more later
1 tomato diced
2 jalapeno's diced
1 onion, diced
1 T. minced garlic

Place all in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours or until the beans are soft. (I know this is a broad time to give you but my beans cook in about 4 hours and my friend when she does it in her crockpot it takes 6 hours to get them soft)When beans are tender pour most of the liquid off the beans. Leave a little bit of liquid, then mash the beans to your desired consistency. I use and immersion blender to do this but you can use a potato masher or the back of a large spoon.

Spanish Rice
2 cups uncooked rice
1 onion, chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced for this)
3 heaping tsp. chili powder
3 heaping tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. Salt
2 1/2 cups water

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the rice, onion, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Serve with burritos or any other Mexican dish!!

Southwest Turkey Soup

I have a giant zip lock bag stuffed with leftover turkey. (Cooked a turkey on Sunday) I am not even making a dent in it and it's going to go bad before we can eat it all. I will be making this recipe, in a day or so:

But that will only use a tiny bit of it. If anyone has a turkey recipe they want to make, please come get some turkey from me! I hate just throwing it out!

Maple Syrup

Tonight, Charlie doesn't get to come home for dinner, so I'm making waffles.  Very fancy, I know.  I do have a really great recipe for maple syrup,though.  It is the best and you'll never buy the premade stuff again.

Maple Syrup
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
1 tsp. maple flavoring (I use mapleine)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. butter

Bring sugar, brown sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook and stif for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add maple flavoring, vanilla, and butter, stirring to combine and to melt butter.

Tonight's Menu

Tonight I am making this tortellini soup for dinner. Kid friendly, Jimi friendly.

Lindsay I know you are a fan....

I've tried tortellini soup a few times. Once I used breakfast sausage - totally gross and mapley. Another time I used spicy hot sausage - not good for the kids, killed my taste buds.

Use mild italian sausage if you ever make this soup.

Honey-Mustard Pork Chops (by Tiffany)

I have made these a couple times and have not been very happy with the way the chops turn out. They always seem dry. However, last time I made them I did not follow the recipe's cooking directions and cooked them how thought would work and turned out MUCH better. Tender and yummy. (not that chops are ever very tender) So here's the recipe with MY cooking directions. I guess I could have left out this explanation. You would have never know the difference. Anyway...

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 tsp honey
1 tsp apple-cider or white-wine vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 bone-in loin pork chops, about an inch thick

(and yes, the mustard + the vinegar will create about the nastiest smell on earth)

To make the marinade: whisk together mustard, honey, vinegar and pepper.
Transfer marinade to large zip-lock bag; add pork. Squeeze air out and seal bag; turn to coat all pork. Chill, turning bag occasionally, at least 4 hours (I have never done it for that long because I am usually not a great 'prepare ahead' type cooker. I have marinated these for an only hour and they still taste yummy)
Heat some olive oil in a pan to med-high. Add chops and brown all sides just a bit. Cover pan and turn heat to med-low. Check on chops and turn them every few minutes. My chops took about 12 minutes to cook this way.

4 points plus WW points per chop

Taco Soup

I'll start us off with a simple recipe. My husband LOVES this, for some reason. It's nothing fabulous. Every time I ask him what he would like me to make, he always says taco soup. Here's my taco soup recipe:

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
16 oz can stewed tomatoes (blend them up a little)
16 oz can pinto beans
16 oz whole kernel corn (undrained)
16 oz can tomato sauce (or 2 8oz cans)
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup sugar

Brown the beef with the cup of onion. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes. Done!
We like to top it with cheese or sour cream (or both!) and eat it with corn chips. Mmmm...


Anyone can post. Anyone can read. Spread this around and let's get sharing some good eats!