Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Art of Cookie Decorating

Friday night I got together with three of my dearest SWBTS friends for our last girls' night in. It was sad because I will miss them dearly, but we had a great time hanging out, baking, playing Linkity, and just being together.

Thanks to Gwen, Mayeli, and Jennifer for being such great friends over the last 6+ years! I will miss you terribly!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vegetable Chili

Found on the back of a can of diced tomatoes, this is a treat to warm up everyone! It was a great post-ginormous-Thanksgiving-lunch meal, but would be good for any cold occasion!

Vegetable Chile

1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chilies
2 cans black or kidney beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 tbsp. chopped chipotle peppers with adobo sauce (optional and to taste)
And...if you want to add meat...1 lb. ground turkey or beef


Cook onion in oil in large saucepan until tender. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Add undrained tomatoes, drained beans, corn, and chipotle peppers. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Garnish with cilantro, avocados, sour cream, and cheese, if desired.

Suggested Side Dishes: Corn bread, corn tortillas, or tortilla chips.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving was great again this year! (As always!) However, three of my cousins had to work, and we desperately missed having them around. Oh, and there was that seriously embarrassing loss by my alma mater/future employer's football team. We won't go there....

The food was great though!

Just to add an update, here are two non-traditional takes on two very traditional treats. They were a huge hit with my family, and gave us a little different taste for the season.

Tamale Dressing


2 cups bread crumbs
2 cups corn bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 can mild green chilies
4 eggs -- slightly beaten
2-3 cans of chicken broth
8-10 tamales -- chopped
salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. When pouring chicken broth, use enough to make mixture a little soupy. Pour into a greased 9x12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours. Dressing may be prepared ahead of time, except for baking, and frozen until time to bake.

TIP: I used 5 pork and 5 beef tamales to mix it up a bit.

Cranberry Salsa


1 jalapeno
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 bunch green onions
Juice of one lime


Combine all ingredients in food processor and puree. With the jalapeno, remove seeds based on the temperature you want. (We removed all seeds.) Also, put the cilantro in first so it is weighed down by the cranberries. This goes really well on top of the tamale dressing, or just with chips!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rub a dub, dub, thanks for the grub...

Thanksgiving for my family is always a huge eating event. My parents host my mother's siblings and their families for lunch the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It has been that way as long as I have been alive I think. We begin the day usually with a pancake breakfast prepared by my dad. Then the family starts arriving about mid-morning. The snacks are put out, and we continue eating until our late afternoon lunch. Really...we just eat ALL DAY LONG! Here are some family favorites though!


Mississippi Sin

8 oz. cream cheese (Softened)
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup shredded cheddar (mild)
½ cup chopped green onions
1 loaf Hawaiian bread

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Dig out center of bread. Put mixture into shell and cover with foil. Cook for 45 at 350 degrees. Eat with bread bits, Fritos, melba toasts, etc.

Easy Cheesy Chili Dip

1 pkg. cream cheese
1 can chili
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Frito Scoops

Directions: Spread cream cheese in small baking dish. Dump chili on top. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chili is bubbling. Serve with chips.

Main Course: Fried turkey and honey baked ham.

Side Dishes:

Mixed Vegetable Salad

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Squash Casserole

3 lbs. squash
½ cup cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup chopped onion
1 stick margarine

Wash and cut squash. Boil until tender, drain, and mash. Add eggs, sugar, onion and ½ margarine. Melt ½ margarine. Pour mixture into baking dish and spread melted margarine on top. Sprinkle crackers on top. Bake at 375 degrees until brown. (Apprx. 1 hour)


Dutch Apple Pie

It's The Great Pumpkin, Bars

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 butter cake mix
3 oz. chocolate instant pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
¼ cup water
8 oz. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips
½ cup frosting (chocolate)

Mix first seven ingredients well for 2-3 minutes. Fold in chips. Pour into greased bundt pan. Cook at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Don’t open door. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake to serving plate and allow to cool for at least an hour. Drizzle frosting over cake. Allow frosting to set before covering cake.

Coconut Cream Pie

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix thoroughly in saucepan.

1/3 cup sugar
3 ½ tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup shredded coconut
3 egg yolks

Step 2: Stir in gradually until smooth mixture of following ingredients.

1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup water

Cook and stir over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step 3:
Remove from heat and stir in 1 ½ tsp. vanilla. Cover and cool thoroughly. Put into cold 9-inch baked pasty shell. Spread with meringue.

Step 4: Meringue –Beat 3 egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Gradually beat in 6 tbsp. of sugar. Spread on top of pie.

Step 5: Sprinkle ½ cup shredded coconut over top. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until light brown. Cool thoroughly before cutting with wet knife.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Bars

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow, and I decided to post a few recipes for any of those folks who need a last minute idea. I am also posting my pumpkin bar recipe finally. I never heard back from the newspaper about whether or not I made it to the third round of the contest. I would think they would notify all finalists like they did for the semi-finalists, but who knows.

Anyway, here it is! It's the Great Pumpkin, Bars! And, April, will you notice where I got the inspiration for this? It's totally from the yummy brownie treat you submitted for the first blog-a-thon!

Layer 1: Graham Cracker Crust

1 stick melted margarine
3 tbsp. sugar
1 ½ cups Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 in. baking dish with aluminum foil (Enough to hang over handles). Mix margarine, sugar and graham cracker crumbs in bowl and press into bottom of baking dish. Bake crust in oven for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for next layer.

Layer 2: The Great Pumpkin

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can packed pumpkin
1 egg (beaten)
1 (12 oz.) can fat-free evaporated milk

In large bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in pumpkin. Blend in egg and evaporated milk. Pour over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until knife inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean. Pull from oven for layer 3.

Layer 3: The Great Topping

1 small bag butterscotch or caramel chips
1 small bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix chips and pecans in a bowl. Pour over pumpkin mixture. Return to oven for about 3-5 minutes, or until chips “glue” themselves to the top of the pumpkin. Remove from oven and cool. Lift aluminum foil out of baking dish and lay flat on counter. Cut into bars and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

**For best results – Cook the night before and let cool on counter overnight. Cut into bars in the morning and either serve or refrigerate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bully's Best Banana Bread

Apparently I am a banana bread genius. Actually, I am not, but I can follow a simple recipe and end up pleasing tons of people. I have made three loaves of this banana bread in the last week, and they have disappeared faster than I can say "Does anyone want some banana bread?" Try it out!

Banana Bread (From my alumni cookbook at MSU)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (or make it low-fat with Splenda)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup oil
3 tablespoons buttermilk (I always use low-fat.)
3 bananas, mashed
½ cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 9/5/3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add sugar, eggs, oil and buttermilk; stir to blend. Fold in bananas and nuts (if desired). Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cooking time will vary with each oven. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Yields 1 loaf.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holiday Blog-A-Thon - Part 2

There is nothing better than some good cornbread dressing on Thanksgiving! I have to say that my mom has the best recipe ever, and over the years she has taught me well! The key...fresh ingredients! Nothing beats this recipe!

Southern Cornbread Dressing

1 large pan of crumbled cornbread (cooked and frozen early is best)
1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
Apprx. 4 cans chicken broth (have extra just in case!)
3 boiled eggs diced
3 raw eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion
3 stalks of celery
1 bell pepper
Fresh rosemary, cilantro, and sage to taste

Sauté together onion, celery, bell pepper, rosemary, cilantro, and sage in two tablespoons of oil.
Mix together all ingredients in a large baking dish. Mixture should be soupy.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until brown on top.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Turkey Tortilla Casserole

Courtesy of Rachel Ray's Magazine....Quite delicious and easy!

2 limes, quartered (or just lime juice!)
1 lb. turkey breast cutlets
1 large onion, finely chopped
1-4-oz. can diced jalapeño chiles, liquid reserved
2-14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes 1-1 lb. bag tortilla chips, lightly crushed
1-14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 lb. Mexican shredded cheese blend (4 cups)
1 cup sour cream at room temp.
Optional – Add spicy chorizo

1. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high. Squeeze the limes over the turkey cutlets; season with salt. Grill the turkey until just cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool, then slice into 2 inch long strips.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the onion, the jalapeños with their liquid and the tomatoes. Add the tortilla chips and turkey and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x12 baking dish. Drizzle with the chicken broth and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is golden around the edges, about 40 minutes. Serve with the sour cream.

My tip:
I baked the turkey cutlets the night before when I was baking chicken for dinner. That made it so much faster to prepare the casserole! I seasoned the turkey with lime juice, lemon juice, and taco seasoning. It turned out well!

Side Suggestions: Black Beans, Corn, Mexican Rice, Cornbread, Tortilla chips, etc.

Holiday Blog-A-Thon - Part 1

Thanks to my friend April, here are two great recipies!

Sweet Potatoes w/Praline Topping

8 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup stick margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and halved (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 (5-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to form a streusel. Set aside.

Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until very tender. Drain well; mash in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup streusel, granulated sugar, vanilla, egg white, and milk. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray; top with remaining streusel. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

McFaddyen Zucchini Casserole

6 cups diced or sliced zucchini
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded carrots
1 (6 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix
2 cubes butter (one for sauteeing, one to be melted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sautee zucchini and onions in 1 cube butter until soft. Remove from heat and add carrots. Stir in the sour cream and soup.

In a small bowl, mix together stuffing and the second cube of melted butter. Spread half of the stuffing mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish, add a layer of the zucchini mixture, and top with remaining stuffing mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

April's Tip for Easy Entertaining:

Here's a really interesting tip I read somewhere and put into practice last year... the microwave is insulated and will serve as a warmer if you only have 1 oven (like me). I kept a few dishes warm for about an hour in my microwave and it worked GREAT! Given my education and background with food (smile), I'm always a little excitable about food safety and keeping hot foods hot, cold foods cold. My hot foods definitely stayed hot!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Holiday Blog-A-Thon

The holidays are quickly approaching, and it is one of the most popular entertaining times of the year! I just love hosting and cooking for holiday parties! Ever since I was a kid, I would help my mom, aunt, grandmother, or whoever prepare delicious meals and desserts for our family gatherings. I have such fond memories of those times!
My first time to host my own holiday party was my senior year of college. Since we had a big rivalry football game that day, I stayed at school on Thanksgiving to prepare a meal for my family who would visit that evening. I made everything homemade from the baked turkey, to cornbread dressing, to apple pie. That first Thanksgiving challenge took all day, but it was totally worth it in the end.
In the spirit of the holidays, I want to host a holiday blog-a-thon. EMAIL ME your favorite holiday recipes, tips, and decorating ideas. Don't feel limited to just one idea. Keep them coming!
Over the next several weeks I will post my favorite holiday recipes and ideas. Feel free to pass this site along to friends so we can get more ideas!
Happy holidays, and happy cooking!

Thursday, October 23, 2008's cold outside....

So, when I woke up, it was 41 degrees in N.TX. Mmmmm....soup weather! I had a nice bowl of roasted tomato from Central Market yesterday, and it was good!

Well, I am hosting dinner for friends tommorrow with a menu of homemade veggie soup, grilled cheese, and either pumpkin cobbler or apple pie (I am craving that now that April mentioned it on her "get to know you" post.)

Below are my recipes for my yummy veggie soup and famous apple pie.

Vegetable Soup

14 oz. chicken broth
11 oz. V-8 juice
1 cup water
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
(with green chilies is good!!!!)
Frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas,
green beans, whatever you like)
Stew beef (optional)
Potatoes (frozen is fine)

Brown optional stew beef in oil.
Mix together all ingredients.
Bring to boil, cover, stir occasionally.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Serve with corn bread or grilled cheese!!!!

Dutch Apple Pie

1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 unbaked pie crusts
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 Granny Smith apples

Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon. In pie shell, place layers of apples (peeled and sliced). Alternate layers of apples and flour mix. Mix melted butter and brown sugar. Dot on tip of pie. Use other crust as top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cilantro lime tilapia

I am really not good at “writing” recipes, but here’s a go at a yummy fish dish I cooked last night.

Tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen)
Lemon and lime juice
Cilantro (either dried or fresh)
Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thaw frozen tilapia fillets in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. Cover bottom glass baking dish with cooking spray. (I use olive oil cooking spray.) Place thawed fish in baking dish and lightly coat with butter. Garnish with salt, Cajun seasoning, and cilantro. Squirt generous amount lemon and lime juice over fish (more lime than lemon – probably about 2 tablespoons per fillet, and a little less lemon). Bake at 375 for about 12-15 minutes or until meat is flakey.

Suggested Sides: Wild rice, salad, corn, green beans, or whatever you like!

VERY tasty!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Calling all bakers...

I am going to enter my first cooking contest! YEAH! Our local paper is sponsoring their 5th annual cookie baking contest. I only have one entry in a choice of 5 categoris, so I need to think carefully about what to enter. I might go with a pumpkin cookie recipe. You know...its fall...spices are in! Winners take home a gift certificate from Williams-Sonoma, which would be awesome!!!

Anyway...wish me luck! You can enter too, if you want. Just visit the contest site here. I'll be sure to post my cookie recipe and pictures of the finished product when I am done!

Happy baking!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The best dessert ever!!!

From Home Sweet Apartment night during the Olympics I started craving ice cream and bananas. I convinced one of my friends to grab some vanilla bean on the way over, and we made ice cream sundaes. Now I can't stop thinking about them! So...during the Cowboys' game last night, I re-created my new favorite treat. Yum-OH!

Fave ice cream of choice (I like light vanilla bean.)
1 banana, sliced
Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup
graham cracker crumbs
toasted coconut (sprinkle coconut flakes on baking sheet and toast in oven at 35o degrees for about 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through.)

Slice banana in bottom of bowl. Scoop on 2-4 scoops of ice cream. Lightly drizzle chocolate and caramel syrup. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Top with toasted coconut. Eat and be merry!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yaco Taco!

I love shrimp and I love tacos! So...I combined the two and had to eat it twice last week. Super easy and super fast!

7-8 individual shrimp per person, per taco (yes, I counted them out...and I bought frozen, but already cooked shrimp that were peeled and deveined.)
salad in a bag or chopped lettuce
sour cream
chopped tomatoes (if desired)
tortilla shells (I use the low-carb ones.)
shredded cheese
ground cumin
chili powder
cajun seasoning (if desired)
4 tablespoons margarine or butter

Thaw shrimp in warm water for about 10-15 mintues. Remove tails (if they are on). Throw in skillet with butter. Toss and melt. Season with cumin and chili powder to taste. Saute shrimp for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and fix tacos to your hearts desire!

Side suggestions: Chips and salsa, refried beans, mexican rice. (I just had chips.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yummy Meatloaf!

This is a VERY good meatloaf recipe that I found in a random cookbook. I normally use ground turkey for this one, but ground beef is okay as well.

1 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. horseradish
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 egg
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cups grated sharp cheese
8 oz. tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients together, except tomato sauce. Pat into rectangle loaf pan. Sprinkle with 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheese. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Pour the tomato sauce over meatloaf. Bake 15 more minutes.

Side Suggestions:
Mashed potatoes (or any of your favorite potatoes), green beans, squash, rice, salad. You can pretty much put anything with this!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blog-A-Thon: Best Brownies Ever!

Thanks to everyone who supported this first-ever blog-a-thon for me! Notice the last two brownie recipes are below. Sorry it took so long to post them! I have been insanely busy at work, and try to stay OFF the computer at night!

More to come!

Keep cooking!

Gwen's Gooey Brownies

Instead of buying a box mix, here is Gwen's version of a simply brownie.

1 stick margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
2/3 cup self rising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or pecans or both!

Stir in all ingredients and pour in a greased 8x8 dish. Bake at 350 until done or toothpick is clean when tested.

Can't Miss Krissi's Brownies

Here is another yummy brownie variation from my friend Krissi:

1 box brownie mix (dark chocolate)
All ingredients on box
6-8 Hershey bars (with or without nuts)
A bag of Andes mints

It’s really just a variation on a box mix recipe.

You need a box of dark chocolate brownies and all the ingredients that the box says you need. I make mine according to the cake recipe. You also need about 6-8 Hershey bars (w/ nuts is optional, of course). Mix brownies. Pour half of your mix into a greased pan. Anyway. After you pour half the batter in your pan, lay the bars of chocolate on top. Then, pour the rest of your batter on top. Bake for about 25 minutes and then watch them.
I make two boxes for one big batch in a half sheet pan. ALSO – Instead of Hershey Bars, I sometimes use Andes Mints. Yum-O!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Miriam's Magic Brownies

Becky left a comment about another brownie idea a la our friend Miriam.

1 box brownie mix (plus everything you need according to recipe)
1 bag Reese's Peanut Buttter Cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever is on brownie mix). Grease bottom of pan. Line bottom of pan with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Mix brownies according to recipe on box. Pour over Reese's. Bake according to box.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chocolate Guinness Brownies

Ryan and I made these one night, and they turned out really good! (Thanks for the recipe, RK!) And NO you won't get drunk from them!

PS - Specialty grocery stores like Central Market will sale you one beer at a time so you don't have to buy a whole pack that you probably won't drink! Unless you like Guinness.....

4 eggs
¾ cup superfine sugar
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. white chocolate chips
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa
1-12oz. bottle of Guinness Ale
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Option fruit sauce for topping (see below)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan.

Combine eggs and sugar in bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.

In medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and white chocolate chips and butter over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture.

Sift the flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the Guinness.

Pour into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

To serve, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Can also top with homemade fruit sauce. (See below.) Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Macerated Strawberries/Raspberries

In small bowl, combine 1 package of strawberries or raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar. Using a fork, lightly mash the berries and mix with sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Great-great Grandma’s Zebra Brownies

This is a Speed family recipe!

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup very hot water
¼ cup oil
1 egg
22 ½ oz. pkg. Deluxe Fudge Brownie Mix
½ cup very hot tap water
½ cup oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13x9 inch pan. In small bowl, blend all filling ingredients; beat until smooth. Set aside. In large bowl, combine brownie ingredients; beat 50 strokes with a spoon. Spread half of batter in pan. Pour cream cheese mixture over batter, spreading to cover. Place spoonfuls of remaining batter on top of cream cheese. With knife, gently cut through batter to marble. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cut and serve when completely cooled. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

April's Super Yummy Brownies

Thanks to my friend April for this recipe, and for supporting my blog-a-thon!

1 cup crumbled graham cracker’s
1 stick melted butter
1 box brownie mix (plus all the ingredients on the back to make it…i.e. eggs, oil, water, etc.)
½ cup smashed oreos
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever brownie recipe on box tells you). Lightly grease 8x8 inch pan. Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into bottom of pan. Mix brownie recipe according to directions on box and pour over graham cracker crust. Bake in oven at 350 degrees.

Six to seven minutes before brownies are done, remove from oven and top with remaining ingredients. Return the pan to the oven and finish baking them just so the chocolate melts and glues itself to the brownies. Makes a great party treat!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mixed Vegetable Salad

I have had several requests for the mixed veggie salad recipe that my sister-in-law gave me. It makes A TON, and is great for cookouts or picnics. It also keeps about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. This is one of my brother's favorite snacks!

Drain all vegetables and mix together in large bowl.
1 can shoe peg corn or Mexicorn
1 can Niblets corn
1 large can lima beans
1 large can English peas
1 can green beans

1 cup chopped purple onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 ½ cup celery chopped

Mix: (in separate bowl)
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup sugar (or Splenda)

Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables. Mix well. Marinate in refrigerator (the longer, the better).

My apologies...

I didn't realize anyone had posted comments on this blog. My account wasn't set up for the comments to be emailed to me. I see I have several comments now. I promise I wasn't trying to ignore you guys...I just didn't know you were there!


PS - Kelly - You can easily double or triple the enchilada recipe to make it for a larger group. Just multiply the ingredients to keep the same proportions. Cooking time shouldn't change too much. Just make sure the cheese is good and melted on top before you remove it from the oven. Sorry I am over a month late in the comment return!

PSS - Becky....You must share your secret food finds with the black beans and crack cheese. I had some black bean soup the other day that was very good, but I never cook with them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

UPDATE: The soup was fantastic! I served it with avocado slices, cheese, and sour cream as toppings, and had yellow corn tortillas on the side. However, it was very, VERY SPICY! If you don't like spicy, try cutting the green chiles in half, or just leave them out together. I like spicy, and could handle the spice, but it was a lot hotter than I expected.

1 1/2 lbs. cooked, shredded chicken (I bought a pre-cooked roatissery chicken and pulled the meat off the bone to make it faster)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
14 oz. can green chile enchilada sauce
8 oz. can diced green chiles
15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1-2 cups of water
15 oz. can chicken broth
2 tsp each: cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper (or to taste)
15 oz. can corn, drained
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Directions: In crock pot, combine al ingredients except cilanro and garnish. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

Optional Garnish: cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese, sour cream and avocado

Suggested sides: Chips and salsa, corn totillas, or whatever you like!

I'll bake you a pie from the bottom of my heart...

Have you ever seen the movie Waitress? It's really great if you ever get a chance to watch it, and it served as an inspiration for my latest dessert. I decided to make a pie today that has been passed down through my family. I think it originated with my maternal grandfather's mother. Or grandmother. So it came from either my great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother. Anyway, it's a nice, cool, refreshing AND LOW FAT summer dessert! It's super easy to make too! Enjoy!

The "My Grandmother is a really good cook" Pineapple Pie

1 9 oz. container Cool Whip (Fat free)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Fat free)
1 can angel flake coconut
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. lime juice

Directions: Mix and fold in together – chill or freeze. Makes 2, 9” pies with graham cracker crust.

**Since the recipe made 2 pies, I put one in the fridge for tonight, and one in the freezer for our company that is coming later in the week.**

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mexican Freeze-Esta

One of my friends is going through some crazy stuff right now, so a few of us got together to cook several easy to freeze and reheat meals for her family. I chose to do chicken enchiladas that my friend Becky taught me to make several years ago. Not gonna lie...This recipe came off of a can of enchilada sauce, but it is really, really good! It is also very easy to make, and can be frozen and reheated very easily.

Creamy Chicken & Green Chile Enchiladas

1 lb. uncooked chicken breast strips
1 pkg. 8oz. cream cheese (I use fat free) - cut into strips
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies (If you like green chilies, you can use 2)
1 pkg. tortillas (I like to substitute carb friendly or whole grain instead of flour)
1-2 cans (10 oz. each) green enchilada sauce (Can be 1 can of 14 oz.)
1-2 cups of shredded Mexican/fiesta mix cheese

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 9x13 inch pan.
2. Cook chicken in large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center. (I also season chicken with chili powder, cumin, and a fajita mix for added flavor.)
3. Add cream cheese and green chilies; reduce heat to medium.
4. Cook and stir until blended and creme cheese is melted.
5. Spoon chicken filling onto tortillas; roll and place seam side down in baking dish.
6. Pour green enchilada sauce over top; sprinkle with shredded cheese to taste.
7. Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Yields about 8-10 enchiladas.

Now you can either eat this or freeze it. Or just freeze the leftovers. To re-heat after you freeze:

1. Set in refrigerator 24 hours before to thaw. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
2. Remove from freezer and place in unpreheated oven. Turn oven on to 375 degrees. Once preheated, continue baking for 15-20 minutes until thoroughly heated.

Suggested sides: Spanish rice, chips and salsa, refried beans

Everything I know I learned from a cupcake blog...

So, since work was slow last week, I spent one afternoon browsing cupcake blogs for ideas. (Cupcaking is a very popular area of baking right now!) I came across an article about a cupcaker in a town where some good friends of mine live and decided I had to steal the idea and try it. is my adaptation of scrumptous new cupcakes:

Chocolate-Coconut Cupakes


1 box (18.25 oz.) of Devil's Food cake mix

1 cup of low-fat buttermilk (in place of water on the box)

Vegetable oil (amount on the box)

4 large eggs (in place of the amount on the box)

1 1/2 - 2 cups of shredded coconut

1 large can of cream cheese icing (unless you want to make your own)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. LIne 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Follow the box instructions (with substitutions above), putting all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at low to medium speed until well mixed.

3. Add 1 cup of coconut (or to taste) and beat again.

3. Spoon batter into a zip-top bag. Snip a 1/4 inch corner from the bag and fill paper liners 2/3 full.

4. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. (My oven was about 18 minutes exactly.) Place on wire rack to cool.

5. Place remaining coconut on ungreased cookie sheet and toast in oven. (About 7 minutes, but watch it closely.) Remove from oven and set aside.

6. When cupcakes are cooled, frost with cream cheese icing. Finish by sprinkling cupcakes with toasted coconut. Yields about 24 cupcakes.

I have to say that these were a hit not only in my apartment, but also at a party I attended Friday night. If you like coconut and chocolate, you will REALLY like these. I even over-toasted some of the coconut and it made it taste like a roasted marshmallow. SOOOO GOOD! This is definitely something that will be served at Sweet Miss Sheri Ann's!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's Cooking Tonight?

We have lots of ground beef in our freezer right now, so I was trying to think of something I can cook. Since I already have most of these ingredients at home....I'm going to try out something I learned from an episode of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals. I can't wait to make this tonight!

Mexican Meat-zza: Mexican Deep-Dish Pan Pizza (Rachael Ray)

2 boxes corn muffin mix, 8 1/2 ounces each (recommended: Jiffy)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Extra-virgin olive oil or, vegetable oil, for drizzling

2 tablespoons extra-virgin or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne sauce
Salt 2 1/2 cups (10-ounce sack from dairy aisle) shredded Cheddar or jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small can, 2 1/4 ounces sliced chilies or jalapenos, drained
2 scallions, chopped
2 small vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons drained sliced green olives (salad olives)
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, optional garnish
Mild to medium taco sauce to pass at table, 1 cup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together 2 packages muffin mix with 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons melted butter (melt in microwave 30 seconds), 1 1/2 cups milk and frozen corn kernels. Wipe a nonstick skillet with a little extra or vegetable oil and pour in the muffin mix. Use a large skillet, 10 to 12 inch. Choose a pan with oven safe handle or, double-wrap handle with foil to protect it in the oven. Place pan in oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes in center of the oven until light golden in color.

Brown the meat over medium high heat in a second skillet in extra or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onions and spices and cook meat 5 minutes more.

Remove cornbread from oven and top with meat, cheese, and veggies. Add pan back to oven and cook 5 minutes more to melt cheese. Garnish with cilantro, optional. Cut into 8 wedges and serve the deep dish pan pizza from the skillet. Pass taco sauce at the table to sprinkle on top.

Suggested Sides: I'm serving with tortilla chips. It can stand alone (since it's a hefty meal) or serve with refried beans, rice, or veggies.

The Cookie Debacle of 2008....

Okay...I may have aspirations to open my own bakery, but I have to be honest with you about something. I am SOOOOOOOOOO not good at cookie making! I can make break-n-bakes like a champ, but homemade cookies are not my forte.

So...last night I really wanted a cookie. I searched through the refrigerator and found some snickerdoodles. I popped them in the oven, and 20 minutes later, the top was burnt, but they were still in the original dough shape. Old cookie dough. They didn't work.

Next, I found some oatmeal raisin cookies. Still not what I wanted, but I figured they would be good with milk. I popped them in the oven, and 15 minutes later....still in cookie dough shape. MORE cookies that didn't work!

I finally decided that all of the cookie dough in our refrigerator was old and ruined. However, I STILL wanted a cookie! I debated on whether to drive to the closest grocery store to buy a cookie cake. I was in a tank top and shorts, though, and really didn't want to leave the house. Deva, hearing all of my cookie grumbling, offered to go to the store for me. I didn't want her to do that, so I started looking through the cabinets for a substitute.

I ended up finding half a bag of mini semi-sweet chocolates. There was a recipe on the back! Since I have never mastered the art of cookie baking I decided to give this a shot. Since I didn't have the full amount of chocolate for the recipe, I was going to half it. Then I realized that I didn't have any baking soda, so I had to call my mom for advice on the flour substitute. I finally worked all of it out and got to cookie making.

About 20 minutes later I pulled hot, homemade cookies out of the oven. I was very nervous at first because 1. I know I have failed before at this, but also 2. I accidentally poured WAY more Mexican vanilla than the recipe called for. However, the cookies turned out pretty darn good! In fact...I had four last night and four today already. Maybe I shouldn't make these cookies anymore! Ha ha!

Below is my adapted recipe from the Toll House version. I was very proud of myself, and very glad that I could finally have a cookie last night. Mmmmmm!!!! Life is so much better with chocolate in it!

Bon appetite!

Sheri's Very Vanilla-ee (and somewhat low-fat) Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups - Self rising flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick margarine (softened)
1/2 cup of Splenda Sugar Substitute
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Substitute
1 tbsp (or more) of pure Mexican vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup (overflowing) of mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and salt in small bowl and set aside. Beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add egg and continue beating. Gradually beat in flour/salt mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until a light, golden brown color. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes or so. Yields 12-24 cookies (depending on size).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Update on the 4th....

I made a few adjustments to my 4th of July dessert to appeal more to my tastes and to make it a bit more low-fat.

Here's what i did:

Layed 9X12 baking dish with 1/2 inch slices of angel food cake.
Covered cake with sliced strawberries coated with a few tablespoons of splenda.
Sprinkled blueberries on top.
Covered fruit with low-fat Cool Whip.
Decorated top of cake with blueberries and raspberries in the style of the American flag.
Filled in stripes with canned whipped cream.
Refridgerated until served.

See the beautiful results below! It was a huge hit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy 4th!!!

As an inspiration to one of my most favorite holidays of the is a very patriotic, very delicious and refreshing dessert idea from Kraft Foods.

Wave Your Flag Cake (From Kraft Foods)

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Gelatin, any red flavor
ice cubes
1 cup cold water
1 pkg. (12 oz.) pound cake, cut into 10 slices
1-1/3 cups blueberries, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

SLICE 1 cup of the strawberries; cut remaining strawberries in half. Set aside.

STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 min. or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Meanwhile, line bottom of 13x9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slices.

REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm. Spread whipped topping over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves on whipped topping for stripes of flag. Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping for stars. Store in refrigerator.

Kraft Kitchens Tips for Healthy Living
Trim 20 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving by preparing with fat-free pound cake and COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping.

Substitute - Prepare as directed, using JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin.

Variation - Wave Your Flag Cheesecake
Prepare cake and gelatin layers as directed. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Beat 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with wire whisk or electric mixer until well blended; gently stir in whipped topping. Spread over gelatin layer. Continue as directed.

For more patriotic desserts, visit Martha Stewart's website.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


1 tbsp. olive oil, plus olive oil spray
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (Can use food processor)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 medium red pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup - Can use food processor)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with oil. (Or just put in greased baking dish.) Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic and bay leaf until onions are tender (3 minutes). Add red pepper and cook until tender (5 minutes). If you use a food processor for your veges, saute together for about 5 minutes before adding herbs. You can also chop herbs in food processor! Stir in parsley and thyme; cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool. Discard bay leaf.

In a large bowl, combine beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cooled veggies. Mix with your hands. Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and form into a loaf. Coat it with the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, or until firm. (Closer to 90 minutes.) Let set for 5 minutes before slicing.

Suggested Sides: Green beans, wild rice, mashed potatoes, asparagus, sauteed squash and zucchini (best in summer)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enchiladas Del Rio

Tonight I made up my own version of chicken enchiladas. They ended up being pretty darn good, so I thought this would be my first recipe entry. The name comes after what we call our apartment, the Cabana Del Rio.

2 large chicken breasts chopped (Or 3-4 medium)
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 small onion chopped
Diced jalapenos (optional)
4.5 oz. can green chilies
6-8 multi-grain tortillas
1-1/2 cups shredded cheese
1-10 oz. can of Green Enchilada Sauce
Chili powder (to taste)
Fajita seasoning (to taste; we use Bolner's Fiesta Brand on EVERYTHING)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chopped chicken, bell pepper and onions in large skillet on medium-high heat in 2-3 tbsp. of oil for about 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Drain and return to skillet. Add green chilies and jalapenos. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Spray 9X12 pan with cooking spray. Spoon chicken and vegetables into tortilla shells. Place in baking dish with flap down. Cover enchiladas with sauce and cheese. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving. Yields: 6-8 enchiladas. (Can easily be doubled to feed more people.)

Suggested sides:
Because these were so filling, we just had chips and salsa on the side. Also can be served with refried beans, Spanish rice, salad, corn, or whatever you like best!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Blog!!!

This will be a new blog to post all of my favorite recipes so my friends and family can access them anytime they want. Woohoo!

Let's start cooking!