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.