Pumpkin Twinkie Dessert

   If you love twinkies than you will love this dessert! Honestly, even if you dont like twinkies, you'll still love it. There are three layers of happiness going on inside. The first layer is twinkies, the second is a cream cheese filling, and the third is pumpkin and vanilla pudding bliss!

   This is the perfect treat to have at your Halloween party. It's even a great dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas as well! It was pretty easy to make, and also fun because I kept giving my little Kallen my beaters and spatulas to lick while I was making it. He had pumpkin and whip cream covering his entire face and practically coming out of his ears!  It was so cute!   : )

Pumpkin Twinkie Dessert

1 package (10 count) Hostess Twinkies
1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
2 packages (3.4 oz each) Instant Vanilla pudding mix
1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Milk
Additional pumpkin pie spice

Slice twinkies in half lengthwise and place cream-side up, in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish. Using a hand mixer, blend together cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 of the cool whip. Beat on low until smooth. Spread evenly over the twinkies.

Combine pudding mix, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Whisk until well blended and then spread evenly over cream cheese mixture. Carefully spread remaining cool whip over pumpkin layer. Lightly sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate for atleast 4-5 hours or until set. Makes 12 servings.


BBQ Chicken Calzones

   I love BBQ Chicken Pizza. It is my favorite pizza by far. These calzones are basically the same thing but a tiny bit easier to make. The only difference is that I used some good ol' Pillsbury Grands Biscuits for the calzone dough, instead of making it from scratch. They turned out so awesome. I was dreaming of eating them for leftovers the next night, but was sadly dissappointed when I opened the fridge and they were nowhere in sight.  ( I totally meant for that to rhyme )   So I guess, Kale had them for a 'late night snack' the night before. That little sneak! I've learned my lesson though. I'm going to start hiding my leftovers in the dark little spaces in my fridge so he cant find them....   : )

BBQ Chicken Calzones
4 servings

1 can (16oz) Pillsbury Grand's Homestyle Biscuit dough
1 large boneless skinless Chicken breast, cooked and diced
1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup Bacon, cooked and crumbled ( I used Oscar Mayers pkg of  Real Bacon bits)
1/2 cup chopped Red Onion
Fresh Mozzarella, cubed
Shredded Mozzarella (optional... I used it because I had it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the cooked chicken and barbecue sauce.
Remove biscuit dough from can. Take one dough piece and lay out on a clean surface. Roll out flat into a 6 inch circle. Repeat with all dough circles.

In the center of a flattened dough circle, place 1/4 cup of barbecue chicken. Top with desired amount of red onion, bacon, cilantro and mozzarella. Take another dough circle and place over the top. Seal the edges by pressing them together. I also used a fork and gently pressed all around the edges. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. You will have 4 calzones total.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately!


French Dip Sandwiches

   I know it's not Monday but I'm going to tell you how I feel about Mondays. I hate them. Okay, hates a strong word. I dislike them. It's the day our office is crazy busy. The phones don't stop ringing, and we have 4 of our 5 Doctors in, so we see about 5.3 million patients. Well, maybe not that many, but you know what I mean.

  So with how hectic they are, making dinner is usually the last thing I want to do. Kale told me awhile back that he would start being in charge of Monday night dinners to give me a break. But that lasted only one time. I still love him though.
   I've decided that Mondays are going to be my 'Crockpot' days. I just throw in the ingredients before I head to work and by the time I come home, dinner is ready! I love it! These sandwiches are one of my favorite things to make in my crock pot.

French Dip Sandwiches

3-4 lb Beef Round Steak (or any beef roast)
1 packet Onion Soup mix
1 packet Au Jus Gravy mix
2 (15 oz) cans Beef Broth
8 crusty Hoagie Rolls
8 slices Provolone, White American or Swiss cheese

Place the roast in your crockpot. In a medium bowl mix together the soup mix, au jus mix, beef broth and water. Pour all over the roast. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours, or on High for 5-7 hours. Shred roast and then place in crusty hoagie buns. Top with sliced cheese and then set sandwiches on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until cheese is all melted and buns are nice and toasted.  (Stay by the oven the whole time to watch them. They can burn fast!) Ladle the gravy into small bowls and dip your sandwiches in it. YUM!


Mummy Hot Dogs

   I'm sure most everyone has tried these for Halloween. If you havent, then you must! They are so fun and easy to make. The kiddos can make these all by theirselves their so easy, except the adults should probably be in charge of the 'baking' part of it.

   I love how excited my kids get when we make these. They just get such a kick out of it. These Mummy Dogs are perfect 'kid-friendly' food for any Halloween party you have!

Mummy Hot Dogs
Makes 10 servings

10 large Hot Dogs
1 can (8 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
cooking spray
Mustard and Ketchup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unravel the dough, and seperate at perforations. Create 4 rectangles. Press perforations together to seal. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 thin strips.

Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog. Stretching dough completely around hot dog to look like 'bandages'. Leave a 1/2 inch wide space at the top of each hot dog, to reveal the 'face' of the mummy.
Repeat with all hot dogs.

Place mummy dogs on an un-greased cookie sheet. Spray them lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown and hot dogs are hot. Remove from oven and let stand a couple minutes. Create the 'eyes' with two dots of mustard. Serve immediately!


Chicken Taco Soup

   I'm still a little overwhelmed at how DELICIOUS this soup was! It is my new favorite for sure. This one comes from my friend Aimee over at Shugary Sweets. I have made a few of her recipes now, and not one has dissappointed. She is amazing!

   This soup is packed full of chicken, corn, and mexican flavors. What really make it so comforting is the cream cheese and sour cream you throw in at the end. It turns the soup into creamy heaven! I also love the toppings you throw on before you eat it. We did shredded cheese, and homemade corn tortilla strips. Mmmmm...  so good!

   I am already dreaming about having it for leftovers today...   : )

Chicken Taco Soup

1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 (16 oz) jar of Salsa 
32 oz Chicken Stock
1 (1.25 oz) package of Taco Seasoning
1 (12 oz) bag of frozen Corn
1 (6 oz) can Tomato Paste
2 lbs boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream

In a large crockpot, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the cream cheese and sour cream. Cook on Low heat for 6-8 hours. A half hour before serving, remove chicken breasts and shred. Return shredded chicken to crockpot and also add in the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir and let them both melt into the soup. Serve in individual bowls with shredded cheese and tortilla strips!


Cajun Chicken Pasta

   Pasta dishes are pure comfort to me. I love them. My waistline doesnt, but it's okay. What I love about this dish is how easy it is. I use a jar of store-bought Alfredo sauce to help out with time and money. It also calls for 'halves' of bell peppers. Dont worry about wasting the other half. I have just recently started freezing my bell peppers and onion halves I dont need right away. I chop them up, throw them in a sandwich baggie and put them in my freezer. It works out perfectly the next time I need them in a recipe.
Also, this 'cajun seasoning' mixture makes a lot. Store it in an air tight container, and it will last 6 months or so. Only use the smallest amount your taste buds can handle. It can get spicy!

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 lb (8 oz) Linguine or Penne Pasta  (Either work great)
2-3 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into small cubes
1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 jar Alfredo Sauce (I use Ragu brand)
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Boil the pasta noodles in a large pot of water according to package directions.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken breast cubes with the cajun seasoning. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute bell peppers for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cubed chicken breasts and cook until peppers are soft and chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in alfredo sauce and milk. Sprinkle in pepper. Cook until mixture is thoroughly heated.

Drain the water from pasta and add pasta to the alfredo sauce. Toss to coat. Serve in individual bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Cajun Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon Ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper

Combine all together in a small air tight container. Store for up to six months.


Brownie Cheesecake Bites

   I am such a happy girl now that October is here! My sister finally confirmed she'll be having a Halloween party this year to keep our family tradition alive. I am in charge of bringing the desserts/treats, so I'm on the hunt for ideas. I came across these darling Brownie Cheesecake Bites over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. Her blog is amazing, so many fun ideas!

   I decided to make these brownie bites Halloween-ish, by dipping them in assorted colors of melting chocolate and adding some fun sprinkles. My little Emma helped me out. We had a ball and made a mess! These are a great treat for the older kiddos to help you with.... they are fun to make.... and even funner to eat!

Brownie Cheesecake Bites
Makes 20 bites

1- 9x13 pan of Fudgy Brownies, baked and cooled  (not cakey) 
1 small container of frozen cheesecake bites (I used Sara Lee Original flavor cheesecake bites)
16 oz of Chocolate Candy Coating or Candy Melts (I used orange, purple, green and dark chocolate)
Halloween sprinkles

Using clean hands, crumble up your brownies so you can mash them together with no large chunks. Take about 2 tablespoons of brownie and mash into the palm of your hand. Place one frozen cheesecake bite into the center and wrap the brownie around it. Repeat until all the brownie is used up. I was able to make 20.

Place all brownie bites onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and place into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Melt candy coating according to package directions in microwavable bowls. Dip each brownie bite into the melted candy, using a a spoon to coat. Gently lift the bite out with a fork and let excess coating drip back into the bowl. Immediately sprinkle bite with desired sprinkles before the coating dries. Place bite back onto the baking sheet. Repeat with all. Place back into the freezer or fridge to set for about another 10 minutes.

Linked up at Mandy's Recipe Box and Crazy For Crust