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5.31.2012

Blueberry Breakfast Cake


  I started working fulltime again, and let me tell you...  it's been a little rough. Working 8 hours a day and then coming home to fix dinner, pick up the house, do laundry, make lunches, bathe kids, play with kids, give hubby attention, lock myself in the bathroom so I can hear myself think, and do dishes...  makes me one tired girl.

  I'm trying to keep my eyes open, so I can tell you about this awesome blueberry cake. It is seriously good stuff. Think blueberry muffin, but one hundred times better. You're just going to have to trust me on this. Make it this coming weekend for breakfast, or the next time you have company come over. It will be a hit!




Blueberry Breakfast Cake

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, lemon zest and 3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon of the sugar together. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt together in a seperate bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in blueberries.

Grease a 9x9 inch square pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan (batter will be thick).
Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.













Source: Alexandra Cooks

5.28.2012

Neapolitan Cake


   My little Kelsey turned 9 years old last week. I still can't believe it. She was only 2 years old when she came into my life, and just a tiny little thing (still is). I remember taking her to her first day of preschool, like it was yesterday. Now she's this mature 9 year old, who is so smart, so kind and such an amazing little lady!

   I wanted to surprise her with a special cake this year. I saw this one on Pinterest (of course), and knew Kels would love it. She is such a girly girl. Lovin' all things pink! When she came home from school, I set it out on the counter. She started jumping up and down when she saw it! She was so excited!


   When I decided to make this cake for her, I wanted it to be as simple as possible. I used boxed cake mixes for the cakes, but still went with homemade frostings. The results were spectacular!

   The rosettes on the outside of the cake are really easy to do!  iambaker.net has a great tutorial for them. She is amazing. Definitely, go check out her website!


Neapolitan Cake

1 (18 oz) box Golden Vanilla cake mix
1 (18 oz) box Strawberry cake mix
1 (18 oz) box Chocolate cake mix
(+ water, oil, eggs needed for the mixes)
Buttercream frosting (see below)
Strawberry buttercream frosting (see below)
Chocolate buttercream frosting (see below)
2D cake decorating tip

Directions:  Make each cake mix according to its package directions, using two 8 inch round cake pans. You will only need one of the round cakes, per flavor. You can freeze the other one for later use! While cakes are cooling, make the buttercream frostings.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature
1- 2 pound bag powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
4-6 Tablespoons milk

Place butter and vanilla into a large bowl. Beat together until creamy and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, alternating with the milk. ( I used the 6 Tablespoons of milk, and it was perfect piping consistency)

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Take half of the buttercream frosting and place in a seperate bowl. Add a teaspoon of Strawberry extract and just enough pink food coloring to tint the frosting a soft pink.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Slowly add in milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir at 30 seconds increments. Pour melted chocolate into the mixture. Beat until blended and smooth.

*If chocolate buttercream is too soft to pipe with, place in the refrigerator for a few minutes

To Assemble Cake:

Place one round chocolate cake onto a cake platter or plate. Spread a thin layer of chocolate buttecream to cover top and sides.

Place one round strawberry cake on top of the chocolate cake. Spread a thin layer of strawberry buttercream over the top and around sides of the strawberry cake only.

Place one round vanilla cake on top of the strawberry cake. Spread a thin layer of buttercream frosting around sides and top of the vanilla cake only.

To pipe roses:  Fill a frosting bag, fitted with the 2D decorating tip, with the chocolate buttercream. Pipe chocolate roses all the way around the chocolate cake layer only.

Fill another frosting bag, fitted with the 2D tip, with the strawberry buttercream. Pipe strawberry roses all the way around the strawberry layer, slightly overlapping the chocolate roses.

Fill another frosting bag, fitted with the 2D tip, with the buttercream frosting. Pipe roses all along the sides of the vanilla cake layer, and on the top of cake. 

Enjoy this amazing cake! If there are any leftovers, store covered in the refrigerator.

Again, go to http://www.iambaker.net/ , for her rosette tutorial!


Linked up at: Totally Tasty Tuesdays

5.24.2012

Strawberry Pretzel Salad



  The first time I tried this dessert I fell head over heels in love. My sis-in-law made it for a dutch oven cookout we had over Easter weekend. It was sooo good! It's a cheesecake-like filling over a salty-sweet pretzel crust, topped off with fresh strawberries and jello. This salad screams summer! (I'm still wondering why it's called a salad... but oh well)


Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 -1/2 cups pretzels, crushed 
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 (6 ounce) box instant strawberry jello
1 (16 ounce) container of fresh strawberries, sliced
OR 1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 (8 ounce) container of cool whip

Directions:  Combine crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter together. Press into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees, for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Make the jello according to package directions. Add in the fresh strawberries. Place jello into the refrigerator until it's partially set. About an hour or so.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Fold in the cool whip. Spread mixture over the cooled crust, making sure to cover crust entirely. You want to make sure it goes all the way to the edges of pan. (This will help the jello not leak through to the crust)

Pour jello over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate atleast 2-3 hours before serving! Enjoy :)


5.21.2012

Cheesy Ranch Chicken Pasta


   This pasta is an easy and delicious weeknight dinner! It is cheesy ranch heaven, and so simple to throw together. Whenever I'm looking for a quick and comforting meal to make, I usually turn to pasta. It's always a pleaser. Especially, with the kiddos. This one had everyone begging for seconds!


Cheesy Ranch Chicken Pasta

8 ounces dried pasta (I used penne)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons flour
1 packet dry ranch dressing seasoning mix
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped, cooked bacon

Directions:  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add dried pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain water.

Meanwhile, heat butter over medium-high heat, in a large skillet. Add the chicken pieces, and cook until no longer pink. About 10 minutes.

Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, sprinkle the flour and packet of ranch seasoning over the chicken. Stir. Pour milk into the skillet, and continue to stir and cook until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in cheddar cheese and bacon pieces. Stir until cheese melts.

Add the cooked pasta to mixture and stir to combine. Serve immediately!



Recipe source: Cassie Craves

5.18.2012

Mozzarella & Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken


  We eat a lot of chicken at our house. It's healthy, it tastes good and there's a million ways to dress it up! I knew this Mozzarella & Pepperoni version would be awesome. It tastes like pizza without the crust.

   I changed the original recipe just a little bit. I stuffed ours with turkey-pepperoni, and a slice of mozzarella. Then I coated the chicken in dried Italian bread crumbs. You could make this even more wonderful by adding some fresh cut up veggies too. I think I'll do that next time.

My house smelled heavenly as it baked. This chicken was pure deliciousness!


Mozzarella & Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 (1 ounce) slices Mozzarella cheese, plus 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
16 slices pepperoni
dried basil
garlic powder
1/2 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
1 jar Marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Rinse chicken with water, and pat dry. Trim off any visible fat. Cut a deep, horizontal pocket in each piece of chicken. (Be careful not to cut all the way through) Stuff each chicken breast with one slice of Mozzarella cheese and 4 pepperoni slices. Sprinkle the tops of pepperonis with a dash of dried basil and garlic powder. Close the chicken breasts, and secure with a toothpick.

Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish or plate. Dredge each breast into the bread crumbs to coat lightly. Place all the coated and stuffed chicken breasts into the baking pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove pan from oven, and then remove the toothpicks from each chicken breast. Pour about 1/4 cup of marinara over each chicken breast. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place back in oven and bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4













Adapted from: 10tentimes
Linked up at: Weekend Potluck

5.15.2012

Barbecue Cups


   I love fun, new ideas for dinner. These barbecue cups fit the bill. I saw these on my friend Brandy's blog a few weeks ago. I immediately bookmarked the recipe and decided to make them last week.

   They are biscuit dough filled with cooked ground beef that's drenched in barbecue sauce, and topped off with some cheddar cheese. Pop em' in the oven for 10 minutes or so, and dinner is done! So easy, and so good!




Barbecue Cups

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 (12 ounce) can refrigerated biscuits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Cook ground beef in a medium skillet until brown. Drain grease. Pour in barbecue sauce. Stir and cook until heated through. About 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Seperate biscuits, and then press them up and along sides of muffin tins. Divide the beef mixture evenly between each biscuit dough cup. (You may have a little meat leftover). Sprinkle each with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.  Serve!







Recipe Source: Pillsbury
Linked up at: Trick or Treat Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesdays

5.14.2012

Chinet Bakeware Winner!



   I want to thank everyone who entered the Chinet Disposable Bakeware giveaway! There were over 155 entries! Such a great turnout! To randomly choose the winner, I asked my daughter Kelsey to pick a number between 1 and 156. Drumroll please......





                                                        Comment #55  kim

Kim said, "I think I would bake my Mom a cake
for Mother's Day! I love the idea of giving someone
the pan and not worrying about getting it back."

Congratulations Kim!
I already emailed you for your address info!

Again, thank you to everyone that entered!
 :)

5.11.2012

Scalloped Potatoes


   Ummm.. yes, this another potato recipe. I am fully addicted to starchy, delicious potatoes and I'm the first to admit it. Admitting your addictions is the first step, my friends. The first step.

   Even though I'm admitting my addiction, I wont be trying to recover anytime soon. Especially now that I've made these sinful things. Thinly sliced potatoes, layered with smoked Gouda cheese and fresh chives.... *drool*



Scalloped Potatoes

3-4 large Idaho Potatoes, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1-1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
fresh Chives, chopped
salt & pepper


Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8x8 glass baking pan with non-stick spray.

 Layer potato slices, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt & pepper, and then top with both cheeses and a few chives. Repeat layer, 2 more times. You will have 3 layers total.

Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. Let stand a few minutes before serving.















5.08.2012

Snickerdoodle Blondies and my Chinet Bakeware Review & Giveaway!


  I have a great recipe to share with you today, and also a giveaway! I was honored to be contacted by Chinet to review their new line of disposable bakeware. When they sent me a free box filled with tons of their new disposable pans, I was super excited to get baking!

  I decided to make some Snickerdoodle Blondies for my first attempt at the bakeware. The pan I used was the 8x8 inch. When I pulled it out of the box, I noticed all of the pans came with lids! I thought that was such a great idea for keeping food fresh. Especially if your going to a picnic or barbecue. No need for any saran wrap or foil to cover the top!

  As I waited for the blondies to bake, I wondered how the pans would hold up in the oven. Most foil pans will cave in and aren't very sturdy, but that was not the case with these. I loved how sturdy they felt before I used them, and after baking with them! The blondies also came out of the pans with ease because they are non-stick. Awesome!

  I think there are many pluses to this new bakeware line. They are microwavable and freezer safe, and are also made up of 90% recyclable materials. I really love that! No longer are the days when you take a meal to a friend, and have to worry about getting your pan back. Just bake it in one of these and your good to go!



For the Giveaway.....

{This Giveaway is CLOSED}
  Chinet was nice enough to send me some of their bakeware for free, and they want to send one of my awesome readers a set too!  It will include:

2- 9x13 pans
3- 8x8's
3- oval 7x11's
3- small oval 1.5 quart size


  To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me what you would bake in your new disposable bakeware!

  The giveaway will end on Saturday, May 12th at Midnight Pacific time. I will announce the winner on Monday, May 14th! Please remember to leave an email address with your comment so I can contact you!

  Good Luck to everyone!

  Now, about those blondies. They were super duper divine! If you love Snickerdoodle Cookies, you will love these blondies! I added some white chocolate chips to the batter, because that's how I roll :)


White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Blondies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon sugar & 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, mixed together


Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in salt, egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour until combined, and then stir in white chocolate chips. Batter will be very thick like cookie dough.

Spread and press batter evenly into pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until bars are set and edges are lightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting.

Makes 9 bars.


Recipe adapted from: Baking Bites

5.04.2012

Pico de Gallo


    I ♥ pico de gallo. Not only for mexican dishes, but for all kinds of food. It's great on salads, steaks, and chicken among other things! This was the first time I'd ever made pico at home, and it was super easy. There's really nothing to it, other than dicing up a few tomatoes, jalapenos and onion. Add a few squeezes of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Mix it all together and you are good to go! YUM!




Pico de Gallo

5 plum tomatoes
2 jalapenos
1/4- 1/2 small red onion
1 lime
cilantro
kosher salt, to taste

Directions:  Dice tomatoes, onion and jalapenos in a very small dice. (Remove seeds from jalapenos for less heat) Place all the chopped veggies in a medium bowl. Add in some fresh, chopped cilantro (as much as you prefer). Stir all together and then squeeze in the juice of one lime. Add a sprinkling of kosher salt and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Source: The Pioneer Woman











5.02.2012

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas


   I have another delicious recipe in honor of Cinco de Mayo! These enchiladas are one of the greatest things I've had the pleasure of eating. It was one of those meals where after every bite I took, I was moaning and telling Kale how unbelievabley great they were! ( I'm sure in his head he was rolling his eyes at me, hoping I'd be quiet so he could enjoy his enchilada too)


   I saw these enchiladas all over the food blogs back when I first started mine. I've been wanting to make them ever since, but kept forgetting to. When I finally made them the other week I was so happy I did. I can't begin to describe how good they are. I am normally a red enchilada sauce lover but now after having these, I am a green sauce convert for sure. 



Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas


3 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
10 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
16 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 cans (10 oz each) green enchilada sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream


Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder together and then mix with the shredded chicken. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Spray a 9x13 pan and a 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Pour a little bit of the green enchilada sauce on the bottom of each pan. Take one tortilla and fill with chicken and a few tablespoons of cheese. (Make sure to save atleast 1-1/2 cups cheese to sprinkle over top of enchiladas)  Roll up tortillas and place in prepared pans. Repeat with all tortillas, chicken and cheese.

Mix together the remaining enchilada sauce and cream. Pour sauce over the tops of enchiladas (depending on how saucey you like your enchiladas, you may not need to use all of the sauce. Eyeball it)  Sprinkle the reserved cheese evenly over the tops.

Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole or any toppings you love. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: The Sisters Cafe