Top 12 Recipes of 2012

   2012 is almost over. It went by way too fast, but it was so great. I blogged a lot of delicious recipes, and thought I'd put together a collage of the ones that were the most popular. 

  I want to Thank You all for your love and support, and I look forward to sharing more recipes this coming year. 

So without further adieu, here they are:

The Top 12 Recipes of 2012!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake                    Warm Bean Dip

Ranch Roasted Potatoes                        Brownie Batter Dip

Bowtie Skillet Lasagna                     Mini Garlic Monkey Breads

Chicken Pot Pie Biscuits                     Marshmallow Popcorn

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas                Taco Pizza

Wishing you all a very
Happy New Year!


Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

   Life has been crazy the past few days. My Dad had to go in for emergency surgery Monday night, and again on Tuesday. He's very sick with complications from diabetes. I won't go in to the gory details, but all I ask is that you keep him in your prayers. It would mean a lot  :)

  As for these cookies, they are one of my favorites. I adore mint flavor and chocolate chip cookies, so the two combined is heaven to me. This recipe is SO easy. Another reason I love them so much. Give them a try, you'll probably love them, too :)

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg
6-8 drops green food color
1 cup creme de menthe baking chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, mint extract, egg and food coloring until a soft dough forms. Stir in the creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, placing 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Recipe from: Betty Crocker


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


   First and foremost, I'd like to say that I'm still praying and thinking about everyone who was affected by the Newtown, CT school tragedy. It's been weighing on my mind all weekend, as I know millions others. I wish I could turn back time for all those parents that lost a child that day. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of pain they're going through. I will continue to pray that they are somehow able to heal from their loss.

   Yesterday, I baked a bazillion cookies. At 9 a.m. I turned on Christmas movies for my kiddo's, and started baking away! After I finished, 4 hours later, I sent my Elves to pass out the goods while I cleaned up the mess.

   I received lots of text messages thanking me for the cookies, so I'm guessing they were a hit :) I'll be sharing all the recipes this week! First up are the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. As they bake, they puff up and crack. The flavor reminds me of a brownie. Very delish!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.

Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together, on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended.

Turn off mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined.

Using a Tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Form dough into a ball using the palm of your hand. Roll ball into the powdered sugar until covered. Place balls on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls 2 inches apart.

When 1 baking sheet is full, place in the oven and bake until cookies are crackled and puffed, about 10-12 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula transfer cookies to a wire rack to completely cool. Repeat with all cookies. Makes about 24 cookies.

Recipe by: Williams-Sonoma


Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

  On my birthday last Sunday, I got to lounge around in my pajamas all day, and hang with my cute lil' family. It was so peaceful and relaxing, and I could not have been happier. Since my work days and home life keep getting busier, I feel I hardly have time to cook and bake anymore. I hardly even have time to blog (as I'm sure you've noticed).

  So with all the chaos lately, I decided my lazy birthday day would be perfect timing to bake a cake. I decided on a Red Velvet. I'm a big lover of Red Velvet anything, especially the Red Velvet Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory! It is TO. DIE. FOR. It has layers of red velvet cake, and cheesecake, topped off with vanilla buttercream. I order it every single time we eat there, and always wish I could re-create it. Until now...

  When my good friend Brandie, at The Country Cook, posted this recipe, I was so excited to try it! It was exactly what I was looking for. A short-cut, semi-homemade version of my beloved Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake.

 It turned out AMAZING!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
Serves 12

1 box Red Velvet Cake mix
( including ingredients to make cake; eggs, oil, water)
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white

1/2 block ( 4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Prepare the Red Velvet cake batter, according to package directions. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, sugar and egg white. Beat together with an electric hand mixer, on medium speed, for 1-2 minutes or until combined and smooth.

Pour half of the red velvet cake batter into the prepared 9x13 pan. Spread out evenly. Then take the cream cheese mixture and drop spoonfuls all over the batter in the pan. Take the back of the spoon and swirl the cream cheese mixture all over the top of the cake batter.

Pour the remaining red velvet batter all over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Carefully, spread the cake batter over the top evenly. Covering all of the cream cheese.

Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until a tooth-pick inserted in center of cake, comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

FOR FROSTING: In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar, then beat in vanilla and milk, until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Slice, serve and enjoy!

(Store covered cake in refrigerator)


Menu Plan Monday #24

    I had my 32nd birthday yesterday, and had lot's of fun celebrating it this past weekend, with family and friends. I made my own birthday cake (which I was proud to do, because I'm not a fan of store bought cakes) and am SO excited to share the recipe with you all this week! It was SO good!

    This week I'm taking my girls to see the Nutcracker Ballet. I can't wait! I grew up watching it every December, but this will be the first time my girls get to see it. I know they're going to love it!
I'm also taking my kids to visit my Grandma Rose on Tuesday. She is 92 years old, and broke her back :(  She is in a care center right now (which breaks my heart) So I'm taking the kiddos to visit her, and bring her a little Christmas treat!


~Kitchen's Closed~
Taking the kids to visit Grandma Rose


~Kitchen's Closed~
Going to see the Nutcracker Ballet!


~Kitchen's Closed~

garlic bread
green salad


Crock Pot Maple Brown Sugar Ham

   My Grandma Jennings was an amazing lady. I miss her so much. She's been gone for 7 years now, and I still think about her every day. She was a very elegant, high class lady, that made the most delicious food. I have so many great memories playing at her house as a kid, and I especially loved the meals she made.

  This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to carry on one of Grandma's traditions of making a ham, as well as a turkey for the big feast! I love ham, and always looked forward getting to enjoy turkey AND ham when we would have Thanksgiving at her house.

   I decided to make it a bit easier on me, and tried this recipe for a ham cooked in a crock pot! The verdict?....  It was the most delicious thing my taste buds have enjoyed in awhile! The flavors were so good,  and with how easy it was to do, it will forever be my go-to ham recipe!

Crock Pot Maple Brown Sugar Ham

7-8 pound spiral-cut ham (bone-in or boneless)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups pineapple juice

Directions: Use a 6-7 quart crock pot. Unwrap ham from wrapper, and discard the flavor packet. Place ham inside crock pot, flat side down. Rub the brown sugar over all sides of the ham. Then pour on the maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours. Baste ham with juices an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, carefully remove ham from crock pot and place on a cutting board. Let rest 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy ♥

Recipe source: A Year of Slow Cooking


Orange Rolls

   I adore these Orange Rolls. They're another amazing recipe that comes from my Mom. Doesn't it seem that the recipes handed down from family are always the best? I think so!

 These are buttery, soft, lightly sugared, citrus rolls of heaven. No joke. And if you make them correctly, they will melt-in-your-mouth, and leave you wanting 10 more!

   I posted these on my blog a couple years ago, but the picture just didn't do them justice. This picture may not either, but it's a lot better than the last one. If this new one doesn't sell you on them, than just take my word for it. They are worth every bit of time and energy you put into them!

Orange Rolls

1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar

2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
zest of 2 small oranges, or 1 large

Directions: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until butter melts. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, mix the yeast, warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.

Once milk/butter mixture is lukewarm, add to the foamy yeast mixture. Stir. Next add in the beaten eggs, and slowly stir in all 4 1/2 cups of flour.

Cover and let rise until doubled in size. (about 1 - 2 hours)

Once the dough has risen, mix together the filling ingredients. Set aside.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Take one half of dough out of bowl, and place onto a floured counter top. (Make sure to flour your hands up good. The dough is very sticky) 

With first half of dough, roll out into a rectangle. Spread half of the filling mix over the dough. Roll up dough lengthwise (like you would cinnamon rolls) Cut into 12 pieces. Place pieces in greased muffin tins.
Repeat with other half of dough.

Cover the muffin tins with kitchen towels and let rise until doubled. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Enjoy ♥

(Makes 24 Orange Rolls)