Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nothing Bundt Cake

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Here's a recipe that you can use to get you through the blah's of January. It would also be a great recipe to use to celebrate New Year's Eve next week. Whenever you choose to serve it, it will be amazing! The recipe for this cake originally called for a cream cheese frosting, but when I made it that way, it seemed as thought the cream cheese and chocolate flavors competed instead of blending. So when I made this for a Christmas party last week, I changed the frosting for a simple chocolate ganache with white chocolate swirls on the top. I loved it, the chocolate just went a lot better than the cream cheese did. 

Nothing Bundt Cake
adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

1 package devil's food cake, German chocolate cake, or chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the first 6 ingredients together, you can either use an electric mixer, or use your stand mixer like I did. Stir in the chocolate chips, it's really important to use smaller chips in things like this cake, because larger chips tend to hold together instead of flavoring the whole cake and they also tend to sink in batters. If you don't want to use the mini chocolate chips, you can use the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips and chop them coarsely. Pour batter into a greased (I use Pam for baking) Bundt cake pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 20 minutes, before removing from the pan. Place cake on a plate. Wrap immediately with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I refrigerated mine overnight this time, but you could also bake the cake in the morning and just decorate it right before you're ready to serve it. 

Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl with the stick of butter and microwave on high for one minute. Stir and continue microwaving in 30 second increments until the ganache is smooth and combined. Pour over cake using a spoon, I tried to make this look almost like frosting. You might have a bit of extra, but a little extra ganache is a wonderful thing to eat!

Place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, I started with 30 seconds here, because without the extra fat the butter brings, it could get over-cooked very quickly. Then use 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth. Then using a spoon, you can just drizzle it on. 

Allow to set up until the dark chocolate is no longer shiny. You can stick it in the fridge if you want to accelerate this process. Slice and serve. Mmmmm, heaven!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You know that Santa Wants These Cookies Next Week!

Guess who's coming in just a few days!!! I know that all of you out there are going to be making cookies for the big guy next week. I also have it on good authority that these are just the ones that he's going to want with a nice big glass of milk. (None of the rest of you are going to complain either!) So here's an early Christmas Gift from Cutler's, an amazing recipe for simply amazing cookies, or you could always just come and buy some from us! Merry Christmas from all of us at Cutler's, hope all of your wishes come true.

Cutler's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda  3 1/4 cup flour (we use cake, but all-purpose should be about the same)
2 cups (one 12-ounce bag) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I suppose you could add milk 
chocolate chips if you really wanted to!)

Cream sugar and butter/margarine.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Mix until well blended.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Mix.

Cook at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies are done when lightly browned at the edges and crackled on top.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spinach-Chicken Stromboli

I like to use recipes that use other ingredients that I already have on-hand or know how to make really quickly. This is one of those recipes for me. It starts with a basic bread stick dough and then you add chicken, left-over would work great and a few other things. It comes together really quickly and it tastes amazing! It's kind of like an inside-out pizza.

Spinach-Chicken Stromboli
Our Best Bites, Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sara Wells and Kate Jones page 160
1 recipe bread stick dough, or you can use a tube of refrigerated pizza crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided (I use the pre-shredded kind from the store)
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves (you can leave them out if you hate them!)
8 ounces shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 2 cups)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
Alfredo Sauce, or Marinara to dip in

Preheat your oven to the temperature the bread stick dough specifies, or if you're using the refrigerated pizza crust, to that temperature. Roll the dough into a 12x15 inch rectangle on a floured surface (I simply spayed our baking sheet with baking spray and used it.)  Spread 1 1/2 teaspoon of the oil over the surface of the crust. Then sprinkle with the Italian Seasoning and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Sprinkle them as evenly as you can.

The next toppings that go on will need to be an inch away from the edges, just for ease of rolling up the Stromboli. You also want to get the toppings on as evenly as you can. Spread the spinach leave, chicken and tomatoes over the dough.

Then, rolling from the longer end of the rectangle, roll up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch the seam shut and then pinch each of the ends shut and tuck them under. 

Place the seam side down on your baking sheet, that keeps the pretty side up. Brush the Stromboli with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Cut 3 slits along the top with a sharp knife to let the steam escape. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, you're looking for the top to be golden brown. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 1 inch thick slices. Serve with your favorite Alfredo sauce or Marinara sauce for dipping. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

French Baguettes

I know what you're thinking, but I promise this recipe is super simple and just yummy! You can eat these baguettes plain, with butter, as garlic bread, virtually any thing you can think of bread-wise can be done with these. And the best part, it's only going to take you about 45 minutes total to make these babies!

French Baguettes
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
by Liz Edmunds page 225

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
Melted butter, for brushing on loaves (optional)

Proof the yeast in a small bowl, using 1/2 cup water, all of the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir quickly to combine and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate. Let this stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy. If this mixture doesn't get bubbly, you need to start over. 

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, blend flour (you usually want to start with the least amount and work up as needed), salt, last teaspoon of sugar and the proofed yeast mixture. Gradually add the water, this is kind of backwards from how you would usually make bread, but I promise that it works great. You can just add all the water and extra flour, whatever makes you happy! :) Gradually add the water, until the dough forms a ball and has pulled all the water and flour into it. If it's sticky you can always add a bit more flour. Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for just a few minutes, you want the dough to be smooth and elastic. 

Time for the fun part! Cut your dough in half and shape into baguettes, kind of just roll into snakes, just like you're playing with playdough! You can use a special baguette pan, if you have one, but they work just fine on a normal cookie sheet. Grease your pan and place the loaves on it. Make a shallow cut down the middle, cover the pan with a clean dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place until they've doubled (about 30 minutes).

While those loaves are rising, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees with a shallow pan of water on the lowest rack to create steam. Bake your baguettes for 15 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped with a knife. You can either brush your loaves with butter when they've baked about halfway (crispier crust) or brush them when they are completely cooked (softer crust). 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Salsa Chicken

I've seen lots of recipes similar to this one. The first place I saw it was on my friend's blog, but I couldn't just make it how it was, I had to do my own thing with it. The first thing that I do different is leave my chicken frozen. I rarely remember to thaw my chicken ahead of time for anything, and it has seemed to work just fine for this recipe to not thaw it. I also add a can of refried beans to it. Leaving the chicken frozen adds a bit of extra water to the mixture at the end and the beans do two things for me, they get rid of the extra moisture and they add a little extra vegetables and fiber to the dinner (shhhh....don't tell our kids!). This recipe is really fast and easy, it's a go to recipe for Mexican night at our house.

Salsa Chicken

6 frozen chicken breast tenders (I use the frozen ones from Costco)
1 jar salsa (I use medium Pace Picante Sauce)
1 can refried beans (I usually use Rosarita no-fat traditional for this recipe)

Place frozen chicken in the slow cooker (I'm sure it would work just fine to have the chicken thawed as well). Pour the jar of salsa over the top. Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours.

Half an hour before you're ready to eat, remove chicken from the cooker, shred it and return to the cooker. Add the can of beans, replace lid and let cook for about a half an hour. 

Serve in tortillas or taco shells with your choice of toppings. Sour cream, guacamole, olives, lettuce, tomato, and more salsa all work really well.

This makes enough for our family of 4 to have it a couple of times. It also freezes really well after it's cooked, so you can save it for another night when you don't want to cook or don't have the time to cook.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Super Fast Pasta Bake

I love to find quick and easy dinner ideas and this is one of my very favorites! I love that it's super fast and simple. I love that I can change up the way it tastes by varying a couple of the ingredients. I love that it's cheesy (who doesn't love that!). I also love that you can make it smaller, I always half this recipe and it turns out great! Most of all, I love that everyone in our family will eat this with no complaints. I found this recipe at Real Mom Kitchen, it's one of my very favorite blogs, and if you haven't already checked it out, you should because it's amazing! I hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Super Fast Pasta Bake
Real Mom Kitchen

8 oz elbow macaroni or other small shaped pasta, uncooked
4 1/2 cups spaghetti/marinara sauce (1 jar)
1 cup water
1 can petite diced tomatoes (this is where it's fun! I usually use either Italian or a garlic/onion can)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or use an Italian blend)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place marinara, tomatoes, and water in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stir in the uncooked pasta. Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes to an hour, you're looking for your pasta to be tender here. Top with the cheese and bake for a few more minutes uncovered, just until the cheese is melted.

Another thing I like to do with this recipe is throw in some frozen meatballs (I like the ones from Costco). I'd probably use 12-16 if I was making the full recipe and you don't need to do anything special to it.

How I half this recipe:

1 cup macaroni
1/2 bottle marinara
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water

Put recipe together the same way as for a full recipe, but bake in an 8x8 baking dish instead. You could also put the whole recipe together, separate into two 8x8 pans and freeze one before baking. Then you'd want to thaw the frozen one for about 24 hours, and bake for probably around an hour and a half at 350 degrees. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red and White Mostaccioli

One of my very favorite shows to watch on TV is the Food Nanny. Liz Edmunds is the Food Nanny and she travels around to families and helps them to make having dinner as a family work for them. She's got a meal planning system, a cookbook and a TV show. I was able to meet her last weekend and she was so sweet and energetic! Today's easy dinner recipe comes from her cookbook. This is one of our family's very favorite meals. I usually serve it with breadsticks, and a vegetable or salad. This recipe can also be halved very easily to make it work for smaller families.

Red and White Mostaccioli

1 pound uncooked mostaccioli or other ridged tubular pasta
Alfredo Sauce (I use this recipe, but you can also use the kind from the store, or your own recipe!)
1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook your pasta, just follow the directions on the package and drain it. As you're cooking your pasta, you can make your Alfredo sauce. When pasta and Alfredo sauce are cooked, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking spray. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13 inch pan. We're going to do some layering here, first put in half the pasta, then half the Alfredo sauce, then half the spaghetti sauce. Top all of those with cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

For the month of November, I'm going to focus on some fairly simple dinner ideas that our family has enjoyed. I'm starting with Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches. This is another recipe from the girls at Our Best Bites. I made these sandwiches not all that long ago. They are super easy to put together and the members of our family that eat meat enjoyed them. I liked that they reheat well, I bet they would freeze really well too!

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
from Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites page 222

2 tablespoons olice oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste if needed
3 pound beef roast, trim fat if needed
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (16 ounce) jar sliced pepperoncinis or banana peppers, undrained
Sliced provolone cheese
Mayo if desired
Sandwich rolls (I used Ciabattas)

In a high-sided skillet heat oil over high heat. Rub salt and pepper into the roast. Sear the meat in the oil on all sides, so that the meat is browned and crisp.

Place the meat in a slow cooker. Cover with the peppers and add the garlic. I used Marzetti Deli Sliced Banana Peppers.

If you have the time, cook on high until the liquid boils and then cook on low until the roast shreds easily with a fork, total of about 6-8 hours. Or cook on low for 8-10 hours, again until the roast shreds easily with a fork.

To assemble sandwiches, cut rolls in half, spread lightly with mayo if desired. We enjoyed our sandwiches without mayo. Top with a slice of provolone and place under your stoves broiler just until the cheese is melted, about 1-3 minutes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

It's fall here in Utah, we've even had some wintry like weather. I happened across this recipe last week on Our Best Bites website and knew that I needed to make this recipe for our last dessert recipe in National Dessert Month! This recipe went together quickly and it was amazing! Let's just say these loaves didn't last long at our house! I loved that these didn't seem greasy and heavy, they were all around perfect! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (plus a few to garnish tops of loaves)
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying two 9x5"-ish loaf pans with baking spray (I love the kind with flour added!). 
When I get flour, I take a spoon and spoon it into the measuring cup, that seems to work well for me and it worked on this recipe just great! Combine the flours, spices, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside. 
In a different bowl (I used my stand mixer) place the brown sugar and white sugar and mix them together until there aren't any clumps of brown sugar. Add yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. 
Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until moistened (don't over-mix!). Stir in the chocolate chips (gently!). Then divide batter between your two pans evenly. Garnish with chocolate chips.
Bake for 45-60 minutes. I set my timer for 45 minutes and then checked with a toothpick. There were only a few crumbs and no wet gushy looking stuff on the toothpick, so I knew it was done. If it's not done when you check the first time, just let it bake about 5 minutes longer, check again. Repeat process until the toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then gently remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Perfectly Amazing Chocolate Cake

This cake recipe comes from Real Mom Kitchen, another cooking blog that I love to read. I made this cake for a family birthday last summer and this last weekend I just knew it would be awesome to make again! This cake is one of the few, including cake mixes, that actually has turned out for me in our oven. We live at a high-ish altitude, so that might be part of why they don't turn out, but I just don't know. This cake is amazing, so chocolaty, and the frosting that goes with it is awesome too!

Perfect Chocolate Cake

2 cups less 2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa 
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

I did adjust some of these for high altitude baking, so if you live at an elevation less than 3,000 feet use:

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare two 9 inch round cake pans. You can grease and flour them, or you can use baking spray with flour, it makes it so much simpler, plus the spray smells so yummy!

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer and combine then add dry ingredients to the wet ones. When everything is mixed well, add the boiling water. Make sure you use a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl and mix again. Pour mixture into prepared pans, it will be really runny, don't worry it'll turn out great!

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove to wire racks and cool completely.


1/2 cup melted butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cocoa and melted butter in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix until combined. Then you want to add your milk and powdered sugar. You alternate powdered sugar and milk until all of the powdered sugar is in, and the frosting is a good spreading consistency. It seems like a lot of times the recipe calls for way more milk than actually works in the frosting so if you have extra, don't worry! Mix in the vanilla. 

To frost cake: place one layer on your serving dish, frost with a thin layer of frosting. Place the second layer on the top and frost the whole thing with the rest of your frosting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

This is our 3rd recipe for October's National Dessert Month. I've been having a great time finding and making dessert recipes! I don't think that my family has complained either. Today's recipe is No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars.  This is a recipe that I tried when I was able to go to Orson Gygy, an amazing local kitchen store, a fixture really, to meet the awesome bloggers from Our Best Bites. They had amazing samples from their new cookbook, Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites.  After one bite I knew that I had to make this recipe. There's a similar recipe floating around Pinterest right now, but this one is better, simply because it's no-bake! These taste just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but in a bar shape, you must try them!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites by Sara Wells and Kate Jones, pg 187

25 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreo's
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (12 ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Make a foil sling in your 9 x 13-inch baking pan by putting foil in it and making sure that the foil extends over the edges of your pan. I have to confess that I didn't do this and it still worked, although I probably wouldn't have ruined the first one if I had done it!

Put the cookies in your food processor, and pulse until finely ground. You can also use a large zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin until their crushed into crumbs, this gets rid of extra frustration! Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and combine with the crumbs until the crumbs are all coated. Press the crumbs into your 9 X 13 pan that you've put the foil in and stick in the refrigerator while you make the peanut butter filling.

Melt the cup of butter. Beat 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, melted butter, and powdered sugar in your stand mixer until they combine into a dough. Add the graham cracker crumbs (you can either buy them as crumbs at the store or make your own in the same manner you made the chocolate layer), mix until combined. Press the peanut butter dough evenly onto the refrigerated chocolate layer.

Next, place 3 tablespoons peanut butter and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, make sure to stir in between, until everything's melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over the peanut butter dough layer and spread evenly. Stick the pan into the fridge for 2 hours. When you're ready to cut, simply lift out the foil and use a knife to cut into bars.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Check this out!

Last week we had a special visitor at our bakery.  Si from A Bountiful Kitchen, one of our very favorite food blogs, came in to learn how we make our special cookie for fall—Pumpkin Chocolate Chip (just click to check out her post). 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies

Here's our second dessert recipe for National Dessert month. 

This is a recipe that comes from our summer vacation. We went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Nauvoo is a little pioneer town, and they do things in pioneer ways. There is a little replica of an actual bakery that would have been there in the 1840's and they make cookies to let people sample there using a recipe that would have been used in the 1840's.  MMmmmm, they were soooo good! We had to sample them several times. We couldn't resist buying a little gingerbread boy cookie cutter to make our cookies look the same as they did in Nauvoo. As you can tell from the picture, they turned out really cute! I wasn't sure they would taste the same way when I made them at home, but they were really great! I can't wait to make these again!

Gingerbread Cookies

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
6 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set aside. Spray your mixing bowl with cooking spray before adding your ingredients so that the dough will come out more easily when you're ready to roll it our! Cream together oil, eggs, molasses. and sugar in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Then add 1/2 cup water (I actually forgot to add this here and was wondering why my dough was so dry, so I added it very last and it did work. So if you mess up like I did, it will still be okay, but I do recommend adding it here!) In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and the spice mixture you set aside earlier. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until combined, you can add more flour if your dough seems too wet. Refrigerate your dough overnight. 

Roll out chilled dough on a floured surface, I like to use this mat. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes for soft cookies; 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies. These cookies freeze great! Freezing them actually makes them softer and the flavors of the spices become more pronounced. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Did you know that October is National Dessert Month???!!! I'm thinking we need to celebrate!

There are two ways you can celebrate National Dessert Month: The first is come in to our store and get some amazing cookies!

The second is to stay right here on our blog. Every week on Wednesday, I will be posting a new dessert recipe that I've tried so you don't have to, I'm nice like that!

This weeks recipe is Root Beer Float Cupcakes. Our daughter had a birthday last week and she requested a Root Beer Cake, but I had no trouble getting her to change her mind and have these instead! I really loved how simple this recipe was. Only two ingredients for the cake part! I was kind of nervous that they wouldn't work, we tend to have problems with our oven getting cakes and things to rise, but they turned out great, and so yummy! I loved this recipe, next I want to try using orange soda and a butter cream frosting to get kind of a Dreamsicle effect.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes by Wendy Paul pg 101


1 white cake mix
1 cup root beer

Mix these two items together. Put batter in cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, when done, cake should spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost.

Root Beer Butter Cream Frosting
101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes by Wendy Paul pg 154

1 stick of butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk, depends on how thick you want it
1 tsp root beer flavoring

Place butter in a large mixing bowl, beat for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is light and fluffy. Add your sugar (you should add with the mixer stopped for a smaller mess!), milk and root beer flavoring. Mix the frosting, you want to start out with a slower speed and increase the speed as the frosting gets creamy. I add the milk really slowly, I start with just a splash, then add more as needed to make the frosting the consistency that I want. 

The recipe says that you should get 18-20 cupcakes out of one cake mix, I only got 12, so I grabbed another cake mix that I had, which happened to be French Vanilla flavored and used it also, it worked just as well as the white and I had the 2 dozen cupcakes that I wanted. I also ended up needing triple the frosting to frost them the way I did. Worked out great. Then I took some bendy straws, cut off the top third and poked them into the cupcakes. So cute and simple!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Double Chocolate Oatmeal cookies are some of my very favorite! One day I went to a book signing and the author happened to have written a cookbook about Chocolate, and she was serving these cookies. One bite and I was hooked! I do need to give a disclaimer, this is not the recipe that Cutler's uses! 

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
from Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyon pg 46

1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix. Mix in flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until combined. Add the oats, mix until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape, either by dropping onto baking sheet by spoonfuls, or do what I like to do, use a small ice cream scoop, the kind with the handle on the side. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes. When they come out, they are still quite soft, so allow them to sit on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes, this kind of finishes the baking process. Let cookies completely cool on wire racks.

This recipe only makes about 1 1/2 dozen, but I always double it when I make it, because 1 1/2 dozen cookies get eaten really fast! This recipe has become my go-to cookie recipe, it's really quick to put together and bake and they are super yummy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

Our kids love pizza, but it just gets so boring when you have one variety, or that's what I think anyway, I'm sure not everyone agrees with that! One day when I was making pizza, I thought why not try a pizza that's kind of like one of our favorite ways to have Alfredo-with chicken and broccoli. And so this pizza recipe was born!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

1 recipe Bread Sticks (follow instructions through first rise of dough)
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
1 recipe Alfredo Sauce
2 cooked chicken breasts (cook anyway that works for you), cubed
1 bunch broccoli
2-3 Green onions, chopped
Mozzarella Cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, you can also preheat your pizza stone if you would like, I don't  because then I can use the counter to make the dough without killing it! Prepare the pizza stone by spraying it with cooking spray. 

Start by shaping half the bread stick dough into a circle. I like to use half and either make two varieties of pizza or use the second half for bread sticks. I shape it on my pizza stone, because it seems like it's a lot easier to do it on the stone, than it is to try and get it off of something else onto the stone. I simply roll it into a circle (ish) roughly the size of the pizza stone. Next, poke holes in the dough with the fork. Spread olive oil to the edges with a pastry brush and sprinkle the whole thing with garlic salt. Bake until golden (anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven.).

Now for the fun part. Start by spreading the sauce almost to the edges (you want some crust!). Onto the Alfredo sauce you just sprinkle the chicken, broccoli and green onions, however looks good to you. Last, place the mozzarella on top of all of the rest. I didn't give a measurement for this one, you can go lighter, because it does already have Alfredo on it, or you can add a bit more to kind of glue the whole thing together. It will taste great either way!

Finish baking until cheese is melted and crust looks brown and pretty (again from 8-12 minutes). Let stand for about 5 minutes before slicing and serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alfredo Sauce

One of our family's favorite meals is Fettuccine Alfredo. It's one of the only things that everyone can agree on. Today, I'm going to share how I make homemade Alfredo Sauce with you. You can use this sauce for whatever you want. I've used it for Fettuccine Alfredo, dipping bread sticks, and red-and-white mostaccioli. How can I forget over broccoli! It's the only way our daughter will eat it!  I also have another use for this sauce coming up in a future post! I got this basic recipe from a friend, but I've kind of tweaked it a bit to make it my own.

Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (get the grated kind, or buy a block and grate it yourself!)

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, and salt until smooth and bubbly. Add milk: cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute over low heat. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chicken Burritos with Salsa Verde and Lime

One of my favorite things to do is watch cooking shows! There are several that I watch and one of them is the Food Nanny. Her name is Liz Edmunds and she is really concerned about families taking time to eat dinner together and have great conversation while eating great food. I love her show. I'm really excited that I get to see her in person in a couple of months and hopefully I'll get to meet her too! On her show the other day, there was an enchilada recipe that I wanted to try, so I pulled out her cookbook and tried it for our family last night. This was a fun meal, the sauce is almost like the green dressing that you get at Cafe Rio, neither of our kids were a big fan of the lime in the rice, but I liked it!

Chicken Burritos with Salsa Verde and Lime
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner, page 119

Santa Fe Lime Rice (recipe follows)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
6 burrito size flour tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Pepper Jack cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese (I used Pepper Jack and Medium Cheddar)

2 cups bottled salsa verde
2 (.4 ounce) packets buttermilk dressing mix
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2/3 cup sour cream (I used light)
2/3 cup mayo (also light)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt (like Kosher or Sea Salt)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup sugar
Dash tabasco (optional) kind of do this to taste

Cook chicken, you can either grill, broil or bake it. If you grill or broil it then when you shred it, season it with salt and pepper. I chose to bake it, I put some olive oil over the top and then salt and pepper.

To make the sauce, place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Then heat the sauce either on the stove or in the microwave.

Heat black beans, you can heat them either on the stove or in the microwave.

Next assemble the burritos. Take your tortillas,  I used tortillas that you cook yourself, they just taste better. I buy them at Costco, but I've seen them at the grocery store too. Take the tortilla and place a scoop of beans and rice in them, then divide the chicken among them. You'll notice from my pictures that I served the rice alongside, not in the burritos. Then to fold them, you fold up the bottom third of the tortilla, over the filling, next fold in the sides and then I kind of roll the top over it all, being careful to keep the sides tucked as I roll. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle the whole thing with cheese.

To heat the burritos, turn on your broiler, place the pan on a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and be really careful, the broiler is powerful and you can burn things really quickly. The burritos are done when the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.

Santa Fe Lime Rice
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner, page 123

1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice or calrose rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Put the rice, chicken broth and salt into a large saucepan and place on the stove, heat over medium high heat, until the liquid starts to boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the other ingredients to the pan. Stir, cover the pan, and allow to cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.