Friday, November 11, 2011

Gingersnap Cookies

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
Additional sugar for rolling

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Beat shortening and sugar in mixer.  Add molasses and egg.  Gradually beat in flour mixture until dough forms.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in additional sugar.

Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350.

10 minutes for soft gingersnaps.
12 minutes for crunchy gingersnaps.

Key Lime Pie

1 gram cracker pie crust
4 egg yolks 
1 can condensed milk
1 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 c. key lime juice

Beat ingredients together until smooth.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake at 350 for 20 min.  Cool completely and freeze at least two hours.  Top with whip cream.  

If pie completely freezes (like over night) let it thaw in the fridge about 2 hours before serving.  You want it cold but not frozen.

Cheeseburger Soup (Kierstin's variation)

I love this soup. I think this soup is why I married Jason. The first time Jason took me to Idaho, this soup was sitting on the stove when we arrived late at night. Jason's mom offered us some and Jason said, "No thanks." I jumped in, the starving college student, and said, "I'd like some!" It is probably my favorite soup. However, I do not buy processed cheese. It just sounds disgusting and unhealthy. So when I got the recipe I made a slight change to accommodate the regular block cheddar cheese that I keep on hand. Here is my variation for others out there who might be opposed to "processed cheese."

½ lb ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
4 Tbsp butter (always use the real thing!), divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 lb)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
8 oz (about 2 c.) grated cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3 qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 Tbsp butter until vegetables are tender, about 5 min. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 min or until potatoes are tender.
***Meanwhile, I make a cheese sauce in a small skillet by melting remaining butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly added milk stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Over low heat stir in grated cheese until melted.****
Add cheese sauce to soup, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

The BEST Hot Fudge

This is the Livingston family (my mom's side) hot fudge recipe and I bet you can't find a better and easier hot fudge recipe any where! I've even had the hot fudge at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco and I think this recipe is better. Now my mom and uncle can't agree on how my Nana makes it, so I will give you both variations and they're both good and very similar. And coincidentally, Our Best Bites hot fudge is very similar to our family's recipe, too, so I am including it.

My Mom's Ingredients
2 squares Baker's Brand unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c. (or half a stick) of REAL butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand recommended)

My Uncle's Ingredients
2 squares Baker's Brand semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. (or whole stick) of REAL butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand recommended)
(clearly more sugar and fat)

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave (about 30 seconds). The butter will melt quicker, so you'll need to stir the chocolate squares until they dissolve. You can also do this on the stove top if you prefer. Then stir in the sweetened condensed milk until combined and microwave until hot (about another 30 seconds). Ladle generously over your best vanilla ice-cream!

Our Best Bites

Hot Fudge Sauce

3oz semi-sweet chocolate*
(3 squares of baking chocolate, or about 1/2 C chocolate chips

1/4 C butter (that’s a half of a stick folks. Admit it, at least one of you didn’t know that)

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

*I wouldn’t use milk chocolate for this, it’s way too sweet, however both dark and bittersweet are awesome

1. If you’re using baking squares, chop them up into small pieces so they melt easier. I chop the butter up into small chunks too.

2. Okay, it’s not rocket science. Put it in a pan on medium heat and melt it all together till it’s smooth, creamy, and just looking at it gives you happy thoughts.

3. If you have leftovers (but let’s be honest, you’ll have to quadruple the recipe to have leftovers) then put it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will harden into a soft, gooey fudge like consistency. Then keep a spoon handy on the counter and dip it in every time you pass by. This serves the same purpose as the always-open bags of chocolate chips that Kate and I both have in our pantries. Don’t deny it Kate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I got this recipe from Our Best Bites
It is a really easy version of Jambalaya
It is also great the next day


2 1/2 c. white rice
5 c. water
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
A lot of garlic (probably 5-6 cloves), minced
1/2 lb. high-quality smoked sausage(approximately; you can actually use a little less if you buy, say, a 14-oz. package of sausage)
1/2 lb. ham (you can also substitute leftover chicken, shrimp, or other shellfish; however, you’ll also need to compensate for the smokey flavor and the salt from the ham, so be prepared with liquid smoke and salt to taste. And you’ll want it to have a distinct smokey flavor.)
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (you could use another Cajun or Creole seasoning, but this brand is widely accessible and cheap) to taste


1. Combine rice and water in a medium-large saucepan and cover with lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and allow to stand an additional five minutes. (I just make some rice in my rice cooker)
2. While rice is cooking, finely chop sausage and ham (in your food processor if you have one) and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat in a very large skillet. When butter is hot and bubbly, add onion, green onions, green pepper, and celery and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add chopped meat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and then add cooked rice. Now start seasoning with the Cajun seasoning. It’s hot, I won’t lie, so if you find that it’s getting spicy enough for your taste but it’s still not salty enough, leave the Cajun seasoning alone and just finish seasoning it with Kosher salt. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Combine with cooked rice and serve.

*I added the stuff in italics because she forgot to put it in her instructions, but added it later in her comment section.

Kansas City Sue's Chicken {Slow Cooker}


*Note: The chicken cooks up with quite a lot of juicy sauce. I prefer lightly draining the sauce and serving it on the side so that it isn't so "soupy" as we are dishing it up over our rice. Serve it as you please!

Maria's note: This is a really good, mild chicken dish. We had leftovers, so I just shredded the chicken and reheated it with the juice on the stove top and it was still great.

*Serves 6-ish

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
In a large skillet, heat the butter/olive oil. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook them for 1-2 minutes on each side, until nicely browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken to the slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Whisk well. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with rice or noodles.

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

printed from

Maria's note: I loved this! The cake is so moist. A couple of people thought the frosting was too much, but not me! It was dangerous to have this around the house.

*Serves 10-12

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 cup water

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the cake, in a medium bowl combine the sugar and flour. In a largeM bowl mix eggs, baking soda, and sour cream well. Set aside. In a small saucepan combine peanut butter, butter, and water. Bring to a boil. Stir the boiled peanut butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add to the sour cream mixture. Mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 15×10 inch sheet/jellyroll pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the frosting, while the cake is baking, combine the butter, peanut butter, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in the vanilla. The frosting will be thick. Mix well. Pour and spread over cake while both are still warm.
Let the cake and frosting cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Smothered Pork Chops {Slow Cooker}

printed from

*Note: I like to serve these smothered pork chops over rice or mashed potatoes. Also, if the gravy in the last step doesn't thicken well, mix another tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons cold water and add it to the hot liquid. Let it come to a boil to ensure it thickens properly. Finally, I have doubled the pork in this recipe and kept all the other ingredients the same and there was plenty of gravy to smother the doubled pork.
*Serves 6

Maria's note: We loved these. My gravy turned out a little too thin, but that can be remedied with the cornstarch. I recommend serving the bacon on the side so that the bacon doesn't go limp in the gravy.

5 slices bacon, chopped
6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don't have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.
Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn't big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.

Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).

When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.