Friday, December 2, 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Blossom Cookies


1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 2/3 cups (8.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
24 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped (highly recommend the Candy Cane variety)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two, large baking sheets (11X18-inches or so) with parchment paper or lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Mix until the batter has lightened in color, 2-3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss in the mini chocolate chips.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Place the powdered sugar in a bowl or shallow dish.
Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls (I use my #40 cookie scoop) and roll into a smooth ball shape (if the dough is too sticky, let it rest for 10-15 minutes or refrigerate for just a few minutes...I usually just scoop and roll right away because I'm too impatient).
Roll each ball in the powdered sugar, shaking off the excess, and place several inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake for 9 minutes, until puffed and crackled. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Immediately press an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note:  I haven't actually made these yet, but I want to so I posted them on the blog so the recipe would be easy to find  :-).  This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tri-Colored Pasta Salad

12-ounce package tri-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
2/3 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 (6-ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red onion (or green onions)
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-10 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips or torn into pieces
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 to 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and coat with the Caesar dressing while still warm.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the extra basil. Toss well to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve (4-8 hours). If the pasta salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little more Caesar dressing and stir to combine. 

Feta Dip

olive oil
1 block (1#) of feta cheese
tomatoes (any kind)
1 bunch of green onions
1 baguette
Cavender's Greek Seasoning about 1 T (I found this at Walmart)

This is a recipe where you eye ball amounts.  Whatever looks good to you.  I used about 1 tablespoon of the greek seasoning.  This is one tomato recipe that I think actually tastes better after it's been refrigerated.

Note:  Melanie J. made this at Devon's mission dinner and I took it to Collin's.
Melanie sent me the recipe.

Pesto Cream Tortellini

Simmer 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup pesto in a skillet until slightly thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. 

Toss with 12 ounces cooked tortellini and 2 cups steamed broccoli.

Note:  I used steamed zucchini as that is what I had and we all really liked it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chicken Noodle Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2-3 peeled carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 ounces frozen egg noodles (like Reames brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups cooked, chopped chicken 
  1. In a 5- or 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are slightly tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add the frozen noodles and simmer for 18 minutes (or according to package directions), until they are mostly tender (they'll cook a few more minutes in the next step). 
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or blender, whisk or blend the milk and flour together until smooth (no lumps!). Whisk the mixture quickly into the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Stir in the frozen peas and cooked chicken and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste before serving. The soup will thicken as it sits (and if there are leftovers, they'll definitely thicken up even more in the refrigerator).
From:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

  • 2 pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of large fat pockets
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the spices all over the roast. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Near the end of the cooking time for the roast, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
  2. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve.

From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Carmel Apple Cheesecake Bites

This is the dessert I made at Thanksgiving that I thought was excellent from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog.


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup caramel topping for drizzling after baked (see note below_

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with ¾ cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
For the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Make 16 servings.


****NOTE: for the caramel sauce I used the following recipe from

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 - 3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add butter, brown sugar, water, and salt to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until butter melts.
Bring to boil for 5 minutes (it will bubble a lot!), stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup evaporated milk and vanilla. Add additional evaporated milk to reach desired consistency.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5-7 days.

This caramel reheats beautifully in the microwave or stovetop.

You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Just make sure to use an airtight container that's NOT glass because the milk expands when frozen and can rupture the glass. Defrost the sauce overnight in the fridge and warm gently before using.

Peanut Butter Pancakes w/Jelly

We love breakfast in this house, so I am always looking for new twists on the same old thing.  I tried this recipe this morning and it was a pretty good.  This is doubled, so it can be easily cut back in half.

First combined these dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour ( I used a combination of white and whole wheat)
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
In a separate bowl cream together:
  • 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (but I think chunky could be good too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. sugar or honey

Then add 2 1/2 c. milk and the dry ingredients and mix completely.   Cook on hot griddle and serve with a jam of your choice or maple syrup.