Category Archives: food

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

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I’m a sucker for cheesecake! So when I came across this recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake on  http://www.365daysofbakingandmore.com/2012/02/day-348-caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars-for-the-secret-recipe-club/ I knew I had to try it. And you know what it is absolutely wonderful!

Okay a little honesty here. This is the first baked cheesecake I’ve tried and I was a little intimidated by it. But you know what? It was really easy! There are a lot of steps but they go quickly! I promise. 🙂

This is the recipe exactly as it appears on her site. I didn’t have any caramels but I did have some caramel Sunday topping so I used that. 🙂

Ingredients
Crust
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Cheesecake Filling
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Layer
1 Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Caramel Drizzle
12 individually wrapped caramels
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust: graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter, mixing well with a fork.
Place crust mixture into prepared baking dish, pressing down gently with your fingers.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Pour over crust, spreading evenly.
In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the apple layer:  brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Mix well.
Peel, core and dice the apple into small pieces.  Add to dry ingredients and toss to coat.
Distribute evenly over the cheesecake layer in the baking dish.
In another medium bowl, combine ingredients for streusel topping:  brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and melted butter.  Mix will until a coarse meal is formed.  Sprinkle evenly over apple layer.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until streusel is golden.
Transfer baking dish to a wire rack to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for an hour or more to set.
For the caramel drizzle, in a microwavable bowl, melt the caramels on increments of 30 seconds, until smooth, stirring in between.  Allow to cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream.
Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving.

till next time

Krista ❤

Stuffed Shells

We are big lovers of spaghetti and lasagna in this house.  Mom decided today that we should try our hand at stuffed shells.  I figured it couldn’t be any more work that lasagna so why not?  Turns out it was pretty easy and tasted great!    Here is what we did.

Stuffed shells

1 box large shells

5 links hot Italian sausage with the casing removed

2 lbs hamburger

2 cans hunts spaghetti sauce

2 lbs shredded mozzarella

32 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

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Boil large shells according to package directions

Brown sausage and hamburger and drain.  Add to sauce and let simmer.

Put a layer of sauce in a large baking dish

Mix the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan cheese together

Fill each shell with cheese mixture and place in baking dish

Once the pan is full, pour sauce over the shells, top with mozzarella cheese and cover with foil.  Place in the oven set at 350 for 1 hour.  Let stand for 10 min and enjoy!  Place leftovers on foil and make serving size pouches to reheat in the oven for easy cooking nights!

 

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Meatballs and Gravy

Some days you just want one of those meals from your childhood.  Meatballs and gravy is a huge comfort food in our house.  My recipe has changed throughout the years, but the base is always the same.  There is just something wonderful about those meatballs with mashed potatoes and the gravy smothering it all!  The recipe is pretty basic but the results are oh so delicious!

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3 lbs hamburger

3 eggs

2 pkg onion soup mix (you can sub with beefy onion or any other you really like)

Bread crumbs

3 cans beef broth (beef consume works too)

1 can french onion soup (this time I used cream of mushroom, your choice really)

Bread flour

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Mix hamburger, eggs, dry soup mix together.  Add breadcrumbs until they are not so sticky (they will be sticky no matter what, it just feels a bit more solid).  Roll into meatballs.  Size really goes to preference.  It’s really up to you.  Place onto a plate with the bread flour on it.  Roll the meatballs so they are covered in the flour.

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Add the beef broth and soup to a dutch oven and set burner to low.  Add the meatballs to the liquid.  Turn heat to med high and gently stir after 5 min.  Once they come to a boil, stir again and reduce heat to med.  Stir gently every 10-15 min until cooked through.  Cook time will vary based on how big you make your meatballs.  Generally I let them cook up to 45 min.  To test if they are done take one out and cut it in half.

Normally we have green beans and mashed potatoes with this.  Sometimes if we are lucky, mom will make creamed cabbage.  Not a favorite for Mr. Picky, but it’s something I grew up with so I have always loved it.  I will share the recipe with you once Mom fills me in!

I really hope you enjoy these!

Lynn

 

Easy Homemade Ice Cream

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I recently picked up an ice cream maker on clearance and finally got around to trying it today. After looking around for an easy ‘no fail” recipe I found this one. Only 3 ingredients and about an hour? Sure! And taste? OMG! Delicious! Its like frozen whipped cream. So here it is:

 

1 1/2 cups Cold Whole Milk

1 1/8 cups Sugar

3 cups Cold Heavy Whipping Cream

1 1/2 TBS Pure Vanilla

 

Prepare your Ice Cream Maker.

With your mixer on low mix Whole Milk and  Sugar till well blended. Add Heavy Cream and Vanilla.

Continue per your Ice Cream Makers Instructions

The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever!

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I have tried a few different recipes for cinnamon rolls and they were ok.  I had trouble finding the one that was something I would want to make again.  You know, the wow factor.  Then I was discussing this with a friend of mine during a summer wiffle ball game.  Turns out she has a great recipe.  I’m skeptical but I figure I will give it a shot.  Really I just figured the only good way to get a good cinnamon roll was to go buy them pre made at the store.  Oh boy was I ever wrong!  These are just fantastic.  Nothing but good things to say about these delicious beauties!  Here is the recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls

 

1 fourth cup melted butter

1 fourth cup water

1 cup of milk

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 egg

half a package of instant vanilla pudding

teaspoon of salt

4 cups of bread flour

2 and 1 half teaspoons of yeast

Add to bread machine and set to dough cycle. When done roll out (I cut my dough into 2 pieces and work from there) and smear with butter then put brown sugar on the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Slice into strips with a pizza cutter with your desired thickness and roll.  They do not need to rise again, but sometimes I let them rise just a bit more to make them nice and puffy.  Bake at 350.  Frost with cream cheese frosting while still warm and ENJOY!

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I’ll be honest.  I have never actually timed how long it takes for these to bake.  I just go by smell and my nose never lies!  I would guess it’s about 35-40 minutes.  My pictures in no way to them justice, but I really don’t get much time to snap pictures.  They are gobbled up very quickly.

 

Honey Teriyaki Chicken

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Dinner in my house is always a challenge due to Mr. Picky, aka my loving fiance.  I am constantly saying he has the pallet of a 5 year old, but I’m pretty sure I know some 5 year olds that will eat more than him!  I tend to buy in bulk when there is a sale so I don’t have to pay full price later.  This is how I became really tired of baked chicken breast.  We are not always the most inventive at the end of the day so I started looking for some chicken recipes that Mr. Picky will try.  Luckily I have found a winner with this recipe from http://www.frugalitygal.com/.  Honey, teriyaki, chicken.  Yep, he will eat this!  This is where I got the recipe.    http://www.frugalitygal.com/2013/09/honey-teriyaki-chicken-recipe.html#_a5y_p=1258963

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenders (I had roughly 3.5lbs of chicken)

  • 1/3 cup honey (I used 1 cup of local honey)

  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (I used 1 cup)

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce)

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (I didn’t have fresh garlic so I just used about 2 TBSP garlic powder)

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper (2 Tsp black pepper)

  • 1/4 tsp. Salt (1/2 tsp salt)

  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (I didn’t use these because I didn’t have them)

This is where I veered off the path of her directions.  I mixed all of this in a large bowl with a fork, sorry, I don’t touch raw chicken if I don’t have to!  My mother cut the chicken for me since my bum hand doesn’t allow for me to do that sort of thing.  Anyway, I put it in the fridge covered for 2 hours and then cooked it in a saucepan while my rice cooked away in the rice maker.  Once the sauce thickened I turned off the heat and let it stand for 5 min to thicken some more and then served over rice.  This was seriously delicious!   Oh how I love easy recipes !

Lynn

Easy Creamsicle Cupcakes

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I have been passing off these awesome cupcakes as homemade for months!  I mean, they were made at home, so they are homemade right?  Ok, ok, since I finally fessed up to the truth I can share this with you.  These are so easy and oh so delicious.  Here we go.

 

Creamsicle Cupcakes with cream cheese filling and orange cream cheese frosting

For the cupcakes purchase Pillsbury Orange Creamsicle cake mix and make according to the directions.  Once cool, core out the center of each cupcake unless you have a frosting tip that will pierce the cupcake.

Make a basic cream cheese frosting.

2 Sticks of butter softened

2 8oz packages of cream cheese

3-4 cups powdered sugar

1 TBS Vanilla

1-2 TBS Milk

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in your stand mixer, add vanilla and sugar slowly, adding milk as needed for texture.  Voila!  Cream cheese frosting is complete!

Fill a frosting bag with frosting and pipe frosting into the top of each cupcake.  Super difficult I know!

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Next take one container of Pillsbury Orange Creamsicle frosting and add it to the remaining cream cheese frosting.  Mix until combined in your stand mixer.

Fill a piping bag with frosting and whichever frosting tip you like (the first picture was a batch without a frosting tip) and frost those bad boys!  I like to sprinkle chocolate sprinkles (aka jimmies for my east coast friends) on top to make them look even more appealing.

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This does take a little time and effort, but really it is so easy to do and I have NEVER had anyone not absolutely love these!  I have to hide some in the fridge for a friend and his son and every time I text him and tell him I have cupcakes for him, he is always very excited!  I have made these for snacks at bible study, birthdays and just because.   These are just delicious.  Please try these and let me know how they go over.  I anticipate some very positive reviews!!

 

Lynn

Delicious Guacamole In Under 5 Minutes

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Every Monday night my fiance unfortunately watches WWE Wrestling.  Most of the time one of his friends comes over to watch with him.  He is a great guy, and single so of course the mom in me wants to make sure he gets fed right.  Also, he is NOT picky like my fiance and loves to try my experiments.  I decided Taco Salad was on the menu for tonight.  While at the grocery store (because of course I had nothing in the house for taco salad), I saw avocados and remembered he loves my guacamole.  I found 2 kinda soft and decided that we had a new item on the menu!

This recipe really has no measurements because it all depends on how much you like.  I did measure out what I did last night but please add or reduce as you please.  You know what you like and that’s what counts.  🙂

 

This is what you need:

2 ripe avocados

Helmans Mayonnaise

Pace Chunky Salsa

Lime Juice

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In a bowl mash your avocados with a fork, making them as creamy or chunky as you like.  I leave some decent size chunks because I LOVE the taste of avocado.   Add 1-1.5 TBS of Helmans Mayo and stir.  You want it to have a creamy texture but not have the mayo overpower the delicious avocado flavor.  I recommend you start out small with the mayo and add more if you need to.   It is difficult to remove too much mayo.  Next add in and mix 1/4 cup of your salsa. Add 1 tsp of lime juice to help prevent the guacamole from browning as fast as it tends to do.   Again this is just what I did.  If you like more, or less, by all means use what you want.   This is just what I used last night.   If you use a different brand of salsa and mayo that’s fine too.  Personally I will only use Helmans.   Anything else tastes awful to me.  The Pace Salsa was what happened to be on sale yesterday or I would have bought store brand.

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This is so easy to make and really doesn’t take much effort.  Of course you can always pretend otherwise 🙂 .  This went over just as I expected.  Loved and enjoyed by everyone everyone except for my fiance who made questionable faces at it!

I really hope you try this and enjoy it.  It is so easy and oh so delicious.  ENJOY!!

 

 

English Muffin Bread

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Ok, this recipe for English Muffin Bread is wonderful!  I love to make it and freeze some for later.  It really tastes just like English Muffins, only better because you know you made it and you are amazing!  You don’t even a Kitchen Aid to make this.  You do however need a REALLY big bowl.  The recipe makes 4 loaves but you can cut it down to whatever works for you.  I will say if you make all 4 loaves, don’t use your Kitchen Aid.  You will be right at the top of the bowl.  This is where I found the original recipe.

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/02/moms-english-muffin-bread.html

 

I do need to point out that is is a great blog as well!  I find lots of great ideas here.

Here is the recipe

5 1/2 cups warm water
3 packages RAPID RISE yeast
     (I have been using regular yeast with no issues)
2 Tablespoons salt
3 Tablespoons sugar (I use local honey instead of sugar, you can use either)
11 cups flour (I use all purpose, but you can use bread flour as well)

Mix altogether, then spoon into 4 greased loaf pans.  Let rise in pans until dough reaches the top of the pans, and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. 10 minutes before done, brush with melted butter. Makes 4 loaves. Bread will be moist at first. Allow to COOL COMPLETELY before cutting, it will break apart if it is still warm. Makes terrific toast.  I like to toast it and put a fried egg on top, but try it how you like it. Jelly, peanut butter, the possibilities are endless.

Homemade Pizza

 

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When you have 2 people working full time in the house, eating out can become a easy solution.  Then you realize that half of one paycheck goes towards meals that you can make at home.  Personally, I would rather take a little time and make the effort to eat at home.  I’d like to buy a house someday.  I think that’s a bit more important than the ease of eating out.  Another bonus is that I know what we are putting in our bodies.  I’m not too happy knowing how much crap we put in our bodies, so I had to give in and give this a try.

Growing up in Massachusetts Krista and I LOVED linguica pizza.  It’s a Portuguese sausage that we grew up on.  I never knew you couldn’t buy it everywhere.  Until I moved to Iowa ;( . Thankfully we can still order it and have it shipped!  It can be pricey which is why we use it sparingly, and grinding some up for pizza makes a little bit go a long delicious way!  If you haven’t tried it, you really should.  It is amazing.  Great with just about anything.  http://www.famousfoods.com/linguica.html is where we have found the best price.  Shipping is killer because you have to get 2-3 day shipping since it is a food product.  I cannot say enough how much it is worth it!  I will also share a few more recipes that we use it in just so you will get good use out of it.

 

 

Ingredients
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
4 tablespoon honey (I use local honey from the farmers market)
Good olive oil (put the olive oil in before they honey so the measuring spoon is well greased and the honey will come right out)
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, let stand for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate. Once the yeast is foamy, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

Knead by hand: When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. (I have skipped this step when I don’t have anyone to help the lady with the bad hand and I haven’t noticed a difference.)

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and separate into 2 large, 3 medium or 6 single size pizzas. Place your dough on pizza pans with parchment paper.  I don’t use a recipe for the sauce, whatever I have on hand works.  Usually its leftover spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.  How much you use is really up to you.  Some like tons of sauce and cheese, some don’t.  Since you are making it at home, you can have it any way you want!  If you purchased your linguica ground then you can just sprinkle it on top.  If you bought the links, you can run it through the food processor or slice it like pepperoni and put it on that way.  Bake 25-30 min or until cheese is melted and slightly brown.  Enjoy!!

 

I did get the dough recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/white-pizzas-with-arugula-recipe2.html#!

You are of course welcome to try the toppings from her post, but in my house, we don’t get to try those things.  My fiance is way too picky!  Either way, I hope you enjoy the pizza and let me know how you like the linguica!!