Category Archives: RECIPES

The recipes on this page are my own. If you Pin them or copy them, that’s great. Just try to give me credit. Thanks in advance. Likewise, if there are recipes I have copied from others, I’ll let you know where they came from. It’s called respect. Thank you. That is all.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Eggs

I have a very small sweet tooth. Usually a piece of dark chocolate makes me happy after a meal. But at Easter I am usually pretty disappointed in the candy selection. So I make these… I have a hard time sharing them. Because no one enjoys these like I do.

heaven on a plate.

heaven on a plate.

Ingredients

¾ cup salted butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (two packages)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 small container of marshmallow fluff
2 bags of dark chocolate melting wafers (found at any craft store)
and two egg shaped molds. (I use two so that while one is in the freezer ‘setting’ I can work on the other mold)

Instructions

Mix together the melted butter, powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter in a food processor until a crumbly dough forms. Set aside in the fridge.
Follow the instructions on the chocolate wafers and melt in the microwave. BEING CAREFUL NOT TO GET ANY WATER IN THE CHOCOLATE – or the chocolate will ‘seize’ and become unusable.
Spoon a little bit of chocolate into the bottom of each egg mold and while tilting the mold in your hand, ‘paint’ the sides of the mold so that there is a thin layer of chocolate coating the mold. Put pan in freezer for 10 minutes.
Once the bottom layer of chocolate has hardened, take the mold out of the freezer and put a small spoonful of marshmallow fluff in the mold.
Then move onto the peanut butter.
Remove the mixture out of the fridge. The peanut butter mixture should be pliable, like a stiff cookie dough. Shape the PB mixture into the shape of the mold and gently press it onto the marshmallow. Continue until all cups are filled.
Cover each peanut butter cup with a top layer of chocolate (if your chocolate has gotten too hard while waiting, you can put it in the microwave for a few more seconds to melt it again). Make sure that the chocolate covers the top and meets the sides of chocolate to completely enclose the peanut butter.
Put in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes to harden. They are ready to eat immediately!

Salad with Hard-boiled Egg and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

The pool. Boy, I love our neighborhood pool. We can walk there. We can, and have, spent 7 hours a day there. Being a stay at home mom allows me this luxury… if you can call catching your child as he jumps in the pool nine thousand times a luxury. I swear some days I had bruises on my arms from him landing awkwardly. I was also stabbed in my thigh by a toenail once or twice. So fun. I also got kicked in the … um, let’s just call it the “if I was a man, I’d have probably drowned area”… twice in one day. Oh and every 45 minutes there is a break for 15 minutes. During those 15 minutes my kids eat like I haven’t fed them in days. I pack a cooler with water and snacks. You’d think some pretzels and a sip of water would be good. No… not for my family. My boy can eat everything I’ve packed for him in ONE break. Sheesh. Slow your roll, monkey. We have another break in 45 minutes! I have ONE snack for each kid for each break.

Anyhooooo… I ate during those breaks too. And I ate whatever my kids didn’t finish. You better believe a couple potato chips, two bites of a cheese stick, half a bag of Swedish Fish did NOT go in the trash can. Momma ate it.

Fast forward to September and momma is a little larger than she used to be. And I do NOT have money or the desire to go buy larger jeans for the winter. So I’m making some changes. I’m putting the kids on the bus and exercising in the mornings. And at night, when I usually eat a big fat bowl of ice cream, I am using the Wii Fit to do Step Aerobics. Last night I stepped 2700 times. (That is NOT a typo.) And I’m making changes to my diet. No more lazy days at the pool stuffing my face with pizza and soda and cheese curls!

homemade honey mustard vinaigrette drizzled over a simple salad

homemade honey mustard vinaigrette drizzled over a simple salad

“Salad!?” you ask. Yes. A simple salad. I need to make this recipe public. It’s my desire to teach those of you that drown your lettuce in ranch dressing and croutons (as I REALLY love to do) that there is a better, healthier version that’s just as tasty. And guilt-free!

Salad with Hard-boiled Egg and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

a nice pile of romaine lettuce – chopped or torn into bite size pieces

1/4 cup roasted almonds – chopped if you’d like. I eat them whole

1 hard boiled egg – chopped (tips on how to make the perfect hard boiled egg follow)

2 pieces of lunch meat – rolled up and sliced to make long slivers. I used roasted chicken today but honey ham would be delicious! And of course, if you have leftover rotisserie chicken or ham from dinner the night before, use it!! It’s a healthier option than lunch meat. I just used what I had.

1/4 cup of chopped monterrey jack cheese – I chopped up a cheese stick that I had. Momma’s gotta’ do what momma’s gotta do.

honey mustard vinaigrette – recipe follows

Directions:

place the washed and drained lettuce in a large bowl, top with almonds, cheese, lunch meat, chopped hard boiled egg and vinaigrette. Eat promptly. Lick the bowl. The end.

Hard boiled egg – the secret to a perfect hard boiled egg

Place cold water in a sauce pan. Place eggs in sauce pan so they are covered with cold water. Put a lid on it. Bring it up to a boil. Allow to boil for a minute and then turn off the heat. Leave the lid on and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, drain the hot water and add a huge pile of ice to the eggs in the sauce pan and fill the pan with cold water. The ice water shocks the egg shells and the egg shrinks and the shell expands. I think. I don’t know. It’s too scientific to explain. Just do it. Allow to cool as you make the dressing. Do not peel them yet!

Use local honey, spicy brown mustard, and low sodium soy sauce for salad dressing!

Use local honey, spicy brown mustard, and low sodium soy sauce for salad dressing!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

1 T spicy brown mustard

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 T honey (locally grown is best!)

whisk thoroughly

This can be made in larger quantities and kept in a small jelly jar tightly closed in the fridge. The trouble with this is you might use more than you are supposed to for your salad. Trust me. The recipe as written above is enough for a nice size salad. I suppose you could just measure out two to three tablespoons per salad.

Now go back and peel and chop that egg. Place it on the salad and drizzle with dressing. Now stuff your face.

You’re welcome. A simple salad you can feel good about.

 

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

I hate recipes. Did you see my tagline? “…rarely follows a recipe…” This is another one of my Let’s See if This Works recipes. I had two apples that were starting to get a little wrinkly on the outside. Not really crisp enough to serve in my husband’s lunch but not soft enough to toss in the woods for a critter to enjoy. So I thought I’d try a caramel apple upside down cake. But being lazy and not wanting to follow a recipe I looked in the cupboard and had a little box of corn bread mix. Voila!

I mean... come on. SO YUMMY.

I mean… come on. SO YUMMY.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Preheat oven to 350F and find a nice heavy 1 quart casserole dish or do like me and use your Pampered Chef 1 quart stone that you never used before and cross your fingers that it will come out.

Ingredients:

2 large apples, peeled (if you don’t like the peels), cut in half, cored and sliced semi-thinly (in other words, don’t use that apple slicer thingy that gives you 8 perfect pieces. It will not work here.)

4-6 tablespoons of light brown sugar – you’ll use one heaping tablespoon at a time.

2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, to be used to butter your dish and to dollop over the last layer of apples

lemon zest from a whole lemon

lemon juice from half a lemon

one box of Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions:

Place the apple slices, lemon zest and lemon in a bowl and toss to coat the apples

Butter the bottom of a 1 quart baking stone or casserole dish

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar in bottom, sprinkled over top of the butter

place the apples in a pretty design (this will be the top once you remove it from the pan)

top the apples with a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar.

place another layer of apples and top with another heaping tablespoon of brown sugar. Keep doing this until you run out of apples. I think I got three or four layers of apples.

Top with brown sugar again and about one tablespoon of room temp butter, just pinched with your fingers and dolloped around the top.

Place apples in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes to help soften them a bit. This step isn’t really necessary if you like a firmer apple. I’m feeding the Queen of Picky-land so I have to soften them a bit more than usual.

Prepare the cornbread batter by mixing the egg, milk, vanilla, cornbread mix, 2 tbsp brown sugar in a bowl.

Remove the apples from the oven and top with the cornbread muffin mix. Shake the dish a little to allow the batter to run down through the crevices.

Bake again for 30 minutes or until cake is done. (toothpick comes out clean)

caramel apple upside down cornbread cake RIGHT-SIDE UP! It's still pretty this way, too.

caramel apple upside down cornbread cake RIGHT-SIDE UP! It’s still pretty this way, too.

Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before sliding a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Then  flip the cake onto a serving platter. If your cake doesn’t come out cleanly just don’t serve it to your guests on the platter. Excuse yourself to the kitchen to plop big portions of it into bowls and top with whipped cream or powdered sugar or ice cream, etc. etc. No one will ever know it wasn’t perfect. Heck, I think it looks pretty right-side up or upside down! Oh and p.s. You can leave this cake on the counter for a few hours but it’s best to refrigerate leftovers.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Enjoy!

Ramen – My Interpretation

My version of easy home-cooked "Ramen" using store-bought Ramen noodles. Cheap, easy, tasty.

My version of easy home-cooked “Ramen” using store-bought Ramen noodles. Cheap, easy, tasty.

Most evenings I have a plan. But this one evening I did not. I ate leftovers for a very late lunch so by the time dinner rolled around I had no desire to cook nor did I have ANY clue what to make. Usually on nights like this the kids eat cereal and I make something special later after the kids are in bed for daddy and mommy. But this evening Josie asked for Ramen noodles. So I got out two packages. I had an idea!

My version of Ramen was born. Now, I am fully aware this is not a traditional Ramen noodle dish that you would eat in an authentic Asian restaurant. The broth and noodles are homemade in a true Ramen dish. This is simply MY version. Frugal, quick, and tasty.

Ramen – Jessie’s Asian Noodle Experience

MAKES TWO SERVINGS

Check your fridge for yummy goodies to add to the soup. I used sliced leftover baked sweet potato, which I reheated a bit. Very thinly sliced beef barely cooked in a bit of olive oil with a splash of  low-sodium soy sauce. (If you check the butcher case you can find thinly sliced ‘steak sub’ quality steak. That will be perfect for this dish.)

Bean sprouts would be good. Sliced mushrooms would be good. Slivers of carrot would be good. Finely diced jalapeno pepper or pickled banana peppers would be good.

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan that has a lid.
  • Add 2 packs of Ramen, BUT ONLY ONE packet of flavoring.
  • Turn the heat to low and sprinkle in a handful of baby spinach and submerge the spinach so it wilts.
  • Add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice OR rice wine vinegar to the pot and place a lid on it.
  • Meanwhile, get two big bowls ready because this comes together quickly.
  • Poach or pan fry 2 eggs. You want that yolk to spill out into the broth.
  • Place the broth and noodles in the bowls. Top with the sliced sweet potatoes (or whatever veggies you have), the steak, and the egg.
  • Drizzle the whole dish with toasted sesame oil, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, and some prepared teriyaki wok sauce/marinade. (I have a bottle of prepared stuff. The prepared stuff is thicker than straight teriyaki and is often blended with other flavors like sesame or sweet chili or mandarin orange.)

This isn’t really as much of a recipe as it is a suggestion.

The end result is bursting with flavor and makes you think you are eating a fancy restaurant quality meal. Don’t forget to eat it with chopsticks! It’s Umami at it’s finest. That ‘fifth taste’ that is hard to describe. It’s rich, savory, deep, mmm…. so delicious.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

Jessie’s Creamy Chicken Lasagna

A few weeks ago my brother called me from the grocery store to ask me some questions about ingredients in my lasagna recipe. I thought he was referring to my sauteed mushroom and onion lasagna but no… he called it Jessie’s Creamy Chicken Lasagna and said he makes it all the time. I don’t have a very good memory (I know. My husband is very lucky) so I didn’t know what he was referring to. Long story short, I got the recipe from him and he told me to post it here. He said it is a go-to of his when he is looking for that comforting, warm, cheesy, creamy indulgent meal. So here it is. I have no idea when I came up with this. I’m guessing at least 6 or 7 years ago. Maybe longer.

I hope it’s as awesome as my big brother says it is! I can’t wait to try it. Because apparently I can’t remember it from the first time around.

***update***

I made it!! It started to come back to me as I was whisking the milk into the soups and adding the herbs. It was great. It was creamy and decadent. The fruit salad was a great side-dish because it helped cut the richness of the lasagna. Josie even ate a few bites after I explained to her that the lasagna tasted like cheese crackers and chicken nuggets. Thanks big brother for bringing this one back!

creamy chicken lasagna with a little bowl of fresh fruit salad. The fruit salad is great because it cuts the richness of the lasagna.

creamy chicken lasagna with a little bowl of fresh fruit salad. The fruit salad is great because it cuts the richness of the lasagna.

Jessie’s Creamy Chicken Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. container small curd low fat cottage cheese (cottage cheese melts and blends right in but it’s MUCH cheaper than ricotta. Try it. You’ll thank me for saving you the bucks AND still giving you the smooth, mellow, cheesy, creaminess you need.
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken – a rotisserie chicken is a great choice for this if you are in a hurry. Just pick it up at the grocery store along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • hot pepper chili flakes to taste if you like that touch of heat.

Preheat oven to 350F

Stir the soups, milk, and herbs, s&p and chili flakes in a large bowl.

Spray bottom and sides of 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Assembly instructions:

Coat the bottom of the baking dish with a big spoonful or two of the soup mixture. Place noodles on top of the soup mixture. Top with about 1 cup of soup mixture, half of the cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups of chicken, 2/3 cup Mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Repeat layers once. Place another layer of noodles on top and cover with remaining soup mixture, Mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese.

Cover with foil (spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray to prevent the cheese from ripping off the top of the lasagna when you remove the foil) and bake for 45 minutes. Then remove foil and bake until golden and bubbly.

Enjoy the simplicity of this lasagna! It freezes well and it is great to give to friends or family or neighbors that need a hearty meal.