Thursday, April 7, 2016

Gooey Twix Brownies

Teacher appreciation week is in full swing here. I always like to make something homemade for them, but incorporate their favorite things. One teacher loves twix, one teacher likes brownies, they both like caramel & chocolate so why not Twix brownies?!  These are very simple to make, just a little time consuming waiting for things to cool before adding the layers. Don't they look so yummy? 

The fabulous brownie layer
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9x13 pan & set aside.
Cream butter & sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients & slowly add to the butter mixture.  Pour into greased pan & bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool before the next layer is added.

Shortbread layer
1 box of shortbread cookies
6oz cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar

You can make this one of two ways. Get some frustration out & put the cookies in a Ziploc bag, take a hammer, & smash the heck out of the cookies. OR use a food processor to crumb up the cookies. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, cream cheese, & powdered sugar.  Press this mixture on top of the cooled brownies.

Gooey Caramel Layer
1 package of caramels, unwrapped
2 TBSP milk

Place caramels & milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the caramels for 30 seconds at a time. Stir in between until all the caramels are melted & the milk is incorporated. Pour over shortbread layer. Place in fridge to let cool completely.

Chocolate Topper
1 package of Dark chocolate chips (you can use milk chocolate if you like that one better)
1 TBSP shortening
Melt chocolate & shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, going 30 seconds at a time & stirring in between until melted. Pour melted chocolate over the caramel layer. Refrigerate until set before you slice them. To store these, keep in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Banana Coconut Bread

Lots of very ripe bananas on my counter gets the family begging me to make banana bread. So, I decided to try to be a little more creative. This cold weather that has come back to us, makes me long for the tropics, so banana coconut it is!

1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 VERY ripe bananas (I like to wait until mine turn completely black = more flavor)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup coconut un-toasted (for garnish before going in the oven)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees & grease a loaf pan.

**toast your coconut on a cookie sheet in preheated oven for 4-5 minutes. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.**

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and soda and set aside.  Mix oil, sugar, and eggs in a mixer until thickened. Then add both extracts.  In a separate bowl, take bananas and coconut milk and mix together well. Alternate the flour mixture and banana milk mixture until combined. Then add in the toasted coconut.
Pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with the un-toasted coconut.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cran-Orange Relish

One of my favorite things on the dinner table at Thanksgiving is the cran-orange relish. My grandmother always makes the relish for Thanksgiving, but now we live so far away and it is hard to get back to visit for the holidays. I decided a few years ago, that I would take this yummy favorite on as my tradition here with my family. I make it just a little different than Grandma used to, but tasting it still brings back happy memories from when I was younger. This year, my daughter, who is 5, decided she wanted to make it this year, with my supervision, of course.  This tastes so delicious with the turkey and even leftovers on a turkey sandwich.


2 cups fresh cranberries
1 large orange, quartered
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
a few dashes of cinnamon

Using the shredder blade for the food processor, add the oranges and then the cranberries. Once they are shredded, add to a saucepan and add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and a few dashes of cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat until warm. This allows for the sugar to melt and it brings the beautiful red color of the cranberries to pop. Remove from heat and put in a covered bowl, store in the refrigerator. Serve with anything you like cranberries with!! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Once that colder weather moves in, my body seems to crave a yummy soup. I'm a cream soup type of girl verses the brothy-types. Potato cheese soup is by far my favorite, and now my 5 year old is also a huge fan. SO, yesterday afternoon, we decided we needed a pot of soup!  With my cute little sous chef assisting me, we made our soup with great success!

First you need some crisp bacon. The only successful way I have found to cook bacon, without all the mess, is on my broiling pan in the oven. No splattering of grease all over your stove, no getting burned from the grease, just easy. I usually bake it in the oven on 375 degrees for 20-30 mins. I just eyeball it.


1/2 lb bacon, cooked & diced
3-4 large potatoes, peeled & diced
2 TBSP olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried basil
8 cups of chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup heavy cream
extra cheese to garnish
green onions, chopped to garnish

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour


Saute onions, celery, and garlic in olive oil in a large pot.  Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, basil, and stock. Bring to a boil until the potatoes are cooked.  Stir in cheese and cream. Let simmer. 

Meanwhile, make the roux- melt butter in a saucepan, then start stiffing in the flour with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick. Keep stirring over heat so it cooks. The flour will slowly begin to brown. Once golden brown in color, it can be used. The darker the roux, the more flavor it will add to the soup.

Once the roux is ready, stir into the soup. This allows it to get its thickness.

Serve in bowls and top with cheese, bacon, and green onions.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dorito Casserole

Dorito Casserole

Growing up, my mom would do a Mexican night usually once a week. One of my favorite dishes she would prepare was her Dorito Casserole. Layers of doritos, meat and cheese.  So flavorful, and just enough heat to make it be a Wow! My mouth waters just thinking about it. My husband likes to top his with a little guacamole and sour cream.


1lb ground beef (you can double this if you are cooking for a larger crowd)
Doritos (you will be layering these in the casserole dish-amount depends on you)
Shredded Cheese, I like to use the Mexican blend
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can cream of whatever you have soup
1 can chopped chillies
chopped onions
1-2 TBSP taco seasoning, to your taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef and drain grease. Add taco seasoning and onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add chillies,  the cream of whatever you have soup, and the enchilada sauce, mix well.  
Layer doritos in a casserole dish. Spread half of the meat mixture over the doritos. Sprinkle with cheese, however cheesy you want to make it.  Repeat the directions again layering the doritos, meat, and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

Chicken breasts, cut into cubes
onions, chopped
garlic, minced
garlic powder
Sundried Tomatoes or Rotel 
Mozzerella cheese (just to sprinkle throughout)
3 TBSP Basil Pesto 
1/4 c Evoo
1/4 water

Pasta: swirly ones, or penne whatever kind you like. Regular spaghetti noodles work too, but totally your choice.

Start cooking your pasta. Generally I start that first & by the time I am done cooking the chicken, pasta is ready.
Cook onions & Garlic in EVOO, for a few minutes & then add cubed chicken & season with salt & pepper & garlic powder. Once chicken is cooked, add Sundried Tomatoes or Rotel. You can also add sundried tomatoes too.
Mix together pesto, EVOO, & Water & heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot.
Combine pasta, chicken, & pesto mixture together. Sprinkle with Mozz. cheese!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Caprese Chicken

Once the warm weather hits, I love to start cooking light and simple and fresh. This is the perfect recipe for that and very quick too! I am a huge caprese salad fan, so why not kick it up a notch? A very popular in my house, even my picky five year old will eat this! Let me know what you think!

1 - 8 oz container of plain yogurt
3 - TBSP balsamic Vinegar
1 package chicken tenders OR 8 thin boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves

Tomato-Mozzarella Topping 
1 - TBSP olive oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into small strips
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 - TBSP water
3-4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, but into small cubes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

For the chicken:
Mix together the yogurt and balsamic vinegar until well blended. In a zip-loc bag, add the chicken, then pour yogurt mixture over the chicken. Seal the bag and shake it around so all the chicken is cover. Let this marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes (or even overnight if you plan ahead).  
***Get your charcoal or gas grill ready and warmed up.***

Remove chicken from the bag and discard marinade and bag. Grill the chicken 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on thickness of the chicken. 

Once the chicken is cooked, add the topping and serve immediately! 

For the topping:
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onions. Saute onions for 5-6 minutes or until slightly softened.  Mix the balsamic vinegar and water together, then pour over the onions. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced and onion is tender. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the mozzarella and basil.