Tuesday, December 20, 2011

•Kahlua Balls

  • Kahlua Balls - 5
  • Kahlua Balls
  • 3 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp agave or corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
  • 3 Tbsp brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the crushed graham crackers, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate.

    Stir in the vanilla, agave, and Kahlua until the dough comes together.

    Shape the dough into 1″ balls. Roll them each in the granulated sugar.

    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days to develop the flavor. Makes 15-20 balls.

    Cowboy Cookies

    Cowboy Cookies

    1 cup butter, at room temperature
    1 cup light brown sugar
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    2 Tsp. vanilla extract
    1 ½ cups all purpose flour
    1 Tsp. baking soda
    ½ Tsp. salt
    2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
    ½ cup chocolate covered raisins
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 cup crumbled pretzels
    ½ cup shredded coconut
    ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
    Preheat oven to 350
    In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars.
    Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
    Stir in the baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until just combined being careful not to over mix.
    Briefly mix in the oats.
    Add the chocolate covered raisins, chocolate chips, pretzels, coconut and pecans; stir until just combined.
    Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto un-greased cookie sheets about half an inch apart.
    Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown along the edges.
    Makes about two dozen cookies

    Three Cheese and Beer Quick Bread

    Three Cheese and Beer Quick Bread



    • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 tablespoon Italian dried herbs
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    • 2 cups room temp beer
    • 1/2 cup tomato juice
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    • 2 beaten eggs
    • 2 cup or 6 oz gruyere cheese
    • 1 cup or 3 oz parmesan cheese
    • 2 cups or 6 oz white cheddar cheese


    Grate all your cheese and get all the ingredients together to be sure you have everything you need. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, slat, dried mustard and the Italian herbs. Using a whist mix them all together. Remove a 1/ 2 cup of the white cheddar and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere cheese and a 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and set aside for the topping of the bread. Add the rest of the cheeses to the flour mixture. Using your fingers mix in the cheese so all the cheese is coated in flour. In a separate bowl combine the beer, sour cream, tomato juice, eggs and worcestershire sauce and whip till mixed. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula just till mixed. Do not over mix. Pour the mixture into 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans and press down with a spatula. Sprinkle the cheese that you set aside earlier. Place the loaves into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 50 -55 minutes or till done. Allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing them from the pans. Place on a wire rack to cool.

    Pistachio Cranberry Bark

    Pistachio Cranberry Bark

    1 cup white chocolate candy melts
    1 cup dark chocolate candy melts
    ½ cup pistachios
    ½ cup dried cranberries
    wax paper
    Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside.
    Place dark chocolate melts in a medium microwavable bowl. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Stir mixture and continue to microwave for 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted.
    Reserving about two tablespoons, pour dark chocolate onto prepared cookie sheet and spread over surface with a spatula. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden.
    In the meantime melt white chocolate melts using the same 30 second interval method. Once completely melted stir in pistachios and cranberries.
    Pour the white chocolate mixture over the hardened dark chocolate on the cookie sheet. Dip a spatula into the reserved dark chocolate and drizzle over the top of the bark to decorate.
    Return cookie sheet to the refrigerator until the bark has hardened.
    Once completely cooled and hardened remove from the fridge and break apart into pieces.
    Store in a sealed container in a cool dark place so it does not melt.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken

    crock pot mexican chickenShredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken

    PrintSave Recipe


    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon coriander
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/3 cup chicken broth
    1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped
    2 limes
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon olive oil


    Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.
    Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot. Squeeze the lime on top, add the cilantro, jalapeno, and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.
    Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Scoop out the onions and add to the chicken.

    Mini Ham and Cheese Rolls

    Mini Ham and Cheese Rolls
    2 T. dried minced onions
    1 T. prepared mustard (I used Honey Dijon)
    1 tsp. poppy seeds
    1 stick melted butter
    1 dozen dinner rolls or 2 dozen party rolls (I used 1 pkg of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls for half a recipe)
    1/2 pound ham
    1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
    Preheat oven to 325°. In a small mixing bowl mix onion, mustard, poppy seeds, and melted butter. Leaving the dinner rolls intact, slice them open so that you have one solid top and bottom. Place the bottom half on a baking sheet or in a 9×13 inch baking pan, the pan size will depend on choice of rolls. Line the bottom half of the rolls with cheese slices and ham. Return the top part of the rolls and drizzle the butter mixture evenly over top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Now use a sharp knife and separate the little sandwiches. Place on a pretty platter and serve immediately.

    Bow Tie Skillet Lasgna

    Bow Tie Skillet Lasgna
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 lb. box or pkg of mini farfalle or mini bow tie pasta
    • 24 oz jar or spaghetti sauce
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • Parmesan cheese, if desired
    1. In a skillet, brown the ground beef until fully cooked; drain.
    2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. I use the mini because they cook in about 7 minutes.
    3. After pasta is cooked, drain. Return to pot and toss with the olive oil.
    4. Add the spaghetti sauce to the pasta and stir to coat.
    5. Next, add the cooked ground beef, seasonings, mozzarella cheese and sour cream to the pasta. Fold together and cook over low heat until cheese is melted.
    6. Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 6.

    Texas Pecan Roca







    Texas Pecan Roca

    Yield: 36 pieces


    2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon molasses
    1 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans, divided
    36 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped


    Grease metal mini muffin baking tins with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
    In a non-stick medium saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, water, and molasses and bring mixture to a slow boil using a wooden or silicone spoon. Do not use a whisk, over stirring will ruin the toffee and make it seperate. Attach candy thermometer and continue cooking until the thermometer reaches 295 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent burning/sticking. Slow and steady will win this race. I kept my stove at medium-low heat, with a steady slow boil, and it took me 20 minutes. If you try turning up the heat, to speed it up, it will burn before it reaches the correct temperature. So be patient, it's worth the wait.
    As soon as you reach 295 degrees, remove pan from heat and set on a hot pad. Stir in 1 cup of the pecans. Using a metal spoon, work quickly and carefully to fill each mini muffin tin 1/2 way full.
    Once all tins are full, place one kiss on top of each candy. Wait a few minutes to let the heat melt the chocolate, and then using a mini spatula, or your finger, swirl melted chocolate to edges of candy. Sprinkle the remaining pecans along the tops of each and gently press into melted chocolate.
    Let candies cool/harden overnight, or speed up the cooling time by popping them in the fridge. Use a toothpick to help pop the candies out of the tins. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

    Bite-sized Baked Brie


    Bite-sized Baked Brie
    makes 24 squares
    Print this Recipe!

    2 sheets puff pastry, thawed but still cold
    1/2 wedge of brie, cold
    1/3 cup cherry jam (or any flavor you fancy!)
    1 large egg, beaten
    splash of milk
    All-butter, store bought puff pastry usually comes frozen and folded into thirds. We’re going to use these folded thirds to our advantage. Cut the puff pastry into thirds along the creases. Cut each panel into four pieces. They’ll be 2 1/4-inch tall and 3-inches wide. One sheet of puff pastry will yield 12 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half. You’ll have 24 little rectangles that will create 12 little rectangle pockets.
    Combine beaten egg and splash of milk. Brush 12 of the small rectangles with egg wash. If you’d like to make brie bites on sticks, now is the time! Place a popsicle stick halfway up the puff pastry and press in gently. Place a small sliver of brie (rind and all) on top of the egg wash (and stick). Top with about 1/2 teaspoon of cherry jam. Take another square of puff pastry and press between your fingers to make the rectangle slightly bigger. Place puff pastry on top of the cheese and jam. Use a fork to press the edges together. The egg wash will act as a glue. Make sure to seal the edges well by crimping with the fork.
    Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place prepared brie bites on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with a touch of coarsely ground sea salt. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
    Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

    Spinach Cheese Puff

    Spinach Cheese Puff
    Recipe type: side dish
    Prep time: 10 mins
    Cook time: 35 mins
    Total time: 45 mins
    Serves: 8
    Martha Stewart’s Spinach Cheese Puff; a casserole made with spinach, Gruyere cheese, half & half and eggs. Baked to a bubbly golden brown, this spinach side dish will go great alongside just about anything.
    • butter, for greasing dish
    • 1 + 1/4 cups half-and-half
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • sea or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 cups mozzarella or Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
    • 20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow 1-quart baking dish.
    2. In a large bowl whisk half-and-half, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg together; stir in 1 +1/2 cups of the cheese then the spinach. Spread evenly in prepared baking dish, and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
    3. Bake until set in the middle and top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

    Crockpot Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, Parmesan + Goat Cheese

    Crockpot Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, Parmesan + Goat Cheese
    serves 4
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (do not use thin sliced chicken breasts)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 jar of roasted red peppers in water, with 1 of the peppers cut into 8-12 long slices
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/2 of one 6-ounce bag of fresh spinach
    2 ounces parmesan cheese, sliced
    2 ounces goat cheese
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
    If desired, quickly tenderize chicken, making sure to not pound it too thin. Using a sharp knife, make a deep cut in the center of one side of each chicken breast, being very careful not to cut through to the top or the bottom – this will cause the cheese to go everywhere, and if it happens, you may want to consider not stuffing it with cheese (you can always add some on top). Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper.
    Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add spinach and garlic, cooking until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.
    Add 1/2 ounce of parmesan and goat cheese inside each piece of chicken, pressing it as far back as it will go (you can do this while spinach is cooking). Add 1-2 slices (or more) of roasted red pepper, then add equal amounts of spinach into each piece of chicken.
    Turn the heat on the skillet to medium-high and add olive oil. When it’s hot, gently place each chicken breast (top side down first is easiest) in the skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes per side. You can skip this part and just add the chicken to the crockpot without searing, but this will make it very flavorful and tender.
    Add chicken to the crockpot with the stuffed side facing up. Add wine and chicken stock, then cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Peanut Butter Fudge

    Peanut Butter Fudge
    Yield: 64 1-inch pieces


    • 8 oz. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 16 oz. confectioners' sugar


    • Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Lightly grease with butter. Combine the butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave, stir, and microwave on full power for 2 minutes more.
    • Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar to the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until evenly combined. The mixture will become difficult to stir and lose its sheen.
    • Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Place an additional piece of parchment directly on the surface of the fudge. Refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours. Use a large knife to cut into 1-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Homemade Caramels

    Homemade Caramels

    Ingredients:2 pounds brown sugar
    2 cans sweetened condensed milk
    1 pound (4 sticks) butter
    16 ounces light corn syrup
    2 Tablespoons Vanilla


    First, grease 1 or 2 9x13 pans with butter. (I only used one, but it really depends on how big you want your caramels. For this recipe, you could easily use two 9x13 pams.) In large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, add in corn syrup. Next, slowly add in sweetened condensed milk, stirring the whole time. Heat mixture to boiling and until a candy thermometer reads about 245 degrees. Continue to stir constantly so the bottom doesn't get scorched. You'll be stirring for awhile, so be prepared. Once the mixture is starting to thicken up, and the temperature is around 245 degrees you're ready to spread it in a pan and let it cool on counter for at least 2 hours. After 2 hours, if caramel is completely cool, remove it from the pan and slice into small pieces. You can use wax paper to wrap them up individually, just wrap a small piece around the caramel piece and twist the ends.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

    Peanut Butter Pretzel Trufflesslightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

    1½ cups pretzel pieces
    ½ cup creamy peanut butter
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    Pinch of salt
    3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
    1 tablespoon oil

    Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).

    In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.

    Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Use a small cookie scoop to form small balls of the peanut  butter mixture. If you don't have a cookie scoop, use about two teaspoons worth of mix and gently shape it into a ball. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips and oil together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.

    Dip one peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, making sure that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls.

    Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. You can drizzle with melted peanut butter (just warm some peanut butter up in the microwave) and some pretzel bits, or leave them plain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Peppermint Popcorn Crunch

    Peppermint Popcorn Crunch
    {inspired by Nest of Posies Valentine Confetti}

    2 bags microwave popcorn
    1 bag candy cane candy melts
    2 bags MINT M&M's, you'll use about 1.5 bags)
    Christmas sprinkles

    Pop the popcorn as directed on the bag. Pour onto a large, rimmed cookie sheet. Fish out as many unpopped kernels as possible.

    In a glass bowl, melt the candy melts on 50% power for 1 minute, then for 30 second intervals, stirring between each time until melted. Pour over the popcorn and toss.

    Add about a bag and a half of the mint M&M's and a handful of Christmas sprinkles. Toss.

    Spread the mixture out on 2 cookie sheets until the candy melts have set.

    Bag and give...or just plop it in a big bowl, plop yourself on the couch, and eat.

    Baked Eggnog French Toast

    Baked Eggnog French Toast
    Servings: 2

    4 3/4-inch slices of brioche
    2 cups eggnog
    1/3 cup walnuts
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Fresh nutmeg, grated (to your liking)
    1. Lightly spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
    2. Line the slices of brioche evenly in the baking pan (some overlap is fine).
    3. Pour the eggnog evenly over the bread, making sure that all pieces get covered.
    4. Cover the baking pan and chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight, preferably).
    5. The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    6. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
    7. Evenly sprinkle the walnuts over the bread.
    8. Top the walnuts with the brown sugar mixture.
    9. Bake, until the walnuts are lightly browned, about 25 minutes or so. ***I had to watch mine very carefully because they started browning very quickly. If you are making a larger batch, you could increase the cooking time by about 5-10 minutes, but make sure to watch it carefully.

    Source: Adapted from Whole Foods.

    Gingerbread Play Dough

    Gingerbread Play Dough
    3 cups flour
    1 1/2 cups salt
    1 Tbsp. cream of tartar (or alum)
    1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
    1 Tbsp. ground ginger
    6 Tbsp. oil
    3 cups water

    Heat mixture on low heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and knead. Let cool and keep in an airtight container or zip-top bag.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    DIY Chocolate Syrup

    DIY Chocolate Syrup
    Printer-Friendly Version

    1¼ cups sugar
    1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 cup water
    ¼ tsp. salt
    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk briefly to break up any clumps. Stir in the water and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Store in the refrigerator.

    Source: 52 Kitchen Adventures

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Cheesy Beer Bread

    • 12 ounces beer (any kind, but I love Fat Tire Amber Ale)
    • 12 ounces Velveeta
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 5 cups bread flour
    • 2 packets rapid-rise yeast
    • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
    1. In a large pot over medium heat, stir together the beer, Velveeta, sugar, salt, and butter until just melted.
    2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until it's just warm - around 110 degrees. Too hot and it will kill the yeast, too cold and your bread won't rise! Stir occasionally as it's cooling to keep the cheese incorporated and to help speed up the cooling process.
    3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 cups of the bread flour and the 2 packets of rapid rise yeast.
    4. Pour the warm beer mixture into the flour and yeast and turn your mixer until low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is a shaggy and cleans the sides of the bowl.
    5. Turn mixer to medium and knead dough for 5 minutes.
    6. Pour the cubed cheddar cheese into the mixer and allow it to incorporate into the bread dough.
    7. Remove the dough from the mixer and grab any stray cheese cubes from the bottom of your mixing bowl and poke them throughout the dough.
    8. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled - about an hour, but sometimes a bit more.
    9. Punch the dough down and separate into two equal balls.
    10. Place one ball of dough on a floured surface and press into a rectangle shape about 10x6 inches.
    11. Cut the dough into three long strips, leaving 1/2 inch intact at the top of the rectangle. Braid the dough and tuck the ends under.
    12. Repeat with second ball of dough.
    13. Spray two 8x4 loaf pans with cooking spray and place the loaves inside.
    14. Return to a warm spot and let rise again, about 1/4 inch above the pan.
    15. Bake for 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, tenting the top with foil for the final 10-15 minutes of baking time.
    16. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool.

    adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    White Chocolate Pretzel Fudge

    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 15 ounces white chocolate, chopped
    • 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
    1. In the bowl of your mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and no lumps remain.
    2. In the top of a double boiler (or just a glass bowl set over a pot) over lightly simmering water, heat white chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth.
    3. Stir the melted white chocolate and pretzels into the cream cheese mixture.
    4. Spread into a parchment lined 8x8 baking dish and chill for 1 hour.
    5. Cut into 1-inch squares