Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade Hamburgers

We buy all our meat from a local butcher.  I love it.  The meat is so much better and I know that it is local.  We just order huge lots of meat about every 6-8 months.  Each time the lots have different amounts in them.  All depending on what we need more of. We are not big fans of the frozen burger patties. So we make our own! 

One pound of hamburger will get you 4-5 good sized burger patties. {remember they always shrink when grilling them, so make them a little bigger then you want.} When my husband {love that my man knows the kitchen too!}gets ready to form the patties, he will put all the meat in a bowl and in some seasonings.  Every time we make patties, the seasonings change.  Here are some things that we use or have used in the past.

Dehydrated onions
Garlic powder
Creole Seasoning
Season Salt
Italian Seasoning

We just open the seasoning cupboard and grab what sounds good, smells good our would taste good and add a little to the meat. Then just make sure ya get it mixed really well.  Then just shape you burger patties and get grilling!

{These are of course uncooked patties from the other night}

Spaghetti Bake

This is seriously so yummy.  My kids down this every time we have it.  It is a different spin on spaghetti.  Plus it is very filling and had great flavors.

Spaghetti Bake
12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion ~ chopped
1 cup green pepper ~ chopped
1 jar {26 ounces} spaghetti sauce ~ blend of choice
1 can {4 ounces} muchroom stems and pieces ~ drained
1 can {2.25 ounces} sliced olives
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ~ divided
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 carton {10 ounces) alfredo sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs

Cook spaghetti according to directions on package.  In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and green peppers over medium heat till beef is no longer pink.  Drain drippings from skillet.  Add in spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, and olives.  Drain spaghetti and add cooked noodles to meat mixture.  Mix well.

Transfer meat and noodle mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle 1 cup cheese over top.  In small bowl, combine soup, alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese.  Pour over top of spaghetti mixture.  In another small bowl, mix corn flakes and remaining shredded cheese.  Crush corn flakes till well crumbed.  Sprinkle over top of soup mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 

Caramel Corn

I got this recipe from a friend YEARS ago when I was working as a dental assistant.  I have made it to many times & the recipe has been passed to hundreds of people. So, why not share it with everyone on here! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as everyone else has.

Carmel Corn 
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cup brown sugar ~ packed
1 cup karo syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 bags of microwave popcorn 
{or 3 cups air popped popcorn}

Pop popcorn and pick out all kernels that did not pop.  Put popcorn in 1 large bowl or in 2 medium bowls.  Set bowl(s) aside.  In a saucepan, melt butter and add in brown sugar.  Stir till sugar is dissolved.  Add in karo syrup and sweetened condensed milk.  Stir and bring to a a heavy  and steady boil ~ STIR CONSTANTLY. Boil for about 7 minutes, or until caramel is a soft ball stage (250 degrees).  Pour caramel sauce over popcorn and mix well.  Dump popcorn onto cookie sheet and spread out.  Cover with foil or store in zip lock bags or tupperware.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate Lemon Cream & Chocolate Mint Cookies

This past weekend, I was asked to make a dessert for a funeral luncheon.  I love being able to help/serve others at any time, so I was happy to make some thing. I came up with the idea to do cookies, but those are simple with kids.  But I wanted to have them a little "fancier" then just plain cookies.  So this popped into my mind and I ran with it.  On Sunday, the women that helped serve at the luncheon kept complimenting the cookies and saying how fast they went and people asked if there were more.  I am glad they were enjoyed!

Devils Food Cookies
2 boxes devils food cake
4 eggs
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
Mix all ingredients together and roll batter into balls, about the size of a walnut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Cool completely. Once fully cooled, frost & decorate.

Lemon Cream Frosting
Cream cheese frosting
1 block of cream cheese ~ softened
yellow food coloring
3 drops lemon extract

Cream frosting and block of cream cheese together.  Once well blended, add in food coloring {about 24 drops} till it is the shade of yellow you desire.  Then add in lemon extract.  Refrigerate frosting till you use it. 

Mint Frosting
Vanilla frosting
green food coloring
mint or peppermint extract

Mix frosting and food coloring together {about 24 drops}.  Add in mint or peppermint extract.  Refrigerate frosting till you use it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


With just the title, I am sure many of you are thinking "What in the world!?" Well with summer being here, it means ... swimming, camping, bon fires, smores', dough boys, movies out side and so much more!  We have all had our share of smores' this season.  Whether it be the traditional way or ones spiced up with some of our favorites ~ peanut butter cups, carmelo bars, grasshopper cookies, even an occasional flavored marshmallow now and then, etc.

Well here, we love doing fires in the pit in the back and having all those roasted treats.  But recently we have been introduced to Woo-Em's by my husband Aunt.  They are so fun and such a different camp fire treat. First you need these roasting sticks....

We have 4 of them.  {If you would like information on how to make them, leave a comment with your email or if you are known friend/family member, contact us email or phone.} Then gather up your ingredients and have a Woof-Em Party! We have had these a few times this summer and everyone has loved them. These are a never fail treat. This past weekend, we did it with some friends and we had Raspberry filling.  Then for pudding we had Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla Cream and Lemon.  Sweet Goodness.

1 container refrigerated biscuits {Homestyle works the best}
1 can of pie filling ~ flavor of choice
a couple different puddings ~ flavors of choice
1 can of Redi Whip
Cooking Spray

Spray roaster stick with cooking spray {the large round end}.  Then take one biscuit and put large end of roasting stick in center of biscuit and wrap around. {We use half a biscuit, then it isn't so thick.}  Roast biscuit till it is fully cooked - you don't want any gooey parts.  Put a scoop of pie filling in bottom of roasted biscuit, top with  scoop of pudding and top off with cool whip.  

These can get messy, so have napkins ready!  

*A couple tips on roasting the biscuit .... 
The thinner the biscuit the easier it cooks.
Cook over coals so it doesn't burn ~ you want it golden.
Make sure you press it firm around the sprayed roaster, you want to it stick and not fall off when cooking.

Mashed Potato Tips

I am one that loves homemade mashed potatoes.  I prefer those over any type of instant.  Sometimes it is nice to have a splash of "different."  These 2 little tricks will work well with any of mashed potato that you choose in your home. 

When making your potatoes, after you have them all cooked/mashed, add in 1/2 of sour cream and fresh ground pepper to them.  It will make them very smooth, creamy and full of flavor.  Another trick you can do is add in 1/2 a block of cream cheese and a little garlic salt.  It will give the potatoes a nice texture and a yummy hint of garlic. You can also sprinkle the top with shredded cheddar and/or chives.  Oh they are both so yummy!

French Onion & Basil Chicken

This was so moist and good last night.  Loved the prefect amount of flavors in it.  Very simple too. I actually had a friend stop by last night, while this was in the over cooking and they asked what was cooking because is smelled amazing.  Doesn't take much to get this dish together!

French Onion & Basil Chicken
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 can french onions
1 1/2 tablespoons basil
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
In a 9x13 baking dish, spread one can of cream of mushroom soup in the bottom.  Add chicken into dish.  In french onion can or bowl, crush onions up a little and add in basil and mix.  Spread other can of cream of chicken over top of chicken breasts.  Sprinkle onion and basil mixture over tops of chicken.  Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Cooke till chicken is not pink and juices run clear.

Magic Cookie Bars

These are super yummy! .... If you enjoy Chocolate, Coconut and Nuts. Lucky Unlucky for me, I am the only one in my house that loves these.  The kids will eat them sometimes, and my husband doesn't care for coconut. So, therefore they go straight to the freezer once they are cut and cooled.  That way they last longer!  plus, they are very delightful when they are cold or frozen.

Magic Cookie Bars
2 packages graham crackers {about 22 rectangles} ~ crushed into crumbs
1 stick margarine ~ melted
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 package chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk

In large mixing bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Mix well.  Add coconut, nuts, sweetened condensed milk and mix till well blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spray an edge cookies sheet with cooking spray and pour dough into sheet.  Wet hands and spread dough and pat down.  Press hard so it gets kind of a glaze on top. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Score while hot into 40 bars (5 rows by 8) When cooled, finish cutting into bars and store in tupperware.

Taco Salad Wraps

We love Taco Salad at our house.  Sometimes it is nice to have something different about it, so it isn't the same thing every time.  We decided to try it wrapped up in a tortilla.  The experiment did not fail! It was very yummy.

Taco Salad Wraps
1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup salsa ~ brand and spice of choice
1 can chili beans ~ drained
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper to taste
flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 roma tomato ~ chopped
shredded cheddar
tortilla chips or frito chips crushed
Any other topping choices 

Brown hamburger and drain fat from pan.  Stir in salsa, beans, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer uncovered about 5 minutes. 

Spoon meat mixture into tortillas.  Layer with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, crushed chips and any other topping choices. Then just roll them up and enjoy! 

Other topping ideas: 
Sour Cream
Verde Sauce
Fresh diced onion

Cowboy Cookies

I got this recipe from my sister in law years ago.  I love how different they are and you can really put anything in them that ya want.  These have just the right amount of cinnamon in them and all of the flavors just blend together so well.  I also did a little digging on trying to find out why they are called Cowboy Cookies, and I came across some information revealing that the recipe has probably been around for at least 60 years.  For whatever reason they were given this name, I love smelling them bake!  Plus my kids love them!  But really, what kid doesn't like a cookie?

Cowboy Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar ~ packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 package chocolate chips
1 cup nuts ~ of choice
Coconut ~ optional
1/2 package peanut butter or butterscotch chips ~ optional
Cream together shortening, sugar and brown sugar.  Add in eggs one at a time and vanilla.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Mix in oatmeal, chips and nuts. (and any other goodies).  

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cresecent Bundle Surprises

These are such fun.  You never know what treat is inside, but it is so worth the risk taking. These are totally different. They are quick, tasty, unique and fun. Are perfect for snack tables during a Friends gathering, New Year's Eve, Baby/Wedding Shower, etc. You can put any chocolate goodness in the middle.  With this batch we chose to do mini Snicker's. Always a good idea to double, unless needing a small amount.

Crescent Bundle Surprises
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
8 mini candy bars ~ kind of choice
1/4 cup cream cheese frosting

Separate crescent dough into eight triangles; cut each in half; forming two triangles.  Place a chandy bar on each triangle. Fold dough over candy and pinch corners together to seal.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.  remove from sheet and let cook on cooling rack.  Frost how you desire with cream cheese frosting of choice. 

*I made my frosting.  You can also add cream cheese to some cream cheese frosting and it will boost the taste of the cream cheese. Very delightful!  Works great for cookies, cakes, and any type of a little treat ya want to frost.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grilled Pizza

This is one thing our family LOVES to do during the summer.  We will every once in awhile do it during the fall/winter, but it is always cooking in the summer.  We have done with family and friends and they have all loved it.  Most of them have never heard of it or even tried it till enjoying it with us.  Fun food activity. They are so filling. This recipe is measurements that we use for our family of 5 and it is perfect.  If needing more, obviously add to it.

Grilled Pizza
1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 small jar pizza sauce
vegetable oil 
shredded cheese
toppings of choice

On a plate, pour about 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil and smear around.  Pull chunk of dough off and stretch to desired pizza size. "Dip" both sides in oil. Bake one side till cooked, and then flip over and put on desired toppings. Keep grill closed till cheese is melted and pizza is done.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

I made these for my nephews birthday.  They are yummy and they kind of taste just like a Root Beer Float!  The kids loved them and they are something totally different.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes with Fluffy Root Beer Cream Frosting

23 flat bottom ice cream cones
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine ~ softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup root beer ~ brand of choice (measure liquid only - not foam)

Fluffy Root Beer Cream Frosting
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cold root beer
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
dash of salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Gradually add 1 1/4 cups sugar.  When well mixed, add in eggs, one at a time.  Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.  On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and 2/3 cups root beer.  beat until blended. 

Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners.  Fill each with a scant 1/4 cup batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center come out clean.  Cool completely. 

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, mix all frosting ingredients EXCEPT vanilla.  Beat with mixer on high for 1 minute, scraping constantly.  Place over low heat.  Beat on high speed for about 10 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.  Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat on high for 2 minutes or until fluffy. 

Frost cupcakes and decorate to desire. 

Decorating ideas:
Crush up root beer candies and sprinkle over top
Cut straws and poke into cupcake to make it look like a drink

Chocolate Whip Cupcakes

In honor of the 4th of July, we made these fun cupcakes to take a BBQ that we had.  They are amazing.  The cupcakes are so moist and the whip frosting is seriously the best out there.  Sadly, I can share the whip frosting recipe ... It's a secret.  Sorry folks!  But you can use any type of frosting that you love and it will work.

Chocolate Whip Cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup hot water
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside.  In a small bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until cocoa is dissolved; set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after addition.  Beat for 2 minutes longer.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.  On low speed, alternate adding flour mixer (about 1/3 at a time) and cocoa mixture (about a 1/2 at at time), beating until just blended. 

Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups.  Fill each about two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes then remove from cupcake pans to cooling rack.  Cool completely for about 30 minutes. 

Once full cooled, frost with desired frosting and decorate!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Streusel Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Cupcakes

I thoughts these were fun.  My daughters and I made these. They are so moist, filling and pop with the different shades of red/pink.  You can also make these with out the Rhubarb if you chose.  They are still good with just the strawberry.

Streusel Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Cupcakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine

14-15 fresh starberries
1/4 cup milk
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 egg whites
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 drops red food coloring
1 cup rhubarb ~ finely chopped

Strawberry Whip Frosting
3/4 cup whipping cream 
2-3 fresh strawberries ~ mashed (equals 2 tablespoons)

In blender, place 4 strawberries (with out stems) and milk.  Cover and puree for about 30 seconds or until almost smooth.  Masure liquid; should equal 1 1/4 cups.  Set aside. 
(If it does not equal amount, puree additional berries.)

In small mixing bowl, mix 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.  In large mixing bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium for about 30 seconds.  Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, about 1/3 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Beat  for 2 minutes longer. A dd in egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and food coloring. 

On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture (about a 1/3 at a time) and strawberry mixture (about 1/2 at a time), beating just until blended.  Stir in rhubarb. 

Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups, filling each about two-thirds full.  In a small mixer bowl, mix streusel ingredients together with a fork. Sprinkle each cupcake with about 2 teaspoons streusel topping; press lightly into batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool for about 5 minutes, and remove cupcake from pans to cooling rack.  Cool completely for about 30 minutes. 

In a chilled small owl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form.  Fold in mashed strawberries.  Either pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spread frosting on to cupcakes. 

(You can garnish with sliced strawberries and/or sprinkled powdered sugar.)

Grasshopper Cake

This is a total refreshing dessert.  My hubby loves grasshopper ice cream/shakes.  I came across this recipe in a book that I have and knew we had to try it.  It has just the perfect amount of mint in it.  We made this and it was a huge hit with everyone.

Grasshopper Cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1/4 cup white creme de menthe
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites
1 jar (6 oz) fudge topping
3 tablespoons white creme de menthe
4 drops green food coloring
1 (8 oz.) whip topping ~ thawed

In a large mixing bowl, beat flour, sugar, shortening, milk, 1/4 cup creme de menthe, baking powder, salt, and vanilla with electric mixer.  Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly.  Beat on high for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg whites on high 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.  Pour cake batter into greased and flours 9x13 baking pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 -45 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely for about 1 hour. 

Spread fudge topping over cake (you can heat it up a little to make it softer to spread). Carefully fold 3 tablespoons creme de menth and food coloring into whipped topping.  Spread over fudge topping.  Store covered and in refrigerate. 

If you don't have Creme de menthe or don't feel comfortable buying it, there are a couple different things you can do in place of it.  You can use whole milk and peppermint extract or half & half with peppermint extract. Liquid measurements are the same as recipe calls and then just add 2-3 drops of extract.  
If ever needing Green Creme de menth, just add food coloring.

*Creme de menthe is a liquor that is very common in baking. It is found in Andes Mints, anything Grasshopper, a variety of Mint Chocolate, etc.

Stawberry Lime Smoothie

My mother in law introduced me to these and they are totally a favorite of mine.  They are one of the easiest drinks/desserts you could do on short notice or just for something different.  Plus, as we all know ... Lime is a huge favorite of mine.  I have never had anything with lime that I didn't like. 

Strawberry Lime Smoothies
1 pint lime sherbet ~ softened
1 can (6oz) frozen limeade ~ thawed
1 cup strawberries ~ cut
2-3 cups milk 

Blend together ice cream and milk.  Add in limeade and strawberries, blend till well mixed. 

How simple is that!?  The more limeade you put in, the stronger the lime is.  You can add more strawberries if you want the strawberries to power the flavor more.

Beef Burrito Skillet

This is good just as is, but is even better in a hard taco shell or even a tortilla.  There are so many things you can do with this recipe.  You can add any topping you like to spice it up a little.  It is quick which makes it perfect for these busy summer.

Beef Burrito Skillet
1 lbs ground beef
1 envelop taco seasoning
1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans ~ drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa
1 cup water
4 (6 inch) flour tortialls ~ cut into 1 1/2 inch stripes
1 cup shredded cheese ~ of choice
1/3 cup sour cream 
1/3 cup green onions ~ chopped

Brown hamburger in large skillet.  Drain grease and add taco seasoning, beans, salsa and water.  Stir together.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  

Stir in tortillas strips and top with cheese.  Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Top with sour cream and onions, along with any other topping choices. 

Other topping options: 
Chopped Olives
Black Beans
Green salsa
Crushed Tortillas Chips
Chopped Avocado
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped/Sliced Tomatoes
Chopped Onion