Thursday, June 28, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes


I love twice baked potatoes... I remember sleepovers at my older sister's house when I was young and she would make these for us ---so good! I think they pair well with any type of meat. When I made these I grilled steaks to go with them, after all it was Father's day. One of my favorite appetiser's are Potatoe Skins, I love the bacon, cheese, and sour cream that usually tops them, so that is what I tried to create here... that same yummy flavor! After all, is there anything that isn't good with bacon in it??? Enjoy!

Twice Baked Potatoes
4 medium to large baking potatoes, washed
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup warm milk
1 cup grated Cheese, plus more for garnishing
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cooked Bacon, chopped into small pieces (or you can use REAL bacon bits if you have them)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and bake your potatoes for about an hour (the time depends on the size of the potatoes, you want them fork tender).
Remove the potatoes from the oven and wait 15 to 20 minutes so they cool enough to handle.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lenthwise....
Then, scoop out the inside with a spoon. Leave just under a 1/4 inch thickness of potatoe on the peel, this makes the shell you will spoon the potatoe filling back into later. Place the potatoe you scoop out into a large mixing bowl....
                                               and the skins on a cookie sheet.
Add the butter, sour cream and salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to start) to the scooped out potatoe in the bowl; mash with a potatoe masher. Add the warm milk (start with about a 1/4 cup of milk and add more as needed... you don't want soupy potatoes) then mix with your electric hand mixer until creamy but still thick. Stir in the bacon and grated cheese. Taste at this point and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Scoop the filling back into the peel and place back on the cookie sheet, when all of the filling is divided into your peels,garnish the top of each with another sprinkling of grated cheese. Place cookie sheet back in the 350 degree oven, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melting and the potatoes are slightly puffed. Serve on the side of your favorite grilled meat and steamed veggies! YUMMO!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Music changes.....


                                        "If music be the food of love, play on."

Notice my playlist is gone?? the project playlist changed... it made you go to a link to hear my playlist but it wouldn't automatically start- you had to click on a song, and then it wouldn't randomly shuffle. Since that happened I have discovered Pandora Radio... and I figured out how to put links of my stations as a link below at the bottom of my blog... just click on one... lately I like the Sia Station... but I go through different moods and my music taste changes with my mood...at the Pandora web site you can type in an artist you like, and they play similar artists and it creates a station. Perfect!!  I love all kinds of music....
When I'm cooking, I love to listen to music. Okay, this does get a little dangerous for anyone within a 5-foot radius, but it is a great way to make cooking fun and rock out a bit. The relationship between food and music is totally mutual I think. What are some of your favorite songs to cook to?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Apple Crisp

I love Apple Crisp... it was my favorite growing up, although back then I loved the crsip part more than the apple filling. I had to make some apple crisp for a refreshment for a church function a few weeks ago. I actually made my peach and strawberry cobbler and this apple crisp recipe for variety. I used my home canned apple pie filling but you can use store bought, and if you want to doctor it up a bit with some cinnamon go ahead, I like a lot of cinnamon in my apple pie filling. It was yummy served warm with ice cream on the top. Enjoy!!

Apple Crisp
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add 2 quarts (or large cans) apple pie filling to a 13x9 baking dish.
In a medium size bowl mix together:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cut 1 cube (1/2 cup) cold butter into flour, oats and sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie filling. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is golden brown.
                                         Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. YUM!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

When the weather is on the chilly side and blustery, which we have had a lot of lately, I feel like soup. I love Olive Garden's Minestrone Soup, it's light and not too heavy which is good for summertime.... I am beginning to wonder where summertime is though. I made this soup the week my hubby had hernia surgery, he wanted something light and it was yummy. There are all kinds of Minestrone soup recipes out there, but this is the one I like. It calls for shell macaroni, but if you have the orrecheitte or elbow macaroni on hand that works too! I like to serve this with crusty french bread or bread sticks... Enjoy!

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup minced onion (about 1 small onion)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup frozen cut Italian green beans
1/2 cup celery (about 1 stalk)
1 cup julienned or shredded carrots (I buy the pre-grated carrots in the produce section)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
5 cups vegetable broth (or you can use Chicken broth)**
3 cups Hot water
2 (15oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz) cans Cannellini Beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon dried parsley ( or 2 Tablespoons fresh, minced parsley)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1/2 bag frozen leaf spinach)
1 cup small seashell pasta
Parmesan cheese for Garnishing (if desired.)

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, zucchini, green beans, celery, carrots, and garlic in the hot oil until the onion begins to turn translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes)
Next, add the broth, water, drained beans, tomatoes, spices, and bay leaves to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the spinach (if using frozen, I let thaw or thaw out in the microwave for a minute or two) and the pasta. Cook for another 20 minutes or until pasta and veggies are tender. Sprinkle individual servings with Paresan cheese if desired.
Serve with crusty french bread and enjoy!!

**Can add more or less broth depending on how soupy you like your soup.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Almost like J Dawg Sauce

This recipe is all over pinterest. It's a clone for the special sauce that the little J-Dawg place located by the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, puts on their hot dogs. They use polish hot dogs rather than regular hot dogs, but  I like to put this sauce on Johnsonville smoked brats with banana peppers....that's all you need besides a good chewy bun. AND guess what?? Walmart got my favorite brat buns back!! they are light and chewy at the same time, and they don't fall apart like some hot dog buns do. I LOVED this sauce recipe! It's right up there with my recipe for winger sauce! Sorry I don't have a picture... I meant to take a picture of my sauce on a brat with banana peppers but I remembered after I had eaten it.... and I try not to use someone else's photo from another blog on my blog. It's a rich sauce that looks almost like catsup or Barbecue sauce and easy to make. I dare you try this out when you grill up some of your favorite hot dogs and brats this summer! You won't be disappointed....

Almost like J Dawg Sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat to just boiling. Remove from heat and drizzle over your favorite grilled hot dog, or brat in a good hot dog bun. Top with Banana Peppers (you can use what ever else you like on hot dogs too, you just won't need ketchup or mustard) and Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

sorry about my music

I am sad... I LOVED my playlist and the fact it would start automatically when you logged into my blog, and that it would just randomly shuffle the music it played! I have to have music playing when I cook and I would start my computer and listen to what I had in my playlist while cooking or blogging. Don't you hate it when something is good and workable and then they change it?? People seem to be always trying to improve what is good.... somethings I think you just need to leave it the way it is. But you can still listen to my music by clicking the link that pops up, but I haven't figured out how to make it shuffle.... I am in the process of trying to find another site that has playlists that work like mine used to. Until then I guess the way mine is now will just have to do.

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars

I found this recipe on Pinterest... I swore I never would get addicted to that site, but I am. It's a wonderful place to get craft ideas and recipes. I saw this recipe there and just had to give it a try. I made these that same rainy Memorial Day weekend we had with my kids home and we loved them. They are a gooey yummy bar that's just messy enough to spark that inner kid in you! And who doesn't love anything with peanut butter cups in it? These are especially good when still slightly warm... I think I ate 2... or was it 3. YUM!

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars
(adapted from Pinch of Yum and Sprinkle Some Sunshine)
yield: 16 large/20 small squares

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
16 peanut butter cups, regular size
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff*

*Fluff is pretty impossible to measure, so this doesn’t have to be an exact amount, just kind of eyeball it. As long as you have enough to cover the PB cups, you’re good to go.

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dishing with parchment paper; coat lightly with cooking spray.
2.In a large bowl of the bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides. With the mixer on low, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and graham cracker crumbs until mixed.
3.Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lightly press the peanut butter cups into the dough, then spread marshmallow fluff on top. Press the remaining dough on a non-stick surface into the shape of an 8×8 square. Place the square on top of the fluff and press down lightly.

(I placed mine in between 2 pieces of wax paper to roll out. Then peeled off the top piece and picked up the bottom with the dough on it and flipped it over on top of my marshmallow fluff, then peeled off the wax paper. Don't worry if it cracks, it will bake back together).
4.Bake for 25 to30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool for at least two hours to give the bars a chance to set, then remove from the pan and cut into squares with a large, sharp knife.
These are heaven! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Golden Graham S'mores Treats

Memorial weekend came with a big rainstorm for most of the weekend. My hubby just had hernia surgery, so both of my kids came home to help with yard work and celebrate the holiday. We got the yard work done in the nick of time, but my plans for a bon fire with hot dogs and s'mores went away with the rain, so we had mini-hamburgers  (sliders) cooked inside and for dessert I made these treats--they tasted like s'mores but even better. There are a lot of variations of this recipe on the internet, but I thought I could make them like rice krispie treats but with golden grahams, milk chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows. We loved them.... they didn't last very long, I didn't get a very good pic because we were too busy eating them.

Golden Graham S'mores Treats
1/4 cup butter
1-10.5 oz (6 cups) bag mini marshmallows plus 2 cups to stir in later
7 cups Golden Graham Cereal
2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips

Spray a 13x9 in pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter; then stir in the package (6 cups) mini-marshmallows, stirring until all the marshmallows are melted.
Remove from heat and stir in the Golden Graham Cereal. Let sit for a minute or two.
Next pour in the 2 cups extra marshmallows and the chocolate chips; stir to combine. It might be a little tricky to stir, but keep at it, and don't worry if the chips melt, you want that, and some won't melt completely, but that's good too.
Pour the mixture into your prepared man, and press out evenly. (Hint: Spray a spatula or your hands with non-stick cooking spray to press into your pan, keeps the stuff from sticking)
Let cool (if you can) and cut into squares! Enjoy!!! (we did)!