Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baby Butter and Jam Cookies

I have a confession to make......I am horrible at making cookies!  I can knock out choux pastry for eclairs all day long, I can bake an wonderland of cupcakes, but's anyone's guess as to how they'll turn out!  I baked cookies with my mom all throughout my childhood.  Her chocolate chip cookies always turned out perfect.  I don't bake cookies all that often, but, in an attempt to save my children's entire childhood, I have decided to bake all winter long.  I checked out a cookie book from my local library called Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season by Lisa Zwirn.  Let's be honest, I was a little intimidated by this book.  But I quickly found a recipe that even I could possibly manage to make (and so I did!).  

Baby Butter and Jam Sandwiches - recipe by Lisa Zwirn

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Raspberry preserves (For the filling.  The book also suggests strawberry or apricot, I used strawberry since I had it on hand)

Cookie cutter needed: 1 1/2 inch round

Using an electric mixer beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar until fully blended. With the beaters on low speed, mix in the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, gather the dough into a ball, then press it into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm enough to roll out. (If refrigerated longer, let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes to soften before rolling.)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of between 1/8 and ¼ inch. Using the cutter, stamp out circles close together and arrange them about 1½ inch apart on the prepared sheets. Re-roll the scraps two or three times. (Working the dough too much can make it tough.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking, or until the cookies are just beginning to color and the edges are pale golden. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

To assemble, spread a little of the preserves on the bottom side of half of the rounds, taking care not to spread it too close to the edge. Top with another round, right side up. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the sandwich cookies.
Store the plain rounds in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Once the cookies are spread with jam, they’ll start to soften after 1 to 2 days.

Makes about 36 sandwich cookies

To find out more about Lisa Zwirn and her Christmas Cookie book, click here.

This recipe is property of Lisa Zwirn.  In no way do I take credit for this recipe.  I am just a home baker sharing a great, easy recipe!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crock Pot Korean BBQ Tacos

Campbell's has recently came out with these new slow cooker sauces.  And of course, I had a coupon to try them.  I quickly grabbed the Korean BBQ sauce......simply because of the recipe on the back.  Per the directions on the pack, I placed my beef roast into my crock pot, and poured the Campbell's sauce over the top.  Night one we enjoyed the beef served with rice and with sauteed peppers, but night two we enjoyed the recipe on the back......Korean tacos.....but with my own twist of course!

By the time the beef was done cooking (8 long hours later), the beef was shredded and covered in delicious sauce.......which was perfect for tacos!  So here is what I did on day two:

Since the meat is cooked and flavored, you only need to heat it up for the tacos.

For the slaw....cabbage (I used 1/2 a head), carrots (1-2 carrots), red bell pepper (1 large pepper).

Thinly slice all of the ingredients and toss together.  This will act like your lettuce for your tacos.

I also thinly sliced onions and green onions to add to our tacos.

For the sauce....I mixed together 1 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce, and 1 tsp. of sesame oil.  That simple!  The sauce is creamy and sweet which helps to counter the tangy meat and red peppers.

Where is the rest of the recipe?????  That's it!  Simple, right?  We served our tacos on regular tortillas (meat, slaw, onions, and sauce).  We enjoyed out meat with fresh veggies sauted in a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, and brown rice.

We have yet to try the other sauces Campbell's has to offer, but after trying the Korean BBQ, I am sure the others will be tasty!

This leftover meal took me less than 30 minutes to prepare (which was mainly because of the rice).  Super simple, and super tasty!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Homemade Perogies

In recent years, I have become quite a fan of perogies (mainly because of my couponing).  Well, one night, I was watching Food Network, as I do every night, and perogies where the topic.  I have only had perogies with cheese and potatoes, but long have I been curious to try them with other fillings.  So, I went to the fridge and realized I had everything I needed for a perogie night!  The great thing about perogies, like ravioli, you can stuff them with whatever you want!  I just happened to have cabbage, potatoes, cheese, and homemade pork sausage on, that is what I stuffed mine with.

4 cups all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon of salt
2 Teaspons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup warm water
2 eggs, (one egg beaten with water to seal perogies)
1 pound of pork sausage
1/2 head of cabbage 
1 cup of shredded cheese
5 cups of mashed potatoes (prepared or homemade)
2 tbsp of red wine vinager
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 onion

Mix dry ingredients for dough.  Set aside.  Next mix the wet ingredients (one egg needs to be set aside to seal the perogies).  Mix the wet into the dry.  Mix until the dough forms a sticky ball.  Place your dough into a greased bowl, and let sit for 1-2 hours in a warm place so the dough can rise.
While you are waiting for the dough to rise, start in your filling.  I cut the half head of cabbage in half   One half I sliced and boiled with salt, pepper, and the vinegar for the filling, the other half I sliced and cooked them with the onion in butter to serve with the perogies.  The I took about 10 potatoes (5 cups mashed), washed, peeled, chopped, boiled, and mashed them.  I mixed in the shredded cheese and set aside.  In a separate pan, I cooked up the ground pork sausage.  I kept the little bit of grease in the pan for extra flavor.  At this point, you can mix all the ingredients together to make one filling, or use them as seperate fillings.  
In a pot, boil some salted water.  On a floured board, roll out the dough to desired thickness.  I roll mine until it's a bit thinner than a pie dough.  Grab a round cookie cutter (or a wine glass like I did) and cut out your perogie dough.  If the dough isn't thin enough, feel free to roll out the individual circles.  To fill your perogies, hold the dough in your hand, place a scoop of your filling in the middle, brush the egg wash around the edges, then pinch the two sides of the circle.  Place your perogies on a flour sheet until you are ready to boil them.  When you boil your perogies, place about 5 in your water at a time.  Once they float, they are ready.  Next, I fry  the cooked perogies in a pan with some oil and butter.  Once they are brown on each side, they are ready to serve!  Enjoy them with the cabbage and onions, peppers, sauerkraut  sour cream, or by themselves!

Perogies might seem labor intensive or difficult, but they are quiet easy to make, and well worth it!  FYI, this recipe make a bunch of perogies (like 90+), so I only used half of the dough for this recipe (I froze the other half for another time).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pulled Pork and Slaw Sandwich

One of my favorite things to eat is pulled pork with a great barbecue sauce.  I'll eat almost any kind of barbecue sauce, but a good Carolina sauce is my favorite.  So what makes great pulled pork?  Cooking your roast low and slow.  For me, there is nothing better than pork and corn!

Pulled Pork
Dry Rub
Dried Parsley
Dried Mustard
Brown Sugar

Pork Roast (I choose bone-in for flavor)

Mix rub ingredients to taste.  Rub your roast down with your rub.  I like to let my roast sit overnight with the rub, but this is just my personal preference.  Set your oven for 200 degrees (F).  You can also choose to smoke your roast if that option is available to you.  Put your roast in a pan and cover with foil.  Let the roast cook, undisturbed, for 8 hours.  Remove your foil and turn up the heat to 250.  Let your roast cook for another 3 1/2 hours.  Your roast should look "burnt".  This is called the bark and has LOTS of flavor.  Let your roast sit and cool off enough for you to pull it apart with your hands.  It should shred easily.

1 package of pre-made slaw mix (cabbage and carrots....feel free to shred your own)
1/4 cup of mayo
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
3 tbsp of cider vinegar
1/2 red onion diced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Feel free to add other flavors as you like.  Refrigerate.

BBQ Sauce
1 can of tomato paste
2 cups of ketchup
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of honey
3 smashed garlic gloves (keep large enough to spoon out later)
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan.  Simmer until mixture begins to thicken.  Spoon out garlic gloves once cooked.

To assemble sandwiches, place shredded pork on a bun (or slice of bread).  Spoon sauce over the top of your pork.  Top with slaw and serve.

As I mentioned, I enjoy to eat corn with my pork.  Usually when I barbecue, I grill up some corn smothered in butter and garlic.  However, I didn't grill for this meal, so I made my version of Mexican street corn.

Canned Mexican Street Corn
2 cans of sweet corn
2 tbsp of mayo
1 tbsp of butter
1 glove of finely minced garlic
Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp of dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse canned corn.  Pour into a saucepan.  Heat over medium heat.  In a separate bowl, mix together mayo, butter, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Add to corn and mix well.  Turn off heat and pour into your serving dish.  Sprinkle liberally with the Parmesan cheese.

There you go!  One of my favorite meals to enjoy.  A large roast can easily serve my family of four two meals.  I saved the leftovers for some pulled pork tacos.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Semi-Homemade Tomato Basil Alfredo

Remember the post about adding things to your store bought noodles to "jazz the up"?  We're at it again over here.  Last night we prepared a Knorr Alfredo side dish.  My family loves these.  They are easy to make and taste good.  Sometimes we just don't have time to make everything from scratch, and if you coupon like me, you probably have lots of these (just saying!).  As I was waiting for the water to boil, I read the recipe on the back, Chicken Margherita Alfredo.  I was already cooking chicken, so we decided to alter the recipe to fit our meal.

1 package of Knorr Alfredo Pasta Sides (1 package was enough for our family of 4)
3 Roma tomatoes (just what I had available)
5 large basil leaves
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of milk (I used whole versus 2%)
1 tbsp of butter

Make pasta according to the directions on the package: Bring the milk, water, and butter to a boil.  Stir in the package of noodles.  Cook until pasta is tender.
You'll want to dice your tomatoes into bite size pieces.  Stack your basil leaves and roll into a tube.  Slice thinly to create little basil ribbons.  Add both the basil and tomatoes to your pasta.  Stir and serve.

See.....such a SIMPLE way to change up what could have been a boring side dish (I'm in no way implying that Knorr is boring or tasteless, but it's always great to change things up!).

You can find lots of great recipes over at the Knorr website.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sugar Mama's Cherry Turnovers

A fellow WAHM, blogger, and Missourian posted a recipe on her blog this past week for Semi-Homemade Cherry Turnovers.  Last October the hubby and I went to a B&B in Hermann, MO where we had some cherry turnovers that were to die for (before then I was not a cherry fan at all).  Trying to recreate the yumminess we experienced during our getaway, I gave her super simple recipe a shot.  The results, a super delicious, flaky, and moist turnover.  Now, this recipe is semi-homemade, for all of you who aren't Sandra Lee fans, what that means is that it's part store bought and part homemade.  This recipe is not only easy to make, bu doesn't cost a whole lot.  You could save more money if you made everything from scratch, but for a quick dessert, this may be my new go-to option.  Try switching out the cherry for different pie fillings (maybe apple next?).
Sugar Mama's Cherry Turnovers
2 Cans of Crescent Rolls
20 oz Can of Cherry Pie Filling
1 egg, beaten
Powdered Sugar for Sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Open one can of Crescent Rolls and spread out each of the 8 triangles on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other.
2. Spoon a small amount of Cherry Pie Filling across each triangle. Leave at least 1/4" edge all around.  {I like to make sure there are at least 2 or 3 cherries per triangle, so that they are not just filled with the cherry gel. Try not to mound them up too high with filling.}
3. Brush the beaten egg around the edges of each triangle, where you made sure not to spread the filling.
4. Open the second can of Crescent Rolls and lightly stretch each triangle, before laying across the bottom triangle and filling. Lightly press around all the edges of each turnover, so that the top and bottom pieces stay together.
5. Lightly brush the egg across the top of each turnover. This will help them to brown as they bake.
6. Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown and fully baked.
7. Sprinkle with Powdered Sugar and top with remaining Cherry Pie Filling
MAKES: 8 Turnovers
Find the original recipe and lots of great crochet items over at Sugar Mama's Sweet Bowtique.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Corned Beef Hash

Every year I make lots of corned beef and cabbage for my hubby on St. Patty's Day.  We always have leftovers, and he usually just eats it as is.  This year though, I wanted to make him a different meal out of our leftovers.  Then it hit me......hash!  Why on Earth have I never thought of has before? 

After St. Patty's Day Corned Beef Hash

Left over corned beef (cubed)
Uncooked cabbage
Uncooked collard greens
Roasted red bell pepper - sliced (I roasted mine myself, although you can use the jarred kind)
Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Yellow onion
Salt and pepper

*If you are roasting your own pepper, do this ahead of time.*  Start by melting 2 tbsp of butter (you can use oil if you prefer).  Slice your cabbage, collards, and onions into small pieces.  Saute the onions, cabbage, and collards together until they begin to wilt.  Add your minced garlic.  Stir.  Next add your cubed corned beef and sliced roasted pepper.  Next add salt and pepper (to taste) and 1 tsp. of dried oregano.  Cover your pan and let cook on low for about 7-10 minutes.  When you are ready to serve, fry an egg (I like over medium) and serve on top.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

For a long time I have been intimidated of trying ground chicken.  I love chicken, and I love ground beef, so why must it be so weird for me?  A friend told me to toss them in hot sauce like a hot wing.  I guess if I'm going to try something new, might as well cover it in hot sauce!  The recipe she provided sounded yummy, but I wanted to add my own flare to it.  So here is my version of the Buffalo Chicken Meatballs:

1 pound of ground chicken
4 gloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper
1 tube of string cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).  Add half of the minced garlic, the seasonings, the Parmesan cheese, and the bread crumbs.  Mix well.  Next add the chicken.  Mix until everything is incorporated just not over mix your chicken (rumor has it they will be tough).  Slice your string cheese into 16-20 small chunks.  Line a tray will foil or spray with non-stick spray.  Begin to roll out your meatballs.  Press a small chunk of string cheese into the center of each meatball.  Depending on the size of your meatballs, this should yield 16-20 meatballs.
Bake for 20 minutes, do not overcook your chicken (again, rumor has it they will be tough).  In a skillet, melt your butter.  Add the remaining garlic and cook slightly (do not burn).  Next add the buffalo sauce and sweet chili sauce.  Stir until mixed.  Add the cooked meatballs to the mixture, toss, and serve.  Serve with ranch or bleu cheese.

If your kid's don't like hot sauce, consider making half with BBQ sauce or tossing in a homemade cheese sauce.  Any way you serve these, they are delicious, cost efficient, and have less fat than ground beef.  Enjoy!

Find my recipe on Yahoo!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Again with the pasta recipes!  I know, I know, but like I said, pasta is cheap and will take on any flavor you give it.  Tonight we decided to turn our pasta into one of our favorite chicken dishes, Chicken Cordon Bleu.  So here it is, one of our new favorite recipes!


Chicken (I used 6- 7 pre-cut chicken strips because they were on sale - 1 1/2 cups cooked and chopped.)
Penne (1lb or 1 box)
Ham (1/2 cup chopped or 1 package of deli ham)
Swiss cheese (1 cup + 1/8 cup for top, shredded)
White cheddar cheese (1/4 cup, shredded)
Mozzarella cheese (I used 2 individual packs of string cheese because it was in my fridge and melts nice; diced)
Parmesan cheese (1/8 cup)
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup of beer
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour (used to thicken sauce)


Cook your chicken (in the oven or the stove top.)  You can cut it into bite size chunks before or after you cook it (depends on what cut of chicken you use).  While your chicken is resting, begin to boil your water (salted water) for your penne.  In a separate saucepan, add your butter, milk, and beer.  Begin to simmer over med-low heat.  Once your milk/beer mixture was become hot, remove about 3-4 tbsp into a small bow.  Add 2 tbsp of flour.  Mix until clump free and add back to the milk/beer mixture.  Now add your cheeses (all but the Parmesan and the 1/8 cup of Swiss).  Slowly stir until the cheese begins to melt.  If you haven't already, add your penne to the boiling water.  Continue to watch your cheese sauce so it doesn't stick or burn.  Drain your pasta.  Once the sauce has become smooth, in a large bowl, add your pasta, chopped chicken, and your chopped ham.  Pour the sauce over the top and mix well.  Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees (F).  Pour the pasta mixture into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and remaining Swiss cheese over the top.  Place into oven and bake until the cheese has melted (about 5 minutes).  Remove, cool and enjoy!

*To make this dish interesting, consider adding tomatoes, spinach, roasted garlic or any other veggies that tickle your fancy!
**The beer helps to lower the melting temp. for the cheese (learned that at a fondue restaurant!).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BLT Pasta Salad

Pasta seems to be our go to meal.  It's cheap and easy to make.  Having a large selection of pasta recipes to choose from is important so you aren't always eating the same thing.  This happens to be one our favorite pasta dishes, BLT Pasta Salad.

1 lb/box farfalle (bow tie pasta)
5 tomatoes (I used Roma)
1 1/2 cup chopped lettuce
6-8 slices of bacon (plus 1 tbsp reserved bacon fat)
1/2 cup of ranch dressing

Boil your noodles in salted water until al dente.  Drain and cool for about 5 minutes.  Add half of your ranch and toss.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Remove from the fridge and begin to cook your bacon (nice and crispy!).  While the bacon is cooking, if you haven't pre-chopped your tomatoes and lettuce, do so now.  Make sure they are bite size pieces.  Toss them into the pasta.  Once your bacon has cooked and cooled slightly, chop and toss into the pasta.  Mix the remaining ranch with 1 tbsp of the bacon fat.  Pour the dressing over the pasta, toss and serve.  This recipe also tastes really good with Caesar dressing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

BBQ Pasta Bake

A lot of times when I am short on time, pasta is my go to meal.  It's quick, easy, and filling.  Spaghetti and tomato sauce can get old quick, so I like to try and get creative.  This is one of those dishes that was thrown together last minute, but was a real winner with my family!

BBQ Pasta Bake
Rigatoni noodles (1 lb or 1 box)
Sorry for the blurry pic.  My camera is in Fed Ex's custody still!
Salt (for water)
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic salt
3 tbsp. bbq sauce
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup bell pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
12 meatballs (homemade* or store bought)

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.  In a saucepan, add the remained of the ingredients except the cheese and the meatballs.  Simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat, stir every so often.  Preheat the oven to 325 while the sauce cooks down.  For the last few minutes, add the meatballs.  Next toss the noodles with the sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese.  Pour into a baking dish and cover the pasta with the remainder of the cheese.  Bake for 102 minutes until the cheese has begun to bubble. 
Serve with a salad, by itself, or with any sides you'd enjoy with bbq!  Makes approx. 4-8 servings.
*My meatballs were homemade.  I will post a recipe for them soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oh the Cheesy Goodness

Last week the hubby and I went out for a date night (finally!). We chose to go to a fondue restaurant.  We loved he experience, but not the price.  For the two of us, we spent a little over $100. Yikes!  So this weekend we decided to have a fondue and movie night at our house, kids and all!  Here is my version of the fondue we had last weekend:


1 glove garlic, minced
1/8 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon (any red wine would work, but the Cabernet goes well with the cheese)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup of White Cheddar cheese (we had Fontina at the restaurant, but cheddar is cheaper)
1/2 cup of Asiago cheese
1/2 cup of Monterrey cheese
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
Pepper to taste


Most of us don't have a fancy fondue thing-a-ma-jig, so we have two options here.
- In a saucepan, add your garlic.  Begin to sweat, but do not brown.  Then add your wine and lemon juice.  Stir.  Slowly add your cheeses.  Stir after you add each cheese.  The cheese will slowly begin to melt.  Add your parsley and pepper.  Add to a small crock pot or food warmer.  The cheese will continue to melt into a smooth fondue sauce. 
-Slow cooker method.  add all of your ingredients, stir, and let the slow cooker do the work.  I recommend a smaller crock pot if you have one.

Dipper suggestions: French bread, broccoli, sausage, noodles, tortellini, chicken, peppers, tomatoes, olives, any type of food you could imagine dipping in cheese!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chili Time!

When the temperature drops, one of my favorite things to make is soups and chili.  Whenever I make chili, I always switch it up a little bit, just for fun.  Here is one of my chili recipes that is a favorite in my house!  What is your favorite way to enjoy chili?

Kate's Chili

1 /2 lb of stew meat (beef)
1/2 lb of pork butt (cubed)
1 medium yellow onion
1 poblano chili
1/2 head of garlic
1 can of dark beer
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 tbsp. of tomato paste
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 cube of beef bouillon
1 cup of water
1 can of kidney beans
3 tbsp of ketchup
2 tsp. of dry mustard
1 tbsp. of turmeric
4 tbs. of chili powder
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Cut a head of garlic in half. Coat the garlic and poblano in olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap both in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until roasted.
2. Brown stew meat in pot. Dice up onion and add. Cook until translucent.
3.Peel the skin and seed the chili, dice, and add to the pot as well.
4. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from the head into the pot.
5. Add one can of beer while scrapping the bits of meat from the bottom of the pot. At this time, add the remainder of the ingredients.
6.Cook for 3 hours on low heat. Be sure to remove the bay leaves from the chili before serving.