Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Mom's Shepherd's Pie

My mom used to make this all the time when my brother and I were growing up. I loved it so much that I now make it. I have however changed the recipe to what we like. We don't eat ground hamburger so I use ground turkey which tastes better anyways.

Shepherd's Pie

2-3 Packages Ground Turkey
2 Cans Tomato Sauce
3 Cans Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Shredded Cheese
Sea Salt
Garlic Salt

1. Boil your red potatoes until soft. Drain the water and put into a mixing bowl. Added sea salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Then add butter and sour cream to taste. I'd say I put in 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sour cream. I would just add until you feel that's enough for your taste. Mix with hand mixer and set aside.

A. My mom used to use instant mashed potatoes I believe, however, we LOVE red potatoes. So I buy a bag of red potatoes and cut them up and boil them until they are soft enough to mix into mashed potatoes. Since I don't measure I can't give you the exact amount. I usually cook up the whole bag and just put the remaining mashed potatoes in the fridge for later. 

2. While the potatoes are boiling brown the turkey meat in a pan adding in the sea salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. You can add other spices if you wish. Once meat is all the way cooked add the tomato sauce and let warm in the pan with the meat.

3. Put the meat mixture into the bottom of a x11 pan (I use a glass pan) and spread it out evenly. Drain the water from your cans of green beans and dump the green beans in on top of the meat mixture. Spread out evenly as the second layer. Then layer your mashed potatoes on the very top. I usually put these kind of thick on top. Spread them out evenly so you don't see the green beans layer.

4. Top the dish off with a layer of cheese (I use shredded chedder). Bake at 350* for 25 minutes. Since everything is warm except the green beans and cheese don't go over the 25 minutes or the cheese will burn.

Derby Pie

Down in Lake Havasu City, AZ there is a restaurant named "Barley Brother's Bewery" it has the most amazing Derby Pie I've ever had. Plus, the food is amazing. Every time we go there to eat we have to get Derby Pie for dessert.

I found this recipe online and made it - it wasn't AS good as the restaurant but it was good.

Derby Pie
Total Time: 55 Minutes

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans or 3/4 cup walnuts
9 inches unbaked pie shells


1. Combine all ingredients and mix with fork.

2. Bake in pie crust at 350 for 45 minutes, or until brown on top!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

I found this recipe on Picky Palate's blog and because Chad LOVES peanut butter and I love chocolate I thought these would be a great combo for both of us. Chad loved them. I will be making these again.
Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups good quality chocolate chunks
1 cup cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.

2. Place peanut butter into the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.

4. Place flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add to wet ingredients along with cocoa powder, and chocolate chunks, slowly mixing until just combined. Drop dollops of frozen peanut butter into dough and turn mixer on for just a few turns of the mixer to get swirls of peanut butter through the dough. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve with milk.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon

This is super easy to make and Chad loved it. Add a side of veggies and some rice and it's a complete healthy meal.

Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
2 Ounces Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
1/2 Cup Chopped Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Rinsed and Drained if bottled.
2 Tablespoons Chopped Walnuts
Cooking Spray
4 Salmon Fillets, Rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Plain Dry Bread Crumbs
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano, crumbled
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the bell peppers, basil and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray. I just put the salmon in a glass casserole dish instead.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and the filling is warmed through.

****I made this with a half of salmon - I didn't cut it into fillets because it was easier to just do the whole salmon instead of cutting and stuffing each piece. I believe I cooked it for almost 20 minutes as a half a salmon.****

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Brownie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who wouldn't love brownies AND chocolate chip cookies merged together?!? I saw this recipe and couldn't wait to make it. Picky Palate has tons of cookie recipes and "stuffed" cookie recipes. There are so many that you just want to cook them all.

Brownie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes Roughly 12-16 Cookies

1 Box Brownie Mix (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)
2 Sticks Softened Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare brownie according to packaged directions. Let cool completely then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares (I made mine smaller).

2. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined.

3. Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.

4. Place a large cookie scoopful of dough on top of a brownie square and another large scoop on the bottom. Gently press and enclose brownie with dough adding pinches more dough to cover sides if needed. Place 6 filled cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Pizza Monkey Bread

I got this recipe HERE and couldn't wait to have a reason to make it. So on Tuesday I made it for Devin and Cameron for dinner. They said it was good but regular monkey bread is better! Kids!!! I didn't get to try it because for some reason I didn't buy enough dough. Next time!

The recipe was for Pepperoni pizza only. I added mushrooms, ground turkey sausage and olives too. You could add whatever you'd like to this recipe. I also didn't do each little ball the same. That way there was variety.

I apparently didn't take any pictures when it was done cooking before the boys ate it - oops! Next time I make it I will add a finish picture to this post. You can however, click the link above and see the images on the food blog I got the recipe from.

Pizza Monkey Bread

You can take the long route and make your favorite pizza dough and marinara sauce, or the short route and pick up your favorite pizza dough and red sauce from the store.

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used already chopped garlic)
4 Tbsp butter
2 lbs pizza dough (I bought Pillsbury Pizza Dough)
6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you'll need ~48 pieces)
48 slices of Turkey pepperoni (from 1 package)
2-3 cups marinara sauce, warmed, for serving

1.Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.

2.Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.

3.Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (a kitchen scale makes this very easy). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.

4.Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.

5.Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low - there will be 1+ Tbsp leftover - and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal).

6.Repeat until all of the dough is used.

7.Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.

8.Bake for ~35 minutes, until the top is very brown.

9.Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

10.Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Strawberry Soup

I found this recipe on another food blog - yes, I know I'm addicted to food blogs. Here is the blog where I found the recipe: Jason and Shawnda FoodieBride

I saw this recipe and just couldn't wait to make it. Strawberries were in season and Chad's parent's were coming over for lunch so I thought what a great time to make this. It was super easy to make and if you make a larger batch you can put some in the fridge for the next day. I skipped the mint as I didn't have any. I also used the full 2/3 cups of milk.

The pictures I got weren't great since I was in a hurry to serve the soup! Next year I will take much better images though and replace these ones.

Strawberry Soup
Makes 2 Cups

1 lb strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 Tbsp sugar, plus more to taste
Juice and zest of 1 small orange
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 - 2/3 cup milk
Mint, for garnish

1. Roughly chop strawberries and place in a small sauce pan with sugar, orange juice, zest, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, squashing the strawberries into sauce with your spoon until they break down into a thick sauce.

2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Taste for sweetness and add additional sugar if necessary.

3. Place chilled strawberries, yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in a blender. Puree. Stream in additional milk to get to the desired consistency. Chill until very cold, serve garnished with mint.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins

I found this recipe on Baked Perfections Food Blog - LOVE this blog along with several others that I am finding amazing recipes on. I love fresh blueberry muffins so I couldn't resist trying this recipe since afterall it is blueberry season.

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins


2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries, dusted in flour


1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400* F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl beat together eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture (be sure not to over-mix, batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups so they are 2/3 of the way full.

To make the topping: mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

The Muffin Topping

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Twitter Crockpot Chicken and Rice

I am having to give this a name myself because I got this recipe from Women's Health magazine. They had this small section where they posted people's recipes from Twitter. Literally the tweet only had the ingredients with no name for the recipe and no "real" instructions.

It looked so easy I said "what the heck we'll try it". It actually is really healthy and it turned out great. It has gone onto our "make again" recipe list. It's super easy you just dump everything into the crockpot and walk away.

It made enough for Chad and I plus one serving for lunch the next day. So I'd suggest doubling or tripling this recipe. I will probably add in a veggie next time too like corn or something.

Twitter Crockpot Chicken and Rice

1 lb Chicken Breasts
2 Cans Black Beans
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Brown Rice (I used white because I didn't have brown - I didn't use instant rice)
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
1 Cup Water (I ended up using 2- 2 1/2 Cups because the rice needed more to cook)

Put everything in the crockpot on low for 6 hours.

**You could add a lot of other things to this recipe to make it your own. We topped it with sour cream and a little shredded cheese.**

Brownie Rubble

Food Network Magazine does this page in the very back of the magazine called "Name This Dish!". This Recipe was in their May 2011 issue and it had no name yet but look SO good. So, I decided to make it for Easter. However, I had to wait until this month's issue of Food Network Magazine to find out what name was the winner - Brownie Rubble!

This dessert is extremely good!! It was a huge hit. The brownies are amazing being made from scratch. You will LOVE this recipe if you like brownies or even desserts lol.

Brownie Rubble
Active: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Makes: 12 to 18 brownies (I cut into bite size and it made a lot more)

2 Sticks plus 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, plus more for the pan
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
6 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Large Eggs, Cold
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 Cup Unsalted Roasted Peanuts

1. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; leave an overhang on 2 sides. Butter the foil and dust with flour. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 400*.

2. Bring 1 inch water to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Put the chocolate and 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl; set the bowl over the saucepan (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

3. Add the sugar, cocoa and salt to the bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, the batter is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla, then add 1 cup flour and mix until combined. Spread in the prepared pan.

4. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts on top. Return to the oven; continue baking until the marshmallows are golden, about 5 more minutes.

5. Let cool in the pan on a rack, 30 minutes. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board to cool completely before slicing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I made these for Father's Day/Chad's Birthday and they were a hit! Best "from scratch" chocolate cake I've had.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes: 24 Cupcakes

For the Filling:
2/3 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla

For the Cupcakes:
8 Tablespoons Butter (1 Stick)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 2/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs

For the Frosting - Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
2/3 Cup Peanut Butter
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1-2 Tablespoons Milk

1. Prepare Filling: In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, mix confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls using heaping measuring teaspoons. (Balls will be sticky and don't need to be perfectly shaped.) Place balls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 24 standard muffin-pan cups with fluted paper liners.

3. Prepare Cupcakes: On waxed paper, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In 2-cup liquid measuring cup, mix sour cream, milk, and remaining vanilla; set aside. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat granulated sugar and 8 tablespoons butter just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 1 to 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture. Beat just until ingredients are combined, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

4. Spoon 1 heaping measuring tablespoon into each muffin-pan cup. Drop 1 peanut butter ball in center of each cup and top with another heaping tablespoon batter. Bake cupcakes 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. (I baked for 26 minutes I believe.) Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

5. When cupcakes are cool, prepare frosting.

Making the Frosting:
Cream butter and peanut butter together in a bowl. Add powdered sugar with mixer on low speed and gradually add milk and vanilla. Mix until frosting is smooth. If too thick, add more milk; if too thin, add more sugar. Frost cupcakes as desired.

** I don't ever mix my dry ingredients in one bowl and liquid ingredients in another one. I just mix my liquid ingredients in a bowl and then add all the dry ingredients individually to the liquid ones. I've never had any issues doing it this way. **

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

I made these for our family beach trip and they were gone REALLY quickly! Very yummy and easy to make.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Makes 40 brownies (mine didn't make 40)

1 Box of your Favorite Brownie Mix (I used Ghiradelli Chocolate Brownie Mix)
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter Chips
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ground Turkey and Hominy

So I needed a new recipe that used ground turkey meat. I used my app on my iPad and found this recipe. However, I didn't have hominy and I didn't know what it was so I looked it up and it's sort of like corn kernals but not haha. Anyways, I just used frozen corn instead and added black beans.

I've made this twice now the first time I added rice to Chad's bowl and noodles to mine. Last night when I made it we ate it in burrito shells.

Ground Turkey and Hominy
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 8

1 1/2 LBS Ground Turkey - I just use two packages of Foster Farms Ground Turkey Breast
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes, undrained - I skipped this one.
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Large Onion, Chopped - I skipped this too
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
2 Cans Hominy - I subbed with a bag of frozen corn
2 Cans Black Beans (drained and rinsed) - The original recipe doesn't call for this but I add black beans whenever I can.

In a large skillet, cook the turkey, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes and seasonings; heat through. Add hominy and heat through.

I don't drain mine and I add the seasonings while the meat is still raw so the seasonings cook into the meat. Once the meat is no longer pink I add the frozen corn and drained and rinsed black beans; cover and heat until corn is no longer frozen. Roughly 5 minutes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dr. Oz's Green Drink

We make this a lot - it makes a big jar of smoothie. It will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days.

This "green drink" is high in fiber, low-calorie and rich in vitamins. Dr. Oz swears by this "breakfast" smoothie.

Dr. Oz's Green Drink
Makes approx. 3-4 Servings

2 Cups Spinach
2 Cups Cucumber (I just do one large cucumber)
1 Head of Celery
1/2 inch Ginger Root
1 Bunch Parsley
2 Apples
Juice of one Lime
Juice of one Lemon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix.

I don't measure the spinach but am sure that I'm putting more like 3 cups into the blender. We always add filtered water - we fill the blender about half way or less.