Monday, June 29, 2009

Easy Creamy Fresh Fruit Pie

I'm not much of a fruit pie fan, (am I crazy?) and I think that some of it has to do with the fact that I like most fruits fresh, not cooked. This is a pie that my mom made a few times as I was growing up, and I've always really enjoyed it. I got a great deal on peaches last week, and decided that I NEEDED this for Sunday dessert. It really hit the spot...nice and fresh! (and did I mention easy??) I personally think that a home made crust tastes best, but you could use a store-bought crust as well.

This would be so cute with sliced strawberries and blueberries for the 4th! Enjoy!

Easy Creamy Fresh Fruit Pie

8 inch graham cracker crust:
½ package of graham crackers, crushed
2 Tbs. Butter, melted
1 Tbs. Brown Sugar

1 8 oz package cream cheese (I used lite cream cheese, and it worked great!) at room temp.
1 8 oz package frozen whipped topping (cool whip), thawed
2-3 Tbs. Sugar

Fresh Fruit of your choice: Peaches, Nectarines, Strawberries, Blueberries, Mix 'em...whatever!

Prepare graham cracker crust by mixing the crushed crackers, sugar and butter. Press into an 8 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Let crust cool completely.

With an electric mixer, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cool whip and whip just until incorporated. Spread mixture carefully into cooled crust and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Top with fresh fruit. You can sweeten the fruit to desired sweetness, or purchase a fruit glaze in the produce section of the grocery store. I just added a little sugar to my peaches and topped the pie as I served it so that the crust didn't get soggy. If you want a nice presentation, I would gently mix the fruit with a glaze and lay it out nicely on the pie.

Sloppy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Sorry for being such a slacker. I'm not doing very well at posting on this blog! I'm going to give you two easy recipes today, both of which would be super yummy to make for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!

My mother-in-law made these sandwiches a few weeks ago for Sunday dinner, and I really enjoyed them. So, I put them on the menu the next week. They were really easy to make, and we enjoyed them. I don't know where this whole putting Cole Slaw on your sandwich thing comes from, but I'm definitely a fan!

Sloppy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or this would be fab with pork too!)
1/2 bottle of BBQ Sauce
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 package Cole Slaw mix (just the kind with shredded cabbage and carrot)
Cole Slaw Dressing
2 green onions (optional)

Place chicken, onion and BBQ Sauce in a slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is tender enough to shred. Shred chicken and return to sauces for about another 1/2 hour on low. When you're just about ready to eat, chop up the green onions and stir them into the cole slaw mix with enough dressing to make the cole slaw look creamy (do this to your family likes cole slaw). When you're ready to serve, place shredded chicken on a bun and top with a spoon full of cole slaw. Serve immediately. Makes about 4-5 large sandwiches

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lemon Berry Pie

I saw this dessert made on "Good Things Utah", but to be honest they made a complete mess of the pie. The flavors sounded so good, I decided to just try it (modified a little), and it turned out so YUMMY!

I am not a big pie maker, and I only own a small 8 inch pie plate, which is completely worthless (never buy one). So, since I was making this for a big group, I decided to just make it in a 9x13 pan. I think that it would fit well into 2 small pre-packaged pie crusts, or you could just half it and make it in an 8x8 square pan. Either way, this was super easy and great for summer!

Lemon Berry Pie

6 ounces cream cheese, softened (lite worked great)
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoon sugar
2 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest (about the peel of one lemon)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 tub (8 ounces) whipped topping (or more for serving)
1 pound (16 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved or sliced (I like things less chunky, so I sliced them)
2 cups cold milk (I used 1%)
2 packages (4-serving size) lemon flavor instant pudding and pie filling
2 (6 oz) prepared graham cracker crusts

OR make your own:

1 pkg graham crackers, crushed (crush them in a food processor...really easy!)
4 Tbs. Butter, melted
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
Mix all crust ingredients together, and press mixture (Hint: use the bottom of a flat cup or measuring cup to press a crust into a pan, it makes it nice and compact!) into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool completely before adding other layers.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and sugar in medium bowl for 1-2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Stir in lemon peel and juice, then gently stir in half of the whipped topping. Spread evenly over the crust. Layer half of the sliced strawberry on top of the cream cheese layer.

Pour 2 cups milk into large bowl, and add pudding mixes. Beat mixture with a wire whisk about 1 minute, or until the pudding is completely dissolved. The pudding will thicken quickly. Once the pudding is thick, gently stir in the remainder of the whipped topping. At this point, you can add another layer of strawberries, or reserve the strawberries to spoon over the pie as you serve it.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Serve with additional whipped topping or whipped cream if desired. Makes 12-15 servings.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pudding Pops

I receive the Kraft "Food and Family" magazine in the mail every so often. It has a lot of easy family friendly recipes. Well, this time we decided to try the recipe for pudding pops, and it turned out to be lots of fun, and quite yummy! The possibilities are endless!

This is the recipe as written in the magazine:

Cookies and Creme Pudding Pops

1 pkg (3.9 oz) Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 C Cold Milk (I used 1%)
6 Oreo Cookies (I used the Oreo's!)
1/2 C Thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping (used more, like about 1 cup)

Beat pudding mix and milk in a large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes. Place cookies in a resealable bag and seal. Crush cookies using a rolling pin. Add cookies and cool whip to pudding; stir just until blended. Spoon into 9 (I got 12) small paper or plastic cups. Insert wooden pop stick or plastic spoon into each for handle. Freeze 5 hours or until firm.

As most of you know, I have two 3-year-olds, and we had a blast making these together! So, it was fun AND we had a tasty treat to eat during this hot weather. Yesterday we finished off the last of the chocolate pops, and I opened the pantry to see what else we could make. I found banana pudding, and some leftover Nutter Butters....hmmmmmm...

So, we ended up throwing together an other batch with these ingredients:

And again, the kids had so much fun helping! Really...get out the play hammers, it's so much more fun!

And today, we ate another yummy treat!

Banana Nutter Butter Pudding Pops

1 pkg (3.9 oz) Jell-O Banana Cream Instant Pudding
2 C Cold Milk (I used 2% this time, and it was SO creamy!)
7 Nutter Butter Cookies
1 C Whipped Topping, thawed

Beat pudding mix and milk in a large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes. Place cookies in a resealable bag and seal. Crush cookies using play HAMMERS!! Add cookies and whipped topping to pudding; stir just until blended. Spoon into 15 small paper or plastic cups. Insert wooden pop stick or plastic spoon into each for handle. Freeze 5 hours or until firm. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Banana Nutter Butter Trifle

I am a huge fan of peanut butter, and I love almost anything to do with bananas. So, I was pretty excited (to say the least) to see this recipe on a food blog. (I can't remember which one...sorry!)

I decided to make this with banana bread instead of cake, which made it rich and heavenly. I doubled this recipe for classic banana bread that I found on Our Best Bites. Those gals never let you down! The bread was so yummy! I made this to take to a get-together at a friend's house, so I wasn't able to get many pictures. But, it looked great in my crystal bowl, and it made TONS. I would dare say that this will serve 12 people pretty generous servings. It looks best right after you put it together, before the bananas start to turn brown...but, let me just tell you that it tasted pretty fabulous the next day even after the bananas were a tiny bit brown. If you have a small trifle dish, you might want to half this recipe! What's your favorite kind of trifle?

Nutter Butter Trifle

1 1/2 loaves of banana bread cut into cubes or crumbled
1 package peanut butter chips (1 1/2 cups of chips)
2 (3.4 oz each) packages instant banana cream pudding mix
1 8 oz carton of whipped topping (like cool whip)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 1/4 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
4 large ripe bananas
12-14 nutter butter cookies, plus more for garnish

Bake (or purchase) your favorite banana bread recipe, and let it cool completely. Mix together both packages of banana pudding mix with 4 cups of the milk and chill until the pudding is well set. In a small sauce pan, combine on low heat the extra 1/4 cup milk, cream, and peanut butter chips. Stir until the chips are melted and smooth. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Crush nutter butter cookies.

For assembly: Place half of the cubed or crumbled bread into a trifle bowl, then top with half of the peanut butter sauce. Next, layer half of the banana pudding, followed by 2 sliced bananas, half of the whipped topping, and then half of the nutter butter cookies. Then, repeat! Garnish with additional whole nutter butters, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Banana Filled Graham Cracker Pancakes (revisited)

Oh boy, I should have eaten breakfast before starting this post because just looking at these pictures is making me drool. I made these again a few weeks ago, and couldn't help but take some pictures and re-post this because they were SO good. It really would be worth purchasing the special pan so that you can enjoy these. This time I served them with buttermilk syrup, and it put them on a whole new level!

Banana Filled Graham Cracker Pancakes

4 oz graham crackers, broken into pieces (this is 7 whole graham crackers, or enough crumbs to fill a 1 cup measuring cup)
3/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
5 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, separated
1 3/4 C buttermilk
6 Tbs. (3/4 of a stick) of butter, melted
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup heavy cream
maple or buttermilk syrup syrup for serving

Put graham crackers in blender or food processor and blend on high until powdery. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, 3 Tbs. sugar, and salt; pulse to combine. In large bowl, whisk egg yolks and buttermilk. Whisk in flour mixture; batter will be lumpy.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form, 1-2 min. Gently stir whites into batter in 2 additions.

Put 1/2 tsp. butter into each well of filled-pancake pan. Heat over medium heat (I kept it on medium-low to avoid burning them, and my pan is cast-iron). Pour 2 tsp. batter into each well. Place 3 banana pieces in center of each pancake; top with 1 tsp. batter. Cook 3-5 minutes.

Using 2 skewers or forks, gently flip pancakes over and cook 2- 3 minutes more. (You know that they are ready to flip when you move it around with the skewer, and the whole pancake moves...if part of it sticks, they're not ready to turn yet.) Transfer pancakes to plates. Repeat with remaining batter.

Whip cream until firm and sweeten with the other 2 Tbs. of sugar if desired. (Once I just served them with spray whip cream from a can because it was easier, but the whipped cream is best, of course!) Serve pancakes warm with whipped cream and maple syrup or buttermilk syrup. (oh, really, click on this link and try the buttermilk's SO worth it!!) Makes about 35 pancakes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Peanut Butter Crunch Snack Balls

I've had this recipe in my "to try" file for a while,
and finally got around to trying them. I follow a few food blogs, including, and that is where I found this recipe. The recipe on her blog is huge, and makes over a hundred of these little goodies. I didn't want to waste a ton of peanut butter just in case we didn't love them, so I ended up doing 1/3rd of the huge recipe. If you want the larger measurements, click here.

Anyway, we ended up loving these...even my two 3-year-olds! Yeah! Also, they are pretty healthy, and I liked how they stayed crunchy even after a couple of days of being in the fridge. I rolled them in crushed mini-wheats, which are kind-of pokey. So, next time I think that I'll roll them in something else, like graham cracker crumbs or nilla wafer crumbs. These are great for a summer time treat since they don't have to be baked. Try them!

2/3 Cup Honey
2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Rice Krispies (I used generic...cheaper)
1/2 Cup Grape Nuts (Do NOT use generic grape nuts, they're really gross for some reason)
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2/3 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Crushed Cereal (I used Honey Nut Cheerios, it's just what I had)
1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips or Butterscotch Chips (I used both, but I would stick with the mini chips in the future because the other chips were too big and you didn't get one in every ball. You could also use raisins or something a little more healthy...but why? :) )
1 1/2-2 C crushed mini-wheat cereal (plain or frosted shredded wheat) or other crumbs of your choice (maybe graham crackers)
3-4 Tablespoons Dry Powdered Milk

Combine all ingredients except for the powdered milk and the crushed mini-wheat cereal. Stir well until all ingredients are combined. Add powdered milk a tablespoon at a time until you get a soft dough-like consistency. I ended up using 3 1/2 Tablespoons. At this point, chill the dough, covered, in the refrigerator for about a half hour. This is not necessary, but it makes them less sticky and easier to roll. (My small Pampered Chef cookie scoop worked perfectly for these, but if you don't have one, just use a spoon.) Scoop out small pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Then, roll the balls into the crushed shredded wheat or other crumbs of your choice. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baked Beef Taquitos

This is a recipe that I got from my good friend Amy, and we love it. I made these the other night, and I think that my husband ate like 7 in a row. They are easy, and good, and not fried like other taquitos! I don't know about your kids, but my kids like to dip whatever they can, so these go over pretty well at our house!

1 tsp oil, plus a little more for brushing (optional)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
½ c salsa, plus more for dipping
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
10-12 flour tortillas
shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Put onion in skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until onion is transparent, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for about another minute. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add beef and cook until done. Stir in salsa, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

If your tortillas need a little softening up, place tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 45 seconds. If they're already soft, just use tortillas as they are. Spread about ¼ c beef mixture down the middle of the tortilla, until it is about an inch from the edges. Sprinkle cheese over beef. Roll up tortillas and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, seam side down. Brush taquitos lightly with oil, (or if you're lazy like me, spray them with some cooking spray) then bake them until filling is heated and they are lightly browned, 8-12 minutes. (I measured out the beef mixture with a 1/4 C measuring cup, and I ended up with about 12 taquitos.) Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


One of my favorite shows to watch is a local show called "Good Things Utah". They always have a cooking segment, which is my favorite part. A few weeks ago, one of the hosts talked about how she fixes broccoli, and how her kids gobble it up. Well, my kids have never touched broccoli, so I decided to try it. It was so easy, and my little girl begs for more every time I make this. Try it! It's different and so good, and I can't explain why, but we're addicted!

1-2 heads of Broccoli (depending on how many you're serving, I do one large head for 2 adults, 2 kids)
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Preheat the broiler on your oven. Chop broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Place them on a cookie sheet and drizzle with oil. You don't need a lot of oil, just enough to make sure that each piece of broccoli has a little on it. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Start with less. This is to taste, but YOU really have to figure out how much you like! Mix it all up, right there on the cookie sheet. I just use my hands. Place under the broiler, but make sure that your top rack is pretty close to the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes and then get it out and stir it well. Place the broccoli back under the broiler for another 2-3 minutes. You want there to be little pieces of brown on the broccoli, not lots, just barely starting to brown. That is what gives it the yummy flavor. Serve hot, right out of the oven!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Chile Enchiladas

I apologize for disappearing from the food blogging world for a while, but I've had a little case of morning sickness that hasn't made cooking or eating very pleasant. Well, now that I'm over that (mostly), I'm back to loving food, and hopefully can keep up a little better on my blog!!

These enchiladas are an original recipe that I created while I was in college. Evidently I was a little more creative then than I am now! So, for those of you who were my room mates, you have probably had these. I hadn't made them in a really long time and forgot how good they were, so I had to post them. They take a little time to do all of the prep work, like chopping the veggies, but they're really not difficult to make, and SO worth it!! They are excellent with either hamburger or chicken. This time my wonderful husband grilled the chicken, and they turned out really good! You can make these vegetarian by leaving out the meat. The flavor of the enchilada sauce is so good! Make sure you try these!


28 oz can Green Chile Enchilada sauce, or more if you like it sausy (La Victoria is my favorite)
1 medium Zucchini, sliced
½ Bell Pepper (red, green, yellow, or whatever you like)
2 Carrots, grated
2 small Tomatoes chopped
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 lb. Hamburger or chicken
12 flour tortillas
½ pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 Clove Garlic
8-10 oz Jack or cheddar cheese, grated

If you are using hamburger, brown the meat. Add ½ package taco seasoning and half of the water called for, and continue to cook according to the package directions. If you are using chicken, drizzle chicken with 1-2 tsp of cooking oil and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Grill or saute until chicken is no longer pink. Once the chicken is cooled enough to handle, cut it into bite sized pieces.

Saute onion, bell pepper, and zucchini with a little bit of oil or cooking spray and garlic for just a couple of minutes, until they are tender. Don't cook them too long, or they'll become soggy. Add tomatoes and carrots last since they cook the fastest. (sorry for the steamy picture...but I love the beautiful color of the veggies once you put everything together!)

Here are step by step pictures of putting them together. First spread a couple of large spoon-fulls of sauce on the bottom of your greased pan. (Note about the pan: I used an 11x15 pan this time, but if you don't have one, use a 9x13 and also an 8x8 pan to fit all of the enchiladas, you may half this recipe!!)

First, put a spoon full of beans on the tortilla,

then, add some chicken,

and veggies

roll them up and put them in your pan.

Pour the rest of the can of sauce over your enchiladas, and then make sure that the edges of the tortillas are covered with sauce so that they don't turn out dry and crunchy after baking.

Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle the top with cheese. Put the pan back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with sour cream.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chocolate Waffles

I will forever be in debt to my fabulous mother-in-law, not only for raising such a wonderful son, but for giving me one of my favorite easy dessert recipes! Just to clarify...these are DESSERT, not breakfast. These Chocolate Waffles are SO good, and so versatile. We have topped them with so many things, including a smear of peanut butter and vanilla ice cream, bananas and ice cream, mint ice cream, just plain vanilla...they are good with so many things! The best thing is that they are made from ingredients that I always keep around the house. These are great to make if you're in a time crunch and don't have a half hour to bake a cake or a pan of brownies. All you have to do is make the batter, and then when you're ready to serve dessert, you just put some batter in your hot waffle iron and Make 'em, you'll be so glad you did!!

½ C Butter, at room temperature
¾ C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 C Milk
1 ¼ C Flour
4-5 Heaping Tbs. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat waffle iron. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs with a mixer for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Pour ¼ to 1/3 cup batter into hot waffle iron (depending on the size of your waffle iron). Cook chocolate waffle for slightly less time than a regular waffle. Chocolate waffles do not get crispy like regular waffles, so don’t over cook! Remove from iron and immediatly top with your favorite ice cream and toppings. Serves 6.

Oh my...look how that ice cream just melts on those hot waffles. Need I say more?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Frosted Flake French Toast with Buttermilk Syrup

I woke up this beautiful snowy Valentines Day to the sounds of my wonderful husband making breakfast for me! Back in December, we took a trip to Vegas and we ate breakfast at a little cafe inside the hotel where we were staying. My husband ordered this French Toast that was rolled in Frosted Flakes. My first thought was...gross. But, it was SO good. So, on V-day he re-created this gem, and I was SO excited! (I should let him cook more often, he really is brilliant!) The combination of the frosted flakes and the buttermilk syrup was really sweet. So, an addition of some slightly tart strawberries was perfect. You must try!

4-5 slices of French Bread, or any other bread you like
2 Cups Frosted Flakes cereal, crushed
2 Eggs
1/4 C Milk
1/4 C Buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
A Dash or Pinch (just a tiny bit) Nutmeg

Whisk together the milk, buttermilk and eggs until smooth. Add the salt, vanilla, and spices until everything is incorporated. Heat a frying pan to medium low heat. Add a small pat of butter (maybe a teaspoon or so per slice of bread). Once butter is melted, dip bread, one side at a time into egg mixture, and then into frosted flakes. Make sure both sides are covered in cereal. Put bread into the heated pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. (Some people like their french toast a little soggy in the middle, some like it really set up, so cook it how you like it!) Top with sliced strawberries or other fruit and drizzle with buttermilk syrup (recipe to follow). (I say "drizzle" because it's really sweet, and you might be sorry if you dump it on!) Makes about two adult sized servings.

Buttermilk Syrup
(compliments of my husband's co-worker Ashly...thanks Ashly!)
1 cube butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Karo Syrup (lite corn syrup)
Add this all together and stir. Use a bigger pot than needed because when you add the baking soda it boils up high. Heat everything on low heat, stirring constantly until ingredients dissolve and sauce thickens. When sauce has thickened, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir and remove from heat.
(note from me: I didn't make the syrup, but I imagine if you cook it for a few minutes longer, it will be a bit more caramely...yum!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken

I love this recipe because it's easy. It only has 6 ingredients! You make it in the crock pot, and it's just SO good. I have had this recipe forever, and I can't remember where I got it, but it works great for Sunday dinner, and is forgiving enough to take to a neighbor when they are in need of a meal. Last time I made it, I served it with a green salad, and this bread, which made such a fabulous meal.

1- 1 1/2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenders
1/4 C (half of a stick) Butter
1 package Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix (just the dry mix, not all mixed up into dressing)

Place the chicken into a 3-4 Quart slow cooker. Cut up your 1/2 stick of butter and toss it over the chicken. Sprinkle all ingredients with the dressing mix. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until the chicken is done and will shred easily with a fork. Ok...I know that these instructions sounds weird because you don't add all of the sauce ingredients and stuff, but it works just fine, don't worry. This semi-plain chicken doesn't take as long to cook as a full slow cooker would, so just keep an eye on it to make sure that your chicken doesn't get too done and start to dry out. The cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot cooks.

After shredding your chicken (I just stick two forks right into my crock pot and shred it.) add:

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese, softened (I've used lite, and it works fine)
1 Cup of milk

Stir and let everything cook on low for another hour. Serve over rice or egg noodles. Serves about 4 adults. Warning: This is addicting and the leftovers are even better!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oreo Mint Truffles

I wanted to post something that would be fun to make for Valentines Day. These are so simple! I made them at Christmas time, and everyone loved them. Nobody could figure out what was in the middle! I would suggest making these the day before or on the day that you will serve them, just so that they are fresh and the middle doesn't get too gooey.

1 Package Oreo Cookies
8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
10 oz Package Andes Creme De Menth pieces (found next to the chocolate chips, or substitute of package of regular Andes Mints if you can't find these)

Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper or parchment. Crush the Oreo Cookies in a food processor or blender. The idea is that you want very small crumbs. If you want to, you can reserve a few tablespoons of crumbs to garnish your truffles with. Place crumbs and cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Using your hand mixer or stand mixer, mix the cheese and crumbs just until they are incorporated.

I made some truffles small, and some larger, and I liked the larger truffles better, but the size is up to you! I used my small cookie scoop, which is about a tablespoon, and popped each out into my hand, and rolled them into a ball. If the Oreo mixture is really sticky, you can try putting some powdered sugar on your hands or try chilling the Oreo mixture for a few minutes. Place the little balls on one of the parchment covered cookie sheets, and put them into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Chilling them helps them to stay together when you dip them. But, you also don't want them too cold, or it might make your chocolate covering crack. If they crack, just drizzle them with some white or red chocolate and eat them anyway!

Once your little Oreo balls are chilled, melt the mint chocolate pieces. You could also use a regular chocolate coating chocolate instead of the Andes mints. If you like dark, use dark, if you like milk, use milk. If you're daring, use white! Place the mints or coating into a small bowl and pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Put them back into the microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring well between each, until your chocolate is smooth.

Remove the Oreo balls from the freezer and begin dipping. Start out doing about three at a time. I suggest doing three at a time because you want them to still look wet when you put them back into the freezer to set up. If you do too many at once, the first few will start looking dry. Putting them into the freezer while still wet gives them a nice shine. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it faster, and dip more at a time.

Before they dry, sprinkle each with the crumbs you set aside or some unsweetened cocoa powder (this might taste best with the non-minty chocolate coatings), or drizzle with a contrasting color of melted chocolate. You could even get some red chocolate and draw a heart on top! Oh, cute! (Hint: Go to your local craft store or candy supply, and get a little squeeze bottle. If you can find a ketchup or mustard squeeze bottle with a small tip, that would work too. Melt your contrasting color of chocolate, and pour it into the bottle. This makes a great little tool for drizzling!) Place the truffles into the freezer for 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate is completely set. Repeat until all truffles are dipped. At this point, you can pop them inside some little candy cups and place them in a cute box (or cellophane bag!)...and there you have it...the perfect valentine!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hot Cereal

I love hot cereal. There's nothing like a bowl of warm yumminess on a cold snowy morning. My current favorite right now is a mixture of cracked wheat and oatmeal....mmmmmm. This is low fat and high in fiber, and really good for you if you don't load it down with sugar. Oh, and did I mention cheap? You can find cracked wheat at lots of health food type stores, or order it online. My secret to not adding tons of sugar (I have a hard time with this cuz I have a sweet tooth!) is to add a bit of unsweetened applesauce and some raisins, and then it only needs a little sugar. This is my favorite way to prepare it:

1/4 C Cracked Wheat
1/4 C Old Fashioned Oats (don't use quick oats, or you might have a soggy mess)
1 1/2 C Water (or 3/4 C water, 3/4 Cup milk...this makes it a little creamier)
Pinch of Salt
1/4 C Raisins or Craisins (you could also use fresh or frozen blueberries, but I wouldn't add them until the last few minutes of cooking time)
4 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2-1 tsp Cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon)
2 Tbs. Applesauce

Add cereals, salt, and water to a small pot and simmer, stirring periodically, on low heat for 13-15 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency. If you are using milk instead of water, be sure not to let it get above a simmer. If you like your raisins soft and plump, add them in at the beginning. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with additional milk (or sugar, or honey), if desired. There are lots of possibilities, be creative and have fun with your cereal! If you split this into two servings (as written), it is about 3 weight watchers points per serving.

**If you need to have a quick breakfast during the week before work, make a double batch of this on Saturday or Sunday and put it in the fridge. Each morning, just spoon some out, add a little milk, and reheat it in the microwave. I was surprised at how good and fresh it tasted after being reheated!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mini Meatloaves

I stumbled upon this meatloaf recipe a while back when I was searching for a recipe that didn't call for 2 pounds of hamburger. This has been my favorite meatloaf recipe since. You can make it for two people, or ten (put your math skills to the test!). It doesn't have to cook for hours, and everyone I've made it for loves it. Oh, and the little loaves really are quite cute!

1 egg
¼ C Milk
1/3 C crushed Saltine crackers
3 Tbs. chopped onion
¼ tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Sage
Dash of Pepper
½ lb Lean Ground Beef (I usually use one with 10% fat or less. Figure 1/4 lb per person, or more if you have hungry boys at your house.)
¼ C Ketchup
2 Tbs. brown sugar
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl, beat the egg. Add milk, cracker crumbs, onion, salt, sage and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture, then get your hands in there and mix well. Don't over mix. Just squish it together until everything is incorporated.

Then, shape into loaves, place in a shallow baking dish or cookie sheet lined with foil. (This makes clean up SO much easier!)

Now for the sauce! Do not skimp on the sauce! Spread it all on there, and try not to lick your fingers. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved and then spoon it evenly over meat loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. I love to serve these with baked potatoes, green beans and salad!