Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cafe Rio Chicken

I went to Cafe Rio last month and remembered how much I LOOOOOVE eating there. Mmmmm. So good.

Ok, back to reality, I can't fly to CA or UT everytime I want some of that goodness, so I have my stand by recipes that I love (click here) and I recently found this one for the shredded chicken...

Café Rio Chicken

1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs. Chicken breast-rinsed and fat cut off

Cook all in crock pot for 4-5 hours on low. Shred meat and cook an additional hour.


I thought that a whole tablespoon of each of these seemed like, well, a lot. SO, i modified it slightly and added a scant 1/2 tablespoon each of cumin and even less of chili powder and then added a tablespoon of taco seasoning. It turned out so fabulous. That extra last hour is really important, it lets the chicken soak up all the yummy juices and flavors.

We love this wrapped in tortillas with rice and beans, in quesadillas, or over nachos. I made Martha's cilantro lime rice and my favorite black beans to serve along with this, but I think it would also be yummy in a salad or in enchiladas or just about anything else!

brinner...creme brulee french toast

I LOVE to make breakfast for dinner. Sometimes it just fills in the "what should I make tonight?" gap, and other times you have missionaries who request it! Although good old fashioned pancakes or waffles are fine, sometimes you need something extra special and extra easy. I love that you make this in advance and that you can have french toast for a crowd ready all at the SAME time! This recipe is delicious and impressive and will make people love you.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 loaf Texas (*woot woot*) toast or any extra thick bread slices (about 12-15)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe syrup better

In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture onto large, greased jelly roll pan (18x13x1). Spread to cover surface. Place 12 slices (or however many you can fit) in a single layer to cover the pan.

Mix together eggs, cream, salt, and vanilla. Spoon mixture over each piece of bread until all the mixture is gone. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from pan and serve. If not serving IMMEDIATELY, turn each slice over (this will prevent bread from sticking). Serve with syrup butter.

Makes 12 servings (hahaha....yeah right)


First off, this does NOT serve twelve. I think six, is probably a more reasonable estimate. I fed this to the missionaries and between the two of them and the three of us there was half a piece of toast left.

Second...I didn't have cream OR corn syrup OR karo syrup. So I used whole milk in the egg mixture and used a little more butter and a little bit of water in the sugar/butter mixture.

Thirdly...I didn't think about this until the day off, so I made it about 4 or 5 hours in advance and then just put it in the fridge until it was time to bake. Still turned out delish.

And last but not least...I like this the best if you turn it over immediately after it comes out of the oven. This way the yummy yummy sugary goodness gets on both sides and you are not scraping toast off your pan. Oh yes, and PAM the heck out of the pan or else you will be sorry.

and now for reals last...make the syrup butter. Just do it, it really takes this dessert up a level.


1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups maple syrup

Melt together and serve over toast

(I halved this recipe and it was plenty for the batch)

*****both recipes from The Essential Mormon Cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen*****

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the rib recipe that is almost too good to share

So I hesitated about posting this rib recipe because it is really really good...and yet ridiculously easy. Fortunately no one really reads this blog, but, if you do, you have to promise to still be impressed when i make these ribs for you. I mean you have to lay it on thick "oooh so yummy, better than Tony Roma's Mandy"...the whole nine yards. Ok? Well now that we have that out of the way, here is the REALLY yummy and REALLY easy rib recipe :)


4lbs. Pork Ribs
1 bottle hickory BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp Salt & Pepper

P;ace ribs in a shallow baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover completely with foil to seal in the juices. Cook at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours or until meat practically falls off the bone. Remove foil, discard juices. Liberally spread sauce on one side of ribs, place in broiler until sauce begins to bubble. Repeat on other side of ribs.

Serve with lots of napkins :)


I made two racks of ribs since we were having the missionaries over and I knew that they would scarf these puppies down. I also seasoned the ribs with my latest kitchen find, McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning. Sounds strange, but that stuff is seriously so good. I sprinkle it on anything I grill or use BBQ sauce on and it really adds a nice flavor. Trust me. It is awesome on BBQ chicken especially. Back to the ribs...I also covered my baking sheet with foil so clean up was easier. The meat is SO tender it really does fall off the bone, so I found it easiest to flip and serve the ribs using kitchen tongs. An for BBQ sauce I HIGHLY advise spending an extra dollar and getting the Sweet Baby Rays original sauce. Mmmmm. But if you must, the KRAFT version is also acceptable.

Side note...

just so you know, the elders, my husband, and even Mason all LOVED these ribs. I don't think we will ever go out to eat for ribs again. They are that good.

Now go make them, then bask in the warm glow of compliments while everyone worships you as a kitchen goddess. Then giggle because only you and I know how easy this recipe really is.

So don't spoil it by sharing the secret with just anyone ;)

Friday, June 25, 2010

best peach cobbler ever.

Every summer I make this peach cobbler at least a dozen times. It is Christian's favorite food. Our favorite way to enjoy it is warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. However Christian also claims that it is wonderful cold for a mmidnight snack and then breakfast. Hence that fact that I make it at least a dozen times, one pan doesn't last long at our house!

Fresh Peach Cobbler (from the LA Times)

Preheat oven to 350

3 1/2 (or a little more) cups of fresh peaches, cut and peeled. (I always add a little more because I like it extra peachy, this time I used about 4 peaches minus the pieces I ate)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

*Spread peaches in the bottom of a 9x9 square pan and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon*

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

4 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 cup Bisquick

* Blend slightly melted butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add Bisquick and mix in thoroughly. Spread over the peaches.

Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

Mmmmm. Enjoy.

**note: Doubling this recipe is really easy. I usually double it and bake in a 9x13 pan. Just make sure you have lots of peaches, probably 8-10.**

**other note: Peeling peaches has been a piece of cake since I discovered this little tip... put the peaches in boiling water for one minute and then drop them in ice water for 2 minutes before peeling. This sounds like more work but saved me so much time.**

Thursday, June 17, 2010

hot hot hot hot hot hot hot

that sums up my thought process at about 4pm every single afternoon. it is only JUNE people. HOW can it be SO HOT already?

With this heat we try and avoid turning on our oven in the evenings, so we have been doing a lot of skillet stuff and grilling on the BBQ. Here is my personal favorite summer grill recipe.

Teryaki Chicken Burgers

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 can pineapple rings (or fresh pineapple sliced into rings)
1 bottle teryaki sauce/marinade (we LOVE the Lawry's brand with pineapple juice)
4 slices provolone cheese (or whatever you have on hand, i just prefer provolone)
4 hamburger buns
iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo for topping

Place chicken breasts in a ziploc bag and cover with marinade. Reserve about a half cup or so for basting while grilling and topping your sandwich at the end. Let sit in fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Heat BBQ or grill pan to high.

Place chicken on grill, turn once to get some nice score marks. Then turn down the heat and let the chicken cook through, basting with reserved sauce periodically.

Once the chicken is done, remove from heat, cover with cheese if desired, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Heat the grill back up to high. Once the grill is hot place the pineapple rings on the grill and let them cook until they get nice and caramelized on each side. This take about 5-8 minutes, watch them carefully.

Towards the end of your pineapple cooking time slide the buns on to get nice and toasty. If you don't have room for them, wait until the pineapple is done, then place the buns on the grill.

Assemble your delish burger with your desired toppings. We love to mix the teryaki sauce with a little mayo, then the chicken, cheese, pineapple, and some fresh iceberg lettuce. YUM!

We make these several times a summer either on the bbq or just in the grill pan. So yummy and a great summer dish!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

i cook barefoot

which is about the only thing i can think of that i have in common with one of my favorite chef's, Ina Garten, the barefoot contessa. LOVE her. Love her recipes. I was watching her show the other day and she made these zucchini pancakes and I knew the perfect way to use the fresh zucchini in my fridge. Here is the recipe from the Food Network website...


2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
2 tablespoons grated red onion
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt, and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)

Heat a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil to the pan, and continue to fry the pancakes until all the batter is used. The pancakes can stay warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.


I followed this recipe exactly but I did only have salted butter which made them a little salty for me. I probably will cut out some of the salt next time or use unsalted butter to fry them up in. Also, the oil/butter has to be REALLY hot or you get a greasy blobby mess. YUCK. But when they do turn out well, they are simply scrumptious. Even great warmed up in the toaster the next day. Christian and I both agreed that even though they were yummy, they needed a little something. A dipping sauce or some cheese mixed in the batter would have been a good addition. I whipped up some fry sauce, and that kinda helped, but I will have to think about another alternative sauce before I make these again. Either way this is now my 2nd favorite way to enjoy zucchini.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fried Rice Grandma Lou Style

Although I was never much of a fried rice fan growing up, this recipe has become one of my favorites recently. It is so fast and easy and a great way to take boring rice and make it something delish! I love to serve it with the orange chicken curry, but it would be great with just about anything.

2 eggs slightly beathn
4 Tablespoons oil (divided)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 cups COLD cooked rice
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (or a little more to taste)

Scramble eggs slightly in 1 Tablsp oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat remaining oil and add green onions, mixing a few times. Ad rice and fry a few minutes, mixing well. Add sugar and soy sauce (more soy sauce may be added to taste) Stire well. Then add eggs and break into small pieces while mixing.

serves 4-6


Be sure your rice is REALLY COLD. I make mine (just the boil in the bag kind) in the morning and then leave it in the fridge all day long so it is ready for dinner. You can also do half brown rice and half white rice to make this dish a little healthier. Either way it is a great side dish!

curry in a hurry

So I don't like curry. BUT my mom made this dish for me while I was in CA and I actually really really loved it! It was savory and a little sweet, and the curry was there, but not overwhelming. Seriously so good.

This recipe is from All Recipes, but I altered it a little based on the reviews and my own preferences.

THIS is the link for the original recipe.

And here is how I made it work for me:

1 1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 dash of soy sauce
4 boneless skinless breasts cut into strips or about 8 or so chicken tenders

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.In a sauce pan over meium low heat combine the marmalade, curry powder, soy sauce, salt and water. Mix together. Place chicken pieces in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and pour marmalade mixture over chicken.

3.Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, flipping the chicken over and spooing the sauce over it about half way through the cooking time.

4.Serve sauce hot with the chicken. (which tastes especially good with fried rice)

Friday, April 9, 2010

texas and tex mex (chilaquiles)

So we are now Texans! We are officially all moved into our new home in Allen, TX. It has been a crazy time getting settled since we were visiting family and then just trying to unpack and me getting over my denial about the fact that we are actually living here and not moving back to Virginia.

In celebration of Christian's new job, I grilled up some steaks in my fancy grill pan that i got for Christmas. Yum! If you don't have a grill pan yet, it is a must have. I use mine all the time. It is like your own personal indoor BBQ but way easier to use and way less messy. LOVE it. You can buy them just about anywhere. This probably doesn't even qualify for a recipe since I just used lemon pepper and garlic salt to season them and grilled them up. YUM! I also made "funeral potatoes" which we both love. But everyone seems to have a recipe for those already. SO, I will post about our second real meal that I made in our new home...


This recipe comes from my mom via somewhere or someone else, but since I got it from her she gets the credit. It is SO yummy. In two days Christian and I polished off a full 9x13 pan. (oink oink) This is more of a chilaquile casserole, since traditional chilaquiles are made on a stovetop and have way more fat. But don't worry if you top this healthy version with a little sour cream and cheese like I did it boosts that fat content right back up again!

Chilaquile Casserole

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (I used Monterey Jack because that is what I had)

2 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (11oz) can tomatillos, drained

1 can chopped green chiles

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Cooking Spray

1. Preheat Oven to 375

2. Combine chicken, onions, half the cheese, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place milk and next 3 ingredients (through chiles) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.

3. Heat the corn tortillas according to package directions (I did this in the microwave) pour some of the sauce on the bottom of an 11x7 pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange four tortillas in the bottom of the dish and top with half the chicken mixture. Repeat layers ending with tortillas.

4. Pour remaining tomatillo sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly.


This is worth the extra effort of making your own yummy tomatillo sauce. YUM YUM YUM! Like I said, I used extra cheese and threw some in between the chicken mixture and the tortillas. Also, I baked it a little longer so that the cheese was all bubbly and delish. Serve with salsa or sour cream or guacamole or all three! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

excuses excuses

we traveled to to Texas to find a new home

we came back and we were all sick sick sick.

then we packed, and packed, and packed some more.

now Wegman's cooks most of our meals since my kitchen is in boxes.


i am ready to be settled again. even if it means living in TX.

Friday, February 26, 2010

i love martha

Martha Stewart has an application for the iPhone! Seriously! I used it to make a yummy dinner the other night and just had to share the recipes. They were SO yummy.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Serves 4
1 cup long-grain white rice
Coarse salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove

1.In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.

My main complaint with most cilantro lime recipes is the fact that I have to chop up a ton of cilantro AND that I always end up with big pieces of the stuff and then it reheats all wilted. Blech. Using a blender or food processor eliminates annoying chopping, which is perfect if you are lazy like me. It also really adds a nice fresh flavor to the whole rice dish and allows for a really really great lime and cilantro flavor through the whole dish. Yum. If you are worried about the cilantro or lime being too overwhelming you can just make more rice. I used 1 1/2 cups of rice and it was perfect.

I served it with my favorite black beans which I make almost all the time.

Mandy's Black Beans (which are better than Martha's)

1 tsp Cumin
1 clove minced or crushed garlic
1 Tblsp Olive Oil
1 can Goya Black Beans (drained)
1 packet Sazon Goya Achiote y Culantro seasoning
1/2 can water
salt to taste

In a pan heat the olive oil on low heat. Add the cumin and garlic and stir until fragrant, but DO NOT BURN (I've burned my garlic before, it ain't pretty). So after not burning the garlic and cumin, add the drained black beans and about 1/2 a can of water. Then stir in the packet of seasoning and a little salt. Heat over medium/low heat and let boil for a little bit. Taste, marvel at the wonderfulness of the Sazon Goya, then add enough salt to suit your tastebuds. Serve over rice. Yum.

This has become my comfort food since my mission. White rice and black beans. Happiness. And trust me on the Sazon Goya. It is seriously really really good.

Martha's Lime Marinated Skirt Steak


1/3 cup (about 4 limes) freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions (about 1/3 cup), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Vegetable oil, for grates
Coarse salt and ground black pepper

1.In a resealable plastic bag, combine lime juice, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, and red-pepper flakes. Add steak, and seal bag (place in a dish to catch any leaks); marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, up to 1 hour.
2.Heat grill to high; lightly oil grates. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off (discard marinade); season with salt and black pepper. Place on grill; cover. Cook, turning once, until meat reaches desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly.

This is a yummy marinade and leaves the steak tender and very well seasoned without being overpoweringly lime-y or ginger-y. Just really really good. It did have to cook mine a lot longer, but I used a grill pan and didn't cover it. I imagine you could do this on a george foreman or bbq or whatever you happen to have on hand. I personally am in love with my new grill pan so I used that. It worked great and Christian could have his piece still moo-ing and I could have mine with only a tiny bit of pink. And yes, I am correcting Martha's recipe. I hope she doesn't smite me or hunt me down for this. I love you Martha!

Monday, February 22, 2010

sometimes blonde is better

I came across this great recipe for blondies the other day and I have made it twice this week. Simple, fast, and incredibly yummy. They basically taste like a super delish chocolate chip cookie with a very soft center. Mmmmm.


8 Tblsp (1 stick) of butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup of flour
*extra add ins* (I always use chocolate chips!)

1. butter an 8x8 pan
2. mix melted butter with brown sugar - beat until smooth. beat in egg and then vanilla.
3. add salt, stir in flour. mix in any additions.
4. pour into prepared pan. bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. (err on the side of caution, they taste better a little underdone)

I always use chocolate chips because those are delish...but here are the other suggestions that the recipe listed:

- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped toasted nuts
- 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup mashed bananas
- 1/2 cup of dried fruit

For an even more fattening and yummy with melted chocolate and peanut butter or buttercream frosting.


Make them. I made a pan last night and I am eating the last one now. There is only one left because I hid it from Christian. Shhh....don't tell him.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

pork chops lori

I am not really sure why these are called pork chops lori, but that is what they are. For those of you that have tried pork chops and found them dry or flavorless, just try this recipe and be converted to the joy of pork chops.


4-6 boneless pork chops
1 package pork stuffing mix (prepared according to package instructions)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 "can" milk

Salt and pepper chops and brown in a skillet with a little olive oil. Plave chops in a pyrex baking dish. (if you have a fancy stove top to oven dish then you can just make the whole recipe in one dish) Cover chops with the prepared stuffing. Mix cream of mushroom soup with one soup can of milk. Pour mixture over stuffing and chops.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until chops are cooked through.


These are super moist and incredibly good. You also have stuffing which saves you having to make a side dish. I serve these with applesauce and some kind of veggie (tonight it was my orange glazed carrots). You get stuffing, meat, and a yummy gravy all at the same time. This is our FAVORITE way to eat pork chops, and it makes for great leftovers...except tonight we didn't have any!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

apologies and yummy-ness

Sorry for the lack of recipes, I tore the nail off my right index finger and so I was having a hard time typing. But I have been doing quite a bit of cooking. For my Hubby I made his favorite, Chicken Rolls. I think every Mormon household has their own variation of these little yummys, but this is my personal favorite...

Grandma's Chicken Rolls

1 can (8) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 3 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 Tblsps butter or margarine, softened
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tblsp or a little more chopped green onions
1 Tblsp milk
a few fresh mushrooms thinly chopped
2 cups chicken (cooked, boned and diced) (can works too)

1/4 cup (or a little more) melted butter
Parmesan Cheese

Blend cream cheese, butter and milk until smooth. Add Salt, pepper, onions, and milk. Fold in chicken and sliced mushrooms. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the chicken muxture onto the roll. Fold the ends of the rol around the chicken mixture, pinching to seal (part of stuffing may show). Rolli n melted butter and Parmesan cheese. (To cut down on fat you can just place them on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and brush with butter and sprinkle with the cheese).

Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with gravy made from diluted cream of chicken soup.

These are so delicious. I usually use the big crescent rolls so that I don't have to make a million tiny rolls. I also sometimes play around with the amounts depending on my mood. Last time I used leftover rotisserie chicken and didn't quite have enough, so I added more mushrooms and more cream cheese. It is a flexible recipe. And these make for very yummy leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

comfort food

during this time of insane snow and frigid temperatures the thing i crave most is comfort food. things that are creamy and carb loaded. warm, nourishing, delicious, and most likely not too good for you. (ie the brownies and lemon bars we had last night). however with a few easy substitutions this dish fits my requirements for healthy and comforting.

Amy's Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken

1 8oz package Cream Cheese (softened) (i use lowfat)

1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (i use the healthy request lowfat/lowsodium)

1 coup can of water

1 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

4 or 5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

Mix all the above ingredients except chicken in a crockpot. Add chicken and cover with mixture. Cook on low for approx 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Once chicken is cooked, shred and let simmer on the low setting for a little bit to absorb all the yummy juicy goodness. Serve over rice, noodles, or pasta.


We are big fans of this meal at our house. It is yummy and easy, and it makes a lot of food. We especially love how well it reheats for leftovers the next day. We have had it over egg noodles, rice, and pasta. My personal favorite is over angel hair pasta, but it is a really versatile dish. I personally love it because it tastes super creamy and warms me through and through :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

grandma's cinnamon rolls

we have been snowed in for three days, and it is freezing outside, so i have been baking up a storm here at home. we invited some of our neighborhood pals over for brunch on the second day of the blizzard and i made these tasty treats. this is my grandma's recipe, and eating them reminded me of her. they made even a bleak and snowy morning seem warm and welcoming. hope you enjoy these!


1 package dry, active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water

3-4 eggs (If you are using extra-large eggs only use 3)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups (or more) flour

softened butter

In a large bowl, stir together yeat, 1 T. sugar, and warm water. Allow yeast to get happy and bubble. (i find that talking softly to the yeast and encouraging it along helps greatly...don't ask why, happy yeast means yummy bread)

Add eggs, butter, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and flour. Dough will be soft and sticky. Knead slightly.
(I did this whole thing in my Kitchen Aid and it worked great)

Cover and let rise until double in bulk. (My first batch didn't do a good job rising, but it baked up just fine. Second batch rose like a dream because I left it alone longer and the kitchen was warmer.)

Divide dough in half. Roll our fit half of dough into a large rectangle, spread softened butter (I don't know how much, just soften a whole stick and use what you need to cover liberally) and then sprinkle lots of sugar and cinnamon on top. I don't know how much, just take a spoon and sprinkle sugar over the butter and then get shake happy with the cinnamon. Just don't get too close to the edges. Now roll up the rectangle and slice into one inch pieces. (tip: use a little water to seal the seam and cut with a serrated knife and the seam side down) Place in a well greased pan and let rise again.

Top each roll with a little bit of butter and then bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Frost with powdered sugar glaze immediately upon removing from the oven. Repeat with remaining dough.


1/2 cup of sugar
grated rind of one orange
1/2 cube butter, softened

Mix altogether and spread over dough in place of cinnamon and sugar topping.


2-3 Tablespoons of softened butter
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
add milk to reach desired consistency

Blend together. For these rolls you want more of a runny glaze than a frosting. It just tastes fantastic that way. Trust me.


The dough can be a little different than traditional bread dough, but just keep working with it. Don't add all the flour at once, just add it a little at a time, you may only need 4 cups instead of 4 1/2 and once you add it you can't take it out again.

You can also refrigerate the rolls and just take them out with enough time to get to room temperature and then rise before you bake them. I did this and it made for a very yummy breakfast treat.

I used some of my leftover dough to make traditional dinner rolls. SO good. Just roll them up into little crescents or knots or balls or whatever you want. When you take them out of the oven brush immediately with butter to make them shiny and amazing.

Oh yeah, and a warning, you probably won't be able to stop at just one roll or two rolls. We picked at the pan all day have some friends over when you make these bad boys!

Happy baking!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

modified meatballs

so I made these delish sweet and sour meatballs from My Kitchen Cafe. This was my second attempt making them, so I modified the recipe slightly to fit our tastes. Below is the recipe from her blog. Just so you know, this is one of my FAVORITE cooking blogs. Everything that I have made from her blog has tasted so good. So, go there and make her yummy recipes. Back to the meatballs, these little suckers are amazing. Sweet, tangy, easy, and a definite crowd pleaser. Here is the meatball recipe as it appears on her site for your reference and my ease...

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
adapted from Lion House Recipes

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you don't want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish after baking - big time grody-ness in my book)
3/4 cup quick oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.


1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup (or a little more) barbeque sauce
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. (This dish is not overly abundant on sauce so if you enjoy things a bit saucier, double the sauce ingredients.)

*Freezable Meal: After covering the meatballs with sauce, cover the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and freeze. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake covered without thawing for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more, until meatballs are cooked through.

My big change was the sauce. The original sauce was WAY too sour for me. It tasted too strongly of vinegar and not sweet enough for us. So I changed her original recipe and doubled the sauce except for the apple cider vinegar. The results were so much better. We also had them with egg noodles. We like egg noodles more than white rice with meatballs in this house. I also made the meatballs a little bit smaller so I had enough meat to bake smaller meatballs to freeze for another day. I really like the meatballs. Very very moist and then coated with delish sauce. Mmmm. So glad there are leftovers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

cilantro lime chicken, rice, and black beans

which is in my mind the perfect combo. this is my friend Heather's recipe which she postedon our ward cooking blog. but here it is so you don't have to click and open another window.

1/2-1 whole onion (chopped however you like..extra fine in this house)
2 tsp oil (i use olive)
sautee onions for a few minutes
add 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp tumeric (in spice isle); sautee for a min.

Add 1 cup of rice, sautee for 2 mins.

Add 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-18mins ( i check after 8 mins or so and give a stir or 2)

1 costco sized can of chicken, shred. Add 1 tsp oil, 2 T lemon or lime juice and a handful of cilantro (rough chopped)

Open can of beans, drain and rinse.

Once rice mixture has cooked down add beans, 2 T of lemon or lime juice and handful of cilantro. Cover for 5mins.
Add chicken.

My kids eat it without tortillas but the adults eat this with the uncooked tortillas from Costco. Heat them in a pan with a dash of oil. Dry on papertowels. YUM.


Ok, so we really liked this recipe but the chicken tasted a little too "canned" for me. I think the key to fixing this is to drain and rinse the canned chicken or used cooked shredded chicken. ALSO, next time I will let the chicken marinate in the lime juice/cilantro/olive oil from the very start and let it sit like that hwile i assemble everything else. I also had no tumeric, so I used my "go-to" mexican food seasoning, Sazon Goya with Culantro y Achiote. Yummy.

We ate this on lightly fried corn tortillas, but I reheated it plan with a little dollop of sour cream on top. This is a great busy weeknight meal which makes plenty for leftovers the next day.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

chocolate chip cake

lovely friends had us over for dinner tonight so i didn't have to cook (hip hip hooray!) but I decided to try out my new bundt pan and make a cake...chocolate chip cake to be exact!

1 yellow cake mix
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream (not the lite version)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips together at medium speed for 4 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool ten minutes then remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This cake is amazing. Seriously so good. I got the recipe from my family's cookbook and it originated from a friend of my Aunt Jodi. The original recipe says to use milk chocolate chips, but I loved the semi sweet ones. This cake really is rich enough that you don't need frosting, but I think that is you really wanted to some vanilla glaze would be acceptable. My personal favorite way to enjoy it is warm with ice cream. Yum. I had two pieces tonight and I had to undo the button on my jeans. A true sign of a successful dish.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chick 'N' Chokes

With Christian gone there hasn't been much cooking around these parts, but I did make this yummy casserole for my friend and I since C hates artichokes and I absolutely love them.

2 cans artichoke hearts (unmarinated)
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 2/3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup soft bread, cubed
3 T. butter
olive oil

Cut artichoke hearts into quarters, arrange in buttered casserole dish. Heat a small amount of olive oil with garlic in a saucepan and drizzle over artichokes. Sprinkle chicken over artichokes. Combine mayo, soup, lemon juice, and curry powder. Spread over chicken and artichokes. Sprinkle with cheese. Toss bread cubes in melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

(from the Santa Monica 2nd Ward Cookbook, submitted by Kris Gutierrez)


This casserole was super yummy! Since there were just two of us, I halved the recipe and I was out of cream of chicken soup so I used cream of mushroom. It tasted fabulous. After making this, I think next time I will make a few changes...

For starters I will cut the artichokes up a little smaller and sautee them with the garlic and olive oil. After consulting with my Mom and her notes on the recipe, we figured out that mixing the chicken, artichokes, and soup mixture would probably taste better. I also loved the toasty bread cubes on top, so I will double the amount of bread cubes next time, or maybe used some unseasoned croutons.

All in all this is a really yummy and tasty treat. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


the hubs is on a business trip which means no cooking for me!!! but i thought i would share my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (thanks michelle).

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup butter flavor shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 large package of instant vanilla pudding
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine butter, shortening and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add pudding and remaining dry ingreients, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon full onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Very very yummy. My favorite way to eat chocolate chip cookies is to bake them just enough so that the edges hold up the "warm cookie dough" in the middle and then a big glass of ice cold milk. These cookies don't really brown so just take them out at 10 minutes, unless you are a wierdo and like your cookies well done.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

my favorite sunday dinner

For me Sunday Dinner means one thing...Roast and Mashed Potatoes. We used to call it "Grandma's Special" because it is what she made almost every week my whole life. Now I love making this for my family and friends. Tonight I made my new favorite roast recipe, my mom's yummy potatoes, glazed carrots, and homemade chocolate sauce for our ice cream. Here are the recipes:

Yummy Roast in the Crock Pot

One chuck or rump roast (I usually use about a 2-3lb roast)
1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
2-3 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 can of water

Season roast with salt and pepper and brown in a little olive oil. While the roast is browning combine the soup, the can of water, and the Worcestershire sauce in the crock pot. Place browned roast in crock pot. Sprinkle with the onion soup mix. Cook on low for 8 hours.

I have often substituted one can of cream of celery for one of the cans of mushroom soup. yummy. I also always use the low-fat low-sodium soups. I think the gravy and the roast still tastes just as rich and yummy. I never measure the worst sauce, I just throw a few shakes in there and call it good. And more than once I have cheated and cooked the roast on high for less time. It doesn't taste as good but it will do in a pinch. This makes the most tender and moist roast you have probably ever tasted. Christian told me that he hated pot roast and wouldn't eat it...until I made him this and then he proceeded to eat an entire half of my 2lb roast in one sitting. So, there you have it. You can probably throw in potatoes and carrots if you want to, but I prefer to have mashed potatoes so I never do that. My favorite part of making a roast this way is the fool proof gravy...just strain and serve. Perfect.

Mom's Ultimate Mashed Potatoes

8-10 good size red potatoes
1 package of garlic and herb flavored cheese spread (like
rondelle or boursin)
a few Tablespoons of butter
a few tablespoons of milk
salt and pepper to taste
*optional grated cheddar or other cheese*

Cut up red potatoes and cover with cool water until the water is about one inch over the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are tender and smash easily. Drain. Over very very low heat add a few pats of butter (start with 2 and then you can add more if you need to) and add about 2 tablespoons of milk. Mash with a potato masher or whip using an egg beater. Then add a little more than half of the package of garlic herb cheese spread or more to taste. Mix in well. Sprinkle with about a half cup of grated cheese if you have any. I love adding about a half cup of cheddar or colby jack if I have some on hand. Finally taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve and enjoy!

My Mom makes these a lot and these are my go-to potatoes. I also love PW's potatoes, but they are just so full of fat that I can only make them once or twice a year. I love using red potatoes because you can eat the skins, but this recipe would work well for just about any type of potato. Yukon golds especially, just peel first. I also always use the LIGHT cheese spread and it still tastes very rich and creamy. Tonight I had no extra grated cheese, so I just added some extra cheese spread. Holy Cow. Yum. I think we both ate more than what is considered a normal portion size!

Glazed Carrots
(adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook)

1 bag of baby carrots
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp Butter

Cook carrots in a small amount of water for about 10 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain carrots. Return to warm pot and sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch, mix. Add orange juice and butter. Stir over low heat until the sauce has thickened. Salt to taste.

The TEMC says to add peas, but I hate peas so I omit that step. Blech. But if you love peas, add away. Just a note, be sure to let the sauce thicken up, it really blends well with the carrots. Also, be sure to add some salt at the end or it can taste kinda blah. Usually I dislike cooked carrots, but these were simply delish. We both had seconds.

Finally... what to make when you don't want to bake or dirty too many more dishes...

Easy Chocolate Syrup
(adapted from Taste of Home website)

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 quart vanilla ice cream

In a 1-qt. microwave-safe dish, combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and water until smooth. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the mixture boils, stirring twice. Stir in butter and vanilla until blended. Serve warm over ice cream. Yield: 6 servings.


This is really really good. So plan on maybe 4 servings unless you double the recipe. The original recipe says to add two tsp of butter, but that was not nearly enough. The butter really adds some richness and depth to the sauce. Seriously so so so good. Your lips will thank me, but your hips probably won't.

So, that is what I cooked today. It was really easy, even if there is quite a mess to clean up since I failed miserably at the whole "clean as you cook" thing. I am procrastinating dishes as we speak by writing on this blog! It was so nice after taking care of a screaming and sick baby all day long to enjoy some good old fashioned comfort food. Usually we have friends over for Sunday dinner, but with sick babykins we decided not to today. I am kinda glad, because I can't wait for leftovers tomorrow!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

cooking group

I host cooking group once a month, which means that I need to create impressive dishes to feed my hungry amigas. It is an adventure to think of a new theme and recipes for each month. Tomorrow I am making breakfast foods including this amazing casserole my Mom made for us on Christmas and then again in New Years Day because we liked it so much!

Egg and Sausage Casserole

10 to 12 slices white bread (remove crusts and cube)
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 pound sausage
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk

Place bread cubes in a lighlty sprayed 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Brown sausage, breaking up into small pieces. Drain. Arrange sausage over cheese. Beat eggs with 2 1/4 cups milk and dry mustard; pour over cheese. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, dilute mushroom soup with 1/2 cup milk. Pour over mixture already in pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hour or until set.

(from "The Ivory Family Cookbook")
Ridiculously good and makes for yummy leftovers. It is like a breakfast sandwich in casserole form. Yummyness.

what am i doing

just a way to keep track of the recipes i make and an easy way to share them with friends.

Tonight I cooked easy chicken and rice. It is my go-to meal when I have nothing to eat and no desire to go to the grocery store. Like tonight, there was a freaking ICE STORM. Blech. Definitely not going to catch me outside in that! It didn't help that I hadn't been grocery shopping in a week, Mason was freaking out, and Christian was on his way to a meeting. So this is my easy chicken and rice.

Easy Chicken

2-4 chicken breasts seasoned with seasoning salt (i use Lawry's)
Brown chicken in a little bit of olive oil in a large skillet. (to save on time I split my chicken breasts so they would cook faster). When the chicken is browned on both sides add one can of Cream of Celery soup mixed with 3/4 cup of water. Cover and let the chicken finish cooking and the sauce reduce. Serve over rice.

Tonight I used cream of celery, but it also works with cream of mushroom. I also served it over brown rice (trying to be healthy) and it was really good!