Monday, August 31, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie:

Just the word itself sounds tasty and refreshing to me!
I have always been crazy about anything Lemon.
Sweet or Savory, it doesn't matter.
However, by far, my very favorite Lemon dish of all time, would have to be
Lemon Meringue Pie.
My brother, Kaleb, is just about the same way, and he asked for it for his birthday this year.
It doesn't look amazing, but it tasted SO good!!
I hope you try it out!!

1 (9-inch) deep-dish Pie Crust (click HERE for my recipe)

Bake pie crust at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until light golden brown.
Set aside to cool.

6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
12 tblsp. sugar

Separate egg whites and place them in a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Add cream of tartar and vanilla to the egg whites. Begin beating on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
Turn the mixer on high speed. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
Continue beating until sugar is dissolved and peaks are stiff and glossy.
Tip: you can tell when the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a small amount of the meringue between your fingers. The less "grainy" feel, the better chances of the meringue not weeping later on.

1 (2.9 oz) box Cook&Serve Lemon Pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 & 1/4 cups water, divided

Whisk together pudding mix, sugar, egg yolks, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan; mix until well combined. Add remaining 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Pour into pre-baked pie shell. Top immediately with meringue, and spread to edge of crust to seal.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Cool completely before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Copycat Chick-fil-A Honey Mustard Sauce:

Chick-fil-A is BY FAR my favorite fast-food restaurant. 
Fortunately, for my health, the nearest one is about 30 minutes away, so I don't get to eat there very often.
I was recently able to go out to New Mexico to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and they introduced me to Chick-fil-A's Honey Mustard Sauce.
I had never even heard of it before, which was strange, seeing how much I love that place!
And it only moved higher up on my list, after having that sauce!
I ate it with the grilled chicken nuggets, and the waffle fries - both were AMAZING, and I was officially addicted!
I didn't think the employees would look too kindly on my request for 100 packages of their sauce, so I decided to take matters in to my own hands.
After a little bit of searching and tweaking, I think I may have actually hit the jack pot!
It is not the actual sauce, but it tastes REALLY close.
Don't let the coloring in the picture fool you - for some reason the flash on my camera made it look darker than it actually was.
I was pretty surprised with the ingredient list, to be honest, but trust me, it all works!
I hope you give it a try!! 

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used miracle whip)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Step-up your boxed cake mix:

I'm not a huge cake eater, but every now and then, a nice, moist slice of cake just sounds good.
There are several gluten-free boxed cake mixes out now, and some of them are good, but others are not so fantastic! 
However, I have learned a few tricks that can kick a boxed cake mix, up to a whole new level!
The Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mixes are definitely my favorite, but these tips can be used with absolutely any brand and size, as well as for a regular non-gluten-free cake mix.
I hope you try it out!

1. When the box says to add water to your cake mix, use milk instead.
2. Always add one extra egg. So, if the box calls for 3 eggs, use 4.
3. If the box calls for oil, use melted butter instead.
4. Adding 1 cup of sour cream, or 1 package of instant pudding mix, is very optional, but will help if you want a pretty rich cake.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Slow Cooker Baby Carrots:

This is such a great recipe!
We are all about the crock-pots in this house, and it doesn't get much easier than this!
I love steamed carrots, but cooked carrots are entirely different. They tend to be so mushy and totally lost when it comes to flavor. But for some reason, the carrots in this recipe stay pretty crisp and the flavor is outstanding!
I hope you give it a try!

1 (16 oz.) bag baby carrots
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tblsp. butter
1/2 tblsp. parsley

Place all ingredients in a 1 - 2 quart crock-pot. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until tender.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Super Sticky Baked BBQ Chicken:

We love grilled chicken legs in my house! Especially when they've been grilled with BBQ sauce and are nice and sticky! So yummy!
However, we have trouble getting them cooked all the way through, without burning them on the outside.
I was majorly craving some good BBQ, chicken legs, so when I came across this recipe, I decided to give it a try. I was not prepared for how fast, how easy, and how delicious the recipe would be!!
I made them for the 4th of July, and everyone loved them! They actually tasted SO much like grilled chicken legs!
I couldn't get a picture that truly showed how thick and sticky the BBQ sauce was, or how moist and tender and perfectly cooked the chicken was! But trust me, it was good!!!
I hope you try them out!!

8-10 chicken legs or thighs (with the bone-in and skin on)
2 cups BBQ sauce
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray.
Rub each piece of chicken with olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; flip chicken and repeat with salt and pepper on the other side. Place chicken skin side down.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from the oven, and raise the temperature to 450 degrees.
Meanwhile, if there are a lot of juices in the pan, drain off, blot off with paper towels, or use a basting bulb to suction out. Pour BBQ sauce in a bowl, and using a pastry brush, coat each piece of chicken (on both sides) with the sauce. Return to the oven for 7 minutes.
Baste the top of the chicken with more sauce; bake for 7 more minutes.
Again, baste with the remaining BBQ sauce, and bake for 7 more minutes.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving!!

-Sweet Baby Ray's is our favorite BBQ sauce, but you can use any kind you want.
-I also like to make this a "Make-Ahead" dish, by letting it cool completely after baking, and place it all in a crock-pot lined with a slow-cooker bag. The next day, I just pull it out of the fridge, and put it in the crock-pot base on LOW for about 3-4 hours to heat all the way through!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

4th of July Layered Jello Salad:

Someday, I will be ahead of the game, and post a holiday recipe BEFORE the holiday is over.
In the meantime, though, here's a great recipe to add to your collection for next year!!
I love Jello salads, as I've stated many times before, and I also LOVE the 4th of July!!
So when I see a red, white and blue jello recipe, I'm all over it!!
This was super simply to make, and really yummy!
The yogurt in the middle layer may seem strange, but you can't really taste it. It just helps to make a really nice, creamy layer, which compliments the jello layers perfectly!
I hope you try it out!!

(Sorry, not the best picture, but the bowl was cold, so it just kept fogging!)

1 (3 oz.) pkg. blue Jello
1 (3 oz.) pkg. red Jello
1 envelope Knox gelatin
1 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt

Important Notes:
-Make sure to allow the white layer, and red layer to come to room temperature before adding them to the other layers. Otherwise they could melt through the previous layer, which is not beautiful!
-When pouring the white layer onto the blue layer, or the red layer onto the white layer, be careful to pour slowly, so that you don't make a whole into the next layer. Again, not pretty!

In a medium bowl, mix blue jello with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup ice and stir until melted. Pour into serving dish. Chill until completely set.
Place Knox gelatin in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water, and stir lightly; set aside.
Place yogurt in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and mix with a hand mixer until well combined. Add Know gelatin mixture and mix well. Let stand until mixture reaches room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour slowly and gently over blue layer in serving bowl. Chill until completely set.
In a medium bowl, mix red jello with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup ice and stir until melted. Let stand until mixture reaches room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour slowly and gently over white layer in serving bowl. Chill until completely set, preferably over night.

-You could definitely use other colors of jello and make it for different holidays and occasions, as well.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Muffins:

We have had so much rain where I live lately! I'm normally all about the rainy days, but even I'm starting to wish for a little sun now and then! Last month, we only had 6 days without rain. So far, this month, it's rained every single day!
But I'm thankful for the rain, and I know other places would love to have it, so I'm not complaining!
One thing about rainy days, though, is it just makes me want to bake!
I was craving muffins one morning, and decided to give these a try. I'm not normally crazy about raspberries (I don't like the fuzzy feeling on the roof of my mouth!), but I loved them in these muffins!
They were light and fluffy, yet yummy!
And they tasted so perfect on this dreary, rainy day!
But, rain or shine, and with or without the glaze, I hope you'll give these a try!!

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 & 3/4 cup Flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
1 tblsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1/3 cup powder sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk and eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Slowly pour dry mixture into milk mixture, stirring with a spatula as you pour. Mix just until combined.
Add berries, and stir very gently to incorporate.
Using an ice cream scoop, pour into paper-lined muffin cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and muffins are very light golden brown.
Let cool in pans for 10 minute.
Place a cooling rack over a piece of wax paper, and transfer the muffins from the pans to the cooling wrack. Let stand 10 more minutes.
Mix up glaze by adding milk to the powder sugar, one teaspoon at a time, until mixture reaches a thick, yet pour-able consistency.
Drizzle over muffins and let stand for about 5 minutes until glaze is set.
Serve or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

-If you do not want these to be gluten-free, just use regular flour, and omit the xanthan gum.
-I love my muffins to have a slightly crunchy top, so after these were done baking, I actually put them under the broiler for just a minute, to give them a darker brown color and to make the tops just a tad crispy. 

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Dirt Dessert:

My Grandma used to make this recipe all the time. I remember her bringing it to a lot of church events. She generally would layer it in a brand-new flower pot, and put fake flowers in the top to give it the full "dirt" affect!
It had been so long since I had eaten any, and I had never actually made it.
Someone requested it for the 4th of July, so I thought why not!!
I was really happy with how fast and easy it was to make! I always thought it was one of those things that took a while to put together, but I was so wrong!
As you can tell from the picture below, we got our gluten-free sandwich cookies at Walmart. We have also tried the "Glutino" brand, and they are good as well!

With all the picnics, family reunions and get-together's that happen around this time of year, this is an excellent dessert that can be made way ahead AND feeds a crowd!
I hope you give this recipe a try this summer! I don't think you'll be disappointed!

2 ( 10.6 oz.) pkg. Gluten-Free chocolate sandwich cookies
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup powder sugar
3 & 1/2 cups milk
2 ( 3.4 oz.) boxes vanilla pudding mix
12 oz. container Whipped topping

Place cookies in a food processor, and pulse into crumbs; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and powder sugar; set aside.
In another bowl, mix together milk and pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping.
Add cream cheese mixture to pudding mixture, and stir until well combined (I actually used a hand mixer for this).
Layer 1/3 of the cookie crumbs in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Press out evenly.
Pour half of the cream mixture over the cookies and gently spread out evenly.
Repeat, ending with cookies.
Allow to chill overnight before serving. 

-If you do not want this dish to be gluten-free, simply substitute a family-size package of regular Oreo's for the gluten-free cookies.
-This can also be frozen. Just allow to thaw for an hour or so before serving.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Baked Spaghetti:

I am generally a pretty big fan of spaghetti as it is, but I really love this.
Just a simple twist on spaghetti, yet adding cheese always makes everything even better!
Easy to half, double and/or make-ahead, I hope you give it a try!!

1 package Spaghetti Pasta
1 & 1/2 cups of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
1 & 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped

The pasta I like to use, cooks for 7 minutes. For this dish, I cook it for 4 minutes, so that is doesn't turn too mushy when I bake it.
So cook your pasta according to the package directions, just until it starts to bend and curl, but not cooked completely; drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
In a skillet, brown beef and onion until beef is no longer pink; drain.
In a large bowl, combine meat, onions, sauce and cheese. Mix well. Add pasta and toss to combine. Place in a greased, 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

-This could easily be made a meatless dish, by simply leaving out the ground beef, if you wanted.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Homemade Crunch Candy Bar:

I was recently asked what my favorite candy bar is, and I honestly had no clue! I had really never thought about it before! I tend to like a wide variety of things, including candy bars!
As I was thinking about it, I realized that it would probably be next to impossible to actually pick a favorite, but there are a few that I really, really like.
Crunch Bars would definitely be one of them! I love the simple factor of them...just creamy chocolate and crunchy rice crispy's.
So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try! The fact that the ingredient list was 2 ingredients long, made me both excited and nervous!
However, they turned out SO good!!
Extremely easy to make, and so delicious!!

But I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I have a cooking dilema. I can't melt chocolate in the microwave. I burn it every.single.time no matter what I do.
However, I seem to have success whenever I melt it over the stove.
So I have included both microwave AND stove-top instructions, just in case, by some chance, there is someone else out there who struggles with melting chocolate as well!!
Either way, though, I hope you give this recipe a try!

2 (12 oz) packages chocolate chips
1 & 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.

Microwave directions:
Place chocolate in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 1 minute; stir.
Continue cooking and stirring in 30 second intervals, until chocolate is melted.
Add cereal and stir until well combined.

Stove-top directions:
Place chocolate in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat (I set my stove on 3) until chocolate is almost melted.
When there are still some small chunks of chocolate left, remove from the heat, and continue to stir until completely melted.
Add cereal and stir until well combined.

Pour into a prepared pan and spread out evenly. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until set. Remove from the pan and take off the foil. Cut or brake in pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

-You can use milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate...whatever you like!

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