Monday, December 22, 2014

Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting:

I love ice cream, and I don't think I could really pick a favorite flavor! I just like it all!!!
And mint chocolate chip is definitely no exception! One of my sisters LOVES mint chocolate chip ice cream, so when I ran across this recipe, I knew I had to try it!
It was so easy, and really yummy!! You could ice a whole cake, or do cupcakes like I did. Whatever you do, I'm sure it will be good!!

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 (2 lb.) bag Powder Sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
7 drops green food coloring
1 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped up Hershey candy bars

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and milk. Add extract and food coloring and mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate. Frost cake or cupcakes. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. 

-Just to warn you - this makes a LOT of frosting!!
-This is the chocolate cake recipe that I used - One Bowl Chocolate Cake - super easy and moist.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins:

I love muffins as it is, but when they are super quick and easy muffins? Well, that just makes me love them even more!! From start to finish, these can be done in under 20 minutes! And you'll never guess they don't have flour in them! I was skeptical at first, but wow! They are SO good! They have the texture of any normal muffin, except they are just really moist and absolutely delicious! 

1 medium banana
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (a generous 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup baking cocoa
3 tblsp. honey
1 tblsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt, optional
1/2 cup chocolate chips, regular or mini

Prepare a mini muffin tin with paper baking cups or generously coat with cooking spray; set aside.
Place all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a blender. 
Blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop, fill mini muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips over the tops of the muffins, if desired. Gently press into the batter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.
Cool in muffin pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a clean dish towel or cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or up to 4 months in the freezer.

-I actually prefer NOT to use paper baking cups. They work okay, but these muffins have a tendency to stick to the paper. They come right out of the greased muffin tin, so that's the method I prefer. 

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Easy Tex-Mex Chili:

I really LOVE chili, but the recipe we usually use, just wasn't cutting it for me. I do tend to like things a bit spicy, and the rest of my family tends to dislike spicy things.
In October, I had the opportunity to spend 3 amazing weeks with my brother and his family (including their brand new baby girl!) in New Mexico. I had the best time ever, and I'm still sad that my visit is over. 

Anyway, while I was there, my brother made chili for dinner one night, and it was SO good! I absolutely loved it and have been craving it ever since. However, I knew it would be way to spicy for the rest of my family.
So I stumbled across a Tex-Mex Chili packet. Tex-Mex things are usually a little less spicy than regular Mexican food, so I decided to try it out!
It ended up being so easy and so good! It had a little kick to it, but definitely wasn't really spicy. It ended up being a good win-win situation, because it had the kick I was missing, yet wasn't overly spicy at all, so even some of my family enjoyed it too!!!  
I hope you try it out!!!! 

2 pounds ground beef
4 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15.8 ounce) can great northern beans, drained
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 package McCormick Chili Tex-Mex seasoning mix*
-corn chips
-shredded cheddar cheese
-chopped onions
-sour cream

In a large skillet or saucepan, brown beef until no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, mustard and seasoning mix. Cook and stir over high heat until well combined. Depending on how you want it, add 1-2 tomato sauce cans of water, until you reach the desired consistency.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with toppings of your choice!

-This is perfect to make ahead of time. If it's already warm, put it in the slow-cooker on low until you're read to serve it. If it's cold, put in in the slow-cooker on high until it gets nice and hot, and then reduce heat to low or warm until ready to serve.
-Serve it Cincinnati style instead! Click HERE!
-This is the packet I used. And it's gluten-free!! Unfortunately, the other McCormick Chili seasoning mixes are not. I don't know about other brands, so I if you want it to be gluten-free, please make sure to check all the labels.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Egg Replacer:

When I went to make THIS recipe for bread, I noticed it called for an Egg Replacer. I thought I could just use a real egg instead, but after I did some research, I found that an egg replacer, replaces more than just eggs. So when I found this super easy recipe, that was cheaper than buying a box of egg replacer, I knew it would be perfect! And it is! So fast and easy and works like a charm!
Note: This is not an equivalent to Egg-Beaters or anything like that.

2 & 1/2 cups potato starch
1 & 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2/3 cup baking powder
1/3 cup baking soda

Whisk altogether and store in an airtight container.
Use in my recipe for the Best Gluten-Free Bread!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

BEST gluten-free bread:

I don't know if I have ever been more excited about sharing a recipe! And that says a lot, because I am generally very excited to share most recipes!!!
My mom found a version of this recipe and wanted me to try it. I was a bit hesitant, because it's gluten-free bread and that just doesn't turn out all that great. We had a fairly good bread recipe - granted we never made it because it took all day, tons of ingredients and I mean, it was good, but was it really worth it all?
I read and read and read over the recipe AND the comments before I ever tried it out, and something about it just kind of pulled me in! I think I was just too curious not to try it out! For one reason basically - could a recipe this easy, taste as good as they claim? 

I am here to tell you that it absolutely does!! I have no clue why or how, but I have enough confidence in it to proudly scream "THIS IS THE BEST GLUTEN-FREE BREAD"!!!!!!
Over the past several weeks, me and my other gluten-free eating family members have been enjoying SANDWICHES like PB&J, meat and cheese, tomato, scrambled egg, etc. (with bread that doesn't have to be heated up before you eat it, by the way)!!!!! 
Hot dogs on BREAD!!! 
And just PLAIN!!!!
My brother has been thoroughly enjoying taking a sandwich to work!
I wish I could make a loaf for everyone of you, so you could see how good it really is!
But since I can't, I hope you will just trust me and try it out!



1 & 1/3 cups brown rice flour
1 & 1/3 cups tapioca flour
1 & 1/3 cups cornstarch
1 tblsp. potato starch
1 tbslp. xanthan gum
1 tblsp. Egg Replacer
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1 package (2 & 1/4 tsp.) Active Dry yeast

3 large eggs
¼ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ cup honey
2 cups very warm water (but not too hot)

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients; set aside.
In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix together the eggs, butter, vinegar, honey and water. There may be some small pieces of butter that don't get thoroughly mixed together, but that's fine.
Add half of the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides, and mix on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Mixture should resemble very thick cake batter.

Divide the dough evenly between two, greased, 8-inch loaf pans.

Spread the dough evenly. Dip your fingers in warm water to smooth the top of the loaf.
Cover pans with a clean dish towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours or
until the dough has risen about an inch above the pans.

Once they have finished rising, bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reaches between 200 and 205 degrees.
To test for doneness, remove the bread from the oven. Insert an instant read thermometer from the side to the middle of the loaf, making sure not to touch the bottom of the pan. 
Once done, let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
Gently remove from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Cover with a clean dish towel, and allow to cool completely before cutting.
Store in an airtight container on the counter away from direct heat, such as by the stove or something like that.
It can be refrigerated as well, but doesn't have to be. It will keep on the counter for about 5 days. 
To freeze, wrap individual loaves in plastic wrap and place in a gallon bag.
You can also slice a loaf and freeze individual slices wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Place in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to thaw.

-I have used Active Dry yeast and Rapid Rise yeast, and I think they both work great.
-Here's a recipe for the Egg Replacer!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving:

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: 
be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:1-5

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie:

I really like smoothies, but some of them are SO sweet. 
I was craving a good smoothie the other day, but didn't have some of my normal smoothie staples.
I found this recipe and decided to give it a try!
It was super flavorful and filling, and had just the right amount of sweetness!
I hope you try it out!

1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup plain or strawberry yogurt (greek yogurt or regular)
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup quick oats
1 tblsp. honey
1-3 tablespoons water, if needed

Place all in the NutriBullet or blender and blend until smooth.
Add water until desired consistency is reached.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Caramel Banana Roll:

I love my grandma's Pumpkin Roll recipe!
We had a lot of banana's to use up the other week, and as I was looking down through as many recipes containing bananas as I could, I stumbled across this one. It looked interesting, and I actually I had all the ingredients (especially the bananas), so I gave it a try.
It didn't have a strong banana flavor, but it was really, really good!!! 
The little extra surprise in the filling, gave it just the right touch!!
I hope you give it a try!

3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed banana

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powder sugar
6 tblsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup caramel sauce (just the ice cream topping in the squeeze bottle is fine)

Grease a 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray. Line with wax paper (or parchment paper) and then spray the wax paper with cooking spray.
Stir together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar, with an electric mixer, until thick and smooth. Mix in the vanilla and banana. Add the flour mixture. Mix just until combined; be sure not to over-mix.
Pour into prepared pan and spread out evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown and the top of the cake springs back when touched.
Meanwhile, mix together filling ingredients; set aside. 
Lay out a kitchen towel. Place a piece of wax paper on the towel. Sprinkle wax paper with powder sugar. 

Carefully, flip the cake out onto the wax paper - bottom of the cake up. Slowly, pull the wax paper off the cake. Let stand for about 2 minutes. Roll up the cake, wax paper, and towel together, starting at the short end. Let stand 5 minutes.

Unroll, and spread the filling over the cake to within 1-inch of the edges. Spread carefully, or else you might tear the cake. Roll the cake, starting at the short end, carefully pulling away the wax paper from the cake as you roll. When you reach the end of the cake, leave on the wax paper. Place in a 9x13 baking dish. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until chilled firm. Remove from the wax paper and gently wrap in foil. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Slice in 1/2-inch slices to serve.

-This freezes really, really well and is easier to cut while it's frozen.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Homemade Oreos:

When I first saw these, I thought they would be like any other chocolate sandwich cookie. It seems like everyone tends to call those "homemade oreos" but they are nothing short of an ordinary chocolate sandwich cookie. That doesn't make them Oreo's.
These, however, were definitely the exception.
The cookie part was more dense and maybe even a little drier than normal,
and the biggest surprise, is that the filling tastes just like real Oreo cookie filling! Seriously!
It was pretty incredible! And definitely tasty to someone who hasn't had Oreo's in 10 years or so!
I hope you try them out! 

2 & 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
3 & 1/2 cups powder sugar

In a small bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add sugar and brown sugar, and mix until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid, if the bowl has one. Chill for 30 minutes.

Using a cookie scoop to keep the cookies all the same size, roll dough into balls. Place on greased cookie sheets - 12 cookies to a sheet. With the bottom of a cup or flat spatula, lightly flatten each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. The cookies will look like they aren't totally done, but that's how you want them. Don't over-bake. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the filling: beat together butter, shortening and vanilla until smooth. Add powder sugar, and mix until combined. The filling is very stiff, but that's how it's supposed to be. Using the same size cookie scoop that you used for the dough, place one scoop of filling onto half of the cookies. Lightly spread out the filling, and top with the other half of the cookies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

-The original recipe said that these cookies freeze really well. I didn't have any leftover to try it out, but if anyone else does, please leave a comment and let me know how it turns out!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Haystacks:

If you like the other No-Bake Cookie recipe I have on the blog, then you will probably enjoy these as well!
This was one of my grandma's recipes (she just LOVED sweets!!!).
I hope you enjoy them!

2 cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) Butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 & 1/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashion, it doesn't matter)
1/4 cup flaked coconut, optional

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 & 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted. Add oats and coconut, if desired, and stir until well combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper (I used a cookie scoop for this, to keep them all the same size). Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemade gluten-free Bagels:

Well, this recipe has been a long time coming! I have tried several different bagel recipes, and have had a few requests for a good bagel recipe, and I think I have finally found it!!!!! 
It takes a little while, but it's really easy to make.
I want to expirement farther, and try making blueberry ones, cinnamon-raisin ones, and so on. But I just couldn't wait to share the basic recipe with you, so here it is!
I hope you try it out, and if you try other variations, please let me know!!

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 ground flax seed
1 tblsp. xanthan gum
1 & 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tblsp. rapid rise yeast
2 tblsp. honey
1 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tblsp. canola oil
1 & 1/4 cups warm water

1 tblsp. molasses

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees (or lowest temperature. Mine only goes to 170).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all the dry ingredients until well blended.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients - honey, vinegar, oil and water.
  4. With the mixer slowly running, pour in the wet ingredients. Then, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop even balls of dough onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Take each ball and carefully form into a bagel shape. (You can grease your hands with vegetable shortening or spray your hands with cooking spray, if the dough is too sticky). Place the formed bagels on the cookie sheet. Allow several inches in-between each one, for rising. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Turn off the oven. Place the cookie sheet in the warm oven, and allow bagels to rise for 35-40 minutes, or until they have really puffed up.
  7. While the bagels are rising, fill a large pot 3/4 full with water. Bring to a rolling boil, and add 1 Tbsp of molasses to the water. The molasses will create a nice chewy outside to the bagel.
  8. Once you remove the bagels from the oven and are ready to boil them, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Gently place one bagel at a time in the boiling water. Boil on one side for 30 seconds, flip the bagel, and boil it for another 30 seconds (I like to use a large, slotted spoon for this). Remove bagel from boiling water, and place on a cooling rack that has been placed over a towel. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  10. Place boiled bagels on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
  11. Bake bagels in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before eating. You can eat the bagels warm, or allow them to cool completely before storing in an air-tight bag. To make ‘day old’ bagels taste as good as fresh, simply microwave for approximately 20 seconds. These also freeze VERY well! Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-lock bag. Remove plastic wrap, and microwave for 1 minute to re-heat.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Nutella Rice Crispy Treats:

So I went to make one of my favorite desserts the other day, and then realized I was out of corn syrup. 
Being VERY hungry for the chocolate/peanut butter combo, I started looking for alternatives! I have seen so many different rice crispy treat recipes floating all over pinterest, and this was one of them. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Nutella, but my sister, Kelley, LOVES it, so I decided to give them a try!
They turned out really great and I was super happy with them!
Plus, it's a no-bake recipe, so it's perfect if you don't want to stand in a hot kitchen all day!
Hope you give them a try! 

4 tblsp. butter
1 (10 oz.) package miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tblsp. cocoa powder
6 cups rice crispy cereal

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add marshmallows, Nutella and peanut butter. Cook until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth and creamy, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. 
Place rice crispy cereal in a large bowl. Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal. Stir until well mixed and evenly coated. 
Spread the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish and pat out evenly.
Refrigerate until cool. Cut in half lengthwise and remove from the pan onto a cutting board. Using a large knife or pizza cutter, slice into long strips or squares. Store in an airtight container.

-These do not have to be stored in the refrigerator.
-I've not tried it yet, but the original recipe said to make these with Cocoa Rice Crispies for an extra chocolatey flavor!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Freezing Cookie Dough:

There are few things that are better than a fresh, chocolate chip cookie!!
But sometimes, you just don't have time or energy to mix up a batch, bake them AND clean up the mess!

When we go on vacation, we always cook in our condo, rather than eating out every meal. We generally make cookies to take with us, but after a few days, they just don't taste as good as fresh ones!
I had seen this idea with other cookies before, and running low on time I decided to give it a try. It was so easy to do, and they turned out SO good! We had fresh cookies whenever we wanted, not to mention cookie dough (I think this was the main reason everyone liked the idea!!). 
It's so easy to make a bunch to have in the freezer, and then bake as many was you want, whenever you want!!
I hope you give them a try!!

Prepare your cookie dough according to the directions.
You can use any recipe you want/have or click HERE for my recipe.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until completely frozen. 
Remove from the cookie sheet and place in a gallon, zip-lock bag. 
Return to the freezer until ready to use!

To Bake:
Place desired number of cookies on a cookie sheet(s).
Let them sit at room temperature while your oven pre-heats to 375 degrees.
Bake for 8-12 minutes or until light golden brown.

-Because the cookie dough is frozen, it might take a little longer to bake than usual.
-I use silver, air-bake cookie sheets. I tried them on a darker cookie sheet, and the cookies had a tendency to get really dark on the bottom before they were actually baked. The silver cookie sheets worked fine.
If your cookies are dark on the bottom, either let the cookie dough thaw completely before baking, or lower your baking temperature (between 325 degrees and 350 degrees). It really just depends on your cookie sheets and your oven.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chicken-Bird Salad:

I love this card!
Every time I see it, I just have to laugh!
I couldn't figure out what to name this recipe, until I saw this!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, on a night that we really didn't feel like cooking anything, we had some leftover shredded chicken in the fridge. We mixed together this quick chicken salad and it was SO, SO good! My mom and brother didn't really care for it, because they don't like relish, but me and my sisters LOVED it!!
We had it with plain potato chips, but you could certainly eat on a sandwich or however you like.
I hope you try it out!

{Sorry for the terrible picture! It tasted great, though!}

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (we use miracle whip)
1 tblsp. zucchini relish

Mix altogether and chill until ready to serve!

-You may want more or less mayo, depending on your preference.
-This would be a great use of a rotisserie chicken. I also like to just cook some chicken breasts in a crock-pot on high for a few hours, and then shred it up once it's cooked. You don't need to add any water to the crock pot while the chicken cooks. There's enough juices in the chicken and it makes it taste roasted instead of boiled.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

BBQ Bacon Burger:

I know that grilling seasoning is definitely winding down, but we just recently put a roof over our deck, so we are loving being able to grill during whatever weather!
I love a good cheeseburger, and this was a really nice twist! I'm not a huge bacon lover, but it gave it a really nice flavor and helped to hold everything together.
I hope you try them out!

1 pound ground beef
1 & 1/2 tsp. steak seasoning (or seasoning salt)
1 & 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
3 tblsp. bacon bits
1 tblsp. mayonnaise (we use miracle whip)
1 tblsp. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
Hamburger buns
Toppings of your choice

In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, seasoning, onion, bacon bits, mayo and BBQ sauce.
Measure out 1/3 cup portions, and shape into patties. Grill burgers on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with your favorite toppings!

-You can mix together equal amounts of Mayo and BBQ Sauce for a yummy topping in place of ketchup.

Adapted from: Six Sisters Stuff

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes:

I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good serving of crispy, roasted potatoes. My dad can make the BEST fried potatoes in a skillet, but it's sort of a hit and miss thing with me - I never know if they'll turn out or how long it might take them! I've seen lots of tips on how to make the perfect, crispy, roasted potatoes, and some of them did help, but nothing really worked all that great. 
I stumbled across this recipe and it had a few tips that I had never even heard of, so I decided to give it a try. And I'm pleased to say that it works SO well!!!! They were crispy, yet didn't burn to the pan, and didn't take an hour to make! 
I've made them several times and my whole family loves them! 
I hope you will give them a try!

3 lbs. potatoes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 & 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 tablespoons canola oil 

Garlic Dressing (optional):
1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 - 3 teaspoons minced garlic (depending on how garlic-y you want it)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Place 2 large rimmed baking sheets in the oven. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, wash the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the potatoes on a kitchen towel and pat dry, if they are very wet. Place potatoes in a large bowl that can seal. Add the cornstarch, garlic powder and desired amount of salt and pepper. Seal the bowl tightly with a lid and shake until potatoes are evenly coated. Remove baking sheets from the oven, and carefully divide the oil between the two baking sheets. Tilt the sheets to evenly coat with the oil. Divide the potatoes between the two baking sheets (preferably to a single layer). BE CAREFUL as you pour the potatoes onto the baking sheets, as the oil will be hot by now, and it might splatter a little bit. Bake for 20-25 minutes and then stir the potatoes. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until they are as crispy as you want them. Mix together the dressing ingredients, if desired. Pour over the potatoes and mix until well combined. Serve! 

-My family's new #1 favorite meal is these potatoes in place of the baked potatoes in Taco Baked Potatoes. It tastes SO good!!! We leave out the garlic dressing, though!
-There are a few things here that are super important:
1. Leave your baking sheet in the oven until you are ready to put the potatoes on it! It makes all the difference in the world!
2. The drier your potatoes are, the crispier they will get.
3. The cornstarch is what totally makes it. It absorbs all the moisture that the potatoes release while they are baking.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crock-Pot Apple Pie:

When I started figuring a few things out and actually making some gluten-free dishes that were enjoyable as well as edible, so many people kept telling me that I should make a cookbook.
After a while, I actually did look into it and consider it, but nothing stood out to me. My photos are nowhere near good enough for a cookbook (nor my recipes for that matter), I would have to put out SO much money to even start (they don't grow money trees where I live), and then the book itself would cost a fortune, and I definitely didn't want that!
With the type of person I am, and how you have to cook to be gluten-free, I was always experimenting and changing recipes. To re-publish a cookbook everyone year or so, was going to cost even MORE money!
I really have no clue what gave me the idea to start a blog, and I was pretty nervous about it, because I had NO clue what I was doing!! A year and half, 200+ recipes later - I still don't know what I'm doing, but I'm enjoying it, and I can change the recipe everyday if I want!!!

So I said all that to preface this - I've had this recipe on the blog for a while now, but I have changed it up a little (surprise, surprise!) the last few times I've made it, so I wanted to share with you the "new and improved" version!!
This is such an easy recipe to make, yet we hardly have any leftovers!
I think that's how it usually works - the dishes you slave over for hours, people can take or leave. But if it only takes a few minutes to throw together, everyone loves it!!
I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!

Minister's Delight Recipe

1 box BettyCrocker Gluten-Free White cake mix (or cake mix of your choice)
1 stick (8 tblsp.) butter, melted
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
2 cans of Apple Pie filling

Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add the pie filling and spread it out so it's even across the bottom of the slow-cooker. In a medium size bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter, brown sugar and nuts. Mix until well combined (this should be moist, but very crumbly). Sprinkle over the top of the pie filling. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours (longer is always better). Serve as is or with a dollop of whipped topping or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

-You can use any brand of cake mix you like. I've not found a better tasting "gluten-free" mix than the BettyCrocker, but if you have one you like, you can definitely use that instead!
-You can change up the kind of cake mix and pie filling. I have seen cherry pie filling with a chocolate cake mix. Get creative!!
-Although Apple is by far my favorite, I've also used Blueberry pie filling, and it was very good!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Baked Chicken & Rice:

I'm typically one for the type of food that is just bursting with all kinds of flavor, a little spicy maybe, unique and different and just anything that is really good!! I just love food, I guess you could say (yes, I do have to exercise)!!!!
But every now and then, I just want something simple, kind of light in the flavor bursting department, but still yummy! 
Enter Chicken & Rice! 
I'm not normally fond of most chicken and rice dishes, but I found this one in my mom's recipe box and decided to give it a try! She said she used to make it all the time, for some reason, I can't remember.
However, I don't know why I can't remember it, because it turned out fantastic when I made it for dinner the other night and I think everyone really enjoyed it! 
I know this, because, for the first time in a long time, there was only a teeny, tiny bit leftover!
I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did!

1 cup long-grain rice (not the minute rice)
2 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
2 batches of cream of chicken soup (see note)
1 & 1/2 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste
5-6 chicken breasts, cut into strips (see note)

Pour rice into a 9x13-inch baking dish that has been generously coated in cooking spray.
Place celery and onion in a food processor or chopper and pulse until chopped very fine; 
sprinkle over the rice. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup and the water.
Cut chicken into 1 & 1/2 inch strips. Lay flat on top of the rice. 
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. 
Pour chicken soup mixture over all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice and the chicken is no longer pink in the center. 

-If you are not making this gluten-free, then you can just use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. If you are making this gluten-free, then click HERE for a fast and easy homemade "can of cream of chicken soup." You will need to make the equivalent of 2 cans for this recipe.
-It may take more or less chicken, depending on the size of the chicken breasts you use. Mine were very small, and 5 was enough. I just laid them across the bottom of my pan, to see how much I would need.
-I've not had this problem, but in the original recipe, there was a note that said if the rice is drying out before you chicken is done, just add small amounts of water every so often until the chicken is done. Make sure all the water is absorbed before you serve it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Easy Twice Baked Potatoes:

This isn't the best picture AT ALL, but just let me tell you that these potatoes were SO, SO good and VERY easy! I had never made twice baked potatoes before, so I was actually a little nervous! But oh my, they were so easy! My whole family just loved them! I thought I made WAY too many for us, but we only had like 3 halves leftover, so I guess that was pretty good!! I made them a few hours before I needed them, and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to bake them! That made clean up a lot easier!
I hope you give them a try!

7-8 medium potatoes
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared ranch dressing
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus more for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash dry potatoes. Rub each potato lightly with canola oil and prick several times with a fork.
Place potatoes directly on the top rack of the oven. Bake for 40-60 minutes (it depends on the size of your potato) or until you can easy poke the potato with a fork. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, milk, ranch dressing and ranch dressing mix with a hand mixer, until well combined. 
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop out the potato with a spoon (leave a small amount in the skins, so that they hold their shape). Add the potato filling to the cheese mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese. Scoop filling into the potato shells. Sprinkle with additional cheddar cheese.
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chicken Zucchini Boats:

Our garden did not do well this year for some reason, so we're kind of missing our usual over-abundance of zucchini! However, someone very generously shared some of their over-abundance with us, so now we're making all things zucchini!
I was rather skeptical of this recipe when I first saw it. It was just pretty unusual, and I wasn't really sure. But I went ahead and gave it a shot, and I'm SO glad I did!!
All the flavors blended together really well, and it turned out to be a rather simple, yummy dish!!
I hope you try it out!

2 large zucchini 
4 medium chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch bites
salt and pepper
1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
2 cups corn (fresh or frozen, but not canned)
1 tblsp. minced garlic
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Place chicken pieces in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute over high heat, until chicken is done and liquid is mostly evaporated. Add onion; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add corn and garlic. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Dice the scooped out zucchini and add to the chicken mixture, if desired. Place zucchini shells on a cookie sheet. Fill with chicken mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.
Slice and serve!

-You can add in the extra, chopped zucchini or you don't have to. I think it was very good added it, but it's completely up to you.
-I think this would be great with any kind of leftover, cooked chicken you might have - marinated, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, etc.
-As you can see from the picture, the zucchini I used were very large! I'm talking over a foot long, bigger around than a softball. If you are using smaller zucchini, you will want to adjust the recipe, and also the cooking time. You want a fork to be able to just barely poke down through the flesh of the zucchini.
-This is not a dish that would work well to prepare ahead of time. Zucchini has a very high water content, so once cut, the longer it sits, it will produce more and more liquid.
-Click HERE to view MyRecipe Magic, where you can find the nutritional info for this recipe.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Italian Veggie Dip:

I love sweet snacks and a good dessert, but I also LOVE fresh veggies and dip!!!!! Especially a homemade dip. We had a bunch of fresh veggies recently, and my sister and I were so excited to make a big batch of homemade ranch dip to go with all the veggies we were planning on devouring! Unfortunately, we found out we were out of Ranch Dressing Mix. We grabbed the next best thing, and just hoped it would work!
And it did! Really well, actually! The Italian Seasoning was not overpower at all, but went so well with the vegetables! Just talking about it, makes me want a big bowl of veggies and dip right now!!
This is also perfect if you have lots of produce coming from your garden!
I hope you'll try it out!

1 (16 oz.) container Sour Cream
2 packets Zesty Italian dressing mix
Raw vegetables of your choice

Place sour cream in medium size bowl. Add dressing mix and mix until thoroughly combined.
Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve!

-This was also very good as a chip dip!
-Click HERE to view on MyRecipe Magic, where you can find the nutritional information for this recipe!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Slow-Cooker Philly Cheese-steak Sandwich:

We tried out these sandwiches for the 4th of July this year. We had never made anything like it before, so I was a tad nervous about how they might turn out! But it worked great and everybody loved it!
You can customize it to your taste by choosing whatever toppings you like!
I hope you give them a try!
(please don't mind the really tasted good!)

1 & 1/2  - 2 pounds beef round steak (see note)
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups beef broth
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
Hoagie or Sandwich buns
-Onion slices
-Provolone cheese slices
-Swiss cheese slices
-Steak Sauce

Slice meat into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place in meat, peppers and onions in a crock-pot. Pour beef broth over all, and sprinkle with dressing mix. Cover and cook on Low for 5-6 hours or High for 2-3 hours.
Serve on toasted buns with desired toppings!

-When we made this, we used "Hoagie Meat" from our butcher. It was sliced just right for this dish.
-I don't really care for peppers that have been cooked to death, so I didn't put any in the crock-pot. I just sauteed the slices in butter, and then put them on my sandwich.
-The above picture is not the best picture ever, but it was the only one I got! It was my dad's sandwich, so that is not a gluten-free bun, but click HERE to find the awesome, gluten-free buns that we used!
-Click HERE to view on MyRecipe Magic, where you can find the nutritional information for this recipe!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Calico Beans:

I wouldn't really consider our family big "tradition" people when it comes to holidays, special occasions, etc.
I guess because we don't have any "big" traditions. They are mostly just small, seemingly insignificant things, but somehow they make a difference to us!
This recipe is like that. When they were living, I always lived very close to both sets of my grandparents, so we were always at one of the grandparent's houses for any given holiday.
We usually went to my dad's parents for the 4th of July.
My grandma always made BBQ, grilled chicken legs, and Calico beans (to name only a few things!).
I don't know how on earth they got the name and they definitely aren't much to look at, but they're really good and they will forever scream "4th of July food" to me!!!
If you like ordinary baked beans at all, you will love these!
I hope you give them a try!!

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tblsp. mustard
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 (28 oz.) can Baked Beans
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen baby Lima beans

In a large skillet, brown beef and bacon until meat is no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and vinegar; mix well. Add meat and beans. Stir until well combined. Pour into a greased casserole dish.
Oven Method:
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until hot, bubbly and lightly browned.
Slow-Cooker Method:
Pour into your crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours.

-I often mix this up the day before I need it and I keep it in the fridge until I'm ready to bake it.
-Stay tuned for the "Philly Cheese-steaks" sandwich recipe (also pictured above) coming next week!