Thursday, December 3, 2015

Delicious Zucchini Brownies

Look at these gooey, chocolate brownies.  They look sinful, don't they?  Guess what?  These have 2 cups of zucchini in them.  That means you're practically eating a vegetable...AND you can't even tell!  Now, I'm not gonna lie.  I 've eaten my share of zucchini cakes and brownies.  While I was eating those cakes and brownies  I knew I was eating zucchini. No one was fooled in those recipes.  They were good, but I could totally tell they were zucchini laden.  Now these, on the other hand, you would never know!  They're packed with moist, super chocolate deliciousness and you can feel good about yourself because you are eating your veggies :)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded/grated zucchini
3-5 TBSP of water (you may not need this depending on how moist your zucchini is)

3 TBSP cocoa
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Mix oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, stir and then fold in zucchini.
Let this batter set 5 minutes to absorb the moisture from the zucchini.  The mixture should be very thick, but not powdery. (The moisture depends on your zucchini.  Some are wetter than others!)   If it is powdery add a TBSP at a time of water until you get a very thick batter.  You do not want it to be thin like regular cake batter, you want it very thick like a cookie dough.  It should give your arm a good workout while stirring (See, you're eating veggies and working out!  You're an official health nut!)
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until it springs back when you touch it.

Whisk butter, cocoa, salt and powdered sugar. Whisk in milk and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth and then spread onto cooled cake.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Italian Steak Sandwiches

The busy time has arrived!  School's started and I'm now switching gears and cooking more quick and easy meals.

Look at how big they've gotten!  Chase is in 3rd, Worm 6th, and Miss Picky Pants is in 8th (Lord help me!).
Between homework, gymnastics, piano, band stuff and who knows what else, I'm already feeling overwhelmed!  This meal's quick, easy and everyone ate it and was happy.  I call that a win!  I love that it calls for deli roast beef and items that are quick to whip together.  I doubled the recipe to ensure my husband had leftovers for his lunch...and we're pigs!  Just saying!  I hope you try it soon!  Enjoy :)

2 TBSP oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 pound sliced deli roast beef
1/2 cup beef broth
2 TBSP red wine or additional beef brother (I used broth)
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
sandwich rolls
provolone cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and pepper flakes.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Add roast beef, broth, wine (or more broth) and seasonings. Heat through.  Place beef on rolls, drizzling with some of the broth from the pan.  Top with cheese. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies- Vegan, Gluten Free & Amazing!!!

OMG!  These are the BEST cookies!  I didn't have eggs and had a serious cookie craving.  Hmmm, vegan is egg free.  I searched Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies on Pinterest and found these amazing cookies.  My husband ate 3 and said they were the best cookie ever. I told him they were healthy because they were Vegan and Gluten Free, so he ate 4 more! The neighborhood kids loved them too! They're chewy, peanut buttery with a hint of oatmeal deliciousness.  Enjoy :)

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup oat flour (I did my own in the food processor)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water

Cream peanut butter and brown sugar for 1 minute (it will be fluffy).  Mix in vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add until well mixed.  Add in water and mix until incorporated.  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Dredge in sugar and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Use a fork to press down (and make cute designs!).  Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes (light golden).  Cool completely and remove from cookie sheet.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

A few weeks ago I scoured the net for an awesome recipe to make for my friend Tasha's birthday.  It needed to be fancy and deliciously because she's cool like that!  After putting up with my crazy ideas for over 30 years, she deserves something super yummy.  Seriously!  After watching way to many episodes of Cupcake Wars I decided to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  I had never eaten it, but it sure sounded fancy!  I must admit, this recipe takes a little time to make.  If I didn't love her so much I may have said heck with it and used the canned stuff, but I hung in there and was very happy with the result!  This buttercream's very rich and creamy and completely delicious. It is much less sweet than a traditional buttercream.  I'm posting the original recipe I found at Gretchen's Bakery, but I halved it with success. Enjoy!!!

Please read directions before starting.  It has many steps and I want yours to turn out as delish as mine did!

6 large egg whites
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup shortening- room temp
2 cups unsalted butter- room temp
1 TBSP vanilla

In a large metal bowl over a double boiler, whisk sugar and egg whites.  Stir constantly until it reaches 115 degrees F and the sugar crystals have dissolved (it will not feel grainy to the touch)

Pour mixture into the metal bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Whip on High until it is thick, glossy and white.  The peaks should be very firm.

While mixture is whipping to stiff peaks, sift powdered sugar.  After it reaches stiff peaks add the sifted powdered sugar all at once with your mixer on the lowest speed (to avoid a mess!).  Once incorporated you can turn the mixer back to med-high speed.

Add your room temperature butter and shortening quickly in 2-3 additions.

Add vanilla.

Stop mixer and take of the whip attachment replacing it with your paddle attachment. (Lick whip attachment!)

Using paddle attachment, mix until smooth.  Then it's done!  You can use it under fondant, you can pipe it on cupcakes, or spread it on a cake.  Be sure to lick to paddle!  YUM!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nutella Treats

Dear Nutella,
think I am in love with you!!!
Heidi :)

If you're a fellow Nutella fan, this is a MUST TRY recipe!  You get a soft ooeey-gooeey krispie treat with a delicious kick of Nutella.  What's not to love!?!  My husband is obsessed with these yummy treats (me too!).   Try it!  You will not be disappointed.  Enjoy :)

1/2 stick butter (4 TBSP)
1 package marshmallows (10 oz)
1/2 cup Nutella
5-6 cups rice krispie cereal

Melt butter in large sauce pan over low heat.  Add in marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella,  then cereal (I didn't stir my Nutella in complete so there are also plain marshmallows peaking through making it look marbled).
Pour into buttered 9x13 baking pan and press down using buttered hands.  Cool and enjoy!!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Grilled London Broil

I LOVE London broil!  It's one of my very favorite pieces of grilled meat.  It has kind of a bad reputation for being tough and dry as an old boot, but with a few tricks it will melt in your mouth.  Promise!  I've made this recipe for years and it has not let me down yet.  First, you must marinade it.  This marinade is from Sara Moulton.  Then, when you grill it, you must make sure to leave it a little pink. BUT the biggest secret to a tender, juicy, delicious London broil is how you slice it.  You must use a very sharp knife and cut it very thinly (super, duper thin!) against the grain.  Now that you know the secrets to making this piece of meat awesome, so you must try it out!  You won't be disappointed.  ENJOY :)

1 London Broil (2- 2 1/2 lb)
4 cloves minced garlic
4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
4 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 1/2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2/3 cup olive oil (canola also works)

Mix marinade ingredients together in a large zip loc bag.  Add the meat.  Seal bag (press out extra air) and set in a shallow dish.  Let set 8 hours or over night.
Remove meat and discard marinade.
Preheat grill and grill meat, turning each side once (9-10 minutes on each side), or until it reaches 125-130 degrees (medium-rare).
Remove from grill and let rest on cutting board 10 minutes.  Slice VERY thin against the grain with a sharp knife.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Overnight Danish

Are you looking for the perfect recipe to impress on Easter morning?  THIS IS IT!!!!  These are absolutely delicious!  They are easy enough I even make them once a month for breakfast at school.  They're always a huge hit.  I've even had students get the recipe from me!  I've used cherry, blueberry and apple pie fillings, but think any flavor would work (I'm thinking peach will be next or even chocolate!).  If you don't think you will have time to make these out in the morning they can be prepared a day in advance, covered with foil and popped in the oven for a few minutes to warm right before you need them.  Frost them and serve.  Enjoy!!!

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm  milk (110° to 115°)
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1-1/2 cups warm half-and-half cream (70° to 80°)  (whole milk can be subbed)
6 egg yolks
1 can (21 ounce) pie filling (or you can make your own)

3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash salt
4 to 5 tablespoons half-and-half cream

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly.
Add yeast mixture, cream and egg yolks; stir until mixture forms a soft dough (dough will be sticky, don't worry that's the way it should be!).
Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four portions. Roll each portion into an large rectangle; cut into 4x1-in. strips. (I use a pizza cutter- it is forgiving so if it's not exactly perfect strips it will work out just fine).
Place two strips side by side; twist together. Shape into a ring and pinch ends together. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining strips. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Using a spoon, make a 1/2-in.-deep indentation in the center of each Danish. Fill each with about 1 tablespoon pie filling. Bake 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
For icing, in a bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and enough cream to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over Danish. Yield: 3 dozen

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chicken Ranch Tacos

Ignore this horrible picture, these Chicken Ranch Tacos were delish!  My family loves ranch and I knew they would enjoy this recipe.  All the kiddies cleaned their plates and it was pretty darn cheap. That makes it a winner!  Lately I've been trying to do food prep on the weekend.  This recipe's so easy to do that with!  I cooked several pounds of chicken I found on sale and cubed it up and placed it in measured out freezer bags.  Now, I have several meals of chicken  cooked and ready to go!  It makes life so much easier after a busy day at work and running children around.  Do you meal prep?   ENJOY :)

3  cups of cooked chicken- cut into bite sized pieces (I used breast)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1/2 cup ranch dressing
Taco shells
Taco fixings (lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, sour cream... whatever you love!)

Warm chicken in skillet and add taco seasoning.  This will look dry, but don't add any water.  Heat about 5 minutes (or until seasoning is stuck to the chicken).  Add ranch dressing and heat through (I added a little more dressing).  That's it!  Put it in your shells with your fixings and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

Here's a delicious no bake cookie just in time for Thanksgiving!  My friend Sherry shared these little goodies at work and they were a big hit. 

1 box 93.4 oz)  instant Pumpkin Spice pudding mix- if you cannot find this you can substitute it with vanilla pudding and 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick oats

Combine milk, both sugars and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add pudding mix and spice.  Add oats and vanilla, stir and then let stand 5 minutes to thicken.  Drop onto wax paper to cool completely (this can take a few hours).  Makes around 36 cookies.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Brownies

Halloween already???  Here's a quick way to snazz-up a boxed brownie to look like you went all out!  I will be posting more Halloween treat ideas this week in the non-sweet variety (for Sophie's class since her not being able to have sugar limits what I can make).  Enjoy!
Brownies made from boxed mix (or homemade if you prefer)
candy coating (any color or flavor you want- I used green)
Melt your candy coating according to package directions.  Dip half of your brownie in coating and place on waxed paper.  While candy coating is still wet, sprinkle with sprinkles.  Let the candy coating harden and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monster Cookies

I always wondered why these cookies were called Monster Cookies... and now I know!  After the first bite, you cannot get enough and you attack them like a monster.  At least that was my reaction!  These cookies are peanut buttery, soft & gooey, hearty and have a little crunch from the M & M candies.  Divine.  Delish.  Yummy.  All gone!  Enjoy :)

2/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
3 eggs- beaten
5 1/2 cups oats
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (or combination of chips of choice)
1 cup M & M candies

Melt butter and pour into a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, stir in both sugars and peanut butter.  Let cool for a few minutes and add in eggs stirring until just blended.  Stir in the baking soda, chocolate chips and M & M candies.  Add oats in one cup at a time until combined.  Let chill for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.  Preheat oven to 350.  Place balls onto a very lightly sprayed baking sheet and flatten slightly.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Do not over bake!  Let cool on sheet 3 minutes before removing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Chicken Breast

Here's a delicious and moist chicken breast recipe everyone in my house enjoyed!  I used regular cheese and bacon for my family, but lightened it up for mine.  Both came out amazing!  This is a great recipe to add to your families rotation.  Enjoy :)

Ingredients per chicken breast
2-4 strips of sweet red or orange pepper
2 pieces of bacon ( I used turkey bacon)
1 slice sharp cheddar (I used 1 TBSP fat free cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350.
Carefully butterfly chicken breast (cut them open evenly with a sharp knife leaving an uncut seam along the edge so it can lay open).
Season inside and out with sea salt and pepper.
Stuff with cheese and pepper strips making sure you lay them completely inside chicken so there is nothing overhanging.
Fold chicken up and wrap in bacon (you can secure with toothpick if necessary).
Bake for 30 minutes or until you get an internal temp. of 165.  Leave in the oven and set to broil and crisp the bacon for 2 minutes.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Treats

I'm always posting tasty treats for us 2 legged creatures, but what about our 4 legged friends?  You know, those adorable, furry critters whose lives revolve around us.  Here's a snack my doggy loves.  Have you ever read the ingredient label on your dogs treats?  Pretty scary!  These are much less frightening.  These ingredients look much like a regular cookie.  In fact, the boy down the road asks for them (don't ask... it's a long story involving my daughter convincing her little friend they were regular cookies as a joke and then he liked them).  Make these for your favorite doggy today and enjoy :)

1 cup flour (whole wheat or all purpose)
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
2 TBSP honey
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet and stir until well combined.  Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Using cookie cutters (or a I just cut into squared with my pizza cutter) cut out shapes and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. If your doggy likes cookie-like treats pull them out of the oven now.  If your doggy likes super crunchy treats then shut the oven off and leave them in for 60 minutes.  Cool and store in an air tight container.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Here's a quick breakfast recipe you can bake on Monday and store in an airtight container for easy breakfasts throughout the week.  My children always want something different.  Today Chase had 2 runny eggs, Makayla had an egg white and biscuit with jelly and Sophie had 2 waffles, 1 piece of peanut butter toast and 1 piece of peanut butter with blueberry preserves.  (Ggggrrrrrr, why can't they just all choose the same thing?)  If I have these muffins made up I can at least count on not cooking for Chase because he LOVES them!  I love making homemade muffins because I know exactly what is in them, whereas a mix has crazy ingredients no one should be eating.  I found this recipe at Little House Living (along with lots of other recipes I want to try soon!).  These are moist, chocolaty and kid approved.  Enjoy :)

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter- slightly softened
1 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together dry ingredients.  Add all remaining ingredients leaving the chocolate chips for last.  Scoop into sprayed or lined muffin tins and bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (or if they are springy to the touch).

These also freeze well!