Rocky Road Fudge Bars Recipe

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the mood for something sinfully delicious? This recipe from my friend Karen is just what you need! These gooey treats are not only impressive in their rich rocky road sweetness, but they're also an impressive sight to behold with all of the different layers, which makes them the perfect treat for bringing to potlucks and parties.

The ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate cut up (I use 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs


1/4 cup butter, softened
1- 8 oz. cream cheese softened (divided)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, cut-up ( use 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
Reserved cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 9x13 pan. Melt 1/2 cup butter and 1 oz. chocolate over low heat in microwave,

stirring until smooth.

Stir in remaining base ingredients and spread in pan.
In small bowl combine 6 oz. cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and egg. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Stir in nuts.
Spread over chocolate mixture
and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven and bake an additional 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup butter, milk, chocolate and 2 oz. cream cheese and microwave on low heat, stirring until well blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; mix until smooth,

immediately pour frosting over marshmallows. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
Cut into 48 bars. Store in refrigerator. (They're not as messy as you might expect seeing as they contain a layer of melted marshmallows. In fact I'd say they're no messier than any other frosted brownie...and they're tasty enough it would be worth the sticky fingers anyway!)



Chicken Crescents

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I made these yesterday, but I did not have any chicken, so I decided to substitute the chicken for hamburger. That may sound funny, but I think that they turned out well still! I shared with my roommates and they liked them too (and they would tell me if they didn't like them:) I will definitely make them again. They are not only good, but easy to make too:)

Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cans Pillsbury Crescents
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese
1-2 cups cubed, cooked chicken (or 1/2 lb- 1 lb of hamburger). I forgot to measure exactly how much I put in. I just put the hamburger in until it looked like enough. Also I put taco seasoning in the hamburger when I cooked it, but I think it would still taste good without it.

Melt butter and cream cheese together. Add cooked chicken or hamburger. Place spoonful of cream cheese/ chicken (or hamburger) mixture at wide end of the crescent and roll it up. Place all crescents on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Serve warm with hot cream of chicken soup poured over like gravy.
I also put crushed pineapple on top of the cream of chicken and it was so good too! It sounds weird, but it's yummy!

You can be creative with this recipe. I know my sister makes hers completely different from this recipe, but still uses the basic ingredients. Some time I want to try putting mashed potatoes and onions and cheese in the middle and see if it turns out.



Quick and Easy Breadsticks Recipe

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade breadsticks sounds like it would be something tricky to make and too time consuming to pull together for a week-night meal, but I'm hear to tell you that these breadsticks can be made start to finish in under 30 minutes! They're just my style...easy, quick, and delicious!

The ingredients: 1-1/2 cups hot water
2 Tbs. yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. oil
3 cups flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
Parmesan cheese (not pictured)

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix yeast with hot water. Then add sugar, oil, salt, and flour. Mix well for ~8 minutes in mixer. If you don't happen to have a Kitchen-Aid or Bosch then I extend my condolences to you and hope you have strong hands for kneading the bread dough.

No need to let it rise. Just shape into breadstick shape and dip into the melted butter.

Place on greased cookie sheet.
Sprinkle liberally with dried Italian dressing mix and Parmesan cheese.
Put it straight into the oven [no raising] and bake for around 10 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. You'll want them just barely starting to brown.
Serve hot with your favorite Italian meal and wait for the compliments. Shhh...and don't tell anyone how easy they were. Makes about 15 breadsticks.



Zuppa Toscana Recipe

I've actually never had Olive Garden's version of this soup, so I don't know how it compares...all I know is that this is flavorful and hearty and my family LOVES it! It's a regular part of our winter menu!

The ingredients:

1 lb. italian sausage (mild or spicy according to your preference[we like spicy])
3/4 cup onion, diced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-1/4 tsp. garlic, pressed (I usually just use 3-4 cloves rather than measuring it)
1/3 cup chopped bacon (I use the good bacon bits)
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup kale or spinach leaves, chopped (I use spinach)
1/3 cup cream
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional)

Remove the casings from the sausage and cook sausage with chopped onion in frying pan, like you would for ground beef. Set aside.

In a saucepan add chopped potatoes, diced onions, and bouillon to the water. Boil just until potatoes are tender, then add garlic, sausage, and bacon bits. Simmer for a few minutes then add chopped spinach and cream and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot with breadsticks and a salad. Serves 4-6.



No-Bake Cookies Recipe (aka Mud Pies)

This is one of those treats that brings back so many memories from my childhood and now my own children love to make them. They're super easy to make and perfect for any late night chocolate hankerings that may come your way! : )
Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/2 cups rolled oats

Directions:  Melt butter in pan. Add milk, sugar, and cocoa to melted butter. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and immediately add peanut butter and salt. Stir to blend. Add oatmeal and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Makes 4 dozen.

Or you can do it the Crain way and just dump it into a pile on a plate and let everyone dig in with spoons. Of course Glen does not approve of this method, so we usually do it the boring way!

No matter how you serve them, they're pretty darn tasty!

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Jewish Apple Cake recipe

Friday, November 21, 2008

You don't have to be Jewish to appreciate this impressive, delicious cake. I especially like this cake because you can mess up taking it out of the pan [a frequent occurrence for me] and you can cover up any imperfections with the glaze. : )
3 cups flour (I use part whole-wheat)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup oil [I've tried 1/2 apple sauce, 1/2 oil--it's not quite as moist, but it's not bad]
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
4 apples, peeled and chopped ( I like Granny Smith)

Cinnamon mixture:
2 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbs. sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Then blend in oil and eggs until smooth. Pour half of the mixture into a greased bundt pan. Layer apples pushing them slightly into the batter. Then sprinkle half of the cinnamon mixture over the apples. Add the rest of the batter and top with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Invert on to platter while warm. Drizzle with Orange Butter Glaze [click for recipe]. Serve warm with cool whip or ice cream or cooled by itself.



Orange Butter Glaze

We got this recipe from the Lion House cookbook and love it drizzled over the top of Jewish Apple Cake [click for recipe].

1-1/2 Tbs. milk
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. orange juice

Heat milk and butter together. Stir in sugar and mix until smooth. Add orange juice and rind. Beat until shiny. Add a drop or two more liquid if need to make desired spreading (or drizzling) consistency. Makes about 1/2 cup, or enough to glaze top of 10 inch tube cake, or 8-9-inch square cake, or a loaf pan.

Lemon Butter Glaze: Prepare as for Orange Butter Glaze, substituting lemon juice and rind for the orange juice and rind.



"Blitz" Bread

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I got this recipe (and the pictures) from a friend's blog and decided to try it today. It was soooo easy and turned out so yummy! This is sure to become a favorite around our house. Matt will be lucky if there's any left when he gets home!

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil (plus additional for drizzling and dipping)
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp instant yeast
3 tsp herb medley (plus additional for sprinkling on top) I used 2 tsp. basil and 1 tsp. thyme
coarse salt for sprinkling on top
optional: 1 cup feta cheese

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan and drizzle 1-2 TB olive oil in the bottom. Combine all of the ingredients except for the sprinkling of herbs, coarse salt and feta. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds. Optional- to make cheese stuffed bread: Add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese and just blend into the dough until it is mixed in. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, until it is puffy. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375. After the dough has risen, gently poke the dough all over with your index finger. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with the dried herbs and course salt.(I forgot to sprinkle, but it still turned out delicious) Bake the bread until it's golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Excellent dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


Something to be Thankful For

Monday, November 17, 2008

Since Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away, I thought I would go ahead and post a link to a DELICIOUS sweet potato recipe I discovered last year. If I couldn't count on having these sweet potatoes at least once a year, I don't think my life would be complete. They are just that good! Now, run, don't walk over to Serious Eats for Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes. You can thank me later.


Lemon Soaked Poundcake

I tried this over the weekend and it was super yummy! I got the recipe from a blog called Simple, but Delicious, and that's just what this was. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Soaked Poundcake

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
rind of one lemon, grated
lemon extract to taste, optional

Lemon Glaze-
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.

2. Beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric hand-held mixer; gradually add oil, beating until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon rind and/or extract.

3. Pour batter into a prepared pan. Bake at 300F for 1 hour and 30 minutes, rotating midway through, or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. (If you don't have a toothpick, don't use a fork. It will leave a giant hole in the middle of your otherwise beautiful cake!) Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

4. Lemon Glaze: Combine glaze ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Spoon glaze over top, a little at a time. Let lemon pound cake cool completely.

In my experience, this recipe was almost too big for a 9x13. Two 9x9's might work better, but you'd probably have to adjust the cooking time, and I don't have the brain power to figure that one out right now :)



Easiest Pumpkin Cookies Ever

Want a quick and easy autumn treat? It doesn't get any easier than this!

All you need is THREE ingredients:
1 spice cake mix
1 bag chocolate chips (we prefer semi-sweet)
1 can (15-1/2 oz) plain pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 375°. Mix the ingredients together until combined.

Place on cookie sheet in rounded tablespoonfuls and bake at 375° for 6-7 minutes.

Makes 2-3 dozen moist, flavorful cookies!



Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This recipe has been moved to here...


Yogurt Parmesan Baked Chicken Recipe

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Here's an easy chicken dish. I love the flavor the plain yogurt and the Ritz gives. Glen and the kids really enjoy this meal.
(not pictured: seasoned salt, Parmesan cheese)

2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 1 tsp. garlic salt)
1 tsp. seasoned salt
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 3-4 strips for each breast)
1-2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine cracker crumbs, garlic, and seasoned salt; set aside. Dip each chicken breast in yogurt and coat with crumb mixture. Arrange pieces in buttered 9x13 pan. Drizzle with melted butter (I usually skip the butter) and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Serves 8-10.



Lemon Basil Chicken Recipe

Monday, November 10, 2008

This chicken is so easy to prepare, makes the house smell SO good, and is a classic for a Sunday dinner.
1 whole fryer chicken (giblets removed and discarded)
1 lemon
2 Tbs. butter, softened
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 4 tsp. dried basil leaves

Preheat oven to 375 °.

Fold wings of chicken across back with tips touching. Tie or skewer drumsticks to tail. (I completely skip this step and it has not affected the taste or quality at all).

Grate 2 tsp. lemon peel from lemon. Mix lemon peel, butter, and minced garlic. Set aside.

Cute lemon in half. Rub chicken with juice from half of the lemon. Place sliced garlic, 2 tsp. basil, and remaining lemon half in cavity of chicken.

Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan (I just use my 9x13" casserole dish instead). Brush (I use my fingers) butter mixture under the skin on the breast. Pull the skin back up covering the breast as much as possible. Sprinkle evenly with another 2 tsp. of basil.

Roast uncovered about 1-1/2 hours (or until pop-up thermometer indicates that it's done). Brush 2 or 3 times with pan drippings while baking.

Serve hot with mashed potatoes, salad, and homemade rolls.

Oops I forgot to take a picture before we carved it all up. Needless to say it was much prettier then!



Award Winning Apple Pie

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is one of my most requested recipes and a contributing reason as to why I started this website.  The apple filling is the perfect balance between tart and sweet, yet is as simple as can be to make.   Combined with this state-fair winning crust, this pie simply can't be beat!   I've won or almost won many a bake-off  with this recipe and  there are people who literally start talking about this pie with me before they even greet me.  :)
Click here for printable recipe

Make sure you make it with this crust! 

No Fail Apple Pie--seriously this is SO easy!
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
¼ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
6-7 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (no substitutions--you want tart, firm apples and Granny Smith are the best) **SEE NOTE BELOW ABOUT CHOPPING.
1 Tbs. butter

Start with the pie crust rolled out into a 9” pie pan. Combine ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and sprinkle over the uncooked bottom crust (this step seems weird to a lot of people, but I promise it turns out fine. I forgot to take a picture, but basically you'll just pour the flour, sugar, and salt mixture into the empty pie crust and stir it lightly with your fingers to evenly distribute it).

**Try to cut the apples as evenly as possible, so they cook uniformly. **
Then fill crust with half of the apples. Sprinkle on another ½ cup sugar, then add the rest of the apples so they mound an inch and half or so over the edge.
Combine the remaining sugar (½ cup), pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in small bowl. Pour evenly over the top of the apples. Cut butter up into small clumps and place evenly over the top of the apples and spices.
Roll out top crust and place over pie (using crust directions from above). Brush extra flour away lightly and cut an inch from the edge, pinch top and bottom layers together, then tuck and form as desired,(I use the extra dough to cut out seasonal shapes with cookie cutters to adorn the crust).

Brush lightly with milk.
Sprinkle evenly with approximately 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Make sure to poke a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape. These can be artistically place to enhance the beauty of the pie.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375° and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Watch the pie carefully the last 20 minutes or so, being ready to place some foil over edges or top if they are browning too quickly. The filling will bubble out slightly when the pie is patient!

It's best if you let it cool completely, then reheat before serving. Serve warm with cool whip or vanilla ice cream. Good luck and feel free to email me with any specific questions.




About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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