April Fool's Day Mashed Potatoes and Meatloaf

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April Fool's Day is coming up soon and I'm getting prepared to trick my kids! (Ha, ha, ha...evil laugh) I recently purchased a great book called "Fake out Food" which is an AWESOME book for food ideas to trick your kids. My boys don't like meatloaf, but I'll bet that they'll love this 'meatloaf' with marshmallows, chocolate, and fruit snacks. I love how it looks so real. Have fun coming up with different ways to present your food. You'll be surprised if you start looking at food and thinking of other ways to make it look like something else. In fact just the other day I thought to myself "I think that scallops look like apple chunks. Hmmmmm" What are you making for your April Fool's Day trick?

Posted by: Jen


3 Tbsp butter
6-8 c cocoa rice krispy cereal
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 10 oz pkg mini marshmallows
1/3 c Craisins
2-3 pkg fruit snacks
other dried fruit, optional
frosting and red food coloring

The Instructions:

Melt the butter in a large nonstick pan. When butter is melted, stir in the cocoa powder until it is smooth.
Add the marshmallows, and stir occasionally to melt all the way through.
While your marshmallows are melting, put the cereal in a gallon baggie and pound with a meat mallet or roll with a rolling pin to crush the cereal. Don't worry if it's not all crushed. It adds to the texture of the 'meatloaf'.
Chop your Craisins, fruit snacks, and any other dried fruit into small pieces. Attention, this can be sticky on your knife. I wonder if it would help to spray your knife with nonstick spray first. Add the fruit snacks to the baggie of crushed cereal and mix it all in well.
Add the cereal mixture to the melted marshmallows and stir in until all the cereal is completely coated with marshmallow.

Grease a loaf pan. (or even also line it with parchment paper and spray that.) Pour your marshmallow/cereal mixture into the loaf pan and press down to make it all firm. (spray your hands with nonstick spray before doing this.) Let cool for about 1/2 hour.
If desired, coloring your frosting red and spread a thin layer on top of the 'meatloaf'. (I should have used a deeper red food coloring. Oh well, Next time)

Now for the mashed potatoes. All you need are:

Vanilla ice cream
caramel sauce
yellow soft candies (ie, Starburst)

You'll want to prepare the 'mashed potatoes' immediately before serving your family. It will take you a grand total of maybe 3 minutes to prepare. Scoop out some ice cream and place it on your serving plate. Gently press in the middle of your ice cream scoop to resemble the cavity for gravy in your mashed potatoes. Drizzle caramel sauce into the cavity and let some drip down the side of the ice cream. Press your yellow candy into a flattened square to resemble a pat of butter. If your candies aren't so soft (like mine were ), then nuke it in the microwave for no more than 10 seconds. I placed my candy on a piece of wax paper (parchment would be better). When it was softer I pressed it down and immediately placed it on top of my 'mashed potatoes'.


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hi!  My name is Katie and I am a new contributor.  I cook for two little boys that are a little picky and a husband that will try anything.  I love good food and especially anything sweet!  I love to try new recipes and don't like to make the same thing too much.  I got the idea for this from
You can use any pizza crust recipe you like, but personally, this is my favorite!

Click here for printable recipe

Posted by: Katie


2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
mozzarella cheese, cubed
marinara sauce, for dipping

Pizza Crust-
1 cup warm water
3/4 Tbsp. sugar (divided)
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 Tbsp. oil
1/4 Tbsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour (approximately)


To begin, prepare the pizza dough:  In a bowl, mix warm water, 1/4 Tbsp. sugar and yeast.  

Let proof (sit) for about 5 minutes, or until frothy.

Mix in remaining sugar, oil, salt, and flour.  Mix with spoon until too rough and then mix with hands until well combined. Form into a ball.

Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.  

While dough is rising, melt butter and add garlic powder.  Stir until combine and use a pastry brush to coat a bundt pan.  When the dough is done rising, take little golf sized balls and flatten.  Place a slice of pepperoni and a cheese cube in the middle and pinch closed and into a ball.  

Continue until all of dough is used.

Place each in pan, spreading evenly.  Brush top with remaining garlic butter, cover pan with damp cloth and let rise another 30 minutes.

While rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  When done rising, remove cloth and bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is very brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  Turn into serving plate and serve with warmed marinara sauce.


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Lion House Lemon Meringue Pie

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't forget to check out and "Like" Recipe Shoebox's new Facebook page.   :) 
I am more well known among my friends for my apple pie making skills, but truth be told, my favorite pie is lemon meringue.  In fact, I credit the humble lemon meringue pie as the catalyst for me starting to make pies in the first place.  It was way back in high school and for some forgotten reason I decided that I really wanted to make a lemon meringue pie from scratch.  Of course I didn't really know what scratch meant back then and with my babysitting money I bought refrigerated pie crust and some Jello lemon pudding mix.  Although that first pie turned out quite ugly, it marked the beginning of my love affair with pie making.  Since that day 20+ years ago I've made hundreds of pies and still lemon meringue is my favorite and this classic recipe from Lion House makes a great one!

Recipe Source: Lion House Cookbook (an out-of-print cookbook that is among my oldest and most well-loved cookbooks of all time)
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:

1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. cornstarch
1-1/2 cups cold water
3 eggs yolks (reserve egg whites for meringue)
6 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or 1/2 cup for a slightly tarter flavor)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
2 Tbs. butter
Baked 9-inch pie shell (see this recipe for the best crust ever)

MERINGUE: (if you like meringue piled higher on the pie, then I recommend making a one-and-a-half batch of the meringue)
3 egg whites (use from the separated eggs in the filling)
6 Tbs. sugar

(these directions are modified somewhat from the cookbook):
In a medium size saucepan combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch.  Slowly add cold water, while whisking rapidly.  Stir in egg yolks and place pan over medium heat.  Heat mixture until smooth and thick (30-60 seconds of boiling).   Remove from heat and add lemon juice, rind, and butter. Stir until combined.

Pour filling into baked pie shell and spread meringue over top while filling is hot.

For meringue: Beat the egg whites on high speed adding the sugar gradually while beating. Continue beating until mixture stands in stiff peaks. (You'll want to watch it carefully, because it is possible to beat egg whites for too long and lose the creamy texture).

Pile on hot lemon filling;

seal well to edge of crust and touch meringue lightly with the back of the spoon to form peaks. 
Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes or until delicately browned.

Cool thoroughly before serving, preferably at least 4 hours.


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Healthy and Easy Butternut Squash Soup

Monday, March 19, 2012

  • From Kristina: I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have a very restricted diet in which I have to avoid fresh vegetables and fruits (yes, it's weird!).   Because these restrictions are new for me, I'm always on the lookout for more ways to get vegetables in my diet and this soup is one of my favorite ways! I love this soup for it's simplicity and it's ability to fulfill some of my desperately needed vitamin needs. As an added bonus, the rest of my family loves it too! My very picky 4-year-old daughter always wants it for lunch and dinner when I make it, which makes me very happy!

Posted by K. 


  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • A handful of baby carrots
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 24-32 oz cubed butternut squash (I buy it from Costco in a package all ready to cook. It's peeled and cubed. Lots of grocery stores sell it that way now.) You can obviously buy a butternut squash and peel and cube it yourself, if you prefer!
  • 1-32 oz. container of chicken stock (enough to cover all the veggies) 
  • 1 apple peeled and cubed (cooked separately in microwave in water)
  • Curry and nutmeg to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add all the veggies and pour in enough chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  • Transfer the soup + apples to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot. Season with salt, pepper, curry and nutmeg to taste.
If this is a little too healthy for you, feel free to add some cheese and/or sour cream to the soup! 

To make even healthier, you can omit the butter and just add everything at once and bring to a boil. I don't normally add any salt and use low sodium chicken stock. 

This is a low calorie, low sodium, high vitamin food and it tastes good too! Enjoy!


Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Friday, March 16, 2012

I was thinking of something to make for Saint Patrick's Day and the first thing I thought of was something minty. So naturally my next thought was chocolate and cheesecake. There are various recipes out there for this but I just did my basic recipe and added green coloring and mint extract. My boys thought I had made a dessert using the mint chocolate chip ice cream and they were temporarily very happy. I was happy that they thought it looked like mint chocolate chip ice cream as that was my goal. They weren't very happy in the end because they don't care for cheesecake. Maybe that's why I make it so often...more for me!

Check here for more fun Saint Patty's Day dinner and treat ideas!

                                             Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by: Jen

already made chocolate crust
2 packages (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp mint extract
few drops green food coloring
1 c chocolate chips

for the ganache
1/2 c cream
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the softened cream cheese and the sugar. Your cheesecake will cook better if the cream cheese is completely softened. Beat until it is smooth. Add the eggs and mix them in well.

Add food coloring and mint extract. (make sure it is mint and not peppermint. Of course you could do the same thing at Christmas with peppermint extract and pink food coloring) Blend in well until it is all green.

Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into already made chocolate crust.
Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until the center is slightly jiggly. If you miss that point, then take it out when you see it start to get a little golden on the edges. Don't worry if it cracks. We are going to cover it with chocolate ganache anyway.
Completely cool the cheesecake on a wire rack. This may take an hour or so. Meanwhile make your ganache.

For the Chocolate ganache, add the cream to a small pan and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally because you don't want the milk to stick or burn on the bottom. When it reaches a simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate chips.

Stir in the chocolate chips until it is completely smooth. If desired, you could add a tablespoon of butter to help have that glossy look, but it isn't necessary.

Let it cool a little bit and spread over the cheesecake evenly to the edges. Put cheesecake in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours. You may not use all of the ganache. Put the rest in a container and store in the fridge for later. This is the best base for the best ever hot cocoa.

I personally think that cheesecake is best served the following day. I like it more firm. My husband disagrees. He likes to eat it the same day it's baked. If you serve it within a couple hours of it being baked it has a more mousse like consistency.

Brownie bottom mint chocolate chip cheesecake
For another variation use a brownie mix as the bottom layer. Check out the Brownie bottom cheesecake recipe for directions. Use 3 pkgs cream cheese, 2/3 c sugar, and 3 eggs, but keep everything else the same. After the brownie is baked, then bake the cheesecake for about an hour or until slightly jiggly in the middle. When cooled then either cover the entire thing in ganache, or just the top. I would have done it this way, but alas I only had 2 eggs in my refrigerator so I did the faster version.


Angry Bird Pizza

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My boys love angry birds. They love the video game, they have the board game, and they even have a stuffed red one that makes noises. So, it was inevitable that my son asked for Angry Bird Pizza for his birthday dinner. I thought and thought about how I could come up with this. I came up with using just a basic cheese pizza but I put the sauce on the TOP of the cheese instead of the bottom. My boys loved it and when I put it on my Facebook page it got a lot of comments. So without further ado, here is my tutorial on how to make your pizza look like a red angry bird. If you make this for your kids, they will think you are the coolest person ever. I promise.

Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by: Jen

The Ingredients:

pizza dough, either store bought or homemade (check here for my recipe, minus the corn meal)
1 can pizza sauce (I tend to use spaghetti sauce)
shredded Mozzarella cheese (probably a couple cups. I tend to just cover the pizza without thinking of how much I'm using)
Mozzarella cheese cut into circles. (cut from a block of cheese or Mozzarella ball)
couple slices of cheddar cheese, cut into triangles
black olives, sliced

The Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out your pizza dough into a circle. You can make it as thin or as thick as you like. At the top, pinch two pieces of dough to stick up like the angry bird's feathers. Poke all over with a fork. (so it doesn't puff up). Sprinkle with cheese all over.

Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the crust start to get a little golden. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to "decorate" your pizza.

While your pizza crust is baking, cut out the cheese that you will need for the face. You will need 2 white circles for the eyes, a bunch of sliced olives for the eyebrows and the eyeballs, and some orange triangle cheddar cheese slices for the beak.
Here is the red angry bird for you to look at, just in case you need a reminder.

You can put pizza sauce over the entire pizza and then cover the bottom triangle with more cheese, OR just leave the bottom triangle with just cheese and no sauce. I left it with no sauce because I didn't want any red peaking out. Arrange the facial pieces.

Bake about 5 more minutes or until everything is completely melted and the crust is brown on the edges.

I hope you and your kids have fun with this. If anyone can figure out how to do a blue bird, yellow bird or green pigs, let me know. I just couldn't think of anything that would be appetizing for those colors. (except maybe a Monterey jack cheddar blend might work for the yellow...)If your family likes black olives, I imagine that you could do the black bird.


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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