Posts Tagged by easy recipe

Banana Pudding Squares

Banana Pudding Squares Recipe

Growing up, my grandma and my mom made the best banana pudding ever! Yes, ever. Their secret was Jell-o Custard like this:

Image result for jello custard or this:

Image result for jello custard

This stuff made the most remarkable banana pudding, but Jell-o doesn’t make it anymore. Boo!  Kraft, however, has shared this yummy recipe that makes a suitable substitute for now.

Luscious layers of cookie crust, sliced bananas, creamy pudding and chocolate in a quick and easy dessert? What’s not to love about these Banana Pudding Squares.

Banana Pudding Squares

Banana Pudding Squares

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
Servings:   24 servings
Ingredients:
35 reduced-fat vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/4 cups)
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel or Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Sugar Free Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
3 bananas, sliced
2 pkg. (1 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Pudding
3 cups cold fat-free milk
1/2 oz. BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, grated
Make It

Combine wafer crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat Neufchatel and sugar in medium bowl with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP; spread over crust.
Top with bananas.
Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 min.; spread over bananas. Top with remaining COOL WHIP and chocolate.
Refrigerate 3 hours.
Tips:

How to Evenly Spread COOL WHIP over Dessert

Stir remaining COOL WHIP gently in tub until creamy; spoon small dollops over dessert. Use small metal spatula to spread COOL WHIP over dessert.

Substitute

Prepare using JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Pudding.

Use Oreo cookies instead of Nilla Wafers.

Note

For easy cleanup, line dish with foil before using as directed. To line the dish, place dish upside down and fit a piece of foil over top of dish, smoothing corners as needed. Remove foil. When you turn the dish over, the foil fits perfectly inside the dish. Use to prepare dessert as directed. When ready to serve the chilled dessert, use foil handles to remove dessert from dish before cutting into pieces.

Easy Creamy Creme Brulee

Easy Creme Brulee that will become your favorite go-to dessert!

Ask me to tell you what my favorite desserts are and I will most definitely say homemade vanilla ice cream, old fashioned banana pudding,  coconut pound cake, gooey chocolatey brownies and creme brulee. I get creme brulee anytime I can and have had some yummy ones here and there. They are, however, no match for homemade.

While it sounds intimidating, creme brulee is relatively easy to make.  It a basic baked custard, but the magic happens when you melt the sugar on top.  That cracking sound when you break through the crunchy top is an amazing. I’ve worked with a bunch of different custard recipes, but the one that is easiest, creamiest and practically foolproof was inspired by Ree Drummond and Alton Brown. Heavy cream makes it fabulous, but it’s still yummy using equal parts heavy cream and half & half. I also love a super vanilla flavor, so if you are a more subtle vanilla person, just use the vanilla bean OR the extract instead of both.

Creamy Creme Brulee

Easy Creme Brulee that will become your favorite go-to dessert!

Ingredients

1 quart heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 cup sugar, divided

6 large egg yolks

hot water

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.creme-brulee-vanilla-bean

2. Place the cream, vanilla bean and seeds, and vanilla extract into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it starts to lighten in color. Add the warm cream a little at a time, stirring continually until well incorporated.

4. Pour the custard base into ramekins until they’re 3/4 full. Place the ramekins into a rimmed pan then pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (Tip: Place the pan in the oven before adding the water.)creme-brulee-filling-the-ramekins

5. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still a little jiggly in the center. This will take about 40 minutes. Watch them carefully toward the end so that they don’t brown. Remove the ramekins from the pan and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

6. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the custards from the refrigerator. Divide the remaining sugar equally among the ramekins and give each one a little shake to spread it evenly on top. Using a torch, caramelize the sugar and create that amazing crispy top. This is the brulee part!  (Another little tip – don’t forget to get the fuel for the torch, most torches don’t come with it.)  If you don’t have a torch, this part can be done under the broiler.

You will be everyone’s very favorite person when you serve this incredible dessert!  We usually double this recipe to ensure plenty of leftovers.

An easy, creamy Creme Brulee!

 

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

salted-caramel-cupcakes

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Bake Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes for a delicious chocolatey treat! These salted caramel cupcakes created by Kraft are as cute as they are tasty and super easy to make.

Ingredients

1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
2 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding, divided
1 jar (12.25 oz.) caramel ice cream topping
2 oz. BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 tsp. sea salt
Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 24 cupcakes, blending 1 pkg. dry pudding mix into batter before spooning into prepared muffin cups. Cool cupcakes in pans 10 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Use small sharp knife to cut 1-1/4-inch-wide hole in top of each cupcake, being careful to not cut through to bottom of cake. Fill holes with caramel topping; cover with cupcake tops.
Melt chocolate as directed on package; cool slightly. Beat remaining pudding mix, milk and powdered sugar in large bowl with whisk 2 min.; stir in COOL WHIP.
Spread frosting onto cupcakes; drizzle with chocolate. Sprinkle with salt.
Source: Blogs Release

Peaches and Cream Jigglers

Peaches n Cream Jello

These tasty bite-sized Jigglers gems take the traditional flavors of peaches and cream to a whole new level. (Anything with condensed milk is a winner for me!) Give them a try for your next party or after-school snack.

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups boiling water, divided
1 envelope (1/4 oz.) KNOX Unflavored Gelatine
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 packages (3 oz. each) JELL-O Peach Flavor Gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Directions
Add 1/2 cup boiling water to unflavored gelatine in medium bowl; stir until completely dissolved. Stir in milk. Pour into 8-inch square dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Refrigerate 25 to 30 min. or until set but not firm. Meanwhile, add remaining boiling water to peach gelatin mixes in separate medium bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Cool until ready to use.
Pour peach gelatin slowly over gelatine layer in dish. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm before cutting into 36 squares.
Tip:
These are just as yummy when made with strawberry Jell-O!
I think the next time we make these, I’m going to try to use these silicon molds to make them in the shape of Legos!  My nephews will love them! Or maybe these flower-shaped molds for a garden party this summer?

Source: BlogsRelease

Easy Honey Lemon Chicken

Easy Honey Lemon Chicken

Honey and lemon have been besties for a really long time! Long touted for their amazing health benefits, these two pantry staples find their way into so much of my cooking. I’m a huge fan and if you haven’t tried Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade or Lemonade Fruit Salad, I definitely recommend giving them a try.

This Honey Lemon Chicken is a simple and flavorful recipe that my family requests pretty frequently. I’m happy to make it because it’s pretty healthy and I love it! Hope yours will enjoy it, too.

Honey Lemon Chicken

Ingredients: 

Honey Lemon Chicken ingredients

  • 5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Honey Lemon Sauce (recipe below)
  • Optional toppings: toasted sesame seeds, thinly-sliced green onions, extra lemon zest, lemon slices

Honey Lemon Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey (more/less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of ground ginger

Directions:

  • Start off by making a quick marinade, simply combine the chicken, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to a large ziplock bag, and toss until the chicken is evenly coated.  Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, drain and transfer it to a separate plate.  Season the chicken on both sides with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the honey lemon sauce ingredients together until combined.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until it is cooked through and no longer pink inside, stirring and turning the chicken occasionally for even cooking.  Transfer the chicken to a separate plate with a slotted spoon.
  • Pour the (whisked) marinade into the empty sauté pan.  Cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reaches a low boil and thickens.   Feel free to also season with extra salt and pepper, or extra honey or lemon.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and toss until it is evenly coated with the sauce.  Remove from heat and serve the chicken immediately, topped with optional toppings if desired. Serve over rice over quinoa.

 

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

This scrumptious dessert completely debunks the whole can’t-please-everyone thing. You absolutely can. Brownies. Cheesecake. Together in every bite.

Where’s my fork?

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Prep Time: 40min.

Total Time: 5hr. 40min.
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (4 oz.) Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1-1/2 cups of the sugar; mix well.
  • Add 2 of the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Add milk and 1 tsp. of the vanilla; mix well. Combine flour and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture, mixing after each addition just until blended. Spread evenly into greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Bake 25 min.
  • Beat cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add remaining 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over brownie layer in pan (Filling will come almost to top of pan.)
  • Bake 55 min. to 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 min. before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Want to make it fancy?

Try swirling some raspberry preserves on top before baking. Mix mini-chocolate chips into the cheesecake batter. Add nuts to the brownie layer then serve with a drizzle of caramel.  Don’t forget that homemade whipped cream is amazing on any of these varieties! Do you have any yummy ideas?

My absolute, hands down favorite recipe for traditional cheesecake is the one my Mom has made for as long as I can remember. It’s a real treat and perfect for any occasion!

Source: BlogsRelease and Kraft Foods

Easy S’Mores Ice Cream Cake

I’m big fan of s’mores of all kinds. I even order them when I find them in restaurants! I’ve never had a s’mores ice cream cake, though!

Kraft is so clever!  The ice cream inside the cake stays frozen while the s’mores topping toasts golden brown.

S'mores Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time: 30 min.
Total Time: hr. 12 min.
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 14 graham crackers, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 pkg. (4 oz. each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)
  • 1 container (1-3/4 qt.) chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions

  • Heat oven to 325°F.
  • Crush 8-1/2 crackers to form fine crumbs; break remaining crackers into rectangles. Place cracker crumbs in medium bowl. Add butter and sugar; mix well. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, microwave chocolate and COOL WHIP in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 to 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is blended, stirring after each minute. Let stand 15 min. Spread chocolate mixture over crust. Stand cracker rectangles, top-sides facing out, around edge of pan, pressing gently into chocolate mixture to secure. Freeze 20 min. or until filling is firm.
  • Cover with ice cream. Freeze 4 hours or until ice cream layer is very firm. When ready to serve dessert, reserve 2 cups marshmallows. Microwave remaining marshmallows and milk in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. 15 sec. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 1 min. Cool 10 min.
  • Heat broiler. Place dessert on baking sheet; top with melted marshmallow mixture and reserved marshmallows. Broil, 6 inches from heat, 1 min. or until marshmallows are golden brown. Remove rim of pan before serving dessert.

Size Wise
Celebrate your next special occasion with this delicious ice cream cake that features flavors of the campfire classic. And as a bonus, it makes enough to serve a crowd.

Substitute
Prepare using vanilla ice cream – or try it with your family’s favorite!

Easy S'mores Ice Cream Cake

 

Source: BlogsRelease

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

Why does pumpkin seem to make everything better? I’m in love with gingerbread, but Pumpkin Gingerbread? Holy cow!  And this one adds crystallized ginger as a bonus boost of flavor.  Both ginger and pumpkin are really good for you, so if you make the few little adjustments mentioned in the recipe, you actually have something you can eat *almost* guilt-free!  (I recommend the portion-controlled muffin version.)


Gather up the ingredients, nothing unusual except maybe the crystallized ginger.

Pumpkin Gingerbread ingredients

 

If you’ve never used crystallized ginger, it looks like this.

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

I pick it up at my local farmer’s market to get the best price, but it’s really simple to make your own. Here’s a great tutorial on the America’s Test Kitchen site.

The hardest part is mincing it because it’s so sticky. Just push on through it and you’ll end up with something like this (a bigger chop may be too much to bite into.)

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

I also like to use whole nutmeg. The flavor difference when you grate your own as you need it is incredible! I use my microplaner to grate it, but they also make graters specifically for nutmeg that actually store the rest of the nut for you.

Look how beautiful it is on the inside and it smells heavenly!

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

This is freshly grated nutmeg compared to ground nutmeg from a jar. You can find whole nutmeg in the spice aisle or at an Indian or Asian grocery. I pick mine up at the same international farmer’s market as the ginger.  I typically use the same amount either way.

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

Now, there’s really no rhyme or reason to the order that this recipe adds ingredients once you pass the “cream the butter and sugar” part. It’s seems really random and defiant of everything you’re told about baking, but it works. You just have to take that leap of faith!

This is what it looks like right before you add the eggs. It reminds me of streusel topping.

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

I split this batch and made about 10 muffins and one large loaf of Pumpkin Gingerbread. Both varieties freeze and reheat well. It stays moist and delicious.

Pumpkin Gingerbread loaf

 

Pumpkin Gingerbread

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter or vegetable shortening (coconut oil also works nicely)

1-1/4 cups brown sugar (I use brown sugar Splenda – scant 3/4 cup)

2-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you may use 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour and 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, if desired)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 – 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

1/2 cup diced pecans or chocolate chips (optional)

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons molasses (you can substitute sorghum, but the flavor is much lighter than molasses)

one can or 15 ounces of pumpkin

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your pans, either grease two loaf pans for loaves,  or if you’re making muffins, grease 24 muffin cups or line them with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until well blended.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, ginger and pecans (if you’re using them,) then mix well. The batter will get crumbly.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.

Beat in both the molasses and the pumpkin until they are evenly distributed. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips (if you’re using them.)

Scoop the batter into the greased loaf pans or the muffin cups (fill in the cups about two thirds full.)

Place the muffins in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re lightly browned on the edges and the middle springs back when touched. Bake the loaves at the same temperature for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan. 

Yields 24 muffins or two loaves. 

Optional – this bread is pretty yummy on its own, but you can make it pop a little more by adding a quick orange glaze made from powdered sugar and a little orange juice (and maybe a bit of orange zest, if you have it on hand).

Pumpkin Gingerbread #PumpkinFest

Easy Homemade Peanut Brittle

Easy Peanut Brittle

Looking for a yummy and simple homemade gift? Turn to this old-fashioned favorite when you want to make in large batches for holiday gifts. Peanut Brittle is one of our family’s traditional recipes and folks eagerly await it (and our Homemade Vanilla Extract) every year.

Peanut Brittle

Serves 2 pounds
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Milk, Peanuts, Tree Nuts
This is the easiest peanut brittle recipe I've prepared. Yummy and not too hard on the teeth!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Note

My family has used this brittle recipe for as long as I can remember. We've substituted macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds and walnuts with wonderful results. One of my favorite varieties is macadamia nuts and shredded coconut. So good! This also stores well in a cookie tin or plastic container. Can be made ahead and frozen, too, but seems a little sticky when thawed.

Directions

Step 1
Gather all of the ingredients before you begin cooking. The process goes quickly once the sugar comes to temperature and there won't be time to measure then.
Step 2
Combine sugar, corn syrup and water and cook over medium heat until it reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit.


Add butter and peanuts. Continue to cook until peanuts turn golden brown and sugar reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. (or until a small amount dropped in cold water immediately separates into hard, brittle threads.
Step 3
Remove from the heat and add vanilla and baking soda. The candy will foam up a lot. Continue to gently stir to keep the mixture from overflowing.
Step 4
While still foamy, pour the candy onto a greased cookie sheet. Allow to cool.
Step 5
When completely cooled, break the brittle into pieces and enjoy!
Easy Peanut Brittle

Mom’s Amazing Cheesecake (and Dad’s Favorite!)

Mom's Amazing Cheesecake 4

Growing up, every year we’d celebrate Father’s Day, 4th of July and Dad’s birthday within a two week span. It was pretty chock full of desserts and goodies. My favorite was Mom’s famous cheesecake, though.

It wasn’t a fancy cheesecake. There was no chocolate or caramel. No Oreos, pecans, ganache or Reese’s cups.  No springform pan. Just cheesecake in all it’s traditional glory.  A creamy, rich, decadent finale to the festivities.

This is the conversation that happened between Mom and Dad at this time of year for as long as I can remember:

Mom:  What kind of cake would you like for your birthday/Father’s Day?

Dad: Oh, I don’t care. Whatever everyone wants is fine.

Mom: George… (dramatic pause and raised eyebrow) …it’s YOUR birthday, not ours. What kind of cake would you like?

Dad: Well, I’d really like one your cheesecakes, then.  *smile*

(There was an occasional request for carrot cake, but that’s for another day.)

On his birthday, we’d all crowd around, sing “Happy Birthday,” then stare a hole through my mom as she took the candles off the cake.  We all knew that cheesecake left a big glob of yumminess on every candle and we were determined to have them.  Since there were three of us kids, it was very competitive. In hindsight, I think Dad got more of the candles than we did.  I also remember that familiar tinny taste of the canned cherry pie filling that Mom scooped on top of each piece of cake. Every so often we’d have blueberry or strawberry.

I am intimidated by this prized cheesecake and never tried to make one. It was always Mom’s territory.  This year, though, I feel up to the challenge and have permission from Mom to share her recipe.

Ready? Let’s make a delicious cheesecake!

Mom’s Amazing Cheesecake


Ingredients

Crust

Cheesecake Crust Ingredients

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Filling

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

3 (8 ounce) bars of cream cheese (softened)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 scant cup of sugar

pinch of salt

1 cup sour cream


Directions

Crust:

Mix all of the crust ingredients together until it resembles coarse sand.

Cheesecake Crust Ingredients Blended  Press into the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of a well-greased a 9 x 11 pan.  Set aside.

Cheesecake Crust Ingredients Pressed into Pan

Filling:

Mix together all ingredients except sour cream with a hand or stand mixer for 10 minutes. Add sour cream and mix for 2 more minutes.  Pour over crust.

Cheesecake Filling

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes until very light gold on the edges and not quite set in the center, still a teeny bit jiggly.

Cool.

If desired, top with a mixture of 1 cup sour cream,  3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Refrigerate before serving.

Mom's Amazing Cheesecake

Tips

Pan – Mom never used a springform pan for this recipe. In fact, it specifically calls for a rectangular pan. You could certainly use the springform, but it isn’t necessary.

Room temperature – Ingredients come together best when at room temperature. The filling will be less lumpy.

Greased Pan – While greasing the pan is good for easier serving, it plays another role here, too. Cheesecake will naturally shrink as it cools and greased sides will allow the cake to pull away from the edges to accommodate the shrinking, rather than creating cracks in the center.

Water Bath – Before everyone starts yelling, yes, you can use a water bath if you like. A water bath is supposed to help with cracking by adding moisture in the oven, though I thought over-coagulated eggs created cracks in the oven. Either way, this recipe doesn’t call for one, and it works just fine.

Sometimes the cheesecake cracks. Sometimes we cover that with topping and sometimes we just enjoy it’s character. Cracks don’t change the flavor!

Crust on the sides – This is a matter of preference. It you are a person who likes the graham cracker crust all the way up the edge of the cake, by all means, make it so.

 

Do you have any tips for making cheesecake?  What are your favorite toppings?

 

 

 

 

Desserts You Can Make in 60 Minutes or Less (Infographic)

You know we love dessert. But slaving away in a kitchen for hours … not so much. Especially when we could be outside, in the sun, spending time with our friends and family. So we decided to have our chocolate cake and free time too by serving desserts that take only 60 minutes or less to make. We also took our favorites and created a helpful guide, because, as usual, we want you to enjoy the sweet life too.

Desserts You Can Make In 60 Minutes Or Less | Berries.com

Thanks to Berries.com for sharing this cool infographic and great ideas!

Lasagna in a Bun

Lasagna in a Bun                                                                                  Photo from Taste of Home

People don’t know how to drive. What is wrong with everyone? Most folks on the road need a refresher course in using a turn signal and how NOT to block an intersection when the light changes. Or how about what those stop bars painted on the road actually mean? And this one – yes, we still know you’re texting even if you have your phone in your lap. Seriously? Everyone needs to just get away from me. Needless to say, it’s exhausting just driving home from work. Most days, the first thing I hear when I come in the door is “what’s for dinner?”  Again, seriously?  If you’ve been here with the food all day, you should have figured out a way to put some of it together and make a meal.

*deep breath*  Venting complete.

So on those kind of days, this is one of our favorite recipes to quickly and easily have one of our favorite not-so-quick recipes. Lasagna in a Bun is simple…almost mindless really. I will usually serve these with Caesar salad and some fruit. If you have a sturdy roll, they make yummy leftovers, too!

(inspired by a recipe from Taste of Home)

Ingredients

8 hoagie buns or your favorite rolls, about 8 inches long

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey – I usually use turkey (don’t tell my husband!)

1 cup spaghetti sauce, prepared or your own

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a 2-inch wide v-shaped cut in the center of each bun to within  1 inch of the bottom of the bread. Remove cut portion and save for something else. (I recommend making a few croutons to top your salads that go with this!)

2. In a large skillet, cook the meat over medium heat until cooked through.  Drain. Add the spaghetti sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cook for 25 minutes on medium-low heat.

3. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley (if using), half of the cheddar cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Spoon the meat sauce into the buns. Top with the cheese mixture.

5. Place on a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Turn signals, people…turn signals!  OK, definitely done now…

 

Guest Post: Restaurant-Inspired Vegan Flatbread

Hummus and flatbread is one of my favorite snacks, and it’s so great that Tabitha at Hugs n’ Health was kind enough to share her yummy recipe for Vegan Flatbread!

So I was thinking about hummus, which turned into a craving for flatbread.  What’s a girl gotta do when she doesn’t want to leave her house, but wants that yummy restaurant flatbread healthy style? A girls gotta roll up her sleeves and spend a whole…


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Last Minute Halloween Treats for the Class + A BONUS Recipe for You! #PumpkinFest

Costumes?  Check.

Candy?  Check.

Creepy decorations?  Check.

Creamy Tacos?  Check. (BONUS! Our traditional Halloween dinner – see recipe at the end of this post.)

Dang.  There was one more “C” on my list…  Oh my gosh!  Classroom treats!

Having a moment like that this week?  Here’s a super simple, adorable and HEALTHY treat that can be handed out at the class party this year.

Jack-O-Lantern Mandarin Oranges

JOL Mandarin

 

These turned out to be the cutest things ever!  Really no instructions needed, except to buy individual cups of mandarin oranges and draw on the faces with a sharpie.  Great project for the kids, too.  Drop ’em in a pumpkin or cauldron and you’re good to go!

 

JOL Mandarin 2

I giggle every time one of these little guys grinning back at me!  Stop stressing, cruise the canned fruit aisle and check this one off your list.

 

BONUS RECIPE – Creamy Tacos – Do Halloween night the easy way!

Every Halloween, for as long as I can remember, my mom has made a big pot of Creamy Tacos for us to eat for dinner.  Sometimes before trick-or-treating, sometimes after,  but always Creamy Tacos.  We continued that tradition with my daughter and it will be a family favorite as long as I can bust open a pack of Velveeta. This works well in the crock pot (once the ground meat is browned) and can even be made ahead of time and reheated.

Creamy Tacos

Ingredients
1 lb. hamburger meat

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 lb. Velveeta cheese

1 lg. can Ranch style beans

1 can Hormel chili, no bean

1 1/2 pt. whipping cream

Directions

Brown hamburger and drain. Add other ingredients except whipping cream and mix well. Warm over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, until well heated through.

Turn down the heat and stir in the cream.  If you’ll eat this pretty soon, leave it low heat. It can also be transferred to a crock pot at this point, or cooled and put in the refrigerator or freezer. I’ve doubled the recipe and put half in freezer bags for another time.

When you’re ready to eat, pop a handful of chips in a bowl and top it with the creamy tacos and whatever other toppings you like.

  • Fritos or Doritos
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Olives
  • Chopped red onions
  • Jalapenos

Delicious and easy!

 

Chocolate Stars Pie Crust Cookies

Chocolate Stars Pie Crust Cookies

If you’ve been with me a while, you’ve probably noticed that I like “easy”.  Another thing I like is pie crust!  For example, we make Easy As Pie Crust cookies pretty regularly. The other thing to know about me is that while I’m pretty good a lots of things, I am a complete failure at making pie crust from scratch. Therefore, I think refrigerated pie crust is a true blessing!

When I was a kid, and there was still such a thing a “Home Economics” class, I learned about Chocolate Stars Pie Crust Cookies. We had to do the math on the cost and calorie content of this simple recipe before we could eat them. It was torture. I decided I would make these myself and eat them whenever I wanted – no math required! It’s been a regular in our family ever since and now my daughter makes them, too.

This recipe only really used two ingredients – refrigerated pie crust and chocolate candy.  And you can use any chocolate candy you like! Our favorites are Hershey Kisses and Almond Joy. We’ve also used several varieties of Kisses like the Hugs, Kisses with Almonds and Kisses with Caramel. We love the Peppermint Kisses and Mint Kisses, but not so much for this recipe.  Sometimes you can find a pumpkin spice flavor in the fall and coconut creme around Easter – both are yummy!   The other Chocolate Star we make the most is Almost Joy. The minis are the perfect size make two Stars. Mini Reese’s Cups are totally amazing, too. Finally, if you’re a fan, try chocolate covered cherries!

To make these, simply unwrap your candy.  Cut up those that are too large, like the Almond Joys. Every once in a while, I can actually but the almond in half, but I don’t worry about it too much. It’s fun to see who gets the half with the almond!

Chocolate Stars Candy

Unroll one of the pie crusts (we buy the kind with two crusts in a box) and, using a 2-1/2 or 3 inch cookie cutter, make dough rounds that you can set each piece of candy on.

Chocolate Stars

 

This is where the “star” part comes in. Take each round of dough and candy and draw up the side make a little packet.

Chocolate Stars pinch

Then, pinch each of the seams together to form a little star on top.

Chocolate Stars pinch

Sometimes I re-roll the scraps to make more stars, but I usually just wrap them around some extra pieces of candy and call them planets!  Place each star on a greased baking sheet, brush each one with a little beaten egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake according to your pie crust’s package directions – mine is 18-22 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. We like them very lightly browned.

Let them cool a bit on the baking sheet, then finish on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Stars

 

Chocolate Stars Pie Crust Cookies

Ingredients

1 refrigerated pie crust

Your favorite Hershey Kisses or other chocolate candy, unwrapped

2 T granulated sugar

1 egg white, whisked

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unwrap candy and, if necessary, cut to size.

Roll out pie dough onto a lightly floured surface or waxed/parchment paper.  Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut rounds out of the pie crust.

Place a piece of candy on each round of dough and draw up the sides to form corners that meet at the top. (See photo above.)  Pinch together each of the four seams created to form a star. Re-roll scraps or simply piece them together around extra pieces of candy.

Place packets on a greased  or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each one with a little beaten egg white, then sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar on each one.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Let these cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then move them to a cooking rack.

Serve.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Chocolate Stars

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