Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

I love all things peanut butter.  You add chocolate in and it just gets better for me. On facebook today I saw a peanut butter dessert on my friend Cristine's blog (check it out http://cristinecooks.blogspot.com/2011/03/peanut-butter-brownie-trifle.html) and told her I wanted to make a peanut butter dessert and she sent this one over to me. (Thank you!) Upon a vote among the kids, the cake idea won. 
This cake is very dense and very tasty.  It is the typical pound cake texture but full of peanut butter flavor.  The chocolate just makes it in my opinion. I did make my glaze a bit thicker and a bit more of it which I enjoyed.
My only complaint is that the crust was very hard to cut with my fork.  I followed this recipe pretty exact because cakes can be more finicky.  But after baking it, it still didn't seem done so I let it go a little longer which may have accounted for the crust being a little too hard.  Toothpick or skewer will not come out clean on this.  I opted to leave my bundt upside down, or right side up to have more area to hold the glaze. 

Those are just my notes.  But this is a fantastic cake. My 3 year said it "tasted like peanut butter and fluff", my 5 year old liked the frosting (glaze) on it, and my 7 year old said it was "FAAABULOUS!" And my husband who normally doesn't like peanut butter sweets said it was very tasty, but rich!  So, there you have it.

adapted from the recipe girl

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used skippy natural)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) softened butter 
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare tube pan or bundt pan with "baking" spray (with the flour in it).  Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, with mixer, mix the peanut butter and butter together until smooth and all combined.  Add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes (ish).  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Add flour in small increments mixing just until disappears until all the flour is incorporated.  Batter will be very thick. Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon evenly into pan and bake @ 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  After the first hour cover loosely with foil.  Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.  Let cool completely before pouring glaze over.


  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • mini chocolate chips

Whisk it all together and spoon it over, pushing it out over the sides to drizzle on down and coat the cake in its goodness!

Easy Tortellini Soup

This is one of the easiest soups I have ever made.  It took me about 10 minutes to throw together and I could not believe how good it was!  It was also one of those meals that you feel good about eating because it is chock full of health.  My kids chowed it, and I wanted another helping...  but declined for want of dessert as well.  It kind of was like a beans and greens with some tortellini.  I mean, what could be bad about that?  Sometimes spinach can be strong in things and turn me off.  This had none of that strong flavor in this soup.  It was just delicious.  I went shopping in my pantry and came out with this.  Good deal!


  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 boxes of low sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups water (refill a box of broth most of way)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained (I used one but wished for more)
  • 10 oz. spinach
  • bag of tortellini (1 lb.?)

In big stock pot over med-high heat, put EVOO, chopped onion and salt and cook under tender and begins to brown about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and scrape bottom of pan and cook for 30 seconds.  Add broth and scrape bits off bottom of pan.  Bring to light boil.  Put in spinach, beans and canned tomatoes and wait until spinach is thawed.  Return to boil. Add tortellini and cook 5-7 minutes.
Ladle in bowls and serve with lots of parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ranch Turkey Burgers

My friend Jenny makes the best turkey burgers.  They are packed with flavor and are just fabulous.  These are super easy to make and always come out great.  This week it was rainy and miserable outside, so rather than grilling them like we normally do, I cooked them in a nonstick skillet.  They were still excellent and about melted in your mouth.  My 5 year old ate his in about 2 minutes flat and before he even finished said, "I want another one!"  This time I sauteed some red onion and mushroom to put top with some melted provolone.  Was delicious!
You could do the same thing with beef if you prefer.


  • 1 pkg. ground turkey (I use 85/15)
  • 1 packet of hidden valley ranch dry dressing mix
  • handful of shredded cheddar cheese  

Place ingredients in large bowl and mix with your hands until well combined.  Form into 4 or 5 patties.  Cook  on grill or in skillet over med high heat.   If cooking in skillet, put a TBSP of oil in before beginning cooking.  Cook 6-8 minutes on each side.  Meanwhile saute onion and mushrooms in another skillet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. When burgers are almost done, put on sauteed veggies and cheese and cover for 2 minutes to let cheese melt.  Serve on toasted buns with some sweet potato fries or cous-cous!  We made some cous-cous and put the leftover veggies up on top.  So good!  We also put some chipotle yogurt and mango salsa on it, which my husband and I both loved.  All those recipes can be food on my blog.


Soft Gingersnap Cookies

I love ginger!  Love, love, love!  My husband only likes it in sweets, but I love it in everything!  I like the heat it can bring and the general spiciness of it.  I saw these on two peas and their pod's website, and using a few other recipes, made my own.  These were delicious and were buttery, yet packed with ginger flavor. Yum, yum, and yum!
The key to keeping them soft is almost under cooking them. Let them cool a little on the baking sheet until they are movable.  If you like a crisp gingersnap, or needed crisper ones for a recipe, you could cook them until they are browned.  But I like my cookies soft and chewy. 


  • 2 cups plus 2 TBSP AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • white sugar to roll cookies in
Preheat oven to 375.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. 
Whisk together, flour, baking soda, salt and spices in bowl.
With mixer, combine softened butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes.  Add in egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add in molasses and mix until combined. 

With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture slowly and mix until the flour disappears.  Form dough into TBSP size balls and roll into white sugar and place on cookie sheets a few inches apart.  (Can flatten with hand if you want flatter cookies like I did) 
Bake for 8 minutes and no longer.  Remove from oven and let them sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Whoopie Pies (Devil Dogs)

So I grew up calling these "devil dogs" but then we changed it to "cookie dogs" because we didn't like the "devil" in the name. ;-)  But I know they are traditionally called "whoopie pies"  Why, I am not sure. They are not pie like at all, but much more cake like.  Why not "whoopie cakes"?
Anyway, these are delicious and good eats!  Not a fan of the frosting to taste without the cookie.  I find it greasy.  But it is great with the cookie!  These are becoming the latest thing... replacing the countries cupcake fetish.  There is a reason!  Make them and find out!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. shortening*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 425.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats or spray with baking spray (with flour).
Whisk together dry ingredients.  With mixer mix sugar and shortening.  Add egg and vanilla and mix.  Add milk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well combined.  Use cookie scoop or drop by TBSP onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 7-8 minutes until they bounce back when you touch the tops and are not shiny and begin to crack.  Let cool on sheet for a few minutes then remove to wire rack.
  When cool, frost bottoms with tbsp or so of icing and top with another cookie.
*can use butter, will produce a flatter cookie, and may take another minute or 2 to cook.  


  • 1/3 c. eveaporated milk
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 3/4c. plus TBSP of sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Beat with electric mixer for 5 minutes until fluffy.  NOTE: This may not seem like enough icing, but it was the perfect amount!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, I made regualr whoopie pies, but I have been wanting to try these for awhile.  I was asked to make a dessert for a luncheon where General Petraeus's wife will be speaking.  So, of course, I made three!  ;-)  Regular whoopie pies are a great soft delicious cookie, or should I say cake?

These are dangerous!  Caution, DO NOT MAKE WHEN ON DIET!  These are so soft and melt in your mouth and I want to keep eating them!.  The spice mix was perfect and they were just delicious!  Seriously great cookie! 

adapted from Martha Stewart
makes over 40 little whoopie pies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP ground ginger
  • Heaping tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups firmly packed  dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment or with silicone mats.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and all spices.  Set aside.
In another large bowl whisk together brown sugar and oil.  Add pumpkin and whisk until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Sprinkle flour over wet ingredients in two batches, whisking until fully incorporated.

Use a small ice cream scoop (cookie scoop) with release mechanism and put dough on sheets about 2" apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes (13 was perfect for my electric oven) or when top begin to crack and toothpick comes out clean.    Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes.  Remove from sheet and frost when completely cool.


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla

Beat butter.  Add cream cheese and beat until well combined.  Add vanilla and beat and then finally add sugar and beat until smooth.  Filling can be made day ahead and chilled.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Yogurt and Mango Salsa

So, it may not make sense to those who have not lived almost south of the border, but these are very tasty.  And this is one of the quickest dinners I have ever made.  Granted, I had the mango salsa made, but still, fast and tasty, my kind of meal.  I used flounder, but any kind of white fish would probably work, the flakier the better.  Seriously, I put the fish on the sheet, seasoned it and put it in the oven and whisked the yogurt while it was cooking.  So easy.  We also used corn tortillas, and I would probably do small flour ones next time because the corn just fell apart so completely, it made them a little challenging to eat.  Have to work for your food.  Here link for the mango salsa (which I think makes it).

The adobe sauce  in the yogurt sauce has some heat, so you can change the amount based on how much heat you prefer.  As written, it is warm at best.  You can taste it, but there was no real heat.  Now, the Fiesta Lime from Mrs. Dash did pack some heat, so I had to scrape it off for my kids, but it is yummy. I got the idea for the yogurt at my friends Mary's blog, you can check it out. But of course, I changed it a bit. ;-)



For fish:
  • white fish 
  • blackening seasoning (Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime)
  • salt
  • 1-2 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
For Chipotle Yogurt
  • non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. adobe pepper sauce
  • 1/2 pepper from adobe can
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Turn oven to broil or start grill.  Line cookie sheet with foil or use broiling pan.  Season fish with seasoning and some salt.  A wire rack under the fish would be good if you prefer a drier fish.  Broil for about 10-13 minutes, until flaky and cooked through. Remove from oven and pull into chunks to fill tacos.

For yogurt whisk everything together and set aside.

Serve in tortilla of choice.  Put fish in, top with mango salsa and the chipotle yogurt sauce and slivered red cabbage for some crunch if you like.

NOTE:  If you don't like heat, you can bread the fish with plain bread crumbs and bake instead.

Mango Salsa

This is a delicious salsa that you can use for various purposes.  We have topped grilled chicken with it and used it in fish tacos.  You could put it on top of a fresh salad, or even on pork or steak.  It is light and sweet and is just a great compliment to a variety of dishes.  Honestly, I normally don't measure but just eyeball it.  It is very forgiving and you can taste-test it to fit your preferences ;-)  Summery, sweet and light!


  • 2 mango, diced fine
  • 1 cup diced sweet tomatoes (I used grape, but vine ripened would be great too)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine (can use green onions in stead if desired)
  • juice of one lime
  • 3-4 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all up at least an hour before serving and let sit at room temp so flavors have a chance to meld.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

So, I wasn't so sure about these when I first saw the post on twopeasandtheirpod, but I must say, they are really wonderful.  My family devoured them!  My 22 month old had 4 mini muffins after a big bowl of cereal and my other kids had 3-4 mini ones and a big one all after their cereal!  They are melt in your mouth and like a snickerdoodle cookie in muffin form!
Of course, I changed the recipe a little because the original called for 2 sticks butter and real sour cream.  I lightened it a little by doing non-fat greek yogurt and a stick and a half of butter and upped the buttermilk from 1/4 c. to 1/3 cup.  I have not made the originals so I can not say if they are better.  But these were wonderful, so I probably will never make the original.
Don't wonder, just make them!  You won't be sorry!

adapted from Tasty Kitchen
made 12 reg. size muffins and about 20 mini muffins

  • 1 1/2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup non fat greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare muffin tins with liners (too delicate for no liners).
 Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside.  With mixer, mix sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.
Add half the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Add the yogurt and buttermilk and mix to combine.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth and no more flour can be seen.
In a bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon.  Use ice cream scooper and plop a scoop of the batter into the sugar cinnamon mixture.  Gently roll the batter int he mixture and place in muffin liners.  When all the muffins are complete, sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the tops.
Bake mini muffins for about 14 minutes and the larger for about 18 or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Triple Citrus Bars

On my citrus kick...  I guess I just feel summer coming and can't resist it!  Everything I have ever made form America's Test Kitchen has been great.  So, I figured I would try these.  A little different than your average lemon bars or key lime bars.  Well, they are to die for!  They are for the citrus lover only.  The crust is crisp and delicious and the citrus is perfectly tart and sweet.  I love the pucker it bring to the back of my jaw.  Yum!  This is a fantastic treat that will put you in the mood for all things spring!

from America's Test Kitchen


  • 5 oz. (about 1 3/4 c.) animal crackers
  • pinch salt
  • 4 TBSP melted unsalted butter
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh orange juice
  • 5 TBSP fresh lime juice 
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 8" square pan with foil, cutting at corners, and allowing to go up sides.
In food processor, place animal crackers and pulse until coarsely ground.  Add salt and brown sugar and pulse to combine.  Add melted butter and pulse until incorporated.  Press into square pan with the bottom of a measuring cup to smooth and pack down.  Bake for 18 minutes.

While crust is baking/or cooling, zest fruit and run a knife through a couple times.  Add juices and then cream cheese (I heat mine in microwave briefly).  Whisk until well combined.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk until all of cream cheese is dissolved.  Add yolk and whisk to combine.  Pour on crust and bake another 18-20 minutes, until filling just begins to pull away from sides.  Let cool for 1.5 hrs, chill for 2 hours and sit at room temp. 15 minutes before serving.   (yes that is approx. 2 hrs. and 45 minutes before you can dig in).

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Mexican Casserole

    So, you have a party and you have half a bag of tortilla chips left, most of them broken (no good for dipping).  What to do?  This casserole is the perfect solution.  It is a little chopping and a bunch of cans, so it is very easy.  And besides the chips, and the cheeses which holds it together, it is very healthy!  Packed with protein, fiber and most of all flavor! This makes a ton... easily serves 8. 
    I love this casserole.  I am not the only one either.  It was voted best casserole in the USA in Parade.  I have changed a few things, of course.  But just to make it better!  My 5 year old had 3 generous helpings!! He said, "It's just so good, I can't stop eating it!"
    So, thanks Chris Gavenda, wherever you are, for submitting a great recipe, that has become a family favorite in our house!


    • 1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
    • 1 lb shredded or chopped chicken (from roaster is great!)
    • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can mexicorn
    • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
    • 1-2 cups prepared salsa (I use Trader Joes Double roasted!)
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
    • 1 red onion, chopped fine
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 5 cloves minced/crushed garlic
    • 1/2-whole lime, squeezed over (I use half before and half garnish)
    • 3 cups cheddar or Mexican mixed cheese
    • sour cream
    • fresh cilantro
    • avocado
    • fresh tomatoes

    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 9x13 baking dish and spread crushed chips evenly on the bottom.

    In a large bowl, combine everything else but the cheese.  Mix well.  Spread half of the bean chicken mixture over the chips.  Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups cheese over.  Top with remaining chicken mixture and then the  remaining cheese.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Tops with garnishes individually. 

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Sausage Peppers and Onions Pasta

    Super easy, quick meal!  The dark stuff is balsamic glaze, which is reduced balsamic vinegar that gets all sweet and syrupy and add a punch of flavor.  I make this all the time and so do my parents (minus the peppers).


    • 1 lb. pasta cooked
    • 1 lb sausage
    • 1-2 sweet onions sliced thin
    • 1 red pepper, sliced thin 
    • olive oil
    • parmesan cheese


    Cook pasta according to directions.
    In a skillet of med- high heat, drizzle some EVOO and  squeeze sausage from links (I use turkey sausage).  Break up while it is cooking.  Cook completely and remove from pan, leaving the drippings behind.  Set sausage aside.

    Add sliced onions and peppers to pan with more oil if needed (I add a pat of butter).  Let cook for about 15 minutes, deglazing with some chicken broth or wine if needed.  Add sausage back in and let cook until warmed through.  Add cooked pasta to pan and toss, adding more oil if needed.  I sprinkle some garlic powder in. 
    Top with a drizzle of reduced balsamic glaze and lots of parmesan cheese.

    Oatmeal Carmelitas

    I have had these before, but didn't know what they were called.  I just knew it had a whole lot of sweet goodness oozing from the center.  I finally figured out what they were and had to make them.  They are pretty easy to make really.  There is debate whether they should be called "Carmelitas" or "Caramelitas".  To me they are just a little square of goodness!
    Very tasty, rich but addictive!  


    • 2 cups AP flour
    • 2 cups oats
    • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/4 cups melted butter
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups choc. chips
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 14 oz pkg light caramels, unwrapped
    • 1/3 c. light cream
    • 1 jar caramel ice cream topping
    • 3 TBSP flour

    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 9x13 pan and set aside.  In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and brown sugar.  Break up any chunks of brown sugar. Melt butter and add vanilla, then mix into dry ingredients until no more flour can be seen.

    Press 1/2 of the mixture into the 9x13.  Reserve the rest for the top.

    Prepare caramel filling.  Put caramels and cream in microwave in 30-40 second intervals, mixing between each interval, until melted OR mix in flour to jar of caramel topping.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over caramel.  Sprinkle remaining batter evenly over the top.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool at least 1 hour.

    Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Cookies

    I have been in the mood for some citrus, and happened upon these while looking at a great blog.  These cookies are light, cakey, tart yet still sweet and just plain yummy!  Not hard to make either!  They are very lemony, like fresh lemonade. 
    I made some plain, because some of my kids have a thing against blueberries after they have been cooked, but the blueberries just add so much vibrancy to the cookies, they are a must!  It is a pain to get them in and covered, but worth it!
    These would be fabulous with some tea and plan to enjoy one this evening just that way!
    Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Cookies
     makes about 2 dozen


    • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • Zest of two large lemons
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    •  1/4 tsp. salt
    • 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    •  3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup buttermilk
      Fresh blueberries
    • Confectioners sugar
    • Fresh lemon juice
    • Lemon zest

    Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub them together with your fingers until well mixed. This brings out the lemon flavor.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar/lemon mixture and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well to mix. Add the vanilla, and beat on low. Mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
    Drop the dough by level tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leave about 1 ½ inches between each cookie. Tuck 4-5 blueberries into each cookie. Try to make sure they are hidden. Bake one sheet at a time for about 11 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes; then transfer them to a wire rack.

    For the glaze, whisk together the sifted confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  I used 2 lemons and maybe 1-1/2 cups of sugar.  It should be thick and opaque, but still soupy. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Beer Bread

    I think I enjoy the smell of bread baking almost as much as I like to eat it.  I often fail to plan ahead though, which makes yeast breads something out of the realm of possibility.  This is a shame for my family, because they all love bread.  This beer bread is a fantastic quick bread.  It took about 5 minutes to throw together.  I made a Trader Joes Beer Bread along with it for comparison, and I really could not tell the difference with taste.  But mine was a little moister and both my husband and I liked the crust on mine better.  So, while Trader Joe's variety is easy, I think mine took make 1-2 minutes longer to throw together and we liked it better.  So there!
    This bread is moist and makes your taste buds confused in a good way.  It is slightly sweet, but the slight bitterness from the beer comes through taking the edge off he sweetness, so it seems more savory.  Yum!  You can substitute self rising flour for the salt, flour and baking powder if you have it on hand, making it even quicker!


    • 3 cups sifted flour (I used a scoop to lighten and put in my measuring cup, then leveled it)
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 12 oz beer
    • 4 TBSP melted butter


    Preheat oven to 375.  Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add 2 TBSP melted butter and the beer.  Mix until just combined and no more flour is in the bottom of the bowl.  Put into greased bread pan.  Bake for 40 minutes and brush top with leftover melted butter.  Bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden and toothpick comes out clean.  Will slide out of pan easily after a few minutes.  Can cut warm and slather (I love that word!) with butter, or toast for breakfast with some jam and butter!

    VARIATIONS:  Make it with some ginger ale for a sweeter bread, or some cinnamon.  Add some garlic and herb spices, or some cheese.

    Stuffed Mushrooms

    I really love stuffed mushrooms.  I like them cheesy and stuffed with seafood, or stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese.  Really, I am not picky about them... I like all kinds.  These mushrooms were very rich and delicious!  They were definitely an indulgence with the creamy filling.  This recipe is kinda a compilation of a bunch.  Some variations add some fried up breakfast sausage which sounds great, but I was just not in the mood for.  I wanted a creamy rich filling, and this delivered!


    • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
    • 24 oz. of mushrooms
    • 2 TBSP chopped green onions
    • 2/3 cup real grated parmesan cheese (I grated my own on semi fine grate and please no green canned stuff)
    • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 4 large cloves crushed garlic
    • dash cayenne pepper
    • sprinkle of onion powder (about 1/2 tsp.)
    • bread crumbs for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 375.  Clean mushrooms in preferred method (some say washing them makes them tough and you should wipe them down instead...  I have to wash them because I am OCD that way).  Remove stems of mushrooms and chop into fine pieces.  In a skillet over med high heat, place tsp oil, chopped green onions, chopped mushrooms stems and crushed garlic.  Season with a little salt.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until reduced in volume and tender.  Remove from heat.  In mixing bowl, mix softened cream cheese (I microwaved mine for 30 seconds or so), parm cheese, mushroom stem mixture, the dash of cayenne and onion powder.  Spray baking sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place mushroom caps on it.  Fill each mushroom cap with filling.  Sprinkle some seasoned bread crumbs over each and a little more parm cheese.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes (35-40 for big mushrooms) until  bubbly and golden on the tops.  Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before eating. 

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuits

    I just love the sound of the name "chicken and biscuits."  No doubt a southern meal, but who says a northern girl can't enjoy southern food?  I made this for my family this week and we all enjoyed it.  The biscuits were tender and flaky and delicious and the chicken and gravy was just wonderful, homey and made me feel all warm and cozy inside!  This is my take on the traditional meal.  There are some "specialty" items for this...  so add to grocery list: chicken stock, unsalted butter, cake flour and buttermilk.  BTW, peas would be a wonderful addition to this dish.  I think you will enjoy this meal no matter what kind of taste palette you have.


    • 3 stalks celery, diced fine
    • 1 onion, diced fine
    • 3 large carrots or about 1 c. baby carrots, chopped
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (not broth)
    • 5 TBSP butter
    • 2/3 c. flour
    • 3-4 chicken breasts
    • extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
    • salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken on baking sheet and drizzle with evoo and salt and pepper.  Place in reheated oven for about 30 minutes.  Take out and either shred of cut into cubes. 

    In large skillet over med- high, drizzle 1 tbsp of evoo and place in all veggies.  Let saute for 10-15 min, turning heat down to med after a few minutes.  You don't want to brown the veggies, just cook until tender. If needed, add some stock so it doesn't brown. 

    In another small skillet, melt butter and mix in flour and cook for 2 minutes to form a roux.  Turn off heat and set aside.  (I started biscuits here and they come together in like 5 minutes) Warm stock and wine in microwave for 2 minutes.  When veggies are very tender, add stock, wine, and roux, whisking constantly to break up the roux.  It should break up and become a smooth and creamy gravy.  Add chicken and let simmer lightly until gravy thickens.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.  

    Serve over warm biscuits.

    makes about 8

    Photo is not of soft sided kind, but you can see the flaky layers.
    • 1 cup AP flour
    • 1 cup cake flour
    • 1 TBSP baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp table salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 6 TBSP unsalted very cold butter, cubed
    • 3/4 c. buttermilk
    • butter for brushing tops


    Preheat oven to 500.

    Whisk all dry ingredients together (flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar).  With pastry cutter, fingers or food processor, work in cold butter until forms a coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and mix until just combined.  Don't overwork or will get tough.  Pour out onto floured surface and pat to 1/2"-3/4" thick.  (thicker means thicker biscuits obviously)  Cut out circles with biscuits cutter (can use glass if don't have biscuit cutter) and place on ungreased cookie sheet touching each other for soft sided biscuits. Gather leftover dough to form one more biscuit.  Brush tops with melted butter.  Place in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.   (I made these fresh for our leftovers)