Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming soon. . .

Tonight I baked some vanilla cupcakes and topped them with chocolate cinnamon buttercream frosting!!  Can't wait to share the recipe!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meatloaf with Panko Bread Crumbs

As a kid, meatloaf was probably my least favorite meal!  I remember watching an episode of Wheel of Fortune years ago where one of the contestants, as he was being introduced, announced that his favorite meal was meatloaf.  This seemed so strange to me at the time.  How could someone's favorite meal be meatloaf???  Well, it will never be my favorite meal but I have learned to appreciate it over the years.  After I got married, I started to search for a great meatloaf recipe.  I have tried many in the seven years I have been married to my hubby, but always went on the search for another recipe to try.  It wasn't until last year that I finally found THE recipe!!  I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time.  I had just been introduced to using Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs and began to wonder if I could use them to make a great meatloaf.  One late afternoon, I began scouring the internet and finally found a recipe that incorporated the Panko bread crumbs and adjusted the seasonings to my taste.  We had it for dinner that evening and it was delicious!  . . . and to top it all off, nine hours later I went into labor.  (No joke- true story folks!)  I will ALWAYS wonder if it was the meatloaf. . .

 Gather your ingredients. . . 

 Here are the Panko (Japanese Style) bread crumbs.  These are also great as a breading for tilapia!  Someday, I will share that recipe!

 Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl!

 Mix well!  Be sure that all the Panko crumbs are distributed evenly throughout the mixture or you will have clumps of Panko in your meatloaf.  Trust me- I speak from experience!

 Form the mixture into a loaf and place into prepared pan.  Drizzle with remaining ketchup.

 Bake @ 350 degrees for one hour.


Meatloaf with Panko Bread Crumbs
1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
3/4 cup ketchup, (DIVIDED)
1 T. salt-free seasoning blend ( I used Mrs. Dash- Original Flavor)
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking pan.  Place the ground beef, eggs, panko crumbs, 1/2 c. ketchup, (reserve 1/4 for topping the meatloaf), seasoning blend, garlic, onion, salt and pepper in bowl and mix well.  Be sure all crumbs are incorporated evenly into the mixture.  Form into a loaf shape, and place in prepared pan.  Drizzle with remaining 1/4 c. ketchup.  Bake 1 hour to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Decorated Cookie Pizza

Last night, I set out to bake some chocolate chip bars for a friend's birthday and it turned into a decorated cookie pizza!  I just started with your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and baked the dough in a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan.  I've never been much of a cookie baker.  I prefer brownies and bar cookies.  I guess, in reality, I love that everything is all in one pan and I don't have all those cookies sheets to deal with later! 

 This is just your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that can be found on the back of any bag of chocolate chips!  I use a little less vanilla and slightly fewer chopped nuts than the recipe calls for- just a personal preference.

 Start with room temperature butter.  Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

 Add the eggs and some vanilla. . .

 Then gradually incorporate the flour mixture (flour baking, baking soda, and salt) mixing well after each addition.

 Fold in 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts).

 Spread dough into greased 15 x10 jelly roll pan.  Note:  I like to chill my dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes before putting into the pan.

 Bake @ 375 degrees for about 20 minuts or until light golden brown.  Cool completely!

I used my flower petal tips to create the sunflowers (#104 for the flowers and #61 for the leaves).  I just piped the chocolate centers from a Zip-loc with the corner cut from it.  I used the #7 writing tip to pipe the message.  I don't always want to take the time to get out  my cake decorating supplies but this made it so much easier to be able to practice some flowers without having to frost an entire cake.  This really took very little frosting!  I'll definitely be making one of these again!!  I might have to make one of these yummy cookie pizzas for MY birthday!!

Chocolate Chip Bars
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla (I use Double Strength Vanilla so I only use 1 tsp.)
3/4 cup(s) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar and brown sugar.  Stir in eggs and vanilla. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.  Spread dough into greased 15 x 10 jelly roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Easy Beef Stroganoff

Tonight, we had Beef Stroganoff for dinner.  My hubby loves the Hamburger Helper version of this but me- not so much.  I found a recipe a few years back on All Recipes but I've tweaked it a little over time.  I will say that tonight I reduced the sour cream significantly because I wanted my 13 month old daughter to be able to enjoy it with us.  It wasn't as rich and creamy as it usually is. So next time, I'll dish out her serving before I add all of the sour cream!  Live and learn!

 Originally, this recipe called for freshly chopped onion but I prefer to use the frozen seasoning blend.  It has onions, celery, peppers, and parsley!  It's great for chili, spaghetti, tacos, etc!!  I always have this in my freezer!!!  There's nothing worse than chopping onions!!

 Here's a closeup of that frozen seasoning blend!

 Start by sauteing the seasoning blend with about a tbsp of EVOO.  (about 3-5 minutes)  You'll want to put a small pot of water on to boil.  This dish is served with egg noodles!

 Then add in a pound of ground beef.  I used lean ground beef.  Drain off the liquid and then stir in the bouillon, garlic powder, salt, pepper.

 Then add the mushrooms!  I ended up using my spatula to roughly chop these.

 Continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are heated through. 

 Remove from heat (very important)!  Then add sour cream and stir.  Remember, I only used half the amount this time.

Stir in the egg noodles!

 Dinner is served!!

Easy Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2tsp. pepper
1 t. beef bouillon granules
2/3 c. onion (I used a frozen seasoning blend.)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
1 1/2 c. egg noodles cooked and drained

In a large skillet, saute onion blend in about a TBSP of olive oil over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.  Add ground beef.  When meat is browned, drain excess fat from skillet.  Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, bouillon and stir in.  Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms are heated through.  Remove from heat (very important) and add sour cream.  Stir in cooked egg noodles.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ladybug 1st Birthday Party

About a month ago, we celebrated our daughter's 1st birthday with a very sweet "ladybug picnic" birthday party!  Just thought I would share in case anyone is in need of some ideas for this theme.  I made most of the decorations using my Cricut machine. 

In the beginning, I had just planned to make this sweet Happy Birthday sign!  Then one thing led to another and I was making picks for my outdoor planters, door signs, and tissue PomPoms!!  I had such a blast making these adorable decorations!!

I made this pick using my Cricut.  The sign is attached to a wooden skewer.

Another sign made using the Cricut!  I used the Mini Monograms cartridge!

 I made these ladybug appetizers to go with our theme!  I used Townhouse Toppers crackers with a little flavored cream cheese, 2 parts of a quartered grape tomato, and a halved black olive!  These were really tasty!

I also made the birthday cake!  This is an 11x15 white cake.  I used two different sized bowls to create the ladybug!  I had so much fun decorating this!!  I wanted to cry when it was time to cut it!!  :)

I also made coordinating chocolate daisy cupcakes and a smash cake for the birthday girl!!

Colorful Bean Salad

Going to the ladies salad luncheon today made me think of the little cookbook I purchased at a previous luncheon.  There are lots of great salad recipes in there!  One of my favorites is the Colorful Bean Salad!  It's a very healthy snack, side, or even meal!  Another great option is to use it as a salsa for tortilla chips!!  It's delicious!!  ( . . . and very easy to make!!)

Colorful Bean Salad

3 T. olive oil
3 T. cider vinegar
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can Mexicorn
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions

Drain and rinse beans.  Drain Mexicorn.  In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients for the dressing.  Mix well.  Add beans, corns, and green onions.  Stir to coat.  Cover and refrigerate!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grape Salad

My sister-in-law Julie gave me this recipe at my bridal shower in '04 and it is definitely a crowd pleaser! A few years ago I was asked to make a salad for the ladies luncheon (fundraiser) at church. When I looked at the signup sheet, all the salads I would've chosen to make were spoken for. However, there was an "other" category. So, I chose this recipe. That same year, the ladies created a cookbook of everyone's salad recipes and the cookbooks were sold at the luncheon. Inadvertently, my recipe for grape salad was left out of the book. When the ladies who were attending the luncheon discovered the error, I was bombarded with requests for the recipe and they all began writing it down in their new cookbooks! Needless to say, the second printing of the book included this recipe!! The following year, as the signup for the salads was passed around the congregation, I began looking at the list of salads that were needed. At the bottom of the list, a new salad was added- Kristi's Grape Salad- and I signed my name next to it! I make this every year!!

Note: I've doubled the recipe in these photos! Remember, I'm making this for a crowd today. The luncheon is tomorrow.

First, you will need 8 cups of red or green grapes. Don't forget to wash them!

You will also need 1 cup of sugar, 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese softened, and a 16 oz. container of sour cream.

Using a mixer, blend the softened cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until creamy. (Note: I should have let my cream cheese soften a little longer! Oops! It will still be delicious!)

Add cream cheese mixture to grapes. . .

. . . and fold the grapes into the cream cheese mixture.

To make the topping, mix together 1 cup pecan pieces and 1 cup brown sugar.

I divided the cream cheese/grape mixture between two crystal serving dishes. (Remember, I doubled the recipe!!!) Finally, sprinkle the pecan/brown sugar mixture over the top of the mixture! Be sure to use it all!! It may seem like a lot but it will settle into the mixture some and get all caramelly (is that a word?) and delicious! This dish is best made the day before you will be serving it!

Grape Salad (original recipe)
4 cups red or green grapes
8 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. sugar

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar with mixer until creamy. Fold in grapes.

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pecan pieces

Mix together and sprinkle on top of grape mixture. Refrigerate overnight! Enjoy!


Welcome to my blog! I've been looking for a place to put all of my favorite recipes and lots of new ones too and this seemed like a good place! I can't wait to get started!!