Jun 30, 2008

French Banana Cake

This has got to be the best banana cake I have ever tasted. It is perfect for a summer treat, because it is served chilled. If you do not like frosting, try it covered in fresh whipping cream and sliced bananas. Either way you can't go wrong! Enjoy!

2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 package white cake mix
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups very ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup walnuts, optional

Mix water, vinegar and soda. Combine with cake mix and eggs. Stir until moistened. Scrape bowl with spatula. Add mashed bananas. Beat with electric mixer 3 min. at medium speed. If you choose to, add your walnuts at this time. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min. (or until toothpick comes out clean) Frost, when cooled, with creamy butter frosting

Creamy Butter Frosting

4 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp soft butter (real butter tastes best, or margarine)
cream or milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix powdered sugar and butter, adding enough cream or milk to make it right consistency of icing. Add vanilla. Frost banana cake and store in fridge.

* This cake is even better served the next day!
*Cute idea: Right before you serve this cake, slice up a couple of fresh banana's and sprinkle on top

Barbequed Spare Ribs

4 lbs. spare ribs

1 onion, diced
1 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. worchester sauce
4 Tbsp. vinegar
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350

1-Prepare sauce, and pour over spare ribs.
2- Bake at 350 covered for 1 hour 45 min,
3- Bake uncovered for about 15 min.

Colada Cooler

This drink is so delicious. And is so refreshing, on a hot summer day! This recipe makes about 24 servings. If you are having a few guests over, double the recipe.

2 cans (12 oz each) frozen pina colada mix concentrate, thawed
2 cans (12 oz. each) frozen white grape juice, thawed
6 cups cold water
12 cups (about 3 liters) sprite/7 up
Lemon and Lime slices

1- Mix pina colada and juice concentrates in large container. Stir in water
2. Just before serving, pour into punch bowl. Add pop and lemon and lime slices. Pour over ice in glasses.

* For a more "slushy" version freeze the juice concentrate mix and water. Break up with a fork and pour pop over the top!

* Cute idea: You can make this a really "pretty" drink. Serve in goblet glasses. Add a lemon, and lime wedge to the side of the glass. And for a bit of color on top, add a marchino cherry. Very cute!

Jun 26, 2008

Easy Peach Cobbler

We all know July and August are the best time to buy peaches. Make the most out of those fruit stands, and those juicy peaches your stocking up on. This makes for the most delicious peach cobbler, and it is SO easy! Enjoy!

8 large peaches
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. shortening
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder

Grease an 8" square baking dish. Peel and slice peaches into pan. Combine flour, sugar, salt, shortening, egg and baking powder into dough and crumble dough on top of peaches. Bake a 350 for 30 min. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipping cream

Pinenut Pasta Salad

This is a great salad. Especially for those who don't really love just salad. It mixes in the pasta so it makes it pretty filling and delicious! This is really yummy served w/ the grilled pork chops!

1 pound pasta, cooked according to the directions on the package (I love to use rotini)
1/2 c. pinenuts, toasted (or you can use almonds if you don't care for the taste of pinenuts)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
2 (4oz.) cans sliced olives, drained
1 (6 oz.) package feta cheese, crumbled
3-4 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped (not small, med. size chunks)

1/2 c. olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Prepare dressing, and salad. Drizzle dressing over salad. Serve chilled or immediately

Grilled Pork Chops

I really don' t like pork chops, but I tried this recipe and I really like it. It's makes for a great 4th July BBQ, especially when your feeding a lot of people. Pork always costs less than steak, but is nicer than just burgers!

1 pound pork chops

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. fine herbs (bought at the store in one bottle. It's a mix of tarragon, parsley, and chives)
1 large clove garlic, minced

Mix together marinade ingredients and pour over chops. Marinate overnight or all day long. Drain and reserve marinade. Grill pork chops, basting with marinade, until meat in no longer pink inside (about 10-15 min) Use one marinade recipe for every pound of pork

Jun 15, 2008

Veggie Pizza

This is one of my very favorite recipes EVER! It is great to make for parties or family get together's, because it makes for a good amount of food. And even the little kids like this one. If you have kids and they don't like their veggies try this one, and I bet they eat it! My little one's love it!

2 big cans refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill weed
1 cup mayo
Veggies diced up VERY small: Broccoli florets, julienned carrots, cucumbers, red pepper, green pepper

1. Spread crescent rolls onto a baking sheet, and cook as directed on the can.
2. Remove from oven and let it cool completely
3. In a small bowl mix mayo, cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, and dill weed Stir together until all ingredients are mixed well and it's creamy
4. Spread mayo mixture over cooled crescent rolls
5. Sprinkle sliced up veggies all over the top

*This is not only delicious but pretty too. All the colors together make it look great and that you spent a lot of time preparing it (when you didn't at all!)

*Note: You can buy julienned carrots from the store (they are sometimes called toothpick sliced) they are next to the packages of baby carrots. This makes it easier and saves time so you don't have to cut up all those small pieces!

Marinated Turkey Breasts

To be honest, I am NOT a fan of turkey to say the least. But once I tried this I had a different opinion. (I still won't eat Thanksgiving turkey though!!) We grill on the BBQ all summer and this is a nice break from the regular burgers, and steaks. It's a must try. All the guys LOVE this one!

4-6 Turkey breasts, cut into large strips.
(Turkey breast's are usually cut thick when you buy them, so I cut them horizontally in half to make them thinner. If they are too thick they will take to long to cook and will likely burn)

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup soy sauce (I usually do 3/4)
2 cups 7 up/Sprite
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or more to taste if you like)

Let these soak for at least an hour, 3-5 hours is usually perfect. I don't recommend letting them marinade overnight they turn out too salty.

Once the turkey is done marinading, cook on med heat on the grill until no more pink is left in the middle of the breast.

Mom's Easy Score Cake

1 Box chocolate cake mix
1 Box chocolate pudding (not instant)
5 score candy bars
whipping cream/vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Cook cake mix as directed on the box
2.Cook pudding on stove top as directed on the box
3.Place score candy bars in a freezer bag, and crush up w/ a rolling pin
4. When cake is finished, let it cool and cut it into large squares
5. Place cut up cake squares in a LARGE glass bowl, take a tooth pick and make holes in each square of cake
6.When pudding has finished cooking, and has thickened up, let it stand for about 2-3 min.
7. Poor 1/2 of warm pudding mixture over the cake
8. Top with half of your crushed score bars
9. Do one more layer of pudding, and another layer of candy bars.

*Serve WARM, in bowls and top with fresh whipping cream or vanilla ice cream! This is the EASIEST dessert, and soooo yummy! Thanks Mom!

Jun 12, 2008

Andrea's Taco Bake

This is just so good, you HAVE to try it! If you like tacos or Mexican food you will LOVE this! And even better it takes only ten minutes to prepare.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can chili (Nalley brand, original)
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chili's (they come together in one can)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can stewed tomatoes Italian style
2-3 cups cheese of your choice (I use Mexican blend)
1 bag Tostitos Lime corn chips
1/2 cup green pepper
1/2 cup yellow onion
1 package taco seasoning (I use McCormick)

1.Pre-heat oven to 375
2. Brown ground beef on the stove, and when it's still a little pink and your green pepper and onion. Cook until veggies are soft.
3. Rinse and drain your ground beef mixture. Place back in pan
4. Add packet of taco seasoning (I only use 3/4 of a packet) to the meat. Stir until the meat mixture is coated
5. Pour seasoned meat mixture in a deep baking dish
6.Add your can of chili, corn, diced tomatoes and green chili's stir well into meat mixture
7. In a separate bowl pour your can of stewed tomatoes, and take your hand and mush them up really good. Be sure to mash up any large chunks. Drain off excess juice.
8. Add stewed tomatoes to meat mixture. Stir well mixing all ingredients.
9. Flatten out your meat mixture in your baking dish and add one thin layer of cheese
10. Crush up with your hands the lime chips, enough to cover the cheese layer you just put on your meat mixture
11. Add another layer of cheese
12. Bake until bubbly and hot.
*I serve this warm with sour cream and salsa on top. If you would like you can add shredded lettuce, olives, avocado.... whatever toppings you like!

Easy Apple Crisp

This is SO SO SO good! And it is by far the easiest recipe for Apple Crisp I have ever come across. It's best topped with whipping cream (fresh) or served warm with vanilla ice cream!

4-5 tart apples, peeled and sliced (granny smith are the best)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cube butter, melted
1 yellow cake mix

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350
2. Place apples in a 9x13 baking dish. Spread evenly around the dish
3. Pour cake mix in a medium size bowl. Add the cinnamon and sugar. Mix well with a spoon or fork.
4. Pour melted butter over the cake mix, and mix together with a fork (Mixture will be lumpy)
Just be sure that all of the cake mix is "wet" looking, to ensure that it has been fully coated with the butter.
5. Take you hand and sprinkle the wet cake mix over the apples, spreading evenly. There will be some large clumps stuck together but that's ok! It's supposed to be this way!
6. Bake at 350 for 35 min. or until golden brown on top

Jun 9, 2008

Cran- Stawberry Margarita Punch

6 cups cran-strawberry juice cocktail, chilled
2 cups water
3/4 cups frozen limeade concentrate (from 6oz can)
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate (from 6oz. can)

Mix all ingredients in a one gallon pitcher. Serve cold

*To add a little zip to this drink serve it with lime wedges.

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

2 packages Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
1 cup mayo or miracle whip
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)
8 medium green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
6 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped (chunky)
Paprika (if desired)

1. Cook pasta as directed on package, be sure to rinse with cold water, and shake off excess water
2. Stir together seasoning mixes from pasta mixes, add mayo, mustard, onions, and celery in a large bowl. Stir in pasta and chopped eggs until evenly coated. Garnish with a few x-tra green onions and paprika on top

* You can eat this right away, or serve it chilled it's great both ways!

Grilled BBQ Subs

2 loaves French bread
1 pound sliced ham (from the deli)
1 pound sliced salami (Salami is a fatty meat, so for a healthier option I like to use Turkey pastrami. you also get this from the deli.)
8oz. (1/2 pound) sliced swiss cheese
8 oz. (1/2 pound) sliced cheddar cheese
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (regular flavor)

1. Heat up your grill
2. Take the bread loaves and cut all the way down the center, cutting completely through. So when you are finished the loaf is in two pieces.
3.Arrange half of ham, salami and cheeses on each bottom loaf half. Spread BBQ sauce over the meat and cheese. Add tops of loaves; secure with toothpicks
4.Wrap each loaf in heavy aluminum foil. Grill covered 3-4 inches from the bottom of the grill over medium heat for about 15 min. or until cheese is melted and sandwiches are hot.

*This is a fun meal to try on the grill. A little different than your regular BBQ! If you are cooking for a small amount of people (2) just use one loaf of bread, and half all the ingredients. If you don't care for the meats I used above choose something to your liking. I have used just ham before for my kids, and it was great. It's like a giant ham sandwich!

Jun 4, 2008

Sour Cream Enchiladas

This recipe is very quick, easy are REALLY good! It's one of my kids' favorites!

3-4 chicken breasts, fat trimmed off, then wrapped in tin foil (individually)
1 carton sour cream (large)
1 can cream chicken soup
1 can green chilies, drained
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
olives (optional)
shredded cheese, divided
large tortillas

1-cook individually wrapped chicken breast in the oven at 375, or until pink is gone. Shred w/ a fork
2-In a medium bowl combine sour cream, soup. set aside 1 1/2 cups
3-After reserving the 1 1/2 cups continue to mix shredded chicken, green chilies, pepper, salt, olives and 1 cup shredded cheese to the remaining soup mixture.
4-Stir well and coat evenly
5- Lay out tortillas in a greased baking dish, and fill them with as much mixture you would like
6-When the pan is full, top with the 1 1/2 cups reserved sauce. Then cover with remaining shredded cheese.
7- Bake in the oven at 375 until bubbly, and cheese is melted.

*I serve this with spanish rice. Makes for a great meal!

Ice Ring

Ice rings are so fun to make because you can do so many different things with them. And they are super easy, and can "dress up" any punch bowl!

4 c. DISTILLED water, divided
Any food, item (s) you wish to add to your ice ring
cooking spray

You will need a ring mold to do this (Wal Mart) or if you have a bunt pan, that will work too.)

1-pour 1 c. of distilled water into your mold or pan. (I usually don't measure I just fill it a little less than half way)
2-now use whatever food item, or object you would like to use in your mold. Place it in the mold in a creative pattern.
3-Carefully place in the freezer and freeze till it's solid
4-Take out of freezer and add remaining water
5- Freeze again till solid

*After your ice ring is complete, to loosen it from the mold take it and place it in a pan of hot water, until it separates from the sides of the mold. Flip upside down and let it float in your punch bowl.

Cute idea: When adding items to your ring, think outside the box! Fruit is always pretty (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mint leaves, cherries, green apple slices...) But if you are throwing a baby shower or bridal shower, look at the dollar store for some little plastic babies, or little wedding rings.... Anything will work really because most likely it will float after the ring has melted! This is something you could allow yourself to get really creative with! Have fun!

Lime Slush

Perfect for those hot summer days. This will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks!

1 can lime aid
3 cans water
3 cups sugar
8 cups water

1- Place all ingredients in a large tupper ware container and freeze over night
2- when it is totally frozen, crush up with a fork and pour sprite over the top3

*If you want a little x-tra zip squeeze a slice of fresh lime your glass.

*Cute Idea: I have served this at a baby shower before and I served it in goblets. She was having a girl, so I went to the store and bought crystallized sugar granules (they come in lots of colors) and I bought pink. I then took the rim of my goblet glass, dipped it in honey, and then dipped it in a bowl of the sugar! They turned out adorable! All the pink crystals were around the rim of the glass!

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

This is an awesome crock pot recipe! Just pop it in, let it cook, and bam! Dinners done!

2 bottles BBQ sauce (Honey Smoked)
1/2 c. green pepper chopped
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 small cans crushed pineapple (drain juice)
1 large chicken breast per person
Condiments of your choice (Chinese noodles, mandarin oranges, shredded coconut, green onions, water chestnuts, cheese, shredded cooked carrots...)

1- Place all ingredients in a crock pot, let cook for 6 hours.

* When this is all done, I shred the chicken chicken, and serve it over rice. I set out bowls with different condiments in them and serve it kind of buffet style. It is sort of comparable to Hawaiian haystacks. Make sure to use the leftover juice in the crock pot to pour over the rice!

Super Easy Fruit Dip

1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tub cool whip, thawed
1 can sweetened condensed milk

1.Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with hand mixer until smooth.
2.Refrigerate and chill before serving

*Great with any kind of fruit!! Also use this dip to make a delicious fruit pizza. Simply buy 2 cans refrigerated cookie dough, spread on a baking sheet. Cook cookie dough as directed on the can. Let it cool completely. Smother with fruit dip, and top with desired fruits! Another great, light summer treat!

Chicken And Broccoli Pot Pies

1 rotisserie chicken
2 c. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained well
1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese
1/2 c. bottled alfredo sauce
1/2 c. milk with 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour whisked in
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chopped parsley (or use parsley flakes)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 pkg. 15 oz. refrigerated pie crusts, room temp.

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Cut rotisserie chicken meat into 1 inch chunks (I usually do them smaller than this)
3.In a large saucepan over med. heat combine chicken chunks, broccoli, cheese, alfredo sauce, milk mixture, paprika, parsley and pepper. Stir until it thickens and is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool for about 10 min.
4.To prepare your pie crust, place on a floured work surface; lightly roll out with rolling pin. With a sharp knife, cut pie crust into 1/2 in. thick strips. Set aside
5. Divide cooled chicken among four oven safe bowls for individual pies
6. Top each bowl with pie crusts in a lattice pattern
7. Place bowls on a baking sheet, to catch any overflow. Bake at 30 -35 min, until golden brown, and filling is hot and bubbly.

*If you don't wish to make individual pies you can place all of the mixture in a LARGE pie bowl, just make sure that it is deep.

Chocolate Berry Parfaits

This is a great summer treat, not to heavy, and delicious if you served it chilled. Great for those hot summer night BBQ'S! When I make these, I serve them in goblet (wine glasses) they look really cute. If you dont own any goblet's go pick some up at the dollar $tore!

2 c. broken (not crushed) graham crackers or Nilla wafers (Oreos are great too)
2 c. Instant chocolate pudding
2 c. fresh raspberries, or sliced strawberries
1/2 c. light cool whip, thawed
additional berries optional

1. In goblet glass place about 4 tablespoons of your choice of crushed cookies
2. Add 1/3 c. of pudding and 1/4 cup berries
3.Sprinkle a few more cookies
4. Blend remaining pudding in a bowl with your cool whip, and add a heaping spoonful to your goblet
5. cover with additional berries.

* I have also tried this using white chocolate pudding, chocolate cookies, and raspberries. And it was delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispies

This is literally a ten minute dessert! Really great if your in a pinch for time, but want a sweet after dinner!

1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice crispies
1 package almond chocolate bark

1. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a large pot on the stove. Mix these two together until the sugar is dissolved. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (the sugar sticks to bad if you use plastic)
2.When the sugar has dissolved add your peanut butter, and stir until it is mixed well. Reduce the heat.
3. Stir in your rice crispies, mix thoroughly coating all of the cereal.
4. Place cereal mixture in a COATED 9x9 baking dish
5. Melt almond bark in the microwave until melted thoroughly
6.Pour melted bark over the top of the rice crispies and spread evenly with a spatula

*If you don't want to make a 9x9 pan, you can still use this same recipe, but use less chocolate and a smaller baking pan. They will just be thicker, thus because if using a smaller pan. I do this if I am just making them for the 4 of us.

Chicken In A Roll

I know there are many diff. versions of this, but this is my family's favorite. I hope you like it too!

8oz. cream chese, sofetned (you can use low-fat, but NOT fat free)
2/3 cup up green onions
1/4 c. butter (melted)
2 oz. canned mushrooms
3 medium chicken breasts cooked/cubed
2 cans crescent rolls (I actually use 1 can, but I but the LARGE crescent rolls they are 50% bigger)
2 pkgs chicken gravy (brown gravy is also good)
Black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
1.Cut away excess fat from chicken, cut in cubes, coat w/ a generous amount of black pepper, cook fully, browning slightly. set aside.
2.Mix softened cream cheese, onions, mushrooms, and chicken in a medium bowl. Stir until everything is coated with the cream cheese.
3. Take your crescent rolls and lay them out on a baking dish. Take one heaping spoonful of the chicken mixture and place it on the wide end of the crescent. Roll up and seal all the edges on the roll.
4.With your hand, or a cooking brush apply the butter the top of the crescent roll, place in oven to bake. Bake at 375 for about 12 min, or until lightly golden brown
5. Top with gravy, and serve warm!

Brunch Casserole

This recipe is super easy, and my kids love it. Even better, you can make it the night before, put it in the fridge, and cook it the following morning! It doesn't get any easier than that!

1 lb. spicy pork sausage (I use Jimmy Dean it's not too spicy)
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
3 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
12 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c. milk (do not use skim)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I just use however much it takes to cover the top)

1.Brown sausage in a medium skillet, stirring until thoroughly cooked. Add peppers, and saute 5 min. or until tender
2.Place hash browns in a lightly greased 3 quart baking dish. Top with cooked sausage mixture. Combine eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended; pour egg mixture over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for one hour or until golden and set.

* To make this night before, cook your sausage and peppers, and place in freezer bag, put in fridge. Put your hash browns in your greased baking dish, cover w/ plastic wrap and place in fridge. In a large bowl place your eggs, milk, and salt mixture cover and place in fridge. In the morning you have everything ready to go, just place it all in the baking dish, and pop it in the oven!