Saturday, March 22, 2014

Another Appetizer Night!

You know, sometimes it is just fun to ditch the main course and have appetizers for dinner. We do this every couple of months in our extended family just for fun.

Here is our most recent edition!

Prosciutto and Parmesan Pinwheels


1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
5 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
5 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Roll the thawed pastry out onto a flat surface. Spread Dijon mustard, to taste, on the pastry sheets. Cover pastry with a layer of prosciutto, then cheese. Roll the sheets, beginning at the long side. Cut into 1 inch thick sections. Arrange the sections on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Source:, submitted by MOONSEEME. You can find it here.

Notes: These were really tasty. They were a big hit.

Cheesy Ranch Bacon Potato Nuggets with Ranch Dipping Sauce



1 bag (28 oz) frozen potato nuggets (tater tots)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 cup cooked real bacon pieces (from a jar or package)
2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix buttermilk recipe; from 0.4-oz package)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dipping Sauce:

2 containers (5.3 or 6 oz each) plain Greek yogurt
1 package (0.4 oz) ranch dressing mix (buttermilk recipe)


Bake potato nuggets as directed on bag.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss cheese, bacon pieces, and 2 tablespoons dressing mix.

Set oven control to broil. Top baked potato nuggets evenly with cheese-bacon mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

In small bowl, stir together yogurt and 1 package dressing mix. Serve potato nuggets with dipping sauce. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: What a great way to dress up tater tots! These were great, and especially a big hit with the kids. They are great on their own, but don't forget to dip them in the sauce!

Ryan's Reverse Popper Dip


8 slices bacon
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon minced sweet onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 (8 ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
10 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (you can use bottled jalapeno peppers for a milder dip)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a baking rack atop the aluminum foil.

Lay bacon strips in a single layer on the baking rack.

Bake in the preheated oven until crisp, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion in the hot oil until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Coarsely chop 4 slices bacon; mix with bread crumbs in a bowl. Coarsely chop the remaining 4 slices bacon to mix with dip.

Mix Neufchatel cheese, Cheddar cheese, onion-garlic mixture, chopped bacon, jalapeno peppers, cumin, and oregano in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle. Spoon mixture using a rubber spatula into an 8-inch pie pan. Sprinkle bread crumb-bacon mixture over dip.

Bake in the preheated oven until dip is bubbling and topping is lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Source:, submitted by Cat Hill. You can find it here.

Notes: I liked this, but it was spicy. I would substitute the 10 jalapeno peppers with a large bottle of sliced jalapeno peppers, chopped, in the future. Just my personal preference.

Tex-Mex Jalapeno Cheese Ball


1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1 fresh jalepeno pepper, seeded, minced (bottled chopped jalapeno pepper to taste can be substituted)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided


Beat first 3 ingredients in medium bowl with mixer until blended.

Add onions, peppers, cumin, and 1/4 cup cilantro; mix well. Shape into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll in remaining cilantro until evenly coated.

Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: Tasty stuff! I think I would use bottled jalapeno pepper in the future though, just to make it a little less spicy.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup dry red velvet cake mix
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until smooth and creamy.

Serve at room temperature with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or fruit.

Source: Jen's Favorite Cookies. You can find it here.

Notes: This was fantastic. Really rich though, so beware! A little goes a long way.



2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
2 cups mayonnaise
2 pounds sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
Crumbled cooked bacon or thinly sliced green onions, optional
Assorted crackers or chips


In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon, tomatoes, and onions. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with bacon and green onions, if desired. Serve with crackers or chips.

Yield: 6 cups.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: The flavor combination was so good. However, I felt that there was more sauce than needed. I would keep all of the ingredients/amounts the same in the future, but I would only use 1 cup of sour cream and 1 cup of mayonnaise.

Roasted Garlic Dip


3 heads garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tablespoon ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut off the top of the heat of garlic to expose the cloves, trimming about 1/4 inch off the top of each clove. You may need to trim individual cloves along the sides of the head. Brush the cut cloves with a small amount of olive oil, then nestle the head into a piece of aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cloves are tender and nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into a mixing bowl. Mash well with a wire whisk, then add the sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk until evenly blended, then refrigerate 2 to 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Source:, submitted by chase. You can find it here.

Notes: My opinion? This is the perfect dip to serve with regular ruffled potato chips!

Slow Cooker Curry-Mustard Glazed Meatballs


1 (12 oz) jar pineapple preserves
1 (8 oz) jar Dijon mustard
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits in unsweetened juice, undrained
1/2 cup firmly packed darm brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 1/2 lb. frozen cooked Italian meatballs (about 80 meatballs)


In small saucepan, combine all ingredients except meatballs. Bring to a boil. Place meatballs in slow cooker. Stir in preserves mixture.

Cover; cook on High setting for 4 hours, stirring twice. Stir well before serving.

Makes 40 servings.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: These were very tasty and flavorful!

Smoked Sausage Appetizers


3/4 cup red currant jelly
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 packages (1 pound each) miniature smoked sausages, drained


In a large saucepan, combine the jelly, barbecue sauce, and mustard.

Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, for 15-20 minutes or until jelly is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.

Add sausages; stir to coat. Cover and cook 5-6 minutes longer or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with toothpicks.

Yield: 8 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: These were really tasty, and were a big hit with the kids. These went fast!

Salad With a Lot of Stuff In It

I like my salads loaded. Don't you? Well, if you don't, then this salad is not for you!

Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing



6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced or quartered
1-2 avocados
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Half a small red onion, thinly sliced

Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/2 cup oil (olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, etc.)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste


To make the salad:

Toss all ingredients together with your desired amount of dressing until well combined. Serve immediately.

To make the dressing:

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

Source: We found this originally on Facebook. It came from a site called "Gimme Some Oven." You can find it here.

Notes: I would err on the side of going light with the blue cheese because it can be such an overpowering flavor. You can maybe even offer it as a topping that each individual can sprinkle onto their salad. However, this salad was great. Nice and packed with a lot of yummy stuff, just the way I like it!

Another Slow Cooker Side Dish



Slow cookers come in handy for so many different reasons. Sometimes they are a great way to make an extra side dish when the oven is taken up.

Here is a great slow cooker side dish we made recently.

Slow Cooker Smoky Cheese and Potato Bake


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream (1 cup)
1 (7 ounce) round hickory-smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup drained roasted red bell pepper strips (from 7-ounce jar)
1 bag (32 ounces) frozen southern-style cubed hash brown potatoes (8 cups), thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Spray 3 1/2-to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix soup, sour cream and cheese in medium bowl. Gently stir in bell pepper strips.

Arrange half of the potatoes in cooker. Top with half of the sour cream mixture; spread evenly. Top with remaining potatoes and sour cream mixture, spreading evenly. Do not stir.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 5 to 6 hours. Sprinkle chives over potatoes before serving.

Makes 14 servings (1/2 cup each).

Recipe Notes: You can vary the taste by using whatever creamed soup you have on hand, such as cream of onion, chicken, broccoli, etc.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really tasty and it is an easy side dish to throw together and forget about until dinner time.

From My Childhood--Updated

We used to have something called "Pizza Roll-Ups" all the time when I was younger. They were such an easy meal to throw together. They basically consisted of Rhodes Dough, thawed and risen, that had shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni rolled up into it. You then baked it and dipped it in pizza sauce.

Here is my slightly updated version.

Updated Pizza Roll-Ups


12 Rhodes Dough rolls, thawed and risen
Pizza sauce or marinara sauce, plus additional for dipping
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Favorite pizza topping(s)

Optional Parmesan Topping:
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (not fresh, bottled kind such as Kraft)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide dough into six equal portions. On a floured surface, roll or flatten out dough into a circle. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of pizza or marinara sauce on the dough. Top with about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese and desired pizza toppings.

Roll up dough. Lay seam side down on an ungreased jelly roll pan. Repeat with the other five rolls.

If using the Parmesan topping, mix all Parmesan topping ingredients together. Brush mixture evenly over each pizza roll-up (it is okay if you have some extra--in fact, you probably will).

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until pizza roll-ups are nicely browned.

Serve with additional pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes 6 pizza roll-ups (to make smaller, kid-sized pizza roll-ups, divide the dough into 10-12 equal pieces in the first step--this will make 10-12 kid-sized servings).

Source: I'm not sure where my mom found the original recipe from. I always liked them, but always felt that it should have sauce on the inside as well as for dipping. These are great with or without the Parmesan topping. The Parmesan topping was inspired by our favorite Parmesan Rolls recipe. Also, we only ever made cheese pizza roll-ups or pepperoni and cheese pizza roll-ups. However, I love to make Hawaiian ones (with Canadian bacon and pineapple tidbits) as well as roll-ups with black olives, sliced mushrooms, etc. Make them however you like!

Easy Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner--No Recipe Required!

One day while I was flipping through my cookbooks to try and figure out what to make for dinner, I saw a recipe for omelets. I thought, "Heck, I don't need a recipe for those! Those are so easy to make. I know what I am making for dinner tonight!"

It is one of those things that you don't always think to make, but on a night that you are stuck and don't know what to make, it is a tasty, easy, and cheap option.

Two Egg Omelet 


2 eggs
1/4-1/3 cup skim milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded cheese
1-2 thin slices Canadian bacon, roughly sliced or diced

Cooking spray


Heat small skillet pan over medium heat.

Whisk eggs, milk, and salt and pepper.

Spray pan with cooking spray and pour in egg mixture. Allow to cook until it begins to set.

Sprinkle eggs with shredded cheese and Canadian bacon.

Once eggs are set, fold half of the egg mixture over the other. Continue to cook until eggs are done. Then slide omelet onto serving plate.

Better Than Store-Bought


One day, I was craving enchiladas kind of like the kind that you buy frozen at the grocery store (you know, the family size tray of enchiladas that have rice in them). So, I decided to do a search for enchiladas with rice in them, and I found this one.

This recipe totally satisfied my craving and then some. It makes a huge batch of enchiladas (two trays). So, it is a great recipe to feed a crowd, or if you want to freeze a tray for another day, or if you are in need of a dinner to make for your family and take to another family at the same time. This is what I did. I made some for us, and took some to others.

I really loved these. They were so easy. You can make them with either flour or corn tortillas. The choice is up to you. However, if you decide to use corn tortillas, I would suggest frying them in a little hot oil for about 10-15 seconds on each side. This keeps the tortillas from splitting or tearing as you roll them or as they cook. I also used more enchilada sauce (I doubled it) because I like my enchiladas saucy!

Green Sauce Enchiladas


1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white rice
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
3 boneless chicken breast halves, poached and cubed (or shredded)
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (11 ounce) can sweet corn, drained
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 (24 ounce) can green enchilada sauce (I used two 24 ounce cans--one can for each 9x13-inch pan)
24 (6 inch) corn tortillas or 12-16 flour tortillas
Sour cream, optional
Chopped fresh cilantro, optional


In a large skillet, saute rice with butter or margarine. Add chicken broth and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and tender. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Combine chicken, 3/4 pound shredded cheese, corn, cooled rice, cumin, 1/4 cup sauce, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Mix together. Warm tortillas in the microwave for 2 minutes (or lightly fry each tortilla in hot oil). Spread another 1/4 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the second 9x13-inch baking dish.

Place a little of the chicken mixture on each tortilla and roll up. Place filled tortillas in the baking dishes (about 12 filled corn tortillas in each baking dish or about 6-8 flour tortillas in each baking dish). Sprinkle with 1/4 pound shredded cheese and top with any remaining sauce, pouring evenly over all. (Freeze remaining tortillas for future green sauce enchiladas!)

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.    

Serve with sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Source: submitted by smooch. You can find it here

Notes: These were just awesome. I loved them. They were so flavorful. However, they were also mild. Very kid friendly. The cumin and salt and pepper were not in the original recipe. I added it for just a little extra flavor.

No Recipe Required

We had a combined birthday party for the cousins on my side of the family. We decided to do a minion theme (a la Despicable Me). For dessert, we made some minion cupcakes (inspired by Pinterest).

Minion Cupcakes


Frosted cupcakes
Black gel frosting
Black string licorice


Cute Twinkies in half. Place one Twinkie half on each cupcake (standing up). Decorate Twinkies to look like minion faces.

Source: Pinterest (numerous posts--I don't know where the idea originated).

Notes: This was actually quite easy. Practice makes perfect and I improved with each cupcake.

Above: The minion on the first row, far left, is the first one I did. You can tell by the unsteady hand with the black gel frosting. :) As I said, I got better as I went along. The one in the far left on the back row is the last one I did...and it occurred to me that I should have made more with just one eye. Oh well!

Grab and Go Breakfast: Muffins

My husband likes to grab his breakfast and head out the door in the morning. I like baked goods because I can freeze them to have a good stock and selection available. I can either thaw them the night before or he can microwave them for a few seconds in the morning.

These muffins were a great find. I love that they make a really big batch of muffins so that I have a well-stocked freezer.

Addictive Pumpkin Muffins


1 1/2 cups raising
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
6 eggs
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease three 12 cup muffin pans, or line with paper muffin liners. Soak raisins in hot water for ten minutes to plump, then drain.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Source: I found this on It was submitted by MIDNITEJASMINE. You can find it here.

Notes: I wondered how I would feel about the raisins in this recipe. I thought about omitting them or substituting chocolate chips (and I actually love raisins!). However, I decided to follow the recipe as-is before tweaking it. I LOVED the raisins in these muffins! However, they could easily be omitted if you hate them, or you could substitute chocolate chips. 


Panini Power!

Who doesn't love a pressed, warm, melty sandwich? These are two yummy ones we tried recently.

Classic Italian Panini with Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella


1 (12-ounce) loaf French bread, cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese, divided
2 ounces very thin slices prosciutto
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Cooking spray


Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Spread 2 tablespoons mayonnaise over cut side of each bread half. Sprinkle basil and 1/2 cup cheese on bottom half of loaf. Top evenly with prosciutto, tomato slices, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with top half of loaf. Cut filled loaf crosswise into 4 equal pieces.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten sandwiches. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

Yield: 4 servings.

Source: Cooking Light, May 2008, found on MyRecipes. You can find it here.

Ham-and-Cheese Panini


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
8 slices rustic white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
8 slices Gruyere cheese
8 ounced sliced cooked ham


Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat; add shallots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add thyme and continue cooking until onions are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard on one side of a slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese, 2 ounces ham, 1/4 of the shallot mixture, and another slice of cheese. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard on a second slice of bread and place mustard side down on top of cheese to form a sandwich. Repeat process three times with remaining mustard, bread, cheese, ham, and shallots.

Brush top and bottom of each sandwich with olive oil. Place in a panini grill and press until bread is crips and brown, and cheese has melted slightly, 9 to 10 minutes. If using a grill pan, preheat over medium-high heat. Place a heavy pan on top of sandwiches and press down. Cook, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 sandwiches.

Source: Martha Stewart. You can find it here.

Easy Desserts with Fruit

Spring time is here, and that is when I crave desserts with fruit in them. Here are two easy and delicious recipes we found recently.

Easy Peach Cobbler


Two 15-ounce cans sliced peaches in syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup self-rising flour (see cook's note below)
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain 1 can of peaches; reserve the syrup from the other. Place the butter in a 9x13-inch ovenproof baking dish. Heat the butter on the stove or in the oven until it's melted. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Stir in the milk and the reserved syrup. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the baking dish. Arrange the peaches over the batter. Bake for 1 hour. The cobbler is done when the batter rises around the peaches and the crust is thick and golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cook's Note: If you don't have self-rising flour, substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Yield: 8 servings.

Source: This is a recipe by Trisha Yearwood found on Foodnetwork. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: This was so easy and so good. I served mine with vanilla ice cream. I love warm desserts that melt the vanilla ice cream slightly. Yummy stuff. It was also a good way to use up some canned peaches in my food storage. Using canned peaches (as opposed to fresh peaches or peach pie filling) makes it so much easier and also a lot cheaper too. Oh, and while you are making this in a 9x13-inch pan, it really does only serve about 8 adults. You can double it and still fit it in a 9x13-inch pan (though it is a cozy fit, so I would suggest putting it on a cookie sheet or over some tin foil so it doesn't boil over into your oven, just in case). If you double it, it will just take a little longer to cook. Oh, and my apologies that I didn't get a picture of this served individually with ice cream on top. It just got gobbled up too fast! Next time I make this, I will have to take a picture of it with the ice cream.

Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake


2 cups fresh strawberries, crushed
1 (6 oz) package strawberry Jell-O
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 package yellow cake mix


Pour strawberries in a 9x13-inch cake pan.

Sprinkle strawberry Jell-O on top. Top with miniature marshmallows.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour over all.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and turn onto a serving tray (or a jelly roll pan works great). This can be served warm or cold.

Yield: 12 servings.

Source: We saw this originally on Facebook. However, I will note the original recipe sources as a recipe submitted to by parealtor313. You can find it here. It has 4 1/2 stars and over 500 reviews so far.

Notes: This was really easy and very tasty. If you would like, you can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or top it with some vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who Doesn't Love Fruit?

Here is a great, easy, sweet, refreshing, and flavorful fruit salad. The secret to making this fruit salad so easy and tasty? Pie filling!

Sunday Best Fruit Salad


1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
2 apples, peeled and cored
1 (21 ounce) can peach pie filling
2 bananas, peeled and diced
3 kiwis
1 pint strawberries


In a small bowl, toss the chopped apples in reserved pineapple juice. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a large salad bowl, combine the peach pie filling and pineapple chunks.

Remove apples from pineapple juice and add to pie filling and pineapple mixture. Add chopped bananas to reserved pineapple juice and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Peel and slice kiwi and 1/2 of strawberries. Chop the other 1/2 of strawberries and set aside.

Remove bananas from pineapple juice and add to pie filling mixture. Add chopped strawberries; toss together.

Arrange kiwi slices around the edge of the serving bowl and alternate with strawberry slices. Chill and serve.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: Holy cow, this stuff was good. I could have eaten it alone for dinner...or breakfast, lunch, a snack, or dessert. Yummy.

What Kind of Brownies?

I love brownies. Sometimes you come across a brownie with a name that just piques your curiosity. This is one of those recipes.

Brownies + Oreos + Blondies (aka Slutty Brownies with White Chocolate Chips)


Blondie layer:

8 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips

Oreo layer:

1 package of Oreo cookies

Brownine layer:

1 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 to 1 cup white chocolate chips

Use one 9x9 square baking dish.

Makes 16-20 brownies


Blondie layer:

With electric mixer, beat melted butter with brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat just until combined, without over-mixing. Stir in chocolate chips.

Brownie layer:

Mix sugar, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add melted butter to the mixture of dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Add boiling water and stir to combine and thicken the mixture. Add vanilla and eggs, beating with the electric mixer to blend ingredients together. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined. Avoid over-mixing. Stir in white chocolate chips.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

Layer the blondie cookie dough on the bottom of the baking pan. Layer a single layer of Oreos on top of the blondie cookie dough. Pour the brownie batter over the Oreo layer. Break some Oreos into smaller pieces and sprinkle them over the top of the brownie layer.

Bake for 35 minutes or until set on top in the middle. Be careful to avoid over-baking. Cool on rack before cutting into slices. 

Source: We found this recipe on Julia's Album here. It was inspired by this recipe from What's Gaby Cooking?

Notes: These brownies were so yummy...they were really rich. They were also really, really thick. I think you could make them in a pan that is bigger than a 9x9-inch baking pan. I'll have to experiment with that though.

Not the Same Old Rice

As far as side dishes go, do they come any easier than rice? However, you need to mix it up. I'm not a huge fan of just plain rice.

Here's a great and different way to make rice that we found.

Baked Brown Rice


2 cups brown rice
1 teaspoon butter
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Toast rice and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until rice gives off a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Transfer rice to a Dutch oven or lidded casserole dish.

Bring chicken broth, olive oil, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper to a boil in the same saucepan; pour over rice and stir to combine.

Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: I really liked this. The black pepper gave it such a nice kick. Good stuff.

Bottoms Up!

Water is pretty much my favorite drink. Add some ice and I am in heaven. I do realize though that not everyone shares my love of water. So, it is nice to mix it up and have some fun drinks every now and then (and I am talking about something a little more than just Kool-Aid). Here's a fun and easy drink we found recently.

Cherry Bombs (Similar to a Shirley Temple)


2 cups water
1 cup grenadine
1 liter clear citrus soda or seltzer
18 maraschino cherries


Place 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add grenadine; stir to combine. Pour mixture into two ice-cube trays. Freeze until solid, 2 hours or overnight.

Fill six glasses with grenadine ice cubes. Top with soda. Garnish with cherries, and serve.

Source: Delish. You can find it here.

Notes: Yummy, easy, fun, and refreshing. What more could you want in a fun drink?