Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pie Night 2016! Part 2

 The Pie Night 2016 recipes continue!

Chocolate Chip Funny Cake Pie


Top Layer:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk

Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/3 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Additional Ingredients:

9" pie crust
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, and egg.

In a separate bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with milk.

Mix just until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa. Add the hot water and vanilla and mix until combined completely.

Use a store bought single pie crust or your favorite pie crust recipe and press it into a pie plate.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust, then spoon the cake batter over the top of the chocolate. Use the back of the spoon to gently spread the batter over top. Be careful while doing this, but don't worry if it doesn't cover the whole top. It will spread as it bakes. You want the fudgy chocolate to stay on the bottom of the pie and not get mixed in.

Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the pie.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 27-30 minutes, or until the cake is set.

Source: Tastes of Lizzy T's. You can find it here.

Notes: If you can't help but miss having cake--even on Pie Night--then this recipe is for you!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cherry Cheesecake Pie


1 (16.5 oz) roll refirgerated chocolate chip cookie dough
2 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cans (21 oz.) Lucky Leaf Regular or Premium Cherry Fruit Filling, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Press cookie dough evenly into bottom and sides of a deep dish (2" deep) 9" pie plate.

Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool completely. While crust is cooling, prepare filling. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in 1 can of cherry fruit filling.

Pour filling into cooled crust.

Bake 55-70 minutes (or until filling is set and golden brown at 350 degrees F.

Cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with remaining can of cherry fruit filling.

Source: Lucky Leaf website. We found the recipe in a mailer. You can find it here.

Notes: My mom substituted raspberry pie filling because she doesn't think enough of us like cherries. This was good, but it would have been better with the cherry pie filling as called for in the original recipe.

Raspberry Peach Pie


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold water


4 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
3 cups fresh raspberries


In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Roll out pastry to fit in a 9-in. pie plate.

Transfer to pie plate; trim and flute edges. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights.

Bake at 450 degrees F. for 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large saucepan, combine the peaches, sugar, and juice. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir into peach mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Fold in raspberries. Spoon into crust.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 8 servings.

Recipe Note: Let pie weights cool before storing. Beans and rice may be reused for pie weights, but not for cooking.

Nutrition information: 1 slice equals 333 calories, 8 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 149 mg sodium, 63 g carbohydrate, 39 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, recipe by Jean Boelsma, Bethel, Maine. You can find it here.

Notes: Our pie ended up a lot juicier than the recipe pictured. It was still tasty though. You can also substitute a frozen 9" pie crust.

Snickerdoodle Pie


1 single unbaked pie crust
1 tablespoon raw or coarse sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out single pie crush and line a 9" pie plate with the crust. Crimp edges as desired.

In a bowl, combine the tablespoon of coarse or raw sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Brush the 2 teaspoons of melted butter on the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, water, corn syrup, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the brown sugar. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the 1/4 cup softened butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat in the egg and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the milk, just until combined. Add in the flour, and beat to combine.

Spread the cookie mixture evenly into the pie dish. Slowly pour the syrup over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Cover the edges of the pie with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the top of the pie is puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 more minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with cinnamon ice cream or vanilla ice cream dusted with cinnamon.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 16th Edition, found on a blog called Taste and Tell. You can find the blog post here. You can find the cookbook here.

Chocolate Banoffee Pie


One 9" pie crust, baked (or you can use a chocolate or graham cracker crumb crust)
1/2 cup good quality dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 or 2 firm, but ripe, bananas
Lemon juice for bananas
One (14 oz) can of caramel flavored condensed milk or dulce de leche
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Chocolate sprinkles, optional


Place the chocolate in a small pan along with 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Stir constantly over low heat until the chocolate melts and becomes a smooth, thick sauce (ganache). Remove from heat.

Slice the bananas and toss with a little lemon juice, then arrance slices on the bottom of the pie crust.

Pour the caramel flavored condensed milk or dulce de leche over the bananas.

Pour the ganache over the condensed milk, and smooth evenly. Place in fridge for at least an hour.

Whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form, but be careful not to over whip. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream over the top of the pie, leaving the center open, if desired. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Chocolate Chocolate and More. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good and so easy too. You could also make it without the bananas, if you prefer.

Caramel Custard Pie


Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges. Combine brown sugar and flour; press into pastry.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt; pour over brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning, if necessary. Cool on a wire rack; sprinkle with nutmeg. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 piece equals 277 calories, 10 g fat, 89 mg cholesterol, 201 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 28 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 6g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, recipe by Roger Clapper of Delavan, Wisconsin. You can find it here.

Notes: I'm not sure why this has such a low review on the Taste of Home website. I thought this was fantastic. My caramel was not gritty (as some people complained theirs was) and my custard was not curdled. This is a great pantry friendly pie.

Old-Fashioned Custard Pie


Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt


Unroll pastry sheet into a 9-inch pie plate; flute edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice. bake on a lower oven rack 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove foil and weights; bake 3-6 minutes longer or until bottom is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into crust. Cover edges with foil. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

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

Notes: This is another recipe with surprisingly low reviews, but it it is so easy and absolutely fantastic. The confusion for many reviewers was because they didn't read the recipe carefully enough and didn't bake the pie crust prior to filling it with the custard filling--and THEN complete the baking of the pie. It's so important to read the whole recipe all the way through before you start making it!

Sugar Cream Pie


Pastry for a deep dish single-crush pie (9 inches)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.

Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 375 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Transfer to crust; sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack; refrigerate until chilled.

Yield: 8 servings.

 Source: Taste of Home, recipe submitted by Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana. You can find it here.

Notes: I used a frozen pie crust. I used a regular 9" pie crust the first time and I had way more filling than I could fit in the crust and what I did get in there overflowed. I made it again using a deep dish pie crust and it worked so much better. This pie was absolutely delicious and so, so easy!

Ladyfinger Ice Cream Cake


2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 jar (16 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping
1 package (8 ounces) toffee bits
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened
3 cups coffee ice cream, softened


Arrange ladyfingers around the edge and on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.

Spoon vanilla ice cream into prepared pan. Top with a third of the ice cream topping and toffee bits. Freeze for 20 minutes. Repeat layers, using chocolate and coffee ice creams (pan will be full). Freeze overnight or until firm.

Yield: 16 servings.

Nutrition facts: 1 slice equals 365 calories, 16 g fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 184 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 35 g sugars, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, recipe by Barbara McCalley of Allison Park, Pennsylvania. You can find it here.

Notes: I love Tiramisu and I am always on the lookout for a caffeine free version. Kroger has a Private Selection Coffee Ice Cream that is fantastic (and uses coffee extract, so it is caffeine free). I would suggest putting the coffee layer of ice cream on the bottom though because it is very strong and that would help to even out the flavors a bit.

Above: Dishonorable Mention: Fruity Pebbles No-Bake Cheesecake Pie. We made this for the kids, but it was awful. Too, too sickeningly sweet. Not sweet in a good way, just sickeningly sweet. The kids liked the looks of it, but not the taste of it. However, if you still want to brave it, you can find the recipe here.

Pie Night 2016! Part 1


It happens every year because we love our pie! We made some good pie finds this year too! Enjoy!

Almond Butter-Chocolate Delight Pie



1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

Chocolate Filling:

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Almond Butter Filling:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed


1 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds


Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch pie plate.

In medium bowl, microwave whipping cream uncovered on High 30 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. Spread chocolate filling over bottom of baked shell. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, almond butter, and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Carefully spread over chocolate filling.

Spread whipped topping over almond butter filling. Mix toasted coconut and toasted almonds. Sprinkle over whipped topping. Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until set. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Recipe Notes: Coconut can be toasted 5 to 7 minutes on ungreased small cookie sheet while oven preheats. Then almonds can be toasted 8 to 10 minutes on same cookie sheet after removing coconut.

Source: Pillsbury. You can find it here.

Notes: Oooh, this was a good pie. Plus, it was a pretty pie.


Root Beer Float Pie


1 container (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed, divided
3/4 cup cold diet root beer
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
Maraschino cherries, optional


Set aside and refrigerate 1/2 cup whipped topping for garnish. In a large bowl, whisk the root beer, milk, and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Fold in half of the remaining whipped topping. Spread into graham cracker crust.

Spread remaining whipped topping over pie. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Dollop reserved whipped topping over each serving; top with a maraschino cherry, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 piece equals 185 calories, 8 g fat, trace cholesterol, 275 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 14 g sugar, trace fiber, 1 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, submitted by Cindy Reams, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really yummy. Plus, you can't beat how light this is. Though you won't feel deprived because of how light this is. It is still satisfying.


Samoas Cookie Pie


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, loosely filled, not packed
Two-third of one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (about 10 ounces)
4 to 5 ounces salted caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted for drizzling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt butter (about 1 minute).

Let cool slightly. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Whisk until smooth.

Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined; be careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pie dish, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until edges firm up slightly and center has set slightly.

Remove pie dish from oven and evenly sprinkle 3/4 cup chocolate chips over the crust. Sprinkle the coconut evenly on top of the chocolate chips.

Evenly drizzle the sweetened condensed milk on top of the chocolate chips. Evenly drizzle the caramel sauce over the sweetened condensed milk.

Return pie to oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until there's slight bubbling near the edge of the pie plate and the center has become more set. The cookie pie will continue to firm up more as it cools. In the last 10 minutes of baking, watch the pie carefully to avoid burning. If you are worried about the pie being underdone or the coconut burning, you can tent it lightly with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Allow pie to cool in pie plate on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate for drizzling by adding 3/4 cup chocolate chips to a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for about 1 minute. Stir chocolate. If needed, return to microwave for another 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Repeat, if necessary.

Evenly drizzle the chocolate on top of the pie in long vertical lines, parallel to each other, spaced about 1/2-inch apart. The pie doesn't need to be completely cooled before drizzling the chocolate on top.

Allow pie to cool completely on wire rack for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Source: Averie Cooks. You can find it here.

Notes: Who doesn't love Samoas? This was yummy stuff.


No-Bake Birthday Cake Cheesecake


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup birthday cake mix (like Funfetti cake mix)
1 graham cracker pie crust, store-bought or homemade
Rainbow sprinkles, for decorating

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Add softened cream cheese and sugar and stir until completely combined and no clumps remain.

Fold in birthday cake mix.

Pour mixture into prepared pie crust, smoothing over top with a rubber spatula. Top with sprinkles, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours.

Source:, recipe by Lindsay Funston. You can find it here.

Notes: This was also a yummy pie. You could also use a plain white cake mix instead of a cake mix with colored sprinkles in it.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Easy Recipes are a Must Right Now


I have a baby (who is almost a year old--crazy--but he still takes up a ton of my time and energy), we just moved into a new house, everyone is about to start a new school, life is kind of crazy right now and I don't have much time to cook. That's why a recipe like this is so appreciated. It took hardly any time at all and that is a must for me right now.

Root Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken


2 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1 cup root beer


Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. (Or use slow cooker liners like I do)

Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper, and place inside slow cooker. Pour in barbecue sauce and root beer; spread around. Cover and cook on high heat setting 2 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker, and use two forks to shred. Place chicken back in slow cooker on warm heat setting; simmer 30 minutes. Serve on burger buns, as desired.

Source: Pillsbury. You can find it here.

Notes: The root beer added some nice depth to this rather than just cooking the chicken in barbecue sauce alone. I used frozen chicken breasts and it took about four hours before they could be shredded. Then I left it on "warm" until we were ready to eat dinner. Very easy and tasty.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Oh, I Just Love Brownies!


I've mentioned before that one of my favorite desserts ever is a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Simple, but soooo delicious. I love how easy brownies are to make, but how gooey and delicious they are. Besides the brownies I am posting today, be sure to check out these other wonderful brownies we have posted in the past: S'more Brownies, Speedy Brownies (one of my tried and true, go-to favorites that I have posted in this post as well), Baker's One Bowl Brownies (also posted in this post), Mexican Brownies, Zucchini Brownies, Guilt-Free Brownies (with a secret ingredient--okay, here's the secret, it's prune baby food), Brownies+Oreos+Blondies, Cookie Dough Brownies, and Triple Fudge Brownies (with only 3 ingredients!).

Oh, and does your recipe call for unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate when you only have cocoa powder on hand? Well, then THIS is the recipe for you. You can turn your cocoa powder into unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate. Yay!

Oh, and while I am a brunette, I haven't left out the blondies.


Baker's One Bowl Brownies


1 pkg. (4 oz) Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray foil with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans, if using. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake) Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

Kraft Kitchens Tip:

Cake-Like Brownies: Prepare as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup milk along with the eggs and vanilla, and increasing the flour to 1 1/2 cups.

Source: Kraft recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: These are so good and fudgy. I always skip the nuts because of my son's tree nut allergy.

Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Frosting


1 pkg. (4 oz) Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
1 pkg. (16 oz) powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk


Microwave chocolate in large microwaveable bowl on high 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minutes.

Add sugar, butter and vanilla. Gradually add milk, beating constantly with mixer on low speed until blended.

Kraft Kitchens Tips: Recipe makes enough to frost tops and sides of 2 (8- or 9-inch) cake layers, top and sides of 13x9-inch cake, tops of 3 (8- or 9-inch) cake layers or tops of 2 cupcakes.

If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until frosting is of desired spreading consistency.

Source: Kraft recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: I don't have a picture of this because I don't usually frost my brownies, but this is a good, tasty, and reliable chocolate frosting recipe.


Speedy Brownies


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl, beat the first seven ingredients. Pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Yield: about 3 dozen.

Nutrition information: 1 serving equals 155 calories.

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

Notes: I always laugh when recipes like this give you a yield of 3 dozen. Seriously? How small do they think I cut my brownies?


 Above: Sometimes I use mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, sometimes I use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, and sometimes I use milk chocolate chips for these brownies. They are fantastic no matter what. (The picture at the top of this recipe is with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and this one is with milk chocolate chips).

Best Brownies


1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder


3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To make frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

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

Notes: I didn't frost mine, but these were really delicious. 


So Good Brownies


4 (1-oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squared
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in flour, vanilla, and salt.

Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 to 44 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil, and cut brownies into 16 squares.

Source: Southern Living, found on MyRecipes. You can find it here.

Notes: You will notice the similarities to the Baker's One Bowl Brownies, with a few slight differences as well as some stir-in and topping suggestions (which I did not include here, as I did not use them). So, be sure to check out the link to see if any of the stir-ins or topping ideas are something you would like to try. The recipe says, "Our users rave over this fudgy brownie recipe. This is our adaptation of a recipe many of our foodies use from Baker's Chocolate. Bonus? All the variations, like Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies, Candy-and-Pretzel Brownies, and Toasted Coconut-Cashew Brownies, mean you can make these time after time and create something new and delicious with each pan."

Time for Something a Little Sloppy

Here are two new Sloppy Joe recipes for you. We have two old favorites (Sloppy Joe's and Sloppy Giuseppe's), which you can find here. Oh, and here's a debate for you call them Sloppy Joe's, or Sloppy Joes? Darned apostrophe. I have found it both ways online (even on Food Network), so I think both ways are considered accurate, but it drives me a little crazy just the same. Are they Joe's sandwiches? Or is the sandwich itself named "Joe" and used in the plural form? There's a little grammar conundrum for you.

Sloppy Joe's with Ground Beef and Sausage


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck or round
1/2 pound ground bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, homemade or purchased
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons grill seasoning for beef, such as Weber's Gourmet Burger Seasoning or a Steak Seasoning Blend
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef and pork sausage with the onion, celery, and bell pepper until the ground meats are no longer pink.

Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and seasonings to the browned meat. Bring to a simmer and turn to low.

Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Toast the buns, if desired, and spoon the meat mixture over the buns.

Source: I don't know where this one came from. I will have to find out where my mom got the recipe from!

Notes: This was really good. Just your nice, classic Sloppy Joe.


My Favorite Sloppy Joe's


1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dried minced onion
3 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cook and stir ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes; drain excess grease. Mix ketchup, dried onion, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, smoke flavoring, and garlic into beef, stirring until brown sugar has dissolved.

Stir beef broth into beef mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

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

Spiraling Out of Control (aka Oodles of Zoodles)

So, my mom got a vegetable spiraling slicer and she has had an abundance of zucchini in her garden this summer. The result of this combination? Tons of zucchini noodles...or zoodles, for short. They are quite good! If you have such a combination in your kitchen and garden, I suggest you do the same.

You can choose all sorts of different "noodle" sizes with your vegetable spiraling slicer. My mom let me try out two. One was like spaghetti in shape and size and the other was like twirled lasagna noodles.

Zucchini "Noodles"


6 zucchini (or one or two large garden zucchini)
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cut zucchini into thin, noodle-like strips using your vegetable spiraling slicer or mandoline. Toss with the 2 teaspoons salt, and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add zucchini; cook for one minute. Drain; rinse immediately with cold water to stop cooking.

Heat margarine or butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add zucchini and garlic; cook and stir until just tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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

Above: You can have them without cheese, if you like. They are still very tasty!

Above: Here are the wider lasagna-style zucchini "noodles."

Above: I topped the wider zucchini noodles with our favorite (and super easy) Three-Ingredient Marinara seasoned with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Then I topped it with some Parmesan cheese, of course!

Above: Delicious and oh so healthy for you!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cook it Slow and Low

I could never live without my slow cooker. It is worth its weight in gold. Here is a great slow cooker recipe that will be ready after a long day (when the last thing you want to do is cook).


Chicken Korma


2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped onion (1 onion)
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
4 cups hot cooked long-grain brown rice (we used white)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add onion to pan; saute 3 minutes. Add ginger and next 5 ingredients (through garlic); saute 2 minutes. Pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker. Stir in potato and next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon stick).

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Turn slow cooker off; let stand 15 minutes. Stir in yogurt. Serve chicken mixture over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: This had a lovely mild flavor to it. Delicious, but not overwhelming.

Our Family Loves Pork


I am waaaay behind on blogging (though I am catching up). A new baby and moving to a new house will do that to you! I thought about doing separate posts for each of these recipes, but decides to just group them together instead. We have a lot of family dinners and pork is a great way to feed such a large group. Here are some great pork tenderloin and pork roast recipes we have found over the past year.

By the way, in case you are curious, the pork in the picture above is Grilled Pork Tenderloin (recipe below), served with some corn on the cob (in the foil), Minty Watermelon-Cucumber SaladLayered Buffalo Chicken Salad, and Warm Dijon Potato Salad.


Honey-Mustard Pork Tenderloin


1/4 cup coarse-grain or Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, or tarragon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 teaspoons Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub
2 pork tenderloins, each 12 to 14 ounces, silver skin trimmed


In a small bowl, combine the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, parsley, and Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub; stir to mix. Lay the pork tenderloins in a flat baking dish. Pour the mustard-honey mixture over the tenderloins, turning to coat all sides. (If not cooking immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 325 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lift the tenderloins out of the mustard-honey mixture and arrange on a diagonal on the grill grate. (Discard the remaining mustard-honey mixture.) Grill for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read meat thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes. Slice into 3/4-inch slices and serve.

Source: Traeger recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: As I mentioned in another post, my brother now has a Traeger grill. I don't think there is any way to duplicate this amazing smoked meat without a Traeger grill, but I'm sharing this recipe for those of you out there who have one.


Above: You'll get a wonderful pinkish smoke ring on your meat when you cook with the Traeger grill. It is nothing to be afraid of. The meat is not underdone. Just use a meat thermometer to check the meat.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin


1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
1 lime, zest finely grated
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin.

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt, and garlic powder in a small, lidded jar, and shake to combine. Pour half of the marinade mixture into a 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle pepper, and move around to combine. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible, and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through the time. Place the remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the grill. Remove the reserved marinade from the refrigerator.

Fill a large chimney starter with natural lump charcoal and light. Once the charcoal is ashy and white, approximately 30 minutes, dump the hot charcoal onto the lowest grate of the grill and spread into an even layer using extra-long tongs. Place the cooking grate back on the grill and cover with the lid; heat the grate to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning ever 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the grill and place on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil folded at the edges to create a basket, and pour on the reserved marinade. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Source: Food Network, recipe by Alton Brown. You can find it here.

Notes: This was good stuff! We let people top it with cilantro on their own according to their preference.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Pork Roast


2 tbsp. oil
1 flat boneless pork loin roast (4 lb.)
1 can (14 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup Kraft Classic Catalina Dressing
1 tbsp. less-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1 orange


Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat; cook 4 to 5 minutes. on each side or until browned on both sides. Transfer meat to slow cooker.

Mix cranberry sauce, dressing, and soy sauce; pour over meat. Cover with lid.

Cook on low 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker, reserving liquid in slow cooker. Cover meat to keep warm. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl until blended; stir into liquid in slow cooker. Cook, covered, on high 10 minutes or until thickened.

Slice meat; place on platter. Drizzle lightly with sauce. Serve with remaining sauce.


Source: Kraft recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: Tasty and so easy! The sauce was really nice with the pork.


Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin


2 tablespoons steak seasoning rub
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast


Dissolve steak seasoning in balsamic vinegar, then stir in olive oil. Place pork into a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade on top. Squeeze out air and seal bag; marinate 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pork into a glass baking dish along with marinade. Bake in preheated oven, basting occasionally until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, about 1 hour. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source:, submitted by Melissa S. You can find it here.

Notes: This is one of our family favorites. We have posted it before, and you can find the original post here. We like to save the drippings as a sauce to serve over our pork. Delicious!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stay Focused


This is one of those recipes that doesn't take too long to make and isn't terribly hard to make, but it also requires 100% of your focus while you are making it. It is far too easy to cook this too long...not only is it easy to overcook, but it is easy to burn. So, don't think you can make pancakes, eggs, and bacon at the same time that you are making this syrup. Make the syrup first and then turn your focus to the rest.

Buttermilk Syrup


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Special note: Be sure to use a large pot with high sides because the syrup will foam up to double or triple its size when you add the baking soda. It's better to err on the side of a pot that is too big than have it boil over.


Combine the butter, sugar, buttermilk, and corn syrup in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (my dial was set to 7). Let boil for 2 minutes while stirring frequently (set a timer to keep track). Quickly add baking soda and vanilla and stir until combined. The color of the syrup will turn to a golden brown. Once baking soda and vanilla are incorporated, remove from heat and continue to stir until the syrup thickens. Let it cool and serve immediately or store in fridge in an air tight container. If refrigerating, you can warm it up in the microwave later (reheat 30 seconds at a time until warmed through).

Source: I got this recipe from my sister-in-law. It is fantastic. I still love pancakes with maple syrup, but this is a nice way to change things up from time to time.

Notes: This is really rich. Because it is butter-based, you shouldn't need to top your pancakes with butter as well. The buttermilk caramel sauce is enough! Also, since it is so thick, it won't seep through your pancakes the way maple syrup does. So, depending on how saturated you like your pancakes, this might be just right, or you might find that you need a lot of syrup to make your pancakes just right. This recipe makes a little over a cup of syrup.

If you cook the syrup for too long, it will become more like caramel than like syrup in consistency and you won't be able to pour it.



Above: Speaking of being able to pour this syrup, it really isn't that easy to pour syrup over pancakes and take a picture at the same time! Ha ha!