Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blueberry Coffee Cake

I found this in a Taste of Home magazine a few years back. There was a whole section on blueberries and I had blueberries to get rid of. This is such a good coffee cake (especially served warm). What I like best about it is it only makes an 9 X 9 which is perfect for our family of 4. So many coffee cakes are 9 X 13 which is too much for us, so I either avoid them or make them and end up wasting half of it.

2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c blueberries
1 c chopped pecans (I usually leave these out because of my husband/kids)

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/4 c cold butter
(this seems like too much topping for us, so I use about half and it is plenty)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add egg, milk, and butter. Beat well. Fold in blueberries and pecans. Spread into a greased 9 inch square baking pan. (I actually like to put it in a 9 inch round instead and cut into wedges...)

For topping, combine sugar and flour in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

These are THE easiest bars, but oh-so YUMMY! I hosted a "Tupperware" party years ago and we made this recipe to convince everyone to buy the "Silicone Wonder Mat". And yes, it convinced me. I REALLY love my wonder mat. Makes for easy clean-up.

You need:
32 oz roll of chocolate chip cookie dough + 18 oz roll of chocolate chip cookie dough
(or the equivalent in homemade dough)
12 oz jar of caramel ice cream topping

optional: vanilla ice cream, additional caramel sauce, & whipped cream

Line jelly roll pan with wonder mat (foil would probably work...) and press cookie dough evenly into mat. Pour caramel sauce over dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Use a silicone spatula to slice bars and remove from pan. Bars will be slightly crunchy on top and gooey on bottom.

To make these awesome bars even awesomer, top with a little ice cream, additional caramel, and whipped cream.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

In a recent "Taste of Home", there was an entire section called "Chicken Champs". I'll be trying a lot of them as we tend to do a lot of chicken in our household. I tried this one last week and it was pretty good.

8 bacon strips
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (I used kitchen scissors and cut it in thin strips)
4 slices mozzarella cheese

Place bacon in an ungreased baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until partially cooked, but not crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Place chicken in an ungreased 13 X 9 baking pan. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (next time, I think I will use garlic salt.) Top with tomatoes and basil. Wrap each in two bacon strips, arranging bacon in a crisscross.

Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with cheese. Bake 1 minute longer or until melted.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hash Brown Bundles

Ever run out of "starch" ideas. Well, here is a tasty little twist on hash browns for your next side dish.

frozen hash brown patties
butter (1 tbl)-I use about half
onion (sliced in rings)
chicken bouillon granules (1/4 tsp)-I use a little less
dill weed (1/4 tsp)-I use a little less
pepper (dash)

place each hash brown on a piece of foil
add a slice or two of onion
add butter
sprinkle with bouillon, dill weed, and pepper

wrap in foil

bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes

Friday, May 14, 2010


I love my mother dearly. I think she is a good cook, and an even better baker. But, growing up, I never really loved her meatloaf. It was kind of dry, not much flavor... One day, I was looking through our church cookbook and found a recipe that sounded like Martha Stewart's mother's recipe, which I thought looked fabulous on one of her shows. I gave it a try and have a new love of meatloaf. The ketchup glaze over the top caramelizes and gets ooey gooey. It is really good and really simple. Hope you enjoy.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 large carrots & 1 onion (I throw them in my mini food processor)
3 eggs
2/3 c milk
3 slices bread, crumbled (I also put the bread in my mini food processor)
salt & pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together, mixing well. Form meat loaf and put into a 9 X 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. The last 15 minutes of baking, add the sauce.

2 c brown sugar
1 c ketchup
1/2 tsp mustard

In small pan, blend brown sugar, ketchup and mustard. Heat over low temperature until smooth and creamy. Pour over nearly done meat loaf and bake 15 minutes.

*note: I always make 1/2 the sauce and it is plenty

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

I apologize for my lack of posts lately, but I haven't been cooking much now that the girls are in swimming lessons twice a week. Also, I tried a few new recipes that ended up not being "post worthy". Such a bummer!

This recipe comes from a fundraiser cookbook. What makes these ham & scalloped potatoes extra yummy is the shredded cheddar cheese in them.

4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced (thin)
3 T butter
1 tsp salt
1 c minced onion
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 c milk
2 to 3 c ham, diced
1 med size bag cheddar cheese

Melt butter. Add onions and cook until tender.

Stir in flour, salt, pepper & milk.

Cook until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat.

Grease casserole dish with cooking spray.

Place 1/3 of potatoes on bottom, then 1/3 ham, 1/3 sauce, & 1/3 cheese. Keep layering until all potatoes, ham, sauce, and cheese are used. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover dish and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer.

*Note: be sure to take the time to slice the potatoes thin. (Well, unless you like crunchy potatoes...)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Raisin Honey Chews

These were my favorite cookies growing up. I always requested these when ever my mother made cookies. Not sure where she got the recipe, but she passed it along to me when I was in college. My husband and kiddos love them too. I like to pretend that they are really healthy because they contain oatmeal and raisins.

3/4 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c honey
1 egg
1 1/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c oats
1 c raisins

Cream together the first four ingredients
Add the next four ingredients
Stir in raisins

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheets
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes

(*Note: almost always mine get really flat. Today, for some reason, they didn't. Could it be because I just bought new baking soda?)

Fun with Fruit: Fruit Kabobs

Now I know you don't need a recipe for these...but sometimes, we just need a reminder of what we can be doing to change things up a bit.

I'm always trying to keep it simple, and this is a great way to serve fruit, super easy, but looks really nice. All the colors, threaded pretty.

Oh, and kids LOVE it. And it is a great way to bring fresh fruit on a picnic without worrying about plates, utensils, etc.

To make it even more fun, try serving with a fun dip. There are tons of simple fruit dip recipes out there, but vanilla yogurt alone makes a great dip.

So, chunk up your favorite fruits, and skewer away.

(grapes, strawberries, pineapple, melons...)

*As a side note, my sister was in charge of appetizers for a family get together and made fruit kabobs AND kabobs made with chunks of cheese, pickles, summer sausage, and pepperoni.