Monday, December 29, 2014

Heather's Breadsticks

I got this from a good friend, Heather Brown, when I was over for dinner at her place in high school.  I wrote it down on a piece of notebook paper about 15 years ago, and I still have that paper (though it is oil-stained) and make these regularly.  They have become a family favorite.  It's about time I shared them. 

1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 T sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water

Mix above ingredients and add flour until not sticky (about 1/2 cup).  Let rise for 10 minutes.
Roll out in pan shape (I use my big cookie sheet).
Melt 1 cube butter in the oven on cookie sheet. (I use 1/2 cube, or 1/2 cup butter to cut back on calories a bit and it is still delicious).  Place dough on top of the melted butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and some oregano. Cut into bread sticks with a pizza cutter. Let rise 10 more minutes (I've skipped this step before when I was in a hurry and it turned out fine). 
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

I have also made these into cinnamon sticks by putting cinnamon sugar and buttercream frosting on top instead of parmesan and garlic salt.  That was delicious too.  You really could put whatever you wanted on top. This is a great basic breadstick recipe.

Peanut-Marshmallow Bar Cookies

These chewy, delicious bars are a Christmas staple in the Prince home.  I was busy this year with a newborn and two other little ones and . . . well . . . life, so I had to prioritize which sweets were most important.  This one topped the list. In fact, it's the only one I got around to making this year, and we were all totally satisfied with that.  They are pretty easy once you have the ingredients on hand. Many of the ingredients are items that I don't always have in my pantry, so I ended up going to the store a few times to get all of the stuff I needed for these. I would recommend bringing the recipe or making a thorough list (and checking it twice!) before going to the store. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1 pkg peanut butter chips (Reeses brand in grocery store by chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of salted peanuts (I buy the ones in the bottles - Planters or Western Family - believe me, the raw ones are gross!) 
  • 2 cups rice krispies
Bottom Layer
Mix together the cake mix, 2/3 cup butter, and egg. I use my electric beaters - it is thick.  Press into a 9x13 pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 13 minutes, then cover with mini marshmallows.  Then bake about 2-3 minutes more (until marshmallows puff up). Let cool.

Mix together butter, sugar, Karo syrup, peanut butter chips, and vanilla on low-medium heat until melted. Do not cook longer!  Stir in peanuts and rice krispies.

Pour over cooled crust and let cool - cut into squares and serve.

*Original recipe from Cynthia Prince, my amazing Mother-in-law. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oreo Truffles

1 pkg OREO cookies (I used Mint)
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (I used an off brand and they are delicious)
1 12 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips

Save out 2 cookies if you want to put cookie sprinkles on the top of your truffles. Crush just the cookie part into little bits.

Crush the rest of the cookies in the blender. Then whip cookie crumbs and slightly softened cream cheese with a hand mixer until mixture is very smooth.

Roll mixture into gumball size balls and place on either parchment paper or silicone mat lined cookie sheet that fits into your freezer. Freeze them for at least 15 minutes. (I left them in there for about an hour since life happened in between.)

While in the freezer, slowly melt the chocolate chips either in a double boiler or 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring at least every 30 seconds until smooth.

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and put back on silicone mat cookie sheet, then sprinkle the cookie crumbs while the chocolate is wet, then freeze again for a little while. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container until serving.

I love these! I also crushed up a mint candy cane and sprinkled some of that on the tops of some of mine (I already ate those, so they're not in the picture.) Enjoy!

ALso, another recipe I saw said they used low-fat cream cheese and I'm sure they were also delicious.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Monkey Bread

We love to make Monkey Bread at Christmas time. This is my favorite recipe of the ones I've tried and each December I have a hard time finding it again, so posting it here will make it easy to find :). I hope you enjoy it too!

2 (1 lb.) loaves frozen white bread dough
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. 1% low fat milk
1 T margarine
1 3/4 t. ground cinnamon, divided
cooking spray

Thaw bread dough in refrigerator for 12 hours. Combine 1 cup sugar, brown sugar, milk, margarine and 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove sugar syrup from heat; let cool 10 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a shallow dish; stir well. Cut each loaf of dough into 24 equal portions. Roll each portion in sugar mixture; layer balls of dough in a 12-cup bundt pan coated with cooking spray. pour sugar syrup over dough; cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 350. Uncover and bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately loosen edges of bread with a knife. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert onto plate. Remove pan; drizzle any remaining syrup over bread. Makes 24 servings. (2 rolls)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Striped White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

This stuff is addictive.  It's a popular Christmas neighbor gift and I've eaten it a lot.  I decided I wanted to make it this year and searched the Internet for a recipe, but couldn't find one.  I guess it's one of those easy, word of mouth recipes and no one's bothered to post it.  So I decided I would- mostly so I can remember what I learned if I ever want to do it again.   It really is easy and really, really yummy!!!

Striped White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn
About 12 cups of popcorn  ( I bought "Nearly Naked" popcorn at Costco, but you could pop your own)
About 6-8 ounces of white vanilla flavored candy melts (I've heard you can use white almond bark as well)
Chocolate candy melts
Peppermint bark, cut fine

Put the popcorn in a large bowl.  Be sure to remove all of the unpopped corn kernels.  Add about 1/2 cup chopped peppermint Melt the vanilla melts according to directions in your microwave.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over the popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn.  When coated, spread the popcorn on a silicone mat or waxed paper.  Let cool until the melts harden.  Melt about 3/4 cup of the chocolate melts (or you can use chocolate chips.)  With a large spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the corn, creating "stripes."  Let harden and then enjoy!!  Store in airtight containers, or bag to give away.

Now, here's the truth.  I tried it with much more chocolate on it and with less.  All are good.  So, you can do more or less and it still will be delicious.  It's not an exact recipe.  You can do it with or without the milk chocolate stripes and the peppermint bark.  You could add nuts or sprinkles or whatever you'd like.  I did two full bags of the Nearly Naked popcorn and used four bags of the vanilla melts on that much popcorn- if that helps.    Here's pictures of what I used:

I bought the candy melts at Michael's, but you can get them at Walmart, too.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Avocado-Crab Dip (or just avocado dip)

I found this recipe in a Food Network magazine and made it last night and LOVED it. I served it with baked sweet potato chips. It was healthy and delicious! I didn't put the crab meat in and it was great without it.

3 avocados
1/4 cup diced white onion (I used the white parts of 2 green onions)
1/2 cup diced plum tomato (I used grape tomatoes)
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
4 ounces lump crab meat, picked through (I didn't put this in)
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt

1. Halve and pit the avocados; scoop the flesh into a large bowl and mash.
2. Stir in the onion, tomato, mango, cilantro and jalapeno; fold in the crabmeat. Add the lime juice and season with salt.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month: Salsa/ Chicken Taco Salad

Each month I play a little game for this blog . . . and for fun!  I reach into my too deep pantry and pull something out.  I then find a new (to me) recipe that uses that item, make that recipe, then share it with you here.  This month my reach yielded this:

By saying this,
I'm putting myself in danger of having my girl card pulled, but I have a confession.  I don't like main dish salads much.  There.  It's out.  Whenever I go out to eat with other females, I try to conform as everyone orders salads, but I never like them very much.  But I've set a goal to make a main dish salad once a month and to try to learn to like them.  So I googled chicken salads with salsa (pantry pick) and chicken (because I wanted chicken in it.)  This recipe came up and I loved it.  Loved it.  It was easy and flavorful and filling and delicious.   I hope you like it, too.

Chicken Taco Salad
3/4 cup ranch dressing OR (since I don't have bottled ranch dressing I just mixed up some of my own: 1/2 packet ranch dressing mix, 1/2 cup mayonaise, enough sour cream and milk to thin)
1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa
3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Mix together the dressing ingredients and put in fridge while you make the salad.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
taco seasoning mix
1 head leaf lettuce, chopped fine
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup grated Mexi blend cheese or pepper jack or cheddar
1 can corn
2 avocados, diced
green onions, chopped
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Tortilla chips, crushed a bit

Heat a skillet on medium heat with a couple Tablespoons of olive oil.  Encrust the chicken with the taco seasoning mix.  Put the chicken into the hot skillet.  Cook until golden brown on each side- 4 or 5 minutes per side, depending on how thick your chicken breast is.  Set aside.  Dice when cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet with 1 Tablespoon of real butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil.  Drain the can of corn and put the corn in the skillet.  Stir and cook until the corn is slightly browned.

Assemble the salad OR put each ingredient in a bowl and let your family each assemble their own:
Lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, corn, avocado, green onion, cilantro and crushed chips.  Drizzle the dressing over the top.   

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman