Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Italian Meatball Soup

My family loves meatballs, so this soup was a big hit.  My kids are picky when it comes to soup, but they even ate the veggies in this.  This recipe was adapted from Emeril Lagasse.


1 lb lean ground beef (93/7)
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix together using your hands.  Form small meatballs using about a tablespoon of meat.  Set meatballs on a plate. 

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 2 T olive oil.  Add 1/2 of the meatballs and brown on all sides.  Remove to plate.  Brown the remaining meatballs and return to plate.

Soup Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart beef broth (4 cups)
3 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup ditalini pasta
2 cups baby spinach

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add the onions, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the beef broth, water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings.  Gently add the meatballs to the soup and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often.  Add the ditalini pasta and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.  Turn off the heat and stir in the baby spinach.

Ladle up in soup bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Apricot Brown Sugar Honey Ham

This is the ham from our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was simple and fast, which is a bonus on a busy day like Thanksgiving.  The marinade can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.  I can't wait to make another one on a busy weeknight.  This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten.


10 lb fully cooked spiral cut smoked ham on the bone
4 garlic cloves
1 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 orange zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the ham in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan (don't use the rack).

In a food processor, add all marinade ingredients and process until smooth.  Pour 1/2 of marinade over the ham and bake for 45 minutes.  Pour the remaining glaze over the ham, cover with foil, and cook another 15 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Enjoy!

Tip:  You can use the ham bone and leftover ham in homemade pinto beans.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our Favorite Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

In celebration of my 300th post, I am sharing my family's favorite cheesecake.  I made this for my Mom's birthday last week.  This is not a New York Style cheesecake that towers above the cheesecake pan.  It only uses 2 blocks of cream cheese, and I usually use Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cream cheese.  It also uses a pint of sour cream, and I usually use Dannon Lite sour cream.

We like to cover it in a simple fresh blueberry sauce that can be made anytime of the year using frozen blueberries also.  This cheesecake recipe is from Tyler's Ultimate.  The blueberry sauce is my own.

Crust Ingredients:

2 cups finely ground cinnamon graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Stir together crust ingredients in a small bowl.  Lightly spray 8-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the crumbs into the pan and press into the bottom and one inch up the sides using a metal measuring cup.  Wrap the bottom of the pan with foil (this will keep the water out since you will bake using a water bath).

Filling Ingredients:

2 8-ounce blocks cream cheese (1 pound), softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested (save lemon for blueberry sauce)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a large stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute until free of lumps.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.  Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.  Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Mix just until combined.  Do not over beat air into the batter.

Pour the filling into prepared crust.  Place into the bottom of a roaster pan and fill with hot water halfway up the sides of the spring form pan to create a water bath.  This will prevent the cheesecake from cracking on top during the baking process.

Bake for 45-55 minutes.  The cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly in the middle (It will set up in the refrigerator).  Remove from the oven, carefully lift pan out of roaster, and remove foil.  Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.  When ready to serve, run a knife or thin spatula around the edges before releasing the spring form pan from the sides.

Blueberry Sauce:

2 pints blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan, add all ingredients.  Simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes.  Make a corn starch slurry to thicken by stirring together 2 T corn starch and a little cold water in a cup.  Add to the blueberry sauce and stir until thickened.  Let cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party M&M Rice Krispie Pops

This is a fun way to make Rice Krispie treats special for a party.  They can be wrapped up in colorful plastic wrap and tied with a bow for guests to take home as a party gift, or you can just line them up on a plate to enjoy during the party.  My big Taylor helped make these for Dandad's birthday party.  It was a great way to use up some of the M&Ms leftover from Halloween.  I found this idea at Loralee Lewis


3 T unsalted butter
1 bag miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup M&Ms (any flavor)
1/2 cup (or more) M&Ms for muffin pans
12 popsicle or craft sticks

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place some M&Ms in each.

In a large pan over low heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the marshmallows just until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.  Quickly stir in 1/2 cup M&Ms, then press mixture firmly into muffin cups.  Place a popsicle stick into the middle of each.  Let them cool and firm up before removing from muffin pan.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Healthier Banana Blueberry Muffins

This is a healthier muffin recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.  I also replaced half of the butter with unsweetened applesauce to make it even healthier.  My kids didn't even notice these were not our normal muffins and said they were really moist and delicious.  One of my girls ate 3 muffins for breakfast.  My little Jordyn helped make these while her big sisters slept late, and she was so proud.  I just love making memories in the kitchen with my girls!


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 T unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup lowfat 2% milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw or rinse)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with 15 liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large stand mixer, cream together the butter, apple sauce, sugar, and brown sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix.  Add the milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and mix.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fold in the frozen blueberries.  Use a ice cream scoop to evenly distribute batter to muffin liners, which will fill them 3/4 full.

Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Treats

We have two sweet labs in our family.  Our black lab, Dakota, turned 8 this weekend so I made her some special dog treats.  They smelled just like peanut butter cookies baking, but I did not taste them since they have chicken broth in the dough.  Our puppy dogs ate them up so quickly that I don't even think they chewed them.  I can probably speak for them and say they were tasty.  I found this recipe on Jun-Blog.

You can use any cookie cutters you have at home, or buy special dog friendly shapes such as a dog bone, dog house, or fire hydrant.  I simply drew a very large dog bone template onto a piece of thin cardboard and cut it out.  After I rolled out the dough, I traced around the template with a small sharp paring knife.  It worked great since I was in a bind, but I did add dog bone cookie cutters to my Amazon wish list for their Christmas treats.

I hope you make some of these special treats for your four legged family members.  They will definitely be your best friends forever!


1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 T olive oil
1 cup Old fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, and olive oil.  In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, whole wheat flour, and all purpose flour.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir.  If the dough is sticky, add more flour so it can easily be rolled out.

Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll the dough out to about 3/8" thickness.  Cut out treats using cookie cutters.  Roll out leftover scraps and continue cutting out treats until all dough is used.  Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.  Store leftovers in an airtight container or ziplock bag. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Loaded Potato Soup ~ Crock Pot Recipe

My Mom used to make the best potato soup for me when I was sick, and that's the only time I would ask for it.  It just made me feel better.  When I got older, I would order the loaded baked potato soup at Bennigan's almost everytime.  This recipe is a cross between the two.  I also added a can of cream style corn thinking my kids might actually eat this soup, and it worked.  They absolutely loved it and ate every bite!


2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream style corn
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb cooked bacon, crumbled (divided)
1 1/2 cups half n half
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
green onions, chopped
avocado, chopped

Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, corn, butter, salt, pepper, chicken broth, and 1/2 of the cooked bacon to the crock pot.  Stir well, cover, and turn on Low.  Cook for 8-9 hours, or until potatoes are fork tender. 

Turn crock pot off and mash potatoes until slightly chunky.  Stir in the half n half and 1 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Serve up in bowls and top with additional cheese, green onions, bacon, and avocado.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Icebox Pie

This classic pie is updated by using a homemade graham cracker.  The chocolate custard is cooked on the stove top, assembled, and chilled before topping with sweetened whipped cream.  The chocolate filling is much thicker than it looks in my photo.  It's the perfect combo of half chocolate, half whipped cream.  You might want to make two since it will go quick!  Recipe adapted from Southern Living 2005 on myrecipes.

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed honey graham crackers
7 T unsalted butter, melted
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.  In a small bowl, stir together all crust ingredients.  Pour into pie dish and use a metal measuring cup or flat bottomed glass to firmly press into the bottom and up the sides.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Cool competely before filling.

Chocolate Pie Filling: 

2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cold water
2 T corn starch
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat milk just until it bubbles around the edges (do not boil).  Remove from heat and stir in the semisweet chocolate chips.  Cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the cold water and corn starch.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Add to the chocolate mixture and whisk over medium heat.  Bring to a low boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter. 

Pour mixture into graham cracker crust and let cool slightly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream until foamy.  Add the powdered sugar and whip until soft peaks form.  Spread or pipe onto chocolate filling.  Decorate with sprinkles, chopped chocolate bar, or chocolate shavings.  Enjoy!

Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

These potatoes taste just like twice baked potatoes without all the work.  My kids never eat the skin anyways, so this was the perfect choice for our family.  It's as easy as making mashed potatoes and stirring in all the toppings that go on a baked potato.  This was our side dish to go with restaurant style filet mignon.  Recipe is from Simple Daily Recipes.


8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup evaporated milk (approximately)
1/2 cup sour cream
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Mash up with potato masher.  Add the sour cream and enough evaporated milk for mashed potato consistency.  Use a wire whisk to beat until fluffy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, 1/2 of the cooked bacon, and 1/2 of the green onions.

Transfer the potatoes to casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and top with remaining bacon and green onions.  Enjoy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails