Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thick and Chewy S'mores Cookie Bars

Ooooo, these are good! I posted this picture on Facebook and have had some requests for the recipe, so here it is! I took my Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars recipe, which is by far my most viewed (over 325k!), and tweaked it. Added a graham crust, and substituted marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Love them, especially the gooey marshmallow! To get fine and uniform graham cracker crumbs, just give them a whirl in the blender. Still easy to make, with no mixer required! I even mailed some to my sister in WI, in a 2 day priority mail box, and they arrived in perfect shape. They are calling your name!

Thick and Chewy S'Mores Cookie Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 or 10 long crackers)
4 TBSPs butter, melted
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 TBSPs butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups marshmallows, divided
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine crushed graham crackers and 4 TBSPs melted butter in medium sized bowl. Stir with fork to combine. Pour graham mixture into prepared pan covering the bottom of the pan and press down firmly with hands. Refrigerate until needed.
3. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of marshmallows and 1 cup of chocolate chips.
4. Carefully spoon batter into the prepared pan placing dollops all around the prepared crust. Smooth the top with the spatula with a pressing motion. Sprinkle remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips on top and press in slightly.
5. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - Meal Idea

After you make these Chicken Fajitas, you should use the leftovers to have another meal of Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches! They are better than you think! You don't really need a recipe for it, but I'll give you one anyway. :)

Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Butter or margarine for grilling 
Shredded cheese
Leftover chicken fajita meat with peppers and onions
Avocado, mashed

Heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Layer on cheese, fajita mixture, then avocado. Grill until golden. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Eat.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chicken Fajitas

Another new main dish recipe! I'm sure fajitas aren't new to you, but maybe this marinade is. Loved it and will definitely use this recipe again. 
Chicken Fajitas
adapted from
4 TBSPs canola oil, divided
2 TBSPs lime juice
1 1/2 tsps seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 small onion, sliced
Tortillas, shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and other desired toppings.

1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2 TBSPs oil, lime juice and seasonings; add the chicken. Seal and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1-4 hours (the longer the better).
2. In a large skillet, saute peppers and onions in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm.
3. Discard marinade. In the same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Remove from pan and slice.
4. Return pepper mixture and chicken to pan; heat through.
5. Spoon filling down the center of tortillas; fold in half. Serve with desired toppings.
Makes 8 servings.

Finished Product

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Spicy Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake

This is a pinterest find that was on my dinner radar, and I finally made it this week. We started eating and my 11 year old immediately said, "This is going to be my birthday dinner!" It was very easy to make, and you can do a lot of different things with it, like add veggies or use a different protein. Since this was my first time trying the recipe, I followed the directions exactly and used turkey sausage. I had a hard time deciding on what sausage to buy, and went with the healthy option. :) The cayenne in the sauce is definitely noticeable, but next time, I think I will try a spicy sausage. My husband also suggested the addition of bacon on top, so I'll try that next time as well and post an update. 

Spicy Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake
16 oz dry pasta
3 TBSPs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSPs flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1-2 TBSPs chopped fresh parsley
1 pkg (12 oz) fully cooked smoked sausage, any variety

1. Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour.
3. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, then stir in half and half.
4. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella until cheeses are melted and smooth.
6. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley and cooked pasta. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
7. Preheat broiler. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased, 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
8. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

When your husband tells you last minute that you need to take a dessert somewhere, and you don't want to go to the store, this is your cake. I thought my last minute cake would be a fitting last post of 2014. :) It's not exactly last minute because of the baking time, but if you have all the basics, and about an hour, you can make this! The glaze I use when I don't want to do a lot of work is just powdered sugar and milk, but if you prefer frosting, you can easily top the cake with that.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake
adapted from
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 TBSPs milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Mix in vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour flour mixture into batter alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts, mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.
4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the batter in the pan. Drop remaining cake batter in heaping spoonfuls over filling, covering it as best you can.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
7. Combine powdered sugar and milk, adding enough milk to make desired consistency, and mix until combined. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Ritz

I have been trying to keep it low key this Christmas with my baking and candy making. I haven't made much except for some Cranberry Orange Bread and a few cookies. One new thing I did try however, was these peanut butter crackers. I got the idea from a cook book I own called Eat More Dessert by Jenny Keller. I love this cookbook! It has such cute and easy dessert ideas for parties. I also love it because I was able to go to a book signing and she autographed my book. :) I won't post her recipe, because I'm sure she would like you to buy the book, but I'll give you the basics. I spread some peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers and then dipped it in melted almond bark. I also tried it with green and red. You could make these for any occasion really, and they are extra cute with a little piped on design on the top.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mulling Spice

This isn't a recipe, more of a suggestion. :) I'm in love with this mulling spice. I get it from Winco in the bulk spices section. I wrap up about 2 TBSPs in a little square of cheesecloth and tie it with some kitchen twine. I heat up 4 quarts of apple juice, dunk that little packet down in there, and let it simmer for about 2 hours. You can add orange slices for a citrus flavor. It makes the kitchen smell amazing and also makes a cute and cheap gift. Go buy some.