Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Apple Pie Muffins

It's fall! We went apple picking last Saturday and brought home lots of beautiful apples! This was our first experience picking apples and it was very exciting, except for the bee sting. :/ We tasted different varieties while picking, but the ones we brought home were Tsugaru. Never heard of them? I hadn't either, but they are a very sweet apple, and we love sweet! They aren't necessarily a baking apple, but I had to try something new! We loved these muffins! I especially like that they aren't full of cinnamon like most baked apple dishes. Even though fall is apple season, apples are always available, so you can make these anytime!

Apple Pie Muffins
adapted from
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups diced apples (about 1 large apple, I leave my peel on)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
2. For topping: Combine topping ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix using a pastry blender or fork, cutting up the margarine into no bigger than pea sized pieces. Set aside.
3. For muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.
5. Pour into the flour mixture and sprinkle the diced apple into the bowl as well. Stir just until everything is blended.
6. Using a large scoop (about 1/4 cup), scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle each cup of batter with 1 1/2 TBSPs of topping mixture.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
Makes about 18 muffins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner with Bacon

We love pretty much anything with bacon and cheese, so if I can add those ingredients to a dinner, my family will love it. This is just like a chicken and rice casserole, but assembled in an oven proof or cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, you can transfer everything to a casserole dish, just make sure it's safe to use under the broiler. There is a lot of Tabasco flavor in this dish, so beware that you might need to cut down on the amount for kids.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner with Bacon
adapted from
1/2 pound bacon
4 TBSPs butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 TBSPs Tabasco Sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
4 cups cooked white rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 TBSPs bacon drippings.
2. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Increase heat to high whisking broth until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Stir in Tabasco sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and set aside.
3. Place reserved 2 TBSPs bacon drippings back to oven proof skillet. Stir in cooked rice. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheddar cheese then top with crumbled cooked bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oreo Sheet Cake

Yummy yum yum! We're trying to only eat dessert on the weekends right now, so when I make something it has to be GOOD! I made this last weekend to take to a potluck BBQ. When I picked up my platter it was all gone, but luckily I saved a few pieces at home. ;) This is a basic chocolate sheet cake with some chopped Oreos in the batter, topped with cream cheese frosting, and more Oreos. Next time you're making a chocolate sheet cake try throwing in some cookies!

Oreo Sheet Cake
Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups chopped Oreo cookies
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
5 - 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Oreo cookies, chopped-for topping the cake

1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare sheet pan by spraying it with cooking spray. I used a 10 x 15.5 in. pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add cocoa powder and hot water and whisk to combine. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat.
4. Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Stir in the egg mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
6. While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and shortening until combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on high for 5 minutes.
7. When the cake has cooled, frost with the cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle the cake with chopped Oreo cookies. Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flat Bread Pizzas

School started today, which means I have time to post! This is what we had for dinner last night. We all like different toppings on our pizzas, so this is what I do to make everyone happy, with out spending a lot of time and/or money! I posted a BBQ Chicken Flat Bread Pizza recipe awhile back and this is basically the same thing but with tomato sauce and regular pizza toppings. You can use ANYTHING you like on these. We do pepperoni, sausage, cooked shredded chicken, olives, spinach, tomato, sautéed onion and green bell pepper...or whatever I feel like throwing on there. I love using the flat bread pitas because they are cheap and easy! 

Flat Bread Pizzas
6 Flat Bread Pitas
1 - 1 1/2 cups pizza or spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Prepare any toppings that need to be precooked, like chicken and sausage. I also sauté my onion and bell pepper first.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the pitas on 2 large baking sheets.
3. Spread about 3 TBSPs of sauce over each pita leaving a small space around the edge (we like a lot of sauce).
4. Sprinkle 1/3-1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over sauce on each pizza.
5. Place your desired toppings on top of cheese. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top (I used cheddar in my pics).
6. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Rotate pans halfway through baking.