Monday, July 30, 2012

California Taco Chili Bake

This is one of those meals that is so simple and quick, but looks like it took awhile to make. This is one of those waiting for payday meals and it is delicious!! The whole family loved it!
California Taco Chili Bake
from Bettycrocker.com
2 (15 oz.) cans chili with beans
3 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
additional shredded cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix Bisquick mix and milk with a whisk until a soft dough forms. Spread half the dough into a lightly greased 9 x13 pan.  Top with the chili and sprinkle with the cheese.  Drop the remaining dough on the top.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until the topping is light brown.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes and additional cheese.
Enjoy!!

*This would be a great way to use up leftover chili!!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

White Chocolate Cherry Bliss Bars

I love fresh fruit seasons and cherries are no exception.  It is one of those that we get a little indulgence of for what seems like a short period of time here.  Usually we eat them so quick, but this time I actually got to them first and after eating my fair share created this beauty. 
White Chocolate Cherry Bliss Bars 
from First magazine
1 cup chopped almonds (I used slivered almonds and chopped them a bit.)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup (about 20) fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl mix almonds,flour,coconut, butter and sugar until crumbs form. Press 2 cups of this mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Bake for 10 minutes
Top with the cherries, white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining crumb mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is light golden brown.
Let cool and Enjoy!
DELICIOUS!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Experiencing New Flavors + New Experiences With Girard's Dressings.

About a month ago I was contacted about helping to create a new dressing flavor for Girard's Dressings.  Already a big fan of their products I jumped at the chance.  I got the opportunity to be on my very first video conference call, where I got to interact with the Girard's team plus meet a couple of amazing bloggers: Catherine of Living the Gourmet and Leslie of Leslie Loves Veggies. Together we compiled some dressing flavor ideas we thought would be good.  Then Girard's went to work.  On Friday I received this package:
Eight new flavors to try out!!
Mediterranean Vinaigrette with Hummus
Blackberry Chipotle
Red Thai Curry
Sweet Mango Chili
Garlic Honey Pepper
Sweet Citrus Vinaigrette
Artichoke Sundried Tomato
Expresso Balsamic
We made a HUGE bowl of salad and the family sat down and we tried them all out!!
Some we liked and others we didn't care for.
The one flavor the whole family loved was the Artichoke Sundried Tomato.
Tomorrow I get the chance to meet with the group again. 
 I'm excited to see what everyone else thought!
So which one of those flavors would you like to try?
I was given the dressings from Girard's free to try out.  I was not paid for this and all opinions are my own.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Crusty Italian Bread

Do you ever picture yourself eating a slice of Italian bread you know the type with the crunchy outside and soft and delicate inside. Well this is the recipe for you and I have found the secret to getting the perfect crust!!
Crusty Italian Bread
makes 2 loaves
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups flour
Place warm water, yeast and brown sugar in mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for a few minutes until it start to bubble and foam a bit. 
Add olive oil and salt.  Mix and add the flour gradually.  You want to add enough that the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.  You want to mix it with the dough hook for a few minutes.

Cover and let the dough rise until doubled about 30 minutes.
Punch down dough and divide in two and form into two loaves (I doubled the recipe this time.)
Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat together:
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
Brush the risen loaves with the egg mixture.
Make a single long quick cut down the center of the loaves with a sharp knife.
**Now here's the secret. Place atleast 1 cup hot water in a shallow pan and place it on the rack underneath the bread.  The steam will make the crust turn perfectly.  You may need to add a bit more water during cooking. You do not want it to evaporate.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the loaves turn golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them.
Remove from pan and let cool on racks.  I always like to rub butter over the hot crust!
YUM!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Black Forest Parfaits

I love it when someone sends me a great recipe! This comes from my cousin's daughter Amy. Love the flavor combination.  She just had adorable twin boys a few months ago.  Taking care of twins and time to create this beautiful dessert..she is definitely my hero!!
Black Forest Parfaits
by Amy
Ingredients:
chocolate pudding
crushed Oreos
cherry pie filling
whipped topping
maraschino cherries

Start with making some homemade chocolate pudding:
 1/2 cup white sugar
 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
 1/4 cup cornstarch
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 2 3/4 cups milk
 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.
*If you are in a hurry and can't wait for the pudding to cook use a box of instant chocolate pudding.

Layer chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and cherry pie filling and repeat the layers. Top with whipped topping and a maraschino cherry.

*Note Amy's husband thought a layer of whipped topping in the middle would of been good!!
Thanks Amy!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cute July 4th Flag Craft

Well I am all moved.  Boxes everywhere though, but atleast I have internet again.  I missed you all!! Since my kitchen is not quite ready for a cooking session yet I thought I would share a little easy festive craft! I made these flags with my preschool kids.  They turned out so cute!!
Supplies:
red, white and blue finger or tempera paint (anything washable will do)
cardstock paper for the flag
small stars
sticks for the flag pole (I used skewers)
The only tricky part is you have to work quickly before the paint dries.
Paint the palm of the hand blue. Alternate the fingers white and red.
Press hand down on the paper with fingers straight and thumb extended. (Thumb should look like the flag pole.) Lift hand straight up.   Let paint dry and glue on the stars and add the pole.
The kids had a hard time getting that thumb straight, but they still turned out so cute.
Quick, easy and so cute!!
Happy 4th of July!!

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