Italian Roasted Red Potatoes

wpid-20150405_173844.jpgThis recipe is so simple it just doesn’t get any easier than this! I made these for Easter dinner on Sunday with ham, green bean casserole and rolls. The casserole recipe you can find here. It is from Campbell’s. The only alertation I do is I use cream of celery soup instead of mushroom. No one other than myself is a fan in my house.

Ingredients:

2.5 lb red potatoes (I used 1/2 bag of 5 lb)

1 packet Italian dressing seasoning

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400°

2. Mix seasoning and oil in a bowl.

3. Clean and cut potatoes into even pieces.

4. Add potatoes to bowl and toss to coat.

5. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

6. Add to dark non-stick pan.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stir after-way through baking.

 

My Hook: No matter what pan I use, I line with aluminum foil. Not only will this help with sticking, but clean-up is a snap! Feel free to experiment with seasoning. The packet is about 1.5 tablespoons.

 

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Blueberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

wpid-20150318_175953.jpgI was inspired by a recipe I found on kraftrecipes.com for Lemon-Cream Cheese Cupcakes to make a Blueberry-Lemon Cake for my husband’s birthday. Cakes or cupcakes, this recipe turns out light and fluffy due to the increase in egg whites and decrease in oil.

Ingredients:

1 package  (2-layer size) white cake mix (I like Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker)

1 package (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding

1 cup  water

4  egg whites

2 Tbsp  oil

1-2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 jars cream cheese frosting

 

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 350°

2. Mix first 5 ingredients until batter in thick.

Note: I tend to like using a hand mixer so I feel in control of my batter, but I use the stand mixer for this. Because we are working with egg whites you want to work as much air as you can to create that light fluffy cake/cupcake. Give your arm and break 😉

3. Fold in 1/2 of the blueberries.

4. Split batter into 2 round sprayed/non stick pans.

5. Bake for 20-22 minutes (Depending on YOUR oven. They are all different). Half-way through baking switch the pans in between racks. This will allow for more even cooking.

6. Allow the layers to cool then ice and ENJOY!


 

 

 

 

Tip for separating egg whites: use TWO bowls; one for inspection and one for transfer.

1. Crack your egg over your hand (and the empty bowl).

2. Inspect the egg white and if it is okay then transfer to the other bowl.

3. Separate each egg over the bowl, inspect and then transfer to the other egg whites.

If by chance one of the eggs has yolk in it then the whole batch of egg whites is not ruined!

wpid-20150318_181115.jpgNotes: 

  • What about the other half of the blueberries!? So I did not do this with my original cake and while it was delicious, we all agreed it needed more blueberry flavor. Instead of just adding all of those blueberries to the cake and risk ruining the consistency, we decided to add it to the frosting.
    • With a food processor or blender, puree the other 1/2 of the blueberries (this is where frozen will work really nice!)
    • Scoop out 1 jar of frosting and blend with blueberry puree
    • Add to piping bag and add to the top of the bottom layer for the filling
    • Ice the outside of the cake with the other jar of plain cream cheese frosting
  • Added touches:
    • Add a ring of fresh blueberries around the bottom
    • Use a knife and tap all over the top layer to create a “spiked” look

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Devil’s Food Cherry Dump Cake – Crock Pot Recipe

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I made this for Valentine’s Day. I found the recipe on Pinterest here. It was so super easy! It is literally THREE ingredients: cake mix, pie filling and butter.

Since you cook it in the crock pot it fills the house with this chocolaty sweet smell all day. We have a 6 qt pot so I did cut my time by 1/3. I cooked it on LOW for ~4 1/2 hours. It is piping hot like she states so I scooped it and set it out to cool before serving (which drove the little one crazy!).

My Hook: I followed this recipe as it since it was the first time I was making it. My head it turning now thinking about the other variations I could do…

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Simple Ingredients.

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Easy Directions.

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Cake mix and butter – It should be crumbly.

Baked Mostaccoli Recipe

wpid-20150215_172129.jpgI am not going to lie…I asked my mom for this recipe going on 8 years ago to impress a boy. He was from an Italian family and not from around here and I wanted to give him a delicious warm meal that would remind him of home. I will report that is worked 🙂 He married me about 3 years later. I still make this recipe for numerous occasions. It is nice to make big family dinners. It freezes well so it is an excellent make-ahead meal. I made a batch prior to the birth of each of our children and whenever I want to have lunches or leftovers for the week.

This is a warm, gooey, yummy dish that I hope you enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x jars of spaghetti sauce (I like Herb & Garlic)
  • 1 x can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 box mostaccoli (this is difficult to find in my area so I usually use rotini)
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • 12 slices of mozzarella (grab 2 packs)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

Optional Ingredients (chopped)

  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Mushrooms

wpid-20150215_155148.jpgDIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Brown meat and other optional ingredients in a pan on medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain any excess liquid.
  3. Mixed all sauces and meat into a bowl.
  4. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box. Lightly coat with olive oil.
  5. In a 9 x 13 pan, layer your ingredients:
    1. Meat mixture
    2. Pasta
    3. Meat mixture
    4. mozzarella
    5. Parmesan
    6. Repeat A-E
  6. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until nice and bubbly.

My Hook: There could be 1001 variations of this recipe. The base of this recipe: meat, pasta and cheese. Be creative and custom this for your family! You can layer this however you would like. I do not layer it the same every time (sometimes on purpose and sometimes on accident!)

I like to use rotini since it can grab a hold of the meat, sauce and cheese better than a smooth pasta. I do get the hidden veggie pasta since right now I do not add additional veggies with little ones in the house.I stick with mozzarella since it is mild and a nice melting cheese.

Quick and Easy Breakfast Tip for Kids…from Dad!

Do your kiddos like oatmeal? My kids LOVE oatmeal. The problem arises in the wait. Oatmeal is super hot when it is done right? Patience is a virtue and has to be learned. At the young ages of 3 and 9 months my sweet, innocent ones just don’t have it.

You can add just about anything to oatmeal. Our favorites are cinnamon, syrup, raisins and fruit. So today what does Dad do for them as they dance around asking to eat? He put frozen fruit in the oatmeal! INSTANT SERVICE. Not only does this allow you to add ANY kind of fruit ANY time of the year, it cools down the oatmeal quickly so you can feed their hungry bellies.

Thanks Dad!

My (Dad’s) Hook: Add frozen fruit to hot oatmeal. This cools it down faster and adds a sweet treat any time of the year!

Momma’s Monkey Bread

Monkey bread is one of the easiest and yummiest dishes I have made. Everyone has their version and this is mine. I usually make this around the holidays when people are coming over since it is very appetizing to look at and it makes a decent amount of servings. It is also great to make on a Saturday morning for breakfast. Then you do not have to worry about breakfast for Sunday since there are leftovers.

This is also a great dish to make when kid’s want to help. There is no right or wrong way to roll or place the biscuits. When I got out the ingredients this weekend to starting making this, my daughter instantly grabbed her stool to help!

Ingredients

1 – 4 pack Pillsbury© buttermilk biscuits

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 tbsp water

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Sprinkle pecans into bottom of pan.

    Step 2 - Sprinkle pecans.

    Step 2 – Sprinkle pecans.

  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

    Step 3 - Mix cinnamon and sugar.

    Step 3 – Mix cinnamon and sugar.

  4. Cut biscuits into quarters and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place in pan.

    Step 4 - Quarter biscuits.

    Step 4 – Quarter biscuits.

  5. Melt brown sugar, butter and water into a sauce pan. Boil for 2 minutes then pour over biscuits.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then place plate UPSIDE-DOWN over the bread and flip over to get bread out (This is my favorite part). You will have some pecans left in the pan. Use a spoon to scoop out and place on top of bread (No, wait, this is my favorite part because you get to sample the remnants!).

    Step 7 - Flip bread onto plate.

    Step 7 – Flip bread onto plate.

 

My Hook: I use buttermilk biscuits, but you can experiment with other kinds to get a different taste to the bread. You can do the same with the nuts. I love pecans because they add a nice sweetness. They become candied with the sauce! If you want to knock down the sweet, try walnuts. Still good, but not as sweet. Some recipes I have seen do a 1:1 ratio with the brown sugar and butter. I think it gives it too much of a butter taste so I lowered the butter content.

 

Amy’s Ranch Party Dip

This is my friend Amy’s recipe for party dip. I make this at every party we have. It goes great with veggies and of course chips and pretzels.

It is simple. It is delicious. It is healthy. It is addictive. It is COTTAGE CHEESE! (Please keep reading. I promise I will not disappoint you.)

 

Ingredients:

1 x 16 oz –  1% low-fat cottage cheese (I use the small curd, but I guess in the end it will not matter)

1 packet ranch dip seasoning

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

ground pepper to taste (I usually shake around the processor twice)

mini food processor

 

Instructions:

1. Add ranch dip packet, minced garlic and pepper to mini food processor.

2. Add cottage cheese.

3. Blend.

Yes, that is all. Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • I add the cottage cheese last. It mixes smoother and faster.
  • If you do not like how thick the dip is try using the ranch dressing packet instead.
  • The garlic and pepper do not have to be exact. I suggest using that the first few times you make this. After that approximations are fine. I do not measure them anymore. I find this adds a uniqueness to the dip. It is never the same twice!