Homemade Fudge Pops

Quick Post: The kids couldn’t wait for these to freeze solid 🙂 They’re a little grainy, but the flavor is nice – not too sweet either. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Homemade Fudge Pops – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

1. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.

2. Combine the melted chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and butter, and stir until well combined.

3. Let the mixture cool slightly (it should still be warm but not hot to the touch), and then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for 30 minutes, and then insert sticks. Freeze completely before serving.

Blueberry Banana Bread

In case you couldn’t tell, I love to try out new recipes. Especially trying variations of banana bread as you can see here, here, here, this one too, and this. I can’t get enough of them, and thankfully my husband is a willing taste tester. My husband didn’t notice the banana flavor, probably because he didn’t know there was any in this (he assumed blueberry, of course). I thought the bread was okay, and a little dense but that may be because I over stirred the batter? Not sure, I thought I did a pretty good job of not over mixing. Maybe it was tougher because there is no butter in this, which usually keeps loaves tender and moist. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Blueberry Banana Bread – adapted from Chef in Training
  • 2 cups flour (250 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar (**I used 1/2 cup vanilla sugar, 1/2 plain**)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 spotty bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and mashed bananas until smooth. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in blueberries with a spoon or spatula, then pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
  5. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos

Quick Post: These were so good! I have made the recipe that these taquitos were inspired by, and those are amazing too. We all really enjoyed these, and my husband didn’t even mind/notice that there were some things in these he would normally pass on. The flavor compliment each other really well and all my modifications are listed below. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos – adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (reduced-fat is fine)
  • 1/3 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 3-4 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped pork
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10-15 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • canola oil for brushing
  • BBQ sauce or ranch dressing for dipping
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, brown sugar, chile powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the pork and cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Working 3-4 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable.Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.Brush the taquitos lightly with canola oil, sprinkle with salt.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with bbq sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Blueberry Cakelets

Quick Post: I was on a hunt for more recipes that use self-rising flour. I recently purchased a bag for these two ingredient biscuits (they’re my absolute fave!) But I only made them that one time back in October, so the remainder of the flour sat in the pantry until it finally expired…I hate wasting food. This was pretty tasty and not too sweet. I bet that it would be even better with some fresh whipped cream. I like how quickly I was able to throw this together and next time I would love to try this recipe with strawberries. That might go over well with my family as they don’t seem to like blueberries that much…oh well! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Individual Blueberry Cakes – adapted from Top With Cinnamon
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup self-raising flour

Optional:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the blueberries in a bowl, with 1/2 cup of water, the 1/3 cup of sugar (and cinnamon, lemon zest and lemon juice if you want them). Stir until the blueberries are coated with the mixture. Divide between 4 or 5 medium ramekins.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp of sugar, the egg and cream together. Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t over mix it! Pour the mixture into the  ramekins and sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar on top of the batter (or you could sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture onto the batter here…I highly recommend it!). Place the ramekins on a baking tray (to stop juice dripping everywhere in the oven).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown.

Pulled Pork Mac n’ Cheese

Why not, right? My husband thought this was too weird to work at first, but I  immediately knew this was destined for our dinner table. I love macaroni and cheese (proof here, here, here, here, here and some here), and I’m always on the lookout for new faves. He’s a little more apprehensive, but in the end is satisfied with the meal. I used this recipe for inspiration, a different one for the pork and this mac n’ cheese sauce. The Pioneer Woman knows her mac and cheese and I have made it several times with different cheese blends.

Verdict: This was amazing – really a pleasant surprise and I will definitely make this again. Even the pickiest kid I know (my girl) ate this up!  Make sure you use a great quality barbecue sauce ( I use this brand) or make your own. The pork is easy to prepare in the crock pot and compliments the mac and cheese really well, and I loved the smokiness that the sauce added to it. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pulled Pork – adapted from The Redhead’s Adventures

  • 1 pork shoulder
  • 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt per pound of meat
  • 1 TBSP Brown sugar per pound of meat
  • ground black pepper to taste
Directions:

Prepare the night before: Season pork shoulder, wrap and place in the refrigerator

To cook: Unwrap pork shoulder and place in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 stick  butter (1/4 cup)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 8 oz. Emmental cheese, shredded
  • 8 0z. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. Asiago cheese, shredded
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup (or more to cover the mac n’ cheese) Panko bread crumbs
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups finely chopped pulled pork
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)

Directions:

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Toss the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce. Stir the pork and pasta into the cheese sauce.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

I made these once before, but I think all the pictures that I took stunk, so I decided not to post about them. I have declared Wednesday night to be “Fun Kid Dinner Night”, because M is never able to be home with us on Wednesday nights. It’s a good opportunity to make something I know he wouldn’t care for, and that way I can still get my mushrooms, bell peppers, mustard and onions in somewhere. I mentioned her before that he’s a little picky 😉

Verdict: These were really good and would make a great appetizer. The ratio of cheese and pepperoni is quite a bit higher than batter, so oil up your muffin tin liberally! I like my addition of chili flake which gave these a little kick. Also, marinara is a must for dipping which makes these little puffs a quick substitute when you’re craving pizza. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs – adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • pinch of chili flake
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. pepperoni, diced
  • Pecornino Romano cheese to taste
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375o.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and dried seasonings; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Warm the pizza sauce, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil.  Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Garlic Green Beans

Quick Post: These were so good, (so was the entire meal – roast chicken and garlic rice pilaf linkage). This is such an easy, amazingly flavorful meal and definitely company worthy (not to mention cheap!) It hits all the right buttons! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Garlic Green Beans – adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (**next time, I’ll use 1 TBSP**)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:

Steam green beans until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Transfer steamed green beans to the melted butter and garlic. Toss to coat green beans evenly and continue to saute for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat.

Stir Fry

This was really good and my whole family enjoyed this meal. Next time I will add some honey or more orange juice for a little more sweetness, because the savory flavors were pretty strong. I like my flavors to have a little more balance, but other than that this is definitely a winner. Even my kids wondered if I’ll make this again! I can’t beat that kind of enthusiasm, especially when it has so many veggies in it. I will add more veggies next time and the fam requested baby carrots, and I missed the crispy crunch of water chestnuts. M doesn’t care for those, but he can pick them out; which means more for me 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Pat’s Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry – adapted from Food Network
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste, if desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1 cup snap peas, rinsed and blanched
  • 1 cup bell pepper, sliced and blanched
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced at an angle – thin, blanched
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, light brown sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and cornstarch. Reserve.

Set a wok over medium-high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. When the oil shimmers, add about half of the chicken thigh pieces. Stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken thighs.

Add enough peanut oil to the hot wok to coat the bottom. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and red pepper flakes, to taste, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken back to the pan along with the broccoli florets and stir to warm through. Pour in the reserved sauce and stir until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Thousand Layer Cookie

I’m not a newlywed anymore, (and honestly, I did not cook like this ten years ago…) but I was intrigued as soon as I found this recipe online. I figured that if this book had awesomeness between its covers like this, it would certainly be worth borrowing from the library 🙂 Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea that this kind of cookies existed. This website has great pictures of step by step of how these amazing cookies are created and they’re worth the extra effort! I love that the chopped chocolate instead of chips because you get chocolate in every single bite – powder,  shards and chunks all in one awesome cookie. They bake up slightly crisp but chewy in the centers; and the flaky fleur de sel leaves a pleasant, salty zing on your tongue. I have never used that salt until today, but I can’t wait to use it in other recipes to see what the fuss is all about. These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Period. End of story. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Thousand Layer Cookies – adapted from The Newlywed Cookbook

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar (150 g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 g)
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (280 g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, two at a time; add vanilla and mix to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Divide dough into three equal portions. Wrap each portion with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator; let chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, using a serrated knife, coarsely chop chocolate into thin shards. Set aside.
  5. Unwrap one portion of chilled dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with half the chocolate and top with a second portion of chilled dough. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate and top with remaining portion of dough.
  6. Lightly dust with flour and gently roll out dough to a 9-by-6-inch rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 2-inch-round cutter, cut out 10 rounds of dough. Gather scraps and lightly pat into another 1 1/2-inch-thick rectangle and cut out remaining cookies. Place on prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart and brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, if desired.
  7. Transfer cookies to oven and bake until cookies are set, 12 to 15 minutes, switching baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking. Let cookies cool slightly on baking sheets, about 3 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Strawberry Ice Pops

I recently purchased these ice pop mold from Amazon, and borrowed this book from the local library. This book is full of real fruit recipes and I can’t wait to try the cantaloupe, watermelon, avocado (yes, avocado!), lime, spicy pineapple, and maybe I’ll try the roasted banana ice pops. I am almost tempted to purchase this book! 😉
Verdict: This is the first recipe in this book, probably because it’s the most basic and well-loved flavors. It was very easy to make and of course, there is a little waiting involved, but these are definitely worth making. Yes, there is sugar in these, but I’m sure you could substitute with another type of sugar. Next time I’ll use less sugar because these are pretty sweet. If you’re using super ripe and sweet fruit, adjust your sugar content accordingly – unless you like super sweet popsicles. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Strawberry Paletas – adapted from Paletas
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup sugar (**I used vanilla sugar**)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:

Combine the sugar and strawberries in a bowl. Let sit until the strawberries start releasing their natural juices, 20-30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat. Simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth. If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, snap on the lid and freeze solid, about 5-8 hours.