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Clay Sugar Bear

October 26, 2015

This little clay bear really works!  Soak the bear in water for about 10 minutes and push it down into your brown sugar.  It helps keep your brown sugar moist.

These clay animals can be purchased at most kitchen stores.

Milk Chocolate Banana Brownies

October 19, 2014

1 Milk Chocolate Banana Brownies (1)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

1  3/4 cups (11.5 oz package) Milk Chocolate Chips, divided

Microwave 1 cup chocolate chips in a small, uncovered, microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds.  Stir.  If necessary, microwave an additional 10 – 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Cool to room temperature.

 

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Beat brown sugar and butter until creamy.

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

Beat in melted chocolate.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.

2 medium ripe bananas

Stir in bananas and remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.

Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cut into bars.

 

FULL RECIPE WITHOUT PICTURES —

MILK CHOCOLATE BANANA BROWNIES

1  3/4 cups (11.5 oz package) Milk Chocolate Chips, divided

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 medium ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

Microwave 1 cup chocolate chips in a small, uncovered, microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds.  Stir.  If necessary, microwave an additional 10 – 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Cool to room temperature.

Combine flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Beat brown sugar and butter until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

Beat in melted chocolate.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in bananas and remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.

Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cut into bars.

Zebra Bars

October 12, 2014

1 Zebra Bars (1)

Very tasty, rich brownies.  Easy to make since the bottom layer is made with a cake mix.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bottom Layer:

1 chocolate cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg.

Add nuts, if desired.

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NOTE: The mix will be very thick.

Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

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Top Layer:

1 pound powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese

2 eggs

Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese and remaining 2 eggs.

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Spread over bottom layer.

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Bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.

1 cup milk chocolate chips. 

Remove from oven and sprinkle milk e ships over the top.  As they melt, spread them over the top.

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Cool completely and cut into squares.

 

FULL RECIPE WITHOUT PICTURES —

ZEBRA BARS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bottom Layer:

1 chocolate cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg.

Add nuts, if desired.

NOTE: The mix will be very thick.

Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Top Layer:

1 pound powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese

2 eggs

Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese and remaining 2 eggs.

Spread over bottom layer.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.

1 cup milk chocolate chips. 

Remove from oven and sprinkle milk e ships over the top.  As they melt, spread them over the top.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

 

 

 

 

 

Watermelon cutting

September 27, 2014

1 Watermelon cutting (5)

I love cutting a watermelon like this.  It is so fast and easy and makes for great finger food.

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1.  Cut watermelon in half

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2. Turn watermelon over and cut in 1 inch slices.

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3. Turn and cut in 1 inch slices in the other direction.

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VIOLA!!!  Watermelon finger food !!!

 

Farfalle with Chicken and Mushrooms

August 3, 2014

1 Farfalle with Chicken and Mushrooms (5)

 This is a delicious pasta dish with chicken and mushrooms.  The sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto ham give it an incredible flavor!

1 Farfalle with Chicken and Mushrooms (7)

NOTE:  I doubled this recipe  – so the pictures below show twice the ingredients.  Ingredients stated is for a single recipe.

Prepare all ingredients ahead of time so they are ready to add when stated.

Cook and slice chicken, boil pasta, slice sun-dried tomatoes, slice mushrooms, dice prosciutto ham, measure all other ingredients.

1/2 pound Farfalle – (which is the fancy name for bow tie pasta) boiled to al dente (about 11 – 12 minutes), drained

6 T. butter

3 T. flour

1  – 14.5 oz. can 99% fat free chicken broth

1/2 cup half-and-half

1  1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/3 cup  sun-dried tomatoe brochette  

1  1/2 oz. prosciutto ham

1/4  tsp.  seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. garlic granules

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 T. shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

 

1 Farfalle with Chicken and Mushrooms (9)

I cut the chicken breasts in half  lengthwise and cooked them in a non-stick frying pan (no oil added).  I seasoned them with pepper and garlic granules.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

6 T. butter

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.

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3 T. flour

Whisk in flour to make a rue.

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1  – 14.5 oz. can 99% fat free chicken broth

Gradually stir in chicken broth.  Heat and simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Remove from heat.

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1  1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

Stir in parmesan cheese.

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1/2 cup half-and-half

Stir in half-and-half.

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1/4  tsp.  seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. garlic granules

1/4 tsp. pepper

Stir in seasonings.

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1/3 cup  sun-dried tomatoes brochetta

Note:  The original recipe called for  1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips, which is shown in the picture.  By mistake, the second time I made this, I bought sun-dried tomato bruchetta.  It gave it such a great flavor – now I buy this all the time.  It is quite oily so I blot it with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

Stir in tomatoes.

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8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

Stir in mushrooms.

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1  1/2 oz. prosciutto ham

Stir in prosciutto ham.

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1/2 pound Farfalle – (which is the fancy name for bow tie pasta) –  boiled to al dente (about 11 – 12 minutes), drained

Add pasta a little at a time, stirring after each add in.

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2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed

Carefully stir in chicken.

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Spoon into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

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Sprinkle with 3 T.  parmesan cheese.

1 Farfalle with Chicken and Mushrooms

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until hot in the center.

THIS RECIPE FREEZES VERY WELL.

WEIGHT WATCHERS:  8 servings: 9 PointsPlus per serving         6 servings: 12 Points Plus per serving

FULL RECIPE WITHOUT PICTURES —

FARFALLE with CHICKEN and MUSHROOMS

1/2 pound Farfalle – (which is the fancy name for bow tie pasta) boiled to al dente (about 11 – 12 minutes), drained

6 T. butter

3 T. flour

1  – 14.5 oz. can 99% fat free chicken broth

1  1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/4  tsp.  seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. garlic granules

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/3 cup  sun-dried tomatoes brochetta

Note:  The original recipe called for  1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips, which is shown in the picture.  By mistake, the second time I made this, I bought sun-dried tomato bruchetta.  It gave it such a great flavor – now I buy this all the time.  It is quite oily so I blot it with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1  1/2 oz. prosciutto ham

2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed

3 T. shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Prepare all ingredients as stated above.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Whisk in flour.

Gradually stir in chicken broth.  Heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Remove from heat.

Stir in parmesan cheese.

Stir in half-and-half.

Stir in seasonings

Stir in tomatoes.

Stir in mushrooms.

Stir in procuiutto ham.

Add pasta a little at a time, stirring after each add in.

Carefully stir in chicken.

Spoon into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Sprinkle with 3 T.  parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until hot in the center.

 

WEIGHT WATCHERS:  8 servings: 9 PointsPlus per serving         6 servings: 12 Points Plus per serving

 

 

 

Cheesecake

August 3, 2014

1 Cheesecake (20)

This is the recipe that the Cheesecake Factory uses for their famous mouth watering cheesecake.  It does take time to let the ingredients come to room temperature, takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to bake, and tastes better if you give it time to season……BUT….it is totally worth the wait!!!

This cheesecake is topped with the Strawberry Topping found in this blog under the Fruit tab.

1 Cheesecake (2)

CRUST:

1  1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 1/2 sheets)

Crush graham crackers in a zip lock bag.  Using a heavy mug helps.

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1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

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1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix in the melted butter with a fork.

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Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

I had a hard time getting the parchment paper to stay, so I used some clips around the edge.

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Press the crumbs into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides and inch or two.

Put the crust in the freezer while you are preparing the filling.

FILLING:

All the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.  This takes several hours.  

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1  1/2 pounds cream cheese (3 large packages)

Beat the cream cheese on low speed until light and fluffy.  Keep the mixer on low the entire time.

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1  1/3 cups sugar

Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

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5 large eggs

Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.

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1/4 cup flour

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. lemon juice

Add flour,vanilla and lemon juice, mix well.

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16 oz. sour cream

Add cream cheese and beat well.

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Pour cream cheese mixture into the spring form pan.

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Place on the top rack in the middle of the oven.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When the time is up, turn the oven off, prop open the oven door and leave cheesecake in the oven for one hour.

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Remove from oven and let cool – then refrigerate for 24 hours.

IMPORTANT TIP:   A cheesecake should season.  The wait is worth it.  The flavors ripen and become enriched.

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FULL RECIPE WITHOUT PICTURES —

CRUST:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 1/2 sheets)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Mix in the melted butter with a fork.

Press the crumbs into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides and inch or two.

Put the crust in the freezer while you are preparing the filling.

FILLING:

1  1/2 pounds cream cheese (3 large packages)

1  1/3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

16 oz. sour cream

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. lemon juice

All the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.  This takes several hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat the cream cheese on low speed until light and fluffy.  Keep the mixer on low the entire time.

Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.

Add flour,vanilla and lemon juice, mix well.

Add cream cheese and beat well.

Pour cream cheese mixture into the spring form pan.

Place on the top rack in the middle of the oven.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When the time is up, turn the oven off, prop open the oven door and leave cheesecake in the oven for one hour.

Remove from oven and let cool – then refrigerate for 24 hours.

IMPORTANT TIP:   A cheesecake should season.  The wait is worth it.  The flavors ripen and become enriched.

Strawberry Topping

August 3, 2014

1 Strawberry Topping (1)

This is a simple deliciously strawberry topping that can be used for cheesecake or ice cream. 

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2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

If using fresh strawberries, wash and remove stems.

Place strawberries in a saucepan and smash them up a bit.

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Add sugar and vanilla.

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Cook over medium/high heat, stirring occasionally.

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Cook until sauce thickens – about 10 – 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Cool.

Tastes delicious over Cheesecake!!!

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FULL RECIPE WITH PICTURES —

STRAWBERRY TOPPING

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

If using fresh strawberries, wash and remove stems.

Place strawberries in a saucepan and smash them up a bit.

Add sugar.

Add vanilla.

Cook over medium/high heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook until sauce thickens – about 10 – 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Cool.