Tag Archives: Cooking

Microwave Fudge

9 Jun

Need a quick dessert?

My buddy posted this recipe on Facebook last night and it was perfect timing.  I have to bring a dessert to work and it’s pouring out so I don’t feel like shopping.  But with this easy and simple recipe I already have all of the ingredients…total prep and cook time is 5 minutes and it is ready in 15 minutes!!!

I cut the pieces nice and small because the fudge is sooo rich!

I cut the pieces nice and small because the fudge is sooo rich!

Ingredients:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:  In a microwave safe bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Pour milk over mixture and place butter in bowl. Do not mix. Microwave until butter is melted, 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and stir vigorously until smooth. Pour into prepared 9×9 dish. Chill in freezer 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Tips: Mix up the sugar and cocoa well to avoid lumps. I lined the prepared dish with aluminum foil to make it easier to remove the fudge.  I also kept it in longer than 10 minutes!

This recipe could not be easier! It’s a keeper :)

Bunnies in Dirt

22 May

My soon to be 7 year  old has her school birthday tomorrow.  She requested her cupcakes in cones and  if I could incorporate one of her two favorite things in her life…rainbows or bunnies…she said she would be super thrilled.  Well, I did the rainbow cupcakes a few years back and while I did outdo myself that was not happening again!

I happened to score a load of PEEPS bunnies on sale after Easter for inspiration.  I prepared a box mix for cupcakes and filled ice cream cones halfway, which I had positioned in MINI cupcake pans.

After they baked and cooled I frosted in vanilla, pushed those bunnies in and they looked horrible! The frosting was all pushed around and messy.

SO………..then I crushed up some OREOS (literally put them in a Ziploc and took a mallet to the bag…felt so good!)  I used my OREO “dirt” to fill in the bad spots and it started to come together.

I’m really not creative but when the kids came home and I asked, they immediately said “Bunnies in Dirt”!  I got the idea from when we go to TGIFridays  and they serve the kids a dessert consisting of pudding, with the crushed Oreos and gummy worms in it and they call it “Worms in Dirt”.

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My kitchen floor is covered with Oreo crumbs but otherwise they look okay, I think…?!

What do you think?

 

Fun Morning In NYC Experiencing Princess House and Muy Bueno Cooking

13 Apr

Now that my littlest is in kindergarten I have a large chunk of time to play, and on Thursday morning I did!

I threw the kids on the bus and booked it into the city with my pal Vera to attend a bunch of blog events.

As it typically goes in Manhattan, we encountered tons of traffic and delays so that when we finally arrived at our first event to hear about Princess House and experience Muy Bueno cooking we were weary, parched and starving.

Lucky for us, we were so warmly greeted and handed some hibiscus tea.  I was a bit hesitant but accepted out of politeness.  My goodness was I surprised by how much I enjoyed it (and 3 glasses later I was saying “what exactly is hibiscus and where can I get some!?!”). It is out of this world delicious and one of the many fabulous recipes in MUY BUENO Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by: Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza.

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Vera, Yvette, Veronica & Me

Yvette and Veronica created some succulent dishes for us to sample including Spicy Mexican Chorizo Zucchini Frittata, Chilaquiles and Coconut & Pineapple Pancakes.

I really wanted a photo BEFORE I started eating but I COULD NOT WAIT...deeelish!!!

I really wanted a photo BEFORE I started eating but I COULD NOT WAIT…deeelish!!!

And speaking of dishes, all the food was being prepared on Princess House cookware/bakeware (and served on beautiful Princess Berry Plates).  I had never heard of Princess House before but learned quickly that the company offers a large catalogue of home and entertaining products including (in addition to the cookware), food storage, meal preparation, serving and entertaining and home organization and decor.  The products are marketed directly to consumers through consultants.  We’ve all been to parties like these right?  Now I’m dying to go to a Princess House party.

My pancake was prepared using the Pancake Pen which looks like something I would definitely use. I also loved that the some of the cookware, in addition to so many great features, has flared rims for easy pouring and built-in colander in the lids which is so convenient when you have that giant boiling pot of pasta!

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And of course, the fact that there’s a line of products geared for children is very appealing and something I haven’t seen before.

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I had a nice time hanging with my buddy and meeting some new friends.  I’m really excited to try out some of the recipes in the Muy Bueno Cookbook — if you’re looking for some great Mexican recipes this is the book for you.  I also can’t wait to delve into the Princess House catalog to locate everything I need, because we always need something right!? :)

Have you ever been to a Princess House party?

Samples provided for review.

Rainbow Cupcake Cake

26 May

As my little girl is all about rainbows, but not a huge cake lover, I decided to make a rainbow using cupcakes for her fifth birthday party.  Now, I am not a crafty, creative or talented mom in any way, but, I thought it wouldn’t be too complicated.

And really it wasn’t so bad, just a little laborious with the frosting.

I don’t have pictures of the process because it was all-consuming and I had food coloring all over me!  My fabulous friend and neighbor lent me her MINI cupcake pans and she had a set of Wilton food coloring which made this task so much easier. I also purchased a cupcake pen which was a huge time saver.

So here’s what you need:

food coloring gels

mini cupcake pans — the more the better

1 regular cupcake pan

2 boxes white cake mix (I used Pillsbury)

2 cups water

6 eggs

2/3  cup oil

2 cans vanilla frosting

mini marshmallows

large foam board

I bought a large foam board as the base and glued blue poster board to it for the sky effect.  I mixed up both cake mixes at the same time and started making the mini cupcakes, planning for about 96 minis and 1 big cupcake for the sun.  I had plenty of muffins left over.  I used the gel generously to make the colors pop and was able to do all the colors splitting up just 2 cans of white frosting.  I planned ahead with an idea of how many cupcakes I would need and for which color.  Here is the breakdown:

18 RED, 15 ORANGE, 13 YELLOW, 11 GREEN, 9 BLUE, 6 PURPLE, 18 WHITE

For the white cloud cupcakes I did 9 cupcakes on each side.  Each cupcake had 8 marshmallows.

For the sun I mixed the leftover orange and yellow frosting to make an orange-yellow sun.  I frosted the surrounding “sun rays” (6 cupcakes) in the same color.

I was completely wowed with the end result.  And my rainbow lover? She stared at it for about 3 hours this morning until her party started…


This may be my best mom accomplishment ever!  Have you ever seen anything like it?!

Crockpot Country Chicken Chowder

15 Feb

Well I think I’ve finally discovered a crockpot winner.  I’ve made this several times and every family member loves it; I’m sure you can imagine what a feat that is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use dry, minced)
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 small carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cans cream of potato soup (undiluted)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Preparation:

In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine; brown chicken. Transfer chicken to slow cooker. Add the onions, celery,  carrots, corn kernels, soup, chicken broth and dill to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.  (I find that it’s better to cook on high a couple of hours first otherwise it takes forever for the vegetables to get tender.)

During the last 10 minutes, stir in the half and half. (I always forget and add it with everything and it’s fine)

Tastes delicious.  I make biscuits to go with it…yum.

I love soup…Anyone else make soup in the crockpot?

Creamy Cooker Chicken

17 Jan

The other day I made reference to the dinner I was cooking in the crock pot.  Okay, I questioned whether or not to even post a pic because it looks gross, so I am going to show you the better one, on the kid’s plates.

Though it doesn’t look great, it tastes really good and it’s so easy.

Creamy Cooker Chicken

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

2 cups sour cream (16 oz)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves

1. Combine soup mix, sour cream and cream of mushroom soup in slow cooker. Add chicken, pushing it down so it is submerged in the sauce.

2. Cover. Cook on low 8 hrs. (might not take that long)

3. Serve over rice or noodles.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

What are you cooking in the crock pot?

Cooking With Kids

16 Jan

It was one of those nights and tempers were short.  The kids were playing in the basement with their dad and I had had it with all the fighting.

I announced I was going upstairs to make dinner.  My son, the source of most of the disputes, asked if he could help me.  I know you know I didn’t want to deal with him at all in that moment, especially in his harried state, but I told him I sure could use a helper.

We were going to be making tacos, an always hit in this house, but first he wanted to know why I had

a box of worms

He was completely fascinated by the meat as it cooked.

It was sweet to see how empowered he was when I announced at dinner that he was the one who made it!

I guess it was a good lesson to me about how much, at this age, kids still love to help and how it can instantly improve moods.

How often do you cook with your kids…if at all?

Dump Cake (And My Eyes)

24 Nov

Well now that I’m not recovering from laser surgery, I guess there’s no real excuse for an inadequate Thanksgiving feast!  I want to tell you what I am preparing today but first a quick update on the canceled surgery.

I called the office this morning at 10:30 and the standard “call back during office hours” message came on.  I held on for the answering service.  The operator told me patients have been arriving at the building to find it shut down and surrounded by police and so far the doctor hasn’t paged her back.

Look, I tend to be one to jump too quickly to judgment and conclusion…but seriously?  I mean I feel irritated that I’m in limbo, but not even today’s patients were reached?   SO, there’s no outgoing message with this important information, nor has the answering service been informed and the doctor is MIA.  Okay…..anyway feel free to call me on it if I am being unfair here, but wow, not good practice and I am feeling uneasy all around.  Oh and it’s mid afternoon and I still haven’t heard from the practice.

Okay I’m done with that…for now!

Today I will be making Blue Cranberry Sauce, Dump Cake, Mashed Potatoes and probably Bread Pudding.  I want to focus on the Dump Cake here…..

SO what’s Dump Cake you ask?  Why, just the easiest cake you’ll ever prepare!  Actually, I’m not a fruity pie/cake person so it’s really not for me, but that’s just great.  I looooove making high calorie deserts that won’t even tempt me!  This is my first time making it, so here we go.

Dump Cake

The ingredients are easy and the recipe is great for kid involvement.

1 box yellow cake mix
2 cans cherry pie filling
1 16 oz. can crushed, drained pineapple
2 sticks butter, melted


Grease the bottom of a 13×9 dish and dump the contents of the pie filling and pineapple–don’t forget to drain the pineapple like I did!   Mix gently– I think I mixed a little too much.

Pour the dry unmixed cake mix on top. Drizzle the 2 sticks of butter evenly on top of the cake mix.

My directions say to bake according to the cake box directions, however I found I needed to bake for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Semi Success — Kielbasa

7 Nov

Well this was my second crockpot attempt (and the picture is the meal before it was cooked…I keep forgetting to take the after pic!).  The first was a whole chicken.  It was okay…kind of tasted like a big boiled, brothy thing.  I borrowed a crock pot recipe book and found this one for kielbasa.

My husband, who is half German, loves kielbasa.  Although I thought it wouldn’t be a giant hit with the kids, I trekked out to the market this morning (it was like 9:00 but I had already been up for hours!) to get the ingredients (kielbasa, cabbage, apples, onion and chicken broth) for this and some other crockpot recipes.

The recipe calls for napa cabbage but I had the girls with me and we had the most rickety, unyielding cart in the store so I just grabbed the first cabbage I saw.

Recipe was easy to prepare and I loved being done with dinner prep before lunch!

I’m not a big onion person and I didn’t dig the cooked apples all about, but the overall flavor was very good and my husband loved it.  The kids ate “the big hot dog” and even the cabbage so I was pleased.  I’m not, however, pleased with the residual cabbage smell in my house :).

I’m going to be trying some more crockpot recipes over the next few weeks.  Please let me know if you have any favorite recipes!

Minestrone Soup

31 Oct

I’m not a big fan of the un warm seasons, but when it does start to get cool out, I love to work on some nice soups.  Ah who am I kidding, I make soups year round regardless of the weather!

One of my favorites is this minestrone soup.  You know minestrone is basically Italian vegetable soup.  My husband and I love it but I am thrilled that my kids are now lovin it too.  It’s hearty, very low fat and delicious and so easy too.

You can really use any veggies you want but I generally use cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, zucchini and a potatoe.

Except today I had no onion and no zucchini (sometimes I keep a bag frozen for this recipe) and no substitute but it was just fine!

So, pour a little olive in a pan and saute a chopped onion (I had to subsitute with the dry onion from the jar) and 1 or 2 stalks of celery.  You can also add garlic but I don’t.  Saute around 5 minutes.

Then add 2 or 3 chopped carrots, and at least 1 cup of chopped cabbage (I didn’t have a zucchini or a potato but would have added 1 of each chopped) and saute for around 5 minutes.  (You’ll notice my measurements are not exact — because some days I feel like more of one veg than the other.  Put in as much or little veggies as you like)

Then add 1 can of chick peas, drained.

Now you have to add tomato paste.  The recipe calls for 1 can but sometimes I like to add 2 especially if I’m adding a lot of vegetables.  It’s your choice!

In addition to the paste, you will need to add water.  If you use  1 can add 8 cups of water.  If you use 2 you can put in 10 -12 cups of water, or more.

Let this boil and then simmer for at least and hour.  Then add around 1 cup of cooked pasta ( I use elbows).

Salt and pepper to taste….you’ll want to add at least a tablespoon of salt and keep adding as needed (which will depend on how much water you used).  I like to use garlic salt.  Sometimes I put hot pepper in my husband’s bowl for some kick.

When I tell you the kids LOVE it I’m not kidding!

I usually give it to them with a piece of cheese and a bowl of fruit.

My husband usually makes popovers with the soup.  I’ll post that recipe some time.

I’m always looking for new soup recipes…what are you cookin up?

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