Monday, April 29, 2013

Shredded Pork Roast Sandwiches

One weekend we went to an open house where my husband works and had a blast.  We really enjoyed seeing all the different things my husband is working on and get to see some of his coworkers and their families.  The company had tons of carnival games, craft stands, food, and prizes at this event.  One of the items on the lunch menu was shredded pork sandwiches.  While we were eating I looked over at my son and he had eaten the entire thing without being told to eat his lunch.  Anything my son will eat without a fight is a definite go to meal.

Shredded Pork Roast Sandwiches
2-3 lb. pork loin roast
onion powder, to taste
garlic powder (to taste)
1/2 can dark soda (I used Dr. Pepper)
hamburger buns
barbecue sauce
cheddar cheese
onion rings

Place the pork loin roast into the crockpot.  Season the pork loin roast with onion powder and garlic powder.  Pour 1/2 can dark soda over the pork loin roast.  Cook pork loin roast on LOW for 6-8 hours.  Once the roast is cooked, drain the extra juice and shred with a fork.

Place the shredded pork on a hamburger bun, pour barbecue sauce on top.  Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top of the barbecue sandwich and place the onion rings on top.

Vegetarian Option:
I also made this vegetarian style.  I heated up Morning Star Farms Barbecue Riblets in the microwave.  Once cooked, remove from the packaging and shred the barbecue riblet.  Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top.  Place the onion rings on top.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Easter Egg Cookies (Wet on Wet Technique)

I made these cookies for Easter.  I have badly been wanting to try the wet-on-wet technique on cookies and I figured these Easter cookies were perfect to try and were a perfect opportunity for my kids to try create their own Easter egg cookies.
Last year my SIL made these neat little Easter eggs with paper mache and plastic eggs.  She painted designs on each of the kid's Easter eggs and then painted each of their names on them.  We were so thankful that she took the time to make these for the kids and the kids absolutely loved them.  Luckily, she made them using plastic eggs because my oldest definitely tried to use his as a hockey puck!  Since I am more of a food decorating kind of gal, I decided to do something similar with cookies and I had been wanting to try the wet-on-wet technique of cookie decorating.
You will need:
Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
20 second royal icing in each of the colors you choose
a tooth pick

Outline and fill in the cookies
Put dots, strips or lines on the cookies.  Do this while the icing is still wet.
While the icing is still wet, draw lines in the icing with a toothpick.

Here's one I made with 4 different colors.


This one my son made with a horizontal blue lines and a toothpick through the lines.  He had a blast doing this.  I think he especially loved eating the icing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Crockpot Enchiladas

I love anything I can cook in the crockpot.  I like to cook and bake when the kids are naping and the crockpot is perfect for this.  When I use the crockpot, I can put something in during naptime and it will be ready by suppertime.

I love enchiladas because so many different things can be added to them and they are so easy to make.  This recipe is not too spicy and can be eaten with or without the flour tortillas.  My husband and I ate them enchilada style and our kids ate them more like nachos with tortilla chips.

Crockpot Enchiladas
1 lb. ground hamburger
1 can Ranch style beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas

Brown ground hamburger and drain.  Place the hamburger, Ranch style beans, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream into the crockpot.  Mix well.  Cook on LOW for 3 hours.  About 15 minutes before you're ready to serve add the shredded cheddar cheese.

Spoon the filling onto flour tortillas, roll them and serve.  I put cheesy spinach dip on top of mine.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Cheesy Spinach Dip

There is a Mexican restaurant where we live that all of my friends love.  Whenever we have a Mom's Night Out this restaurant is always on the request list for restaurant ideas.  One of the things on the menu is a spinach cheese dip that is oh my gosh, so yummy.  I could seriously eat an entire meal of just this spinach cheese dip.  In order to be more budget friendly, I figured I should create my own version of this yummy spinach cheese dip. 

Cheesy Spinach Dip
1/2 block queso blanco Velveeta cheese
1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (I used Rotel)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. fresh spinach
1 medium onion, diced (I'm lazy and just use the frozen diced kind)

Cut the queso blanco Velveeta cheese and cream cheese into cubes and place into a crockpot.  Pour the onions, spinach, and tomatoes with chilis into the crockpot.  Mix all of the ingredients together.  Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Cake

When I was creating the menu for Easter I must have been majorly craving strawberries.  I think I had 3 different things on the menu that included strawberries.  The strawberry white chocolate pie was the other dessert we had for our Easter meal.  I couldn't decide which one to make so I made both!  My daughter loved when I was making this because she has just discovered her love of strawberries.  I kept hearing, "Mommy, can I have a strawberry, please?" the whole time I was making this.  I'm not sure if she likes the strawberries more or the fact that strawberries have a pink hue to them and pink just happens to be her favorite color.
The frosting on the cake is light and creamy.  It's my version of cool whip frosting.  I was actually going to buy the cool whip frosting to add to this cake, but of course I forgot to add it to my list.  This time my forgetfulness was a blessing because I loved this frosting.
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Cake (adapted from Bird on a Cake)
For the Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 box (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs
1/2 c. pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
For the Cheesecake
3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2/3 c. pureed strawberries
2 T. granulated sugar
For the Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. unsalted butter (softened)
1 t. vanilla extract
 5-6 c. confectioners' sugar
2 c. whipped cream
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the bottom and sides of two 9 in. round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with wax or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and gelatin.  On a medium speed, mix in the water and oil.  Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.  Mix in the 2/3 c. pureed strawberries.  Pour into pans and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
For the Cheesecake
Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Boil approximately 4 cups of water. Mix the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla. Pour half of the cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan. Mix 2 T. sugar with the pureed strawberries. Drop puree by spoonfuls on top of the batter. Drag a knife bath and forth through the batter to create a swirl effect with the puree. Pour the rest of the batter in the pan and smooth the top of the cheesecake.
Spray the bottom of a 9 in. springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.   Wrap the bottom half of the springform pan in aluminum foil. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan and place the pan into a roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. The water should come halfway up side of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake is just set.  It should take approximately 45-50 minutes.  Remove from water and run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to release the cheesecake.    Let the cheesecake cool completely. Remove outer ring of the springform pan, but leave the metal bottom. Cool completely in the pan, then chill in the refrigerator.
Beat the butter until smooth.  Add in the cream cheese and beat until smooth.  Mix in the vanilla and whipped cream.  Gradually add in the powdered sugar. 
Place one cake layer on a cake stand and frost it.
Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer and frost it.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this.  I took a picture of my baby and forgot to take a picture of this.)
Frost the entire cake
The finished product!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Strawberry White Chocolate Pie

While I was planning the menu for Easter I searched and searched for different recipes to make. When I found this recipe it reminded me so much of the cherry cheese pie that I had been making since I was about 10.  The cherry cheese pie recipe was one that I would always make on my birthday for a special treat.  The main difference between this recipe and the one I used to make was the addition of the white chocolate and strawberries.  Oh my gosh!  It is divine!  I can not say enough good things about this pie.  It's creamy, decadent and oh so simple to make!  I adore simple to make recipes, especially since I'm usually cooking and baking with a baby or a toddler on my hip.  Also, any recipes that I can have my kids help me make is a huge bonus.

Strawberry White Chocolate Pie (adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up)

1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
5 T butter, melted                            
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 C powdered sugar
1/2 C white chocolate chips                                    
1 T fresh squeezed orange juice
1 t. vanilla                                   
1 whole container cool whip                                   
16 ounces strawberries, sliced
3 T white chocolate chips (optional)
For Crust
Place a sleeve of graham crackers into a food processor.  Turn the graham crackers into find crumbs.  Pour the 5 T. butter over the top of the crumbs. Mix the butter and crumbs together.  Pour the crumb mixture into a 9 in. pie dish.  Press the crumb mixture along the bottom and sides of the pie dish.

For Filling

Pour 1/2 cup white chocolate chips into a small, microwave safe bowl.  Melt the white chocolate chips in 30 second intervals and stir after each interval.  Once the chips have melted, set the chips aside to cool a bit. 

In a mixing bowl, place 16 ounces softened cream cheese.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add 2 c. powdered sugar and mix until smooth. 

Add the container of cool whip, 1 T. of fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 t. vanilla and melted white chocolate.  Mix until smooth.

Pour the filling on top of the graham cracker crust.

Wash and slice the strawberries.  Place them on top of the filling.  I started by making a circular pattern on the outside and worked my way in.

Melt the 3 T. white chocolate in a microwave in 30 second intervals.  Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the strawberries.  Chill in a refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.


Indian "Fry" Bread Tacos

Growing up I went to a lot of Native American pow wows.  Every time I went to one there was always Indian Fry Bread.  Sometimes the Indian Fry bread was served as a side to soups or chili.  Other times it was served under taco meat and you could add on your own fixings.  Sometimes it was also served as a dessert.  You could cover it in powdered sugar and honey or cinnamon and sugar and it was a wonderful treat.

This recipe is super simple and the bread isn't fried like most Indian Fry bread.  I'm not big on frying or cooking foods in butter so this is perfect. 

Indian "Fry" Bread Tacos (adapted from Taste of Home)

8 ounces sour cream
2 T. ranch seasoning mix
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 T. hot sauce
1 pkg. large refrigerated biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)
Optional:  cheese, olives, tomatoes, lettuce

In a small mixing bowl, mix the sour cream and ground beef.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Brown the hamburger and drain.  Add taco seasoning and mix according to the directions on the back of the taco seasoning packet.  Mix in the hot sauce.

While the hamburger is cooking, separate the biscuits and roll out into 6 in. circles.

Cook each biscuit on a skillet for 30-60 seconds or until the side is golden brown.  Flip the biscuit over and do the same on the other side.
To serve, top with the sour cream mixture, the taco meat and add any toppings you like.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Oreo Cheesecake Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

I generally use my husband's birthday cakes as a reason to experiment with different cake recipes.  When I found a recipe with cake and cheesecake I had to make it.  I have a cheesecake addiction and I believe anything is better when you add cheesecake.  I'm not sure which part of this cake is the best part:  the cake, the cheesecake or the frosting. 
Oreo Cheesecake Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Frosting  (adapted from Erin's Food Files)
20 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
6 coarsely crushed Oreo cookies

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

8oz white chocolate
2 sticks butter, softened slightly to room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
approx 4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Boil approximately 4 cups of water. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Mix in vanilla extract and salt.  Mix eggs in, one at a time. Add the sour cream and mix.  Fold in the crushed Oreos. 

Spray the bottom of a 9 in. springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.  Wrap the bottom half of the springform pan in aluminum foil.  Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan and place the pan into a roasting pan.  Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan.  The water should come halfway up side of the springform pan.  Bake until the center of the cheesecake is just set.  This should take about 45 minutes.  Remove the pan from the water.  Let the cheesecake cool completely.  Remove outer ring of the springform pan, but leave the metal bottom.  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-in. round pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with wax or parchment paper.  Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking power, baking soda and salt.  Mix in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat at mediium speed for 2 minutes.  Add in the boiling water.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.  Remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Make sure to stir the chocolate in between intervals.  Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.  While your chocolate is cooling, beat the butter in a mixer until smooth.  Once the chocolate has cooled slightly, add it to the butter and mix.  Add in vanilla, milk and powdered sugar. 

Spread some frosting on the bottom of the cake stand this will help prevent the cake from moving when frosting.  Place one layer of cake on a plate.  Frost the top of the layer.
Unwrap the cheesecake and remove the metal bottom.  Peel off the wax paper.  Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom cake layer.  Frost the top of the cheesecake layer.

Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, frost the entire cake with a crumb coat of frosting.  Place in fridge to allow the frosting to harden.  Finish frosting the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.