Monday, July 29, 2013

Country Gravy Casserole

This is one of our favorite things to eat for Saturday morning breakfast.  There's something about the combination of the biscuits, cheese, sausage, egg and country gravy that makes this meal incredible.  It's filling and oh so yummy. 

I have made this for relatives relatives when they come to visit and people usually go back for seconds.  My dad even went back for seconds and this is huge because he is an incredibly picky eater who hates casseroles.  I know weird, right.  This casserole may have been the breakthrough though. 

I also love because you can put the ingredients together the day before and cook it the next morning.  It still tastes wonderful!

Country Sausage Gravy Casserole (source Miss Information Blog)
1 tube Grands biscuits
1 package of sausage
6 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 package Country Gravy or Sausage Gravy (made according to package directions)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut the Grands biscuits into 1 inch pieces and line the bottom of the pan.  Brown the sausage, drain and scatter over the biscuits.  Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the sausage.  Whisk together eggs and milk and pour it over the pan.  Make the gravy according to package directions and pour it over the pan.  Bake in the oven for 30 - 45 minutes.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Berry Berries Smoothie

There is a restaurant is our city that is completely vegetarian and lactose free.  I have been wanting to go there for ages and we finally went there for my birthday.  One of the the things we tried was a berry smoothie.  It was wonderful!  I decided I needed to be able to make this at home.

Berry Berries Smoothie
1/2 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 of a banana
1/2 c. coconut milk or regular milk
1 1/2 c. grape juice
1 c. ice (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a blender.  Mix until well blender.  Pour in a glass and serve.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Idaho Nachos

One of my favorite things to eat at Granite City is their Idaho Nachos.  I love the melted cheese all over the waffles fries and the dipping sauce is incredible.  It had been a while since I had eaten any Idaho Nachos are Granite City so I did a recipe search for the Granite City Idaho Nacho Dipping Sauce and came up with this one.  I made a few adjustments but the recipe is incredibly close to the actual dipping sauce.  The secret is the Worchestershire sauce.   

Idaho Nachos
1 package waffle cut fries
1 1/2 c. shredded colby jack cheese
1 T. sour cream (optional)
2 T. bacon bits (optional)
1 c. diced tomato (optional)
Idaho Nacho Dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Idaho Nacho Dipping Sauce (adapted from Food)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. curry
1/8 t. paprika
1 t. Worchestershire sauce

In the oven cook the waffle cut fries until desired doneness.  On a large plate place half of the waffle cut fries and sprinkle with half of the shredded colby jack cheese.  Place the remaining fries on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Top with the sour cream, bacon bits and tomato.

In a mixing bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, onion powder, garlic powder, curry, paprika, and Worchestershire sauce. 

Divide the dipping sauce into smaller bowls for each person.



Monday, July 22, 2013

Butter Pecan Cream Cake

After our nephew's graduation all of the parents got together and did a reception for the graduating class.  One of the parents baked cakes and one of those was an Italian Cream Cake.  By the time I found out about this cake all that was left was the crumbs.  A common ingredient in Italian Cream Cake is coconut which is not something commonly found at our house.  Hubby doesn't like coconut and rather than eating the whole cake by myself, I decided it was a better idea to come up with a version of Italian Cream Cake without the coconut. 
The taste of the cake is incredible!  The butter toasted pecans truly add to the flavor so you won't want to skip it.  Sometimes this cake tasted more like butter pecan ice cream and other times it tasted like a cake version of pecan pie.  

Butter Pecan Cream Cake (adapted from Taste of Home)
{For Cake}
2 1/3 c. pecans, chopped and divided
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 c. evaporated milk
3 c. all-purpouse flour
1 1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. oil

{For Frosting}
 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. evaporated milk
6 c. confectioner's sugar

{For Cake}
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line the bottom of 3 - 9 inch cake pans with wax paper.  Melt 1/4 c. butter in a large baking pan.  Add pecans and coat evenly with  butter.  Bake for 1520 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream 1 c. butter, sugar and oil.  In a small bowl, crack eggs and add vanilla.  Add eggs 1 at a time into the creamed mixture.  Beat well after each egg addition.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Mix the evaporated milk alternately with flour into creamed mixture.  Stir in 1 1/3 c. pecans.

Pour the batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.

{For Frosting}
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter.  Mix in 1/2 of the powdered sugar.  Add vanilla and evaporated milk.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in remaining powdered sugar.  Stir in 1 c. chopped pecans.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

When hubby and I first met the block he lived on had an annual block party.  It was soo much fun!  The block would all get together and hire a DJ, rent a bouncy house and everyone would bring tons of yummy food.  One of the neighbors would always make a drink he called Riptides.  I've since heard it called summer beer, among other names. 

The other day I was in the mood for Riptides so I decided to make a non-alcoholic version with the addition of strawberries.

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
1 can pink lemonade frozen concentrate
1 pint strawberry sorbet
4 - 5 cans ginger ale

In a blender combine the strawberry sorbet and pink lemonade concentrate.  Blend well.  Pour the mixture into a punch bowl or large pitcher.  Mix well and serve.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Caramel Apple Dip

My MIL gave me the recipe for this and I absolutely love this dip.  It's super easy to make and the combination of the vanilla, brown sugar and cream cheese makes a caramel and cheesecake flavor that is wonderful!  I can feed my cheesecake addiction without having to make an entire cheesecake.

Caramel Apple Dip
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl.  Mix all ingredients until blended.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Super Mario Bros. Cake

Hubby's birthday and Father's Day are close together.  We were going to be spending hubby's birthday at his parent's house so I decided rather than bring all of my cake decorating supplies to his parents house I would just make him a Father's Day cake instead. 

We got engaged and found out we were expecting our first on hubby's birthday so it's always been a special day to us.  In fact, hubby played Super Mario Bros. while I was in labor with our first.  It was a 46 hour marathon labor so he figured he needed to do something to keep him from going stir crazy!  The whole time I was making this cake the theme song from Super Mario Bros. was going through my head.

I also decided to do this cake because it's relatively easy and you only need a few cake decorating supplies.  I used pre colored fondant, but you can also just buy white fondant and color the fondant the different colors needed.

You will need:
Blue gel food coloring (for the frosting)
Super Mario template
Sharp knife
Red fondant (or red food coloring)
White Fondant
Blue Fondant (or blue food coloring)
Black Fondant (or black food coloring)
Black Food Coloring
Brown Fondant
Tan Fondant
Food Safe paint brushes
Brown Food Coloring
Black Food Coloring
Yellow Fondant

I started by printing out a template image of Super Mario which you can find here.  Please excuse the water marks on the face.
Cut the Super Mario image out and cut the hat off of Mario.

Roll out fondant.  Using a sharp knife, cut out the outline of Super Mario's face.
Once you have done the outline of Mario, cut out the facial features of Mario.

This is the eyebrows, hair and mustache of Mario.

Place Mario's facial outline on top of the cake. (If you look closely you can see the finger prints of my 1 year old.  She helped me out a lot with this cake.  If was peanut butter and delicious!)

Place the hat and hat lid on top of Mario's facial outline.  I did the lid of the hat separate and placed it on top of the hat in order to give it more dimension.

Place the white of the emblem on Mario's hat.

Place the M of Super Mario onto the emblem.

Place the brown fondant down for the eyebrows.  You can also paint them on using brown food coloring.

Place the mustache on Mario

Place the eyes, nose and hair on.

Give Mario his blue eyes.  You can also paint the blue and black onto Mario's eyes using food coloring.

This would have been a little better had I had an airbrush machine, but I painted a little bit of brown food coloring onto his face to mimic the shadows on his chin, ears and nose.  I rubbed any excess off with a paper towel.

I used a star cookie cutter to cut out yellow fondant and painted on the star's eyes using black food coloring.
This tutorial was shared on Tuesday Talent Show



Monday, July 8, 2013

Hockey Puck Cookies 2

These are my son's favorite cookies.  When my son asked me to make these cookies he gave me his version of how to make these.  He said, "first you take the round crackers and you put peanut butter in the middle.  Then, you put the black over it and TA-DA you're done!"  The whole time this description was going on he was bouncing around.  That is actually a really good description of how to make these cookies.  They are that easy!

I've heard tons of different names for these cookies.  When I first tried these cookies my husband's family named them after my BIL.  I have since heard them called PMS cookies and hockey puck cookies.  Since we are big hockey fans at our house we've begun to call them hockey puck cookies.  I think when they were called PMS cookies they had the addition of marshmallow fluff along with the peanut butter.

Hockey Puck Cookies
2 Sleeves Round Butter Crackers (I used Ritz crackers)
Creamy Peanut Butter
1 pkg. Chocolate Candy Coating

Melt the Chocolate Candy Coating.  You can use a double boiler or a place it in a microwave and melt at 30 second intervals.  Take a cracker and spread peanut butter on top.  Place a 2nd cracker on top of the peanut butter.  Dip the peanut butter crackers into the chocolate until completely coated.  Place on wax or parchment paper to allow the chocolate to cool and harden. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4th of July Recipe Ideas

Since the 4th of July is tomorrow I thought I would put together a list of recipe ideas.  They are all simple and don't take a lot of prep work so you can spend plenty of time with family and friends.

4th of July Recipe Ideas

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

These were a big hit at our house.  The addition of the beer added a wonderful flavor to these onion rings.
Beer-Battered Onion Rings (adapted from Paula Deen)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. cajun seasoning
1 (12 oz.) bottle beer
3 large onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick and rings separated
Vegetable oil, for frying
Ranch sauce (Recipe follows)

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and cajun seasoning.  Whisk in beer until smooth. 

In a fryer, pour oil to approximately 3 inches deep.  Using batches of onions, dip onion rings into batter.  Let the excess drip off.  Carefully lower onions in hot oil, and fry for 2 - 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on paper towels to drain.  Serve with Ranch Sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Ranch sauce
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
2 T. cream
2 T. Ranch dressing mix
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. paprika

Mix all ingredients together and serve.