Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

I am such a pasta girl. I love a good alfredo, but I am bit of a snob. I'll try any homemade recipe, but I can't buy the canned stuff. (I've tried them all.... they are disgusting.) I do a lot of different recipes, and most of them are essentially the same, but this is the most recent. Pretty easy, too! 

This would be easy to vary, too. Toss in any frozen veggie you like, add some more seasonings, etc.  

Do you have a favorite alfredo recipe? Share in the comments!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and chopped chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cream
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine broccoli, pasta, and chicken; place into a 9”x13” baking dish.
  3. Melt butter completely over medium heat in large skillet or pan. Add flour, garlic, onion, salt, and stir to form a roux. Slowly add milk and cream, stir continuously until sauce has thickened. Add Parmesan, stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Evenly pour and distribute alfredo sauce over pasta combination. Gently stir to combine, and sprinkle with more Parmesan as desired.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
6 servings
30 minutes

Source (for original): Chef in Training

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cereal Cookies - no bake!

Originally published 3/26/14, slightly updated 9/8/16

This is one of those recipes that's simple, easy, and kids love.... If I am in the mood to make cookies but am limited on time, this is perfect! (Aside from no-bakes, of course.... those are my favorites!)

It's something Mama's been making for ages, and I don't even know where she originally got the recipe. The back of a Cheerios box, probably. To be honest, you don't even have to use Cheerios. (Although I always forget they are called Cereal Cookies, and call them Cheerio Cookies....) I've only ever used Cheerios, so I can't say how other cereals work with it, but I would imagine there are plenty of others that work well too.

Remember, comments are love! Let me know if you try them!

Printable Recipe
Cereal Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 4 cups Cheerios
  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar & syrup. Over medium-high heat, bring to a full boil. 
  2. Remove pan from heat. Stir in peanut butter until smooth, then stir in Cheerios until well coated. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper.(Teaspoonful of course being relative.... I usually make my cookies pretty big!)
Approx 28 cookies
Prep/Cook time: 20 minutes

Nutrition Facts
Approx 162 calories each

Source (for original): Mama

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cherry Kuchen Bars

I love baking. (In case you didn't figure that out already.) Even if it's not for me.... and not even something I would eat.

Take, for example, cherry things. I dislike cherries. (Which is funny, because Traverse City is one of my favorite places.) But, my Mama loves things with cherries. So when I see a recipe for something with cherries in it, it always makes me think of her. (I actually made her a batch of chocolate cherry cookies a few weeks ago.... and I just realized I didn't share that recipe!) I stumbled across this recipe for Cherry Kuchen Bars on Pinterest last week, and knew I had to make them soon!

Everyone loved these! I gave some to Mama, and Nate took most of the pan to work to share with his coworkers. (Apparently, they all love me too.) He took them on Friday.... and had requests for me to please bring more Monday.

I tasted the dough, and it tastes a bit like sugar cookie dough, so I can imagine they are amazing--if you like cherries! 

Remember-comments are love! Let me know if you try this recipe!

Cherry Kuchen Bars

  • 1 cup butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, divided
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-6 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, beat shortening, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as possible with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Press dough on to the bottom of an ungreased 9”x13” baking pan, reserving 1 1/2 cups. (NOTE: Original called for a 15"x10" pan, which I do not have. Thus, extended baking times. If you have a 15"x10" pan, check at the minimum time or slightly before. If you have a 9"x13" pan, it will probably need to bake a bit longer. I baked for the max time I have listed here.)
  3. Bake for 12-18 minutes. Remove from oven and spread pie filling over crust. Spoon reserved dough into small mounds over pie filling, pressing down lightly if needed.
  4. Bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until top is light brown.
  5. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk to make icing. Use enough milk to make into a drizzling consistency.
  6. Remove pan from oven; cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing.
32 pieces
1 ¼ hour

Source (for original): Dear Crissy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Butterfinger Cheesecake Bars

I am a huge Butterfinger fan (which I think I mentioned in the Peanut Butter Butterfinger Brownie recipe). When I saw this recipe, which is similar to a recipe I have for cheesecake brownies but with a Butterfinger twist, of course I had to try it! 

These bars are amazing. Everyone loved them. Nate & I both were expecting them to be much sweeter than they are, which is nice--I didn't want them to be amazingly rich, like the Butterfinger brownies I made.

I didn't really make many changes. The original called for butterscotch pudding mix, which I subbed for cheesecake, and butterscotch chips, which I will sub for peanut butter next time. (I am not a butterscotch fan.... but if you are, I would suggest trying it the original way, too!) I did also add a bit more Butterfinger.... I am sure the original didn't call for enough. ;)

One change that I did not make, but will next time, is when to add the last layer of Butterfinger & the chips. I would rather the chips were more melted, so I will add them before the 15 minute baking time, not just add at the end & bake for a couple more minutes.

Remember, comments are love!

Butterfinger Cheesecake Bars

  • 1 Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3.4 ounces cheesecake instant pudding mix
  • 2 egg
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Butterfinger bars, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, peanut butter, one egg and oil; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup for topping. Press remaining mixture into an ungreased 9”x13" baking pan.
  3. Bake 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Add the other egg and vanilla, beat until combined. Fold in 1/2 of the crushed Butterfinger, spread over cooled crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until filling is set.
  5. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and remaining crushed butterfinger. Return to oven and bake 2-3 minutes longer. Let cool completely before serving; refrigerate as desired.
32 pieces
1 hour

Source (for original): I Wash You Dry

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken & Spinach Pasta

Our oven died a couple weeks ago, when our menu plan was filled with things that needed to be baked. Thankfully, we've gotten it fixed since, but of the handful of things left on my plan, not ONE of them was crock pot or stove top only. We had pizza the first night I realized it was completely dead (that's also the day I dropped a wooden shelf on my head.... so we probably would've had pizza anyways), and I came up with some alternate meals. 

This Chicken & Spinach Pasta is actually something that was on the original menu, but originally required baking. With some slight adaptation to make it stove top (and a decent amount of adaptation simply because I wanted to), it worked. 

It's actually a pretty basic dish, but I really like adding the cream cheese/sour cream for some extra creaminess. 

The cutest thing about this was Gabriel's reaction to the spinach/tomato in it. It isn't unusual for me to put (small) pieces of tomato in things, but for some reason he said "icky" when he found a piece at the edge of his plate. I explained that it was tomato & it was yummy, then showed him the spinach & said that was yummy too. So he picked up a piece of spinach, told me "spinach yummy!" then promptly ate it. When we had leftovers the next day, he ate all of the spinach before even touching the pasta. :)

Chicken & Spinach Pasta

  • 16 ounces dry small pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400°, if desired. (Baking is not necessary.) Spray a 9”x13” baking pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook pasta; drain and set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a large saute pan set to medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Saute for 3 - 4 minutes to slightly soften; do not brown.
  4. Add in cream cheese; stir to melt. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir until everything is well combined and bubbling. Add pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes. Add more milk as needed to obtain desired consistency.
  5. If baking, stir to coat and immediately transfer to baking dish. Add remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.  
  6. If not baking, add remaining cheese and heat thoroughly.
  7. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.
8 servings
20-45 minutes

Source (for original): Inspired Dreamer

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Banana Muffins (or bread!)

Originally published 3/13/14, updated 9/17/16.

I love making muffins & quick breads. They are usually fairly sweet, almost always easy, and make a good (relatively) healthy snack for us.

Oh, and added benefit? If you give Gabriel a muffin, he is about as excited as when you give him a cookie. Which means that muffins only last around our house if you accidentally hide them in the fridge. (Oops.)

Awhile ago, I got a few bunches of bananas on clearance at the grocery store. (And by clearance, I mean these bananas were so brown even I wouldn't eat them.... and I eat them when they are pretty brown.) I tossed them all in the freezer, and we've slowly been going through them. The other day I decided a few more need to go, and so Gabriel & I made muffins! He loves to help me in the kitchen.... we have so much fun! We're working on the concept of waiting for the food to be ready.... there were some tears when these muffins came out of the oven, because he couldn't have one right away. 

I made muffins this time, but you can just as easily make bread.
Banana Bread/Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour    
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda    
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg    
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs    
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (approx 3 large or 5 medium) (careful: if you use too much, it will take longer to bake)
  • 1 cup sugar   
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350° for bread, or 375° for muffins.
  2. Grease bottom and 1/2” up the sides of 1 loaf pan OR grease/line with paper 18 muffin tins; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes for bread (it can take up to 15 minutes longer), or 18-20 minutes for muffins. (Or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.) 
  5. If necessary, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking bread to prevent overbrowning. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Remove muffins from pan immediately and cool completely on wire rack.
1 loaf (16 servings) OR 18 muffins
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 20-60 minutes

Nutrition Facts
Bread: 187 calories
Muffins: 166 calories

Source (for original): Better Homes & Gardens (the red checkered cookbook)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies!!

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts--shortly after my last post, we found a new place to rent, and life has been crazy. We moved a few weeks ago, but things have been so busy I haven't wanted to take the time to blog! (Well, between that and not being able to find the camera cord to upload pictures of recipes....) We are (basically) settled in now, thankfully! There are still a lot of boxes, but that's ok.... we are working on it!

So, to make up for it, I'm posting an AMAZING new recipe!  I found this on Pinterest, and had to try ASAP! I am a huge fan of mini Reese's Pieces in cookies (this recipe is one of my favorites), so I usually have some on hand. I am pretty sure I made these the day I found the recipe..... 

I made a few changes, and I definitely want to cut down on the sugar next time too. These cookies have vanilla pudding mix, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, honey, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, AND Reese's Pieces... So you can see why they might have a bit too much sugar, even for this sweet tooth! I think next time I will try 1/4 cup sugar vs 1/2 cup.... I will post an update when I do! (And if you try it in the meantime, let me know!)

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour    
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt    
  • 3.4 ounce box instant vanilla pudding
  • 3/4 cup butter flavored Crisco    
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar    
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs    
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey    
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup reese's pieces    
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and pudding; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat Crisco, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and honey; beat until combined. 
  4. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beat to combine. Mix in chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces, and peanut butter chips by hand.
  5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a small ball, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2” apart. Gently flatten the dough balls until they are about 3/4” thick.
  6. Bake 9-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
3 1/2 dozen
 1 hour

Source (for original): Sweet Pea's Kitchen