Saturday, September 6, 2014

Nilla Wafer Cheesecakes

I love these single serving little cheesecakes!  After you bake them, the Nilla Wafer gets so soft and....well, crust-like.  It's so tasty!

Nilla Wafer Cheesecakes

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nilla wafers


With your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese with every ingredient except the wafers until smooth and cream.  

Lay out cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and put a Nilla Wafer in each liner.  Fill the liner half way with the cream cheese mixture. 

Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes. 

Let cool for one hour and top with your favorite fruit or even some whipped cream. 

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mexican Pizza: Taco Bell Copycat

I don't eat a lot of fast food, but I think I could go to Taco Bell everyday of my life.  

I always order from the same three things on their menu.  A Mexican Pizza (no meat, because I was a vegetarian for 5 years, and I've never gone back to eating a Mexican Pizza with meat), a bean burrito, please add tomatoes or a Double Decker (with no meat).

As I was scrolling through Pintersest, I noticed a copy cat recipe for the Mexican Pizza.  

I made my shopping list and went to the store as soon as I could!  I even bought the bottled Fire Sauce because I was so excited to make my own Mexican Pizza!

It's so close to the real thing that I ate one every day until I ran out of tortillas. 

Mexican Pizza: Taco Bell Copycat


1 package of medium sized flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 can can of red enchilada sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded pepper jack cheese
1 tomato, diced
1 small can olives
1 green onion, diced


 Preheat oven to 375º. 

Line a baking sheet with foil and place 2 tortillas on the foil. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Flip tortillas over and bake the other side for about 5 minutes or until they are browning and getting crisp.  Remove from oven and set aside. 

Spoon refried beans into a bowl and microwave until the are heated through. 

Spread the beans over one of the tortillas and place the other tortilla on top.  

Spread a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce over the top tortilla, and cover with pepper jack and cheddar cheese.  Add a few tomatoes, onion and olives. 

Place tortillas back on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted through. 

Remove from oven, slice in half both ways, smother with your favorite taco sauce and eat it up!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

I'm SUCH a sucker for cheesy potatoes. 

 I love cheese. 

 I love potatoes.  

I love cheesy potatoes. 

This meal is so topped with some sour cream and a side of broccoli!  

Is it normal that my mouth waters just looking at this picture? 

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

3-4 Russet potatoes. scrubbed and diced (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced (optional)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, cooled and crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 9x9 casserole dish. 

Spread half of the potatoes across the bottom of the pan.  Place diced chicken across the top, evenly. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of each salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with 1/2 the bacon crumbles, 1/2 of the cheese and 1/2 of the green onions. 

Spread the remaining potatoes on top, followed by the rest of the bacon, 1/2 cup of cheese, rest of the green onions, salt and pepper.  Pour heavy cream over the top of the casserole and scatter the butter pieces across the entire pan.  

Cover with foil and back for 1 hour.  Uncover and back another 30 minutes.  

In the last few minutes of baking, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake until melted. 


*Always make sure your chicken was cooked to an internal temp of 160º before eating. 

Source: Inspire Dreamer

Friday, August 8, 2014

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Don't you love when you make something and then because it's tastes so incredible, you eat it for lunch every. single. day until it is gone.  

And even then, you wish you had more? 

That's how I felt/acted with this pasta.  I would look forward to lunchtime (more than usual) because I could not wait to devour another bowlful of the creamy sun-dried tomato pasta.  

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta


1 pound bow tie noodles, cooked
4 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
8 ounces cream cheese, softened and diced into 8 pieces
8 ounce jar sun dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
2 cups milk
6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Diced fresh tomatoes and fresh basil for topping (optional) 


Cook noodles according the package and toss with a bit of olive oil.  Set aside while you make the sauce. 

In a skillet, melt butter over a medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Stir in the dried basil.  Add the cream cheese and stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes. 

Over medium heat, gradually add the milk about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. 

Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency. 

Pour in cooked, hot noddles and drool away!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Greek Yogurt Strawberry Cheesecakes (No bake!)

These are so tasty and perfect when you are expecting guests that are coming to visit, but aren't staying long enough for dinner.  You can whip them up pretty quick and pull them out to serve when you are ready. 

They are also great to serve as a dessert after you eat dinner. 

They are also just really tasty and you don't really have to wait until guests come over to make them. 

Greek Yogurt Strawberry Cheesecakes (No bake!)


16 ounces fresh strawberries, washed and diced
6 ounces fresh raspberries, washed and patted dry
1 teaspoon sugar

1 sleeve graham crackers (9 crackers) crushed into fine crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

16 ounce cream cheese (try reduced fat to lighten up this dessert), softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Greek yogurt (vanilla or honey-vanilla flavor)


Combine the strawberries, raspberries and sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir until well combined and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  This will allow the berries to macerate (a new word I recently learned!)

Combine the crushed crackers with sugar and butter and mix.  Divide evenly among small single serving bowls or ramekins.  Press lightly into the bottom of the dish.  These are more fun if you can serve them individually. 

In your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until the mixture is light and creamy.  Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla.  Add the yogurt and beat until well combined and fluffy for about 30-1minute. 

Stir the fruit mixture one more time and spoon a bit on top of each crust.  Remember you'll need berries to go on top of the cheesecake layer too, so save about half. 

Spoon an even amount of the cheesecake mixture on top of the fruit until it is evenly divided among all the dishes.  

Top with the remaining berries. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

**If you plan to serve this the next day, you might not want to assemble these until it's time to serve because the berries on top of the crust may make the crust too soft. 

Source:   Mels Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Baked Ravioli

Sometimes, you don't really want to cook.  You don't want to chop and dice and measure and mix and pour and marinate.  

Sometimes, you just want to add three ingredients to a pan and bake.  That's exactly what this is.  

It's so easy. 

Baked Ravioli

1 bag of frozen cheese ravioli
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese. 


In a casserole dish layer ravioli (don't let them overlap too much), sauce and cheese (in that order) evenly until you've run out of ingredients. Cover with foil and bake in the oven on 350º until cheesy is bubbly and the ravioli is heated through. 

Serve with garlic bread!

Source: Mom Mart

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Best Dinner Rolls

Baking anything that is bready is a little intimidating.  Everyone loves a warm, soft, buttery roll so if you get it wrong, it's a big waste of time.    Plus, baking bread takes a really long time.  And I really hate wasting time!  

So I haven't really ventured too far into breadland.  But, I was drawn into these rolls because they seemed so simple. 

I couldn't believe how easy they actually were!  I've made them a few times, and each time they have turned out to be a perfect dinner roll to our dinner entree

The Best Dinner Rolls


1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3-4 cups flour
butter, melted


In a small bowl (cereal size) mix yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Let stand until bubbly.  (about 10 minutes)

In a medium bowl or the bowl to your stand mixer, mix 1 cup warm milk, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt with a wooden spoon. 

Add 1 cup of flour to mixture and mix well.  Add eggs and beat until smooth.  Add the yeast mixture and mix on high until smooth.  (with the whisk attachment on your stand mixer)

Switch to the kneading hook on your stand mixer and add 3-4 cups of flour to the mixture.  Dough should be very sticky.  Pour the dough into a large bowl.  Cover with a towel and let rise for a few hours or until it has doubled in size.

Punch it down and divide it in half. 

Roll the dough onto a floured surface making a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  Dough should be about 3/8" thick. 

Brush dough with melted butter.  Cut circle with a pizza cutter into 12 pieces (like a pizza). 

Roll each triangle from the rounded edge to the point to make a crescent roll.  Place into a greased pan.  

Cover with a towel and let rise for a few hours until they double in size. 

Bake at 375º until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  

**If you touch the rolls, they should bounce back when they are done.  If they don't, they need to bake longer. 

Brush with melted butter while still warm. 

Try not to eat every.!


Source: Lil Luna

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Witch Hats

Luckily my food blog isn't popular.  Lucky because if it was, then it might be a problem that I post holiday recipes LONG after the holiday has passed.  Oops!

My son's preschool had a Halloween celebration last year and asked for donations.  I signed up to bring a treat.  Feeling a little buried with work and being a mother, I searched for an easy treat to make.  These witch hats were exactly what I was looking for and my son loved them!


1 package of  Keebler Chocolate Striped Shortbread Cookies
1 package of Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
1 container white frosting
green or orange food coloring


Drop a few drops of food coloring into the white frosting and stir until well combined.  Smear a dollop of frosting on the bottom of a Hershey's kiss and stick it to the bottom (chocolate side) of the cookie.

You want the frosting to smush out from underneath the kiss so you can see the color of the frosting.

Wa-la!  Witch hats!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice

As much as I try to back off using Cream of.....anything.  

I just keep going back to the comfort in a can!  

This was a really filling meal that the whole family enjoyed!

Chicken and Wild Rice 


1 6 oz package long grain and wild rice mix
1 medium onion, chipped (1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoon  fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups chooked chicken, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


Prepare the rice according to the directions. 
 Preheat oven to 350º.  In a large skillet, melt butter and cook onion and celery until tender. Stir in soup, sour cream and basil.  Stir in cooked rice and chicken. 

Transfer mixture to an ungreased 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until heated through. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Root Beer Pork

The best place to search for new recipes is the Internet.  Raise your hand if you use Pinterest!  The Internet is where I find a majority of my meal ideas, but occasionally, I'll find one in a magazine as I'm flipping through its pages.   I found this one in a magazine, but the irony is, it credits the recipe to  

Go figure!

Root Beer Pork


2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 12 oz can of root beer
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Hamburger buns


Place the pork in the slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat.  Cover and cook on low about 5-6 hours or until well cooked and shreds easily. 

Drain well and stir in BBQ sauce.  Serve over hamburger buns. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

A stand mixer was something I always knew I wanted.  I would say, "In the future, when I have a bigger kitchen to store it."  I knew it was a great tool to have in the kitchen, but it wasn't like I was feeling inconvenienced because I didn't have one.  

Little did I know!

Last October, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Yea!  And one of his gifts to me was to finally get me a stand mixer.  

My life changed that day.  

I'm not kidding.  

When I say I wasn't feeling inconvenienced or anything it's because I didn't KNOW how amazing these things are!  It's like having a handy helper in the kitchen.  I'm in love.  I've used it almost every single day since I've gotten it.  Everything from making these amazing cinnamon rolls to shredding chicken to making a cheese ball.  

One of the first things I made was my first-ever cinnamon rolls.  Wow... why didn't I get a stand mixer years ago?  These were awesome!

Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup of warm whole milk (110ºF)
2 eggs at room temperature (put them in a bowl of room temperature water to speed up that process)
1/3 cup of margarine (melted)
4 1/2 cups of bread flour (or more)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast

1 cup of brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
3 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup of butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 1 small pinch of salt
drops of water


Using your stand mixer, pour in the warm milk and add dry yeast and 4 teaspoons of sugar (taken from the 1/2 cup of sugar you will use later).  Whisk quickly to mix and cover with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. 

Once it is bubbly and puffed up, attach the hook attachment and mix on low speed.  Add melted margarine, eggs and remaining sugar.  Now start adding the flour and salt, one cup at a time.  You may end up using more than 5 cups of flour.  Let the mixer work the dough on the slow speed for about 10 minutes.  Do this until the dough does not stick to the bottom of the bowl.  Or you can check it by getting a small piece of the dough and squeezing it between your finger and thumb.  If it doesn't stick, the the dough is ready.  

Place plastic wrap over the top of the dough (touching the dough) to cover it.  Let it rise for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.  Keep it in a warm place.  I put it in near the dryer.

Sprinkle some flour over a clean surface and put the dough over it.  You'll need to stretch the dough using a rolling pin.  Shape it to about 16x21 inches in a rectangle.  Now spread the 1/3 cup of softened butter all over the dough. 

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the dough.  The butter should hold the mixture in place. 

Now roll the dough VERY TIGHTLY, the long way.  Then cut the dough into 12 pieces.  Cut in half first, then half of that then half of that...and so on. 

Lightly grease a 9x13 metal pan and place the rolls inside.  Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes or until they double in size.  Keep in a warm place. 

Bake rolls at 350º for about 15 minutes until golden brown. 

While baking, make the frosting:

In your stand mixer, add the cream cheese and butter and whip with the whipping attachment until they are evenly combined.  Add the vanilla and then the powdered sugar.  You will need to add a few drops of water to help it combine.  

Spread the frosting over the rolls once they come out of the oven, while they are still warm. 

Baked Salmon with Tomatoes and Green Beans

It's taken me a very long time to convert to eating salmon.  The only fish I usually eat is sushi.   And I only eat the safe stuff that has cream cheese in it too.  But, knowing the health benefits of eating fish, I make sure to serve it to my family regularly.  This all-in-one dish is an easy way to get an entire meal prepared and it includes salmon.  Bonus!

Baked Salmon with Tomatoes and Green Beans


A couple handful's of grape tomatoes, sliced
A couple handful's of green beans
Salmon (as much as you think you'll eat)
Olive Oil
Garlic and Herb dry seasoning


Lay the tomatoes on one side of a casserole dish, salmon in the center and the green beans on the other. 

Drizzle olive oil over the veggies and place a few dollops of butter (or margarine) over each section and sprinkle with the Garlic and Herb dry seasoning. 

Bake at 350º until the salmon is cooked through.  About 20-30 minutes. 

**The first few times I made this the green beans needed more time than the salmon, so now I saute the green beans a bit before I put the in the dish so they'll be ready in time.  I also take aluminum foil and cover just the green bean side to help them cook faster.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

What is up with my blurry picture?!  

It doesn't even matter. 

This pasta is amazing!  

This is one of those pastas that you could keep in the "company is coming over and I need something to serve" arsenal.  

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta


1/2 lb Penne pasta
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon of your favorite all-purpose seasoning
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour and 1 tablespoon flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, diced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup Italian seasoning bread crumbs


Cook the Penne according to the directions. Leave a bit undercooked because they are going to bake in the oven and you don't want mushy pasta.

Preheat oven to 400º

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 

Dice chicken into small pieces and season with the all purpose seasoning.  Cook in a skillet until cooked through. 

In a large pot, or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add flour and garlic, whisk and cook for about 1 minute.  Gradually add milk while whisking and bring to a simmer.  Be sure to whisk frequently until the sauce thickens.  

Add tomatoes and cook for about a minute.  

Take of heat and add mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. 

Add chicken and pasta to sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. 

Bake about 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. 

Cream Cheese Cucumber Wraps

These are a tasty variation of a deli sandwich! 

 I love the hint of dill!  

 Cream Cheese Cucumber Wraps


Cream Cheese
Deli Meat
Dried Dill Weed
Onion Powder


Warm the tortillas just enough so they are pliable.  Let the cream cheese soften so it spreads easily.

Spread cream cheese over the surface of the tortilla, sprinkle with dill and onion powder.  Lay down some deli meat and sliced cucumbers.

Roll tightly and enjoy! (Add fresh avocado or alfalfa sprouts as a bonus!)