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November 30, 2011

Pumpkin {Shaped} Cheese Ball

Oh, hi there. I am indeed alive and have not suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

I have no good excuse except that I've been busy, like all of you I'm sure.

I've neglected my poor blog for over a week now, and I don't feel good about it. I haven't even gotten to catch up on your Thanksgivings (I've missed you!)... or post any new recipes (sorry, no Thanksgiving recipes)... or even cook recently really (and no menu plan this week)! I feel like a terrible blogger. I truly hope you all did enjoy your Thanksgivings and had plenty to be thankful for. I know I do. I'm thankful for all of you, too! Like, so much. Especially when I don't call or write for over a week. Yall are definitely some keepers.  Don't break up with me, k?

Enough with the sappy talk though, let's get on to the food that I've deprived you of lately.

You know what else makes me a bad blogger? I have been wanting to post about this recipe for the past month and a half! Time just gets away from me. You too? Ok good, it's not just me. I made this to bring to our company potluck lunch at Halloween. I never did post about it though, but figured I could still post about it before Thanksgiving and that you, my readers, could still make it for Thanksgiving if you wanted. Again, I didn't. So here it is. Finally. After Halloween and after Thanksgiving. But before Christmas, at least... pat on the back for that.

This is a pumpkin-shaped cheese ball. Not a pumpkin-flavored cheese ball. I don't want any nasty comments saying someone was expecting a pumpkin-flavored cheese ball recipe. Though that does sound quite enticing. Just coverin' my butt.

Pumpkin {Shaped} Cheese Ball
adapted from Taste of Home
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) container chive and onion cream cheese, softened
  • 2 oz sour cream
  • 2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 celery rib 
  • Sliced apples, crackers, tortilla chips, veggies, pretzels for dipping
In a small bowl, beat cream cheeses and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the cheddar cheese, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Shape into a ball, to resemble a pumpkin. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.

With a knife, add vertical lines to the cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin furthermore. Insert a celery rib (you will have to cut it) for the stem. Serve with dippers of choice.


Make this next Halloween. Or Thanksgiving. Or anytime during the 2012 fall season and those to come. Just be sure to make it before Christmas, like I did, and you'll be a-ok in my book.

*Another reason I am a horrible blogger: I'm behind on my 12 Weeks of Christmas posts! Yikes, tomorrow we are supposed to be on Week 10 I believe... and I haven't linked up since Week 7. So you may be seeing some Christmas goodie recipes coming from me soon that I'll be linking up to past weeks.... going back in time. I'm allowed to do that, right? Hey, if the linky is still open I say it's fair game, even if it is several weeks later! So stay tuned for that.

I'm gonna stop listing reasons I'm a bad blogger now. 

Off to bed to get 5 hours of sleep!!! Gotta love late-night blogging.

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 20, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 11/21/11

Why hello there, my pretties! How you doin? I'm doing pretty good... bout to wind down from a fun weekend. I did some shopping and lunch at BJ's Brewhouse with Marcey on Saturday, then stopped by to see my cousins Steph and Pope visiting from outta town... so good to see them as always. That evening PJ and I watched some UFC for like the 4th weekend in a row. I'm not complaining! Dan Henderson surprised us and beat Shogun Rua, and there were some other good fights as well. I love UFC. I wish I could train for fun without getting my face messed up.

Sunday we went to Kroger to pick up some lunch meat, chips, and other unnecessary junk. The main reason we went there was to get some hummus so I could write my Foodbuzz post up last minute. Then we scrambled home to watch the Bengals lose to the Ravens... a close and exciting game but still a loss. That Dalton sure did look a hot mess with his 3 interceptions. And boooooo, that Palmer getting good stats with the Raiders. Oh well, our record is still better than anyone expected, and I was prepared for us to not do so well against the tougher teams anyways, so it's not as harsh when it actually happens. Then we used my groupon and went bowling at Western Bowl for 2 games. It was fun just the two of us... a little date night on a Sunday evening. I suck really bad though... bowled a 72 and then a 67. Yeah, I know I suck. How do you get good at bowling?
Tonight we'll eat some chicken tacos, watch some Walking Dead and I'll have a couple beers. Sounds like a good way to end the weekend. Yay for a short work week coming up. I'm excited for Thanksgiving dinners and my niece coming to town.

On to the menu....
Monday 11/21/11:  City BBQ or eat out

Tuesday 11/22/11:  Crock Pot Chicken with Black Beans and Cream Cheese with Cilantro Lime Rice

Wednesday 11/23/11:  BLT Crescent Sandwiches with chips

Thursday 11/24/11:  Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Thanksgiving at my mama's (or on Friday)

Friday 11/25/11:  Thanksgiving at PJ's mom's (or on Thursday)

Saturday 11/26/11:  leftover Thanksgiving meal hopefully

Sunday 11/27/11:  White-Bean Soup with Bacon and Herbs with Italian Garlic Knots

Looks like it's gonna be a fantastic week, my friends! 

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, good food, and plenty of things for which to be thankful.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Foodbuzz Tastemaker {Sabra}

Hey yall!

I'm back with another Foodbuzz Tastemaker post. This time for Sabra products. PJ and I went to the grocery today and searched for the Sabra products... they're near the fancy cheese section in our store, by the way. We had seen a guacamole or dip photo on the coupon and hoped to get either of those. I already knew Sabra was all about the hummus but we wanted to try their guac. But they didn't have any at the store.... only different hummus choices, such as roasted garlic, supremely spicy, spinach and artichoke, and roasted pine nut, which we ended up getting. It was a tough call between that and the roasted garlic, but I liked the idea of the crunch from the pine nuts. 

Look, it's gluten free!

I've never really been a hummus kind of person. It always had an odd flavor to me. And when I tasted this kind on my finger by itself, I was instantly brought back to that taste and why I hadn't ever really liked it before. So I scooped a little bit into a ramekin (expecting not to eat much) and served it with a few Ritz crackers. However, with the crackers it was much better. Yes, I still tasted that odd flavor... it seems like a cumin taste to me but according to their website, hummus doesn't have cumin in it so it must be something else... possibly the chickpeas or the tahini, I'm not sure since I have never had chickpeas or tahini outside of hummus. But it wasn't overwhelming partnered with the crackers. I think PJ also used some Doritos for dipping. Though he doesn't eat it much either, I think he likes it more than I do, so he thought it was good.

While I probably won't be buying these hummus packages all the time, I'll admit it was better than I expected and I did indeed like it after all. Their website says they now offer a new flavor...  buffalo style hummus. I would love to try that at some point! I hope our grocery store starts carrying it soon. And I'd definitely want to try that guacamole or some of their dips next time too.

*Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free Sabra product. All opinions and thoughts are my own and I was not compensated in any way for my opinions. 

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese {Improv Cooking Challenge}

Good morning, friends. 

Today I'm bringing you a delicious topper for your breakfast bagel or toast... Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese. For so long, I've thought I didn't like pumpkin much. Since I had to make something containing pumpkin and cream cheese for this month's Improv Cooking Challenge and still wanted to participate, I figured I would test out my taste buds again and see how I felt about pumpkin now. I mean, I had seen so many delicious-looking pumpkin recipes all over pinterest and different blogs that were calling me to try them. This was definitely one of them.

Now that I see the photo on the screen I think I'll re-edit it tonight

And you know what? I'm so glad we did! We both were surprised at how much we loved this cream cheese. I like mine for breakfast on a cinnamon raisin bagel. MMM....

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Libby's canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and syrup til creamy. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and beat til smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Oh yeah, and I finally splurged and bought some of the pricier vanilla extract. I've heard it's the only way to go. We'll see if I'll be able to taste the difference.

This spread really was delicious! I'm so glad I got a little bit of a pumpkin fix this fall season. I'd love to dabble some more in the pumpkin fields before the season is over.

And check out all of the other pumpkin and cream cheese recipes in the blog hop below:

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 15, 2011

Easy Chicken Pot Pie: Foodbuzz Tastemaker {Green Giant}

Today I'm partnering with Foodbuzz Tastemaker to bring you another review, this time for Green Giant vegetables. I received a coupon for a free bag of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers and needed to make a recipe using some Green Giant frozen vegetables. So fun! I've always been a fan of Green Giant's frozen vegetables anyways. Their Niblets Corn & Butter Sauce is our go-to corn product. LOVE it. I've also enjoyed their Garden Vegetable Medley, Roasted Potatoes & Garlic Herb Sauce, and their Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli & Cheese Sauce. And I love to take their single-serve Niblets Corn, and Corn & Peas to lunch. They're adorable, and very practical for someone like me who doesn't need a big portion for lunch. So you can I imagine that I was excited to be able to try their Fresh Steamers products, since I had seen them for awhile and wondered about them.

I wanted to make a pot pie recipe using their frozen veggies, and so we bought the Valley Blend variety which had broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower... perfect for a pot pie. 

We modified this recipe to make it more of our own, using a whole can of cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken soup. We also didn't use skim milk, just regular. We upped the veggie amount and used the whole 11 oz bag of frozen veggies rather than only one cup. I also knew that 1/2 cup chicken definitely wouldn't be enough for us, plus we had half of a rotisserie chicken in the fridge leftover from yesterday's Taco Chicken Alfredo so I wanted to use it up since we had it! So we used 1 and 1/2 cups of chicken. 

Though we increased some things, we didn't increase the Bisquick mixture measurements. Doh! Next time we would increase that so there would be more of a crust on top of the pot pie. It only made enough to form a very thin layer (in the baking dish I used). That was just silly of me to think we didn't need to increase that amount, too. We also baked it for about 25-28 minutes instead of 20 minutes, and the top layer was still pretty mushy. When I touched it, it felt hardened but when served, it just wasn't the right consistency of how a pot pie crust should be. Next time we'd definitely try to use a smaller baking dish so that the Bisquick mix wouldn't have to spread so wide across the top layer... maybe even individual baking dishes that I can serve the pot pies from. The recipe below is exactly what I did...  feel free to add more Bisquick mix/milk/egg white for the top crust layer if you want, and/or to cook it longer if needed.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from Green Giant
  • 1 can (10 and 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 11 oz bag of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers - Valley Blend (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick mix
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg white

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In an ungreased 1 quart casserole dish, stir together the soup and 1/3 cup milk; stir in vegetables and chicken. Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes; stir. Microwave for 1-2 more minutes and stir again.

In a small bowl, stir together the Bisquick mix, 1/4 cup milk, and egg white until blended. Pour evenly over chicken mixture.

Bake uncovered for 25-28 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Printable Recipe


Even with some of the problems with the crust, it still tasted delicious, much better than either of us expected. Of course it's nice to use fresh vegetables when possible, but let's face it, it's not always plausible. I love Green Giant's frozen products because they provide a convenient alternative to fresh veggies, and taste great too. I've had only good experiences using Green Giant's frozen vegetables, and I'm sure I will continue to love their products in the future as well.

And we'll definitely be making this recipe again and again, modifying it using many different veggies. Can't wait to try this with some onions, mushrooms, peas, corn, and more!

*Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free package of Green Giant vegetables. All opinions and thoughts are my own and I was not compensated in any way for my opinions. 

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 14, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 11/14/11

Holy smokes, it's been 3 weeks since my last menu planning post! I was wayyyy too busy the past two Mondays to write up a post, but now I'm back from my planning hiatus. I've missed it. It felt strange not having an answer when PJ asked "what's on the menu plan?" several nights for the past couple of weeks. I've got to get back to my domestic wifey duties!!!

A quick wrap-up of my weekend: 
  • Friday night - it was our receptionist, Jenn's, last day at PPS... so we all celebrated with  convo and drinks at Molly Malone's pub right near our work.
  • Saturday - UFC most of the day... watched the prelims online starting at 4:45 PM and they were on for HOURS! Until the main {FREE} fight at 9 PM pretty much. Then I watched Junior Dos Santos knock out Cain Velasquez and become the new UFC heavyweight champion! Love that guy! He can look mean, but he's THE nicest guy ever (like I know him, lol). So incredibly likeable, so I was very happy he won. 
  • Sunday I watched the Bengals lose to the Steelers. BOOOOO!!! Pretty exciting game, though. And our record is still pretty good, though we haven't won against very many tough teams yet. I'll be so proud if we make it to the playoffs. Finished my Sunday night off with some Walking Dead. Always a nice way to end the weekend, I might add.
And now here it is Monday. The start of a brand new week. I hope to trim some bushes outside the front of our house before it gets too cold. I also need to clean and get organized, including geting back on top of my pre-planned home cooked meals. My life needs some order!

I had to use some Green Giant frozen veggies in a meal by tomorrow for Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program, so tonight we had some chicken pot pie. YUM!

Monday 11/14/11:  we had Chicken Pot Pie for 2, adapted to our likings, with rotini

Tuesday 11/15/11:  probably City BBQ, PJ works late

Wednesday 11/16/11:  Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder, with ciabatta bread

Thursday 11/17/11:  date night, bowling... probably eat there or pick something up

Friday 11/18/11:  hamburgers and fries

Saturday 11/19/11:  out to eat with my mama

Sunday 11/20/11:  Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joes with garlic bread

Hope you all have a wonderful week, friends!

Peace, and bacon grease!

November's Secret Recipe Club - Nana's Snickerdoodles

That's right, friends. I'm back for another round of The Secret Recipe Club. I just can't get enough of it!

This month I was assigned the lovely blog, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, which I have been a longtime follower of anyway!  I love linking up to Miz Helen's weekly linky, Full Plate Thursday, and seeing how she fills her plate up each week. I was stoked to be able to actually take time to look through every single one of her recipes to pick the perfect one for us. Several caught my attention, but I finally settled on Nana's Snickerdoodles because I love her What's in the Cookie Jar segments, and these homemade cookies seemed perfect for a windy fall night to warm us up.


(Not My) Nana's Snickerdoodles
from Miz Helen's Kitchen
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • equal parts cinnamon and sugar
Cream together the sugar, shortening, and butter in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs, one at a time. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well. Roll dough into small balls using heaping teaspoons, and then roll the balls in a mixture of one part cinnamon and one part sugar. Place the small balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten the dough balls. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Do not over bake, or they will get hard.

These were some tasty cookies, especially when eaten warm right out of the oven. PJ isn't a huge fan of cinnamon, so he thought they were fine but lacked flavor. I think I may have rolled them in too much cinnamon though, and next time I'd make sure to coat them in more sugar than cinnamon. They also were a bit eggy... I wonder how they would turn out with one egg instead of two. Overall, I was pleased with these cookies and would make them again, trying those changes. Nothing like the smell of cinnamon and some warm cookies to spruce up a fall evening.

As always, it's been fun participating in this month's Secret Recipe Club, and secretly following Miz Helen for the past month, hehe. Feel free to join in for next month! Also, be sure to check out the other awesome recipes in the blog hop below.

*Update: I just thought I'd let you guys know that I've been munching on these cookies for a couple days now, and they are still just as good... maybe even better! I'm beginning to think that maybe I like my cookies at room temp the next day best. They are sooooo good! They seem sweeter now, or maybe I was just crazy then? Either way, they're delicious. I'm off to finish them off now.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Taco Chicken Alfredo: Foodbuzz Tastemaker {Heinz Classico}

Today I'm happy to be joining with Foodbuzz Tastemaker to bring you a review of the product: Heinz Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce. This is my first time participating in the program and I'm very excited to have the opportunity to review their product!

You all know I love my sauces. Particularly alfredo sauce. That's why I had to opt in to receive a sample jar of this light alfredo sauce. Truthfully, I didn't know what to expect. I have always been turned off by "light" products in the past. Light ranch dressing and light mayo just never tasted the same as the real thing. So I wondered if this would. 

With 50% less fat and 45% fewer calories than leading brands of alfredo sauce, it still packs the richness and creaminess that is expected from an alfredo sauce. This alfredo sauce is a great alternative to other calorie-packed alfredo sauces, with only 60 calories per serving. You can't beat 60 calories! While it doesn't taste as good as the real, fatty stuff in my opinion, it does come close, especially in a recipe that spruces it up a bit, like the one I made.

I searched around for some tasty recipes that called for jarred alfredo sauce, and came across this one and knew it was the one. While it sounded delicious, the whole time I was wondering what made it "Mexican" chicken alfredo. I figured it was just the taco seasoning. It wasn't until I was actually making it that I realized down in the directions it mentions to add in salsa along with the cheese, milk, and taco seasoning. That would have made it a lot more Mexican. We didn't have any salsa in the house, so it was left out and we had to improvise with what we had. It was fine because I was expecting to make it that way all along.

Therefore, since we didn't have salsa, I've decided to change the name of this recipe to reflect what it really was for us instead. So instead of Mexican Chicken Alfredo, I bring you....

Taco Chicken Alfredo.

We both liked it, didn't love it. Next time I would probably use a different pasta than penne though. I think I'm just not a big fan of penne pasta. I did eyeball the taco seasoning too, and I would guess it was probably more like 2 or 3 tsp than 1 tsp. We also bought a whole pre-seasoned rotissierie chicken and used half of it for this recipe and will use the other half for tomorrow's dinner. I'm not sure how much it was exactly so I'll just leave the original measurement of 1 lb chicken.

Taco Chicken Alfredo
adapted from Keeley McGuire
Cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Add in cooked chicken and alfredo sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in the parmesan cheese, milk and taco mix. 

Drain the pasta and then toss with the chicken mixture. Pour in a greased square baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese when serving.

Printable Recipe

Try it with the salsa if you can. Next time I may try it with canned or fresh tomatoes, or jalapenos for more spice.

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a free sample jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce. All opinions and thoughts are my own and I was not compensated in any way for my opinions.

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 8, 2011

Easy Peanut Butter Cups {Martha Mondays} + {Week 7 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

This week was my pick for Martha Mondays, and sadly it will be my last time participating. Life is about to get way crazy and I don't want to overwhelm myself with commitments. It's been fun though, and I thank Brette for hosting all this time!

I decided to go with Martha's Easy Peanut Butter Cups. I know you're probably thinking, "haven't you had enough candy lately?" cuz Halloween just passed and all... and the answer is no, obviously! To be fair, I didn't purchase any reeces peanut butter cups to pass out for Halloween, so I think it's perfectly fine that I make some to have as a little post-Halloween treat. 

These were so easy to make, seriously. Like, no skillets or pots or pans used, and no real cooking involved. Nope. Just the microwave, some bowls, and some refrigerating. I love that I could just melt the peanut butter and white chocolate mixture, as well as the chocolate chips, in microwavable bowls and not dirty up a large pot. 

We halved the recipe, using only one mini muffin pan and therefore only yielding 12 peanut butter cups. I took the advice of some reviewers that said to use 16 oz of chocolate instead of 12, and since we halved everything we used 8 oz Ghiradelli milk chocolate baking chips. Had some of those bad boys left over from my candy cookies from last week. Maybe I shouldn't have used "baking chips" since technically no baking was involved, but they turned out great to me! If you want, you can just use regular milk chocolate chips. And for the white chocolate, we used Bakers squares which come wrapped as 1-oz pieces... we needed 2 oz so we just used 2 squares.

Also at the advice of reviewers, we poured in the milk chocolate (bottom layer) into the paper liners, then the peanut butter mixture, and then froze it for a bit to let it harden... so that the peanut butter layer would be solid before pouring on the top chocolate layer. While it did look great and held together fine for presentation sake, when I bit into it, it seemed like the top chocolate layer separated from the bottom chocolate and peanut butter layer, which had hardened together. So next time I think I would try it how the original recipe says... to add everything to the liners at one time, and then let it harden in the freezer/fridge after.

Easy Peanut Butter Cups
adapted from Martha Stewart

Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, about 1 minute or so, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, place milk chocolate chips in another microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring once or twice, about 2 or 3 minutes until almost melted.

Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer milk chocolate and peanut butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with milk chocolate; sprinkle with peanuts. Place muffin pans in freezer until peanut butter cups are firm, about 15 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

I also want to share these goodies for Week 7 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets over at Meal Planning Magic. They would make such perfect gifts for the holidays. I'd love for someone to make these for me.

See how easy it is to make your own homemade candy?! I hadn't a clue.

Recently, I've been on a sweet treats roll. I've never baked so many desserts and goodies in my life!!!!

And I'm completely loving it.

Oh, and thanks for the memories, Martha. I'm sure we'll meet again.

Be sure to check out the other delicious treats in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets blop hop below.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Linking up here.

November 7, 2011

The Crazy Cooking Challenge... and Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

I'm backkkkkk! I missed last month's Crazy Cooking Challenge, because my chocolate chip cookie recipe didn't turn out so well so I had to drop out at the last minute. But I'm back this month, baby! With a tasty one, too.


This month we all had to post about a mashed potato recipe. I was all over that.... as you know I'm a potatoes kinda gurl. I love mashed potatoes, so it was so much fun trying to find the perfect mashed potato recipe to make. Man, I saw so many good ones. One day, I asked PJ which recipe he wanted to make... and listed like 5 mashed potato options which had made my final cuts, and he said he wanted to make all of them!!! (I agree!). But he ended up picking this delicious mashed potato casserole.

It's everything you love about a loaded baked potato... in mashed potato and casserole form. Plus I used evaporated milk, which made the mashed potato very creamy. And you guys already know my affinity for bacon. So this was a perfect side for us. We also didn't peel the potatoes due to laziness, but there's nothing wrong with a little potato skin in some mashed potatoes. And we seasoned the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste, once served. The recipe makes plenty, a full casserole dish worth, so we had some for leftovers the next day, too.

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
from Simple Daily Recipes
  • 8 medium red potatoes (about 2.5 lbs total), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup Carnation evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz package) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, divided
  • 5 green onions, sliced
Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish with cooking spray.
Return potatoes to pot; add evaporated milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. Beat with hand held mixer or mash by hand until smooth. Stir in half the cheese and half of the bacon. Spoon mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining cheese and bacon, and green onions. Bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Printable Recipe

*Note: the original recipe says that this can be assembled ahead of time up until the point of baking and refrigerated. When time to cook, cover it with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese, bacon and green onions and then bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Shout out to Tina from Mom's Crazy Cooking for hosting this great challenge. Thanks for all you do... we couldn't do it without you! 

And if you would, please vote for your favorite (ahem) so the ultimate mashed potato recipe can be determined. Just click on the "like" button on my recipe your favorite mashed potato recipe in the blog hop below :) I'm #71!! (Yes, that means I am a procrastinator and finished my post later than most people).

And feel free to join in next month's Crazy Cooking Challenge... the theme for December is fudge! Oh yay, I have been in a fudge kinda mood lately. Won't you join me?

Peace, and bacon grease!

November 6, 2011

Candy Cookies {Week 6 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets!}

I'm back for Week 6 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets challenge, though a little late I must admit. Usually we all post our recipes on Thursday. But luckily, she leaves the linky open for awhile for people like me to still link up a little late. Thank goodness, cuz I didn't wanna miss a week!

I had some Halloween candy leftover and thought this would be the perfect chance to use some up. So I adapted this recipe using the candy I already had: reeces pieces, heath bars, and butterfingers. Yes, all of that is going into these cookies! Can you say sugar overload?

And it was. Delicious and packed full of sweets. These cookies baked up large and thick, but not too cake-like. We both really liked them! I loved the crunch from the reeces pieces. I really just love reeces pieces anyways. And next time I think I'd add more butterfinger and heath. The bites that I did get that tasted like butterfinger were amazing. I want more of those next time, so I'll definitely add more butterfinger. I used 3 bite-sized butterfingers, chopped into pieces. Next time maybe I'd try 5, just to really get the butterfinger flavor. I've reflected that change in the recipe below. I also baked mine on a silicone baking mat, and they were a little too soft when I took them out after 15 minutes, so I stuck them in just a couple minutes longer. But start with 15 minutes and see how they're looking at that point.

I kinda wish I had more candy leftover to make more.

Maybe I should put those leftover candy sales at Kroger to good use and purchase some more so I can make more cookies like these? Should??? Probably not. But will I? Probably so.

Candy Cookies
adapted from Cookie Madness

* Yields 12 cookies
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Ghiradelli premium milk chocolate baking chips
  • 1/2 cup reeces pieces
  • 1/4 cup heath bars
  • 5 bite-sized butterfingers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Beat in baking soda and salt. Add flour and stir until mixed in.

Stir chocolate chips into the dough. Cut candy bars into small pieces and stir some into the dough, leaving some for decoration.

Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly into mounds. Leave about 3 inches between cookies because they will spread as they bake. Press remaining candy decoratively into cookie mounds. 

Bake 15 minutes or until cookies are almost set. Do not overbake; centers should be slightly soft. Cool on baking sheet for about 7 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Don't forget to check out all of the wonderful holiday treats in the blog hop below :)

Peace, and bacon grease!