Pizza Bites


This is another one of the recipes I tried for my bookclub meeting.  These were pretty good and relatively easy to make.  They were also a super simple snack food -- easy to pick up and eat, delicious, and not too messy -- that earns them extra points in my book!  I served them with a side of warmed marinara sauce. 

Another recipe adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything (I can't get enough of this girl!)

Here's what I used:
1 Roll refrigerated Pizza Dough
4 Ounces grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon melted Butter
3/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
12 ounces diced Mozzarella Cheese
Peperoni pieces, quartered
Marinara sauce for dipping
Here's what I did:
1. Preheated the oven to 425 degrees and sprayed a large glass pie plate with cooking spray.

2. Dusted my counter tops with flour.

3. Unrolled the pizza dough onto the floured counter tops. 

4.  Stretched the pizza dough into a rectangle.  I then cut that rectangle into smaller squares using a pizza cutter.  I ended up with 26 squares.  Those of you who are better with that silly science stuff might end up with relatively evenly sized squares.  I did not.  :-) (Look at the picture above for proof)

5.  I put a block of cheese on top of each square.

6.  I placed pieces of peperoni on top of and around each block of cheese.

7.  I gathered the sides of each square together and pinched the edges together to create a seam and to hold everything inside the pizza dough bite.

8.  I put each bite into the pie plate.  There were enough of them that they were touching by the time I got through with all of them. 

9.  I melted the butter then added the garlic powder and Italian seasoning.  I mixed all of those ingredients together well.

10.  I used a pastry brush to brush the butter mixture over the tops of the pizza bites.

11.  I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of the rolls.

12.  I baked the bites for about 15 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when they are golden brown.

Obviously, you could modify this recipe as much as you'd like to suit your tastes.  The next time I make these bites, I'll be adding more ingredients.  As I stuffed the bites and pulled the edges together, I thought that I might have put too much cheese and pepperoni in each bite as they seemed to be bursting at the seam.  However, after I pulled them from the oven, I saw that they were not even been close to being over stuffed.  So, fill 'em to the brim!



Pink Lemonade Dessert


It's been really hot around here.  Like, 115 degree heat index.  So, I wanted a dessert that was light and refreshing.  I found it.  This is it. It's really easy to make and perfect for the summertime heat.

Adapted from: Gourmet Kosher Cooking

Here's what I used for the crust:
2 Cups Graham Cracker crumbs
½ Cup Butter, melted
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

Here's what I did to make the crust:
1.  Preheated the oven to 350 Degrees.

2.  Combined the graham cracker crumbs and sugars. 

3.  Added the butter.  Mixed well until the graham crackers and sugar were well moistened.

4.  Pressed the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

5.  Baked for 7 minutes.  Removed the pan from the oven and put on a cooling rack to cool.  While the crust was cooling, I made the filling.

Here's what I used for the filling:
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 Small Packages of Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 (12 ounce) Can Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed
2 (8 ounce) Containers frozen Whipped Topping, thawed
Red Food Coloring, optional

Here's what I did to make the filling:
1.  Beat the cream cheese and pudding mix until light and fluffy.

2.  Added lemonade concentrate to the cream cheese.  Beat until mixed well.

3.  Folded in 2 heaping cups of the whipped topping.

4.  Added red food coloring until my mixture was the color pink I desired.

5.  Poured the lemonade mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust.

6.  "Iced" the pink lemonade with the remaining whipped topping.

7.  Refrigerated for at least 2 hours.



Blueberry Lemon Muffins


I LOVE blueberry muffins.  I'm always looking for a good recipe for one.  Right now, my favorite is a boxed blueberry streusel muffin mix.  They are ahmazing!  I'm on a personal quest to find something to top the silly boxed recipe.  So I gave these a shot. 

These were really good.  They're in a different category than my blueberry streusel muffins, so I don't even have to decide if they beat the old trusty or not.  Convenient, huh?  The lemon flavor is light, but strong enough to be detected and made these a great refreshing muffin for the summertime.

Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Here's what I used for the muffins:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Butter, softened (You could you shortening)
1 Cup Blueberries

Here's what I did to make the muffins:
1.  A couple of hours before I wanted to make these muffins, I put 1 cup of fresh blueberries into a baggie, added a couple of teaspoons of sugar, and stuck the baggie in the freezer.

2.  When I was ready to make the muffins, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and lined a muffin pan with muffin liners.

3.  Mixed together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and the zest from the lemon.

4.  Mixed the eggs, milk, and butter together.

5.  Took the baggie containing the blueberries out of the freezer.  Dumped the contents of the baggie into the bowl and gently folded the blueberries into the dough.

6.  I poured the muffin dough into the muffin tins, filling each tin about 2/3 full.

7.  Baked for about 20 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when they are a golden color and a stick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

While the muffins were making, I prepared the topping for the muffins. 

Here's what I used for the topping:
1/4 Cup Butter, melted
1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Sugar

Here's what I did to top the muffins:
1.  Combined the lemon juice and butter in one small bowl.

2.  Poured the sugar into another small bowl.

3.  While the muffins were still warm, but cool enough to handle without burning myself, I dipped each muffin into the butter and then into the sugar.  I then set each muffin on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

This recipe made 12 muffins for me.  Enjoy!


Stuffed Mushrooms


I've got a Book Club meeting coming up and I'm supposed to bring snacks, so I've been trying out a bunch of different appetizer recipes.  This is the first one I tried.  I LOVE mushrooms.  So, stuffed mushrooms made sense.  This recipe is fairly simple, although there is a lot of chopping, and the result was pretty delicious. 

Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Here's what I used:
24 White Button Mushrooms
⅓ Pound Hot Pork Sausage
½ Whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
4 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
8 Ounces, Cream Cheese, softened
1 Whole Egg Yolk
¾ Cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper (to Taste)

Here's what I did:
1.  Put the sausage on the stove to cook and heated the oven to 350 degrees.  As the sausage was cooking, I finely diced the onions and garlic and set them aside.

2.  When the sausage was done cooking, I put it in a bowl to the side to cool.

3.  I washed all of the mushrooms and removed the stems.

4.  I finely diced the stems of the mushrooms. 

5.  I put the onions and garlic in the same pan the pork had been in and sauteed them for about 2 minutes.  I immediately added the mushroom stems and sauteed for an additional 2 minutes.

6.  I removed the onion/garlic/mushroom stem mixture from the pan and put it on a plate to the side to cool.

7.  I used an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese and egg yolk.

8.  I stirred the parmesan cheese into the cream cheese/egg mixture.

9.  I added the sausage to the mixture and stirred until mixed well.

10.  Finally, I added the onion/garlic/mushroom stem mixture and stirred well.

11.  I stuffed the inside of each mushroom with the stuffing mixture, using my fingers to press the mixture in, making sure each mushroom was stuffed as full as it could be.

12.  I put the mushrooms on a cooking sheets and put them in the oven to bake.  I left them there for about 20 to 25 minutes. 



Bacon Ranch Chicken


I've made this recipe for years.  It is super simple and the chicken tastes delicious.  I've made this chicken on the grill outside, on the indoor kitchen grill, and in the oven.  You just can't go wrong, in my opinion.

Here's what I used:

2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Ranch Dip Mix, dry
8 Pieces of Bacon
Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Here's what I did:

1.  Sliced the chicken breasts into four pieces each (for a total of 8 chicken strips).  You could skip this step and buy boneless skinless chicken tenders.

2.  Rubbed the dry ranch dip mix on the outside of the pieces of chicken.

3.  Wrapped one piece of bacon around each chicken breast.  I secured the bacon with a toothpick so it didn't fall off while being cooked.

4.  Grilled for about 10 minutes.  Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through before you take it off the grill.  Cut a piece in half if you need to in order to make sure its cooked through.  Be careful not to overcook the chicken, though, or you'll end up with dry chicken.  If you would like to cook the chicken in the oven, put the chicken in a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until the chicken in cooked through.

5.  Sprinkled shredded cheese on top of the chicken as soon as it is removed from the grill/oven.



Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


I went to a 4th of July Celebration and tried some Snickers Cookies.  They were peanut butter cookies with a miniature Snickers baked in the middle.   I liked them a lot so I thought I'd give them a shot.  Except I had to add my own twist, of course.  I started out with this cookie dough recipe, although I changed it up a little bit.  Then I experimented with a bunch of candy.  I finally settled on Reeses Peanut Butter cups.  

Here's what I used:
1 Cup of Butter, Room Temperature
¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
¼ White Sugar
3.2 oz French Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 Eggs
 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
2 ¼ Cups All Purpose White Flour
¼ Cup 2% Milk
1 Bag Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Here's What I did:
1.  Preheated the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Creamed together butter and sugars.
3.  Added the pudding mix to the butter/sugar mix.  Mixed well.
4.  Added vanilla and eggs to that mixture.  Mixed well.
5.  In a separate bowl, I combined the baking soda, salt, and flour.
6.  Slowly added the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mixing well.  I found my dough to be a little dry, so I added the milk to get it to the right consistency.  You may not need the milk.  It's possible that you could need more or less milk.
7.  Unwrapped the peanut butter cups.  Made a ball out of the dough.  Put the peanut butter cup in the middle of the dough and rolled the dough around the peanut butter cup. 
8.  Baked for about 8 minutes.  Take the cookies out of the oven when they are golden brown.  Here are what mine looked life fresh out of the oven:
Let them cool before eating them.


Spicy Meatballs


I was asked to make spicy meatballs for a 4th of July get together that I was attending.  This is what I came up with.  They were a hit!  But, when I say spicy, I mean Four-Alarm-Fire-in-Your-Mouth kinda spicy.  The heartburn was totally worth it.  I’ll make some suggestions below for making them a little less spicy in case you like your meatballs a little more on the mild side.

Here’s what I used:
½ Cup Green Onion, finely chopped
¼ Cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
3 Heaping Tablespoons of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper (for a less spicy meatball use 1 Tablespoon – or less – Crushed Red Pepper)
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce

Here’s what I did:
First, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  I mixed together the Green Onion, Bread Crumbs, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Powder, and Crushed Red Pepper.  I crumbled the Ground Beef on top of the mixture of dry ingredients.  Then, using my hands, I mixed the ground beef with the dry ingredients.  I formed meatballs with the mixture, making each ball about 1 inch in diameter.  I placed the meatballs in a glass baking dish with about 1 inch in between each meatball. 

I baked the meatballs for about 25 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when the outsides are brown and the insides of the meatballs are cooked fully.  Here are what mine looked like straight from the oven:

I poured the Spaghetti Sauce into a crock pot and turned the crock pot on low.  Finally, I added the meatballs to the spaghetti sauce.  Be sure to keep an eye on your crock pot to make sure it isn’t getting too hot and to stir the meatballs occasionally.



Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting


Apparently I made something with buttermilk recently.  I know this because I found an almost completely full container of buttermilk in my fridge.  It was set to expire the next day.  I can't, for the life of me, remember what I used that buttermilk for.  Anyhow, I didn't want to waste the leftover buttermilk, so I googled recipes using buttermilk and came up with this one.  I thought the cupcakes turned out well, although I'd probably tweak the recipe a bit if I made them again.  But, I thought the frosting was ahmazing!  I will be using this frosting recipe for many different things.  Or maybe I'll make it just to eat all by itself.  Out of the bowl.  By myself.  Don't judge.

Slightly adapted from: Emeril

Here's what I used to make the cupcakes:
3 Cups Flour
3 1/2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Stick Butter
1/2 Cup Shortening
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract

Here's what I did to make the cupcakes:
I lined a muffin pan with cupcake holders.  I mixed the flour, cocoa, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  On the stove, over medium heat, I combined the butter, shortening, sugar, and water.  I let that mixture boil.  Once it boiled, I poured it into the bowl holding the dry ingredients and mixed them all together well.  Next I added the eggs, soda, buttermilk and vanilla.  After all was mixed together well, I filled each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way full and put the pan in the oven.  I baked the cupcakes for about 18 minutes.  Make sure to pull them out of the oven when they spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Here's what I used to make the frosting:
1 Stick Butter
1/2 Cup 2% Milk
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Pound Powdered Sugar (half a bag) 
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Here's what I did to make the frosting:
First, I mixed together the powdered sugar and the coca powder.  In a pan over medium heat I combined the butter and milk and heated until it boiled.  I added the butter/milk mixture to the sugar/coca mixture and whisked everything together well.  I added the vanilla and whisked to combine.  I iced the cupcakes while they were still warm.

     Hint:  If you do not ice the cupcakes while they are warm and the
     frosting is fresh, the frosting will be dull when it cools, rather
     than shiny.  It will not affect the taste at all, the cupcakes will just
     be less attractive.
This recipe made about 27 cupcakes for me.



S'Mores Cookies


I was deprived of S'mores at the beginning of the summer.  I found it very traumatic.  You can read all about it hereThe result was a S'mores themed cooking frenzy.  These cookies were one of the results of that cooking frenzy.  As promised in my S'Mores Bars post, here are the S'mores Cookies I made.  These were delicious and perfect for the summer time.  And, they resulted in a conversation with a friend that went something like this:

As I was assembling the cookies to bake he walked into the kitchen. Stopped.  And stared.  For a long time.  Then he said:  "Wait a minute.  What's going on here!?!"
Me:  "What?"
Him: "Graham Crackers?  And Cookie Dough?  And Marshmallows?  AND Chocolate!?!"
Me:  "Yep."
Him:  Long pause.  "Hmmmmmmm. . . "
Me:  "Am I blowing your mind?"
Him:  "Yep.  You're blowing my mind."  Then he turned around and walked away.

I found it quite amusing.  Anyhoo. . .

Slightly adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Here's what I used:
11 Tablespoons unsalted Butter, softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
½ Cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 ½ Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages Graham Crackers, broken into squares

Here's what I did:
I Preheated the oven to 375 degrees and lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

I laid out the graham crackers side by side on the pan as close as possible (they should be touching).

In a bowl I whisked together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Then I sat that bowl to the side.

In another bowl, I creamed the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.  Then I added the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  After that, I added the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.  Finally, I folded in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Then I stuck the dough in the refrigerator.  It needs to stay there for at least 1 hour.  It can stay for as long as overnight.  I left it there long enough to make the S'Mores Bars 

After the dough had chilled, I placed a tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart.  The result is that you'll have more than 1 ball of dough on each graham cracker (about three balls per 2 graham crackers).  Then I pressed down slightly on the dough with my fingertips.

I baked them for about 5 minutes.  I removed the pan from the oven and pushed the Hershey's Bar pieces into the tops of the cookies.  I then put the pan back in the oven and baked for about 6 minutes longer.  I removed the pan when the dough was turning golden brown.  Mine looked like this straight out of the oven:

 Look at the ooey gooey goodness:

I cooled them on a wire rack.  Don't cut them until they are completely cool.