Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monkey Bread Muffins

I bought a can of Pillsbury Grands biscuits the other day and wanted to make something more exciting than plain Grands for my husband's breakfast.  It only took a few minutes to make the night before and then I heated them up in the morning and he really liked them.  I know I will be making these again.  I found this at

1 can buttermilk biscuits
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut each biscuit into 6 equal size pieces.  Roll each of the pieces into balls and set aside.  Next, mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.  Melt butter in microwave until just melted.

Spray your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Place 1 tsp of the cinnamon sugar mixture into the
bottom of 8 muffin tins.

Place 2 tsp of melted butter into the same muffin tins.

Next drop each dough ball into the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place 6 of the coated dough balls into each muffin tin.  Repeat until 8 muffin tins are filled.  Place muffin pan on a baking sheet to catch any spillage.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until dough is cooked through.  Carefully invert muffin pan onto baking pan and gently shake to remove the monkey bread muffins.  Place on a platter and serve hot.  Or reheat next morning at 350 for 5 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!   Susan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Dip

Here is another recipe for your upcoming Superbowl party. This dip is healthy yet still tastes delicious which is sometimes hard to do. I know healthy food isn't generally served at Superbowl parties since everyone enjoys indulging in delicious and decadent foods but I'm sharing this with you today because it is good to offer a variety of foods for your guests like this or my buffalo chicken bites. This recipe makes a lot of dip so I would freeze half of it to use at another time. My friend Kerri does not eat vegetables at all, ever but for some reason she really enjoyed this dip with the pita chips. Her husband Josh specifically asked for the recipe so here it is....

Adapted from:

2 Cups Dry Cannellini Beans
5 Cups Water
1 Small Jar Roasted Red Peppers (2 Peppers)
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
5 Tbsp Basil - Chopped
1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Sugar
S&P to taste
Pour the beans and the water in a large pot. Soak the beans for 6-8 hours until they are reconstituted. Once they are done soaking bring the beans to a boil over high heat. When the boil begins, turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the beans until tender for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.
When the beans are done, drain them from the water and put them in a food processor or blender. Puree until creamy and smooth. If you have a small food processor like me you will have to take out the beans to puree the rest of the ingredients and then mix everything together afterwards. If you have a huge one you can leave the beans in there the whole time.
Fill the food processor with the olive oil, basil, garlic, sugar, roasted red peppers and all of the spices. Puree until smooth.
In a big bowl, mix together the pureed beans with the other ingredients. Chill the dip in the fridge for 3 hours before eating. Serve it with pita chips and cut up vegetables.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Monday, January 23, 2012

Country Beef Vegetable Soup

It's that terrible time of year!  Snowy, bitter cold, gray because the sun doesn't shine for more than a few minutes a day if at all, dark when you get up and dark hours before bedtime. Luckily January has flown by and before you know it we will be halfway through February and closer to springtime.  This soup will warm you up and make you feel good enough that you might even think you can survive the next few months without having to run away to a sunny tropical island. It can be done on the stove or in a slow cooker. I decided to make it on the stove.  This is adapted from


3/4 gallon beef stock (12 cups)
1 tbsp garlic, peeled and minced
2 large onions, diced
2-3 lbs beef chuck cut into 2" cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 bag of frozen peas
1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 tbsp rosemary
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp cornstarch for thickening (optional)
salt and pepper to taste  

Dredge beef in flour and saute in olive oil until browned, adding garlic during the last few minutes of browning.

Add wine to remove browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add beef stock, the bay leaves, chopped onions, celery pieces, tomato sauce, rosemary and thyme.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer for  2 hours until the onion is transparent and tender.  

Stir in cubed potatoes, sliced carrots and frozen peas.  Cook about an hour until vegetables are fork tender.

During the final 20 minutes of cooking the soup can be thickened if desired by mixing the cornstarch into a cup of cold water and adding to the soup.  The thicker you choose to make your soup the more stew-like it becomes.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  This is even better the next day!

If using the slow cooker, after browning the meat and garlic and adding the red wine you can transfer to the slow cooker, add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

This was linked to:  www.mandysrecipebox,

Enjoy!  Susan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bread

I would've given anything to have a warm piece of this peanut butter banana oatmeal bread for breakfast this morning. It is delicious, fluffy and goes perfectly with my coffee. It is so easy to make and almost everyone has bananas that get too ripe before you can eat them once in awhile. I normally make regular banana oatmeal bread but this time I decided to add some peanut butter, I think it made a good recipe even better. Unfortunately, I don't have a working stove/oven so cold cereal with fruit was my only option today. We are going on day number 8 since the fire fighters came due to carbon monoxide and took away my cooking appliance :( Good thing I have lots and lots of blogged recipes saved up to share with you. No worries, our new stove will be here tomorrow!!
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Uncooked Old Fashion Oats
3 Large Overripe Bananas
1/2 Brown Sugar
1//2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tsp Canola Oil
3 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
Pam Spray

Adapted slightly from a Weight Watchers recipe

Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. Spray your bread pan with Pam Spray and set it aside. In a small bowl mash your bananas using a fork or potato mashers until they are mushy. 
In a large sized bowl combine your dry ingredients together (flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt). Hold off on the oats, you will add them later. Add the oil, vanilla extract and eggs, using a wooden spoon stir everything together.
Next you can add your mushed bananas and then the peanut butter. Using the wooden spoon mix for about 30-45 seconds so that everything is well combined.
 Lastly, add your oats gently folding them into the batter. Pour the batter into your sprayed cake pan and give it a good shake so the batter gets into the corners and is evenly distributed.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top of the loaf is firm and golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool another 10 minutes on a baking rack. Serve immediately. I prefer this bread warm so if you are having it the next morning I would slice yourself a piece and put it in the microwave or toaster oven to heat it back up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

S'mores Pie

I know its the middle of winter and I shouldn't be thinking about s'mores but one day last weekend it was 62 degrees and I decided to make this sweet chocolate pie.  This was very easy to make since it has a graham cracker crust and I like pies so much better when they don't have a dough pie crust.  The secret to this pie is to put it in the refrigerator and slice it while its cold and then put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to get the marshmallows and chocolate warm again.  Its so good!  This is from

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 bag mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated.  Press into a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream and milk.  Warm over medium-low heat.  Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth.

Slowly add whisked eggs and mix until smooth.

Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when pie is lightly shaken.  Remove from oven.

Place marshmallows over chocolate to cover completely.  Set oven to broil.  Place pie under broiler and lightly toast marshmallows.  This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes so watch carefully because they heat quickly.   Chill pie in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.  Slice while chilled and eat the pie slices after warming in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

This is linked to www.mrsfoxssweets,

Enjoy!  Susan

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tomatillo Salsa

With the Superbowl only 3 short weeks away I wanted to give you a recipe you can serve, perfect for a football crowd. Completely impress your guests with this easy and delicious homemade salsa!! This was so good, I couldn't stop eating it while it was still warm. I even called John at work to tell him how impressed I was with myself. Salsa was another one of the things I wanted to make by the time I was 30 so if you're counting I've made 4 things and have 26 to go in only 2 months, yea that's not gonna happen haha.
I normally wouldn't buy tomatillos in fact I had never even seen them before at the grocery store. These tomatillos were in the weekly fresh fruit and vegetable box from Alan's Orchard which is located in Westfield, NJ. They are a small prepared gourmet food market that provides a fresh fruit and vegetable service from local farms every week to the customers that are enrolled. Our friend gave us his entire box back in September, we used every single item and loved it!! I immediately put us on the waiting list to participate, unfortunately we are still waiting to get the 1st box of our own.

Adapted from Alan's Orchards Fresh Box Recipe Newsletter Week #14

8 Tomatillos
1/2 Onion - Diced
2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
1 1/2 Jalapeno Peppers - Seeded & Diced
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro
S&P to taste
 Start by husking the tomatillos. Rinse them off and put them in a medium sized pot. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover all of the tomatillos. Bring them to a boil over high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes until they soften and begin to burst.
Drain the tomatillos and place them in a food processor. Give them a quick pulse. Then add the diced onion and minced garlic. Give it another quick pulse to mix everything together.
Next dice up the jalapeno. Be careful to clean out all of the seeds and ribs. This recipe came out at medium spice so if you want mild add less jalapeno or if you want it hot add a little bit more. This is also where you would add the cilantro but since John does not like cilantro I left it out and it still tasted amazing!!
 Serve it chilled with tortilla chips.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nutella Brownie Bites

I apologize for this picture.  They were much better than they look.  I was taking these to one of my daughter's houses for her first "dinner party" and I didn't have much time for picture taking.  She invited all of  us over for dinner for the first time since she has been married and she decided she would make Beef Wellington.  It was a delicious meal and everything turned out perfectly.  I think the first meal I made for my family after I got married was hot dogs but things have changed in 33 years and obviously for the better.    

4 squares of Bakers unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs 
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a mini muffin tin with muffin liners.  Microwave the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe dish on low until butter has melted.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  This takes a few minutes.

Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter/chocolate mixture to the sugar and stir until blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Now gradually add the flour and mix well.

Use a small cookie/ice cream scoop to divide the batter into the muffin tins.  Put a small dollop of nutella on top of each brownie bite.  Now take a toothpick and swirl the nutella into the brownie mixture.  Put in the oven and bake from 10-13 minutes.   This made 30 brownie bites.  

Enjoy!  Susan

Monday, January 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff may be one of my favorite meals of all time. In college my grandma used to make it for me and bring it up to Connecticut for my roommate and I to eat. Now I make it for John and I using her recipe at least once or twice in the winter. I came across this version of it back in the fall and knew I needed to give it a try. This way is healthier than our family recipe, plus who doesn't love the ability to cook their favorite meal in a slow cooker??

2-3 lbs of Beef Chuck Roast - Cubed
1 Onion - Diced
14oz Can of Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
6-7 Tbsp Water
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
8 oz White Mushrooms - Sliced
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
Pam Spray
Spray your slow cooker bowl with Pam. Place the cubed beef, onion, salt & pepper in the bottom of the bowl. Stir together.
In a small bowl whisk together the beef broth, ketchup, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. If you don't have Worcestershire sauce you can substitute it with a little bit of red wine vinegar and soy sauce. This is what I had to do and it tasted the same.
Pour the broth mixture over the meat and onion. Give it a few good stirs to make sure everything has combined. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  30 minutes before you are ready to eat add the mushrooms. In a small bowl whisk together the water and flour to make the gravy. It should be thick but not as thick as a paste. If it is too thick add another Tbsp or two of water one at a time. Add the flour mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for another 30 minutes. Right before you are ready to eat turn the slow cooker off and mix in the sour cream. Serve immediately over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

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