Archives for February 2012

Mint Brownie Grasshopper Pie in a Jar

grasshopper pie in a jar

I used to hate stuff in jars.

Seriously, people would give me those bean soup in a jar gifts at Christmas, and they’d stay, unused in my pantry…well, forever.  Let’s face it, back then I wasn’t really into the homemade gift thing, especially when it required me to actually do something in the kitchen.  Don’t give me oatmeal cookie mix in a jar, okay?  I just want the cookies.  Baked, done, and ready to stuff in my pie-hole.

grasshopper pie 2

I don’t know, I’m an enigma even to myself.

What happened to the days when I was 100 percent proof positive I was going to marry a guy who cooked, so I could stay out of the kitchen?

I had no desire to cook.  At all.  Not even a little bit.

Now I’m preparing individual-sized desserts in a jar and posting them on the internet.  I’m not sure what to say about this.

Except that grasshopper pie in a jar is really, really good.

Especially when you use brownies for the crust.  Brownies that are chunked with mint chips.  ‘Cause, you know, a regular cookie crust just isn’t fattening enough for me.

grasshopper pie 3

Mint Brownie Grasshopper Pie in a Jar
  • 1 box fudge brownie mix, plus ingredients on box (8x8 size)
  • ¼ to ½ cup Andes Mints, chopped
  • 1 container Cool-Whip
  • 7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • wide-mouthed canning jars, ½ pint size
  1. Prepare brownies as instructed on package, mixing in Andes mints.
  2. After brownies have cooled completely, remove from pan and crumble into a large bowl. Press crumbled brownie mixture inside of your canning jars, along the bottom. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, mix together your marshallow fluff, cool-whip and peppermint extract. Add green food color until desired shade is reached.
  4. Spread filling mixture inside jars and freeze, approximately two hours.
  5. Just before serving, top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and chopped Andes mints.
  6. Makes approximately 6 jars.


I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy PaperCrumbs and Chaos, and I’m Lovin’ It Fridays!

Chicken Pie

chicken pie

I don’t like chicken pot pie.

Not even a little bit.

chicken pie 3

But the Tall Boy does.  When we first got married, he liked to take those tiny little frozen pot pies in his lunch.  You know the ones I’m talking about, right?  The kind that you warm up in the oven for like 30 minutes, and taste like cardboard.  Complete with gross, rubbery “vegetables” and some sort of mystery meat that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

This was my impression of pot pies pretty much my entire life.

Until about eight years ago, when a coworker suggested I make a pot-pie for a special anniversary dinner for the Tall Boy.

I was unconvinced.

I mean, it was my anniversary, too.  Why should I be forced to eat some goopy, mushy mess of a meat and vegetable “pie”?  Seriously, if I’m eating pie, it should be chocolate.  Or coconut.  Black Forest, maybe.  Or pretty much anything other than a pot pie.

But since we were are actually still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, I thought I’d surprise the Tall Boy with a special meal and give this recipe a try.

While it may not photograph well, this dish has now become a signature dish around our place.  I make it every year for our anniversary, and any other special occasion the Tall Boy can talk me into it.  Even if you think you don’t like pot pie, you’ll like this.  I promise.  Take it from a non pot pie eater like me.

If you need a special meal to impress, this is it.  This isn’t a quick meal, so there is some planning time required.  I usually make the filling in the morning and assemble the pie, popping it into the oven about 45 minutes before dinner.  I’ve made this so many times now that I don’t really follow a “recipe” anymore, and I tend to mix and match my cheeses depending on what I already have open in the refrigerator.  What I’ve listed below is the basic recipe, so feel free to switch it up to find a combination of flavors that most appeals to you!

chicken pie 2

Chicken Pie
  • pie crust (I cheat and use refrigerated)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • sliced mushrooms (I usually use about ½ cup)
  • ¼ to ½ cup sliced carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon each: parsley, chives, and dry mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon each: garlic powder, white pepper, and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cornstarch (about 1 tablespoon; just eyeball it)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  1. Dice chicken and onion and saute in butter over medium heat, until chicken is cooked through. Add mushrooms, and ingredients through the bay leaf. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  2. Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Stir into your chicken and vegetable mixture until boiling. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in cream of mushroom soup and cheeses.
  4. Place in a deep dish pie plate. Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Have a great Monday!

Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream

Baileys 1

This was not my planned post for today.

But last week, I was totally wasting time on the internet and Pinterest doing important research on St. Patrick’s Day and related food-stuff, and I stumbled onto a recipe for homemade Bailey’s.

Yep, you heard me.  Homemade.  Bailey’s.  As in Irish Cream.  As in, be still my heart.

I was completely intrigued, which meant that I had to make it the very next day.  You know, for research purposes.  You know how I feel about homemade stuff–like eggnog, tortillas, summer sausage–typically you can’t go wrong with homemade anything, but I couldn’t imagine how this would turn out.  I figured it would be okay, maybe even good.  But fabulous?  I couldn’t see it.  Feeling like you’re swimming in a creamy chocolate heaven?  No way.

So I dumped the ingredients into the blender, and literally thirty seconds later, I had the absolute best Bailey’s I’ve ever tasted.  Ever.

If you like Bailey’s, you must make this right away.

You must.

I promise, you’ll thank me for it later.

And while you’re at it, use it to make this, would you?  And then invite me over.


Baileys 2

Homemade Bailey’s
from Cupcake Project the recipe indicates this will keep, refrigerated, for up to two months.
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half, which worked just fine)
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1⅔ cup Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Hershey's chocolate syrup (I used extra dark)
  • 1 t vanilla
  1. Blend all ingredients at high speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. Shake before using.

Happy Friday!

Coconut Banana Bread

banana bread 1

So, the day I made and photographed this bread, the Tall Boy was sick, my house kitchen was in disarray, and Doodle was following me from room to room asking if I was “done yet” so we could play Operation.

Clearly, I need the “liposuction” version of the game, because every time I made this bread, I end up eating the entire loaf.

For some reason, the Tall Boy thinks any sort of sweet bread automatically means there are nuts mixed in, even though I always leave them out.  Well, except for the one time that I added some very finely chopped pecans to my pumpkin bread, which he discovered only after he’d eaten a huge hunk.

Also, I like to add coconut to my banana bread, which he also assures me that he hates.

I won’t mention the fact that he drank a number of piña coladas on our honeymoon, or that he likes the piña colada slushies from QuickTrip in the summer.  Nope, I won’t say a word about that.

Anyway, I just plopped this loaf of bread down on my tabletop and snapped a fast picture so I could get down to the business of beating Doodle in a series of board games teaching my toddler the importance of good sportsmanship.  I realized later that the lack of a decent background makes this bread difficult to see, and so I had high hopes of baking another loaf and trying to take some better photographs.

Except that would mean eating another loaf of this all on my own, and my jeans can’t take any more, okay?  Plus, this bread is so good, so moist, so coconutty-licious that I wanted to share it with you right away.  You know, if you’re like me and are so over winter weather.  In my mind, coconut + lime = beachy thoughts, and I’m totally ready for that.

Chandra, this recipe is for you!

banana bread 3

Coconut Banana Bread
adapted from Cooking Light
For the bread:
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (I usually use about 4 large bananas)
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice (you can substitute milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut
For the glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • additional coconut, as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, sour cream, apple juice/milk and vanilla; beat until blended.
  4. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
  5. Stir in ½ cup coconut, and spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut.
  6. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.
  7. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk. I like to add some additional coconut to my glaze. Drizzle over warm bread.

Have a great Wednesday!

Smothered Burritos

smothered burritos 1

So, I sort of realized after I uploaded this picture that the burrito is actually so smothered that you can’t really even see that there is anything on the plate–other than some cilantro and a pants-tightening button-popping sour cream sauce, that is.

But I suppose that’s really my motto for eating Mexican food: load it all down with as much yummy stuff as you can get and just jump in.

We do that nearly once a week, and quite frankly, I’m totally fine with it.  In fact, I’m pretty much always on the countdown to our Mexican food nights.  Or at least I used to be, until Doodle starting adding stipulations to everything I made:

“No green.”

“Too spicy.”

“I don’t like that kind of cheese.”


Yep, apparently this is my payback from what I put my own mother through (sorry, mom).  I’m trying to ease the frustration by reminding myself that soon he’ll be a teenager and eating me out of house and home.  Right now, I can feed him for about twenty-five cents a day because all he’ll eat is a hot-dog and a handful of grapes.

Anyway, this recipe is one of my favorites.  It’s easy to assemble, is crowd-pleasing (save 4-year old boys), and you can up the heat easily depending on your preferences.  This is one of my go-to recipes for casual entertaining, because I can assemble it early in the day and pop it in the oven just before my guests arrive.

What are your favorite recipes for easy entertaining?


smothered burritos 2

Smothered Burritos
For the meat mixture:
  • 2 pounds ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • juice of ½ lime
For the sour cream mixture:
  • 16 ounces sour cream (fat-free is fine)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4.5 ounce can green chilies, chopped
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large skillet, brown your ground turkey or beef. Drain, and season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and the juice of ½ lime. Let simmer for 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ingredients, through the lime, for your sour cream mixture. Pour half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  3. Spoon the ground turkey into flour tortillas and roll up, placing seam-side down in the pan.
  4. Cover the filled tortillas with the remaining sour cream mixture and any remaining ground turkey crumbles.
  5. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Have a great week!

Apple Pie Martini

apple pie tini


It’s Friday–whoo hoo!  And if you’ve had a week like mine, which included having a sick toddler on Valentine’s Day, you’re ready for the weekend.

Well, let’s face it.  I’m always ready for the weekend.

And I really only like drinks that taste like desserts.

Inspired by the apple pie I made the Tall Boy for his birthday, I decided I needed one in liquid form.  This is apple-y, caramel-y, and utterly yummy.  Right up my alley.


apple pie tini 1

Apple Pie Martini
For a non-alcoholic version, warm a mug of apple cider in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add in a tablespoon of butterscotch syrup, such as Torani. Top with whipped cream and crushed graham crackers.
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • graham crackers and apple slices, for garnish if desired
  1. If desired, rim glass with crushed graham crakers and apple slices.
  2. Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake, pour and enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Carrot Cake Cookies with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

carrot cake cookies 1

This is my third month participating in the Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  If you haven’t heard about the Improv Challenge, each month participants are assigned two ingredients to pair together to create a fun, new recipe. I was super excited to learn that this month’s ingredients were carrots and ginger.  That combination just says carrot cake to me, as I’m sure it does to many of the rest of you.

Last year at Easter, I made my first from-scratch carrot cake, and it was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

I may say that a lot on this blog, but I really mean it this time.

Whatever your opinion of Martha Stewart, she can make some fabulous baked-goods.  No lie.  And while that recipe was what immediately popped into my head, I decided to try something a little bit different.

Pit myself against Martha, if you will.

carrot cake cookies 2

While I don’t have any specialized kitchen training, I am a master at eating, so I figure that gives me a leg up somehow.

Unlike Martha, I have no problem taking some help now and then from a cake mix.  Which I did in this case, because I was in a super big rush to eat something carrot cake-esque.  These cookies were totally fabulous on their own, but I can’t leave a good thing alone.

Seriously, if something can be topped with buttercream, I’m going to do it.

Dulce de Leche buttercream is my new best friend.  Let it be yours, too.

carrot cake cookies close up

Carrot Cake Cookies with Dulce de Leche Buttercream
Inspired by Joy the Baker, buttercream from The Pastry Queen
For the Cookies:
  • 1 box carrot cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup raisins
For the buttercream:
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup prepared dulce de leche
  • toasted coconut
For the cake:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix, oil, eggs, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in shredded carrots and raisins until just combined.
  2. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350.
For the buttercream:
  1. Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.
  2. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.
  3. Frost cooled cookies with a Wilton 1M tip. Top with toasted coconut.

Check out my previous Improv entries:

Lemon Cream Cupcakes with Raspberry Cheesecake Buttercream
Cranberry Muffins with Eggnog Cream


While you’re at it, check out all of these other great recipes!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Sweet Treats Thursday, and Mrs. Fox’s Sweets!

Warm Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie

apple pie 1

My husband is not a cake-eater.

Truth be told, he is not much of a dessert fan at all.

I find this…nearly un-American.

Except that the rare dessert that he does like is apple pie.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t typically make him apple pie from scratch,but  last week was his birthday, so I decided I’d better do something special.  And while Doodle suggested we make “pink cake,” I thought an apple pie was more up the Tall Boy’s alley.

I found this recipe for a streusel-topped apple pie a few months ago, and I’d been hanging onto it for just this occasion.

It didn’t disappoint.  Simple to make, yet still an extra-special dish for my extra-special guy.  Even better, the timing just happened to correspond with Brenda’s Eating the Alphabet party.  Brenda, of the famed “12 pounds straight to my hips Weeks of Christmas Cookies,” just started the coolest linky party: each month, we’ll create a new recipe using a fruit or vegetable with an assigned letter.  What a great way to get in some healthy eating.

Let’s ignore the fact that I started with a pie, mmm-kay?


apple pie 3

Warm Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie
For the crust:
For the streusel:
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2½ tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
For the filling:
  • 5 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¾ cups fat-free buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Prepare your pie crust and place pie plate in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To prepare streusel, lightly spoon ⅓ cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine ⅓ cup flour, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place streusel in refrigerator.
  4. To prepare the filling, heat a large nonstrick skillet coated with cookig spray over medium heat. Add sliced apple, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon; cook 10 minutes or until the apple is tender, sitrring mixture occasionally. Spoon the apple mixture into prepared crust.
  5. Combine remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, salt, and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture.
  6. Bake at 325º for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300º (do not remove pie from oven); sprinkle streusel over pie.
  7. Bake at 300º for 40 minutes or until set.
  8. Let stand 1 hour before serving.

Happy Eating!

I can’t wait to see what everyone else made! Be sure to check them out!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Sweet Treats Thursday, and Mrs. Fox’s Sweets!

Cherry Conversation Heart Fudge

cherry fudge 2


I can’t help it.

I’m easily swayed by the excitement of the holiday candy and sprinkles and all things pink lining the grocery store shelves right now.  Yeah, I know we’ve had the discussion about how I’m basically indifferent to Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean I can resist all the sweets in the stores and on Pinterest.  I’m weak-willed.  I admit it.

Plus, Doodle is in this phase where he likes “pink stuff” and since I have no little girl to doll up in dresses and lacy socks, making pink fudge for myself my little guy will have to suffice.

Look, I basically forbid the Tall Boy from buying me chocolates on Valentine’s Day because I will eat the entire box all by myself.  By the 15th, no joke.

So, since I know I’m not getting a box of chocolates, I decided to make myself some fudge.

cherry fudge 1

This two-ingredient (well, three-ingredient in this case) fudge has been the rage all over blog-land.  And for good reason.

Two ingredients.

No pesky candy thermometers.

Melt.  Stir.  Chill.

Which all means quicker eating for me.

And I don’t argue with anything that gets sweets to my hips mouth super fast.

cherry fudge 3

Cherry Conversation Heart Fudge
  • 1 container cherry frosting
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • conversation hearts, for garnish
  1. Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edge of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Over a double-boiler, melt your white chocolate chips. If microwaving, melt for one minute, then stir, microwaving at 30 second intervals until melted. I usually add a bit of canola oil to help keep the chocolate from clumping.
  3. Stir in the can of cherry frosting until well blended, then add in your chopped cherries.
  4. Spoon into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with conversation hearts.
  5. Allow fudge to chill, about 2 hours, before cutting into squares.

Check out some of these other super yummy two-ingredient fudge recipes:

Chocolate Cherry Fudge from The Domestic Rebel
Strawberry Two-Ingredient Fudge from Cookies and Cups
Salted Caramel Fudge from The Domestic Rebel
Peanut Butter Ritz White Chocolate Fudge from Cookies and Cups

And some other fabulous recipes, with a few more ingredients:

Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge from Sugar and Spice and All Things Iced
No-Fail Chocolate Fudge from Fearless Homemaker
Chocolate Nutella and Sea Salt Fudge from Two Peas and Their Pod

Happy Monday!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Sweet Treats Thursday, and Mrs. Fox’s Sweets!

Strawberry Smackeroo

Strawberry Smackeroo (2)

Whoo-hoo! It’s Friday!

Not only is it Friday, but it’s the Tall Boy’s birthday! So you know what I made for him? Well, not this drink, clearly*.  Because A: it’s pink and girlie; and B: it has Amaretto in it, and in his mind, Amaretto = almonds = gross.

So, you know, I made it for me, because A: it’s pink and girlie and B: it has Amaretto in it.

You should make it for yourself, too, since it’s Friday and all.

Strawberry Smackeroo
For a non-alcoholic version, blend 1 cup vanilla soy milk with ½ cup frozen strawberries. Add sweetener if desired, and top with whipped cream.
  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • ½ ounce white rum
  • 2 ounces cream
  • 4 large strawberries
  • ice (I used about ½ cup)
  1. Blend all ingredients together until desired consistency is reached. Garnish with whipped cream and strawberries.

*Don’t worry, I’ll crack him open a Budweiser later.

Have a great weekend!