Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Recipes of 2012

I had the highlight of my blogging year on Saturday.  Someone I didn't know came up to me and said she reads & likes my blog!  It was the first time that had happened to me... thanks for making my night Heidi!

Since some of my favorite recipes of 2012 didn't show up on the most visited list, I decided to make a list of my top new recipes of 2012.  All of these are so good we make them over and over!

Homemade Marshmallows

Creamy Baked Chicken and Broccoli
Gin and Rhubarb Delight

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Artichokes, and Spinach

Homemade Cherry Pie Lara Bars
Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken Tacos

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Balls
Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Peas

Taco Cupcakes

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake (Chevy's Copy Cat)

Southwest Pasta Salad

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Most Visited Recipes

As 2012 ends, I found it interesting to a look back to see what recipes readers were most interested in.  Though not all of my personal favorites are in the mix, I thought I would share with you my most visited recipe from each month of this year. 

January:  Baked Pickle Fries

February: Sweet & Sour Cocktail Meatballs
March: Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

April: Layered Taco Dip

May:  Crock Pot "Rotisserie" Chicken

June: Noodles and Company Penne Rosa

July: Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad

August:  Farmer's Market Skillet with Quinoa, Feta, Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Corn
September: Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip
October: Crock Pot Basil Chicken with Feta, Tomatoes, Garbanzos, and Olives

November: Pasta with Toasted Garlic, Dried Cranberries, Kale, Kalamata Olives, & Feta
December: Chicken with Cremini Cream Sauce

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake (Chevy's Copy Cat Tamalitos)

Back when Bill and I were dating we went to Chevy's one night for dinner.  I found out that night that they serve a thing call Sweet Corn Tamalito with all of their meals.  It combines Tamales with the sweetness of dessert that has corn served on the side of Mexican food and it was love at first bite.

Ever since I have been on the lookout for the recipe.  I tried a lot of Corn casseroles that I thought would do the trick.  Some were good, some were ok, some were horrible, but none were the same as the Tamalitos.  Until NOW.  This recipe is as close as you can get without going straight to the source.  I was intimidated by the recipe at first, but it turns out it really isn't that hard to make.  I've made it several times and it turned out great every time!  It is a great side to have with spicy Mexican food!

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake (Chevy's Copy Cat Tamalitos)
From: Our Best Bites
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hr

1/2 cup butter, softened (use real butter, not margarine)
1/3 cup masa harina (I bought mine at our local grocery store in the Mexican food section)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup corn meal
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp milk or cream
1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine butter, masa harina, 1/4 cup water, and milk in a medium sized bowl and beat until creamy.

2. Ad corn meal, sugar, salt, and baking powder on top of the creamed butter mixture and use a fork or whisk to lightly whisk just the dry ingredients together.  Beat the entire mixture until smooth.

3. Place corn in food processor (I left mine frozen) and pulse until roughly broken up.  Add 1/4 cup water and corn to bowl and mix until combined.

4.  Boil a tea pot full of water.  Spread mixture in an ungreased 8x8 square pan and top with foil.  Place 8x8 pan inside a 9x13 pan and place both pans in oven.  Pour hot water in 9x13 inch pan just until it goes about an inch up the sides. 

5. Bake for about 55 minutes.  Remove from oven, uncover, and let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Oreo Pops


Last year at Christmas I made Rudolph Cake Pops to go with my gifts.  While they were cute and fun, cake pops can be time consuming during a busy holiday season.  So this year I tried something a little simpler.  These oreo pops were very easy and quick to whip up.

Chocolate tip: I used fondue chocolate (found at a craft store) instead of the melting wafers.  I've found that these melt easier, do not over heat easily(like the wafers can and be ruined), and leave a thinner coat of chocolate.  I have used the fondue chocolate for the cookie dough balls in the past, but I think I may now also switch to these for cakepops as well.  I highly recommend them!

Christmas Oreo Pops
From: CampClem
Prep time: 20-30 min
Cook time: none

1 pkg Double Stuffed Oreos
chocolate melting wafers or fondue chocolate of your choosing
sucker sticks

1. Spread wax paper across 2 cookie sheets.  Take an oreo and push the sucker stick through almost to the other side (be sure to hold it tightly together with your other had).  Repeat until all oreos have sticks.

2. Melt chocolate in microwave until melted - stirring every 30 seconds.  Dip Oreo in chocolate and place on wax paper.  Sprinkle with colored sprinkles of your choosing.  Let cool/harden on counter or in fridge.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chicken with Cremini Cream Sauce

This is a South Beach Diet recipe and I really like it because it tastes like it would be a lot more fattening than it is.  It is creamy and rich, without really being rich.  Even bigger bonus, it is super easy.

Chicken with Cremini Cream Sauce 
From: South Beach Diet
Prep time: 5-10 min
Cook time: 10-15 min

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp olive oil
8 oz small cremini mushrooms, quartered or sliced (I actually didn't use cremini)
3 scallions (I used a regular yellow onion)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.

2.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate and keep warm.

3.  Add the mushrooms, onion, and remaining tsp oil to the skillet.  Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently until the mushrooms have wilted, about 3 minutes.

4. Add broth, cream cheese, rosemary, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir until the cream cheese melts, about 1 minute

5.  Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and still juicy, about 5 minutes.  Serve.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick and Easy No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites

I'm always looking for healthier snacks to take to work.  These were so quick and easy to make, and really delicious.  Plus, I found another way to use my Chia seeds and a way to sneak in some flax. I will be making these again, they are the perfect filling snack for work.

Quick and Easy No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites
From: How Sweet It Is
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: NONE
Makes: 12-15 balls

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup ground peanuts or ground almonds, to roll the balls in.

1. Combine oats, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir.

2.  Melt peanut butter and allow it to cool slightly (I melted mine in the microwave for about 30 - 45 seconds, then stirred).  Then stir in honey and vanilla extract until it's combined.

3. Once peanut butter has cooled a bit, pour over the oat mixture and mix well with a spoon then bring together with your hands.  Once mixture is sticking together, fold in chocolate chips.

4. Roll dough into golf-ball sized (or slightly smaller) balls, then roll in ground peanuts or ground almonds.  These can be eaten at room temp but we like them stored in the fridge!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

If you are on Pinterest then I'm sure you've seen this recipe.  It is so easy it is hard to pass up.  I decided to make them this week because I thought they would be nice to have for Thanksgiving morning. They turned out pretty good and will be a nice breakfast treat.  The recipe said you could dust with powdered sugar or spread on a cream cheese frosting, but I'm going for plain since it is breakfast after all.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins
From: Sweet Verbena
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can libby's pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350.Spray muffin cups with Pam.

2. Mix cake mix and pumpkin until smooth. spoon into muffin cups and bake 20 - 25 min.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Darren's BBQ Chicken Nachos

We make these nachos quite a bit and I was surprised to realize I hadn't posted the recipe yet!  Our friend Darren made these for us years ago and we have been making them ever since.  It is a super easy and over the top delicious nacho snack - perfect for watching football.  But to be honest, sometimes we will eat this as our meal! :)

Darren's BBQ Chicken Nachos
From: Darren Buursma
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Sweet Baby Rays Original BBQ Sauce
1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
1 large can Chicken chunks in water, drained (can use regular cooked and shredded chicken)
Banana Peppers (I usually half them)
Black olives, sliced
1 pkg Mexican Cheese Blend
Tortilla Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a small bowl mix chicken with about 1/2 cup (or more) of BBQ sauce.

3  Line cookie sheet with tin foil. Spread tortilla chips over tin foil creating an entire layer of tortilla chips.

4. On top of tortilla chips layer, chicken, onions, banana peppers, black olives.  Then sprinkle with cheese and drizzle BBQ sauce generously over everything.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve (we usually just eat it right off the pan!)

Monday, November 12, 2012


For my 300th post (yes! 300!!! I can hardly believe I've made that many different recipes!) I decided to re-share some of my favorite fall recipes (links to the recipes are below each picture)

Football Watching Food
Can't have fall without Football!  I always find watching football as a good excuse to make some good snacky food. 

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Not Your Average Rotel Dip

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

Layered Taco Dip

As the weather turns colder, soup is on my mind.  We usually end up having soup once a week in the fall/winter and I love it!

Butternut Squash Soup

Easy Black Bean Soup
Cheese Broccoli Soup
Mimi's Chili
Crock Pot
Since summer is over, those easy grill recipes have come and gone.  Instead I try to use my crock pot more so we aren't spending too much time making dinner.  I am expecting a new fancy crock pot in the mail soon so I'm sure this recipe will grow a bit more in the next few months.

Korean Beef Tacos

Rotisserie Style Chicken

Santa Fe Chicken Tacos

Can't have the fall holidays without some delicious fall desserts.

Pumpkin Bars

Easy Apple Crisp

Fried Apples


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