Mason Jar Mud Pie

My daughters love Trader Joe’s mud pie.  I don’t buy it very often, but every once in a while for a special occasion I like to surprise them with their favorite mud pie for dessert.  The last time I was at Trader Joe’s I was told by one of the crew members they are no longer carrying mud pie.

So, I went to the grocery store bought all the ingredients and decided to make it myself!

Mason Jar Mud Pie with Oreos

I don’t know why I didn’t do this before…Individual Mason Jar Mud Pies!

And, it can be customized to all the gooey, chocolatey, carmel, oreo, and whip cream goodness your heart desires!

Mason Jar Mud Pies crush oreosCrush the Oreos in a ziplock bag to your desired crumb chunkiness.  While you are doing this, take your first ice cream flavor out to soften.

Mason Jar Mud Pies coffee ice creamThen layer the two ice cream flavors with all the goodies and top with whipped cream!

Mason Jar Mud Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 container of Dryers Coffee ice cream 1.5 quarts
  • 1 container of Dryers Vanilla ice cream 1.5 quarts
  • 1 package of Oreo cookies
  • 1 jar of Hershey's chocolate fudge
  • 1 jar of Smuckers carmel
  • 1 can of Reddiwip whip cream
Directions
  1. Take out the coffee ice cream for the first layer, to soften.
  2. Place Oreos in a ziplock bag and smash with a rolling pin to your desired crumb size. Add some Oreo crumbs to the bottom of each mason jar and top with the softened coffee ice cream. Place mason jars in the freezer for about a half hour for the ice cream to harden.
  3. Take out the vanilla ice cream to soften.
  4. Once mason jar ice cream is hardened take out of freezer and top the coffee ice cream with chocolate fudge, carmel, Oreo crumbs and the second ice cream layer of vanilla. Place mason jars back in the freezer for the ice cream to harden and continue the ice cream layers until you reach the top.
  5. Before serving add whip cream and top with remaining Oreo crumbs

Mason Jar Mud PiesEnjoy!

Favorite Foodie Finds

In my never ending quest to find new shiny kitchen and entertaining products I can’t live without and fascinating tidbits on the internet, I thought I would share with you some of my most recent favorite foodie finds.

Favorite Foodie Finds #1

1. Planning a camping trip and don’t want to be without your favorite coffee?  Take a look at this Voyager brew kit, it includes everything you need but the hot water. $125.00

2. How cute are these biodegradeable eco-friendly chalkboard spoons from Tulle and Twig!  Perfect for a ice cream party or a girl’s night in!  Tulle and Twig also has the forks and knives to this set.  Go to their site to check out all their adorable patterns, I promise you will want to buy them all! 20 Pieces ~ $8.00

3. How many of these words do you say correctly?  30 Commonly Mispronounced Food Words.

4. Do you struggle with making your pastry dough the correct thickness?  With this Joseph Joseph 100 Collection Adjustable Rolling Pin you will never roll uneven dough again. $29.99

5. Inspired by the classic southern icon, the Mason Jar, The Mason Shaker makes its home in Brooklyn, New York.  $29.00

6. Make your outdoor barbecues feel like you’re eating out on the range with this Dinner Bell hand made from Lightning Creek Forge. $35.00

7.  Dig that egg slicer out of the back of your drawer because Justin Chapple from Food & Wine is going to show you Why You Should Steal Your Grandmother’s Egg Slicer.

8.  Looking to add a new cookbook to your collection?  Take a look at Eater Spring 2014 Cookbook Preview.

9. Love jalapeño poppers?  The BBQ Guys have what you are looking for, a Stainless Steel Jalapeño Poppers Grilling Rack.  The grill rack keeps the jalapeño’s upright so they can be filled with your favorite tasty ingredients. $14.99

Orecchiette with Summer Vegetables

It's SUMMER!!!

 Orecchiette with summer Vegetables

That great time of the year, every weekend is full to the brim with outside activities.  Picnic's, outdoor concerts, baseball games, spending time at the beach or river, camping, hiking, gardening, or just running through the sprinklers...the summer fun list can go on forever.

I find myself cooking healthier, eating lighter and cooking fresh summer vegetables, that I buy at the local farmers markets.  I try to come up with way to incorporate at least 3 vegetables with every dinner.  Orecchiette with summer vegetables is one of my families favorites.  I love it because it's a snap to cook and get on the table...and it's so very yummy!

Summer Vegetable Orecchiette

I just love the shape of orecchiette {little ears} pasta.

summertime Vegetable Orecchiette

Orecchiette with Summer Vegetables
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of salt, for pasta water
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, clean trimmed and cut into bite size pieces, set aside.
  • ½ bunch of spinach, cleaned and roughly cut into large pieces, set aside.
  • 5 mini sweet bell peppers, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces, set aside.
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shaved parmesan pieces.
Directions
  1. n a large pot bring water to a boil and add salt and pasta. Cook for 2 minutes less then package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of butter, and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil, remaining butter and all the vegetables.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and cook for about 8 minutes until vegetables are just tender.
  4. Toss vegetables and pasta together, top with the parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve immediately.

Summer Vegetable Orecchiette Enjoy!

Fried Zucchini Rounds

Fried Zucchini Rounds with dip

I remember when I was younger, when my family went out for dinner my Mom would always order deep fried zucchini.  Every restaurant had it on their menu back then, I think it was a thing.  I remember fighting with my brother over the last, slightly spicy, crunchy fried zucchini round, each and every time.  The outside was crispy fried perfection and the zucchini was tender inside, there was the perfect amount of spice.  They were always served with a creamy ranch dressing.  Most of the time, my brother and I ate so many we would end up taking our dinner home.

I haven’t thought about deep fried zucchini in many years until recently.  I went out to eat with my girl’s and the restaurant had fried zucchini on the menu.

I had to order it!

My girl’s loved it.  How could they not?  Anything fried is good, right?  And it is a vegetable, after all.  This time, I let my girl’s split the last one.

Fried Zucchini rounds

Cut the zucchini into thin rounds.

Fried Zucchini rounds flourDredge into the flour mixture,

Fried Zucchini Rounds  Egg mixture then into the egg mixture,

Fried Zucchini Rounds Panko Breadcrumbsand finally into the Panko, Parmesan mixture.  To make sure you get lots of crispy goodness, you may need to use your hands to pat the Panko mixture on.

Fried Zucchini Rounds

Fried Zucchini Rounds
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced into ¼ inch rounds
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. In a large shallow bowl, beat eggs and add a pinch of salt, combine.
  3. In a separate large shallow bowl mix the flour with the remaining salt.
  4. In another separate bowl add the Panko, Parmesan, pepper, and cayenne, stir together to combine.
  5. Working with about 6 rounds at a time, dredge into the flour mixture, then into the eggs, and finally into the Panko mixture.
  6. With tongs drop about 6 rounds in the oil at a time. Fry until both sides of the zucchini are golden brown. Place cooked rounds on to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  7. Serve immediately with a side of ranch dressing.

 

Fried Zucchini Rounds close up

 

 Enjoy these tasty fried zucchini rounds!

 

 

Hummus

I love Friday nights during the Spring and Summer!

One of two things usually happens

1. Handsome and I go out for Happy Hour

or (my personal favorite)

2. Handsome and I stay home and have our favorite finger foods for dinner.

Our current Friday night favorite is hummus!  Ever since I found out how easy it is to make, I’m hooked.  I like that it doesn’t contain any preservatives when it is homemade and I can taylor my hummus to what I have in my pantry and fridge, like adding artichokes or black beans.  It stays in the fridge for up to a week in a airtight container.  What’s not to love?  It can be served with the traditional pita wedges or vegetables are great to dip in, but my favorite is kettle potato chips, they could be original or the salt and vinegar taste great dipped into the hummus.  I figure with the healthiness of the hummus, what’s a few kettle chips?

Hummus

When making hummus it makes a huge difference when the skins are peeled off the garbanzo beans, in order to get that truly smooth consistency.  It does take a bit of time but so worth the extra effort.

Hummus in red clay pot

Hummus
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained & skins removed
  • 1¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 3 dashes of tabasco
  • ¼ cup of hot water
Directions
  1. Make sure the skins of the garbanzo beans have all been removed. It is tedious, but worth the extra work.
  2. In a food processor add ingredients one at a time. Blend each added ingredient until smooth.
  3. Continue this process until all ingredients have been added and the hummus is pureed to a smooth constancy.
  4. Taste hummus and adjust any seasoning.
  5. Hummus can be served at room temperature or chilled.
  6. When serving, sprinkle a bit of paprika and dried basil on top for presentation.

Hummus 3 Enjoy!

Lemon Honey Chicken Drumsticks

There is something wonderful about picking up chicken drumsticks with your hand and taking a huge bite out of it.

Lemon Chicken Drumsticks

Maybe it just brings me back to the days I would go to the renaissance fair with my friends and see so many people enjoying a massive turkey leg while they walked around the fair.  I never tried a turkey leg at the fair, I’m not much for walking around and eating, and the last things my friends and I wanted is to be gnawing on a huge turkey leg and some hot guys walk by!

Well, those days are long gone.  I do enjoy a tasty chicken drumstick, especially during the summer, although I still don’t walk around eating it.

Now that it’s feeling more like summer, I wanted to create a marinade for my chicken drumsticks that has lighter tasting, summer feeling.  I love the taste of lemon. It’s flavor always reminds me of summer, so that’s where I started and the rest of the ingredients just fell into place.

Lemon Honey Chicken Drumsticks These lemon honey chicken drumsticks come out perfectly tender and juicy when you bake them for the first 35 minutes,  covered with foil.

Lemon Honey Chicken Drumsticks 6

Lemon Honey Chicken Drumsticks
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 Chicken Legs
  • Olive Oil, for brushing the chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • **For The Marinade
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chicken legs in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  3. While chicken is baking, whisk together all the ingredients of the marinade in a small bowl.
  4. After the 35 minutes are up, lower oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Uncover chicken and brush on the marinade. After 15 minutes, brush chicken with marinade again.
  6. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Chicken should be golden brown.

Lemon Chicken Drumsticks 3

Enjoy!

Chicken Quinoa

Have you tried Quinoa?

If the answer is no, what are you waiting for?

Quinoa Chicken Salad 1 recipe

Once cooked, quinoa tastes and has the texture of teeny tiny pasta.  There as so many recipes in which you could exchange quinoa for the rice or pasta.

Many years ago, the first time I tried quinoa, I was at a luncheon held at a hotel, we were served quinoa as a side dish to the usual boring chicken.  I was so delighted by the unusual side dish I asked every waiter and waitress what it was, none knew {most of them took guesses}.  The wait staff got so tired of me asking what is was, they sent the chef out to me.  He was very kind, told me it was quinoa and wrote the recipe down for me.  One day soon I will share that recipe with you.

Quinoa Chicken Salad recipe at its all about the yummy

Quinoa, is known as a superfood and is gluten free.  There are many health benefits to eating this ancient grain.  Quinoa was discovered by the Incas, they described it as the mother of all grains. There are hundreds of types of quinoa, although the most common types found in grocery stores are the white, black and red colored.  See more info on the health benefits of quinoa here.

Its all about the yummy Quinoa Chicken Salad

 Just last night I made one of my stand by I don’t know what to make for dinner, dinners, but I swapped out the white rice for…you guessed it, quinoa.  Handsome loved it!  The great thing about this recipe; last night I served it warm, right off the stove, and today I ate it cold right out of the refrigerator, no really, I was standing with the refrigerator door open eating it out of the tupperware, and it was delicious!

recipe for a delicious Quinoa Chicken Salad 4

Chicken Quinoa Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large cucumber chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ Medium red onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • For The Dressing
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon worcestershire
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the chicken breast into the boiling water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Place chicken on a plate to cool. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into medium size chunks. Set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Make sure to salt the water, just like pasta, this is your only chance to flavor the quinoa.
  3. To Prepare The Vinaigrette
  4. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Once quinoa is cooked, add it to a large bowl along with the cooked chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, and the parsley and gently fold the ingredients together.
  6. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and gently toss until all is coated with dressing.

The best thing about this chicken quinoa?  It taste great hot or cold!

Quinoa Chicken

Enjoy!

Cast Iron Pan Pizza

Do you love pizza?…I know, who doesn’t?

Cast Iron Pan Pizza

If by a small chance there is a person out there in this huge world who does not like pizza, they are no friend of mine.

I mean, how could you not?  It contains all the important food groups; yummy, tasty, gooey, finger licking, lip smacking, and most importantly, just plain delicious!

Cast Iron Pan Pizza 5 (1 of 1)

Lately, I am kinda obsessed with making pizza in a cast iron pan. I know, crazy, right?  I tried this out one day when I forgot to heat the pizza stone.  Handsome was coming home any minute {I know, I have this weird fixation of making sure I have dinner on the table when Handsome walks in the house. It’s my thing not his.}, the kids were hungry, and I wasn’t going to wait 30 minutes!  I heated the cast iron pan on the stove {took about 1 minute}, added about a tablespoon of olive oil, and plopped in my pizza dough and I was off and running making a heavenly pizza that would change my life.

Cast Iron Pan Pizza 1 (1 of 1)

I have not used the pizza stone since.  The pizza stone must be lonely just sitting in my top oven all by it’s lonesome.  But, each time I have made pizza {like, every weekend} I have used the cast iron pan.  It just comes out so darn good!

Cast Iron Pizza 4 (1 of 1)

Here are a few things I learned about making a cast iron pan pizza.

1. It could not be easier.  You can use homemade dough, recipe here or you can use a store bought dough {Trader Joe’s has a good one}.  Homemade marinara, recipe here or a store bought marinara sauce.

2. The crusts comes out just like a pizza that was cooked in a pizza oven.

3. It gives you a wonderful thick crust!  Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

4. You will never want the delivery guy to drop off a cardboard box of cold, cheese stuck to the cardboard pizza again.

5. And the obvious, 1 pizza is just never enough!

Cast Iron Pan Pizza 3 (1 of 1)

Cast Iron Pan Pizza
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Olive oil, 2 tablespoons, for the bottom of the cast iron pan
  • Olive oil, to brush the edge of the pizza
  • Homemade Pizza Dough or Store bought dough
  • Homemade marinara sauce or store bought marinara
  • Goat cheese or whatever cheese you like
  • Pepperoni
  • 3 or 4 leaves of brush basil, chopped
Directions
  1. Roll the dough out to the approximate size of your cast iron pan.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan on the stove over high heat.
  3. Place the rack in your oven just below the broiler and turn the broiler on to high.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the cast iron pan, once the pan is hot.
  5. Reduce heat to a medium high.
  6. Drop your dough into the hot pan and brush olive oil around the edges of your pizza.
  7. Add the sauce to within an ½ inch of the edge of the dough.
  8. Add cheese and pepperoni.
  9. Turn the burner off.
  10. Make sure the bottom of the pizza is golden brown.
  11. With a pot holder place the cast iron pan under the broiler. Watch it carefully as it could burn the pizza very quickly.
  12. Once it is done to your liking, remove and place on the stove to let cool for about 5 minutes.
  13. Top with the fresh basil.
  14. Remove the pizza to a cutting board and cut in to pieces.

Cast Iron Pan Pizza 7 (1 of 1)

Enjoy!

Baked French Toast!

Baked French Toast

French Toast is an absolute special occasion breakfast for me or else I would eat it every weekend.

What is your favorite breakfast food?

I just love the crispy exterior and the tender custardy inside of french toast, not to mention the powdered sugar.  Doesn’t powdered sugar make everything taste better?  And the memories…  When I was growing up, my dad was the chef of Sunday morning breakfast after mass.  He could make any breakfast food, perfectly.  His french toast was always a favorite of mine.  He would use a fresh baked thick cut crusty bread.  The soft interior of the bread would soak up the custardy goodness completely.

Baked French Toast loaves

When I was invited to a friends house for breakfast before a spring garden tour, I thought, what a perfect occasion to indulge a little and bring back some wonderful memories.  I couldn’t of anything more delicious to contribute to the breakfast than baked french toast.  Since there was only 3 of us, I knew I didn’t want to make a huge amount of french toast.  The perfect compromise?  Baked French Toast mini loaves with a scrumptious cinnamon crump topping.  They are so easy to make and come out perfect every single time, they travel well and have always gotten rave reviews.

Baked French Toast uncooked

I love that this baked french toast is put together the night before so the bread can soak up all the creamy delicious custard.  Make sure when you pour the custard over the bread do it slowly, or it will go all over the place.  I know first hand!

Baked French Toast!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • butter to grease pan
  • TOPPING
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cold butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Grease the pan with butter, set aside.
  2. Cut bread into small cubes and place in loaves or a muffin tin. Press down to completely fill with bread cubes.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  4. Slowly, pour the custard mixture evenly over the bread cubes.
  5. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours {I prefer overnight}.
  6. For the cinnamon crumb topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, cold butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Mix until it is completely combined using a fork or a pastry cutter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  7. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Remove the tin from the fridge and put the cinnamon crumb topping over the bread and custard.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup.

Baked French Toast FG2Enjoy!

Mango Margarita

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Are you making Mexican food tonight?  If you are, or even if you’re not, I have the perfect adult beverage to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Mango Margarita

A Mango Margarita!

It’s light and refreshing.  And, it is contributing to your daily fruit intake, right?  Of course it is, so it is good for you too.  I have officially decided this is my new go to spring drink!  I first had one of these bad boys when my family and I stayed at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ.

Mango Margarita mango chunks

I finally decided to try and make a mango margarita at home when I saw Trader Joe’s had frozen cut up mango chunks.  I have such a hard time cutting fresh mangos, so these frozen chunks are the perfect solution, and since you don’t need to add ice because the chunks are frozen, you don’t have to worry about your drink getting all watered down!  The frozen mango chunks make this margarita deliciously smooth and creamy.

 Because the mango chunks are frozen, you can make these scrumptious drinks all year long along.

Make this margarita’s with a few of my favorite Mexican dishes.

 Beef Empanadas

Shredded Beef Taquitos

Tostada

Pulled Pork for a great burrito filling

Mango Margarita
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 Package of Trader Joe's Mango Chunks
  • ¾ Cup of Tequila
  • ¾ Cup of Triple Sec or any orange flavored liqueur
  • ⅓ Cup sugar
Directions
  1. On a small plate, place the 1 tablespoon of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of salt and mix together.
  2. Once you have squeezed all the juice out of the lime, run the inside of the lime around the rim of your margarita glass and dip the glass into the sugar/salt combination. Set the glass aside.
  3. In a blender place the mango chunks, lime juice, tequila, triple sec and sugar. Blend until completely smooth. Taste to make sure it is to your liking {add more tequila if needed} and then pour it in to your sugar/salt rimmed glass!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Enjoy!