October 9, 2011

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

Making brownies was not on my agenda today.  But as I was looking through recipes, came across this one from a friend from our wedding shower over 2 1/2 years ago now.  It sounded like it would be a great treat and I just needed one ingredient to make them.  So, I hopped on my bike (my new favorite thing to do), rode up to the grocery store, put the marshmallow fluff in my basket and rode back home.

This was such an easy recipe and oh my gosh, are these good brownies.  Make them now, you will not be disappointed!  The brownie part itself is a nice light cake texture and paired with the fluff and crispy chocolate topping, it is a total winner.  Must wash it down with a glass of milk because they are sweet and chocolatey.  Yum.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups rice cereal

1. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar; add eggs.
2. Stir in cocoa, flour vanilla and salt. 
3. Spread into a greased 9x13x2 baking pan
4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center.
5. Allow to cool, spread marshmallow fluff over the cooled brownies
6. In a small sauce pan, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly.
7. Remove from heat, stir in the cereal.  Spread over marshmallow layer.
8. Chill before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

September 1, 2011

Beef Nacho Casserole

This recipe is another recipe I received thanks to All Recipes email.  It caught my eye as something easy to make and simple ingredients that we always seem to have on hand.  I made it tonight and it is definitely something we will be keeping in the rotation.  I did make a few small tweaks based on some of the suggestions from the reviews which I noted in the ingredients.

1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 cups chunky salsa
1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (I used Mexicorn to add some more kick)
3/4 cup creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used taco seasoning)
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
2 cups Colby cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until evenly browned.  Drain grease. Remove from the heat, and stir the salsa, corn, mayonnaise and chili powder into the beef. In a 2 quart casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture, tortilla chips and cheese twice, ending with cheese on top.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and dish is thoroughly heated.

August 23, 2011

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a favorite dish over here and it had been a while since I had made them, so I decided to find a recipe for one that I could use some ground beef with.  I found this recipe on All Recipes and decided to make it.  I did alter some of the ingredients based on what we prefer, but it was a keeper!  Super easy to make and I love that it splits in half perfectly to freeze for a later date.

 This is the non-cooked freezer version.  I forgot to take a picture of the cooked one before we ate it all!


1 pound ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 cup water (I actually used 2 cups since I cooked the rice when I the seasoning was added)
2 cups cooked rice
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
10 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa (I used enchilada sauce...just our preference)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I used cream of mushroom, again our preference)

  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in rice. Cook and stir until liquid is evaporated. OR, you can add the rice uncooked after the meat is cooked and drained, along with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for around 20 minutes.
  2. Spread about 2 tablespoons of refried beans, 1/4 cup beef mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese down the center of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam side down in two greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dishes.
  3. Combine salsa and soup; pour down the center of enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake one casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Cover and freeze remaining casserole for up to 3 months.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

August 21, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting

A friend of mine posted how she had won 2nd place in a contest at Nino Salvaggios for her Strawberry Cupcake recipe and I just had to get the recipe and try it out.  It is amazing!  She did a great job and it was pretty easy to make as well.  I can see this becoming a summer staple in our house!

Makes 24 cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¼ cups sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1 cup milk
2½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved. (I didn't have a candy thermometer and just watched it and mine turned out OK!)

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

**For the frosting, I usually ½ the recipe and it is enough to frost all of the cupcakes.

August 15, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I had been saving an email I received back in the spring from All Recipes.com that contained all strawberry and rhubarb items.  I love that combination, but the timing was not good for baking.  I was 9 months pregnant and not in the mood to bake!

Here we are, 4 months later with a 2 month old baby boy who allowed me to make this coffee cake while he napped.  I was finally able to get to Eastern Market last week for their Tuesday Market Day with Miles and picked up the strawberries and rhubarb to do some baking.

This cake was pretty easy to make and is really good!  It is super moist and am looking forward to making it again to do a better job cutting the butter into the topping. 

This isn't my picture, but this is what mine looks like (courtesy of All Recipes).  The rhubarb filling is a thin layer so it doesn't over power the cake.  Yummy.

 Here is the recipe..enjoy!


2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries, thawed (I used fresh)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cold butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan; stir in rhubarb and strawberries and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until thickened, about two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and let cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan.

3. Combine 3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour until just moistened. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into prepared pan; evenly spread on the cooled filling, then cover with remaining batter.

4. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour, and cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle over the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


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