Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Treats

There is something about holidays and special occasions that just get me excited to cook.  Today was no exception.  I mean, how often does Leap Year come around?  And what better way to celebrate a fun day than with fun food?

 I decided to try my hand at frog pancakes this morning.  So, I died my pancake batter green and made me some goofy looking frog pancakes.  I knew it was a success though, when one by one the kids came in and when I quizzed them as to what they were, they all answered correctly, “frogs!”  Yeah!  Score one point for me!  I will have you know, I was good and didn’t eat one bite. :)

I decided to surprise them with a fun after school snack...okay...treat.  I decided to make some chocolate bowls.  First, I filled some water balloons with water, placed them in a cupcake pan and froze them.  Then I melted white chocolate with a little green food coloring in a double broiler.  When my balloons were frozen, I dipped them in the chocolate and placed them on wax paper.  There they sat, until all the water was melted.

 Once the water was melted, I turned them upside down, holding onto the wax paper, over the sink and popped the water balloon.  What I had left was the cutest little lily pad chocolate bowl.

Next, I made up some pistachio pudding and filled the little bowls and then printed these cute signs.  I had them waiting when the kids arrived home from school.  

Tonight, was youth night at the church and I decided to make these froggy cupcakes to send with my husband, Warren, to share with all the young men.  These aren’t just ordinary cupcakes, they are filled with chocolate ganache, dipped in white chocolate, then frosted with green whipping cream.  The ears are made out of york peppermint patties, with a coconut M&M to make the buggy eyes and licorice rope to make them smile.  I know they are a tad cheesy, but I loved my frog cupcakes.

I promise, I did cook a healthy dinner!

Monday, February 27, 2012

International Pancake Day!

February 21st this year was International Pancake Day.  I always like to have a little fun with food holidays, so we planned a pancake dinner.  I tried quite a few different pancake recipes, including granola pancakes, blueberry, raspberry, caramel, chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed, cream cheese and regular buttermilk.  My favorite was the cream cheese recipe.  They tasted heavenly with Strawberries and whipping cream or that heavenly caramel syrup.  I always use the frozen strawberries with sugar (thawed) for my strawberry topping.  It is quick, easy and delicious.

Obviously, this isn’t the healthiest meal, however, for a once a year dinner, it tasted pretty heavenly.

Here is that Cream Cheese Pancake recipe!

1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
2 cups Bisquick mix
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Mix together bisquick, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, milk and eggs until blended.  Slice cream cheese into bite size pieces and stir into the batter.  You may need to add more milk if it is too thick.  Pour batter onto your hot griddle and cook until it is ready to flip.  Turn and finish cooking.  Top with the toppings of your choice.

Marinated Flank Steak and Roasted Red Potatoes

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak Recipe


Marinade Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag. Coat the steak well with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl. Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. The salt and pepper will help form a savory crust on the steak. Place steak on the hot grill. If you are using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side. Half way through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90° so that you get more grill marks.

When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide.
If you want, you can take the excess marinade and bring it to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and serve with the flank steak.

Roasted Red Potatoes


  • 2 TBSP. Olive Oil
  • 2 pounds Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 TBSP. finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper


In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes, onion and garlic; toss to combine.  Add the thyme, rosemary and nutmeg; toss well.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are hot.  Transfer to a 15 x 10 x 1” baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and almost tender.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper; toss well.  Bake 508 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Monday, February 6, 2012



1Tbs olive oil
cups onion, chopped
3garlic cloves, minced
2large eggs
½cup milk
2tsp dijon mustard
1tsp hot sauce
tsp fresh marjoram, or ½ teaspoon dried, crumbled
tsp fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried, crumbled
salt and freshly ground pepper
2lb ground beef

cups plain bread crumbs
¼cup fresh parsley, minced
½cup ketchup
¼cup light brown sugar
Tbs cider vinegar


1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 In a skillet over moderate heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
3 In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, and hot sauce together. Add marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, egg-milk mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, and the cooked onion mixture.
4 In a small bowl stir together ketchup, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
5 Form 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture into a small patty, add it to a small oiled skillet, and cook until no longer pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
6 Transfer meat mixture to an oiled loaf pan. Brush meat with ketchup glaze.Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until glaze has set.
7 Brush meat loaf with remaining glaze and bake for 15 minutes more; glaze again.
My oven takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the desired doneness. Times do vary, so allow for that!
8 Internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees F.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Layered Pudding Dessert

This recipe is all over the internet and has been around for years.  It’s a classic dessert.  I haven’t made it forever!  I forgot how much I love it.  I used chocolate pudding, but you can use any kind of pudding you like.


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup finely-chopped pecans
  • 2 eight-ounce packages softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 eight-ounce containers Cool Whip
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 small boxes instant pudding, any flavor

How to make it

  • In medium mixing bowl, cut together one stick butter or margarine, flour, and chopped walnuts or pecans.  Press evenly into ungreased 9 x 13-inch pan.   Bake for approximately 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven until light golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, cream together confectioner's sugar and softened cream cheese.  Fold in one 8-ounce container whipped cream.  Spread over cooled crust.
  • Beat milk and two packages pudding mix.  Spread over cream cheese layer.  Spread one 8-ounce container whipped cream over pudding layer.
  • If desired, sprinkle additional finely-chopped walnuts or pecans over top layer.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight until ready to serve.

Caramel Pecan Bars

These bars are completely rich and delicious.  It is definitely what I would call a “Shelly” dessert!


  • 1 (19.5 oz.) package Traditional Fudge Brownie
  • 1 1/2 cups caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves


  • HEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, extending paper over edges of pan.
  • PREPARE brownie mix according to package directions. Spread 1 1/2 cups prepared batter in prepared pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until center is set.
  • COMBINE caramels, sweetened condensed milk and butter in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until caramels are almost melted. Whisk until smooth. Gently spread caramel mixture over partially baked brownie. Sprinkle caramel with chocolate chips. Spread remaining unbaked brownie batter evenly over chocolate chips. Sprinkle with pecan halves.
  • BAKE an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate. Lift chilled brownies from pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Cover; chill until ready to serve.
  • Brownies are best served when chilled or at room temperature.

Sweet and Salty Chewy Peanut Butter Bars

 Unfortunaly, I have children with peanut allergies, so these will not be a recipe I will make often.  However, I loved them.  They would be perfect to take to a picnic.  They are really chewy, soft and I love the combination of the cashews, marshmallows and peanut butter.


  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, or 1 cup peanut butter-flavored chips
  • 1 (3 oz.) can chow mein noodles
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews or peanuts


  • HEAT oven to 350ºF. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in medium bowl. Cut in butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  • BAKE 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Top evenly with marshmallows; bake an additional 2 minutes or until marshmallows begin to puff. Remove from oven; cool.
  • COMBINE sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chow mein noodles, nuts and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread evenly over marshmallows. Cool. Chill. Cut into bars.

Brownie Cheesecake Pie

I got this recipe (and a few others) off of the Eagle Brand website.  This was really yummy.  You must make it a day ahead and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.  I think it would be yummy with a raspberry or strawberry glaze over the top or even caramel, but it was good plain, just like this.


  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 (19.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Classic Traditional Fudge Brownie
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  • HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray bottom only of 9-inch springform pan with no-stick cooking spray. Prepare brownie according to package directions for chewy brownies. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  • BAKE 35 minutes or until set.
  • BEAT cream cheese until fluffy in large bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.
  • REDUCE oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 50 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill thoroughly. Remove side of springform pan. Garnish as desired.
  • Chocolate chips may fall to top of brownie layer during baking.