Monday, March 31, 2014

Gooey Macaroni and Cheese

We are a bit of Macaroni and Cheese addicts in this house... My kids even like the stuff from the blue box (not hating... I just wouldn't eat that stuff with a 10 foot fork). Honestly, anything my son agrees to eating a whole bowl of will end up on the table in a heart beat though.

This Mac recipe uses real heavy cream and sharp cheddar cheese. The greatest thing about mac and cheese is you can make it yours by switching up noodles (I sometimes like to use Penne) or cheeses (Gruyere is to DIE for inside, if y'know, breaking the bank on cheese is your forte). Just please, please don't use bagged shredded cheese. That rubber taste? Yep, that's what's coating your cheese.... blehhhhh.

Here is the recipe for my version, slightly adapted from Shugary Sweets.

You will need:
1 (16 ounce) box large elbow macaroni
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1 1/2 pounds extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a large pot with salted water and set over high heat to boil.
While that is starting, in a large sauce pan, add in the butter and 2% milk. Set over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and the milk begins to simmer but not boil. Slowly, whisking vigorously, add in the 1/2 cup of flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes until the mixture is very thick and bubbly.

Slowly whisk in the 2 cups of heavy cream. Sprinkle with seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and dashes of hot sauce. (Remember, its always better to start with less. You can always add more but it's really hard to take away... Kind of like when you gain weight...) Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, whisking, for 5 minutes.

*At this point your hot water should be at a rolling boil, dump box of noodles inside and cooking, stirring occasionally, according to package instructions.

(it's like hot sauce fireworks, y'all)

When the 5 minutes are up, add in the shredded cheese (reserving 1/2 cup for the top) and stir until completely melted.

When noodles are al dente, drain, and combine the noodles and cheese mixture. Pour mac into a 9x13" baking dish.

Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Taking 5 crackers at a time (or however many you can fit in your palm) crush and sprinkle over the top of the mac and shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
Cool slightly and serve.

I love this Mac and Cheese guys, I just LURVE it!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Boston Cream Donuts

This is my 200th blog post! I almost can't believe it! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, or read one of my recipes... YOU are the ones that make this possible. But enough with the mushy stuff, let's get to some donuts shall we?

These are my absolute FAVORITE flavor of donut. The hot buttery dough, chocolate-y ganache topping and ooey gooey vanilla cream center. Yum, Yum, and Yum!

These bad boys whip up in less than 30 minutes so you can have hot donuts on your table in the morning in no time (I haven't quite decided if that's a good thing or bad thing though... Who am I kidding? It's amazing!)

So sit back, read this quick recipe, and run to your kitchens to make these donuts today!

You will need:
1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits
1 (4 ounce) box of Vanilla Pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large stock pot until it reaches 375 degrees. Drop biscuits in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or each side until golden and cooked through. Continue method until all biscuits are cooked. 
Place biscuits on a paper towel lined plate, immediately push a skewer almost all the way through the donuts and using a circling motion to open a hole large enough to fit your tip. Cool donuts  to the touch.
In a large bowl, mix together the vanilla pudding mix and 2 cups of cold milk until thickened. Placed in fridge while you make the ganache.

In small sauce pan, simmer the milk until scalded but not boiling. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and pour the warm milk over the top. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes before stirring and the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Add in the 2 Tablespoons of butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Remove pudding mixture from the refrigerator and stir. Place filling in a piping bag fitted with a 1" tip. Push piping bag into the donut, swirling back and forth until the filling begins to spill out. Continue until all donuts are filled.

Once finished, dip the tops of each donut into the ganache and set on a cooling rack. Wait until the ganache has hardened and serve!

I just die for the creamy vanilla filling and frosting like topping! Don't feel guilty when you find 3 or 4 of these have disappeared....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Orange Julius Smoothie

I love the idea of quick things for breakfast or snack. Most mornings I have just enough time to drink a cup of coffee before getting ready and rushing out the door. I wish I could start the day with a giant bowl of oatmeal covered in honey and nuts or a huge plate of piping hot pancakes... But even if I try, that doesn't seem to happen.

These delicious smoothies take just as much time to make a cup of coffee and fill you up in the mornings. Plus, they taste very similar to the popular Orange Julius.

You Will Need:
(makes 4-8 ounce glasses)
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup milk (your choice of whole, low fat, almond, soy, etc)
6 ounces Greek vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
1 cup ice

1. Place all of the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and combined. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with an orange wedge if you so desire.

See, easy-peasy and so delicious! I love the cut of the fresh squeezed orange juice and the creamy milk! Plus the protein in the Greek yogurt is a great filler! Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

I loved Olive Garden growing up. I spent many-a-birthdays ordering breadsticks and chicken parm with my friends.

As I got older though, I realized all of this over-the-top expensive Italian food could be made at home... For half the price.

The one thing I realized could be easily made at home were these breadsticks. Hot from the oven and slathered in melted butter, salt, and garlic powder. And the best part? You don't have to keep asking for basket after basket... No one will judge you for eating 3 in one sitting. Also, double the recipe and freeze some for later use. Delicious!

For the Breadsticks:
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Topping:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar until the yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Fit mixer with the paddle attachment and add in the remaining 1 Tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 teaspoon salt and the vegetable oil. Blend mixture on medium speed until well combined.
Switch attachment to the dough hook and add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour. Knead mixture on low speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (you may add up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour if dough is still too sticky). Transfer dough to a buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise, until doubled, in a warm place; about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down risen dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each piece into a 9-inch rope on a lightly floured surface. Transfer ropes to a lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.

Cover each cookie sheet loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rise, until doubled, for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap during the last 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 425 degrees, leaving the pans in the oven.

Bake the bread sticks in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes or until golden, rotating the pans half way through.
In a small bowl, whisk together the salt and garlic powder for the topping, set aside.
In another small bowl, add the butter and melt on high for 30 seconds or until very soft.

When the bread sticks are finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately brush with the butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Serve warm.

These bread sticks taste JUST like their famous counterpart and are so easy to make! We enjoyed ours with homemade fettuccine Alfredo! Yum.

*recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Marble Fudge Cupcakes

My husband celebrated his Dirty Thirty last week! I have such an old man... I kid.

And what is his favorite cake of all time you may ask? Marble fudge! He loves the swirl of chocolate and vanilla so I knew I wanted to make a variation for his special day!

I ran across this recipe at Sally's Baking Addiction. I absolutely LOVE her blog.

The cupcakes start with an easy vanilla cupcake and transition into a thick chocolate cake with the simple addition of cocoa powder. So, I decided to forgo my cupcake anxiety and make this simple recipe for the hubs to enjoy!

Now, lets make cupcakes shall we?

For the Cupcakes:
(makes 14 regular sized cupcakes)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon whole milk, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Milk Chocolate Frosting:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Vanilla Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
Start by making the cupcakes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter over high for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until completely melted. Whisk the sugar into the butter and chill in the fridge for one minute.
Place butter-sugar mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the egg, sour cream, 3/4 cup of milk and vanilla until combined. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until combined and no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Transfer 3/4 cup of batter into a bowl and add in the cocoa powder and 1 Tablespoon of milk. Stir until combined. Chocolate batter will be quite thick.
Spoon 1 Tablespoon of vanilla batter into the bottom of your lined muffin tin, top with 1 Tablespoon of chocolate batter, and top with another spoonful of vanilla batter. Fill cupcake tins until 2/3 of the way full.

With a toothpick or skewer, gently swirl batters together and bake in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

To  make the frosting's:
In your clean stand mixer, start with the vanilla frosting. Cream the butter over medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. Feel free to add more cream if the frosting is too thick or sugar if the frosting is too thin. Beat on medium until desired consistency is achieved and transfer to a bowl.

Using the same bowl, start your chocolate frosting by creaming the softened butter over medium for 2 minutes.In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar a cocoa powder until no lumps remain. Alternating between the cocoa mixture and the heavy cream, add into the butter until combined. Add in the salt and vanilla.

To achieve THE SWIRL!
In a piping bag or large Ziploc, cup a tip and place your preferred piping tip inside. Fill half of the bag, pushing slightly into the tip with vanilla frosting then chocolate into the other half. Leave room at the top to twist off the bag.

Frost your desired amount onto the tops of cupcakes and serve! Cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
I love the swirls of vanilla and chocolate together and the creamy butter cream. For those of us who have a hard time deciding between vanilla and chocolate, this cupcake is for you! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Easy Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Bombs

Oh lawd these little bombs are DA bomb. Yeah, I totally busted out that phrase. But seriously yo, these little guys are delicious. I can just imagine all of the sweet and savory stuffing's these bad boys could be filled with... Apple pie filling, S'Mores, cheese, cheese, and more cheese.

Let's focus on these first though, shall we? These beauts are stuffed with the very best parts of a Jalapeno Popper... All wrapped up in a tiny, doughy package. Yum.

You will need:
1 can of butter flavored flakey biscuits
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 ounces diced pickled jalapenos
cooking spray
coarse salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven according to the back of your biscuit can, mine was set to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and jalapenos until combined.
Pop open your can of biscuits (try not to have a mini heart attack) and lightly press 1 biscuit into a large circle in your hand.

Place 1 Tablespoon (or more) of filling into the center of your biscuit pancake.

Fold the edges of the biscuit around the filling and roll into a ball, making sure the edges are sealed. Place seam side down on to a large cookie sheet.

Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in preheated oven according to package instructions, mine stated 13-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Let the bombs cool slightly and enjoy!
These oozy little balls of deliciousness deserve to be on your table, today!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Very Berry Crumb Topped Pie

Hopefully by the time you are reading this I am lounging on a beach somewhere or shopping. My two FAVORITE things!

My third favorite? Pie. And chocolate. And ice cream. I have a long list of favorites. And I think I am going to have to add this pie to it.

The gooey berry filling, crunchy crumb topping, and buttery crust are so delicious together. I hope you are a pie fan and try this one out! Yum!

Happy Pi Day Everyone!!

For the Filling:
6 ounces blueberries
12 ounces blackberries
6 ounces raspberries
2 Tablespoons strawberry jello mix
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Crust: 
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3-5 Tablespoons ice cold water

For the Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
6 Tablespoons butter, cubed

In a large bowl, toss together the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Start by making your pie crust. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the butter and using a pastry cutter or your hands, blend the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (about the size of peas).
Slowly add in your ice water, a Tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and can be formed into a ball.
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. *This recipe is enough for 1 pie crust, so double if you want to forgo the crumb topping and make a top and bottom crust.

Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface until it is round and slightly larger than your pie plate. I used a 9" round for my pie. Fold into thirds to easily transfer to pie dish. Push down your crust lightly, pushing against the edges for better fit. Trim the excess and flute into your desired design. I am AWFUL with this so my crust is far from perfect. Prick the bottom multiple times with a fork.

Bake the crust in your preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and slightly prick any large bubbles that have formed. Pour your berries into the crust.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crumb topping until the butter is throughout and the mixture is well, crumbly.

Sprinkle over the top of your berries.

Wrap the edges carefully with tin foil and place back on your large cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden and the filling is bubbly, removing the tin foil the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Cool completely on a wire rack, slice, and serve!

This pie is AMAZING warm and topped with a slice of cold ice cream! Enjoy!

P.S: Happy Birthday to my wonderful HUBBY!