Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where has Liesl gone?

Sorry ... I have been sooo extremely busy over the last two months. So much is going on in my life and my blog has definitely taken the back seat. My sister is getting married in about two weeks and hopefully after that, my life will somewhat quiet down a bit and I can get back to some MAJOR BLOGGING!!! I do have lots of great recipes and I can't wait to start sharing them again! And I also can't wait to tell you all about my surprise trip to Disneyworld that the hubs planned for my birthday!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Black Bean Dip

I love dips! They are great for get togethers with friends, bridal/baby showers, parties, holidays, or just plain old lazy weekends! I really can't tell you enough how much I love dips! I am always trying out new recipes and can't seem to keep up with all the ones I have bookmarked to make! I actually made this dip several months ago, just never got around to blogging about it. This dip was fantastic! A huge hit for everyone who tried it. It had a hummus texture, but a completely different taste. I loved the kick the jalapenos and cilantro added. I served mine with Fritos, which I think is the best way to enjoy this dip, but you could serve it with your favorite type of cracker as well. Oh and just to warn you, you may want to plan on doubling this recipe, because YES it IS THAT GOOD!!!
Black Bean Dip
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 pickled jalapeños (about 3 T diced)
2 T lemon juice
1 t salt
1/4 c stock (chicken or veggie)
1 small red onion, diced
1 T chopped cilantro

Combine the beans, jalapeños, salt and lemon juice in the food processor. Add the stock and pulse until incorporated. Stir in diced onions and cilantro. Serve with Fritos.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cornflakes "Touch of Honey" Banana Bread

I LOVE Super Target! It's become an obsession lately! Everything just seems to taste better from Super Target. If you don't have one near you or aren't sure what one it, it is just like a regular Target only with groceries and a much bigger/better selection of products! I especially love their produce. Every time I go, it seems like I end up finding new products that I don't normally see in other grocery stores...Like these cornflakes I found on my last adventure...

I don't normally buy cereal like this (I usually eat only Fiber One Original), but when I see a new exciting cereal, I often find myself thinking that it would be great if I could bake/cook with it. Remember these bars! Man those were good! I actually think I want to try using these cornflakes on chicken. Doesn't that sound delicious!
So I bought the cereal, brought it home, opened the box and tried a handful...or two or three!!! ;o) I was so good! I immediately thought it would make a great banana bread! So I went to Kellogg's website to see if they had a recipe for banana bread, and sure enough they did. The recipe they had called for regular cornflakes, but I just used the Touch of Honey in place. I couldn't believe how good this recipe turned out. Hands down the best banana bread recipe I have tasted! I even used less sugar than the recipe called for (thinking that the cereal had enough sugar already) and it was still fantastic! It was incredibly moist and I loved the little bits of cornflakes throughout. If you are looking for a new twist on banana bread, definitely give this a try!
Cornflakes "Touch of Honey" Banana Bread
(from Kellogg's)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas
2 1/2 cups Kellogg's Cornflakes Touch of Honey
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (I used only a 1/2 cup of sugar)
2 eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional - I omitted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
In medium mixing bowl, combine bananas and Kellogg's Cornflakes Touch of Honey cereal. Let stand 5 minutes or until cereal softens. Beat well.
In large mixing bowl, beat margarine and sugar until combined. Add eggs. Beat well. Mix in cereal mixture and nuts. Stir in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly in 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan (or use a muffin pan like I did) coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° F about 1 hour (my muffins only took about a 1/2 hour, just keep an eye on them if you do muffins) or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap with plastic wrap.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Please Pray for Nashville

I want to take a moment, away from food, away from things not as important as this, to make you aware of something very serious that has happened to my city. On May 1, 2010 we had a horrible rain storm come through Nashville, TN. The weather continued and got worse on into May 2, 2010. We stayed under a constant threat of Tornado's, and the rain maintained steady as a terenchal downpour. On Sunday May 2nd, we all saw, as the rain just continued to pour down, that our city was in a horrible state, and in desperate need of relief from all the rain. But it kept coming and the waters continued to rise. Drowning my city, my fellow Nashvillians, people's homes and cars, changing the lives of so many. As I sit here an type this, I am getting emotional just thinking about it all. Nashville needs your help...

I took this picture Monday May 3rd, looking towards Nashville. The sun is shining, but the city is not. The Cumberland River that flows through downtown, flooded much of the city.
Most of you probably don't know what has happened, as the news coverage is very slim. No ones seems to want to take time to cover it. And we NEED them to. This is a MAJOR catastrophe, with MAJOR devastation. There was nothing that could have been done to stop this rain storm, nor could we have ever known the true aftermath that this storm was going to cause. NO ONE saw this coming.

Again, taken May 3rd looking over at LP Field (where our Tennessee Titan's play), which also suffered flooding. The area in front is 1st and 2nd avenue...all under water.

I took time yesterday (as I am out of work until further notice due to flooding) to go around and help out where I could. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who survived this storm pretty much untouched. My garden was destroyed, but I will gladly take that. Yesterday, May 4th, I went to homes that lost everything. Water completely destroyed their homes, and lives as they once knew them. The second person I helped yesterday was so unfortunate. My heart just broke for them. Every time someone showed up at her doorstep, she lost it. It was a very humbling experience.

Sadly, that was one home, and only one person. There are soo many more going through the same thing that need help. I am going out again today to do what I can. One person can do so much, so if you are sitting at home reading this from the comfort of a warm safe place, please take a moment to see what is happening to my city. Say a prayer for us. If you can, make a donation to the Nashville Red Cross, all donations help ONLY Middle Tennessee. You can also donate on Hands on Nashville's website. If you are nearby, VOLUNTEER.

Looking down 2nd avenue, on May 3rd. So many businesses completely destroyed.
I also want to share an article that is "floating" around Nashville. It is a very well written article, from a Nashville Blogger, like myself...

The Cumberland River had not even crested at this point on May 3rd. Water was still continuing to rise. This is looking down 1st avenue. The green rooftops, was were our train station was.

The pictures on this site are mine. Property of Liesl's Confection Dissection. I posted them so I could share just some of the devastation with you. I will probably be taking a little break from blogging as there are bigger, more important things going on. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope that you can help in some way. If nothing else, please spread the word on what has happend to Nashville, TN. We need help so badly. Take the time to tell your loved ones you love them. Cherish what you have, because you truly never know how long you are going to have it. Like I said, no one could have prepared for this catastrophe. The damage is unbelievable and there is more to come as the water recedes.
Take care,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chess Pie Bars

I am a part of a dinner club that meets once a month. Whoever hosts the dinner for that month, picks the theme for the dinner and we each make a dish that goes along with that theme. It is so much fun! We get to eat great food and have a lot of great conversation! This month's theme happened to be Southern Hospitality...otherwise-known-as good ol' southern comfort food! We had pot roast, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, biscuits, homemade ice cream sundaes and these highly addictive Chess Pie Bars! We even had a southern cocktail....Sweet Tea vodka and lemonade served in a mason jar!!! All the food was fantastic! I seriously think I gained 20 lbs. that night!!! haha

If you guys aren't familiar with Chess Pie, it is truly a southern delicacy. I never had it or knew what it was until I moved to the south. It is pretty much a sugary/buttery heaven in a pie crust! So incredibly rich, but so delicious! The Chess Pie Bar is a perfect take on the pie. It takes exactly like the pie, but it's a little easier to prepare. If you need a quick easy dessert recipe, this is it! People won't believe how easy it is, and how delicious it is! The only challenge...try to eat only one piece! Go on TRY!!! ;o)

Chess Pie Bars

1 package yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup softened butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 9x13 pan. Beat eggs. Combine eggs with cake mix and softened butter. Mix well until all ingredients are combined. (You may need to use your hands, but I usually can get away with just using a whisk.) Press cake mixture into the well greased pan. (Trick - I usually spray my hands with non-stick cooking spray that way the mixture doesn't stick to my hands!)

In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake mixture.

Bake for about 35 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Monday, April 19, 2010

S'mores Ice Cream

I LOVE ICE CREAM (as you can tell, by my most recent giveaway!)!! I was so excited when my sister told me she had an ice cream maker laying around collecting dust. I told her I had been wanting one for a very long time and she graciously offered me hers! I was so happy, although I am sure my waistline won't like all the ice cream I will be making! HA! Thanks Jennifer!!! ;o)

My next task, now that I knew I was going to have an ice cream maker any day, was to figure out what my very first flavor would be. Seriously people, that's a hard thing to decide on!! lol I mean I have soooooooooo many ice cream recipes bookmarked, and on top of that my sister sent me an ice cream cookbook! I finally decide I wanted to make S'mores Ice Cream! S'mores are one of my all time favorite treats, so I thought it would be a great thing to experiment with.
I was never a big fan of just plain chocolate ice cream (really any plain chocolate in general), so I knew I didn't want a chocolate based ice cream. Then I found this recipe! The pictures themselves did it for me...I knew right away that was going to be it!

The ice cream was SOOO delicious! It is a marshmallow ice cream with bits of graham cracker and hershey bar throughout it. The ice cream base was so creamy and smooth, I could have eaten it even without all the additions!!! I told my good friend Erin, from Erin's Food Files, that I was going to make it for a friend of ours who was having a birthday at work. She thought it was a great idea and offered to make homemade graham crackers to go with it - so we could make ice cream sandwiches!!! (See photo at the bottom, courtesy of Erin!) It was such a great idea! The ice cream sandwiches were incredible!!! Erin's homemade graham crackers went perfectly with the ice cream!

S'mores Ice Cream
(recipe from Bonnie the Baker)

1 package marshmallows
2cup milk
3cups heavy cream
2 Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
6 or so Honeymaid Graham crackers (I used the plain variety)

Place Marshmallows, cream and milk into a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mallows are melted, and the liquids blend nicely with the marshmallows. The texture will be thick and gooey. Remove from heat and let cool (I let mine cool to touch - about 10 minutes before putting into my ice cream maker), stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into ice cream maker that has been frozen according to manufacturer’s instructions, and churn for about 30-35 minutes.

While the ice cream is churning, cut chocolate into whatever size chunks you desire, I did bite size. Break graham cracker pieces into larger pieces, you want them to stay in tact so that they will freeze well, and still resemble graham cracker pieces after the freezing process is done.

After churning is completed, turn off ice cream maker, and fold in chocolate pieces and then graham cracker pieces. Be gentle when folding in the graham cracker pieces, or they will break. After folding, the ice will be somewhat soft, just place in an airtight container for a couple of hours until set. Makes about 1 Quart of ice cream. (feel free to cut the recipe in half)

To find the recipe for Erin's delicious homemade graham crackers, check out her blog post here! Last photo courtesy of Erin, of Erin's Food Files! I had to show you how cute the ice cream sandwiches looked!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spicy Sausage Dip

I am always looking for new quick go-to recipes for appetizers. The hubs is always in need of something to take to school functions and I tend to lean towards sweet treats! As much as I LOVE my sweets, I really want to start making more appetizers. It seems like those are often what are needed most at get-togethers. So when I saw this recipe pop up in my google reader, I knew I had to bookmark it and make it soon! It didn't take long to make it, and I was so glad I had! This dip was fantastic! Perfect for school functions, parties, or just a plan old lazy Sunday's catching up on the DVR!! This recipe is definitely a keeper!
Spicy Sausage Dip
(as seen on Annies Eats)
1 (16 oz.) package spicy/zesty sausage
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
Hot sauce, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the crumbled sausage until browned. Drain off any excess fat. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the tomatoes, cream cheese, and hot sauce. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is warmed through and the ingredients are well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve warm with Fritos or crackers of choice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for the ice cream maker! I got a lot of great responses for flavors!

The winner is......

11 -
Valen said...
I would love to make mint chocolate chip ice cream, my favorite!

Please contact me within 48 hrs (or a new winner will be selected) at lieslsconfectiondissection@gmail.com with your shipping information.

Congratulations! Let me know how the ice cream turns out!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is in the air...how about a giveaway!?!?

I have been so absent, please forgive me. How about a giveaway to help you forgive me! Deal!?! ;o)

Spring is now here, finally! It feels like it has taken FOREVER to get here, anyone else feel that way?? It is so nice to have the warmer temperatures and all the flowers starting to come up. Spring always brings the sense of happiness, which is definitely what I need right now. I love being able to go for walks on my lunch break and drive on my way home for work and still see daylight. Simple things like that just brighten my day even more!

How about I brighten your day now!?!?

I feel so honored to have been approached to do a cookware giveaway! CSN Stores is a great resource. They have everything your shopping heart desires - from kids beds, to fitness equipment, to furniture, to cookware...the list goes on and on. Go on check it out, I'll wait!

La de da...la de da...what's that, you are still wanting to know about the giveaway!?!? LOL I don't blame you, it's a GREAT ONE!

CSN Stores has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for drum roll please.....

A Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker!!!!

Cue applause now!!! ;o)

That's right you heard me, AN ICE CREAM MAKER!! I am super excited about this giveaway for many reasons: 1 - I LOVE ICE CREAM! 2 - My sister is giving me an Ice Cream maker (which I will finally get this weekend), so we can make ice cream together!! and 3 - 'Tis the season for ice cream!!! (although, is there really a season for ice cream...nah...it's year round for me!)
So here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already) and let me know that you have in your comment. Also in your comment, let me know the first flavor of ice cream you would make (should you win this Ice Cream Maker). If you want, include a link - I'm always looking for new exciting flavors to try out myself! Please be sure and include your email address too, so I can contact you if you win.


The giveaway will end on April 5 at 6pm central time. A winner will be selected by Random.org, and I will notify you by email. US residents ONLY please.

***Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this giveaway, nor did I receive any compensation. I was simply contacted regarding the opportunity to provide my lovely readers with a wonderful giveaway. ***

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I am a part of a Dinner Club, where we pick a theme each month and plan our meal around that theme. This particular theme happened to be Italian. I did some research on Italian recipes, but I kept coming back to Profiteroles. I have had these several times before and loved them, but was always somewhat nervous about making them. I didn't really know what to expect, but they ended up being fairly easy to do! And of course the outcome was SOOO worth it!! These babies were D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!!!

(recipe adapted slightly from Tyler Florence)
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the pate a choux: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter completely. Add all the flour and baking powder at once and continue to stir until all the flour is incorporated and the dough becomes a mass that pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and scrape the dough into a mixing bowl. Using a standing or hand-held mixer, beat the dough on medium speed to cool it off a bit. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. When all eggs have been incorporated, the dough should be a thick, smooth, and glossy paste.

Form 24 golf ball-size mounds on the lined baking sheet about 2-inches apart allowing room for them to spread; keep the mounds as high and round as possible. You can use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip or a large spoon, your choice. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. and continue to cook for 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door or remove the pans from the oven until the puffs are firm to the touch. (I kept my eye on them throughout the 25 minutes looking for that golden brown color. After 25 minutes were up I opened the oven and touched them to make sure they were firm to the touch.) The profiteroles should be golden brown and well-risen. Allow the shells to cool before filling.
**There seem to be MANY varieties of Profiteroles out there. Tyler Florence filled his with Vanilla ice cream. I didn't quite think that would be as good as a cream filling, so I went with that instead. But use whatever you want. If you want to try the ice cream, follow the instructions here. Otherwise, this is what I did:
Cream Filling:
(Liesl's recipe)
4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups milk
1 and a half (or about 5.25 ounces) packages instant french vanilla pudding mix (I use the 3.5 oz boxes, and just use half of one box.)
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk and beat until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat until thickened. Cool until set. (I used Wilton squeeze bottles to fill my Profiteroles, but you could try using a zip-lock bag or a small round piping tip.) Carefully pipe pudding mixture into each pastry. You want a good amount of pudding inside, but not too much. I would say it ends up being a tablespoon or so.
Chocolate Sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, cut in chunks
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the cream and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until bubbles appear around the sides of the pot, but do not allow the cream to boil. Mix in the chocolate and vanilla; remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth. Carefully dip each cream filled pastry into chocolate sauce. Be sure to cover only one side with the chocolate sauce. Place on wax paper to let chocolate harden.
If you aren't eating these right away, place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
**Special thanks to Erin for letting me borrow her camera, since mine was in the shop getting repaired because my stupid self dropped it :o(

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ho-Ho Cake

This post is sure to make you laugh, cringe, probably think twice about my cooking skills, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it will make you want to go bake a Ho-Ho Cake!!

This all started out as a simple conversation that went something like this......
Liesl: So do you and the boy want to come over and grill out?
Erin: Sure, what should I bring an appetizer or dessert?
Liesl: Hmmm...let me run it past the hubs and see what he thinks. (I only asked this because he ALWAYS is making suggestions as to what he wants me to make!)

later on...
Liesl: So how about I do dessert and you bring the appetizer.
Erin: Sounds good to me!

So you see this started out great, but then there was the conversation with the hubs........

Liesl: Erin asked what she should bring an appetizer or dessert...do you care?
The hubs: Well, actually how about you do dessert. There is this dessert that my mom used to make me and I would love for you to try it out.
Liesl: Oh, great...not again.

This happens to me a lot! The hubs likes to suggest these recipes he used to have growing up. Trust me I've tried to recreate A LOT of "child-hood" memories! I end up calling his grandma or his mom and trying to piece together what the hubs is talking about. His mom was able to dig out her recipe for this so called "Ho-Ho Cake", but she usually makes it for a large crowd of people, so we had to figure out what a third of the recipe would be. So to make a long story longer (lol), she told me it was to be baked in a 9x13 glass dish, but I mentioned how it would be fun to try it jelly roll style (you know like an actual Ho-Ho)...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA THAT'S FUNNY! Well, it didn't quite go as planned, and it sure made for some good laughs, but trust me you Ho-Ho Cake you...WE ARE NOT FINISHED!!

So despite it's resemblance to what my dog used to leave behind in the back yard, the fact that it didn't really roll - it cracked, and the shear disappointment in my face as I tried to spread the frosting on top and it just wasn't happening --- THIS CAKE WAS A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! One of the best I have ever had! I really am not a big fan of chocolate, but hands down, one of the best desserts! Please, go ahead and laugh, but really do try it out. The cake is so moist and the filling reminded me dead-on of a Hostess Ho-Ho. I was so embarassed to serve it to my friends, but they were good sports about it and can attest to how wonderful it tasted!

Ho-Ho Cake
(from the kitchen of my mother-in-law)
For the cake:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl. Bring water, butter and cocoa to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour cocoa mixture over flour mixture and mix. Combine eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla and mix together with the flour cocoa mixture. Pour into a greased 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake for 5 minutes.
Spread a kitchen towel out and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool completely on wire rack.
For cream filling:
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 T cornstarch
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and cornstarch. Cook until thick, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.
Cream together butter, shortening, salt, sugar and vanilla and add to milk mixture. Mix until smooth.
Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream filling mixture over cake. Re-roll cake.
For chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Add powdered sugar and vanilla to cocoa mixture and mix until smooth. Spread on top of cake. ENJOY!!
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! ;o)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lime Garlic Tilapia

This past weekend, when the hubs and I were at Publix buying steak, we happened to see that Tilapia was on sale. I couldn't pass up the good deal and a chance to try out a new recipe! I love Tilapia, and honestly there are so many recipes out there, you could prepare it differently every time you eat it.

My friend Erin is also a big fan of Tilapia...so this time around I thought I would email her to see if she had a recipe that she recommended. She sent me a nice list to choose from, and I ended up picking something that came from her blog. I had all the ingredients on hand except for lemon, but I knew I had limes and I thought they would taste just as good.

This recipe was not actually prepared by me. That's right, the hubs cooked it! I can not take any credit for it at all! But he did a WONDERFUL job! The fish was cooked perfectly and he even decided to use half a lime and mix it with a little butter to pour over the peas! It was delicious! Thanks Erin for sharing the recipe...and I can't wait to try some of the others you sent!

Lime Garlic Tilapia
2 tilapia fillets
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
fresh cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lime juice over fillets, then drizzle butter on top. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and pepper.

Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

I love mushrooms. When I came across this recipe on Pennies on a Platter, I immediately knew I needed to make them soon. We had such a nice weekend in Nashville this past weekend, that was just calling for us invite some friends over and fire up the grill. The hubs was wanting steak, so we splurged and got 2 nice looking filet's at Publix. When we got the steaks, I was wondering what to make with them...that's when I thought of these mushrooms. They were so delicious and I can't wait to make them again!

I added fresh cracked pepper and a bit of fresh cracked garlic to mine. (I love my McCormick Grinders!)
Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
baby bella mushrooms
olive oil
feta cheese
fresh cracked pepper
fresh cracked garlic
Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Remove the stems from mushrooms (you can keep them for salads) and place on a baking sheet, stem side up. Drizzle mushrooms lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes. Crumble feta cheese into each mushroom cup, top with fresh cracked pepper and garlic. Bake until golden brown, about 5 or so minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nutella Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

When I saw this recipe pop up in my Reader, I knew it was something I HAD to make! I LOVE Nutella and Peanut Butter, so I knew right away this was a drink right up my alley! The Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery is one of my favorite blogs to read...and naturally where I got this recipe from.

Not that you need an excuse to make hot chocolate, but I really wanted to make this on a snowy cold day. I would say that normally it isn't likely here in Nashville, but lately the snow has become an everyday occurrence! So this weekend, which also happened to be Valentine's Day, it snowed and I was craving a warm cup of hot chocolate. The hubs was working on school work, so I told him to keep busy and I was going to whip up a special Valentine's Day breakfast! (Which he didn't know then, but soon found out it was going to include a cup of this delicious hot chocolate!)

I actually added a little more Nutella to my hot chocolate than what the recipe called for and I think it made it even better! The hot chocolate was so creamy, smooth and silky. I love the flavor that the Nutella added. It was some of the best hot chocolate I have every tasted! It was perfect for a Valentine's Day breakfast! The hubs loved it too! This is definitely going to be my go to hot chocolate recipe from now on!

Nutella Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
3/4 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp Nutella
1 1/2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the Nutella and peanut butter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Pour into a mug and garnish (if desired) with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries with Chocolate Drizzle

First some business...

I decided to take part in "Adopt-a-Blogger" this time around. I feel as though I have so much to learn when it comes to blogging. I knew it would be a great way to put myself out there and see what happened. I am so happy to say that I have officially been adopted! My adoptee is Jessica from The Novice Chef! I am super excited about us being paired up and can't wait to get to know more about Jessica! Just by reading her blog it looks like we have a lot in common and could become great friends! She has an amazing blog filled with lots of GREAT recipes, so you should definitely check it out!

In honor of my "adoption", I decided to poke around her blog and see if there was a recipe that I could make. I marked so many of her recipes and didn't know what to pick, finally came to THIS! Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I actually had a baby shower to go to over the weekend for a good friend of mine and when I saw these I KNEW I HAD TO MAKE THEM! My friend is well, not only pregnant, but a huge fan of chocolate covered strawberries, so I knew they would be a hit! And boy were they!! The idea of this Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberry is just insane...and WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF IT!!! It is so easy to do and so delicious! With Valentine's Day right around the corner, wouldn't these be perfect for your sweetie!!!!???

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries with Chocolate Drizzle
(as seen on The Novice Chef)
2 crates of fresh Strawberries
1 box Jello No Bake Cheesecake (I actually used the sugar-free kind!)
Crushed Graham Crackers
Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate for drizzling (I used white and milk, but you can do whatever you prefer.)
Mix the cheesecake filling according to the box, let set in the refrigerator until set. Crush graham crackers by hand or use a food processor, set aside.
Wash your strawberries and cutoff the tops. Next, hollow out the strawberries, I followed Jessica's suggestion and used the end of a potato peeler to do this.
Once you have hollowed out all your strawberries, fill a pastry bag (or use a zip-lock bag) with your cheesecake filling. Gently fill each strawberry until the filling is slightly overstuffed. Dip each end into the graham cracker crumbs and set aside.
Heat up your chocolate carefully until the chocolate is melted thoroughly. Spoon the melted chocolate into zip-lock sandwich bags. Cut off a very small tip and squeeze the chocolate over the strawberries.
These strawberries are so delicious, I rate them a 10 for sure! So go make them, what are you waiting for! ;o) Oh and don't forget to check out Jessica's blog, The Novice Chef!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is the side kick to the Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf we had. I wanted to have something to go along with the meatloaf, but I wasn't sure what to make. I had tossed around the idea of just having a veggie, but then second guessed myself and decided I wanted something better. So I got to thinking, what if I used some of the flavors from the meatloaf to make a side dish. Then I realized I had some leftover red skin potatoes at home and thought I could turn those into blue cheese mashed potatoes!! I was nervous about trying them out, but they turned out wonderful and were so creamy. They really complimented the Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf! I do have to say, I just sorta "made it all up" so my measurements may not be exact, but the good thing about mashed potatoes is that you can give them a taste and then add more to them if it needs it :o)

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
(recipe by Liesl)
6 - 10 small red skin potatoes washed and cut into quarters
1/2 skim milk (maybe more, maybe less)
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
fresh parsley (just a handful of rough chopped parsley)
reduced fat blue cheese crumbles (I used about 3 tablespoons...just add to taste)
Put potatoes in a pan filled with water over medium high heat. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until fork tender. Remove from heat and strain.
Put cooked potatoes in a deep bowl. Add milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Using a hand mixer blend together until somewhat smooth, but still has a few chunks to it. (Or you can make them completely smooth, I just wanted to have mine somewhat chunky.) Add blue cheese and stir with a spoon to incorporate into potatoes. Serve warm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

My friend Erin, from Erin's Food Files, emailed a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf several weeks ago. I was so excited when I got the email, because this meal is right up my alley. It seems like towards the end of last year I had definitely gotten off track with eating healthy and working out as much as I used to, so this meal was just perfect! I am always looking for new ideas for a healthy recipe, but often am sceptical that they may lack flavor...this dish definitely had flavor. In fact, it was so delicious that I can't wait to make it again! I decided last minute to try whipping up some Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes (which you will see tomorrow) with some leftover potatoes I had to go along side the meatloaf. They were a great addition, not as healthy as the meatloaf, but hey they were delicious with every bite!
Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf
(as seen on Erin's Food Files, recipe from Biggest Loser Cookbook)
Olive oil spray
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup hot sauce, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 lb extra-lean ground chicken breast
1/4 cup finely chopped celery1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat blue cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly mist a 9” x 5” x 3” nonstick loaf pan with olive oil spray.

Combine oats and milk in a medium size mixing bowl. Mix well. Let stand for 3 minutes or until oats are softened. Stir in hot sauce until well mixed. Add chicken, celery, carrots, onion, egg whites, and salt. With fork, mix ingredients well. Add blue cheese and gently mix.

Transfer mixture to pan and spread so that top is flat. Sprinkle on a couple shakes of hot sauce and spread evenly. Bake 35 to 40 mins or until chicken is no longer pink. Cut into 8 slices. Makes 4 servings.
Stay tuned for tomorrow...Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monkey Muffins

3 words -

WOW! These were amazing!!!!!!! This recipe was another one that popped up in my Google Reader at just the right time. The hubs had told me he needed a breakfast dish to take to school, and I wanted something that would travel well. I saw this recipe for Monkey Muffins on The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and knew I had to make it right away.

The were pretty easy to make and very tasty. I do have to say, that they are better served immediately out of the oven, all nice, gooey and warm. But if you can't serve them right away (or have leftovers) they do taste just as good warmed up in the microwave for just a few seconds.

I loved this recipe and plan on keeping it around, especially for company that's here for breakfast! They were so delicious and fun! I have always enjoyed Monkey Bread, but I don't think I will ever make it again after trying this recipe. They were so cute and so yummy!
Look at that sweetened condensed milk drizzle on top....yum!

Monkey Muffins
(from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

Refrigerated Biscuit Dough, Cut Into Thirds (I can't remember how many cans I used, but just decide how many you want and then buy that many biscuits.)
Ground Cinnamon (I used my cinnamon grinder, I love freshly ground cinnamon!)
Sweetened, Condensed Milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to muffin tins. Sprinkle in sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls (or cut refrigerated biscuit dough into thirds). Place three into each muffin tin.

Top with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle on more sugar and cinnamon.

Allow dough to rise, if applicable, or just go ahead and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven and immediately drizzle plenty of sweetened condensed milk over the top of each one. (Trust me you can't drizzle "too much"!!!) Allow rolls to sit for a little while to absorb the sweetened condensed milk.

Scoop out with a spoon and invert onto plates. (Drizzle more sweetened condensed milk if desired!)

**Pioneer Woman has step-by-step pictures of how to do the Monkey Muffins, check it out here.**

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sausage Crescent Breakfast Casserole

I can't believe I have never shared this recipe! I found this recipe on a friend of mine's blog (Stephanie of Macaroni and Cheesecake) forever ago. It is a go to recipe for me when I need something to make for the hubs to take to school or if I am going to have company for breakfast. It is so easy to make and so delicious! I always get compliments on it and it always seems to be devoured within 10 minutes of me setting it out! I try to use the "low-fat" versions of ingredients when I can, but you can certainly sub them for the "full-fat" if you prefer. Try these out soon....but just to warn you, it's hard to eat just one piece!
Sausage Crescent Breakfast Casserole
(from Macaroni and Cheesecake)

1 8 0z. container fat free cream cheese
1 lb. sausage
2 cans reduced fat crescent rolls

Brown sausage in skillet. Add cream cheese to sausage and mix until combined. Line a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with one package crescent rolls. Top with sausage & cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining can of crescent rolls. Bake according to the directions on the crescent roll can.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Broccoli Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole

Man, it's been FOREVER!!! I have been so insanely busy since I got back from Germany (which was totally awesome by the way), that haven't had time to play catch up. I have so many recipes to post and I am so excited about it!

So I am sure there are a lot of you dying to know what my "news" was...well if you haven't guessed it already, I FINALLY got a camera!!! WOOHOO! I have LOTS of learning to do, but I am so excited about it. I had been looking for a long time and finally decided on the Canon T1i. It's been so much fun playing with it!

But back to this recipe...
This recipe popped up in my Reader awhile back and it couldn't have shown up at a better time. I was going through all the stuff with Heggy and trying to prepare for my trip, so needless-to-say, I didn't have a lot of time to think about dinner. Picky Palate made my day when I saw her recipe for Broccoli Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole! The meal looked so tasty on her blog and it did NOT disappoint. It was so delicious and comforting. If you are looking for a quick, easy, but not so healthy meal, then you should definitely give this a try. It was so delicious!
Broccoli Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole
(from Picky Palate)

2 small cans cream of chicken soup

2 small cans cheddar cheese soup

1 1/2 Cups milk

8-10 Cups broccoli florets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I boiled mine.)

1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley

1/2 bag Ore Ida Seasoned Tater Tots, frozen

1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place soup and milk into a large pot over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook for 5 additional minutes to soften slightly. Stir in chicken, hot sauce, salt, pepper and garlic seasoning.

Pour mixture into 11×7 inch baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Top evenly with tater tots and cheese; bake for 20 minutes then cover with foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes with dish covered with foil. Remove from oven and serve.