Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

This caramel popcorn is quick and easy to make.  It also stays soft and chewy.  My friend LeeAnn gave me the recipe and it works perfectly every time.

LeeAnn's Easy Caramel Popcorn
2-3 bags microwave popcorn, popped
2 cubes butter
1 cup brown sugar
14 large marshmallows or 2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Place popped corn in large bowl and set aside. Put butter, brown sugar and marshmallows in a pan on the stove.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes over medium heat.  Pour caramel mixture over popcorn.  Stir to coat.  Place on cookie sheet to cool. 

Now go and make some.  Your family will thank you.  Mine usually does!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Breadsticks from Pizza dough

Previously I posted about making homemade pizza.  Sometimes I double the recipe and use some of the dough for breadsticks.  I also make it just for breadsticks.
I just make the pizza dough.  Then I roll it out about as thin as I would for a pizza crust.  Using a pizza cutter, I cut the dough into 1 inch strips.  Then twist the strips and place on a greased cookie sheet.  I always use parchment paper.  It makes for quicker cleanup and saves your pans.  Then brush with melted butter and garlic salt.  Let them raise for 30-45 minutes.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and brush with butter and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Yum!  I think I'll make some for dinner tonight!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pizza

Pizza.  Who doesn't love pizza?  I'm sure there are some.  But they don't live at my house.  We usually take the easy way out and order it.  But then we'll get in a groove and make it at home.  Once in that groove, we usually make it once a week.  No one complains about that around my house.  Plus, pizza is the one meal my kids will eat the leftovers.

I've tried several crust recipes.  But I like The Food Nanny, Liz Edmunds' recipe.  It is easy and tasty. 

Basic Pizza Dough
makes one 16-inch medium-crust pizza or two 12-inch thin-crust pizzas or four 8-inch thin-crust pizzas
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm (105-115 degrees) water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl, cover, and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.  Mix the oil, honey, salt, and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix in 3 cups of flour by hand with a wooden spoon.

If the dough seems too wet, mix in more flour, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until the dough is soft. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in more flour, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until the dough is moderately stiff and somewhat firm to the touch, about 6 minutes.  I just use my Bosch.

Lightly grease pizza pans with oil. If you are making two or more thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Gently stretch the dough to fill the pans.

For the sauce, I use half pesto and half alfredo sauce.  I make my own pesto in the summer and freeze it.  You can use purchased pesto and alfredo sauce or make your own.  Just mix equal parts and then spread it on the dough.

Add precooked chicken, cheese and whatever else you like.
Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Obviously, this doesn't look as professional as pizza you get in a box.  But the smell in your home and the taste is divine! Make some for yourself soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Giveaway over at Leap into Art

My friend Keertsen, over at Leap into Art posted about some old time suckers and candy.  She found Melville Candy Company online and order some of their sweet treats.  I about died when I saw the suckers they make.  When I was little I got on e these suckers in my stocking each Christmas.  I loved them.  I savored them.  My sister and I would see whose sucker could last the longest.  We never bit them. Oh no.  We enjoyed them for weeks.

Keersten is having a giveaway for these cute suckers.  Click on over and enter.  You and your kids would love these little sweets!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shirely J Creamy Tomato Pasta

This recipe is a very quick meal and one my family likes.  So we have it a couple times a month.  You can adjust the type of pasta, throw in some meat or sprinkle it with cheese.  It's soo easy and really so yummy.

 Shirley J Creamy Tomato Pasta
1 cup Shirley J Universal sauce
4 cups water
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes or 3 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
3 T fresh basil, chopped or 1 T. dry
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 16 oz package pasta

Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking combine water and universal sauce mix in a sauce pan. Mix together and bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes, basil, garlic powder and pepper. Stir until combined. Serve over pasta.
If you don't know what Shirley J universal sauce is, check it out on their website or contact me and i'll fill you in.  I LOVE Shirley J universal sauce mix!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

We just got back from the Windy City.  What a great trip.  Well.. all except our football team losing which was the reason for our trip.  But while in Chicago I told the family we needed to eat the food they are famous for.  So we set out to have some good steaks, hot dogs and deep dish pizza. 

My first thought of deep dish pizza would be just thick crust.  Soo wrong.  Did you know the sauce is put on top?  Well it is.  The first night in Chicago we went to a fabulous steak house, Bennys Chop House.  Really good steaks, really good!  Too bad I didn't get any pictures.  But that night we started planning our next nights meal, deep dish pizza.  Our waitress told us that everyone has their own favorite but hers was, Ginos East.  The next day we asked several people.  They all said Gino's East, but get there early.

So Gino's East it was.  We had skipped lunch and got there around 5:00.  Good thing.  There was already a line.  We only waited about 10 minutes before we were seated.  Our waiter explained that deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to bake. 

We started with salad and some wings.  But then the pizza came.

The waiter brings it out in the pan it's cooked in and serves it up for you.  We had half sausage and half spinach and cheese.

This pizza is soo cheesy and the sauce is put on last.  Here's the sausage.

And here's the spinach and cheese.  It was very good.  The crust is crispy and buttery and the sauce tasted fresh made.  It was delicious.  In the end, the kids prefer the pizza were used to at home.  But we would definitely go back to Gino's East.  Sounds like another trip to Chicago for me!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Heart Salt Lake

I'm really excited about a new project I'm working on with one of my sisters.  It's a website dedicated to the things we love about Salt Lake, both the city and the valley.  I'm sure you locals will love it.

We are having a giveaway this week to one of our favorite local restaurants.  So check it at our at I Heart Salt Lake and enter to win.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple Spice Drop Cookies

Here's another simple apple dessert.  I found this one on the web.  I needed to take cookies to a family gathering and wanted to try out another new recipe using apples.  The taste was similar to the apples squares.  But the nutmeg gives these a slightly different taste.
I found this recipe at

Apple Spice Drop Cookies

makes about 3 dozen

1/2 Cup butter, softened
2/3 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 Cup apple juice
2 1/4 Cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. baking soda
1/2 Tsp. nutmeg
1 Cup apples, peeled, finely chopped (about 2 apples)
1 Cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 Cup butter, softened
3 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbs. apple juice

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the sugars together.  Beat in the egg and apple juice.  Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and gradually add the dry ingredients to the sugar mix, blend well and then add the apples and walnuts.

Place on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes or until golden brown

Add the sugar, butter, vanilla and apple juice together and mix until smooth. Frost cooled cookies.

 I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. They were gone pretty quick!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mom's Apple Squares

We have been loving the apples this fall!

I wanted to try out a few new recipes using apples.  Not surprisingly, when I started looking for recipes I kept coming back to the desserts with apples.  Here's one we all enjoyed.  It comes from Phyllis Hoffman's Celebrate Fall.  It was simple and quick to make.  I even liked that the recipe didn't have you peel the apples.  I'm also really enjoying my new subscription to the Celebrate magazines!

Mom's Apple Squares
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped unpeeled Braeburn or Gala apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar
1 T. butter, softened
2 to 3 T milk

Coat a 15x10 inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray and flour, set aside.  In a large bowl, combine eggs and salt.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until frothy, about 1 minute.  Add sugar and oil, beat until blended.  Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon, beat until blended.  Fold in apples, nuts and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Baket at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set.  Cool.

Combine frosting ingredients to acheive a spreadable consistency.  Spread over cooled cake.

I actually used pecans instead of walnuts, a personal choice when it comes to nuts.  I also just drizzled the frosting over the cake.  I thought it was easier and wasn't overkill with the frosting.  Now if you have any apples laying around, go and bake some for yourself.    

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pan Sugar Cookies

This past 4th of July weekend I had pan sugar cookies.  I couldn't quit thinking about them.  I asked for the recipe at the BBQ.  Apparently it's not a shared recipe.  So I started looking on the internet.  Surely there was something out there that mimicked those sugar cookies.  I found a few recipes and combined them to make these.

I love sugar cookies.  But I hardly ever make them.  Too much work.  But these little gems do not fall into the "too much work" category.  Plus I love the almond flavoring. 

Pan Sugar Cookies

1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ½ cups flour

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together. Add the egg, almond extract and vanilla and blend until smooth. Mix in all of the dry ingredients. Grease a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the dough in the pan with a long flat spatula. This is the tricky part.  The dough is sticky and it might seem like there's not enough to cover the pan.  I keep dipping my long spatula into the flour while spreading.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cook just until golden brown.
Let cool completely.

After cooling frost with your favorite frosting.  Or you can use my cream cheese frosting recipe. Or use this simple white frosting.

White Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
6 cups powdered sugar
7-8 T. milk

Mix butter, vanilla, salt, powdered sugar and half of the milk together with electric mixer.  Slowly add more milk until you reach the desired consistency.

Now go and make some for yourself!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

and the winner is...

The winner of the Rhodes Bake-N-Serv givaway is...

Sarah Holman!

Sarah send me your address and the Gift bag from Rhodes is on it's way to you!

you can contact me at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shirley J Beef Stroganoff

I love Shirley J Universal Sauce.  It's the #1 product in the Shirley J line.  It's a great replacement for any cream based dishes and soups.  I've been wanting to try it out converting my easy hamburger stroganoff.  I finally made it.  We all loved it.  Not to mention is was super easy.  The hamburger was browned and the sauce made, right as the rice was finished.  The whole dinner was made in under 30 minutes.  That's my kind of quick meal.  The family agreed!

Hamburger Stroganoff--Shirley J Style

1 pound hamburger, browned
1 tsp. beef bouillon
3/4 tsp. Shirley J onion seasoning
4 cups water
1 cup Shirley J Universal sauce
1/2 cup sour cream

In large pan mix together water and Universal sauce mix.  Bring to a slow boil.  Add beef bouillon, onion seasoning and hamburger.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in sour cream right before serving.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Giveaway

The good folks over at Rhodes Bake-N-Serv were so good to us at the demo last month.  We had a fabulous time.  They showered us with gifts.  And now they want me to shower you as well.  They sent me a gift pack to giveaway to you fine readers.  It's just like the one I received that night.

Inside is a Rhodes apron, a coupon for free product and the Fresh Ideas with frozen dough cookbook.  I'm loving mine and can't wait to send you a gift pack for yourself.  So leave me a comment (or more--see below).  I'll be announcing the winner on Tuesday October 19th. 

To enter leave a comment on this post

Bonus entries

Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect or

Post about this giveaway on your blog

Leave a comment for each entry.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, October 18th

Winner will be announced Tuesday, October 19th

Winner will be chosen by

Friday, October 8, 2010

Peach Freezer Jam using Instant Clear Jel

I think I've just about finished off my peaches.  Well... it's close now.  Not all of my kids like peach jam so I wasn't going to do any this year.  But when it came down to it, there were soo many peaches on our tree this year.  I decided to just jump in and get some done.

I started out using store bought pectin.  It turned out runny and used a ton of sugar.  Let's face it, jam is mostly sugar with a little bit of fruit mixed in.  Maybe that's why I like it so much.  After that first batch I went back to my old standby.  Which makes me wonder why I even picked up that pectin from the store anyway.  Oh yeah, it was on sale.  I can be a sucker for a sale. So back to the standby.  Instant Clear Jel.  Have you used it before?  I've used it for years.  It's an instant starch.  It can be used to thicken just about anything and it doesn't need to be heated.  I buy mine at Orson Gygi Company in Salt Lake City.  But you can also buy it from them online at their online store.  It comes in a 5 lb. bag that will last forever, especially when you use a few tablespoons at a time.  But it's much cheaper that way.

Back to the jam.  I lost track of how many bottles I made.  Every time someone would stop by I would give them a bottle or two.  Not to mention how much we've gone through.  I think my husbands had toast and jam every day this past week for breakfast.  We all love the jam made with instant clearjel.  No more store bought pectin for me!

This recipe works with any type of mashed fruit.  I also make it with strawberries.  Raspberry and peach combine to make  a tasty jam as well.

Freezer Jam
3 1/2 cups mashed fruit ( I do mine in the blender on very low for a short amount of time-not pureed)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3-4 T. instant clearjel

Mix clearjel with the sugar thoroughly.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Let thicken in bowl for 5 minutes.  Pour into freezer safe containers.  Stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for 1 year.

Good luck making it last that long!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dee-Dee's Recipe Roundup

Today I am featured over at Whatever Dee-Dee on her recipe roundup.  For a full week she hosts different bloggers sharing a recipe.  It's a great way to get new recipes and meet new bloggers too.  She's featuring the Rootbeer Cupcakes I made last month.  You really should try them if you haven't.  I need to make them again. This weekend!

Check out the other great recipes this week with Dee-Dee too.  I can't wait to try a few of them myself.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fresh Peach Dessert #2

Here is another dessert using Fresh Peaches.  Again I found it on the internet.  And again it was titled Fresh Peach Dessert.  It was a definite hit.  This peach dessert tasted sweeter and a little more dessert-like than the first Fresh Peach Dessert.  The graham cracker crust was a little more substantial too, or maybe just sweeter.  Either way,  I like this Fresh Peach Dessert better than the first one. 

I also think this would be good made with strawberry's and strawberry jello too.

Fresh Peach Dessert
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. white sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
9 oz whipped topping
4 to 5 fresh peaches
1 (6 oz) package peach jello
3 c. water

Prepare jello with 3 c. hot water.  Put in fridge to cool.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.  Press into a 9x13 pan.  In a bowl, stir sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla together.  Then fold in whipped topping.  Spread over crust.  Slice peaches on top of second layer.  After jello begins to congeal, pour over peach slices.  Refrigerate until top layer is firm.

This recipe found at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fresh Peach Dessert

In my quest for new peach recipes, I found this Fresh Peach Dessert from  It sounded easy to make.  It was.  It did take a while to set up, which I thought it might.  So I made it the night before I needed it. It was delicious and a definite keeper!

Fresh Peach Dessert

18 graham cracker squares (1 package)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

1 (6 ounce) package vanilla pudding mix (the kind you cook)
1 (6 ounce) package jello peach gelatin
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups whipped topping (cool whip)
3 cups peaches, sliced

In a medium sauce pan, combine dry pudding mix, jello powder and water.  Stir and heat to a boil. Let it boil for one minute.  Pour mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool and thicken for about a hour.  Peel and cut up peaches and set aside.  Remove cooled Jello from the fridge and fold in the cool whip topping. Next fold in fresh fruit. Place back in fridge.

Prepare graham cracker crust in a food processor or blender, adding all 3 ingredients.  Place crust in the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish or in 2 pie dishes and press down firmly.
Remove Jello mixture and pour into the crust. Place back in fridge to continue firming up, about another hour.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fresh Peach Salsa

While searching the internet I found a recipe for fresh peach salsa calling for oil and vinegar.  It sounded good, but I kept looking.  There were a lot of recipes for peach salsa without tomatoes but I had a bunch of tomatoes I wanted to use too.  So I continued to search.  I kept finding the same recipe with oil and vinegar or at least one very similar.  It must have been a sign.  So I made it.  It was a hit.  Next time I would add more peaches and tomatoes though.  It had plenty of liquid and it could be stretched with extra peaches, tomatoes and onions.

Fresh Peach Salsa
3 firm peaches, peeled and chopped
1 T. lemon juice
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 green onions, chopped
12 T. olive oil
6 T. sherry vinegar
2 T. honey
1 T. canned jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)
1 T. cilantro, chopped (optional)

In a mixing bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice.  Add onions, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos.  Whisk together oil, vinegar and honey.  Pour over other ingredients.  If using within several hours, no need to refrigerate; otherwise cover and refrigerate.

This recipe was found at and