June 30, 2014

PW's The Best Baked Beans

I had to turn my oven on for this recipe. I only say that because it's really hot outside, so this took some serious commitment. I'm glad I did it though.  They were pretty darn delicious.

I was invited over to a friends house for dinner so I made these.  They are easy to make, it's really a quick process at first but you do have to bake them for 2 hours, so factor that in.

There is a good reason that beans are an outdoor party favorite, they aren't going to go bad if out in the sun.  With the 4th right around the corner I think you might want to consider this recipe.

PW's The Best Baked Beans
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

  • 8 slices bacon, halved
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 3 cans (28 oz) pork and beans
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup distilled vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 325º
  2. In a large pot, brown the bacon until partially cooked. You need about 1/4 cup of bacon grease. Place the partially cooked bacon on a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Add the reserved 1/4 bacon back into the same pot and add the onion and green pepper if you're using it. Cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients (not the bacon) and stir together. 
  5. Transfer the mix to a 9x13 inch pan, top with bacon and bake for 2 hours. 
  6. When done, let cool slightly so the sauce will thicken. 

June 23, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

It seems to be birthday season in my neck of the woods.  We've attended more birthday parties since school let out then we did all year.  The birthday party I attended this past weekend was one that I made cupcakes for. I made both chocolate and vanilla, and was very happy with how they both turned out.  However, the frosting started to melt before the birthday girl even got to blow out the candles!  It was HOT outside!

At least they tasted good, and I did get this picture taken before the frosting melted. :)

I wonder if there is a good frosting recipe out there that won't melt in the hot weather….I'll have to research that.

I think the flavor and texture of these cupcakes are right on.  Very nice vanilla flavor, soft with a good crumb.  I will definitely make these again.

Oh, and the frosting recipe below is NOT the one I used for this recipe.  I used this recipe because it was requested by the birthday girls mom. It's delicious, but melts!

Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe from Cookies and Cups

  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Line cupcake pan with liners
  3. Use your stand mixer to add the first 5 ingredients. Use the paddle attachment to combine thoroughly.
  4. Begin adding the butter a little at a time until it's all added and the mixture looks like wet sand.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer on low.
  6. Add the milk and vanilla while the mixer is still on low and then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  7. Fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes until the centers are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream
Recipe from Cookies and Cups

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 7-8 cups (2 LB) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Use your stand mixer to cream together the butter and shortening. About 3 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar while the mixer is on low speed, once it's all added you can increase the speed until it's about medium high and whip for 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk slowly until the desired consistency is reached, if you get it too thin just add more sugar.

June 19, 2014

Mushroom Bacon Bites

I know I'm a little late posting a new recipe this week.  Sorry about that.  I was on vacation last week and it's taken me this long to get my act together.  

Well, it also explains why we had appetizers for dinner one night.  Actually, I could eat appetizers for dinner every night.  I just love them. 

This recipe was in my Taste of Home magazine/cookbook.  I'm weird, I keep all those things in addition to all the cookbooks I already have.  I make our lives interesting each time we have to move. :)
Anyway, it's super quick and super easy and SO delicious!  I had left over bacon so I wrapped some other things from my garden which I will post later.  When is anything wrapped in bacon NOT delicious?!

Mushroom Bacon Bites
Recipe from Taste of Home

  • 24 medium fresh mushrooms
  • 12 strips bacon, halved
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  1. Cut the bacon strips in half. 
  2. Wrap one piece of bacon around each mushroom and secure with a toothpick. 
  3. Top with barbecue sauce and grill, uncovered, over indirect heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Turn over and add more barbecue sauce about halfway through.  You're looking for the bacon to become crisp and the mushrooms to soften. 

June 12, 2014

Quick Chocolate Croissants

OK, let me prepare you for a very complicated, in depth, time consuming recipe. 

Just kidding, this is the easiest recipe ever!

Two ingredients will make you ton's of friends.  Oh, and guess what? It doesn't HAVE to be chocolate.  Seriously, wrap a crescent roll around your favorite flavor and it's bound to be a hit.  How can it not be? Do you know how much butter is actually in a croissant? Well, a lot.  

Here are some variation ideas: 
  • Any flavor pie filling
  • Cream cheese mixed with anything, pretty much. Jalapeños, ranch dressing mix, your favorite veggies. 
  • Cheese
  • Hot dogs
  • I could go on and on here but I think you get the idea. 
Yeah, so basically you can wrap anything up and bake it and it'll be delicious but the nice thing about using dark chocolate is that it turns into a somewhat fancy dessert.  There is such a think as chocolate croissants that you can buy at some very fine bakeries and they are G.O.O.D. but they are also made from scratch and truly are gourmet.  This version you can whip up in like 15 minutes and they are mighty tasty. 

Canned dough, who knew right? 

Quick Chocolate Croissants
From Alissamays kitchen

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  3. Break open the can of dough and pull apart the perforated shapes.
  4. Lay the dough flat, sprinkle with chocolate chips (not too many or they will ooze out, maybe about 1-2 Tbsp each.
  5. Loosely roll into the crescent shape and bake until golden brown. 11-15 minutes. 
  6. Serve at room temperature. 

June 9, 2014

Quick Jalapeño Cream Cheese Poppers

Talk about a quick and easy party favorite!  This recipe is really to put together at the last minute.  It takes no time at all to bake and run out the door to a party.  I used some pickled jalapenos that I made and I loved them even more.  The slight pickled flavor made it spectacular for me.

I've got some pictures below to demonstrate how to use the refrigerated crescent roll dough.  This isn't complicated, I just think pictures are really handy. 

The crescent roll dough you buy in the refrigerated section is easy to use.  That "pop" still scares me silly. Just open the can and take out the dough without unrolling it.  There is a perforation down the center, break it in half.  Unroll the two sections but pinch the seams together that separate the four sections, so you have two long rectangular pieces.
Slather on the cream cheese.
Roll up, cut, bake. Easy.

Once baked up, they buttery tender crescents just add to the deliciousness of the filling.  The jalapeños are spicy but get mellowed out from the cream cheese.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Quick Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers
Recipe from High Heels & Grills

  • 1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup jalapeños, minced (I used these pickled jalapeños)
  • Crumbled bacon (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and jalapeños.  You can mix in the bacon if you are using it. 
  3. Open the can of crescent roll dough and put it on your work surface WITHOUT separating it. 
  4. Break the roll in half where it is perforated. You want two long rolls of dough, so pinch the seams together on each roll so you have two continuous rolls of crescents. 
  5. Spread the cream cheese mixture oven the top of each rectangle. Roll each roll up starting from the short side (so the roll is the long way).  Cut into 11-16 pieces depending on how big you want them. 
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes. 

June 6, 2014

Caramel Bacon Buns

Will you believe me if I told you I JUST made these? They're still warm actually.  I'm taking them to a party tonight and I'm pretty sure they're going to be loved by all.  I wasn't sure at first but once they started baking and my house started to smell like caramelized bacon I was pretty sure they'd be good.  I was right, they are.  Thank you Pinterest!

I've got to say, I'm not usually very fond of canned biscuits but when it comes to this appetizer, I really do think they are the best choice.

I'm not really sure if this falls under the appetizer or dessert category since it is covered in caramel sauce, but I think appetizer is perfect.  They are sweet but not over the top sweet.  The bacon gets sort of candy like on top the bun.  Just heavenly. I can't wait to share these tonight!

Caramel Bacon Buns
Recipe from Oh, Bite It!

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 jar caramel sauce (for ice cream)
  • 1 package (about 8 pieces or so) bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Spoon a little caramel sauce into the bottom of 20 mini cupcake. I found a scant tsp was about right.
  3. Sprinkle as much bacon on top of the caramel as desired. About 1/2 a tsp.
  4. Cut each biscuit in half and lay one half on top of each caramel/bacon cup.
  5. Line a separate baking sheet with tin foil and place it on the rack under the rack you are going to cook these on, to catch any drips that might occur. 
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. 
  7. Get a cookie sheet ready so you can flip the buns over on top of it. 
  8. You can drizzle extra caramel sauce over the top if desired. 
  9. Makes 20 mini buns, serve at room temperature. 

June 2, 2014

Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee vs Best Toffee Ever

I have to say that I live on the best street ever.  All of my neighbors are friends with each other and we all look out for one another.  Let me also say, there are A LOT of summer parties on this street.  We always do a cul-de-sac party for actual holiday's but in between all of that we usually have a party at someone's house.  It's so nice, they are almost all child friendly and we just hang out in the back yards or the driveways and play corn-hole.  It's so much fun!

I was at a party this past weekend and intended to make toffee.  OK, so I started out making this recipe and continued on to make the one below, simply because I wasn't sure this one was turning out well.  I wanted a backup plan in case it didn't taste good.

One thing I noticed about this recipe was that when I poured it into the baking sheet after cooking, there  was a layer of unincorporated butter on top.  Also, the toffee didn't look smooth like I think it should.  After it cooled it still had excess butter on top, I poured that off.

Maybe I didn't stir it often enough while cooking? Not sure.

Anyway, I kept on to the finished product and tasted it, expecting that I might have to throw it away.  Luckily the taste and texture were still right on.  This toffee was much thinner than the one below simply because I only have one rimmed cookie sheet and this one was already using that pan - so the one below had to go in a smaller pan and therefore the toffee was thicker.

After taking both to the party, having multiple people test them both, it was sort of a tie with taste.  I happened to like the one below a little better but other's liked that this one was thinner. I'm not going to lie, if I need to make toffee again I'll make the one below only I'll use a large pan.  Both were good but I liked the texture of the one below better.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee
Recipe from Bread & Wine page 196

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (a 9x13 inch dish works well)  with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Temperature should be 285º
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until cool and solid to the touch.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. When smooth pour it over the toffee and spread it with a spatula.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt, refrigerate until cooled and solid.
  7. Break into pieces.


This toffee was the winner for me but not for everyone.  I don't think it helped that this one was pretty thick.  People prefer the thinner kind but as far as taste and texture go, I liked this one better. 

Much better consistency while cooking, didn't get the butter pooling butter as I did above.  The recipe should be poured into a rimmed baking sheet such as a jelly roll pan because there is a lot more of it.  I used a 9x13 inch dish which was fine but the toffee is much thicker. 

I sprinkled on the chocolate chips right after I poured the mixture into the pan and found that they sunk into the mixture a little.  Next time I will either wait until it's cooled slightly or I will wait until it's solid and cold and then melt the chips separately and spread on top. 

I had no problem breaking the toffee even though it was pretty thick.  The toffee is very buttery, crunchy, exactly what I like in toffee.  The perfect texture.  I'm not a toffee expert by any means but this one was my favorite of the two. 

Best Toffee Ever  
Recipe from All Recipes

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a large rimmed baking dish with parchment paper or tin foil. 
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat until it reaches 285º, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Let sit for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and use a spatula to smooth them over the top. 
  5. If using almonds, sprinkle those over the top and press into the chocolate slightly. 
  6. Refrigerate until completely cool and set. 
  7. Break into pieces and serve.