Monday, January 24, 2011

Taco Seasoning

I like to triple or even quadruple this recipe so that I always have it on hand. It's very tasty and convenient!


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Stir all of the ingredients together & stir in an air-tight container until you're ready to use it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tower of Calories

A.K.A. No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

This is another allrecipes treat. I've made it once and will definitely make it again, but add more peanut butter next time. Personally, I'd love to add coconut as well, but I don't want to incite rebellion or anarchy, so I'll have to wait until I'm an empty nester for that.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter [next time will add a few Tbs more, or even a handful of peanut butter chips, or maybe even butterscotch??]


  1. Grease a 9x9 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended. Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the other half for topping.
  3. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.
  4. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently. Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.
P.S. I doubled the recipe & used a 9 x 13" pan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't tasted it. These are really good! All six of my kids liked them and asked for seconds. (Of course, I didn't tell them there was anything different about the recipe - not sure if I ever will...)

This easy, moist & fudgy recipe came from allrecipes...

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder [the original recipe didn't call for this, but I added it anyway]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used 1 Tbs strong brewed coffee instead)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I added a couple of Tbs of sliced almonds, too)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish.
  2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips/nuts over the top of the mixture.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honey Wheat Pancakes

If you're looking for a 100% whole wheat pancake that is delicious and easy, look no further! This one is really good and is my personal favorite.

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
3-4 cups milk (depending on how thick you like your pancakes)
5 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it's all thoroughly mixed up. Cook on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Serves 6 - 8.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Streusel Topped White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I love this banana bread. It is easy to whip up & makes a great dessert, snack or breakfast! It is really moist & sweet.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk (may substitute milk w/1 tsp lemon juice)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Streusel Ingredients:
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs brown sugar

Combine all except streusel ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the streusel ingredients together until crumbly. After baking the bread for about 30 minutes, sprinkle the streusel on and bake until the bread is no longer gooey in the middle (about 5-10 more minutes).

Note: the white chocolate chips usually sink to the bottom while baking, but we don't mind. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Amazingly, we still have quite a few potatoes left from last summer's garden. They're looking pretty tired by now though, with dangling, foot-long sprouts hanging off of them, so lately I've been looking for ways to use them up (i.e. pierogis).

I love scalloped potatoes. Personally, I like them even better than mashed potatoes. Here's how it's done:

6-7 cups of thinly sliced potatoes (I don't bother to peel them.)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley (1 Tbs if fresh)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup flour
5 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar

Layer half of the potatoes in a lightly greased 9x13" pan.

Cook onions & garlic in the butter in a saucepan until the onions are tender. Stir in the flour, salt & spices. Slowly add the milk & keep stirring until the mixture is thickened. Pour half of this over the potatoes. Top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 350F for an hour & a half.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buttercream Frosting

Today was Superhero's b-day & I wanted to make a cake that was special, but easy. Very easy - a cake decorator I am not (yet). So... I made the Tasty Cake, but used buttercream frosting instead of the chocolate frosting that I normally use for that cake. The results: a seriously delicious cake. However, the middle sagged and I hurriedly squirted the frosting on, so it didn't look so hot (at all). Thankfully, I found a tube of black gel icing & drew the outline of a batman mask on it, and I found a number 7 candle way back in a cabinet! Woohoo, we were in business!

The buttercream frosting recipe came from allrecipes & called for using shortening along with the butter, but I used all butter instead and added a tablespoon of vanilla (and a lot of blue food coloring).

4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1-4 Tbs milk

Beat all the ingredients together in a mixer until fluffy. Add enough milk to get it to the consistency you want. It made enough to cover a 2 layer (9") cake - while piling extra in the middle to try to fill in the saggy parts - with about 1/2 left over.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


There's something about this time of the year makes me want to make things like pierogis or egg rolls. One or two (or three or four!) of the kids usually help out, so it makes for a pleasant afternoon in the kitchen, mixing, rolling, stuffing and chatting. These are some of my favorite times.

First, make a batch of mashed potatoes with butter, salt & milk like you normally do (or better yet, use leftovers!)- you will need about 4 cups & will probably have some leftover. Add cooked crumbled bacon, sauteed onions, sharp cheddar, and a little sour cream until you have a really deliciously savory filling. Just taste it & add more until it tastes like you like it. (Personally, I think minced jalapenos would be a very tasty addition!)
Make the dough. Here's how:

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter

Mix the flour & salt together. Cut in the butter until it's crumbly. Stir in the eggs & sour cream. Knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will be a little sticky. Only work with a handful at a time, while keeping the rest refrigerated.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 1/4" thick. Cut into 3" circles (I used a plastic drinking cup for this).

Put a rounded teaspoon of the filling onto the middle of each circle. Fold the circle in half and then wet the edges and fold them in to seal them. Once folded, dip a fork in flour and press the edges to make sure they're sealed and to make them look pretty.
Now you can freeze them for later use or go ahead & cook them. To freeze them, lay them on wax paper on a baking sheet with a little space in between. Place a sheet of wax paper between each layer so they don't stick together. Once they're frozen, you can put them all together in ziplock bags.

To cook them, drop several at a time into boiling water. You can boil them for several minutes & serve them this way, but I like to scoop them out of the water once they've risen to the surface, let them drain and then fry them in a little oil until they're golden. Serve with sour cream, salsa or ketchup! Makes about 4 dozen.