Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cake Pops by Cassie DuBois Hansen

Cake Pops

Cake Mix (I used strawberry) and eggs, water, and oil (whatever the recipe calls for

One small package of cook and serve pudding (I used vanilla)

One container of frosting (I used cream cheese)

Candy melts in the desired color


Pretzel sticks (optional)


1. Bake the cake as directed, only add the pudding mix in too (don't prepare the pudding mix, just throw the powder in).
2. When the cake is reasonably cooled, mix it in a stand mixer with half the frosting. Place in the refrigerator or several hours (longer if more convenient, I let it sit overnight sometimes).
3. Take the mix out of the refrigerator, form into shapes on a cookie sheet, and freeze (I usually freeze them for at least an hour).
4. Melt the candy melts according to package directions. Either using a toothpick or a cake pop stick, dip the balls in the candy melts, and place on wax paper to cool. * This can be tricky, gently tap the ball to get the extra coating to fall off, then place on the paper. If using a toothpick, I either try to gently shake the ball onto the paper (by wiggling it up and down about an inch or so above the paper) or I wait for it to dry completely and twist the toothpick out. While the coating is still wet you can decorate with any desired sprinkles.

*If making Christmas trees, shape the cake balls into cones and use pretzel sticks as the "trunks".

*For the mint chocolate chip flavor, use chocolate cake mix, chocolate/fudge frosting, and a bag of Andes mint pieces.

Texas Slow Cooker Pulled Pork by Cassie DuBois Hansen

Texas Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Original recipe makes 8 sandwiches
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
pork shoulder roast
barbeque sauce
apple cider vinegar
chicken broth
light brown sugar
prepared yellow mustard
Worcestershire sauce
chili powder
onion, chopped
garlic, crushed
hamburger buns, split
butter, or as needed
1.     Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion, garlic, and thyme. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours (*Can also cook on low to 10 to 12 hours).
2.     Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. Drain juices if you’d like to use the pork for sandwiches.

Fruity Strawberry Punch by Cassie DuBois Hansen

Fruity Strawberry Punch

1 cup white sugar
6 cups water
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored Jell-O® mix
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage (gingerale also works!)
  1. Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture into 2 separate containers (I use 4 to 6 larger Tupperware containers and divide the liquid evenly…) and freeze (I like to freeze it long enough for it to have a “slushie” consistency, about 4-6 hours OR freeze for however long but then let it thaw in the refrigerator a little bit starting the morning I plan to use it).
  2. Combine the contents of half of the containers with 1 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Sweet Potato Casserole by Laura Hromsco

Original recipe makes 16 servings

4 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (about 5 potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup milk

1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter

1 cup chopped pecans


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2.In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes.
3.Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup by Ophelia Dunk

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup
Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 05m
Total Time: 5hr 30m


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about
2 pounds)
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup small pasta (such as stellette or
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
crackers, for serving


1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, 6
cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
2. C ook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8
hours (the low setting will make total cooking time 8 ½ hours).
3. Twenty minutes before serving, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Remove and discard the onion
and bay leaves. If the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. Add the pasta to the slow
cooker, cover, and cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, shred the chicken. When the pasta is cooked, stir the chicken into the soup along
with the parsley. Serve with the crackers, if desired.

Homemade Nutella (GF) by Krista Foley

Homemade Nutella
2 cups hazelnut meal (or 2 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts)
~7 tbsp to 1/2 cup (to desired taste and consistency) unsweetened almond milk
~7 tbsp to 1/2 cup (to desired taste and consistency) agave syrup
2 tbsp fine coconut sugar (ground to be less granulated)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

If using whole hazelnuts follow steps 1 and 2. If using hazelnut meal, skip to step 3.
1. Roast hazelnuts if not already pre-roasted: Spread nuts on an cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350F and roast for 10 minutes, until skins detach and color is lightly golden brown.

2. After roasting, let nuts cool, then transfer to a bowl or colander. Rub briefly with a clean kitchen towel until all skins have been removed. 

3. If using hazelnut meal, place the 2 cups in a nonstick skillet pan. Toast the meal slightly on med to low heat, stirring frequently. Roast just until fragrant and slightly golden.

4. Combine hazelnuts, agave, cocoa, and salt in medium sized bowl. 

5. Slowly add the nondairy milk, about 1-2 tbsp at a time, and mix until smooth.

6. Add more milk and agave to get the right viscosity and sweetness level. More milk may be needed to make a smooth spread for some hazelnuts, while some may need less.

7. Once well mixed in the bowl, transfer to a food processor and blend until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust as necessary.

8. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, with graham crackers, fruit, or bread slices.

Family-Favorite Macaroni and Cheese by Shannon DiGiacomo


12 oz GF Pasta (I used Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta)
1/4cup butter 
1/4cup Bob's Red Mill AP Flour mix
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon pepper
1/4teaspoon garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped peppers
2cups milk
18 oz cheese (I used pepper jack & white cheddar)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seed
chipotle chili powder to taste


  • 1 Heat oven to 350ºF.
  • 2 Cook macaroni as directed on package.
  • 3 While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constanly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
  • 4 Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole.  Top with sesame seeds and chipotle chili powder.   Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by Shannon DiGiacomo

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4cup butter, softened (not melted)
1teaspoon vanilla
1box (19 oz) Betty Crocker® Gluten Free chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2cup raisins, if desired
1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, if desired
  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets with shortening.
  • 2 In large bowl, stir pumpkin, butter, vanilla and egg until blended. Stir in cookie mix, raisins and cinnamon until soft dough forms. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  • 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when lightly touched in center and edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Cookie Recipe by Suzanne Teke

For the cookie cakes
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup whole milk
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the cream cheese filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (about ½ orange)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.        Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.       To make the cookie cakes: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the brown and white sugars on low speed to get rid of any lumps.  Add the butter, and beat together until light and fluffy, 1 to 1 ½ minutes.  Add the molasses and egg, and mix to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the pumpkin puree and mix to combine.
3.       In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
4.       Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Blend thoroughly, but do not overbeat.
5.      Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cookies comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.  Do not underbake.
6.       To make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, zest and vanilla.  Start mixing on low speed and then continue on medium speed until just fluffy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.  Do not overbeat.
7.       To complete the cookie cakes: Turn half of the cookies upside down onto a freshly lined cookie sheet.
8.       Using a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch round pastry tip (Ateco #801 or use a resealable plastic bag with a corner cut off or a teaspoon), pipe or place about 1 teaspoon of filling onto each upside-down cookie cake.  Place the remaining cookie cake halves (right side up!) on top.  I skipped the pastry bag and just spread with a small spatula.  Be careful though as the cookies have the texture of cake and might fall apart if not handled gently.
9.       Refrigerate briefly until set, 15 to 20 minutes.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Keep the cookie cakes refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pizza Dip with French Bread Crisps by Katelyn Fischer

Pizza Dip with French Bread Crisps

Pizza Dip

8 oz. cream cheese - softened
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 grated parmesan
1 cup pizza sauce (or your favorite jarred pasta sauce)
2 oz. sliced pepperoni 

1. Preheat over to 350. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in oil 6-8 minutes. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, parsley, basil, and sautéed onions and garlic. 
3. Spread cream cheese mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, and sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan over the cream cheese mixture.
4. Top with the pizza sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the sauce and top with pepperoni. 
5. Bake in preheated over for 20 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and bubbly.

French Bread Crisps

1 loaf of french bread 
melted butter or olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice the french bread diagonally (and depending on what size you want your crisps, cut slices in half or quarters). 
3. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the bread with melted butter or olive oil. 
4. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars by Suzanne Teke

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.

Dirty Shirley Temple by Kristen Secrist

Dirty Shirley Temple

1 oz vodka
5 - 6 oz Sprite
1 dash grenadine syrup

Dorito Chicken by Shannon DiGiacomo

  • 1 cup crushed spicy doritos
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I use 1 or 2 %)
  • 8 to 10 ounces chicken tenderloin
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Put crushed chips in a shallow bowl.
  3. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk until combined.
  4. Dip chicken breasts in milk mixture and then dip in chips, coating the chicken. Place on prepared baking sheet and lightly spray tops with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Circus Animal Cookie Truffles by Cassie DuBois

Circus Animal Cookie Truffles
Makes 20-24 truffles depending on the size

1 bag circus animal cookies {12 or 13 oz}
8 oz cream cheese frosting OR 6 oz plain cream cheese, slightly softened
White and pink* candy melts or almond bark
Pink and white nonpareils or rainbow sprinkles 

*Pink candy melts can be found at Hobby Lobby, Michael's craft store and some grocery stores or bakeries. If you can't find pink candy melts, simply add a few drops of pink food coloring to melted white candy/almond bark.

Place half of the animal cookies in a food processor and whirl around until finely ground. Pour cookie crumbs in a large bowl and repeat with remaining cookies. Add the frosting or cream cheese in the bowl with the cookie crumbs and mix well. Use your hands if desired because this will make mixture more consistent. Form cookie mixture into approximately 1 inch truffles and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to harden back up a bit and make for easier rolling.

 When you are ready to decorate, prepare candy melts according to package directions, one color at a time, being careful not to over heat. Dip half of truffles in the melted candy/chocolate and return them to the parchment paper lined baking sheet, pouring on sprinkles after each candy dip. Don't wait too long to add sprinkles or the candy will harden and the sprinkles will not stick. Repeat with other candy. 

Chalupas by Cherene Wang


Yield: 4 servings (8 chalupas)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min


Nonstick cooking spray
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas- or use corn if you'd like, but they should be fried first
2 cups refried beans
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese blend
1 cup fresh salsa
1 cup sour cream
2 cups finely chopped lettuce (optional)
1 cup guacamole (optional)


1. Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas on the baking sheet and heat on the center rack in the oven for 4 minutes.
2. Remove the baking sheet from oven and turn over the tortillas. Spread each tortilla with 1/4 cup refried beans and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until the cheese is hot and bubbling and the tortillas are crisp, 5 to 7 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
3. Serve immediately, topping each tortilla with salsa & sour cream. Add lettuce and guacamole too, if desired.


*In Mom's original recipe, she used corn tortillas, fried lightly in oil, and proceeded with the recipe as instructed.
*Have leftover taco meat? Crumble it on top to make this meal more substantial.
*This recipe is gluten-free adaptable- use GF corn tortillas instead of flour, and make sure that the refried beans and salsa that you're using do not contain any gluten.

Pizza Casserole by Allison Forbes

Pizza Casserole


2 lbs hamburger
1 medium onion
1 medium chopped green pepper (optional)
1 large can mushrooms drained (optional)
2 large jars spaghetti sauce
3 c uncooked seashell macaroni 
1 package sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Grease 9x13 pan. 
2) Boil 3 cups of pasta according to directions on box. Drain and then spread evenly across bottom of pan.
3) Pour half the spaghetti sauce over pasta. 
4) Brown hamburger and add in onion and green pepper and mushrooms if desired. 
5) Sprinkle hamburger mixture over sauce.
6) Top with remaining sauce.
5) Layer pepperoni over entire dish. 
6) Top with the shredded cheese. 
7) Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.


"Minus the Kitchen Sink" Rice Krispie Treats by Katie Hardy

"Minus the Kitchen Sink" Rice Krispie Treats


  • 6 Tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 10 ounces, weight Large Marshmallows
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1-1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  • 1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
  • 5 ounces, weight Semi Sweet Chocolate Melted
  • chopped pretzels

Preparation Instructions

Melt 4 tablespoons in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and salt and stir until melted. Halfway through the melting process, add Nutella. When Nutella and marshmallows are melted, add additional two tablespoons of butter and stir until smooth.
Meanwhile, melt semi-sweet chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Remove from heat and let it cool quite a bit.
Add Rice Krispies to a large bowl and fold in the Nutella mixture. When it's almost all combined, add mini-marshmallows to the bowl, then continue folding until everything's combined.
Immediately press mixture into a thoroughly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with half the pecans and pretzels. Drizzle semi-sweet chocolate in zig-zags all over the top of the treats. Sprinkle the other half on top.
Allow to set, then cut into squares.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting by Gill Kania

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:
1 box spice cake mix
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg

Mix all ingredients and fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.  Bake 17-19 minutes in 350 degree oven.  Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients with mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, or until smooth.  Refrigerate frosting.

Taco Cups by Mikayla Buenger

Taco Cups
1 can refried beans
1/2 lb. cooked taco-seasoned ground beef
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup salsa or tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 bag Tostitos "Scoops"
1. Set chips on large platter and layer with beans, meat, cheddar, salsa or tomatoes, sour cream, and olives.
2. Enjoy!

Grilled Cheese & Chunky Tomato Soup by Maggie Warner

Grilled Cheese-

Favorite artisan bread
A sharp cheese (i.e. Sharp cheddar or gruyere)
A soft buttery or good melting cheese (i.e. Farmers cheese, Swiss or Havarti)
Fresh basil leaves
Pinch of Garlic salt
(thin fresh tomato slice optional along with deli meat like ham, turkey or chicken)
Slice bread and use a pastry brush and olive oil to lightly coat the outside pieces of the bread. Add your cheeses, one or two leaves of basil, a dab of honey and a pinch of garlic salt. I prefer a thinner sandwich so I like using a panini press or you can grill as you would a regular grilled cheese or grilled pb&j in a stove top skillet.  Serve with hearty vegetable soup or chunky tomato soup.

Chunky Tomato Soup-

Diced tomatoes
Tomato paste or sauce (depends on how thick you want it)
Two cans of Campbell's tomato soup
Red wine
Water or chicken broth
Two garlic cloves
Black pepper
Basil (fresh is best)
Onion powder optional
Begin with about fifty ounces of diced tomatoes in a medium stock pot, add two small cans of tomato paste and add two cans of Campbell's tomato soup. You may use water or chicken broth to create the liquid base depending on what kind of flavor you want. Add half a cup of red wine. Add herbs and garlic. Let simmer while you make the rest of the meal or for an hour.