CARAMEL CHEESE APPLE BREAD

CARAMEL CHEESE APPLE BREAD adapted from The Cookie Rookie

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes

CAKE
2 large baking apples, peeled & diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Malibu rum
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened + 2 tablespoons (divided)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
¼ cup whole milk
8 caramels, each cut into 8 equal pieces
1-2 tablespoon Turbinado sugar (raw, coarse sugar), optional

PREPARING APPLES

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour a 10” x 5½” loaf pan.
  • Pour rum over raisins and let soak 10 minutes.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the two tablespoons butter, diced apples, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook 4-5 minutes or until apples have softened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Drain raisins well and fold into apple mixture and set aside.

PREPARING BATTER**

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate large bowl, cream together ½ cup butter and 1-cup sugar.
  • Add eggs, one-at-a-time, beating just until egg yolk is no longer visible.
  • Mix in vanilla and milk.
  • Add dry ingredients in one cup increments, mixing just until flour is longer visible.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING**
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon

PREPARING CREAM CHEESE FILLING

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and the lemon zest, mixing until smooth.
  • Spread 1 cup cake batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Fold in the apple mixture and chopped caramels to the remaining batter.
  • Pour half of the remaining batter into the pan.
  • Spoon and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the batter, and cover with the remaining cake batter.
  • Sprinkle the top of the bread with Turbinado sugar.
  • Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes. The bread is done when it no longer wiggles and springs back when gently pressed in the thickest part.
  • Transfer bread to a cooling rack and cool 15 minutes.
  • Remove bread from pan and allow to completely cool.

CARAMEL GLAZE
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts, optional

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Stir in brown sugar and cook until brown sugar melts.
  • Add salt and heavy cream. Cook (and stir) another 2 minutes.
  • Allow glaze to cool 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle glaze over cooled bread and sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts.

**NOTE: If you are in a hurry and want to make less of a mess you can combine the cake portion and cream cheese filling portion into the same batter as you are preparing them.  The results are just as delicious and less work.

PAN SEARED BARRAMUNDI (AUSTRALIAN SEA BASS), GARLIC MASHED POTATOES & PAN ROASTED CORN

This was originally a Blue Apron Recipe and their version was pretty good, but hubby and I dissected it and made it even better! Hubby absolutely hated their tartar sauce, but that was a pretty easy fix.  Barramundi or Sea Bass itself has an almost sweet buttery flavor and a delicate flakiness that can be seriously enhanced with the right seasoning.

PAN SEARED BARRAMUNDI SEA BASS, GARLIC MASHED POTATOES & PAN ROASTED CORN FOR TWO

TARTAR SAUCE
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Dill relish or hot dog relish
1 tablespoon capers, slightly smashed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pepper, season to taste

  • Mix all 6 ingredients together until well blended.
  • Chill several hours before serving.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into a large dice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes and garlic.
  • Cook about 15 minutes until fork tender.
  • Drain in a colander.
  • Place butter in bottom of still warm pan.
  • Rice potatoes over the butter.
  • Add heavy cream and stir together until smooth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

PAN ROASTED CORN
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon GHEE*
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
2 ears of fresh Corn on the Cob
2 sprigs dill, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Cut the corn off the cobs.
  • Over medium high heat melt butter and GHEE.
  • Add onions, cooking a couple minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add corn to pan and cook 4-5 minutes until sizzling and starting to brown.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and dill, stirring to mix.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

BARRAMUNDI
2 skin on Barramundi fillets of similar size
2 sprigs Dill, minced
1 tablespoon GHEE*
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
4 sprigs fresh Dill, minced
Lemon slices

  • Over medium high heat melt butter and GHEE.
  • Score the skin side of the fillets.
  • Pat dry and generously season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Add fillets to sizzling butter skin side down.
  • Cook 4-5 minutes until skin begins to brown and crisp.
  • Flip fillets and cook another 3-4 minutes or until beginning to crisp and are cooked through.
  • Plate and sprinkle dill over fish fillets.
  • Serve with tartar sauce.

NOTE*: I like the extra flavor from a well made GHEE, but butter or olive oil could easily be substituted.

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COUNTRY BOB’S FUDGE & MEATLOAF

Back in 2009 I was contacted by a nice man from Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and asked if I would be interested in doing a product review. I said I’d love to. In just 2 days time a box was on my stoop with bottles of sauce and recipe brochures. I had this little niggling in my brain though. I could not figure out why the name of this sauce sounded so familiar. I tried to find the sauce locally and failed until I finally found it at a Walmart store 30 miles away. You have to remember I lived rurally at the moment. That is when it occurred to me where I had heard the name before. I had won a cookbook awhile back over at Forgetfulone, but was never able to prepare any of the recipes because I couldn’t find the sauce. I had marked a multitude of recipes to try and now I finally can. I found 2 meatloaf recipes, 1 from the brochure which is extremely similar to hubby’s favorite one that I have made for years and years and a sour cream recipe from the book that I decided to try. In the end the recipe I made was a combination of both recipes and hubby all but licked his plate. He kept telling me to find out where to get more of this sauce. He even put it on his mashed potatoes and thought that was just scrumptious. Normally he would use ketchup on his meatloaf, but tonight he used Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce. He decided Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce is our new ketchup.

All I can say is that I was sooooooooooooooooo pleasantly surprised by the flavor. Hubby can’t say anything, he’s too busy licking the bowl. You have to try Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and start with this fudge recipe. One of the greatest things about this recipe besides the awesome flavor is the consistency. How many times have you made fudge and weren’t sure it would set up okay or it turned out dry? That will never happen with this recipe. This recipe is truly foolproof.

COUNTRY BOB’S INCREDIBLE FUDGE
12 ounces Velveeta cheese*
2 sticks butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)**

  • In a microwave safe bowl combine the Velveeta, butter, Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and chocolate. Microwave on high 2-4 minutes, stirring every minute until mixture is smooth and well blended.
  • Pour the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate mixture gradaully while beating with an electric mixture until well blended.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Stir in the nuts.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.
  • Cover and chill until firm.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

*When I made a second batch of this recipe. it worked better cubed before microwaving
**I exchanged this for Heath Bar bits and loved it

COUNTRY BOB’S SOUR CREAM MEATLOAF ala TAMY
3 pounds ground beef
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup + Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

  • Mix all together.
  • Pour additional sauce over the top.
  • Bake 1 1/2 hours.
  • Pour off any excess moisture.
  • Let stand 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve.
  • Makes wonderful sandwiches with the leftovers.

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PIMIENTO CHEESE SPREAD

As a kid I hated Pimiento Cheese.  What I didn’t realize is what my family put out with crackers for holidays was NOT real food LOL, you know the jelly jar cheese spread you find at the grocery store.  Jack Allen’s Kitchen serves a small dab of their Pimiento Cheese with a cracker as a nibble before you order and it is fantastic!  I even bought a jar to bring home and it was the first recipe I tried from their cook book when it arrived. At home we tried it with all sorts of crackers before deciding a simple Ritz cracker was the best.


PIMIENTO CHEESE
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound Medium Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 large Red Bell Pepper, washed, seeded, roasted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Vinegar and salt until smooth.
  • Blend in the grated Monterey Jack cheese and grated Cheddar cheese.
  • Fold in bell pepper until well distributed.
  • Chill well.
  • Serve with crackers.

NOTE:*  I didn’t have any SHERRY vinegar so I used Golden Balsamic Vinegar and it tasted great!

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CINNAMON SWIRL LOAF

CINNAMON SWIRL LOAF adapted from Lauren’s Latest
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup super fine granulated sugar
2 LARGE eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2+ teaspoon quality cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon molasses

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease light colored loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In large bowl, mix together the oil, butter and sugar until well combined.
  • Stir in eggs and vanilla stirring until smooth.
  • Sift in dry ingredients and gently stir while pouring in buttermilk until uniform batter has formed. Scrape sides to ensure no lumps are present.

 

  • Remove 1/2 cup prepared batter from bowl and place in a smaller bowl.
  • To that smaller amount of batter, stir in the cinnamon and molasses.

 

  • Pour half of the prepared batter into the bottom of the loaf pan.
  • Spoon half of the cinnamon batter in small dollops over top the batter.
  • Pour remaining plain batter over the top.
  • Dot the top with remaining cinnamon batter.
  • Using a butter knife, swirl two batters together.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

COATING
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup super fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2+ teaspoon quality ground cinnamon

  • While loaf is baking, get coating ready.
  • Pour melted butter into a large shallow dish.
  • Stir sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a separate large shallow dish.

 

  • Cool loaf for 10 minutes before loosening edges and removing loaf from pan.
  • The loaf should be very warm, but cool enough to handle with your hands.
  • Dip each side of loaf into melted butter until fully coated.
  • Spoon remaining melted butter over the edges that tend to be more crispy.
  • Transfer buttery loaf to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and press into the sides and top until fully coated.
  • Slice into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.
  • ENJOY!

CHEESY RANCH CHICKEN SALAD aka CRACK CHICKEN SANDWICHES

This is another one of those recipes that is floating around on facebook, but looked so yummy we HAD to try it.  O.M.G. this is phenomenal! I added a diced shallot to the mix that is sooooooo good. I did have to do an internet search to see why it was called crack chicken and LOL all I could find was a blog that alluded to it being “addicting”.  Anyway you slice it, it is DELICIOUS! Hubby hates the name though so we’re calling it Cheesy Ranch Chicken Salad.

CHEESY RANCH CHICKEN SALAD aka CRACK CHICKEN SANDWICHES – makes 4 sandwiches
1 1/4-1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
8 ounce block Cream Cheese, cut into small cubes
1 Dry Ranch Dressing package mix
1 shallot, diced
1/3 pound Bacon, diced and cooked crisp
4 of your favorite rolls
4 slices Quality Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 small Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
Your favorite BBQ Sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays or King’s Hawaiian)

  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel and place them in your crock pot.
  • Top evenly with cream cheese cubes.
  • Sprinkle the dry ranch evenly over the top the cheese cubes.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Chicken is ready when it can easily be shredded with a fork.
  • When chicken is cooked, shred it.
  • Add the bacon pieces.
  • Stir the mixture to blend everything well.
  • Spoon one portion of chicken mixture on the bottom half of each roll, top with a slice of cheese and place under the broiler JUST until cheese has melted.
  • Add onion slices.
  • Drizzle with BBQ sauce
  • Spread BBQ sauce on the top half of each bun.
  • Enjoy!

 

KEY LIME PIE with CARAMEL BLUEBERRY SAUCE

When I was a little girl my great aunt, Looney Louise, (okay we didn’t call her looney to her face, but it is what made her such fun) made a blueberry pudding cake with a tart lemon sauce that was out of this world!  When Ron asked me to review NuNatural’s products Aunt Louise’s recipe was the furthest thing from my mind.  After reviewing all the wonderful products that NuNaturals was gracious enough to send me and perusing the hundreds of recipes they also sent me, I settled on the blueberry cheesecake recipe.  The more I thought of blueberries, the more I thought of Louise and so I made the requisite recipe changes to make it my own and bring me close to the reverse of Looney Louise’s recipe.

Recipe aside, I have to say that every NuNatural’s product I tried is excellent.  I am a total convert!  I was forced years ago to give up any chemically altered sugars so only had full bodied sugar to live on.  NuNatural’s products are not chemically altered, but based on Stevia, a natural plant!

KEY LIME PIE with CARAMEL BLUEBERRY SAUCE

CRUST
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
15 drops NuNatural’s liquid stevia extract

  • Crush about 12 graham crackers to make 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs.
  • Combine graham cracker crumbs, stevia extract and 6 tablespoons of melted butter in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides, pressing it to make it firm.
  • Bake at 350° until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  • Allow to cool completely before using.

FILLING
16 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup key lime juice
1 egg
1 teaspoon NuNatural’s white stevia powder

  • Using a mixer, mix the ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Don’t overdo it.
  • Pour the mixture into the sugar-free graham cracker crust, spreading evenly and bake at 350° until lightly browned (about 30 minutes).

SAUCE
2 cups fresh blueberries
5 tablespoons water, divided
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
4 teaspoons NuNatural’s white stevia powder
7 drops NuNatural’s liquid Vanilla stevia
2 tablespoons Hershey’s caramel sauce
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Combine berries, 1 tablespoon water, and coarse salt in medium saucepan.
  • Stir and mash over medium-low heat until reduced to sauce consistency, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Combine sugar, 4 tablespoons water, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in large saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, 9 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in blueberry sauce; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Cool sauce to room temperature.
  • Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

NOTE: I was not paid for this review, but did receive free products to try. All opinions are my own.  Their products are all natural, easy to convert and taste great!

MIMOSA CHICKEN ala BISCUIT HEAD with CAT HEAD BISCUITS

I LOVE watching cooking shows and LOL I will NOT apologize for that. If I learn just one thing or find one New recipe, it was worth my time. Watching the new Hannah Hart show the other night I learned about Biscuit Head in Asheville, North Carolina. It is said that locals and tourists alike flock there for their cathead (because they are the size of a cat’s head) biscuits, an all-you-can-eat jam and butter bar and their mimosa chicken, not to mention their fresh-squeezed mimosas and their sake-spiked bloody Marys.

I understand that husband and wife team, Jason and Carolyn Roy behind the popular cafe (which has opened two additional locations since the West Asheville spot opened in 2013) have written a new cook book, Biscuit Head New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch where they reveal many of the recipes they are most popular for, including their Mimosa Fried Chicken recipe below.

THIS IS IT, the secret recipe for their phenomenal fried chicken. “While many think of chicken breasts when it comes to fried chicken, we say you can’t beat the chicken thigh. It is a more tender, moist, and flavorful cut—though if you really want to, you can substitute breast meat in this recipe. I made it with the thighs as they wrote it, but will be replacing it with breasts next time, we just prefer them.

BISCUIT HEAD MIMOSA CHICKEN Makes 4 servings

BRINE
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups orange juice
¼ cup champagne

  • Mix together all of the ingredients for the brine, Stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved, then place the chicken into the brine.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

CHICKEN
4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 quart vegetable oil
2 cups Biscuit Head Dredge (see below)

  • In large pot preheat your oil to 335°.
  • While your oil is heating up, remove the chicken from the brine and shake off any excess liquid.
  • Completely coat the chicken in the dredge by shaking in a Ziplock bag. Let the chicken thighs rest for 3 minutes in the dredge bag, then give them one more good shake in the dredge to make sure that they’re fully coated.
  • Carefully place each piece of chicken into the hot oil and fry, cooking for about 10 minutes should get the chicken right where you want it. You are looking for a nice golden crust and an internal temperature of 162°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a wire rack to rest a few minutes—serve it while it’s hot!

DREDGE
8 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground smoked paprika
½ tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • Sift everything together and mix well.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to one year.

NOTE:  This recipe can also be cooked in a cast-iron skillet on the stove top. Use lard if you go this route and use enough that the melted lard comes up at least halfway on what you’re cooking.  The goal is to flip just once.

CLASSIC CAT HEAD BISCUITS yields: 6 large biscuits or 8-10 smaller one
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups King Arthur cake flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons butter, cubed into small pieces and well chilled
2 cups whole buttermilk

  • Preheat your oven to 375°.
  • Adjust oven racks to center of oven.
  • Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet (pan spray works fine).
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together both flours, salt, and the baking powder.
  • Gradually add the butter. DO NOT let the butter to melt or soften in your hand. You do want the butter to release steam as the biscuit cooks. That steam adds to the airiness and lightness of your final biscuit product.
  • Add the buttermilk and stir very gently to fold it in. DO NOT over mix!
  • Using an ice cream scoop, Scoop the dough onto your pan or skillet, making sure to keep the dough scoops right next to each other on the pan.
  • Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy.

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BANANA SPICE CAKE

This recipe works really well in today’s decorative bundt style pans. I seriously adapted this one into a modern easy to use recipe from ‘A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband’ by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron

BANANA SPICE CAKE

1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cups sour milk
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour, sifted
2 small VERY RIPE bananas, well mashed
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • GREASE loaf pan or 8×8 baking dish.*
  • With a wooden spoon blend the butter, sugar and eggs.
  • Blend in bananas until well mixed.
  • Sift dry ingredients together.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix well with swift strokes.
  • Add vanilla and raisins.
  • Bake 45-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Immediately invert on to serving plate.
  • Wait 15 minutes for cooling.
  • Warm the maple syrup in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Using a toothpick, pierce holes into the top of the cake.
  • Drizzle maple syrup over the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.

CHOCOLATE BLISS BROWNIES

This is another recipe I originally found over at Two Peas & Their Pod. Ironically she found the recipe for these decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownies from Jessica of Delish’s new cookbook, Seriously Delish which is sitting in my bookshelf. You mean to tell me this recipe was here the entire time and I didn’t know it? Shhh, don’t tell hubby, he’ll be mad I haven’t made them before now! He is a chocolate and peanut butter fanatic – “You got chocolate in my peanut butter, no you got peanut butter on my chocolate”… from this vintage 80’s Reese’s TV commercial.

This is a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover’s dream come true – fudgy brownies with a layer of peanut butter, a layer of chocolate ganache AND peanut butter cups on top! These brownies are too good to be true!  PURE BLISS! If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you will go CRAZY for these brownies! They are truly to die for – pure cloud floating heaven! BUT, even better is that you can change up this recipe just by changing which candy bars or combinations of candy bars you chop up for the top of the ganache. I’ve tried the original recipe with Reese’s as is and have tried it also with ROLOS, KIT KATS and MOUNDS.  They are ALL good and have a distinct flavor despite the rest of the recipe being exactly the same each time.

Do yourself a serious favor and make these brownies SOON! They are a new favorite here at our house and I know they will be for you too!

CHOCOLATE BLISS BROWNIES
Yield: Serves 10-12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

BROWNIES
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Add the butter and chopped chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, 30-60 seconds. Once the chocolate is semi-melted, stir constantly to melt the rest. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter-chocolate mixture and granulated sugar.
  • Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, stirring until a smooth batter forms.
  • With a large spoon, mix in the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Add the batter to the baking dish.
  • Bake until the brownies are set and no longer jiggly in the middle, 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

FILLING
1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • Stir together the melted peanut butter, powdered sugar, and coconut oil until smooth. The warm peanut butter will melt the coconut oil as you stir until well blended.
  • Pour the filling over the brownies, using a spatula to spread it around the top.
  • Let cool completely and firm up, about 20 minutes.

TOPPING
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

  • Add the chocolate to a large bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles around the edges. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate.
  • Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds, then stir until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour it over the top of the brownies, then cover with the chopped peanut butter cups.
  • Let the brownies sit for 30 minutes to set up before cutting.

NOTE: The brownies will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days at room temperature if covered or kept in an airtight container. You can also keep them in the fridge, they will last a few days longer.

BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER MEATBALLS

This is one of those fun facebook recipes that actually worked the way it was supposed to! See the how to video here. I did make a couple changes that we like better.

BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER MEATBALLS – makes 12 metballs

1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, minced
VERY loosely packed cup minced parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4-6 small/medium-sized onions
4 ounces cheddar cheese (small block), cubed
16-24 pieces of bacon
1 bottle BBQ sauce (King”s Hawaiian Original)

  • Preheat oven to 425˚.
  • Cut onions in half root to tip.
  • Save onion shells suitable to wrap meatballs. Use smaller inside pieces for the minced onion inside the meat mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, bread crumbs, garlic, onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and honey until evenly combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Remove meatball mixture from refrigerator.
  • Stuff each meatball with a cube of cheddar cheese and form into golf ball-sized meatballs around it.
  • Wrap each meatball in two onion shells and then wrap each meatball with 2 pieces of bacon until meatball is completely covered. Secure with toothpicks.
  • Submerge each meatball into the BBQ sauce before transferring it to a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, brushing again with BBQ sauce every 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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CREAMED CHICKEN & MARINATED CARROTS

I’ve been making these recipes for years.  I originally found them in AMISH & MENNONITE KITCHEN (1995).

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS and what doesn’t:

The Creamed chicken works as a comfort food that is satisfying and rib sticking too. I made a few “small” changes over the years to add some additional flavor. It can be made quickly and easily on a week night.

The marinated carrots add tons of color and a bit of acidic tang too. You just have to plan ahead on the carrots since this recipe requires marinating and chilling overnight. I’ve included my next best marinated carrot salad recipe (given to me by a very sweet old lady) that I’ve been using since the 80’s. Both recipes keep well in the fridge and taste better several days later.

The cookbook called for the creamed chicken to be served over “FLOATING ISLANDS”. I tried making them twice, but they were VERY bland and terribly horribly full of fat and cholesterol.

CREAMED CHICKEN

2 tablespoons GHEE or butter
1 shallot, sliced or diced thin
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pink Himalayan salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken*

  • In a large skillet melt ghee.
  • Saute’ shallot until translucent.
  • Add flour, salt, pepper and celery leaves, stirring until smooth.
  • Add milk and chicken broth, stirring to blend.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil and and boil slowly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add chicken pieces and heat through.
  • Serve over toast, wide egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

NOTE: *I use rotisserie chicken quite often, but usually just brown and shred 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

MARINATED CARROTS (COLD)

1 pound baby carrots
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1/ green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Bring a pot of water to boiling.
  • Add carrots cooking JUST until softened. DRAIN.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss together the carrots, onion rings and bell pepper slices.
  • In another mixing bowl whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables.
  • Chill and marinate overnight.
  • Serve chilled.

An alternate recipe for this type of marinated carrot salad is:

CARROT COINS
40 ounces +/- canned sliced carrots, drained
14 ounces +/- canned baby peas, drained
1 medium red onion, chopped small
1 can Campbell’s tomato soup**
3/4 cup vinegar (I sometimes use apple cider and it is just as good)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Whisk together soup, salad oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add carrots, peas and onions.
  • Chill overnight so flavors blend.
  • Serve cold.

**I replaced the canned soup with the following recipe:

CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and seasonings and cook until bubbly.
  • Add tomato puree’ and blend well.
  • Remove from heat and gradually whisk in liquid.
  • Return to heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened to desired consistency.

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