Friday, December 31, 2010

Homemade Peppermint Oreos

Here is that recipe I promised! I made these scrumptious and easy cookies the other night for our ladies craft night. They are delish, especially with the peppermint flavor added. Make sure you have people to help you eat them! They're decadent .:)

Homemade Peppermint Oreos

2 boxes Devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 (8ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
sprinkles or crushed candy cane for decorating
green or red food coloring


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil with a mixer. The batter will be very stiff. Pinch of pieces of batter and roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly with fingertips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove immediately from the cookie sheets with a spatula and cool on a wire rack.
In a small glass bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until completely blended. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and peppermint extract and mix until the icing is smooth. Color frosting green or red if desired. Spread half of the cookies with icing and top with remaining cookies.
Roll in sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or just leave them plain.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or resealable plastic bags.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

flavored butters

my little contribution to my sister's wedding reception food: I made the Cinnamon Honey Butter (YUMMM), and the Herb Butter, for rolls.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

lemon cupcakes and frosting

I made some pretty fantabulous if I do say so myself lemon cupcakes for dessert at my sister's bridal shower. I used this recipe for the cupcakes, and this one for the frosting, which was to die for!

mini cheesecakes with strawberry sauce

Some yummy mini cheesecakes. I had made some strawberry sauce for a party, but forgot to put it out, so I wanted to use it for something! They turned out pretty yummy, I think.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Restaurant Style Salsa

The only foods I've had cravings for this pregnancy are tater tots, any kind of mexican food, and this salsa. I have to limit how much I make it cause I will eat it all in a matter of hours if left to my own devices. No joke. I ate about half of this batch for lunch the day after I made it....uh, it serves 12! yikes. It's soo good. Just enough heat to keep you coming back for more, and it's oh so easy to make. The only things I changed were that I used a smaller size can of regular tomatoes, and left out the cumin, cause I didn't have any. Delicious! Sadie loves this salsa too, she'll lick it off her chips, til they get soggy. er, yummy....not.

Restaurant Style Salsa

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 can (10 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • ¼ cups Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • ¼ teaspoons Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • ½ whole Lime Juice
Preparation Instructions
Combine tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d likeT. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

hershey's perfect chocolate cake



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

    ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

    THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

    BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

    CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes. 
I use this recipe for almost every birthday we have and it always turns out perfectly. LOVE it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pasta

Since I can pretty much guarantee that Rory will eat almost anything slathered in BBQ sauce...(minus eggs and maybe cookies, cause that's just gross)...I knew this dish would be a hit with him. I just wasn't expecting it to be such a hit with the Sadester. She gobbled her portion up and was begging for more, before we had even taken a bite or two of it. No. Joke.'s a kid favorite as well as a hubby least in our house. I loved it too, by the way.

The best thing? One. Skillet. For the whole meal! Hooray for less dishes!

BBQ Chicken Pasta
from My Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, diced (I left these out since Rory is not a fan)
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces penne pasta
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don’t have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.
Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

sugar cookies and royal icing

Sugar Cookies
 adapted from Annie's Eats

 2 cups butter, softened
 2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
2 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. salt
5 c. sifted flour

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Mix well. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Roll to ¼” thickness in between sheets of parchment paper (sprinkle flour on both sides of the dough and paper), then chill dough in fridge until firm. Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets. Repeat with remainder of dough once or twice, rolling in between parchment paper and chilling. Each time you roll it out they get tougher from adding flour while rolling.
Bake at 375° for 8-10 min.  Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool, I usually bake them a day before I decorate. Makes about 40 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter design.

Royal Icing
from Annie's Eats 
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container.  This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.  (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick.  Add a little more liquid and try again.)  Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand so the icing will set.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container.  Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.  Allow to set.
Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.  Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid.  Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

easy chocolate truffles

Easy Chocolate Truffles 

What You Need

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3 cups  powdered sugar
1-1/2 pkg. (12 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
1-1/2 tsp.  vanilla
Suggested coatings, such as ground PLANTERS Walnuts, unsweetened cocoa, powdered sugar and/or BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut

Make It

BEAT cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar, mixing until well blended.
ADD melted chocolate and vanilla; mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled.
SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Roll in walnuts, cocoa, powdered sugar or coconut. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amazingly Easy Brownies

Amazingly Easy Brownies  
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Melt the butter or margarine and mix all ingredients in the order given.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan.

Ok, go ahead and read those directions again. THERE. ARE. TWO. STEPS. gotta love that. i renamed the recipe because not only are they super amazingly quick, but they are amazingly deeelicious. so delicious, that rory and i have almost demolished a whole pan in just two days. with no help from anyone else. in rory's defense, i have been putting away more than my fair share. i'm pregnant! and i love chocolate. oh well. i just love the texture of these, not too dark tasting, and not too fudgy, but not cakey either. just try em. if you don't like them...well...sorry we may have to re-evaluate our relationship. har har. just kidding. but not really.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Penne with Chicken, Asparagus and Lemon Alfredo sauce

ok, the real name of this dish is Penne with Chicken, Asparagus & Lemon Alfredo sauce...but that wouldn't fit on the picture.

Penne with Chicken, Asparagus and Lemon Alfredo sauce
adapted from Woman's Day (found the recipe a LOONG time ago)


1 lb penne rigate
1 lb thin asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut in 1 1/2 inch long pieces
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 jar (16 oz) alfredo sauce
1 tsp grated lemon peel
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tomato, halved, seeded, and diced
fresh ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water as package directs, adding asparagus 3 minutes before pasta is done.

2. Meanwhile sprinkle chicken with salt, then toss with flour to lightly coat.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken, saute until golden and just barely cooked through. Add alfredo sauce, peel, juice and cheese. Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is done.

4. Drain pasta and asparagus, return to pot. Immediately add sauce, tomato, and pepper. Toss to mix and coat.

***I looved this dish. and let me tell you, I HATE jarred alfredo sauce. I was hesitant about trying this recipe for that reason. This was doctored enough that was very yummy though. Sorry about the craptastic picture, they are leftovers so don't look as pretty (but taste just as good!), and my rebel is being borrowed by my uncle, so I was using our point and shoot. Anyways, this was a super quick and yummy meal! Definitely adding this to the rotation!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

bourbon chicken

Bourbon Chicken
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe


2lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1-2 tablespoons oil (for pan-frying)

cornstarch (for dusting, optional) (i didn't use it, out of laziness)


1 garlic clove (minced)
¼ teaspoon ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and if you choose lightly dust with cornstarch. Heat oil in your wok and fry chicken bits in batches until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients. Pour into wok and bring to a boil. Add chicken bits back to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

**easy peasy chicken! and oh so flavorful! and don't worry, no booze in it, though the name might make you think otherwise. rory liked it a lot, and so did I, it had a great kick at the end from the red pepper flakes. yum...another great way to serve chicken!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

swei jows

All you have to do in my family to reduce any of us to salivating weirdos, is to say two words.

Swei Jows.

Let me explain. Swei Jows are our family dish. My dad went to Taiwan on his mission for the LDS church in the olden days (sorry Dad, hehe), and he ate these almost every day. They're kind of like boiled pot least that's the way we usually try and explain them to newcomers. That, or we shove their faces in it and yell, "See? Aren't they yummy!?"

You should be so lucky.

Anyways, my dad had his birthday last week, so we celebrated by cooking up a couple hundred or so of these yummy treats, and then gorged ourselves.

Here's how you make them, if anything for future generations, should the Swei Jow love get lost in the shuffle somehow.

Swei Jows

1 lb of ground pork
1 egg (per lb of pork)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic
1/2 head shredded cabbage
1 package wonton wraps

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl, fill wraps, and press edges together with water. Boil in water for 5-6 minutes until edges are sealed together and they float to the top. Eat with soy sauce, hot pepper oil, and/or vinegar. (see my lovely instructions below for step by step directions)

Yes, this is really how much filling we use. (I think we usually quadruple the recipe)

You'll need: (as shown in the picture below)

Thanks to my brother Justin for his lovely swei jow instructional hand modeling. He has a future, I think.

So, take some of your filling, and plop it in the middle of your wrapper. (not too much or it will burst open while cooking and everyone will blame each other)

dab some water around the edges, and press together into a half circle shape.

crimp your edges like so...although Justin didn't do the neatest job, it will still taste delicious.

Repeat a bajillion times until you've run out of meat or wrappers, whichever happens first! Once in awhile you run out of both at the same time. I call that the Perfect Storm.

Prepare your bowl...with some soy sauce, hot oil, and vinegar, whichever combo you prefer. I usually do soy sauce with some hot oil. YUM!

Boil for 5-6 minutes or until they float to the top. Next: eat (with chopsticks unless you are chopstick-handicapped like Rory) by dipping into your soy sauce mixture, and try and eat as many as you can before the tray disappears. We have two trays on either end of the table, and everyone is always after the coveted middle spot that gets to eat from both trays.

By the way, liking Swei Jows is one of the requirements for marrying into the Lance family. That, and you have to like camping. Just so you know. In case any of you want to marry one of my siblings someday.

(and yes, Rory passed both tests)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana  
adapted from Annie's Eats
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream ( i used half and half)
Salt and pepper
Place a large stockpot on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

*** PLEASE tell me you've had the zuppa toscana at olive garden! if you haven't though, try this recipe. it's so deliciously spicy and hearty! rory always gets this when we go, and i get the salad (to be "healthy"), and i always end up snitching spoonfuls from his bowl. now i don't have to! yum.
serve it with these breadsticks and you are GOOD to go!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


plates of goodies for friends and neighbors!

starting at the stars-going clockwise: sugar cookies, jam bars, fudge, peanut butter kiss cookies, and oreo bark. yum!

i'll not be baking for another year, thank you. just kidding.

recipes below:

sugar cookies and royal icing

jam bars

easy fudge

peanut butter kiss cookies

oreo bark

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake

i've noticed my food photography got progressively worse as it got darker earlier this winter. last summer, i had great light when i finished so much. well, anyways, this dish is simple, quick, and so yummy! sorry again about the craptastic pic.

rory was sick all day yesterday and sadie woke up er..being sick last night too...poor things. luckily they're doing better, but cross your fingers/pray i don't get it!

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake
adapted from Kraft Foods


1-1/2 cups small pasta (bow tie, rotini...)pasta, uncooked
1 small bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
HEAT oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 min. or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Add cream cheese; cook and stir on low heat 1 min. or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
DRAIN pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 8-inch sq. baking dish; cover.
BAKE 15 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 3 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 min.

***the kraft recipe calls for 2 oz. cream cheese, but i like the sauce to be thicker, so i use 4 oz. changes shown above! :D