Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Laura Bush's Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy Cookies

As I am beginning to write this post, the last batch of these cookies is finishing off in the oven. I just could not wait to share this amazing cookie recipe with you. Basically, these are an amped up version of oatmeal cookies. Chewy and hearty, they are loaded with oats, coconut, pecans and chocolate chips. So, so good.
I had found a link on Pinterest a while back for these and repinned it so that I wouldn't forget to try out this yummy-looking cookie recipe for myself.

I did some searching through different websites that have posted this recipe throughout the years (including The New York Times and Family Circle magazine) and it appears that most of the postings have been pretty much the same in terms of ingredients, quantities and directions.

In 2000, this recipe by Laura Bush beat out Tipper Gore's gingersnap cookie recipe in a magazine contest. The two potential first wives each submitted a cookie recipe in the months leading up to the election and readers voted for their favorite. This recipe certainly has my vote and will (undoubtedly) become a favorite in my household.

Yields approximately 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Mini Pizzas

I am a huge fan of the flavors of buffalo chicken.  I love the sauce, the bleu cheese dip, the celery ... all of it!

This mini pizza recipe satisfies my craving for buffalo chicken and pizza all in one!  Could there be anything better?

This seriously has to be one of the best recipes I've made in a while!

(If you are not a fan of buffalo chicken, check out my "note" below for a BBQ-style option.)

The recipe utilizes Rhodes™ frozen bread dough or their frozen dinner rolls.  It will yield 8 mini pizzas.  If you use frozen bread dough, you will cut the bread into 8 equal pieces once thawed.  (I find it easy to use kitchen scissors to do this!)  If you use frozen dinner rolls, you will need 8 rolls (thawed).  I pull my dough out of the freezer the night before, place it in a zip-top gallon bag and allow it to thaw out in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffins

My dear sister is having surgery tomorrow.  I know that she can't eat after midnight this evening.  So, I feel guilty making these to take along for our mother and I to eat during the long (and extremely early) drive to the hospital ... all the while, she can't even have a crumb!  But, I wanted something that would hold my mom and I over until later in the day when we can make it to the hospital cafeteria for lunch.

Also, I had wanted to make something to leave behind for the kids when they come home after school tomorrow while I am with my sister.  I knew these would be perfect.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Turkey Tenderloins with Apple and Dried Cherry Stuffing

I know, I know ... Thanksgiving is just over a month away.  A full Thanksgiving feast will soon be before me in late-November and I'll be able to enjoy all of the tastes of said fabulous holiday soon enough!

If only I had patience.

'Tis not a virtue of mine.

I recently picked up the latest issues of EveryDay with Rachael Ray and Food Network magazines (my monthly indulgences) and I have been swooning over all of the Thanksgiving recipes. 

And, frankly, I didn't want to wait another month to have turkey and stuffing.  So, I went out and bought what I needed to throw together a quick(er) version of what will be on my Thanksgiving table next month!  And, we enjoyed it tonight ... here in October.  It was just what I was craving.  And, it reminded me that there need be no rules to cooking.  Why do we often think we have to wait until Thanksgiving to prepare turkey?  Who made that rule?  Well, rules are often made to be broken.  What a culinary rebel I am!  Ha!

And, just a little side note ... I'm thinking this would be perfect for someone only cooking for a few people at Thanksgiving, too.  Maybe a husband and wife.  All of the expected (and cherished) tastes and flavor components of Thanksgiving dinner without the hassle of a big bird!  Also, the turkey here is super inexpensive ... around four or five dollars for a three-pack of tenderloins.  This fed my family of five with enough leftover for two people the next day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sausage Gravy Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits

White sausage gravy is something I grew up eating over homemade buttermilk biscuits.  I have a grandmother (my "Granny") from Kentucky and she made some mean biscuits!  And, she is the one from whom I learned to make sausage gravy.

I recently posted a recipe for Stuffed Breakfast Rolls, which got me thinking about a biscuit filled with sausage gravy that my mother-in-law used to order from a food delivery company (Schwan's) years ago.  I loved them!  Unfortunately, the company stopped making and selling them.  I have thought of them often over the years and decided to see how hard it would be to replicate that same idea.

The main key here is to make your gravy just a bit thicker than you would for regular sausage gravy over biscuits.  Then, you will be chilling the gravy in a gallon-size plastic bag in the freezer before filling the biscuits.

I must admit that although I have attempted to duplicate my grandmother's buttermilk biscuits over the years, they have never quite been a success for me.  (Remember ... I am baking-challenged to some degree!)  Therefore, I used Grand's canned buttermilk biscuits for this recipe.  This recipe will yield 12 stuffed biscuits, but uses 24 biscuits to make.

We had some of these leftover, so I wrapped them individually in foil and parked them in the fridge.  Just reheat them in the foil in a 350 degree oven for about 10 - 12 minutes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Incredibly Easy Crusty Bread {No Need to Knead}

I constantly encourage my children to venture out and try new things - especially things of which they are fearful. I have been pushing myself to do the same when it comes to baking bread. I decided to do a little research into bread recipes and when I came across this one from Simply So Good, I was inspired to dive in and try it. And, let me just say that I am in love with this bread. So easy. So quick to prep. And, so delicious.

First of all, something I truly adore about this particular bread recipe is that it only has four ingredients {and one of them is water}. Secondly, there is no kneading. I repeat, NO KNEADING. {No dough hooks, paddle attachments or mixers either.} Additionally, I love that the recipe for this bread on Simply So Good's blog offers several options for add-in ingredients to make different flavor combinations. Think Orange, Cranberry and Nut Bread. Or, Lemon, Rosemary and Gruyere Bread.  Alternatively, you can just add in your choice of shredded cheese{s} to make Cheese Bread.

To make the bread, you mix four ingredients together in a bowl. Cover it and let it sit for 12 - 18 hours. Form it into a ball. Heat up a large pan {with the lid on}. Throw the dough ball in the pan. Bake. Cool. Devour.

I mixed the dough together at night in like, less than five minutes. So ridiculously easy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Over Pasta


It was Sunday.

It was cold and rainy.

I was thinking soup for dinner.

Then, I came across this recipe on Little B Cooks' blog.  What a fun blog to browse!  Her recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Chicken was my inspiration for dinner. 

I made a few changes to the original recipe.  And, I served my chicken and sauce over pasta.

As a person who blogs about food and recipes, there are times when I try something new and then, later wish I had done the recipe a different way.  This dish was one of those instances.  Both my hubby and I agreed that using this exact sauce recipe with homemade meatballs would be killer!  The chicken was good, but this sauce is somewhat similar to say, a Swedish meatball sauce ... just infused a bit with the flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes.  So, I plan to try it with meatballs soon!

And, by the way ... if you think you don't or won't like sun-dried tomatoes, I urge you to try it in this recipe.  The flavor combinations are lovely and I know I will be making this sauce again many times in the future!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Our Annual Fall Hayride and Bonfire Party

Every year we host a big fall party on a late-evening Saturday in October that includes a hayride, a bonfire, some friendly games of volleyball under the stars and my Hayride Chili.  We usually have about forty - fifty guests of all ages ... family, friends, co-workers and lots of our children's friends from school.  It is always tons of fun.

We all have those special traditions that we remember from our own childhoods.  Our yearly fall party is one of those traditions that I know our children will treasure for years to come!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Roasted Ranch Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

Okay.  I realize that several of my recent posts have included bacon in some form or another. I think it is partly due to the fact that a couple of weeks ago my grocery store had a killer deal (half off!) on thick, center cut bacon.  Of course, I stocked up.

Honestly, however, let's just admit that bacon is just so darn tasty!  There need be no excuse reason to eat it. In fact, last year we traveled from Michigan to Arizona for our son's college graduation.  We took a couple of days to travel into California to go to Legoland and due to our adoration of bacon, we made specific plans to go to Slater's 50/50 (a bacon-lover's paradise of a restaurant that we had seen featured months prior to our trip on a bacon-themed food show).  They grind bacon into their burger meat, offer a maple-bacon milkshake and serve bacon brownies.  It was heaven!
So, when I came across this recipe, it appealed to me in every way. I developed it into something kind of amazing and based on our preferences! It has become a real family favorite and is often even requested by relatives at family gatherings.