What Should I Make Next??


Patriotic Apple Pie

When I think of classic All-American desserts, pie always comes to mind. Especially apple pie! So I thought it only befitting to make one with a patriotic these for the 4th of July!

This is actually the first pie I have ever made, so there was a lot of things I’ve learned. Like for instance, pie crust is extremely temperamental! At first I wanted to have a fully crusted top with three star shapes cut out, but we ran into problems :/ So I decided it would be easier to just cut out a bunch of stars and arrange them on the pie.

Since this is my first pie, I didn’t want to make it too complicated. Not to mention, I had some left over apple pie filling, so I just concentrated on the crust. Which, in my opinion, is what makes or brakes the pie anyways. This pie crust recipe is one that my mom collected a long time ago. She makes it for all of her pies and it is super light and flaky. And super amazing! In the above picture I didn’t actually have a chance to let the pie cool all the way, cause people were already cutting into it, so I had like 2 seconds to put it on a plate with my still not quite frozen ice cream. If you let the pie cool completely, the filling won’t spill out like this. Tastes good either way though 😉 I posted the homemade ice cream recipe also. The pie and ice cream are super yummy together! Great apart too, but I can’t completely enjoy any pie or cobbler without a scoop of ice cream. Plus this Royal Homemade Ice Cream is the best ice cream I have ever tried! Enjoy!!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 4 tablespoons chilled Morrell lard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons very cold water
  • 1 to 2 20 ounce cans of apple pie filling
  • 2 eggs

Sift both flours into a food processor. Add the sugar and salt. Cut butter into cubes and add it and Morrell lard to processor. Process until mixture is almost completely incorporated. While processor is on, add 3 tablespoons very cold water. Add 1 tablespoon more if mixture is too dry. (To make water cold enough, place water and ice in a cup to chilled. Then take out quantity of water needed.)

Role out crust, place in pie tin, and freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and add filling. Role out remaining crust and add to the top. In a small bowl beat 1 whole egg and one egg yolk. Brush egg over the top crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Royal Homemade Ice Cream

My mom used to make this for us when I was little, and it is one thing I remember from a very young age. Actually, it’s one of the first things I remember her making us. This homemade ice cream is like no ice cream I’ve ever had. Nothing else even comes close!! It’s so creamy and delectable. It is just simply amazing! If you don’t like cinnamon, or you are just looking for vanilla, then take out the cinnamon and up the vanilla extract from 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to 1 tablespoon vanilla. Enjoy!


  • 1 pint half and half (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Scald the half and half and ground cinnamon in a sauce pan on medium heat, do not boil. In a bowl, whip the egg and sugar until creamy and pale yellow. Add half and half, beat 1 more minute. Stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Pour in ice cream container and freeze.

Fireworks Cupcake Towers

The 4th of July is a holiday that is actually very near and dear to my heart, not only because it celebrates our Nation’s independence, but also because I have such treasured memories from this holiday. As a kid my parents would always take us to a little town named SpringerVille. I love the 4th of July’s here! We actually still go every year, and not a whole lot has changed since I was a kid. They still have a parade that goes down the same streets. Followed by a small rodeo, where we always get cherry snow cones. The whole environment is just down home goodness! Not to mention, my family is kind of the trouble makers of everything. So we get to have our fun, and then go home, not worried about seeing these people on a daily basis 🙂 Actually one year when I was about 13 we brought these huge super soakers to the parade and soaked everyone! People riding on floats. People in cars with their windows down. It was bad!! Super funny! But from that point on water guns have been banned from the parade :/ Last year there was a bunch of scout kids selling marshmallow guns trying to rase some money. I knew we were in trouble when my mom bought 4 of them. Or was it 6? All I know is they were meant for the kids, but it didn’t take long for the adults in my family to confiscate them for their own enjoyment. These guns are basically a blow gun, except instead of shooting a dart, you blow out marshmallows. We were there for over an hour after the parade was over trying to shoot marshmallows into open windows of the cars driving by. Good times 🙂 We will be heading up for sure this year as well, and luckily my mom has kept the marshmallow guns!! Long story short, this is one of my favorite holidays. So when I saw these cupcakes I thought, “Yes!! Prefect!” So cute! So patriotic!! The recipe is pretty straight forward. It’s just a yellow cupcake with buttercream frosting. Nothing really original or different about them. I was thinking that a filling would be good, but for now we’ll just keep the cupcake part of these simple since the decorations are more demanding. Also, if you don’t want to make yellow cupcakes from scratch, then just substitute for a box. I made the red chocolate star on top using a chocolate star mold I found from Joann’s for $2. Then I just got the red melting chocolate wafers and piped it inside the mold. If you want an example you can click here to view how I did this on another recipe. Enjoy!!

Yellow Cupcakes


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups and mini paper baking cup in each of 18 mini muffin cups. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each additions. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk about 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake regular cupcakes 18 to 25 minutes, mini cupcakes 12 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans; place on cooling racks to cool.
Meanwhile, make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extact (use clear vanilla for the frosting to be white and not cream)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

Place 1 1/2 cups frosting in decorating bag fitted with small round tip (#22). Frost each cupcake (regular and mini) with scant tablespoon frosting, making various length streamers. Divide remaining frosting between two bowls; tint frosting in one bowl red and the other blue (To avoid icing from becoming more runny use gel food coloring, also called icing colors. You can get them at any craft store).
Remove paper liners from mini cupcakes, if desired. Place 1 mini cupcake on top of each regular cupcake. Pipe blue and red frostings around base of mini cupcakes (on regular cupcakes) and on top of mini cupcakes, making various length streamers. Use any remaining white frosting to fill in streamers between red and blue ones. Decorate with candy decors, as desired.
Recipe from The Big Book of Cupcakes

Nutty Vanilla Ice Cream Shooters

I got the nicest e-mail from a follower the other day. Among conversations she recommended this Rice Chex Dessert. I renamed it cause the name “Rice Chex Dessert” fell a little flat for how yummy this was. This dessert is an assortment of textures and flavors, and put all together is amazing. It’s sweet and creamy from the vanilla ice cream, salty and crunchy from the cereal mixture, and so yummy! I was actually pleasantly surprised how good it was, so thank you Julie for sending me the recipe.

I didn’t really follow the directions cause I was feeling inventive, again. But I placed the original instructions on the recipe so you can choose either way to do it. To be honest, you could take the Chex mixture and just put it on top of a couple scoops of ice cream and it would still be amazing. But what I did is I just applied the same concept in a smaller scale for the glasses. Place about a tablespoon of cereal mixture on the bottom of the glass and lightly press down. Pour some thawed ice cream on top of bottom layer and place another tablespoon of cereal mixture. Lightly press down then add more ice cream till cup is almost full. Top with a little more cereal mixture and freeze. If you want to make the version at the very bottom of the post, line a bowl with plastic rap. Add the cereal mixture. Press down. Add ice cream. Then what I did was I froze the ice cream for about an hour till it was firm but not super hard. Then add another layer of the cereal mix. Press it down then finish freezing. When ready to un-mold, put the bowl in warm water for a couple of minutes and it should come out relatively easy. So yummy and super easy! Enjoy!!


  • 3 cups crushed Rice Chex cereal (measure after crushing)
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped cashews
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups angel flake coconut
  • 1/2 gallon good quality vanilla ice cream, softened so it’s spreadable (don’t use French Vanilla, it’s not good in this recipe)
Place the Rice Chex cereal into a ziplock bag and crush using a rolling pin. Your just wanting to get rid of the big pieces, but don’t make it super fine cause you still want that crunch. Combine all ingredients but ice cream in a bowl. Butter a glass casserole dish (9×13 or 10×15). Take half the cereal mixture and put in the dish, press down. Spread the entire half gallon of ice cream on top of cereal. Place remaining half of cereal mixture on top of ice cream and press it down.
Place in freezer until mix has frozen. Remove from freezer 5 minutes before serving.

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

This recipe is so amazingly delicious!! One of my absolute favorites! I don’t know if anyone has ever had this at TGI Fridays, but this recipe taste exactly like the original. It takes a little bit of time with the marinade and everything, but it’s so worth it, however I wouldn’t recommend this recipe to anyone who doesn’t like balsamic vinegar. Although you could add less of the glaze too so it didn’t taste so strongly like the vinegar. Also I followed the directions a little differently. It didn’t make sense to make the Balsamic Glaze and the Bruschetta Marinara first, and then to have to make the marinade for the chicken then wait an hour doing nothing. So I first make the marinade for the chicken, and got it soaking, then made the glaze and marinara. That way I was occupied while I waited for the chicken to marinade. Seriously so yummy!! Enjoy!

Estimated Cooking Time: About 1 hour and 45 minutes. 1 hour is needed to marinade the chicken.

Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Bruschetta Marinara
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (about 4 medium tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Chicken Marinade
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 pound skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)
  • Olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound uncooked angel hair pasta (1/2 of a box)
For Finishing The Dish
  • 8 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 teaspoons minced parsley
Make the balsamic glaze by combining the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium/low heat and heat the mixture until bubbling, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Make the bruschetta marinara by combining the tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, olive oil, white vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.

Marinate the chicken by combining the water, salt, paprika, and liquid smoke in a medium bowl. Pound the chicken breasts until about 3/4 inch thick, then add to the marinade, cover, and chill for exactly 1 hour.

Preheat a grill to high heat. When the chicken has marinated, remove the breast from the brine, rinse each under cold water, and blot dry. Rub each breast with oil and sprinkle with a little ground black pepper. Grill the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked.

Break the pasta in half and cook it for 4 minutes in a large saucepan of boiling water. Strain.

To prepare each serving, preheat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and one quarter of the cooked angel hair pasta. Add 1/2 cup of the bruschetta marinara and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese and toss with tongs until hot. Turn out the pasta onto the center of a plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Slice the chicken breasts and arrange one quarter of the chicken around the pasta, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of minced parsley. Repeat for the remaining servings.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3

Houli Fruit Fizz

I’ve actually been taking a little vacation from cooking. That’s so bad! For the last 3 days my family has been eating take out or cereal. But I needed a little break to re-charge my battery. Plus I was avoiding the grocery store, so I didn’t actually have much to cook with. I actually made it to the grocery store yesterday though, so after my little break I’m totally excited and looking forward to my menu for this week!! Should be filled with tons of yummy food 😉 But I wanted to quickly post this recipe that I tried a couple of weeks ago. This drink turned out pretty yummy. I would substitute the cranberry juice for like a raspberry cranberry juice to soften the taste of the cranberries just a little. I was also thinking as I was drinking this that it would be so amazing as a float instead of just a drink. I mean as a fruity drink it’s good, but if you added a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream to the mix I think it would make this amazing. If you do decide to make into a float, remove the ice from the recipe. Enjoy!!


  • 1 12-ounce can cold Sprite
  • 1/2 cup cold pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup cold orange juice
  • 1 cup cold cranberry juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and pour into two glasses over ice. Be sure all of the ingredients are cold when combined.

Recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes