Hash Brown Casserole

It’s probably no secret that Saturday morning breakfasts are one of my favorite meals. So for this Saturday I ended up trying this copy cat recipe for The Cracker Barrel’s Hash Brown Casserole. This is probably the third recipe I’ve tried that has attempted to figure out the actual recipe, and although, this recipe is probably the closest to the real thing that I have tried so for, it was still lacking when it came to the original. It was still really good though. I almost feel like on top of the the 2 cups of Colby cheese, there should be an additional 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. It just kind of seemed like it needed a little extra something, so maybe that would solve it. Don’t get me wrong though. This recipe is really yummy, the only downfall really is that it takes about an hour and a half from start to finish. So, it’s not a quick fix, which is usually what I like to look for in a breakfast recipe. But still yummy none the less. Enjoy!!

Estimated Cooking Time: About 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 26-ounce bag frozen country-style hash browns
  • 2 cups shredded Colby cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or canned broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Dash garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the frozen hash browns, cheese, and onion in a large bowl. Combine the milk, beef stock, half the melted butter, the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in another bowl. Mix until well blended, then pour mixture over the hash browns and mix well.
Heat the remaining butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, spoon in the hash brown mixture. Cook the hash browns, stirring occasionally, until hot and ll of the cheese has melted (about 7 minutes). Put the skillet into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until surface of the hash browns is dark brown.
{If your skillet isn’t ovenproof (because it has a plastic handle, for example), you can also spoon the potatoes into a glass 9×9-inch baking dish after cooking in the skillet. Also, if you can’t find Colby cheese, you can also use cheddar cheese for this recipe. Colby, however, is preferred.}
Recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes

Butterbeer Blondies with Butterbeer Ice Cream

Since it was my birthday Tuesday, everyone has been asking me if I was making my own cake or if someone was making one for me… I always replied that I was making one for myself, but what I left out was I wasn’t making cake. Why, you might ask… Well, ready for my confession? I don’t really like cake. I wouldn’t say I dislike it… but there are just so many other desserts I would much rather have then cake. I shouldn’t say all cakes, I love lava cake and angel food cake. But normal white cake with frosting just doesn’t make sense to me, or cupcakes for that matter. Honestly, I don’t see what the fuss is about. If I’m gonna have a dessert, give me something decadent with tons of flavor. Something that gives me the urge to lick it off my plate. But, since it was my birthday, I didn’t want to make something to pain-stakingly tiresome like creme brulee. One of my favorites, btw!! So I decided to make something a little easier. Not that home made ice cream is easy, but it is one of my favorites, so in the end this is what I made as my birthday cake.

I have been curious about the flavor of butterbeer since I saw it on Harry Potter, and I don’t know if the cream soda was suppose to be the flavor of butterbeer or if it was the butterscotch, but all I have to say about this dessert is wow!! It’s basically a butterscotch blondie with vanilla cream soda ice cream and butterscotch ganache. Huh!! It is so good! The ice cream is what takes the longest because you need to give it time to cool, and then freeze it. So this dessert takes about 2 days cause of that, but the blondie and ganache are actually really simple, and everything is to die for!! So yummy!


Butterbeer Ice Cream
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cream soda
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 egg yolks



In a small bowl, gently beat the egg yolks; set aside. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the cream soda, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and butter flavoring. Heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, then allow the mixture to bubble for one minute (stir frequently as the carbonation will cause extra bubbling). Stir in 1/2 cup of cream until mixed thoroughly; remove from heat. Temper the egg yolks, then add to mixture slowly while whisking constantly.



Add the remaining cream and buttermilk and whisk until combined. Allow to cool then chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until it reaches “soft-serve” consistency. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal with lid. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours of overnight. Serve over blondies and with butterscotch ganache (recipes below).


Butterbeer Blondies
Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons cream soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray on 8×11″ baking dish cooking spray (you can use a 9×13″ pan; just reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes or so). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the egg and beat for one minute. Beat in the cream soda and vanilla, and then gradually beat in the dry ingredients just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the butterscotch chips.

Spoon the batter into the dish on spread evenly. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (the inside will still be very gooey, and the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Ganache
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat the butterscotch and heavy cream over a double boiler until the chips just start to melt. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over ice cream.

Butterbeer Blondies recipe from Sugar Crafter and Butterbeer Ice Cream and Ganache recipes from The Spiffy Cookie.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

First, I would like to say congratulations to Brenda and Amy, the giveaway winners. So excited for you guys!! Also, thank you to everyone that participated. You are all awesome! Now onto the recipe for today, which is also amazing I might add 😉

I love this recipe!! One, because you don’t deep fry the chicken, so it is at least somewhat healthy. Two, because unlike most sweet and sour recipes, you don’t have all of the extras {pineapple, peppers, etc}. Which all tend to just get left on my plate anyways. And three because it is the best home made sweet and sour sauce recipe I’ve ever tried. It might actually be the best sauce I have ever tried, period. The chicken also has such an awesome flavor. I don’t know why they fry it at all after trying this recipe. It’s not crispy on the outside, but it’s super juicy and tender, and it gets this smoky flavor that I am now addicted to. So yummy and really super easy. Whenever I see that you have to make your own sauce in a recipe, I always think it’s going to be this huge task, and a lot of the time it is. But not in this case. Super easy and quick, and so worth it!! Enjoy 🙂

Estimated Cooking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • white rice, cooked
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Sauce
  • clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
First prepare sauce by sauteing garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauce pan. Add water, vinegar, sugar, and ketchup. Stir till sugar is dissolved. Next mix cornstarch with a small amount of water, to make a consistency of soup. While still cooking, add small amounts of watered cornstarch mixture to thicken. You want sauce to be just thinner then pudding consistency for sauce. Only add enough cornstarch mixture to make this consistency. When thick enough, remove sauce from heat and set aside.
Cut up chicken breasts into bite size squares. Season with salt and pepper, then roll in bread crumbs. Heat small amount of oil in a frying pan. Cook chicken over medium-high heat, stirring till browned.
Pour half of the sauce over chicken and saute for about a minute. Remove from heat and serve over cooked rice. Top with sesame seeds if desired.

Beignets

I posted this recipe a while back, but it was one of the first recipes I put on my blog, so I badly needed to update the picture.
Here is my first picture that I took with my little digital camera. I know :/ It’s a wonder anyone started following my blog at all. But that is part of learning and improving on things, right? Plus the camera really does make all the difference. I remember telling my husband, in an attempt to persuade him to let me buy my camera, that you are only as good as the equipment you are using, and it is totally true. There is some technique involved, and photoshopping is an awesome tool, but if you don’t have good equipment there is only so much you can manipulate a shot. But I also wanted to repost this recipe because it is awesome. 
I first wanted to try these after I saw beignets on the movie The Princess And The Frog, and they are amazing!! Kind of a southern twist on sopapillas, and like a donut without the donut hole. Almost crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. The beignets themselves aren’t very sweet, like how sopapillas would taste, but then you add the honey and powdered sugar and they are heavenly. They are also amazing if you put cinnamon and sugar over the honey. And lastly, something good to know, you have to serve them hot. They are ok if you make them in advanced, but they are only amazing right after cooking. So serve them hot, drizzle with warm honey, and cover with powdered sugar. I promise you they wont last long. So yummy!! Enjoy!!!
Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/ 45 degrees C)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavored shortening to make them taste better)
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours {I chill for only about 2 hours, just to make the dough a little easier to role out}.
Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.
Fry in 369 degree F (180 degree C) hot oil until dough becomes golden brown and flip. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Once the other size is golden, remove from oil and place on paper towels.

Drizzle honey and shake confectioners’ sugar over hot beignets. Serve warm.
Altered recipe from allrecipes.com

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

This week I came down with Strep Throat, so I haven’t been cooking much. I know, right. Who gets Strep in the middle of summer? But now that I am feeling better, I wanted to quickly post a dinner recipe. My mom has made this recipe for as long as I can remember and it is one of the best chicken enchilada recipes I’ve ever had. The nice thing is it’s so simple. I usually just get a rotisserie chicken when I’m at the grocery store and pull all the meat off of that. Then all there is left to do in mix some ingredients together and bake it. Literally takes like 5 to 10 minutes of prep and then you cook it for 30 minutes. So yummy!! Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups green enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut or pulled into chunks
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 small can black olives, diced
  • flour tortillas
  • white jalapeno cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl combine sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and green enchilada sauce. In a separate medium bowl combine chicken, onions, and 1/2 the can of black olives. Add half of sour cream mixture to the chicken and mix well. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture, top with a small amount of cheese and roll. Place rolled tortilla’s side by side in baking dish and cover with remaining sour cream mixture. Top with remaining olives, additional green onions, and grated cheese. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Peanut Buttercup Cheesecake



First, thanks to everyone that voted on what desserts they wanted me to post next. I’m actually really excited this recipe won. I figured anything combining chocolate, peanut butter, cheesecake, and Reese’s peanut butter candies had to be fabulous, and it didn’t disappoint. I always photograph my food before tasting, and my first intent was to just have a bite and then start posting. Then one bite led to two, and before I knew it, the whole slice was gone. So just be warned, this cheesecake is addicting. And like all cheesecakes, it takes a good amount of time to make, so be prepared for a fair amount of prep before starting. Also, this needs to be done the day before you actually need it since it takes about 6 to 8 hours in the fridge to completely set.

The cheesecake itself is actually super easy to make, just a little time consuming cause you have to make the crust then let it cool. Bake the cake then let it cool. Finally add the fudge and the peanut butter candy and then refrigerate. So there are just a bunch of steps, but overall the recipe is not complicated. And the cheesecake itself is awesome, tastes just like a peanut buttercup with a creamier consistency. It really is to die for!! The perfect balance of peanut butter, chocolate, and cheesecake. Enjoy!!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Oreo chocolate cookie crumbs (3 cookies with filling removed)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (not chunky)
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup fudge topping
  • 4 chilled regular-size Reese’s peanut butter cups (not bite-size)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate cookie crumbs, and melted butter.

Press the crumbs firmly over just the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.

When the crust is cool, spread the peanut butter in a circle in the center of the crust. (You may soften the peanut butter for 30 seconds in the microwave to make it easier to spread.) You don’t need to spread the peanut butter to the edge, leave about an inch margin all around.

You’ll need two separate bowls for the two fillings, one larger than the other. In the larger bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Remove 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture and pour it into the smaller bowl. Add the chocolate syrup to this mixture and combine. Pour the large bowl of filling into the pan and spread it evenly over the crust. Pour the chocolate filling onto the other filling and spread it out.

Using the tip of a knife, swirl the chocolate into the white filling beneath it. A couple of passes should be enough. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake the cheesecake for 70 to 80 minutes or until it becomes firm in the center. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

When the cheesecake is completely cool, soften the fudge topping in a double boiler or the microwave for about 45 seconds, then spread it out evenly over the cheesecake. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the filling. Unwrap the peanut butter cups and chop them into small chunks. Sprinkle the peanut butter cup pieces and any crumbs over the top of the cheesecake. Chill. Slice the cake 5 times through the middle to make 10 slices.

Recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Someone wrote me an e-mail a couple weeks ago and requested a yummy Lemon Curd Cupcake recipe, but I am totally ashamed to say that I have been so busy and haven’t gotten a chance to actually make one, but I tried this recipe a couple of days ago and am happy to say that it is way good!! I have never tried a Lemon Curd Cupcake until this point, but have always been curious about what it would taste like. If you like lemon in your desserts, you will not be disappointed with this. Even my husband, who does not like fruity desserts, downed at least 2 of these, including whatever leftovers the kids left on their plates. This recipe is a really light lemon cake, with a tart lemon curd filling that tastes a lot like the lemon part of a lemon meringue pie, and then the sweet vanilla frosting to balance out the tart flavor of the curd. It is so good!! There are a lot of different components to these cupcakes, so it’s going to take you just a little bit longer to make them, but they are so worth it. A definite must try recipe 🙂 {Recipe makes about 12 cupcakes}

Estimated Cooking Time: About 60 minutes + chilling


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Batter
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
Frosting
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
For lemon curd, in a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes longer or until thickened. Stir in lemon peel. Cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; cover and chill for 1 1/2 hours or until thickened.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until lightly fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon peel. 
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or resealable plastic bag; insert a small round pastry tip. Fill bag with lemon curd. Insert tip 1 inch into center of each cupcake; fill with curd just until top of cupcake begins to crack.

For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, vanilla, salt, confectioners’ sugar and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator. Garnish with lemon zest and lemon slice if desired.

Recipe from The Taste of Home Cookbook