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Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread | alidaskitchen.com

Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread + DOLE Garden Soup

Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread is pizza dough wrapped around a cube of cheese, brushed with garlic butter and baked in a Bundt pan.  Fun to serve to a crowd and perfect to enjoy with your favorite soup!

Thank you to DOLE (through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network) for sponsoring this post.

Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread | alidaskitchen.com

Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread is small pieces of pizza dough wrapped around a cube of cheese and brushed with melted garlic butter.  In other words, made from some of the tastiest foods ever!  It is not overly dough-y or overly cheesy, but a nice balance of the two.  And the garlic butter really makes it special. The result is a cheese filled garlic mini pizza bread that is made for dipping.  Pizza sauce seemed like an obvious dipper, until I realized this Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread is quite similar to mini grilled cheese.  What goes best with grilled cheese, but soup of course!

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Cheesy Green Bean Casserole | alidaskitchen.com #recipes

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole {No Soup}

For a healthier twist on a holiday classic favorite, try this easy recipe for a Cheesy Green Bean Casserole that is creamy, cheesy, made with Greek yogurt and without soup.  Thank you to Del Monte (through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select) for sponsoring this post!

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole | alidaskitchen.com #recipes

Now that it is November, we are eagerly planning our holiday menus. When planning side dishes, one dish that almost always appears at every family holiday gathering is Green Bean Casserole. It is the same, traditional recipe that everybody makes.  However, in preparation for this year, I decided to give Green Bean Casserole a healthier, tastier makeover. This result is a Cheesy Green Bean Casserole that is a huge crowd pleaser for the whole family!…

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Baked Pumpkin French Toast | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #SundaySupper

Baked Pumpkin French Toast #SundaySupper

Baked Pumpkin French Toast | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #SundaySupper Baked French Toast is one of my favorite comfort foods that is easy to make and the whole family loves.  Now that the temperatures are getting colder, we are definitely in a fall comfort food frame of mind. I know I am not alone when it comes to my love for pumpkin anything, which is one of the quintessential flavors of fall.   With the warm flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon, this Baked Pumpkin French Toast is pure delicious fall comfort food!…

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Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake | alidaskitchen.com

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Frozen Food Foundation for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake is a sweet, tangy vanilla cake bursting with juicy blueberries throughout. So simple, delicious and easy!

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake | alidaskitchen.com

All summer, I was planning to make a blueberry buttermilk cake, however my family eats through containers of blueberries so quickly, I never had enough to make the cake. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I ran across this recipe for a Lemon Blueberry Cake. With a few modifications, I thought this recipe could become a perfect Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake. I became obsessed with making this recipe, despite our love for everything pumpkin this time of year. Mid-fall is not really blueberry season.

Then I was at the grocery store, picking up the usual frozen peas and corn for the kids, and it hit me…frozen blueberries! Frozen blueberries (and fruits and vegetables in general) are a much more affordable, convenient and easy to serve option. I tossed a bag in my basket and looked forward to creating a Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake!…

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Heavenly Chocolate Cake | alidaskitchen.com #recipes

Heavenly Chocolate Cake

Transform your every day chocolate cake into something special with this Heavenly Chocolate Cake.   Thank you to MIRACLE WHIP (through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network) for sponsoring this post.

Heavenly Chocolate Cake | alidaskitchen.com #recipes

We are already starting to think of holiday eats and treats (and gifts, if you talk to Adam).  And of course the holiday season is not complete without delicious desserts.  As much as I love to bake, after busy days of being mommy taxi, taking care of the kids, exercising and working, I find myself with little extra time (and energy) to devote to making our favorite desserts. That is where quick and easy desserts, like this Heavenly Chocolate Cake, come to the rescue.  With just a few simple ingredients, this delicious cake can be made in minutes!

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Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #WeekdaySupper

Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon #WeekdaySupper

Give your weeknight supper an upscale twist with this Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon cooked to perfection, covered with a simple honey balsamic glaze. Who knew a fancy meal could be so simple, easy and delicious!

Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon | alidaskitchen.com  #recipes #WeekdaySupper

I always say a birthday isn’t a birthday unless there is cake. Well, today is my birthday, but I have no cake to share with you.  Instead, I have one of my favorite birthday meals to share. Whenever we go out to eat for special occasions, I almost always get a filet.  For years I tried to achieve restaurant perfection at home, but my steaks never measured up…until now.  After a little persistence and experimentation, this Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon satisfies all of my steak cravings at a fraction of the cost.  It is fancy yet simple and quick to make on this weeknight birthday.

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Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip | alidaskitchen.com

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Transform a classic dip into a bold and zesty party favorite with this easy to make Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip!  Thank you to MIRACLE WHIP (through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network) for sponsoring this post.  

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip | alidaskitchen.com

Many, many years ago, I was asked to bring appetizers to a Labor Day party. I chopped some veggies, concocted a couple dips on the fly and was good to go.  The dips were a ranch dill and a spinach artichoke.  They were both creamy, easy to make, and used the same secret ingredient.  …

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Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #beef #SundaySupper

Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew #SundaySupper

No browning of the beef is required for this easy Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew recipe. Simple, healthy comfort food that the whole family will love! {gluten free, dairy free} 

Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #beef #SundaySupper

This Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew is my absolute favorite beef recipe.  It is a simple recipe made with wholesome ingredients that is pure, healthy comfort food. Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew  is packed with beef, lots of vegetables, is easy to make and is just delicious.  What could be better?   Well, my friends, it gets better.  What if I told you that all that you need to do is mix up a simple sauce, cut the vegetables, cube the meat, and that’s it.  There is no browning of the meat required…just put everything in the pot and then pop it in the oven!  A few hours later you will have perfectly browned and tender beef and vegetables….

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Chocolate Picnic Cake | alidaskitchen.com

Chocolate Picnic Cake

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Chocolate Picnic Cake | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #chocolate #cake #picnic

Chocolate Picnic Cake is a simple chocolaty cake that is quick to make and perfect for a picnic or any gathering. It is light, fluffy and delicious!

After spending many months under several feet of snow, we finally got to enjoy some beautiful weather – 60s, sunny, perfect.  My kids have been so excited to go to playgrounds, blow bubbles, and play soccer and T-ball.

Chocolate Picnic Cake | alidaskitchen.com

To celebrate, we thought it would be fun to plan a little picnic!  Seeing as no celebration is complete without cake, I quickly whipped together this Chocolate Picnic Cake for a special treat.

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Broccoli Cheddar & Egg Hashbrowns Cups | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #OreIdaHashbrown #shop #cbias

Broccoli, Cheddar & Egg Hashbrowns Cups

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

Broccoli, Cheddar & Egg Hashbrowns Cups are shredded potatoes baked in a muffin tin and then filled with broccoli, cheddar cheese and eggs.  These are a perfect addition to your Easter brunch menu!

Broccoli Cheddar & Egg Hashbrowns Cups | alidaskitchen.com

I have been eagerly anticipating Easter for a while now – coming up with the perfect gifts for Easter baskets,  planning an afternoon with the bunny and working on our Easter brunch menu.  While I still have to get a couple more things for the baskets, our bunny play-date is next Saturday and the brunch menu is complete.  We were missing two brunch essentials – hashbrowns and muffins. So to make our menu complete, I decided to combine the two by making muffin cups out of shredded potatoes, and then filling the cups with a cheesy, broccoli egg mixture.   I headed to Walmart, picked up a bag of Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes, and got straight to work!  The result was a very simple to make Broccoli, Cheddar & Egg Hashbrowns Cups.

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Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna | alidaskitchen.com #SundaySupper

Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna #SundaySupper

Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna is filled with layers of three cheeses, kale and a hearty mushroom Bolognese sauce, creating a rustic, earthy pasta dish perfect for a special occasion!

Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna | alidaskitchen.com

This week the Sunday Supper Movement is joining Gallo Family Vineyards to celebrate an incredible milestone.  Their Hearty Burgundy wine is celebrating its 50th birthday this year!  Today we are sharing ways to pair, cook and entertain with Hearty Burgundy.  For this celebration, I wanted to create something extra special.  While the Hearty Burgundy pairs well with chili, Italian meat sauces and grilled sausages, I thought mushrooms would also pair beautifully with this flavorful wine.

The inspiration for Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna started with a mushroom Bolognese sauce.  It is a chunky sauce made with dried porcini and baby bella mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, red wine and rounded out with mascarpone cheese.   The sauce is wonderful simply served over pasta, but I wanted use it to create something fit for a special celebration.  Something special, like Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna!  This lasagna is filled with layers of ricotta and Parmesan cheeses mixed with kale, mozzarella and the rustic, earthy mushroom Bolognese.  A little extra work goes into making this dish, but it is a labor of love and a delightful way to celebrate the Hearty Burgundy….

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Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups | alidaskitchen.com

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups #SundaySupper

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups | alidaskitchen.com #SundaySupper

After making the Spinach Lasagna Cups recipe for last Sunday, I had another tasty idea pop into my head that I had to make right away – Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups.  I don’t typically like to share similar recipes back-to-back, but these were so good, they simply could not wait.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups are made with layers of cheese, veggies, spicy, buffalo-sauce soaked shredded chicken and more cheese.  In other words, they combine some of the most delicious game day foods (or any day foods, duh!)  into a  wonderful, bite-sized lasagna. The concept is the same as the Spinach Lasagna Cups, with lasagna-style layering, using wonton wrappers in place of noodles.   They are quick and easy to make, and bake up in a snap!…

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Jalapeno Hummus | alidaskitchen.com #RubbermaidSharpie #PMedia #ad

Jalapeno Hummus

Jalapeno Hummus is a healthy dip (or spread) with a little jalapeno kick.  Luckily it takes only 10 minutes to make, because this popular hummus disappears quickly!  

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Rubbermaid and Sharpie but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RubbermaidSharpie  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

Jalapeno Hummus | alidaskitchen.com #RubbermaidSharpie #PMedia #ad

With the Big Game just around the corner, I have been putting the finishing touches on my menu planning and coming up with some fun recipes.  In fact, it’s almost like planning for the holidays – mass quantities of lots of tasty foods to share with family and friends!  

After making Sweet Potato Hummus, I have been looking forward to making more varieties of homemade hummus. This time I thought something a little spicy was in order ~ something like Jalapeno Hummus!  With just a few simple ingredients and a food processor (or blender), you are 10 minutes away from one of the best hummus recipes ever!  Jalapeno Hummus is flavorful without being too spicy.  All of the flavors blend very nicely, with a little jalapeno kick at the end.  The recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled!), making Jalapeno Hummus ideal for game day entertaining.    

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Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls | alidaskitchen.com

Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls

OREO disclosure

Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls | alidaskitchen.com

Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls are a delicious yet simple chocolate truffle made with only 4 ingredients.  These are one of the easiest desserts you will ever make and also one of the tastiest!

This recipe starts with the classic Oreo Cookie Ball with a pretzel twist.  The pretzels add a subtle salty component to the truffle, giving it the salty-sweet combination that is always so popular.  This recipe makes plenty, which is good because they will disappear quickly.  Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls will make a wonderful addition to any Holiday treat platter, or for any occasion….

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Easy Ice Cream Pie #recipe uses only 3 ingredients, so good! | alidaskitchen.com

Easy Ice Cream Pie

CBIAS Disclosure Easy Ice Cream Pie | alidaskitchen.com #PlanAhead

Easy Ice Cream Pie is a delicious, creamy pie that can be made in minutes and chilled to perfection.  With this dessert, some family size meals and more, you have an instant dinner party in your freezer!  

In preparation for holiday celebrations and entertaining, it’s that time of year when you’re making your lists and checking them twice.  If you’re like me, you have it all planned out…or so you think.  Then your kids take a short 20 minute nap, have extra activities for the holidays, they need you to play trains, need help put on socks, or just neeeeeeeed something! Sound familiar?  (please say yes!)   Life happens, right?   That’s why I have found some tricks to help make meals and entertaining easier during this busy holiday season….

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M&M Chocolate Cookie Cups | alidaskitchen.com

M&M Chocolate Cookie Cups

M&M Chocolate Cookie Cups are a chewy, chocolate cookie studded with chocolate chips that is baked into a cookie cup and then topped with your favorite M&M candies.  These are always very popular!

M&M Chocolate Cookie Cups | alidaskitchen.com

‘Tis the season to be busy in the kitchen!  We have been busy baking cookies, baking with chocolate, baking something new almost every day it seems.  While it is easy to get caught up in making the latest cookie stuffed in a cookie or some otherwise intricate dessert, I always like to have some easy, tasty recipes that are sure to be a hit at any party.

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Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars #SundaySupper

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | alidaskitchen.com

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars are a decadent dessert made on the lighter side that is simple to make.  If you’re intimidated by making a full cheesecake, or just looking for a quick and easy recipe for a cheesecake fix, then these bars are you for you!  In 30 minutes you make the crust, the cheesecake filling, and even a fresh raspberry sauce….

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Chocolate Pretzel Cookies | alidaskitchen.com

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies | alidaskitchen.com

If you love that salty-sweet combination, then you will love these Chocolate Pretzel Cookies.  Studded with chopped pretzels and chocolate chips throughout, these cookies are sure to delight folks of all ages.  Chocolate Pretzel Cookies cookies take minutes to prepare, so they can easily be whipped together any time.   Plus the whole pretzel garnish on top of the cookie is just so cute!…

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Over 30 Perfect Party Dips and Desserts | alidaskitchen.com

30+ Perfect Party Dips and Desserts #HolidayHelper

NRFA Disclosure

Over 30 recipes for Perfect Party Dips and Desserts made using cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream that are easy to make and great for a crowd.  For all of these recipes and more, be sure to visit my Perfect Party Dips and Dessert board on Pinterest!

Over 30 Perfect Party Dips and Desserts | alidaskitchen.com

Lately I have been receiving many requests for party menu ideas, as people begin planning their Holiday festivities.  I thought it would be fun to share some recipes from my favorite bloggers.  I gathered the most amazing appetizer and dessert recipes ~ think savory dips and spreads, as well as dessert dips and simple cheesecakes.   They are all easy to make, many require no cooking or baking, which is all very welcome when it comes to planning a party!

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Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats | alidaskitchen.com

Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats #alphabits

Alpha-Bits Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats

Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats put a delicious pumpkin twist on classic marshmallow cereal treats made fun for kids using Alpha-Bits cereal.

Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving planning is in full force.   My favorite part of Thanksgiving planning is dessert!   While I absolutely love this crustless pumpkin pie recipe, it can be nice to mix things up a bit and make something new.  Marshmallow cereal treats are always a favorite, especially with kids.  I decided to combine my favorite Thanksgiving dessert (pumpkin pie) with a treat that kids love (marshmallow cereal treats) to create a fun Thanksgiving treat ~ these Pumpkin Pie Alpha-Bits Treats!…

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Lighter Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Frosted Pumpkin Cake is a classic pumpkin sheet cake topped with cream cheese frosting.  Delicious and made on the lighter side!

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I love baking with pumpkin!  While it is always fun to get creative, there is something to be said about the classics.  This Frosted Pumpkin Cake is absolutely a classic.   The moist cake is filled with pumpkin and warm spices of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice ~ the epitome of Fall pumpkin baking.  Topped with a cream cheese frosting,  Frosted Pumpkin Cake is a favorite classic combination…and it is made on the lighter side!     …

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Three Bean Vegetarian Chili from Alida's Kitchen

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili #WeekdaySupper

30 Minute Three Bean Vegetarian Chili from alidaskitchen.com

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili is so good, carnivores will not miss the meat!  This healthy chili takes only 30 minutes to make, and leftovers reheat well. {vegan, gluten free}

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili, also known as “Veg Head” Chili, is one of our favorite recipes to make during the cooler months. This chili is hearty enough to satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians (and vegans!) alike…due to the addition of the third bean ~ refried beans!  The refried beans are an unexpected addition that thickens the chili perfectly and gives it a the nice hearty texture.  Combined with the other beans and all of the vegetables and spices, this chili has quickly become a family favorite….

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Pudding-Filled Cookie Cups from Alida's Kitchen

Pudding Cookie Cups

Pudding Cookie Cups

Pudding Cookie Cups are chocolate chip cookie dough baked in a mini muffin tin and topped with your favorite JELL-O pudding.  These fun treats are easy to make and can be decorated for any holiday or occasion.

With all the decorations, the costumes, the pumpkins and the spooky edibles, Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  With Halloween only two weeks away, I wanted to share some fun treat ideas that are easy to make and great for kids.  These could be for a Halloween party or simply to treat all those neighbor kids paying your house a visit….

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Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake is a rich, moist chocolate cake made with pumpkin and a hint of spice. Pumpkin replaces much of the fat in the cake that is made on the lighter side!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake is a rich, moist chocolate cake made with pumpkin and a hint of spice.  Pumpkin replaces much of the fat in the cake that is made on the lighter side!

Lately I have been enjoying making chocolate desserts a bit healthier using various fruits and vegetables.  The results have been fantastic, with each recipe far exceeding my expectations.   This Chocolate Pumpkin Cake is no exception!  This cake kind of reminds me of a chocolate covered pumpkin truffle, only in cake form…and a little healthier….

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easy make ahead chocolate pudding cakes

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes


While Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge deal at our house, it does give me a reason to bake up something extra special…usually involving chocolate.  Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes are definitely something special.  They are a simple yet decadent dessert that is pure comfort food.  They are also surprisingly quick and easy to make and can even be made a day in advance (great for entertaining!).  The recipe can easily be halved to serve only two, OR make the full recipe and enjoy one set of cakes one day and enjoy them again the next day.   Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes are delicious as-is, or topped with your favorite ice cream.  I had vanilla bean on hand, which was classic and tasty, but I am drooling over the idea of a salted caramel ice cream topping these cakes.

Since I made the full recipe for the two of us, we got to enjoy Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes two nights in a row.  I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day is going to become one of our favorite holidays now, if it means special desserts like this! 

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (if not making ahead). Spray four 6 to 8 ounce ramekins with cooking spray, place on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a double boiler (or a mixing bowl placed over simmering water), melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons sugar and then egg yolks and vanilla, stirring until until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff and glossy.
  4. Fold ⅓ egg white mixture into chocolate mixture, gently stirring to combine. Add the rest of the egg whites, gently folding until combined. Divide evenly among prepared ramekins. (If making ahead, stop here. Cover cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake).
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes puff up and the tops begin to crack. Be careful not to over bake. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out gooey. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with ice cream, if desired.

 

Source:  Everyday Food, December 2006

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies

This is my favorite recipe for Chewy Ginger Cookies. They are soft, chewy, with warm flavors of ginger and molasses, plus they take 10 minutes to prepare!

When it comes to holiday baking, I enjoy trying new recipes, but I also like to have some go-to recipes.   Standby recipes that are guaranteed to be crowd pleasers and are easy to make.  For years, I have been trying to find that special recipe for a ginger cookies.  These Chewy Ginger Cookies are the top contender for becoming that special recipe.  They are super soft and chewy with the warm flavors of ginger and molasses in each bite.   The dough takes less than 10 minutes to make, which is always a bonus!

This marks the final week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Mom.  Be sure to check out the thumbnails at the bottom of this post for more delicious holiday treats!

Chewy Ginger Cookies
 
Yields: 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup water
  • Additional sugar, for rolling
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Mix molasses and water in a liquid measuring cup, and stir until combined (Note: you may need to stir again before adding to butter mixture).
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined. Beating on low, alternately add flour mixture and molasses mixture to the butter mixture, until fully combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Roll a rounded tablespoonful of dough into a ball and then roll the ball in granulated sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are set (be careful not to overbake). Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home: Best Loved Cookies and Bars

 

We are to Week #12 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.

 

Peppermint Twist Kiss Cookies

 Peppermint Twist Kiss Cookies are a fun variation of the ever-popular “blossom” cookies with a candy kiss in the middle. These light-tasting peppermint cookies have a red and white swirl that are cute and festive for the holidays or any time! 
Peppermint Twist Kiss Cookies are tasty, fun and festive…perfect for this time of year!  The red and white cookie is a light-tasting peppermint butter cookie, and then topped with a chocolate kiss.

Grandma’s Caramel Bars

 My grandma was always impressive in the kitchen, especially with her holiday treats.  This recipe she created for Caramel Bars is no exception!  Most caramel bars I’ve had have been underwhelming and have had a relatively stiff caramel layer in the center.  So is not the case with these Caramel Bars.  The caramel layer is gooey, melty and wonderful.   The oat crust and crumbly topping are simple and delicious, and the chocolate chips add some chocolate and texture.  Her recipe also includes 1 cup walnuts, which I do not use.  No holiday treat platter is complete without caramel bars!

Speaking of holiday treats, we are in Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  This recipe makes a generous amount, so is definitely a good treat to have on hand for your holiday celebrations.

Grandma’s Caramel Bars
 
Yields: 3 to 4 dozen bars, depending on size
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick oats work fine)
  • 1 cup butter, softened (I use light butter)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package caramels
  • ⅓ cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, put the flour, oats, butter, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer on low (I use a hand mixer), slowly beat in the butter until combined, moist, and pea-sized crumbs form. Press ½ of mixture into prepared baking dish and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, slowly melt caramels and evaporated milk over a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), stirring frequently.
  4. Once crust is done, pour caramel mixture over crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips (and walnuts, if using) over caramel. Crumble remaining oat mixture over caramel and chocolate chips. Bake for 12 minutes and move to a wire rack to cool completely.

We are already to week #10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic.  Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

 

pumpkin cream cheese filled cupcakes

Pumpkin Surprise Cupcakes

So I couldn’t help myself…I had to share one last pumpkin recipe with you.  It’s a good one.  Pumpkin Surprise Cupcakes are a moist, delicious pumpkin cake with a cream cheese surprise in the middle.  A little sprinkling of powdered sugar on top is all these cupcakes need before presenting, which makes them ideal for travel or eating at a gathering since they won’t get all messy.  While these cupcakes can hold their own without any frosting, they would also be really good with a little Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting if you want to get fancy.  Pumpkin Surprise Cupcakes are an easy, portable and fun little pumpkin alternative to tomorrow’s traditional pie.

 

By the way, can you believe we’re already in Week #9 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday, many of us are posting starting today through the rest of the week, so be sure to check out all of the yummy treats by clicking on the thumbnails at the bottom of this post.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Pumpkin Surprise Cupcakes
 
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Powdered sugar, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, gently folding until well-blended.
  4. FILLING: In a separate small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat on low until just combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups approximately one-third full. Distribute evenly among cupcakes, dropping a generous tablespoonful in the enter of each cupcake. Cover with remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the pumpkin cake portion comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving (or frost as desired).

Source: Taste of Home


Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

Sunny Blossoms

Sunny Blossoms are a peanut-free twist on the classic cookie.  While Peanut Blossoms are always a favorite, the need for peanut-free treats are becoming more common.  So in an effort to make a peanut-free alternative, enter Sunny Blossoms, made with sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.  I used my grandma’s recipe as a base and went from there.  Being the peanut butter diehard that I am, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  While it is obviously not peanut butter, they still taste really good!  Mike loved them as well and noted the next day they tasted almost peanut-y.  Sunflower seed butter is mild enough to not overpower the cookie.  Frankly if you put chocolate with anything, it’s going to be good! 🙂

Time sure flies!  We are to Week 7 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  We all know that no holiday cookie platter is complete without some form of a ‘blossom’ cookie.  Not only are they tasty, but they are so darn cute with the Hershey’s Kiss in the middle!  Sunny Blossoms offer a delicious, peanut-free alternative.

Sunny Blossoms
 
Yields: approximately 36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter (I used light butter)
  • ⅓ cup sunflower seed butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • granulated sugar, for rolling
  • 36 chocolate Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sunflower butter until blended.
  3. Gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar to sunflower butter mixture - cream well. Add egg and vanilla - beat well.
  4. Blend in dry ingredients gradually (Note: I do this step by hand using a wooden spoon) and mix thoroughly. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (Note: I typically chill overnight).
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Shape dough into balls using a rounded teaspoonful for each. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Top each cookie with a Hershey's Kiss candy, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around edge. Return to oven and bake 2 to 5 minutes longer until golden brown. Move cookies to wire rack to cool completely.