Cake Mix Cookies

Want a quick go-to dessert recipe guaranteed to be loved by everyone that’s simple and easy to make? This one’s for you! I get rave reviews every time I make these. They are little puffy clouds of amazing goodness. Just like Pringles, eat one and you won’t be able to stop until they’re gone.

I found this recipe about 6 months ago on Paula’s Home Cooking. The original recipe is chocolate, but immediately my brain began thinking of other kinds to make, spice cake mix with pecans, vanilla, carrot cake cookies…yum!

I’ve made these for baby showers, work parties, family get-togethers and every time at least one person asks for the recipe. The key is letting the cookie batter sit in the fridge for at least an hour before scooping – makes it much easier to work with.


Bake-Dried Apples

I went to a local grocery store a few days ago for lunch – they have a really good sushi bar! – and saw a bag of bake dried apples made by Bare Fruit in the checkout line. I was even more impressed when I picked up the bag and looked at the ingredients – Apples. Yes, that was the one – and only – ingredient. They suckered me in and I bought a bag, along with my Spicy Tuna and Spicy Salmon rolls – yum! I figured since apples were the only ingredient, that I could duplicate them at home. After some research, I combined a few techniques to come up with this recipe.

This post will also show you how to make a simple syrup. It’s pretty simple…ha! Get it? Ok, so simple syrups can be used to soak cakes, sweeten tea, and flavor cocktails among other things. You can also flavor it with anything! Spices, herbs, fresh ginger, etc. The simple syrup steps are completely optional for this recipe, however, I think it adds a nice touch of spice and sweetness. Once made, you can store your simple syrup in a bottle or other airtight container, and it will last for months.


Baked BBQ Wings

It’s finally starting to cool off here in Texas and since tomorrow is the last day of summer, that means it’s – football time! We enjoy getting together with friends and watching the game. Everyone’s debating whether Tony Romo will be playing on Monday night…I’m pretty sure he will be. I remember when I was a kid, I’d sit in the living room with my Poppy and Uncle and watch the games. Even if I didn’t know quite what was going on – I was hanging with the guys!

One of the first foods I think of for football parties – WINGS! Who doesn’t love a good fried wing dipped in your favorite sauce? My husband and I both do, but we don’t make them that often because you have to drag out the pot and the oil to fry them. I created this recipe to give all the flavors of those wings – but with less calories – and much less prep and cooking time!


Roasted Peppers & Veggie Tacos

I’m so excited to share this post with you! It’s actually a two-in-one post, because I’ll show you how to make your own roasted peppers and combine them with a few other things to make veggie tacos. Now, I won’t lie, there are times when I do take the shortcut of buying a jar of roasted peppers, but when you have the time to make your own, it’s worth it! And so easy!! Really – I mean it! You also have more of the smokey, roasted flavor and get more bang for you buck! This is a great technique to have under your belt….or your apron…since we are cooking here.


Our Best Bites’ Quick & Easy Black Beans

Let me just start by saying that I am huge fans of Our Best Bites! Sara and Kate are two moms who love to cook. Their recipes are a good mix of quick and easy, healthy, and fun to make. I’ve been following them for about a year and have loved every recipe of theirs I’ve tried.

Alright, now on to the food! I love black beans and I happened to be looking for a good go-to recipe based on canned beans that I could incorporate into my taco night menu. My brother is a vegetarian, so veggie tacos were something that I’d been wanting to make for a family dinner (hint – next and last of this Mexican series of posts!). I happened to be looking at Sara and Kate’s site and found this recipe. I modified it a bit to my liking and we make these at least once a month at our house. I use two big cans of beans and we eat off that batch all week in nachos, tacos, and quesadillas. These are even great served as a dip with chips.


Southwest Frittata

Finally, my first breakfast post! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. That’s mostly due to the fact that I LOVE eggs! I love them fried, scrambled, hard-boiled. Yum! Omelets, burritos, hashes – and there’s some sort of cheese in each one which pretty much makes it twice as good. I could eat breakfast every meal of every day and not get tired of it.

What is a frittata? It’s the Italian version of an omelette. It reminds me of a quiche without the crust. My husband loves it because it’s equal parts meat, veggie, cheese, and egg. This recipe is based on the technique used by Cooks Illustrated, but I’ve changed up some of the ingredients to go with our Mexican theme. This is a technique that once you know how to do it, you can change the ingredients out and add a bit of whatever you like. This is a great Saturday morning hunting-through-the-fridge-to-see-what-little-bits-of-veggies-and-leftovers-you-can-find recipe.


Mexican Corn Salsa

The next few posts will all be Mexican food related! Being in Texas, Mexican is probably our favorite cuisine, second only to Italian – because you can’t beat fresh pasta and it’s in my blood! Once you’re armed with a few simple recipes, you can make anything from quesadillas, tacos, nachos….the list goes on and on.

I’ve been working on this recipe for about 2 years. I began the journey after going to Tin Star Taco Bar. They make excellent tacos and they have a corn salsa, similar to this one, that my husband loves. We could go there and if this is all he had to eat, he’d be perfectly fine.

So every time we plan a mexican menu, I try to get a little bit closer to perfection. This is as close as I’ve been able to get, and I think it’s pretty good. You can use it to top tacos, add it inside quesadillas, or grab some chips and dig in. This is best made the day before you serve to let all the flavors meld.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

As fall approaches, I start to crave one thing – pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin lattes…well, you get the picture. Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors. I found this recipe last year on Our Best Bites and there are a lot of similar versions all over the internet. Normally, I’m all for completely homemade stuff, but you can’t beat the ease of these and everyone loves them! I often need something quick and inexpensive to bring to work and these muffins definitely fit the bill.

The recipe also has just three ingredients – yes, that’s right – three! – and it makes about 3 dozen muffins. Or 2 and a half regular sized muffins and 12 mini muffins as I did below. Also, I’d like to point that these are 1 Weight Watchers point a piece (well, before the chocolate chips). A great snack to have around. You can even freeze them and then grab one on the go for breakfast or pack them into lunches.


Nana’s Breaded Chicken

I’ve mentioned it before, but my Grandmother (Nana) is awesome. She has no written recipes and remembers most of them. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything she cooked that didn’t taste good. She emigrated from Sicily, Italy when she was a teenager. Sicily is actually the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for citrus, olives, olive oil, grapes, and wine.

She and my Grandfather (Poppy) were the ones who first peaked my interest in cooking. I’d help them make fresh pasta, ravioli, and cheesecakes in their garage and make $20 – which when you’re 10, is a lot of money! They sold them to local restaurants. During my teenage years, I started writing their recipes down so that I could pass them down to my children (and so I could remember them myself!).

This recipe is based on Nana’s breaded chicken and is one of my mom’s favorite dishes. She actually requested Nana make for her past birthday dinner and it made me remember how much I enjoy it as well.

It also adds a simple technique to help keep your chicken moist and juicy – brining.


Samoa Cookie Bars

We’re going to a football party today, so yesterday I asked my husband what he wanted to bring. I right away thought maybe corn salsa (post coming up later this week!) and some tortilla chips, but his first thoughts are always desserts! I guess that balances us out. He won this time.

He’s wanted me to make Samoa cookies – our favorite Girl Scout Cookie, and America’s #2 to the Thin Mint – as long as I’ve known him. In fact, we usually only allow ourselves 2 boxes of these because they may not make it through the week. Horrible, I know, but oh so good! So I found this recipe – Samoa Cookie Bars by Baking Bites. Same lovely shortbread cookie with chocolate, caramel, and coconut – but in a bar cookie!