Wednesday, December 29, 2010

French Toast Casserole

  • 1 loaf (10 ounces) French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (10 cups)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, optional

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Maple syrup, optional

  • Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt if desired. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Dot with butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
From whence it came:  Here is another wonderful recipe from wonderful Susie Cazanave.   I blogged about Susie not too long ago and told you all how marvelous she is and how blessed I am to have her as a friend.  Her French Toast Casserole is almost as marvelous as she is, but not quite!  I love you Susie!

Why it's blogable:  First of all, it's really good!  Secondly, I love recipes that you can make ahead of time and then just pop in the oven.  Another great thing about this recipe is that it's very inexpensive to make.  Yum-e, easy, cheap!  A great combo!

A little tip:  Make sure you cook this long enough so the egg is cooked all the way and it's not runny.  I cooked it in a glass dish and followed the directions exactly and mine turned out just right!

Click here to get the printable:
French Toast Casserole

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fresh Cranberry Salad

1 qt. (24 oz.) fresh cranberries  (2 - 12 oz. bags)
2 cups sugar
1 ½ lb. red seedless grapes 
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, or more if desired

Grind cranberries in blender or food processor on medium.  (You don't want it in large chunks.)  Add sugar and stir well.  Place mixture in colander and drain overnight in refrigerator. 

In the morning, clean and dry grapes.  Cut in half and add to the cranberries.  Mix well.  Refrigerate at least two hours.  

Whip the cream until it is almost butter, very very stiff.  Slowly add 1/2 c. sugar and 1 t. vanilla to cream while whipping.  Add the whipped cream and nuts about an hour and a half before serving and keep in refrigerator so it gets cold. 

From whence it came:  One of the nicest, kindest, most generous people I have ever known shared this fabulous recipe with me.  Patty Sandner is the great gal who gets credit for this one.  Patty is twin sisters with another lady who is also one of the best people I know, Peggy Masterson.  Patty and Peggy are simply the best.  They are so much fun, and they have hearts the size of the great state of Texas.  They are always looking for ways to brighten the lives of others.  And they are both a huge bright spot in my life!  I can't say enough about these girls, or this salad!

Why it's blogable:  I tried this last week at a ladies Christmas dinner and I nearly passed out with delight.  It's just so fabulous, I don't really have the words to describe it.  It's pretty, it's got a crunch, it's sweet (and you know I'm all about sweet) and it's amazing.  Make this and you will become instantly popular.  More popular than you have ever imagined.  Possibly as popular as Patty and Peggy.  But don't become so popular that you no longer have time to stalk my little blog!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aztec Dessert

1 package Oreo cookies
1 stick melted butter
1/2 gallon ice cream, any flavor
Hot fudge sauce
1 8 oz. Cool Whip

Crush Oreos in large zip lock bag.  Reserve 1 cup and add melted butter to remaining Oreos.  Press into bottom of 9x13 pan.  Freeze for about 20 minutes.

Top Oreo crust with ice cream.  I normally remove ice cream from carton and slice with a big knife, then place it onto the crust.  You can also soften the ice cream and spread it over the crust.

Top with hot fudge sauce that has been cooled to room temperature, then spread Cool Whip on top.  Sprinkle remaining Oreos on Cool Whip.  Place in freezer for at least one hour.  Cut into squares and serve.

From whence it came:  We all need to bow down and kiss the feet of my sweet sister-in-law, Geralane, and thank her for this over-the-top, to-die-for recipe!  She has given me many great recipes over the years, but this one stands alone.  It's amazing, just like Geralane!

Why it's blogable:  A few reasons:  Oreos, butter, ice cream, Cool Whip and hot fudge!  Can you think of a better combo?  I didn't think so.  This recipe is a hit 100% of the time.  Everyone loves it, and it's very easy to make.  It's perfect for the holidays.  If you make it with peppermint ice cream it is wonderful, and so so pretty.  The Spy Who Loves Me has over the years requested it for his birthday cake.  It's great with Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream, or cookies and cream, or mint chip, or really any flavor you like.  You can't go wrong with this recipe, unless you decide not to make it.  That would be wrong.  Very wrong!

If you want to simplify the recipe, you can buy hot fudge sauce rather than make your own.  The original recipe calls for store bought sauce.  And it's good that way, but it's better with this sauce.  And cheaper, too.  Either way, you're gonna love this recipe!

Click here to get the printable:
Aztec Dessert

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Super Secret Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

That's right, I've been holdin' out on y'all!  In all these months I have not shared my super duper top secret peanut butter cookie recipe.  To tell you the truth, I've never shared it.  Ever.  With anyone!  But today, because it's Christmastime, and because I'm a giver, I'm giving you guys the recipe.

Here it is.  Drum roll please...
Now you probably know why I've never shared it.  Because it's totally humiliating!  How can someone with a cooking slash baking blog (emphasis on baking) use a packaged cookie mix?  Easy, I just rip it open, add the stuff it calls for, and bake 'em up!

From whence it came:  SuperWalmart!  But you can get them at any grocery store.  They're cheaper at SuperWalmart, so if you're smart, and I know you are, you'll buy them there.

Why it's blogable:  Here's the skinny...these peanut butter cookies are so good.  I'm not kidding!  I have made peanut butter cookies from scratch, and they are not better than these.  I wouldn't lie.  You know I wouldn't!  I'm always so sheepish when I make these for people and they ask for the recipe, and trust me, they almost always do.  But today I'm saying it loud and proud, "Betty Crocker rocks when it comes to peanut butter cookies."  To be honest, the other cookie mixes Betty makes aren't all that great, but when it comes to peanut butter, she knows her stuff.

A couple of tips:  I only add half the water called for because it makes the cookies taller and more puffy.  Also, I always add chopped peanuts.  I don't chop them much, I leave them in pretty big pieces.  And I add a lot of peanuts.  They are so good with peanuts!  One more thing, I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to form the cookies.  It makes them really big.  Big is good when it comes to cookies.  Not so good when it comes to buns and thighs, but really good when it comes to cookies!  Oh, yeah, one more thing, I always make at least two (sometimes three) packages at a time.  If you only make one you're setting yourself up for sadness, because once you taste these you're gonna realize that one just isn't enough!

Why am I giving away this huge secret now?  Because it's Christmastime, and because even if you don't bake, you can make these cookies.  Anyone can make these cookies.  A monkey could make these cookies!  And no one will ever know you used a mix.  Unless you decide to spill your guts on your cooking slash baking blog (emphasis on baking).

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almond Roca

  • 4 sticks Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (rounded)
  • 4 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 cups Almonds, Chopped
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cups Almonds, Finely Chopped, For Sprinkling
Combine the first 3 ingredients and cook on high, stirring constantly through 3 stages:
1. Runny
2. “Cheesy”—it will look like melted white cheese
3. Runny and smooth, caramel brown color

Make sure you have the fan on your stove going, cause you’ll probably set off the smoke alarm towards the end.
When it is runny, smooth and caramel brown in color, remove it from the heat and add the almonds. Stir until combined and pour the mixture onto greased cookie sheets. Spread it into an even layer. It will harden as it cools.

While it is still warm, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let them melt enough to get soft. Spread the chocolate in an even layer across the candy. While the chocolate is still “wet,” sprinkle the finely chopped almonds on top.

At this point, while it is still warm and soft, you can score the candy with a butter knife to make it break evenly, or just let it harden and break it into rustic pieces.

Store in airtight containers. Enjoy!

From whence it came:  I found this winner on Tasty Kitchen!  And I'm not kiddin' ya when I say it's a winner.  Easy to make and very few ingredients.

Why it's blogable:  I'm so excited!  This is the first time I have ever had a toffee recipe turn out good.  I've tried other recipes before and they've never been the right consistency, but this time it's so good!  I'm having to use my fly swatter to keep The Spy Who Loves Me and my teen son away from the stuff.  It's a problem!

You can see the step by step instructions here.  If you've never made toffee, you should read thorough it and look at the pictures.  It helped me to know how long to cook it, and that's really the only tricky part.

Oh, one more thing, I doubled the chocolate.  One cup? I think not!  Two cups is more like it!

Click here to get the printable:
Almond Roca

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eggs in a Muffin Tin

1 loaf of white bread (24 slices)
1 dozen eggs
3/4 cup milk
Shredded cheese

Spray the bottom of the muffin tins with Pam, or use variation below.  Using the ring of a glass cup (3 ½ inch diameter works best), cut the bread using the cup like a cookie cutter. Mold the bread firmly to the bottom and sides of the tin, buttered side down, if you're using butter. Mix the eggs and milk together.  Season egg mixture with salt and pepper to your liking.  Fill the muffin tin until it’s ¾ full. (The eggs will expand during cooking). Top with cheese.  You can add anything else you like to the egg mixture: sausage, bacon, green onions, green chilies, etc.  Bake at 350 until eggs looked cooked. Check around 20 minutes.  Makes 24 egg muffins.

Variation:  I buttered the bread on one side rather than spraying the pan with Pam.  They didn't stick and they tasted so good!  Also, I cut the recipe in half and made only a dozen.

From whence it came:  Someone who I love more than cupcakes gave this terrific recipe to me.  Susie Cazanave is the gal and she is just as good as it gets when it comes to people.  Susie is so sweet and kind and thoughtful and fun.  And she is truly one of the most genuine people I have ever known.  And popular!  She is so very popular!  She is loved by everyone.  Everyone loves and adores Susie, but not as much as me.  I love her the most!  She is one special lady, and this is one special recipe!

Why it's blogable:  I tried this recipe out this morning for a little ladies breakfast and it was a hit.  I was nervous to try a new recipe on company, but I knew Susie wouldn't lead me astray, and I was right!  I think buttering the bread gave them a great flavor and also made the edges nice and crispy.  I added chopped green onions but there are so many yum-e things you could add.  Use your imagination.  Make them for your family.  My teen son and teen daughter both loved them!  This is a winner guys, pinky swear!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Dates...the trauma!!!

Today I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and it brought back a Christmas memory...not necessarily a happy one!

I thought I'd share my newlywed Christmas with the in-laws horror story with you.  It's shameful.  It's humiliating!  It's caused me to need therapy.

When I was just a young bride, The Spy Who Loves Me took me to his Aunt Ruthie's house for Christmas dinner.  Ruthie was fun.  She was one of those "life of the party" kinda gals.

Ruthie was kind of fancy, too.  She had a nice home with pretty stuff.

Ruthie was generous.  She bought me my first set of Christmas dishes for a bridal shower gift, then for years my sweet Grandma Alyce added to the set every Christmas so that now I have a serving for twelve.  How cool is that!

Getting back to Ruthie and my Christmas horror story, there I was at fancy Aunt Ruthie's house, making my way around the buffet table, choosing what I thought looked good to eat.  I made a fatal mistake that night.  I chose something dark.  Something small and dark.  It looked harmless.  So I put one of the somethings on my plate.

I went over to the couch and sat down by The Spy (remember, we were newlyweds, we always sat by each other...always!) and said in a quiet voice, pointing to the small dark thing, "What do you think this is?"  The Spy looked into my eyes (remember, we were newlyweds, we were in love, we gazed into each others eyes regularly) and he said, "It's a date wrapped in bacon."  How on earth The Spy knew this I'll never know.  He doesn't know much about food.  But he is, after all, a spy, so I guess he just knows stuff.  

Anywho, my palms became clammy and I began to break out in a cold sweat!  I had NEVER heard of such a thing.  A date wrapped in bacon.  That's just about the freakiest food combination I had ever heard of.  What on earth was I to do?  Remember, I was a newlywed!  I was still trying desperately to make a good impression.  I couldn't act like I didn't like something that they had prepared.  I was in a tizzy! 

Then, just as luck would have it, I looked down and there, right next to me, was a trash can.  All I had to do was look around, make sure no one was watching, and drop the small dark thing into the can.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought.

Here's where the horror happened.  I covertly glanced around the room, grabbed the little dark thing with my bare hands, and dropped it into the can.  Believe me when I tell you that little dark thing made the loudest sound hitting the bottom of the trashcan that you can ever imagine.  Here's the problem...the trashcan was metal and completely empty.  There wasn't a single thing in it!  And, that small dark thing, well, it was very hard, so when it hit the bottom, it made a sound that was heard throughout the room!  Most likely it was heard throughout the entire neighborhood!  Everyone turned around and asked, "What was that?"

The story ends here.  I blanked out.  I have post traumatic stress syndrome.  I vaguely remember someone looking down into the can and seeing the little dark thing down at the bottom, all by itself, and me sitting next to it, my entire face as red as Rudolph's nose.  It wasn't my best moment.  And although that was nearly 30 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.

I still say that dates and bacon were never meant to be together.  They are an odd pair.  Don't try to convince me otherwise.  Bacon should be on a plate with pancakes and dates should be with nuts in bread.  Speaking of which, I need to share my Grandma Alyce's Date Nut Bread Recipe with y'all.  It's so good.  Not like those nasty little dark things!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gooey Toffee Butter Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup almond toffee bits or chocolate toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by-2-inch baking pan.
For the cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
For the filling: Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce the speed and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Fold in toffee bits.
Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point!
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way.

From whence it came:  The queen of ooey-gooey treats, Paula Deen!   I don't know how she does it, but Paula just keeps cranking out fabulous recipes.  I think her secret is BUTTER!  You just can't go wrong with butter.  

Why it's blogable:  This recipe is very similar to the Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake recipe that I posted a while back.  I had so much great feedback on the Gooey Pumpkin recipe that I just had to post the Gooey Toffee recipe.  They are both delicious, and this one is perfect for the holidays.

You don't have to add the toffee pieces if you don't want to.  You can just make a Gooey Butter Cake.  I've done it both ways, and both were yum-e!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!