Monday, December 12, 2011

The best ham ever. Crock pot too!

  • Harvey Ham Sandwiches
  • (from

  • 1 (6 pound) bone-in ham
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar yellow mustard
  • 1 pound brown sugar (I probably used about half of this- just add to taste!)
  • 24 dinner rolls, split


  1. Place the ham in a large pot or slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 hours. Remove the meat from the water, and allow to cool. If it has cooked long enough, it will fall into pieces as you pick it up.
  2. Pull the ham apart into shreds once it is cool enough to handle. It doesn't have to be tiny shreds. Place the shredded ham into a slow cooker. Stir in the mustard and brown sugar, cover, and set to Low. Cook just until heated. Serve on dinner rolls. We don't use any other sandwich toppings with it, but that is a personal choice.
Yum.  This was awesome ham, I promise.  Eat it plain is divine, in rolls is a snack can't go wrong.  The mustard is muted, even though that sounds like a lot of mustard.  If you're scared, just add half of the mustard called for and taste as you go.  Try this ham, you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chicken Parma Rosa- sauce mix, easy, good!

Chicken Parma Rosa

this is what it looks like at the store-
I never knew about it until a while ago

  • 1 pkg Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce Mix
  • 8 oz. penne (or other pasta desired)
  • cooked chicken
  • parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta.  Make sauce from Parma Rosa package (I think only a little butter and milk are used).
2.  Add chicken to sauce, pour over pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and eat.

Such a fast meal!  I think the sauce is great, especially since it is from a package.  I was impressed.  Kids loved it (besides one), easy to make, tasty. It is a parmesan sauce with a hint of tomato, very subtle.  

Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookies
recipe from
For the cookies:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the middle layer:
1 cup Guittard green mint chips, melted
For the frosting:
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar and mix until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined.
3. Using a 2 inch ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until firm. You don’t want to underbake or overbake these cookies. Let cool.
4. Spread a layer of the melted mint chips over the cookies. Put them into the fridge to let them set for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
5. Using a mixer, cream the butter. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa until well combined. Slowly add to the butter. Add the vanilla and a dash of milk at a time until the consistency is thick enough to spread on the cookies. Beat until smooth. Spread the frosting over the mint layer.
If you are a mint brownie lover then these cookies will be loved.  All my kids loved these cookies- how could you not with the two extra layers?  The melted chocolate chips do harden, so it's different consistency than mint frosting, but we loved them.  Very fancy too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coconut Chicken- kid friendly and easy

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl; set aside.  Mix the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture.  Place on the baking sheet.  Once all chicken breasts are coated and on the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with the melted butter.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping once halfway.
To prepare the apricot sauce, mix the apricot preserves and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Freezer Friendly:  After baking the chicken, let cool completely then freeze in a freezer bag for up to 1 month.  To reheat, bake in a preheated oven at 400˚F for 20 minutes.
Source:  Jamie MacDonald, friend of Pennies on a Platter
This was  a good dish!  The chicken didn't end up too sweet, even with the coconut.  It was fun to dip in the sauce, though my kids ate the chicken plain.  Fun.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

PW Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli-Cheese Soup from the Pioneer Woman
(from the
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 heads broccoli cut Into florets
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated cheese (mild Cheddar, sharp cheddar, jack, etc.)
  • small dash of salt (more If needed)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • splash of chicken broth If needed for thinning

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then pour in milk and half-and-half. Add nutmeg, then add broccoli, a small dash of salt, and plenty of black pepper.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Stir in cheese and allow to melt.
Taste seasonings and adjust if needed. Then either serve as is, or mash it with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender in two batches and puree completely. (If you puree it in a blender let it cool first, blend, then return it to the heat and allow to heat up. Splash in chicken broth if needed for thinning.)
I have a few other Broccoli Soups on the blog, but of course I have to try Pioneer Woman's version!  I liked how you do everything at once in this soup- no pre-cooked veggies or anything, just all in one.  This was a great soup, I had all the stuff handy in my kitchen (well, not the half-and-half; I just substituted a can of evaporated milk).  Good, warm, fresh-tasting soup.  I'll make it again for sure.

Delicious Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin (or almost 2 cups)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 c. heavy cream (I just used milk- start with the least amount of milk, then add more if need)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a jelly-roll pan (sheet pan) with cooking spray.
  2. Place ingredients from cake mix to pumpkin in a bowl, mixing a minute or two until blended well.  Pour into pan, spreading evenly.
  3. Place butter in microwave-safe bowl, and heat in microwave until melted, close to a minute.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon to bowl, mixing until incorporated.  Drizzle the whole mixture over cake and then use a knife to swirl into the batter.
  4. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes.  Mix powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over warm cake.  Cool 20 minutes and serve.
These cake bars are so good!  Our family couldn't keep away.  Easy to make, just read the directions first, then go!  Feeds many...or it should.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting- TRY

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cream sugars and butter.  Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Add remaining ingredients.  Drop spoonfuls onto non-greased cookie sheet.  Cook at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
Boil 3 T. butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar until mostly smooth. (Approx. 2 to 3 min.)  Cool and add 1/4 cup milk and 2 cups powdered sugar or until desired consistency, and whip with hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Spread onto cookies.

These were amazing.  Addicting.  Flavorful.  SO good.  

EASY Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili and Taco Filling

Southwest Beans 

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can refried beans
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dip mix

Combine all ingredients in crock pot on low 2-3 hours or until beans soften.  Great as a dip, chili, burrito or taco filling.

Yum!  We loved this!  We used it as a burrito filling and surprisingly the kids ate it up (with ketchup and sour cream).  I liked it plain, too.  So healthy and easy.  Just open can after can and you're done.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn

Red-Hot Cinnamon Candy Popcorn
  • 8 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 package (9 oz size) red cinnamon candies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup and candies; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Transfer to two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool. Break apart; store in airtight containers. 
Fun!  It's not too hot, but it is a nice change from typical popcorn flavors.  Addictive.

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookie layer:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake layer:
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla, salt and vinegar. Beat in the egg, then the baking soda and flour. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the dough into two equal portions and set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl cream the cream cheese with the sugar until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. 

3. In a 9x13 pan, spread 1/2 of the cookie dough mixture evenly across the bottom. (This is somewhat tricky to do. I find it easier to add dollops of cookie dough throughout the pan and then spread all the dollops together. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top of the cookie dough. With the remaining cookie dough, flatten chunks of dough between your hands into discs, and then place on top of the cream cheese mixture. (The dough discs don't have to touch, just place them near each other so they cover the surface as well as possible.) 

4. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is brown and cooked through. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.

(To make this in a sheet pan double the recipe and press into a 12x17" sheet pan. The cooking time is slightly shorter.)

Of course these are yummy!  And easy to make and very fun.  

Comforting food- Chicken Pot Pie Crumble

Chicken Pot Pie Crumble
  • 1 1/2 Lbs chicken (to save time I used my pre-cooked shredded chicken)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 c. celery, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. frozen peas

Crumble Topping:
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 c. heavy cream (I used half & half)
FOR THE CHICKEN: Bring chicken and broth to simmer in covered Dutch oven over medium heat (If you don't have a dutch oven, just use a stock pot). Cook until chicken is just done (8 to 12 minutes). Transfer cooked chicken to large bowl. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup and reserve. Do not wash Dutch oven.

FOR THE TOPPING: Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Sprinkle butter pieces over top of flour. Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in Parmesan. Add cream and stir until just combined. Crumble mixture into irregularly shaped pieces onto a baking sheet (I just spooned it onto the baking sheet, cooked it, and crumbled it onto the chicken in the baking dish- easier!). Bake at 450-degrees until fragrant and starting to brown (10-13 minutes). Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender (about 5 minutes). While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken into small bite-size pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.

Heat butter in empty Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to simmer and stir until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir chicken-vegetable mixture and peas into sauce.

Pour mixture into 9x13 pan (or if you have small individual-sized oven-safe dishes, you can use those-- see picture above). Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake on rimmed baking at 400-degrees sheet until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned (about 12-15 minutes). Serve hot and enjoy!

This was a little complicated to make- it took a couple readings of the recipe to get what I'd be doing when, but next time will be even faster.  The recipe is so good, and it tastes clean, you know?  No canned stuff.  No cream of chicken stuff...FRESH.  And simple flavors.  But good.  The biscuit topping adds a lot too, and there is plenty of that on top!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake

Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Angel Food cake, baked and cooled completely
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds (I didn't use these)

  1. In a large glass bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken. 
  2. Carefully add the powdered sugar and cocoa gradually and continue whipping. The cocoa will look like it is separating and lumpy but continue to beat until stiff peaks form and by then, the cocoa should be evenly combined. (If you are worried about lumps you can sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar with a fine mesh sieve.) The frosting should be thick and spreadable - but not overly whipped or it will look a bit curdly. Just beat to stiff peaks.
  3. When the angel food cake has been baked and cooled completely, cut the cake in half to form two round circles. Lay the top half to the side and gently remove pieces of the angel food cake to form a ditch in the bottom portion of the cake (taking care not to dig all the way to the bottom of the cake, you want a layer of cake on the bottom underneath the ditch). Spoon frosting into the ditch you made and lay the top circle of cake back on top. Frost the sides, top and middle of the cake. Top with toasted almonds. Refrigerate until time to serve. A serrated knife works best to cut the cake into slices.
I have had this recipe on my to-make list forever, but I should have trusted myself and made it way sooner than now!  Totally delicious....not hard to figure out why.  Real whipping cream, chocolate flavored?  Winning combo.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Low-fat EASY Vanilla Ice Cream- surprisingly great!

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • (from

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Combine milk, sugar and vanilla in freezer canister of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Makes 1/2 gallon.

I was not sure this would turn out well!  I have the kitchenaid ice-cream attachment bowl, and I love how easy and fast it is to make your own ice cream.  This recipe had great reviews at, and I decided what the heck...we'll try it!  It whipped up quite nicely, though it was very soft-serve, which I prefer anyway.  After being frozen over-night, it was a little more icy than normal ice cream, but still delicious.  A great guilt-free recipe.  It will be fun to try add-ins, or making this with chocolate milk.