Monday, September 19, 2011

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

  • 1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not Buttermilk)
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. buttermilk (I use 1 cup milk with 1 T. vinegar cause I usually don't have buttermilk on hand)
  • 2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro (I always skip and it's great without too)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno (if you like it spicy keep the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds or just skip altogether)
Mix all ingredients together in the blender. Enjoy over salad, on mexican food, whatever!

I know a lot of people make the Cafe Rio Pork a lot and love this famous dressing.  I have only made it a couple of times but I am amazed how good it tastes.  Don't limit it just to pork!

Oreo Pudding Cookies

Oreo Pudding Cookies
Source: Sweet Treats and More
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo Pudding mix 
  • 2 1/4 cups flour  
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Hershey's Cookies N Cream candy cars broken into small pieces (I was feeling too cheap so I just used a handful each of white chocolate chips and semi-sweet)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. 
  3. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended.
  4.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n' cream pieces and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.
  5. Using a cookie dough scoop or a spoon, place dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. You do not want to over-bake these! Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack. Store in air-tight container. Makes three dozen.
These are a lot like these chocolate chip cookies that use vanilla pudding mix.  I love the cookies n' cream pudding mix addition!  These are awesome.  I think the flavor is best when the cookies cool.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An easy and delicious oven-baked chicken dish

Anniversary Chicken
(adapted from

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce (if you just have teriyaki sauce, just marinate chicken for half an hour or so, or thicken with corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce on both sides of the chicken breasts, then spoon on salad dressing. 
  3. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove pan, garnish with parsley and serve.

This chicken has such great flavor!  Seems kind of odd to combine teriyaki and ranch flavors but  it works really well.  A keeper.  Great for serving to guests as well- any chicken with bacon on it is sure to impress, right?

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes- decadent!

Cinnamon roll pancakes


Yield: 4 servings (4 pancakes)
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 10 min

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquidy. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.


*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!
*It's best if you pour the batter onto your skillet, wait a minute or so and then swirl the cinnamon onto the batter. That'll give it a chance to set a little before you add the swirl.
*If your baggie of filling begins to get too thick, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up again. On that same note, it shouldn't be too runny. The consistency of soft toothpaste is perfect. If it's melty and runny, it will tend to run all over your pancakes. Once you micro it, let it sit on the counter at room temp for a while until it thickens slightly.
Ok, these are a little more time-consuming than Krusteaz but they are so good!  Great for a birthday breakfast or other special occasion.  Be forewarned- the cinnamon filling is quite tricky to add to the batter on the griddle.  It tends to want to spill outside the pancake and sizzle everywhere.  It still tastes great this way, but not as pretty!  I also didn't wait for the filling to set; mine was too runny.  Don't do that.  I also skipped the cream cheese glaze because i thought the kids would be satisfied with pancakes as is plain or with maple syrup.  And they were.  But the cream cheese glaze would definitely be awesome!   

Great pancakes for Fall- Pumpkin Pancakes and Cinnamon Syrup

Cinnamon Syrup

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water
  1. Stir together the white sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir in vanilla extract and water. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Continue to boil and stir until mixture thickens to syrup consistency. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
1-1/4 C. buttermilk
4 T. melted butter
5 T. pumpkin puree
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1-1/4 C. Flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. all-spice
orange food coloring (optional)

1.  In a medium sized measuring cup, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice.

2.  Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, pumpkin, sugar and salt in large bowl. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Mix in orange food colour to desired liking (if you want orange pancakes for Halloween).

3.   In preheated skillet, pour about 1/4 c. batter. Once you start to see bubbles form in your pancake it's time to flip it. Continue until you've made all of your pancakes.  
--makes about 16-18 medium sized pancakes.

The pumpkin flavor in these pancakes are subtle.  They are good to eat plain as well.  The syrup is such a fun addition to this flavor pancake, but it would taste great on any pancake/waffle/french toast.  Try!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Green Spinach Salad with Craisins and Poppy Dressing

Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 bag craisins (1 cup or whatever)
  • 1 bottle real bacon bits (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c. swiss cheese, mozarella, or feta
  • 1 c. slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped

Toss all together.  Add dressing just before serving.


  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T. dry minced onion
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 1 T. poppy seeds
  • 1/3 c. + 2 T. white vinegar

Mix together in a blender. Voila!

This was a tasty salad!  Fancy and flavorful.

Herb and Cheese Focaccia Bread

Herb & Cheese Focaccia Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home, (from

  • 2 1/4 tsp. or one packet of active dry yeast (not quick rise) (I actually used SAF yeast (instant), just used almost 2 t., and it worked fine- just mix it into the dry ingredients)
  • 1 cup warm water (110-115 F)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water for 5 minutes.In the meantime mix salt, sugar, garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley, and pepper in a little bowl.
  2. After yeast is dissolved, add the olive oil, spice mixture, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  3. Knead with dough hook for about 6-8 minutes OR alternatively turn onto floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. 
  4. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1 hour.Punch dough down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape into a 13x9 inch rectangle. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5.  Preheat oven to 400 F.Brush with oil; sprinkle with cheeses and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack.

This made great sandwiches!  A nice change from bread or rolls, and not that hard to make, I promise.  You just have to work it into your meal plan timing-wise.  

Ranch Chicken Salad

Ranch Chicken Salad

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Hormel Real Bacon Pieces (I skipped but I'm sure it's great with them!)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 5 teaspoons Ranch dressing mix
croissants or rolls

Cook chicken, then chop. Chop celery and green onions as well. In blender blend mayo, milk and ranch. Then add seasonings. Let chill for at least two hours. Serve on croissant.