Archive for February, 2012

February 29th, 2012

Oven Barbecue (4 ingredients fast)

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Even if you love to cook like Jocelyn and I, we all know there are some days that don’t have enough minutes in them and we need dinner without a lot of fuss. {yes, you know too well just what that means . . . }

This is one of our go-to dinners because it’s fast, easy, and a family favorite.  It’s especially good in the winter when you crave wonderful barbecue flavor, but don’t want to {or can’t} go outside to use the grill.  There are only 4 ingredients:  Your favorite barbecue sauce, Coca-cola, brown sugar and meat.  This sauce works with both chicken and pork chops {Our favorite is the pork chops}.


Oven Barbecue

1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce

1 1/2 cups Coca-cola

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 pork chops or chicken breasts

Place raw meat in a baking dish (single layer).  Mix the barbecue sauce and cola and pour over meat.  Sprinkle each piece of meat with a little brown sugar. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes*.  {How easy is that!}

Serve with your favorite sides  {Our family loves to sop up the barbecue sauce with a hot baked potato}.


Notes:  The general rule of thumb is equal parts barbecue sauce to cola – you can make as much or as little as you need to just about cover the meat.

You can use other sodas such as lemon-lime or root beer, but they tend to make it too sweet – the cola works just right.

*Thin cut pork chops will be done in about 30 minutes, thicker chops and chicken breast need about 45 minutes.

Love Pork Chops?  You might also love Pork Chop Stew or Teriyaki Pork Chops


Posted under Chicken, Pork | 3 Comments
February 28th, 2012


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Want to make friends fast??  Serve these Caramelitas or give them as a gift and you’ll be everyone’s best friend!

Ooey-Gooey Caramel + Chocolate + Oatmeal = Simply Decadent!

These Caramelita Bars are amazing, but they are very rich so you can cut them in small servings.  The recipe makes an 8×8 pan which will be plenty unless you are feeding a crowd (simply double the recipe for a 13×9 pan).

Next time you need to take a dessert try these – you’ll be the talk of the party {In a good way of course}.



32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine caramel and cream in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir until completely smooth; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda.  Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust.    Pour caramel mixture over the chocolate chips.


Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.  Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.


Notes:  These take a while to cool down.  A short stint in the fridge will help if you are in a pinch for time, but don’t serve them cold; they should be served and stored at room temperature.

February 27th, 2012

Chicken and Grape Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

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Sometimes I just crave a nice flavorful salad.  Especially as we {hopefully} start heading in to warmer weather and we are spending more and more time out in the sun.  I love salads and I even love them for dinner {my husband doesn’t share that same love unfortunately}  I like to change it up too, I don’t want the same salad every time.  So if you are in the mood for salad don’t forget about our Pear and Pistachio Salad with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette, Spinach Salad, or our Winter Citrus Salad {just to name a few}.

This particular salad comes together with store-bought rotisserie chicken (or whatever cooked and shredded chicken you have) with sweet grapes and crisp bacon in a tangy and savory blue cheese yogurt dressing.  I will eat this for dinner, but if you are like my husband and prefer to have something other than a salad for dinner go ahead omit the chicken and serve it on the side with a main dish.  Either way it is sure to please.

Chicken and Grape Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing


8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (leftover rotisserie chicken is good)
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 ounces (1/2 cup) blue cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
8 cups red leaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved


In a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 9 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mash together yogurt and cheese with a fork.  Stir in chives and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together chicken, bacon, lettuce and grapes.  Serve with yogurt dressing.

*Makes 4 dinner sized servings.

**Recipe from Martha Stewart Magazine



February 24th, 2012

White Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Minty Shamrock Marshmallows

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Legend has it that finding a four-leaf clover will bring you good luck.  I would consider any day lucky if someone made me this white chocolate cocoa!  Generally speaking, my family is not a huge fan of plain white chocolate, but this  cocoa changes all the rules.  {Warning, this hot chocolate  is  totally indulgent- you may not want to share.}

Adding the shamrock marshmallows is a fun idea for St. Patrick’s day!  We have a basic marshmallow recipe here.  And if you don’t have time to make the shamrock marshmallows, you could always just add a little green food color to the cocoa for a spot of green on the day!

P.S.   It’s not required to wait until March 17 to try this  hot cocoa . . .  however, to truly appreciate the cocoa goodness, I do recommend you make sure to find a few minutes to relax and savor every drop!


White Chocolate Hot Cocoa

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Heat milk, cream and vanilla until it is about to boil (on the stove top or in the microwave).  Add the white chocolate chips and allow to set for one minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Now put your feet up and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings {or maybe just one large one . . .}


Minty Shamrock Marshmallows

Find the basic recipe for marshmallows here.  Replace the vanilla with mint extract and add green food coloring.  I added some green sprinkles just for fun!


February 23rd, 2012

Buttermilk Rolls

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I LOVE fresh baked bread of any kind.  There is just something magical about the end result.  The smell fills the entire house and it is hard not to immediately dive in.  I feel a sense of pride when pulling out a tray of dinner rolls or a loaf of bread.  How can these few simple ingredients turn out into something so wonderful?

Bread actually intimidated me for a long time.  It just seemed so temperamental and difficult.  But it really isn’t.  Patience is important, so that was something I had to work on.  But the effort is well worth it.  Now, I want to have fresh baked bread all the time.  But some days there just isn’t time.  These rolls are great because you can do most of the work one day and simply have to roll them out and let them rise on another day.  I can make the dough and bake just 12 rolls and save another 36 rolls for later in the week.  {Leftovers don’t seem so bad if they are paired with fresh from the oven rolls.  I promise, try it.}

I divide my dough into 4 separate sections and save 3 for later.  Then when I find a few minutes one afternoon, I can simply roll out another ball of dough and let them work on rising until dinner time.  Then just simply bake and I have fresh dinner rolls again!!  Love it.  So while it may be tempting to say that 48 rolls is too many and want to cut down this recipe-DON’T!!  The best part about this recipe is that if makes so many so that you can enjoy them more than once.

Buttermilk Rolls

1 T. yeast
¼ cup warm water
3 cups Buttermilk (room temperature)
3 cups flour
½ cup sugar, divided
3 eggs, beaten with a fork
2 tsp. salt
½ cup oil
1 tsp. baking soda
5 cups flour (sometimes you need a cup more–it should not be too sticky)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in ¼ c. warm water and let proof a few minutes. Add the buttermilk, 3 cups of flour.  Mix until well combined and no lumps remain.  Cover and let this stand at room temperature until double in size, about 2 hours.

Add the remaining sugar (1/2 cup-1 tablespoon), eggs, salt, oil, baking soda and 5 cups of flour.  Mix well and knead for 7-10 minutes using the dough hook on your mixer.

Divide the dough into 3-4 separate sections depending on the desired size.  If divided into 3 sections, you will get 36 large rolls.  Dividing into 4 sections will give you 48 dinner size rolls.

If you are not going to be making all of the rolls immediately place the remaining dough in the refrigerator, lightly covered with plastic wrap.  The air needs to be able to circulate. (Do NOT store in an airtight container.  The yeast will ferment and the dough will not be good.)  The next time you want some fresh baked rolls, take from the bowl what you want and again put the rest back in the refrigerator.  The dough will keep for 7 days in the refrigerator.

Roll out each ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface into a large circle.  Cut the circle into fourths and then cut each of those sections into thirds.  {I like to use my pizza cutter-it makes it so much easier.}  You should get 12 triangles.  Now starting with the wider side begin rolling up the triangle.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Let rolls rise on baking sheets until double in size. Time depends on the room temperature, usually 1½ – 2 hours. Dough from the refrigerator will take longer because the dough is cold, so be sure to allow for the extra time.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Brush with melted butter if you like.  {I prefer this, it gives the tops a nice shine and it just tastes so good.}

*Recipe slightly adapted from

Posted under Breads | 1 Comment


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Caramel Potatoes

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