Monday, May 28, 2012

TWICE-BAKED POTATO CASSEROLE {For The Secret Recipe Club}

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Angel's Homestead. I found myself bookmarking several of her tempting recipes, but I kept coming back to this one. As a kid, I loved twice baked potatoes, but we rarely ever had them. Maybe it was because my mom didn’t want to go to all the trouble and time to make them. Well, April has come up with a brilliant solution to that problem with this Twice-Baked Potato Casserole recipe. Once the potatoes were baked, it took just a few minutes to throw together and pop in the oven to let the cheese get all melted and gooey. The kids pretty much ignored everything else on their dinner plates!

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

1.5 pounds potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), baked
Sea Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder to taste (I also added garlic powder)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 C. sour cream (I only used 1 1/4 C. of light)
Chopped Fresh Chives (my addition)
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Cut baked potatoes into small cubes. Place half in a 8x11 or 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of the melted butter over the tops of the potatoes, then sprinkle with seasonings, chives and half the bacon. Dot with half the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers and bake in a 350 F. oven for 20 minutes, or until cheeses have melted. 







Friday, May 18, 2012

Simple 3 Ingredient Ice Cream {With Brownie Chunks!}

Simple 3 Ingredient Ice Cream
My husband and I are HUGE ice cream fans! When we were first married, we seriously would grab a shake at our favorite local ice cream joint, Charlie’s, at least 3 or 4 times a week! Times have changed and our diets have evolved (thank goodness). But, we still hit Charlie’s a few times a month with the kids. My order is usually pretty custom, and kind of embarrassing, so even if my husband is the driver, he makes me lean all the way across him to give the gal my order. It usually goes something like this; “I’d like a regular size shake made with half soft serve frozen yogurt and half ice cream, with brownies and ________. And, if you could leave the brownie kinda chunky that would be great!” It’s funny how stone-faced those ice cream gals can be when I place my less than simple order!
I used to make ice cream at home quite a bit until my machine broke. I finally got a new one a few months ago, so I’m back at it. I got this recipe from my sister, who actually made it without an ice cream maker! It’s so incredibly easy, but dangerous because this is full fat, full sugar, and all the calories to go with it! But SOOOO good!

SIMPLE 3 INGREDIENT ICE CREAM                   makes about 1.5 quarts

2 C. Heavy Whipping Cream (or 1 C. each Half & Half and Heavy Cream)
1 (14 oz.) can Sweet & Condensed Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
(Add ins as desired such as brownie chunks, use my eggless cookie dough, Oreo chunks, fruit, etc.)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ICE CREAM MAKER:  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, being sure to thoroughly incorporate the condensed milk. Pour into ice cream maker and churn as per instructions. Mix your add ins into the ice cream, transfer to a sealed container and place in freezer for a few hours to firm up more, or enjoy as soft serve consistency!

INSTRUCTIONS WITHOUT ICE CREAM MAKER:  Whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add sweet & condensed milk and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Add mix ins and freeze in freezer for 6 hours then serve!









Friday, May 11, 2012

PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE FROSTING

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting
It’s a darn good thing this recipe only makes 12 cupcakes! It’s even better (for my waistline) that I made them as a “thank you” for my neighbor, and gave him half! I love the texture of these cupcakes. They are not light and airy like you’d get from a box. No, these are slightly dense and have the best chewy top; kind of like a peanut butter cookie sitting on top. The frosting is good enough to eat by itself, but I can’t wait to try them with strawberry jam frosting and maybe even add some banana to the cupcake!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes                     12 cupcakes
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

1/4 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 C. milk
3/4 C. peanut butter chips (or combo of peanut butter chips & chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Cream butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix for another minute. 

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and mix just until incorporated. Add milk. Once mixed, add rest of dry ingredients. Fold in peanut butter chips.

Divide batter equally between 12 cupcake tins. Bake 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out almost clean. Cool and frost. 

Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting

1/4 C. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. cocoa powder
Few tsp. milk, if needed
chopped, salted peanuts, if desired

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar 1/2 C. at a time, and add cocoa, increasing speed as mixing. If frosting is too thick, add milk to thin. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped salted peanuts, if desired.