Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ranch-y snack mix

Delicious to munch on at Christmas-time, this snack mix sells at Hy-Vee for 4 bucks for a tiny container...why not make your own?

I have a container of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix but you could use 1 packet instead of the same thing.

3 Tb ranch mix (equal to 1 packet of dressing mix sold at grocery store)
3 Tb vegetable oil
1-2 c. each chex cereal, oyster crackers, goldfish (or whales), pretzels

Pour all cereal/crackers into a big bag (paper or huge ziploc both work). Pour in vegetable oil, close bag, and shake like crazy. Open bag and pour in ranch mix. Close and shake like crazy again.

Pour into a tupperware to store and snack on for days to come! Enjoy!

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I made these for our Thanksgiving dinner and they were a hit!

Start by making basic mashed potatoes:
6 medium potatoes
2 Tb butter
1/2 c. cream
dash of salt and pepper

Peel and cook potatoes until done. Drain and mash in large bowl. Add butter and cream (start with a little and work your way up, you may not need all of the 1/2 cup). Add salt and pepper.

To make them loaded:
1/2 c. milk
1 pkg cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar but yellow is good too!)
1/2 lb bacon (I used one pkg of ready-cooked bacon from target)

In same large bowl that potatoes are in already, add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, parsley flakes and garlic salt and mix with hand mixer on medium speed until creamy.

Spread into greased 9x13 pan and smooth out top. Break up bacon pieces and sprinkle over top of potatoes. Sprinkle top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until warm inside.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Peanut Butter Pie

I got this recipe from a friend, and it is SOOOOOOOO GOOD! I'll try to post more than just desserts, but I have a major sweets addiction. I highly recommend this, and I'm not even a pie person.

1 graham cracker crust
1 cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 small instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 c. milk
1 container of cool whip

Mix peanut butter and sugar (it makes a weird but yummy crumble mixture). Pat crumbs on top of crust, saving some to sprinkle on top of the pie.
Whisk pudding and milk according to package (2 minutes) pour over top of crust.
Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Add Cool Whip and peanut butter crumbles and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Monster Cookies

This recipe makes A LOT of cookies, so they are perfect if you are giving baked goods away for the holidays and need large quantities. I also LOVE that they have M & M's in them...yummy!

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar PACKED
3 eggs
2 cups peanut butter
3/4 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla
4 c minute oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup M&Ms
1 6oz. package semi sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and add sugar to it. Then add in the eggs, corn syrup, peanut butter vanilla, salt & baking soda. Add oats & mix into batter. Stir in M&Ms & Chocolate chips. Roll into large balls and place on cookie sheet & press into circle. (Warning - the dough feels gooey-er than most cookie dough, and that's ok!)Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Watch them closely. My oven cooks faster than most, so I put it on 325 and took them out around 10-12 minutes. They are really good!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pumpkin Bars

Guilty confession...David and I ate an entire pan of these ourselves last week. They are THAT good. :)

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10x15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. (You can also use a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.) Cool before frosting or the bars will get flattened (but if you can't wait and don't mind flat bars, this is okay!).
To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares and serve!