Birthday Rice Krispie Treats

Sprinkles make me SO happy!  This recipe makes me happy too!  Easiest birthday treats ever! Cake mix + Rice Krispie Treats + SPRINKLES!  birthday2HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR KARLIEEEEEE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEE!

Today is indeed my birthday!  Hooray!  I am officially 24 years old. Weird. The big 2-4.  This is the first birthday I’ve had where I feel like I am actually getting older.  23 didn’t seem too bad last year, but 24…not sure how I feel about it.

Birthdays.  Gotta love ’em!  Since it is my birthday, I thought it would be nice to share a fun little birthday treat recipe!  It is pretty darn easy.  If you have ever made Rice Krispie Treats successfully, I will guarantee you can handle this one.  It’s literally the same as making those, but you add one other ingredient to bring out the birthday flavor: cake mix! birthday Tell me this picture doesn’t make you happy?!  They’re chewy, gooey, marshmallow-y, and festive!  Any person at any age will appreciate this fun recipe! These treats are great, too, if you are in a hurry because you can whip them up in like 5 minutes.birthday5 

Birthday Rice Krispie Treats

  • Servings: Makes 12-15 squares
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 (10 oz) bag of large marshmallows (or mini)
  • 2/3 cup of dry yellow or white box cake mix (dry mix straight from the box, not batter)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of sprinkles of your choice

What to do:

  1. Grease a pan of your choice (8″x 8″, 11″x 7″, or 9″x 13″) and set aside.
  2. Over low heat on stove, melt butter in large saucepan.
  3. When butter is melted, add entire bag of marshmallows and stir constantly.
  4. Stir in dry cake mix when marshmallows are completely melted.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in cereal.
  6. When cereal is coated, mix in half of sprinkles. (Don’t mix too much or the sprinkles won’t be as pretty!)
  7. Press into greased pan and top with remaining sprinkles.
  8. For firmer treats, let sit 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
  9. ENJOY!

 

 

 

I got the idea from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/03/25/cake-batter-rice-krispie-treats/

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Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks

The recipe for these Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks contains ZERO flour.  They are totally gluten-free and extremely low in carbs! You will want to keep this recipe close!IMG_6332 Holy smokes!  Is it really February already?!  Where does the time go?  In case you didn’t know, today is Groundhog Day.  Good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow once again.

So, yes.  It really is February already!  One month has really passed since New Years and I really need to start getting back on track with my low-carb eating habits.  This recipe for Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks is a winner, winner, chicken dinner!  The cauliflower binds with an egg and some parmesan cheese to make a hearty, flavorful crust.  Gluten free friends– this concoction is a terrific alternative to buying a prepackaged GF mix because the main ingredient is a vegetable, hello!? Even if you are not avoiding gluten, it is pretty darn easy to eat vegetables when they don’t taste like vegetables!  Now you can be sneaky with those picky eaters in your life! IMG_6287I used to hate cauliflower as a kid.  It was always cut up raw and served cold next to broccoli on veggie trays…and it was disgusting.  Bleh.  It was powdery, chunky, gritty, and tasteless.  I guess I probably still feel that way.  I can’t eat it raw.  I just can’t.  It’s just not good.  But…if I grind it up, mix it with some cheese, add a little ranch flavor, and top all that with even more cheese, I could eat cauliflower for days.IMG_6174

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Cheesy Ranch Cauliflower Breadsticks

  • Servings: Makes about 12 sticks, depending on how you slice it
  • Difficulty: A little advanced, but YOU CAN DO IT!
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Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz bag of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1oz dry ranch dressing packet
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Empty bag of frozen cauliflower into food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.  Cauliflower should resemble a powdery, rice substance.
  3. Transfer ground cauliflower to microwave-safe bowl and cook in microwave for two minutes; stirring after each minute.  This helps to fluff/steam cauliflower–you want the moisture to be pulled out of it.
  4. If steamed cauliflower is warm, refrigerate until cool.
  5. Add parmesan cheese, egg, ranch packet, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to cauliflower. Stir until combined. (Mixture will be wet and sticky.)
  6.  Pour mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread/shape into a pizza crust or breadstick shape. Do not spread too thin; should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Bake crust in oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  8. Remove crust from oven and layer with ranch dressing (like pizza sauce) and top generously with shredded mozzarella.
  9. Place pan back into oven for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.
  10. Slice and serve with marinara sauce or a sauce of your choice!

***Notes:  If you do not have a food processor, I would suggest grating the cauliflower with a cheese grater and chopping it as finely as possible.  If you do not have parchment paper, you can still make this!  Just grease the pan extra, extra well.  You can also use raw cauliflower, of course.  You’ll just have to prepare it and steam it and start at step 4.  This recipe is also perfect for pizza crust!  The base is the same.  You can change the seasonings and substitute Italian seasoning or oregano.

 

 

 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favorite recipe for all things Chocolate Chip Cookie.  No doubt about it.  I’ve used the same recipe to make cookies, cookie bars, and even little cookie bowls!  I’ve never had a cookie recipe that is so multipurpose! choc3I don’t know what it is about Chocolate Chip Cookies, but they rule the roost in the dessert world.  If someone asked me what my favorite dessert was, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was Chocolate Chip Cookies.  BUT, for some reason, whenever I make them, the dough tastes so good that I can’t stop eating it.  It’s like the Chocolate Chip Cookies get into my brain!  Wait, here’s another good one: I wake up in the morning and I am feeling extra “good”, so when I make my coffee, I have it with almond milk and a little Stevia instead of loading it with creamer.  Good job, right?  Wrong.  My eyes are immediately drawn to the Chocolate Chip Cookies and I decide I’ll eat two of those for breakfast instead of real food.  WHAT?!  …Like I said, Chocolate Chip Cookies seem to dominate the {dessert} world.

They own me.choc5My Uncle Jim is the one who got me into these Chocolate Chip Cookies.  He lives in a small town in Northern Illinois and people know him as “The Cookie Man”.  I’ll never forget the time I went to his house and he showed me his ways.  Here are three things he taught me that affect how good (or bad, I guess) your cookies will turn out.  You have to have the perfect combination of white and brown sugar.  If you don’t, your cookies will flatten out or burn to a crisp.  Another helpful hint is to use instant vanilla pudding in the recipe.  It adds an all-around better taste than adding vanilla extract to your cookies.  Lastly, you need to beat in your eggs separately.  A lot of people overlook that step.  Don’t forget to mix them in separately!   choc8

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: About 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 3.5oz package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large bowl, cream softened butter, brown and white sugars, and vanilla pudding with mixer until smooth.
  3. Beat in one egg. Then, beat in second egg.
  4. In small bowl, measure 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Mix with fork.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture slowly and mix until combined.
  6. Mix in bag of chocolate chips by hand.
  7. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, about 1-2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 11-13 minutes until just barely golden for chewy cookies. (If you want crunchy cookies, cook until golden.)
  9. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to plate!
  10. ENJOY!

**Notes: This recipe is extremely versatile.  If you want to whip up a batch of cookies and store the rest in the fridge for later, go for it!  Just keep your dough covered.  The cookies are just as yummy if the dough is chilled.   Also, if you want to make cookie bars instead, just use a 9″x13″ pan and bake them until the tops are golden.  Those are divine.

 

 

 

Nutter Butter Truffles

nutterbutter3When I was in college, my roommate crushed up some cookies, added cream cheese and then covered little scoops in white almond bark.  I have been tainted ever since.  End of story.

Truffles are habit-forming.  Literally.

hab·it–form·ing

adjective \ˈha-bət-ˌfȯr-miŋ\

: causing a strong need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something

:  inducing the formation of an addiction

Mmhm...check, and…check.  Truffles cause a need in my life.  My roommate made her truffles with Oreo cookies back in the day.  I took it a step further and tried it out with Nutter Butter cookies.  My oh my, the results were astounding.  nutterbutter4

Nutter Butter Truffles

  • Servings: Makes 25-35 truffles (varies by size)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 16oz package of Nutter Butter cookies
  • 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 24 oz block of vanilla almond bark/vanilla coating
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • cocoa powder for garnish

What to do:

  1. Empty package of Nutter Butters into a food processor and pulse until cookies are ground up finely. (If you don’t have a food processor, just crush up the cookies inside a gallon-size Ziploc bag)
  2. Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to processor and continue pulsing until thick dough is formed. (If using the Ziploc bag, just add cream cheese and powdered sugar to bag and knead it with your hands)
  3. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls (I wouldn’t go any larger) and place balls onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Freeze until firm (30 minutes-1 hour)
  5. Melt almond bark or candy coating per package instructions in the microwave.
  6. Dip frozen balls with a fork one at a time into almond bark, let excess run off, and place back onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet. (Because the inside is cold, they should harden quickly)
  7.  Transfer extra almond bark/candy coating and peanut butter to small Ziploc bag and knead until combined.
  8. Cut a VERY small opening in one corner of the bag, creating your own icing bag.
  9. Drizzle truffles in a zig-zag motion, or whichever pattern you please!  **Any plain truffles can be sprinkled with cocoa powder as well!**
  10. ENJOY!

 

**Notes: Truffles should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and are best served chilled.  They tend to crack open if they get too warm. Have fun! nutterbutter1

Deep Dish Meatball Subs

meatballs1Mamma Mia! That’s a spicy meat-a-ball-uh!

Not really, though.  That was just to make you laugh.  This dish isn’t spicy at all.  (Sorry if I got your hopes up.)

I can come up with hundreds of words to describe this delectably tasty, meaty, cheesy, bubbly, mouth-watering, tempting, jaw-dropping recipe.  But spicy is not one of them.

So!  Meatballs, yes.  This recipe is a twist on the classic Meatball Sub sandwich.  I called it Deep Dish Meatball Subs because I felt like if I gave it a name that included the word “casserole”, it sounded like it had some kind of soup in it, and casseroles are generally associated with being boring and bland.  This dish is NOT bland or boring, I promise you.  It’s got biscuits that puff up in the pan, frozen meatballs that cook themselves in the oven, a can of sauce, and cheese all over it.  If you’ve ever loved a meatball sub sandwich, you will be downright dumbfounded when you get a bite of this effortless dinner dish.

meatball3Want to know something?  That “Mamma Mia…!” quote is from an Alka Seltzer commercial from 1969.  I wasn’t even born in 1969.  In fact, my parents were still toddlers in 1969.  And yet, almost all of us know the “spicy meat-a-ball-uh” voice.  That just cracks me up.

meatball6This is one can of refrigerated Pillsbury Grands biscuits.  Just open the can and try not to get scared when it pops (hehe, gets me every stinkin’ time). Then you want to cut them into eighths like this!

meatball7After you combine the biscuits with the sauce, you have a pretty thin and seemingly sparse bottom layer.  Don’t worry, though.  I took the frozen meatballs and kinda filled in the gaps and added some extra ones here and there.  You can certainly make your own meatballs, but I am always shooting for fast and easy.  Of course…the more meatballs, the merrier!

IMG_5561Get some cheese-loaded action going and get that baby into the oven!

Deep Dish Meatball Subs

  • Servings: 6-8 generously
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Pillsbury Grands! refrigerated biscuits
  • 26 oz can of spaghetti sauce, your choice
  • 1 bag of frozen meatballs (found in the frozen appetizer section)
  • 8 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) and grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Open can of biscuits and cut each biscuit into 8 pieces.
  3. Place cut biscuits into medium bowl and cover with half a can of spaghetti sauce (1 1/2-2 cups).
  4. Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of leftover sauce over bottom of greased baking dish.
  5. Pour biscuits into baking dish and spread into thin layer, covering bottom.
  6. Layer frozen meatballs on top of biscuits, filling in gaps.
  7. Sprinkle bag of cheese over top, liberally.
  8. Bake dish in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
  9. Serve warm with extra sauce on top, if you prefer.
  10. ENJOY!

 

And here’s the commercial with the “Spicy Meatball” guy, if you need a little laugh 🙂

 

Buffalo Pretzel Sticks

pretzel5Sooo…maybe I jinxed the Broncos.  That playoff game on Sunday was a big flop.

Football season is essentially over for Denver fans.

But, hey, good news…I heard the NFL still has a Superbowl even if your favorite team loses.  So that means there will still be a big game and they will still play the funny commercials on TV.  People still throw parties and they will still watch the halftime show…and if the halftime show is horrible, people ALWAYS flock to the kitchen to eat snacks.  You still need some good snack ideas!

That’s how my brain works.  You’ve been warned.  Sorry, not sorry.

I’ve got a recipe for Buffalo wing flavored pretzel sticks.  It is an appetizing snack recipe that you can whip up the day before the game and then set them out in front of the TV for all those football fanatics to munch on mindlessly.

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I am a big fan of Frank’s Red Hot sauce and all buffalo sauces in general.  I am a big wimp when it comes to eating spicy food and Red Hot is like the perfect amount of spicy and vinegar-y for my timid little taste buds.  Buffalo is my kind of hot…and I tend to get a little crazy with it.  This recipe is a mix of buffalo sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices you have in your cabinet that get drizzled over a bag of pretzel sticks.  Sounds good, eh?

Just a heads up, I do feel like these pretzels taste better a day after you make them because the flavor gets a chance to soak in a bit overnight.  Kind of like when you make Chex Mix…you trackin’?

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Buffalo Pretzel Sticks

  • Servings: Serves a whole crowd
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (OR 1 tablespoon of soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice + 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to substitute for 2 tablespoons Worcestershire)
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 15 oz bag of pretzel sticks

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees (F).
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter, buffalo sauce, and Worcestershire sauce over low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Add onion powder, garlic salt, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper to saucepan and stir.
  4. Cook mixture for 5 minutes.
  5. Empty bag of pretzels into a large bowl.
  6. Drizzle pretzels with butter sauce mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  7. Place pretzels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Flip and stir pretzels after every 10 minutes for 30 minutes.  (3 times)
  9. Serve next to fresh cut celery, carrots, and ranch dipping sauce, if you prefer.
  10. ENJOY!

**Pretzels taste most flavorful when baked a day prior to eating.  Bake and store in a sealed container overnight.

Chili Cream Cheese Dip

dipchoice4The Broncos are playing.  Literally.  Literally right now…like, this very second.

Like, I could jump in my car and hear the screaming fans.

Like, I am wearing my Broncos jersey.

Like, I am sitting in my living room typing on my computer with shades of orange and blue in the background.

Okay, I think you get it.

I am sitting here surrounded by family members who rallied together to watch the game with hopeful hearts and plates full of food.  Good ol’ greasy football food.  My dad threw some wings on the grill.  My mom sliced up some potatoes for homemade fries.  My sister rinsed off some veggies.  I offered to make dip (mainly because I had a secret weapon that would take me less than 5 minutes to make and then I could put my feet up with everyone else).

This Chili Cream Cheese Dip is the easiest dip I have ever made.  It is absolutely addicting and it only has two ingredients!dipchoicetwo

Chili Cream Cheese Dip

  • Servings: Makes about 3 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 15 oz can of your favorite chili (beans or no beans)

What to do:

  1. Put both ingredients into a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute.
  2. Stir mixture and put back into microwave for additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Serve dip with your favorite corn chips (Fritos).
  4. Enjoy!

 

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