Friday, August 29, 2008

Buttermilk Chocolate Brownies

Okay, so I've totally been a slacker at posting recipes. My life has been so crazy the last month. I ran a 1/2 marathon at the beginning of the month, my husband was out of town for a week, and we went on a week long family vacation to Southern California and got back just in time for my kindergartener to start school. We will be taking off again tomorrow to go up to Bear Lake for the Labor Day weekend. I'm excited to see my sister who has been awesome at posting recipes! Hopefully life will start to slow down a little, I doubt it, maybe I need to be a little more organized. Anyway, this brownie recipe is a huge family favorite. My grandma and mom have been making them for years. They are always a hit. I made them for the first time for my mom's birthday in July and they were oh so yummy!!!

Buttermilk Chocolate Brownies
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp sald
1 tsp soda
Mix in a bowl and set aside.
In a pan combine.
1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup water
Cook until cocoa is dissolved. When dissolved add to flour mixture, stir well. Add:
1/2 cup buttermilk (stir well to help cool mixture before adding eggs)
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Mix well and spread on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for exactly 20 minutes.
In a saucepan combine:
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp cocoa
Until cocoa is dissolved. Then, add:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (approx)
2 tsp vanilla
You want the consistency of the frosting to be in between thick and thin. Spread on brownies right after you take them out of the oven. I love nuts on my brownies, however not all people do. My mom always puts nuts on half of it. I love walnuts or pecans. Put nuts on right after you put the frosting on and press gently into frosting. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family Favorite Peach Cobbler & Super Simple Vanilla Ice Cream in a Bag

This is my all time favorite Peach Cobbler! It is juicy from the peaches and has a perfect sweet crunch around the edges. If you like peach cobbler, you are going to LOVE this! This favorite comes from Paula Deen who is a favorite southern cook of my husband's family. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Tammy, we have this family favorite! You can do this with any berries or apples, but my personal favorite is with peaches. I used my frozen peaches from last years extras when I couldn't can anymore. We love peaches and we buy bushels and bushels from a neighboring town this time of year. Last year I was 8 months pregnant at this time and I bought 2 bushels of peaches to can. Yes, I was crazy!!! I put up 25 quarts, and 10 pints of jam, dried some, and froze some. I was peached-out! I couldn't have done the 25 quarts without a good neighbor friend who called and found out I was canning and came so quick, because she wouldn't allow me to do it by myself. We tackled it together in 2 hours! That was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. She knows who she is...if she reads this blog ;)! The 25 quarts lasted us the whole year. I opened our last jar last week. So...I've got 1 bushel of peaches coming this next week. It's time to can more! Yes, I lowered my order for this year only because I'm hoping our 2 peach trees will give us some good peaches this year! We'll see! So if you are like me and have an over abundance of peaches, please try this to-die-for Peach Cobbler! You will be hooked!
Peach Cobbler
2 cups fruit (frozen or fresh)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine fruit, sugar and water in saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. When oven is pre-heated:
Place 1 stick of butter in large casserole dish, or 13X9 pan and melt in the oven. While butter is melting, mix together:
1 cup sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
3/4 cup milk
When butter is melted, pour mixture in pan with the butter. DO NOT STIR! Use slotted spoon and layer fruit on top. Spoon syrup as desired over the top. Bake 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.
***I usually spoon about half of the syrup over the top. Save the rest for your pancakes, waffles, french toast, whatever...I love a little peach sugar syrup for breakfast! Don't try to substitute the self-rising flour with regular won't work! I'm a cook in training...I tried!
Vanilla Ice Cream In a Bag
We made our peach cobbler on a Sunday and realized we didnt' have vanilla ice cream to go with it...which is a must with a hot cobbler! I had some cream, so we made Ice Cream in a bag. It was so tasty! Go here for the recipe: . I am excited to make these again adding my own mix-ins. It would be great for a kids party with a bunch of mix-ins so they can customize their own Ice Cream in a Bag. There is less mess too, because they eat right out of the bag and throw it away!
***I used heavy whipping cream for mine instead of half & half, and it turned out great! My sister has done it with whole milk, and it works too, but takes a lot more time and patience. Kids are a great help with these. Let them give it a shake, shake, shake!

Monday, August 18, 2008

For all you Zucchini lovers out there!!!

This post is dedicated to all the zucchini lovers! I have been cooking up a storm with our zucchini the last few weeks. I have tried a lot of new recipes and have enjoyed every one of them. I haven't posted for a while so this is going to be quite the marathon post. I definitely couldn't run a marathon, so I will do a marathon blog post instead! Hopefully I don't "zucchini" you all out! This first picture is my Garden Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. It is a favorite. It is so colorful and full of flavor with all of the different veggies. It's cheesy, saucy, and delish! My mom loves to pick up the little cook books they sell at the check-out stands at the grocery store. When we first got married I didn't know how to cook so I took a few of my mom's check-out stand cook books. This recipe comes from a Betty Crocker Weeknight Pasta & Rice book. Thanks Mom! I change it up a bit every time, so be creative and use what veggies you have.

Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
2 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, sliced (4 cups)
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges and seperated into pieces
1/2 poun mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (12 ounces)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce

1) Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place vegetables in pan. Spray vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2) Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, turning vegetables once, until tender.
3) Cook and drain noodles as directed on package. Rinse noodles with cold water; drain. Mix cheeses; set aside.
4) Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Spray rectangular baking dish, 13X9, with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in dish. Layer with 3 noodles, 3/4 cup sauce, 1 1/4 cups vegetables and 1 cup cheese mixture. Repeat 3 times with remaining noodles, sauce, vegetables and cheese mixture.
5) Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 10 servings.

***I always put more sauce than they say. I love a saucy lasagna! I like to choose 2 different colors of bell peppers. I love all the colors in this dish. I used one zucchini and one summer squash. I also made this one without the mushrooms. It was still great!

Next: Double Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

I love the moistness that zucchini gives to a cookie. These cookies were yummy!!! They were more like a cake cookie and so chocolatey. It was a great way to use some zucchini. I don't remember where I found this recipe, but whoever made it's great!!!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups grated zucchini

1 bag chocolate chips

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

In medium bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla and egg and beat until creamy. Combine the flour, cocoa, soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the grated zucchini. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Next: Grilled Zucchini Quaesadillas

These were a big hit! They were so yummy and packed with flavor. We are learning to love zucchini next to anything! I love the corn and the black beans in this. They are perfect. They were so easy on the grill, and I was so glad that I didn't have to turn on my oven. I found the recipe here: . I did add half of a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and black beans in my mixture to give it more color.

If you decide to do them on the grill, clean the grill good before. Turn it on a medium high heat. Take one tortilla and spray with cooking spray. Lay tortilla with the sprayed side down onto the grill. Spoon mixture over your tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Take another tortilla and spray and place on top of mixture with sprayed side up. Cook until both sides are light brown and have those yummy grill grate lines on them. It wasn't hard to flip them. I did use my hands a little bit. I'm not a pro! Cut like a pizza and serve with chopped tomatoes and garnish with cilantro. Aren't they just beautiful!?! I really wanted to make a fresh salsa to go on top but ran out of time. Next time I will and I will also add a slab of guacamole and a dollop of sour cream. They were great, and oh so filling for having no meat in them. Give them a try!

Last, but not least: Pesto-Chicken Packets

This recipe came from the very first cook book I have ever owned; Betty Crocker 4 Ingredient Dinners! Betty has got some great easy recipes in this book. This is one of them. It was perfect for a sunday dinner. Low stress, less mess, and really tasty!

Pesto-Chicken Packets

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

8 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices

4 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup prepared basil pesto

1) Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

2) Place 1 chicken breast half, 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 sliced zucchini on 1 side of each of 4 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spoon 2 tablespoons pesto over chicken mixture. Fold other half of foil over chicken and vegetables so edges meet. Seal edges, making a tight 1 1/2 inch fold; fold again. Allow space on sides for circulation and expansion. Repeat folding to seal each side.

3) Cover and grill packets 4 to 5 inches from medium heat 20 to 25 minutes, or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Place foil packets on plates. To serve, cut a large X across top of packet; fold back foil.

*If you don't have a grill, bake packets in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

I'm off for the rest of the week to attend Brigham Young University's Education week. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you would like to learn more about the church go to . BYU offers a wide variety of classes for youth and adults this week and is called Education Week. You do have to pay, but it is well worth it! My husband and I have gone every year since we have been married. Now that we have kids we just switch off going to classes. We love to learn more about the gospel, and ways that we can become better parents, neighbors,friends and Christians. It will be a fun week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cajun & Parmesan Grilled Zucchini

We are trying to be creative in the ways we eat our zucchini. This one we have just loved! I got the idea from Crystal at Everyday Food Storage. I love her blog, and always find great ideas for everyday cooking, baking, and especially utilizing my food storage.
Check out her blog here:
She has got a very organized blog and even provides video instructions for some of her recipes. This is a grilled take from her Dad's broiled Zucchini that has quickly become a favorite at my house.

Cajun & Parmesan Grilled Zucchini
2 medium size zucchini
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Cajun Seasoning

Directions: Fire up the grill to Medium High heat. Wash and dry zucchini. Cut zucchini in half so you have 2, then cut your 2 halves in half again so you now have 4 wedges from one zucchini. Do the same with the other. Place on your grill face down so you are looking at the green skin. Grill for about 10 minutes or until zucchini starts to get tender and a little bit limp. Flip them over at that point and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cajun seasoning and parmesan. Close grill and cook for another 3 minutes to let the seasoning really sink in. I eat mine like a pickle...just pick it up and eat it!

This is a great way to spice up our zucchinni intake, because it is a fair amount right now! Every day we have another zucchini to pick. They grow like crazy! Soon to come will be some Zucchini Brownies, and some Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins. Stay tuned! I'm off to go color with my little boy! Have a great August day! We've actually had a little nip in the air at night. I'm not ready for the cold weather yet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread with Crushed Pineapple and Pecans

My sister asked me for this recipe the other day, so I decided just to make it and post it to the blog. Here you go Rach! I came across this recipe a few years ago while flipping through a Paula Deen magazine. I just love her recipe for zucchini bread. I love it so much, I don't know if I dare try another zucchini bread recipe. If anyone has a favorite recipe for zucchini bread that you think could compete with this one, please let me know. I would love to try it out. I've got plenty of zucchini! This bread is so moist with the zucchini and the crushed pineapple. The nuts give it a great crunch. My zucchini is on in the garden now, so I hope I don't bore you with my favorite zucchini recipes. Here goes!

Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9X5-inch) loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in zucchini, pineapple, and pecans. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

***I like to save some nuts to sprinkle on top of the bread. It gives it an extra crunch, and looks more like Paula's picture. I also used a whole 10 oz can of the crushed pineapple (recipe calls for 8-ounce) still turned out great! At the end of my harvesting in my garden, I always have an over-abundance of zucchini that I need to use. I like to shred my zucchini and freeze it so I have it portioned out and ready to go into a batch of zucchini bread when I need it. That way I can reap the rewards from my harvesting all year round!

Prudy's AMAZING Honey Whole Wheat Grilled Pizzas!!!

Yesterday morning I was contemplating what to make for dinner. Think, think, think. I didn't want meat. I didn't want to use my oven and heat up my house, and I had some garden veggies that needed to be put to use. So I was browsing around at my favorite food blogs and came to Prudence Pennywise's blog. That is where I found her Honey Whole Wheat Grilled Pizza's that made for a delicious meal. She is an amazing cook, and has invented tons of great recipes. Go here for the recipe and for some fun music to dance to!
This honey whole wheat pizza crust is perfect! I have been wanting to learn how to grill pizza. She has got all of her tips on her blog. She also has a homemade pizza sauce that is just perfect. My family just loved these grilled pizzas. I made mine into a Garden Veggie Pizza. I sauted my zucchini and squash in my cool new grill pan that works just great! Before I put them in my grill pan I tossed my veggies with olive oil and crushed red pepper. That really gave my veggies a zing! My other toppings were basil, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and feta cheese. Wow! It really was amazing. My husband said that it was something he would get at a nice restaurant. It was so packed with flavor. I don't think I will ever use Rhodes Rolls for my pizza dough again...that is unless I am strapped for time, although I whipped it up in no time at all! Her pizza sauce is so makes my usual Classico sauce look real bad! We've got a new favorite recipe at our house! I can't wait to make them again.