Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

This recipe was pulled from The Sisters Cafe and it won't taste identical to the pork you get at Cafe Rio, but this is a great substitute for at home!

Shredded Sweet Pork
3 lb pork roast
1 c brown sugar
1 c Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tb dried minced onions

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot on low all day (abt 8 hours). One hour before serving, remove roast and shred it. Dump out all cooking juices and place shredded pork back into crockpot and add...

1 c brown sugar
1 c red enchilada sauce

Cilantro Lime Rice
3 c water
3 c Minute rice
4 cubes chicken bouillon
4 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tb canola oil
2 Tb fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 onion
1 can green chilies

Blend cilantro, onion, and chilies in food processor. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. *I hate Minute Rice and never buy it - you can substitute regular rice, just adjust the water to rice ratio accordingly.

Garlic Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/3 c tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 tsp cumin
2 Tb canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb chopped cilantro

Heat oil then add cumin and garlic until garlic begins to pop. Add rest of ingredients and serve warm.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 tomatillos, peeled and quartered
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1 pkg dry buttermilk ranch dressing
1 c fresh chopped cilantro
6 green onions with ends, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
3 tsp sugar
1 jalapeno, sliced thin - add to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
-Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: About 1 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and well-combined.

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix until the ingredients are well-combined. Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

4. Place the Oreo cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Scoop the cookies into about 1½ to 2″ balls and then roll in the cookie crumbs. Place the cookie balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.

5. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

My husband just told me that these have to make our weekly menu. They are some of the best enchiladas that I have had. I think the secret ingredient is the cream cheese. YUM!

Chicken Enchiladas
Submitted by Erin ~ The Sisters Cafe

½ c. each yellow and green pepper (or whatever you have)
2 Tb butter
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 c. chicken stock (water and 1 tsp bouillon granules (or1 cube) works great)
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp each cumin, sugar, and salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/3 c. half and half (I always use milk to cut down on calories)
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese (I always use Neufchatel cheese)
3 c. cooked chicken, diced
¾ c. onion, chopped (can also add celery to complete the ¾ c.)
½ tsp salt
2 Tb butter
1 c. cheese (I prefer Monterrey Jack)
8-12 flour tortillas (I use 10)

Sauté onion and pepper in butter. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Heat tomato sauce, chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt and pepper; simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare filling. Gradually add half and half to cream cheese. Stir in chicken, sautéed onion and bell pepper (and celery, if desired), and salt.

Lightly brown tortillas on both sides in butter until heated, but not crisp. (This is purely optional. I have never bothered to brown my tortillas.) Dip tortilla in tomato sauce mixture and spoon ¼ c. chicken filling into each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Cover with remaining tomato sauce. Cover with foil.

At this point you may freeze the pan. Otherwise, bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Bake 5 more minutes. (When baking a frozen pan of enchiladas, remove the pan from the freezer, leave one layer of foil on top, and place in the oven (no need to preheat). Set the oven to 350° and bake for about 40-45 minutes or so, or until it is hot in the middle. Then add cheese and bake until it is melted on top.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Soft Sugar Cookies/Butter Cream Frosting

I recently made these for an orthodontic office that allowed two of my classmates and I to do a research project there. So, we decided to make them a little treat to thank them. Aren't these cookies adorable!? Okay so maybe I'm a little TOO into my profession, but I think they're to die for. While frosting them at school we had some extra and I had a request to put this recipe up. They are honestly the softest and best sugar cookies I have ever had. You know whenever you have a homemade sugar cookie and it's rock hard? Well, NOT these ones!
PS- Since I'm kinda on the subject of dentistry I just want to throw it out there that a hygienist and an assistant is NOT the same thing. I had an old friend ask me the other day why I was doing something so worthless and something that didn't pay more than $10 an hour. I explained to this person the difference and he/she now understands that it is a much better job than an assistant. The hygienist cleans... and does much more in the office than an assistant is even allowed to do. Okay sorry for my mini rant... Here is the recipe!

Super Soft Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Cream the above ingredients. Add the following:

3 - 4 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp salt

Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes on parchment paper or lightly greased pan.

Butter Cream Frosting
1/3 cup softened butter
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients and add food coloring if desired. The key to this is not softening/melting the butter too much. Otherwise your frosting will come out way too runny. Yeah I learned that the hard way.

ENJOY! :) You'll never go back to any other sugar cookie recipe after this one!

Hard Rock Cafe Twisted Mac & Cheese

I recently bought this cookbook that has all the top secret restaurant recipes and this is one that has made our weekly menu. It has a small little kick with the cayenne in it, but we love it. It's quick, easy and delicious! This recipe serves about 4 people.

Hard Rock Cafe Twisted Mac & Cheese

1 box of rotini noodles
2/3 cup whole milk (I use 1% to cut back on calories)
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, diced (finally found this at target)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I have only found this at target. Other stores have it, but it's mixed with other cheese's)
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Use a large saucepan to cook pasta following directions on the package, then drain.
2. Combine milk, Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in the same sauce pan and stir over low heat for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
3. Add pasta to the pan and then toss to coat.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Orange Chicken

I forget where I got this recipe from, but it's delicious!

Orange Chicken

For the marinade and sauce:

¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

6 tbsp. white vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. cold water

8 thin strips orange peel (optional)

For the coating and frying:

3 large egg whites

1 cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups peanut or canola oil (I like a combination)

To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well. Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve over rice, if desired.

Peanut Butter Pie

I got a request for this recipe... I got it from my cousin, Lisa. Pretty sure it is my favorite pie in the world. I'm not even the biggest peanut butter fan, but I swear to you this is amazing and definitely a must try!

Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) container (4 1/2 cups) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 1 prepared chocolate pie crust
  • 1 (11.75 oz.) jar Smucker's® Hot Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping

  1. BEAT together 1 cup peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, until well combined. Gently mix in 3 cups whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.
  2. RESERVE 2 tablespoons of hot fudge topping into the corner of a resealable food storage bag; set aside. Microwave remaining topping on HIGH (100% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Spread topping over pie, covering entire peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until set. Spread remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.
  3. CUT a small corner from bag containing topping. Squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pie. Place remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a resealable food storage bag; cut bag corner and squeeze to drizzle in opposite direction from topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

Mmmm. I'm not a chocolate cake fan at all, but this recipe is incredible. It is also one of my moms which would explain why it's so good. I sure do miss her delicious home cooked meals, but I'm trying to learn from her!


2 cubes butter
1 c. water
4 T. cocoa

Boil--put in in bowl with mixer--add:

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
2 c. sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/2 c. sour cream

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 min. Use a JELLY ROLL PAN 12 x 17.


1 c. butter
6 T. milk
3 T. cocoa

Bring to a boil. Add;

4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (optional--I never do).

Spread over warm cake

Chinese Cabbage Salad

This recipe is from my mom and is absolutely delicious when you want something a little healthy with a hint of Asian in it. Definitely an A+ recipe!


1 (3 oz.) pkg of uncooked ramen noodles (discard seasoning)
1/2 cup cashews or cashew pieces

In a preheated 350 degree oven, toast the crushed noodles and cashews in a shallow baking pan (8-10 min.) until golden brown.

1/2 large head green cabbage--finely shredded
1/2 large carrot--cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 med. red bell paper--sliced into thin strips or chopped
1/2 bunch of green onions--chopped

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. soy sauce

Whisk together dressing

In a large bowl, combine chopped cabbage, shredded carrot, green onions, bell pepper, toasted ramen noodles and cashews. Prepare the dressing. Pour dressing over the salad, toss all ingredients well together. Chill for at least 1-2 hours, then serve.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Yield: about 30 truffles
1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 5 oz)
½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup finely ground gingersnaps
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of orange zest
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

For dipping:
about 16 oz. chopped white chocolate, melted (or white candy melts)*

For garnish:
Additional gingersnap crumbs

To make the truffle filling, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water just until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Add the pumpkin, gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and cream cheese. Mix well until completely blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator or freezer until it has thickened up enough to scoop and roll into balls (about 1 hour).

Scoop the filling mixture and roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Transfer to a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and let chill until firm, about 2 hours.

When you are ready to dip the truffles, melt the white chocolate or candy melts for coating in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Once completely melted and smooth, carefully dip one of the balls of filling into the chocolate. Turn quickly to coat and balance on the tines of a fork to shake off the excess. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with additional gingersnap crumbs, if desired. Repeat with the remaining filling balls. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill until the coating is set.

*I prefer the flavor of good quality white chocolate to that of candy melts. However, melted white chocolate can be tricky to work with sometimes so candy melts may be an easier way to go.

Cookie Dough Truffles

Cookie Dough Truffles

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1½ lb. semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped
Mini chocolate chips (for garnish)

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up enough to form balls.

Shape the chilled cookie dough mixture into 1-1½ inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Cover loosely, transfer the pan to the freezer and chill for 1-2 hours.

When ready to dip the truffles, melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Dip each chilled truffle, one at a time, coating in chocolate and shaking gently to remove the excess. (If at any point during dipping, the cookie dough balls become too soft, return to the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.) Transfer to a wax-paper lined surface. If using mini chocolate chips for garnish, sprinkle on top quickly after dipping each truffle before the chocolate sets. Once all the truffles have been dipped, store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 tomatoes

3 tbsp. olive oil

1¼ cup yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ red bell pepper, diced (about ½ cup)

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

3 cups chicken broth

1-2 diced jalapeno peppers

½ (15 oz.) can peeled tomatoes

salt and pepper

cayenne, to taste (optional)

2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts

For garnish:

tortilla chips or strips

1 tomato, diced

chopped fresh cilantro

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the tomatoes in half. Spread 1 tbsp. of the olive oil on a baking sheet or pizza pan and arrange the tomatoes on top, skin side up. Drizzle the tomatoes with another 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for 35 minutes, until the skins wrinkle and the tomatoes are slightly brown around the edges.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-qt. soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté about 5 minutes, until the vegetables become soft. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup water, and half of the diced jalapenos. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, decrease the heat and simmer about 15 minutes.

Place the remaining jalapenos, the canned tomatoes with their juices and the roasted tomatoes (included as much as possible of the juices and browned tomato bits) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the jalapeno-tomato mixture about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to the soup and continue simmering, covered, about 1 hour.

Add salt and pepper to taste and ground cayenne pepper (if using) along with the cooked chicken. Allow to simmer a few minutes, until chicken is heated through.

Ladle the soup into medium bowls. Lean some tortilla chips against the edge of each bowl, partially sticking out of the soup. Sprinkle each bowl with a handful of diced tomatoes, some cilantro, and shredded cheese. Top with a spoonful of sour cream. Serve immediately.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

4-5 russet potatoes

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour, divided

6 cups 2% milk

2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup green onions, chopped

⅓-½ cup light sour cream

For topping:

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Chopped green onions

Bacon pieces

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Scoop the insides of the potatoes into food processor, discarding the peels. Pulse until the pieces are broken into small chunks.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add ¼ cup of flour to the pot and whisk into the butter. Cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour. Cook until thick and bubbling, about 6-8 minutes. Mix in the potato chunks. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat, stir in the green onions and sour cream.

Serve immediately. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon as desired.

Mom's BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

Mom's BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

1¼ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
3 cups flour
1 12 oz pkg chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350-375°. Cream butter/sugars/vanilla/eggs. Add flour/salt/soda. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for about 7-8 minutes. DON’T OVER COOK -- you’ll need to experiment with your oven temp and the time to bake the cookies to know exactly what is best with your oven. You'll want to take them out when they still look a tiny bit doughy so that they end up soft and chewy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Girl Scout Thin Mint Oven Strudels

Girl Scout Thin Mint Oven Strudels

Girl Scout Thin Mint Toaster Strudels

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

1 sleeve Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

4 ounces softened cream cheese

1 egg white plus 2 teaspoons water

1/2 Cup powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat liners.

2. Place Thin Mints in food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer ground cookies to a medium bowl and add softened cream cheese. Mix until well combined, I use my hands, it’s much easier! Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 rectangles totaling 18. Spead cookie/cream cheese mixture over 9 rectangles then top with remaining 9, crimp edges with fork and poke a few holes on top to allow for steam to escape. Whisk egg white and water and brush lightly over each streudel. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.

3. Place powdered sugar and heavy cream into a bowl, mix until smooth. Drizzle over warm streudels and serve. Can be enjoyed chilled as well.

18 streudels

Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets

Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets
THREE main ingredients plus one egg.

After this, take a fork and crimp the edges nice and firm

Nutella-Mallow Pillow Pockets

1 package puff pastry, 2 pastry sheets thawed

1 Cup Nutella spread

1 Cup mini marshmallows

Egg white wash: 1 egg white whisked with 1 Tablespoon water

Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each square of pastry into 4 equal size pieces (I trimmed mine just a little). Spread a couple tablespoons of Nutella spread onto the center of each pastry leaving 1/2 inch border around edges. Top each with about 12-15 mini marshmallows and fold over to form a little triangle. Crimp edges firmly with the tines of a fork. Brush with egg white wash then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until pastry just turns golden. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar then dig in!

8 pockets

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Banana, Raspberry, and White Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana, Raspberry, and White Chocolate Chip Bread:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flours (I actually use all white flour and it still turned out great!), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In another bowl, mix the eggs, bananas, vanilla yogurt, oil, and vanilla together until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until mixed. Fold in the white chocolate chips then add most of the raspberries and fold them gently into the mixture. Pour the batter into the loaf pan then push the remaining raspberries into the top of the loaf.

Bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out of the center clean. Let the bread cool on a rack for a few minutes before slicing, slathering with butter, and eating. Enjoy.

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