recipes

Top 7 Recipes of 2014

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Top 7 Recipes of 2014 on CookingwithAmanda.com

2014 was a great first year for the Cooking with Amanda blog. We are new and we are growing and can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring! We’re going to have some fun this year, we’ve got some plans for various “Theme Weeks” in the works (Travel Week, Comfort Food Week, Crock Pot Week, just to name a few…) and we can’t wait to get started!

For now, we just wanted to share our “Top 7” recipes of last year, so that you may enjoy them once again, or if you missed them the first time around.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and tasty new year!

1. Banana Bread

Banana Bread

2. Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies

Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies

3. Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

4. Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

5. Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

6. Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey noodle soup

7. Christmas M&M Pretzel Treats

Pretzel M&M Treats

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Buckeye Balls

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Buckeye Balls

Buckeye Balls are one of those holiday treats that you will always remember the very first time you had one. They are just so good, they will make a lasting impression in your mind. And if you haven’t had them yet, what are you waiting for?? They are amazing! The peanut butter balls are so soft and wonderful. The chocolate coating on the bottom goes so well with the peanut butter, they will melt in your mouth. And then you will want another!

Buckeye BallsMaking the peanut butter filling can be a bit tricky. Make sure you work the dough thoroughly. I use a Kitchen Aid and then use my hands to knead the dough a little more. When you make the balls, they might be very crumbly if you don’t mix the dough well enough. This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of recipe. I bring anyone who is home, in to help form the peanut butter balls. Otherwise, it would take forever.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (1-pound) box confectioners sugar
9 oz. (about 1½ cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp shortening

Buckeye Balls

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners sugar using a Kitchen Aid mixer. It will be dry and crumbly at first, but keep working it until everything is very evenly mixed.You may need to knead it by hand as well.
2. Form into 2 large balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
3. Shape into tablespoon sized balls. Roll them in your hands to smooth. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
4. Refrigerate for about an hour.
5. In a small saucepan melt chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly. When smooth, remove from heat.
6. Use a toothpick to dip each ball into chocolate mixture and place back on baking sheet.
7. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. (About an hour.) Use the back of a spoon to smooth over toothpick holes.
8. Eat. Share. Enjoy.

Buckeye Balls

Concord Grape Swizzle

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Concord Grape Swizzle

I invented a new drink last night. I’m calling it the “Concord Grape Swizzle”. I think it has a fun little ring to it. My husband picked up a bottle of Swedish Hill Concord Grape wine for us to enjoy. We love our New York State wines, especially the nice sweet wines.

Concord Grape Swizzle

As I was sipping the wine, I thought, I wonder what it might be like if I added some bubbly ginger ale and a slice of lime? Both of which I just happened to have in the fridge. The result was a yummy, new favorite drink!

Instructions:
1. Fill a glass 1/3 full of Swedish Hill Concord Grape Wine (Use grape juice as a nice non-alcoholic substitute.)
2. Fill another 1/3 of the glass with your favorite Ginger Ale.
3. Add ice and a slice of lime. (I threw a few cranberries in too, just because.)
4. Drink and enjoy.

Cheers!

Concord Grape Swizzle

Turkey Noodle Soup

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Turkey Noodle Soup

I love a good crock pot soup. Especially on a day like today. There’s a big Nor’Easter heading our way, about to dump a foot of snow on us. Not that we aren’t used to a little bit of snow in Syracuse, but well, it’s still perfect weather for a good old fashioned bowl of soup!

I made a similar version of this soup not too long ago, except with chicken. The recipe is about the same, except that I substituted anything that was chicken, with turkey.

Turkey Noodle SoupIngredients:

1 fresh turkey breast (about 1 lb.)
4 cups turkey broth
1 cup chopped carrots, pre-cooked
1/2 cup pasta (I used Stelline pasta, pictured below. They are little stars.)
Salt, pepper and minced onion, to taste
1-2 cups additional water

Turkey Noodle Soup

Instructions:

Place turkey and turkey broth in crock pot and cook on medium for 6-8 hours. Remove the turkey, place in bowl to shred. Return shredded turkey to the crock pot. Toss in the carrots and pasta. Cook for another 30-45 minutes (or longer is fine). Stir occasionally. You may need to add more hot water, the pasta will soak up a lot of the water once it is added.

Turkey Noodle Soup

Serve soup with rolls or crackers. Enjoy!

Turkey Noodle Soup

Caramel Corn

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Caramel Corn

Do you say “Car-a-mel” corn? Or “Car-mel” corn? I say Caramel Corn. There’s an “a” there and it’s not silent. At least not in my world! However you say it though, it is mighty good. Caramel Corn is a family favorite from my husband’s side of the family. There was a recipe passed down for several generations. I’m not giving the secret family recipe away though! I found a similar recipe on Pinterest, and I am going to post that. I have actually found at least 20 different recipes for Caramel Corn while doing research for this post. They are all slightly different. However you make it, you will love it!

Ingredients:
1 cup unpopped pop corn (Use an air popper, it is SO much better.)
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanuts (optional)

Caramel Corn

Instructions:
Pop the popcorn, add peanuts now if you’d like them. (I highly recommend salted, roasted peanuts.) Set aside in a big baking pan. (I use my roaster pan, it’s perfect!) Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, for 4 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract.

Caramel Corn

Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn in the roaster pan, stirring to coat each kernel. Bake the popcorn for one hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.

Caramel Corn

Remove the caramel corn from the oven. Pour it into a plastic container, a big one with a lid is preferable. Use a wooden spoon to stir the caramel corn, breaking it apart as it cools. Keep doing that every few minutes until they no longer clump together. Eat and enjoy. And store in an air tight container for the best taste.

Caramel COrn

Monkey Bread

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Monkey Bread  cookingwithamanda.com

It’s sweet, gooey and delicious. It’s Monkey Bread! And it’s super simple to make with just a few ingredients. Try it some morning when the whole family is home, they will love you for it.
Monkey Bread  cookingwithamanda.com

Ingredients:
2-3 rolls of refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits in a tube
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks butter/margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar

 

Monkey Bread  cookingwithamanda.com

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)
  2. Prepare Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  3. Cut each biscuit into six pieces. (Similar to cutting a pie.)
  4. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, mix well. Drop pieces of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture and stir gently with a large spoon. Do one biscuit (6 pieces) at a time, it keeps them from sticking together.
  5. In a small sauce pan, combine remaining sugar cinnamon mixture with the brown sugar and butter. Bring mixture just to a boil then immediately and carefully drizzle the mixture over biscuit pieces in the Bundt pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. (I turn mine around once during cooking to ensure even baking.)
  7. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then put a large plate on top of the Bundt pan. Flip the bread over and onto the plate. Remove Bundt pan.
  8. After cool, pull apart pieces of the monkey bread, eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

Monkey Bread

Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

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Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

If you’re looking for a simple, fun and delicious treat to bring to holiday gatherings, this could be the one. You only need 3 ingredients. A bag of square pretzels, (you could use other shapes, but I have found the squares work the best), a bag of holiday green & red M&M’s and a bag of chocolate (or vanilla, as pictured) candy discs that you can find at craft stores such as AC Moore or Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Christmas Pretzel M&M TreatsArrange the pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put the vanilla (or chocolate) flavored discs on top of the pretzel. Pop in a 275 degree pre-heated oven for 2 minutes. Yes. You read that right. TWO minutes. Not long at all. So don’t leave the room or forget about them. They will melt through the holes in the pretzels and make a huge mess.

Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

Have your M&M’s ready to place on top of the warm fresh-out-of-the-oven candy. Do this part quickly, get help if you can. You’ll need to do it fairly quickly or the chocolate disc will harden and the M&M won’t stick. And by quickly, you will have a few minutes, it’s not an emergency situation. Just do it as quickly as you can and waste time sipping your coffee between placing each M&M.

Christmas Pretzel M&M TreatsBecause it is winter here in Upstate NY, I set the tray of pretzel treats in the garage for 15 or so minutes so the chocolate solidifies quicker. Otherwise it will take a while before you can put them in a container to store. Or, you can eat them right away and not have to worry about storing them at all!

The neat thing about this treat is that you can make one tray or 5 trays. Or just a few treats at a time if that’s all you want. The clean up is minimal. The prep time is short. The outcome is delicious.

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Nothing goes better together than chocolate and peanut butter. The combination of these two amazing tastes combined into one, equals heaven. The Peanut Butter Blossom is my husbands favorite cookie. He went out last night to buy Hershey Kisses in hopes that I’d make them. So tonight, I obliged.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients:
48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening (I use margarine instead.)
3/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Additional granulated sugar(optional)

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

* These instructions are on the back of the Holiday Hershey Kisses. 

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini Bread

* This post was from August, on my other site, ShopAldi, but it’s a wonderful recipe any time of year! * 
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Tis the season for an over-abundance of Zucchini! And what’s the best thing to do with extra Zucchini? Make bread! And here is my recipe:

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini

DIRECTIONS

Grease two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini until well combined. Pour batter into pans.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan and completely cool.

Enjoy!

Turkey Casserole

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Turkey Casserole #turkey #leftovers #thanksgiving

I am always looking for a new recipe after Thanksgiving to help use up some of the leftover turkey. I found a Turkey Tetrazzini recipe that looked really good, but we were out later than expected and had a late dinner. I was too hungry to wait for something to bake for 45 minutes. So this was a bit of a knock-off on the Tetrazzini recipe. Plus, I didn’t have any spaghetti in the house, so I improvised with egg noodles.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup cut-up cooked turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Noodles or pasta of choice

DIrections:
Melt butter in pan. Add cooked turkey, stir until warmed up. Add mushroom soup, sour cream and milk. Mix well. Heat through. Add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Heat until bubbly. Remove from heat. Add mozzarella cheese, mix well. Serve over noodles or pasta. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Enjoy!