Homemade Twix Bars

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lucky me, I have a couple of children who love to bake even more than I do.  My waistline isn't sure it's such a blessing, but man oh man, my tastebuds sure do appreciate their culinary interest.  These bars are ones my daughter whipped up one day right before guests arrived.  Unfortunately she had not read ahead in the recipe to notice that they needed time to set up beforehand, so we served them to our guests as a not-so-lovely chocolate-caramel soup.  We cleaned up from dinner that night, set them aside, and totally forgot about them until a couple of days later when we rediscovered them as perfectly set-up chocolate-caramel bars of goodness!  After tasting them the second time, there was no forgetting them anymore and it did not take long for the rest of them to disappear.   These were one of the best desserts I've had in a long time!  
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:


1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat together butter and sugar and add vanilla. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Press dough into a 9x13-inch baking dish (or up to a 12x16-inch pan) and poke several times with a fork.  (How big your pan is, will determine how thick your layers are.)


Bake at 325-degrees for about 22-25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool completely.  


1-1/2 cups butter
1-1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
6 Tbs. corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter then stir in remaining ingredients, except vanilla.

 Stir in remaining ingredients except for vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir at a low rolling boil for about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  
Pour caramel over cooled shortbread and allow to set up for several hours or overnight.  We placed ours in the fridge to hasten the process.   


3-4 cups chocolate chips (we liked ours with dark chocolate)
2 Tbs. shortening

In a medium microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening together on high heat for two minutes, stirring every thirty seconds.  Return to refrigerator to set, then cut into bars. Makes about 30 bars.

Store bars in a tightly covered container in the fridge with wax paper between layers.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before eating.  


NOTE:  For an extra special treat, try these in a candy mold.    We coated the outside of the mold with melted chocolate, allowed it to set up, then placed a very small piece of shortbread (or Rice Krispies) and a spoonful of caramel into the mold and covered it with chocolate.  My daughter won a cooking contest with these tasty and pretty treats! 

Recipe Adapted from:  Boy Cheese Sandwich


Turkey Taco Casserole

Monday, April 15, 2013

We love Mexican food around our house, but recently needed a change up from our normal enchiladas or taquito routine.  This Turkey Taco Casserole is layered like a lasagna and totally hit the spot in our family!  It came together pretty quickly and filled an 8x8-inch baking dish to the brim with warm cheesy Mexican goodness.  The spiciness level was perfect for our family and we enjoyed it topped with plain greek yogurt, avocados, lettuce, and tomato!  Enjoy! 
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara. 

The Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cans (4-oz. each) diced green chilies, divided
1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes, drained (oops, I forgot to drain mine)
1 can (16-oz) refried beans
1-1/2 cups  Mexican blend cheese {or cheddar cheese}
2 flour tortillas, cut into 1" strips
1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
Desired toppings:  Sour cream (or plain greek yogurt), sliced avocado, additional salsa, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Cook the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Stir well.   Then add one of the cans of diced green chilies and the can of diced tomatoes.  Stir and continue cooking until everything is well combined and the turkey is cooked through.  Remove from heat.

In a greased 8x8-inch square baking pan, spread about 1/3 of the turkey mixture along the bottom.
Then spread about 1/3 of the refried beans over the top of the turkey.  (I heated my refried beans briefly to make it easier to spread)
Then layer 1/3 of the remaining green chilies, 1/2 cup cheese, and four of the tortilla strips.

Repeat layers twice more, spreading salsa over the last layer just before adding the cheese.
Cook at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Allow casserole to cool and set for about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with desired toppings.  We liked it with sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and more salsa.

Serves 6.


Recipe Source:  Eat, Live, Run


Pink Lemonade Cookies

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My friend came over for dinner one night and brought some pink lemonade cookies that she had made from a package.  I really liked them and decided to look for a recipe online to make them from scratch.  I found a recipe that looked good and started experimenting with it.  I wanted the cookies to be a little tarter, so I switched the amount of sugar and the amount of the pink lemonade powder. (You can adjust the sugar and pink lemonade to your preference.)  I loved the way they turned out!  Here is the recipe the way I liked it best :)

Posted by AnnaLisa

Adapted from a recipe at apronstringsandpearls.

Click here for printable recipe

The Ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. powdered sweetened pink lemonade mix
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (or lemon juice. I used juice from a fresh lemon.)
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease cookie sheet.

- In large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemonade mix until fluffy.

- Beat in egg, vanilla, and lemon extract.

-Add dry ingredients to the batter, beating until thoroughly combined.

 Dough will be crumbly.

-Roll dough into 1" balls and roll in sugar. Place them 2" apart on cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes (or until edges start to brown.)

Although I didn't try it, I think these cookies might be really good with a lemony glaze on top.



Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

Monday, April 8, 2013

One day my ten-year-old came to me requesting cookies.  I didn't have the time to make any, so I told him to find a recipe and feel free to make them himself.  He looked through my Pinterest page and got excited about these cookies.  Made with Nutella and peanut butter, they are every bit as delicious as you'd expect them to be...even though they are 100% gluten free.    Sadly, they only made a dozen so they didn't last long at our house.  A few days later I made a quadruple batch for a dinner where there would be someone with a severe gluten intolerance in attendance.  Although there were other desserts available, these chewy, yet crispy cookies were the first to go and my gluten intolerant cousin was thrilled to have an easy new recipe to throw into her gluten free repertoire.  These are as easy as can be to make, but you do want to take extra care not to overbake these. Enjoy! 
Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:

1/2 cup Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut spread)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Cream Nutella and peanut butter together.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. 

Shape into balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Do NOT  overbake.  You want to take these out right before they look set up.  Cool on wire rack. 


Recipe Source:  Seeded at the Table


Easy Cheesy Beef and Spinach Pasta

Monday, April 1, 2013

When our evening schedule gets really jam-packed like it is right now, cooking healthy meals for my family gets difficult .  I find myself falling more and more to either convenience foods or to a few quick and easy recipes that I can throw together with ingredients I have in the house (this, this, and this being among our family's favorites).  However, lately we have gotten a little tired of the same round robin of quick recipes and I have been on the hunt to add some more into the rotation.   This one was one that was a smashing success at our house.  It took about 5 minutes to chop the spinach and garlic and the rest of it came together in about 15 minutes!  Only 20 minutes of effort and it made a meal that the whole family loved.  The combination of cheese, tomato sauce, and pasta proved to be a winning combination and I will definitely be making this again soon!
Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 lb. ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 tsp. minced garlic (could use garlic powder)
1 can (15-oz.) tomato sauce ( I used pizza sauce)
1-3/4 cup beef or chicken broth
1-1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (I used 3/4 tsp. basil, 3/4 tsp. oregano)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain and set aside. 

Brown the ground beef or turkey.  Drain fat, then add minced garlic, tomato sauce (or pizza sauce), broth, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. 

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until slightly thickened.   Add chopped spinach and stir. 

Add cooked, drained pasta and stir.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top and stir.   Makes 4-5 servings. 

Serve hot. 


Recipe adapted slightly from Joyful Homemaking. 


About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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