Chocolate Shot Cookies

It's been ages since I've posted a recipe!  I meant to post this one back in June, but life as a pregnant mother of four kind of took over.  Now I'm a not pregnant (thank goodness) mother of five!  But the last nine months of physical misery was worth it because now we have this beautiful bundle, Mikkelsen (Mikkie) Faith, in our lives.
She is already a month old!  And while life hasn't slowed down, I really wanted to get back to blogging a bit.  So today is the big day and I'm sharing this scrumptious recipe for my hubby's favorite Christmas cookie, Chocolate Shots.  These cookies are simple to make and so light, crispy and yummy.  They will disappear quickly, guaranteed!  Here's the DL...
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powder sugar
1 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
Red and green granulated sugar
In mixer cream butter.  Add powder sugar.  Gradually add the oatmeal.  Mix in vanilla, baking soda, and flour.  Divide dough into two equal parts and form into rolls about 2 inches in diameter.  Coat one roll of dough in red sugar and the other in green sugar. (I do this by pouring the color sugar out on a piece of wax paper and gently rolling the dough through it until the outside is coated.)
Wrap rolls of dough in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Slice chilled dough about 1/2 inch thick and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool and enjoy!

*I asked my mother in law why these cookies are called Chocolate Shots when there is no chocolate in them.  She said the original recipe called for coating the dough in chocolate sprinkles instead of sugar.  I've tried it both ways and I prefer the sugar coating.

Red, White, & Blue Punch

Here is a yummy, easy and refreshing way to spruce up your Fourth of July party.  Pulling this punch together couldn't be more simple.  Plus it taste so good and the mint slowly infuses into the punch and makes it ultra refreshing on a hot summer day.  Here's the DL...
White Grape Juice
3-5 sprigs of mint
2 cups of fresh blueberries
2 cups of fresh raspberries
Mix the well chilled white grape juice & sprite together in your beverage container using a one to one ratio.  Pour in the blueberries and raspberries and stir around to mix them up.  Put in the mint and give it one stir.  Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

It has been ages since I last posted!  Sorry for the unexplained absence, but in February we got a BIG surprise that I was pregnant.  Pretty much the next day morning sickness set in and stayed there for four solid months!  I've gotten fairly sick with all my pregnancies, but this one was a doosey.  I pretty much couldn't do anything, our family was in full survival mode.  If it wasn't for our family and friends we would have had cold cereal for every meal.  But we got blessed and folks brought us a lot of dinners.  This however meant I did very little cooking, and what I did do was super basic.  But I am now feeling better, as in I'm done throwing up every day.  Just the aching feet,back, and legs and basic uncomfortableness to deal with now.  But I am cooking again, which makes my family very happy.  And the most important thing is our baby is healthy.  I'm five months along and we are having another girl!  Its a house overran by ladies here.  My hubby and son will just have to sick together and take hikes when things get to be too much ;)

These buffalo chicken quesadillas are one of the few new things I've tried over the last five months.  I saw a recipe for BBQ chicken quesadillas, and I thought, "Those sound good but  buffalo chicken would be better!"  So I gave it a whirl and I can't believe I've never thought of this before.  They are super easy and so, so tasty.  Serve 'em up with some ranch for dipping and you'll be a happy camper.  Here's the DL...

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Franks hot sauce
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
butter for grilling
6 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Whisk together the melted butter, Franks hot sauce and vinegar.  And mixture to chicken and stir to coat.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Throw in a little butter and lay down a tortilla.
On half of the tortilla spread a sixth of the chicken, shredded cheese, and blue cheese.  Put a lid on until cheese is melted and tortilla is browned.
Gently fold over the side of the tortilla with nothing on it to make a half circle.
Set quesadilla in the oven on a cookie sheet and repeat with remaining tortillas.
Serve warm with a side of ranch and enjoy!

*You can add other ingredients like chopped green onions, bacon, parseley, or whatever else goes good with buffalo chicken in your mind.

Raspberry Honey Oat Bars

I adore desserts that I can also eat for breakfast.  That is, eat for breakfast and it looks like a breakfast food.  Because let's face it, I really could, and often do, eat any dessert for breakfast.  But I like it when no one else realizes it's dessert.  These bars are perfect for that reason!  You've got to give em a try.  They are so simple and good.  Here's the skinny...

2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
Using a hand blender blend the raspberries until smooth.  Mix in the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and set aside.  (You can omit this step and use your favorite jam if you like)
Using a food processor, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, honey, butter, baking soda, salt, and vanilla.  Pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Coarse or large crumbs are ideal.
Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture.  Pour remaining crumb mixture into the pan and press down evenly.
Spread the raspberry mixture on top and spread out evenly.
Crumble the 1 1/2 cups of remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Let cool and cut into squares.  Enjoy!
*Strawberry, huckleberry, and strawberry rhubarb are also great fruits to use on these bars.  Adjust granulated sugar amount according to the sweetness of the fruit you use.

Grilled Cheese Sloppy Joes

I love this concept of combining two of the most all American sandwiches together.  This is truly an awesome sandwich.  I like it... a lot... maybe too much.  Another bonus to this sandwich besides tasting amazing, is it is super easy to make a big batch of them.  Here's the skinny...
Sloppy Joe meat [click for recipe]
sandwich bread
butter, softened
sliced American cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter one side of all the pieces of bread.
 Place slice of bread buttered side down on cookie sheet.  Lay down a piece of cheese.
Dollop on some Sloppy Joe meat, and then another piece of cheese.  Place another piece of bread on top with buttered side facing up.
Place another cookie sheet of the same size as the bottom sheet on top of the sandwiches.
Place sandwiches in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.  Let them sit for a few minutes before serving.  Slice them up and enjoy!

Homemade Cheese Crackers

I'm a sucker for homemade crackers.  Especially homemade crackers that involve cheese.  My kiddos also love cheese crackers.  So this recipe is great for the whole family.  I make them in place of Cheez-Its and Goldfish.  It's nice knowing what ingredients are in your kids' snack.  Homemade is always better and these crackers are a cinch to whip up.  Here's the DL...
1 cup flour
4 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-4 Tablespoons water
In a food processor combine flour, butter, cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper and pulse until crumbly, resembling cornmeal.
Add 1 tablespoon of water and pulse.  Continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough forms.
Place dough in gallon size Ziploc bag.  Using a rolling pin roll dough out.
Bag will crease up.

So every once in a while open up the bag and smooth out the wrinkles.  Then reseal the bag and continue rolling.
Roll dough out until it fills up the bag.  Place dough on a flat surface and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Carefully cut the edges of the plastic bag open to reveal dough, be careful not to touch the dough.
Cut dough into one inch squares (I like to use a ruler for this part, keeps my lines straight).  Or you can use a cookie cutter at this point if you want the crackers to be a certain shape.
Place dough squares on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Let cool completely and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 100 square crackers.

Crock Pot Lasagna

I'm always looking for good meals to make in my crock pot for those busy days... or days I don't feel like making dinner.  When I first saw a recipe for lasagna in the crock pot I was skeptical.  The noodles didn't need to be precooked, you just layer all the ingredients in the crock pot and walk away- I'm not buying it.  But I had to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised when the lasagna tasted and looked like, well, lasagna.  It was wonderful!  Way, way simpler than traditional lasagna and it taste the same.  This really is such an easy meal to pull off.  You can tweak it to suite your fancy, use chicken, forget the spinach, go meatless, use ricotta... however you like your lasagna.  When you've got a busy day just layer this lasagna in your crock pot and walk away, you won't be disappointed come supper time.  Here's the skinny...
3 cups Red Sauce
1 pound cooked ground beef or ground Italian sausage
1/4 cup water
9 lasagna noodle, uncooked
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups spinach, uncooked
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
11/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine the ground beef and red sauce.
Combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning.
Spread 1/2 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock pot.  Gently pour the water on top.
Place noodles on top, breaking them up as needed to cover most of the crock pot. Usually takes about 3 noodles.
Spread a third of the cottage cheese mixture on top of the noodles.
Sprinkle half of the spinach on top.
Spread a third of the red sauce on.
Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
Repeat the layering process again: about 3 noodles, half of remaining cottage cheese mixture, remaining spinach, half of remaining red sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
For the final layer place in remaining noodles (or whatever is needed to cover the top), remaining cottage cheese mixture, remaining red sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours (if you need it to be in there a little longer, put it on warm after 3-4 hours until you're ready to eat).
30 minutes before you're ready to eat sprinkle on remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella and the 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
Let the lasagna stand in the crock pot turned off with the lid removed for 10 minutes before serving.
Cut it up and enjoy!
*I read one recipe where the lady needed it to be in the crock pot for 6-8 hours so she set her crock pot on high for about 45 minutes and then set it on warm for the rest of the time.  I have not tried this, but I think it would work.  This lasagna is pretty fool proof.