Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our kitchen to yours!
I have loved seeing all the cute family pictures on blogs that I follow, so I wanted to join in on the Christmas fun and wish you all a Merry Christmas from the Cunningham family!  I am one of many contributors to the Betty blog and have loved sharing my favorite recipes.  My New Years' resolution is to do a better job of posting recipes!  Have a fabulous holiday season and a happy new year!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Honey Butter Croissants

 We spent the last 3 weeks in sunny Arizona.  It was wonderful!  The weather was perfection.  We ate out almost every night trying to hit up all of our favorite spots.  The boys loved playing with their cousins and staying at Grandma's house.  We were so sad to leave!  Oh, and I got my hair done!  Yes, I wait until I visit Arizona every 4 months to get my hair done.  I love my hair girl.  Not only is she fabulous at doing hair, she told me about these croissants and I am forever changed.  They are melt in your mouth goodness.  Thank you Chelsea!

Honey Butter Croissants

1 box Trader Joe's frozen mini croissants

Bake as directed on box.  As soon as you take the croissants out of the oven, rub with softened butter and drizzle with honey.  Then, try to eat just one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies

I got this recipe from my cousin/friend/book club homegirl, Amy.  You might remember her from this recipe, which is one of my all-time favorites.
These brownies are super rich, super delicious, and super easy.  Anyone who is a fan of peanut butter and chocolate is going to love these.  Thanks for another winner, Amy!
1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli double chocolate)
1/2 bag peanut butter chips

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter (I didn't measure it, I just put two really big spoonfuls)
2-3 cups powdered sugar
little bit of milk

*Make the brownie batter according to package directions and stir in the peanut butter chips.  Bake according to package directions and let cool completely.  Mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and a little milk to make spreadable frosting.  Spread over brownies and serve immediately or chill before serving.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Not a really exciting recipe--especially since it's almost Turkey day but I have been making pie crusts most of the day in prep for said Turkey day...and needed to make SOMETHING for dinner. I had a little left over chicken, so I made a quick Chicken Noodle Soup (nothing fancy) for the husband. You can't have soup without some kind of hot bread, so I pulled out my old Baking Powder Biscuit recipe. I forgot how good these are!! Really--they are, and I think the reason is they use butter instead of shortening. They are quick and fast too. I always use buttermilk instead of half and half. I think it makes them lighter. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just put a few tablespoons of vinegar in fresh milk and let it sit for a few minutes. It will thicken and become your buttermilk substitute. 

I use my food processor to cut the butter into the flour. Just pulse it a few times. I also mix the milk into the flour with the processor. Just don't process too long. I made these in literally 10 minutes--minus the baking time.


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (1 stick)
3/4 cup half-and-half or buttermilk

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Cut the stick of butter into pieces and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or pastry blender (or food processor) until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Add the half-and-half or buttermilk, mixing until the dough mixed and no flour is present.

Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times.
Roll out the dough until it's 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to cut dough.  I use a large round cookie cutter--we like our biscuits BIG!! Place on ungreased cookie sheet  about 1/4 inch apart (so they rise up not out), and bake for about 12 minutes, or until tops are just golden. Serve warm with butter and jam!! They will keep stored in an airtight container for several days.

**For a cheesy biscuit, add about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese when the dough is almost finished processing. Bits of melted cheese will be in the biscuit. Really good!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Time to make the pies!! It will be Thanksgiving in a few days, so break out your rolling pins and sprinkle that flour! I decided to try something a little different for our dessert table this year--don't worry family, we will still have the traditional pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, coconut cream, lemon and banana cream. I have been following The Baker Chic cooking blog ( for a while and she makes some amazing desserts. She posted this a few days ago and I decided I must try. NOT mad about it! So delicious and what a great combination--pear and toffee. I did cook it on my pizza stone to keep the crust crisp.  I think this might become a regular with us. Would be great with a scoop of ice cream too!

1 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/4-1/2 cup of ice water
1 egg white
course sugar for sprinkling
2-3 firm ripe pears peeled and sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon

toffee sauce:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 tsp salt

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds. (You can also do all this with two knives or a pastry blender.)

Flatten dough into a round disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour.

For toffee sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to medium and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced to about a cup.


When dough is chilled, on a well-floured surface, roll it out into a 10-12 inch round. Gently move it to your baking sheet. Arrange pears around the inside, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Fold the edges in, overlapping each over the other like an accordion. Sprinkle cinnamon over the pears and brush or drizzle them with about 1/4 cup of the toffee sauce. 

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and crust is golden and firm. (You really want the bottom to crisp up so don't take it out too soon. I baked it on my pizza stone). Cool slightly and drizzle with more toffee sauce. (You may have some leftover- it would be delicious on ice cream!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Ahhh--it's cloudy here in AZ today and on Saturday it's supposed to be a blustery 64 degrees with MAYBE some rain! We can only hope! I wish I could share this weather with those in the east that are now being pounded with heavy snow on top of the terrible Sandy hurricane. Our prayers continue to go out to them and their families. Here we  have been waiting to turn off the AC for several months! This soup is easy, and good. If your family doesn't like spicy you could leave out the salsa or reduce the amount. I think it gives it just a little more flavor. 

2 large cans chicken broth
1  8 oz. package softened cream cheese
1 chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 c. or 16 oz. Pace (or any hot sauce you prefer)
3-4 cans of chicken (I used 3 c. cooked shredded that I  had--you could also use meat from a rotisserie chicken)
1 c. milk or cream  (or half and half)
1 package frozen sweet corn (I like S&W Sweet Petite White Corn)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
sour cream
chopped tomato

Sauté onion and garlic in 2 tbs. olive oil, add broth, milk or half and half, cream cheese, corn and salsa and bring it all to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the chicken.  Cook just until heated.  Serve in bowls topped with chopped cilantro, avocado and sour cream. Also good in a bread bowl.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced tomato and a dollop of sour cream.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Lust Dessert

One of my favorite desserts is the chocolate pudding layered dessert.  I dream about it because it is just that good.  So when I saw this recipe using pumpkin spice pudding in place of chocolate pudding, I had to try it.  This is such a fun dessert for Fall.  It would be perfect to add to your Thanksgiving menu.  The pumpkin flavor and creamy layers makes for a yummy combination.

Recipe from Sweet Treats and More

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbs sugar
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8 oz) containers cool whip (or one 16 oz container) *
2 small packages (3.4oz) of Jello Instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding 
3 cup cold milk
Chocolate chips

For the crust:

Combine butter, flour, chopped pecans and sugar and press into a 9 x 13 in baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 cups cool whip until smooth.  Spread over crust.

For the Pumpkin Layer:

Mix pudding mixes with cold milk, whisking for several minutes.  Set it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to let it thicken.  Spread over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining container of cool whip. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

*I used whipping cream for the top layer.  I prefer the taste over cool whip.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Banana Bread

It's kind of weird to try so many banana bread recipes.  I mean, I have at least 3 banana bread recipes that I really love and yet, I keep trying new ones.  I don't know.  
So here's another one and I really liked this one, too!
4 ripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda

*Smash up the bananas.  (Instead of dirtying another bowl, I just put my bananas in the mixer first and mix them up until their nice and juicy).  Add the sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and olive oil.  Mix well.  Add flour and baking soda.  Mix well.  Pour into two small bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Watch it closely because the time will vary depending on your pans and your oven.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pan-roasted Chicken with Root Veggies

I have a SIL that is such an amazing cook that she has turned my brother into a food snob! :)  She recently shared this recipe with us (from Cooks Country) and I made it the other night and it was to die for! In fact, it was so good I am actually making it again tonight! This is a super delicious and super easy dinner.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!



We halve the chicken breasts crosswise for even cooking.  Use brussel sprouts no bigger than golf balls, as larger ones are often tough and woody.

3/4 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3/4 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound shallots, peeled and halved
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, thick ends halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoons sugar
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (2 split breasts cut in half crosswise, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs), trimmed

1.  Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.  Toss brussel sprouts, potatoes, shallots, carrots, garlic, 2 teaspoons thyme, oil, 1 teaspoon rosemary, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl.  Combine butter, remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in second bowl; set aside.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt & pepper.  Place vegtables in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet, arranging brussel sprouts in center.  Place chicken, skin side up, on top of vegtables, arranging breast pieces in center and leg and thigh pieces around perimeter of sheet.

3. Brush chicken with herb butter and roast until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 35-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking.  Transfer chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Toss vegetables in pan juices and transfer to platter with chicken.

Serve and Enjoy!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Caramel Corn Puffs

Or Caramel Corn Crack, as I affectionately call it.  While I have not personally tried crack, I am pretty sure since it's so good this stuff is just as a addicting and dangerous as the real stuff.  My friend Hayley introduced me to this ridiculous recipe, and my life will now never be the same. It is going to knock you socks off, and you will never go back to traditional carmel corn.  I took it to my friend Caroline's  Halloween Playgroup and it was a hit.  

Carmel Corn Puffs

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 can sweeten condensed milk.
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 baking soda

In large sauce pan melt and combine sugar and butter.  Stir in corn syrup and bring to a low boil.  Add the milk and bring back to a low boil for about a minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and soda.  The soda will make everything foam up so make sure it is in a large pan (learned this the hard way).  Pour over a 15 oz bag of "Corn Pops".  It is not the cereal.  It looks like Pirates Booty but it isn't flavored.  I found mine at Harmon's but I hear Walmart has it too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

I always get excited about going to a baby or bridal shower.
I mean, who doesn't love a social gathering where they get to visit with friends while eating a sampling of various people's favorite recipes.  Because you know when you are asked to make food for a shower, you always make something that you love and that you think others will love to.
It was at a baby shower for one of my cousins that i was introduced to this beautiful quinoa salad.  One bite and was I like, oh man, I am going to need that recipe a-sap.
So many great flavors and colors in one dish.  Eat it with pita chips or just dig in with a spoon.
Thanks, Amber, for sharing this recipe!!

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced (or you could use tomatoes)
4 green onions, diced (or 1/4 cup diced red onion)
frozen white corn (take a handful and run it under warm water to thaw)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/2 packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1 ripe (but not squishy) avocado, diced
salt and pepper to taste

*Put everything together in a bowl, in the order listed above.  Stir well and add avocado last so it doesn't get mushy.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

*This recipe is very adaptable.  You can improvise on any ingredient depending on what you like.  I added 2 mangoes instead of 1 and more cilantro than it asked for.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I read a LOT of recipe blogs! Every time I see one I think I might be remotely interested in--I copy it. My recipe file is HUGE. And who am I kidding? There are some that I will NEVER make but they sounded good and interesting at the time. Will I ever really make Salted Caramel-Filled Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes? No--probably not, but they sounded delicious and the photo was gorgeous. However, I read a lot and have and will continue to make many of her recipes. She is a darling girl who lives in New York City, just got married and cooks in a REALLY tiny kitchen. This Apple Spice Crumb Bread caught my eye and I happened to have some apples that needed to be used.  I must say--delicious!! Credit goes to Audra from her blog.

makes one 9x5 inch loaf

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1 whole wheat, 1 white)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 medium sized apples - peeled and cored. 2 of them chopped and 2 grated.

crumb topping
1/8 cup flour
1/8 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter- cut into small bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Make crumb topping by mixing all ingredients but the butter, and then cutting the butter in with a knife until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix into the sugar mixture. Stir in the buttermilk until moistened. Fold in the apples. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping.

Bake 60 mins in the preheated oven, with a cookie sheet on a lower rack to catch any over-flow. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note- it always takes me a good 15 minutes longer to get a loaf of quick bread baked all the way through. If after 60 minutes it still seems gooey, check it in 5 minute increments.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trader Joes Gnocchi

I love it when people introduce me to new food I have never tried. I had heard of gnocchi but didn't really know quite what it was. I'm not a very adventurous eater so this wasn't surprising. My friend made this for us and we loved it. Then when she told me how easy it is, I loved it even more! Its from a Trader Joes recipe book so you can buy everything you need from TJ's. Another great perk!

Potato Gnocchi

1 (17.6 oz) bag dry Potato Gnocchi
1 cup Organic Vodka Sauce, or combine ¾ cup marinara with ¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp bread crumbs

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F
2.) Bring salted water to a boil and add gnocchi.   When gnocchi float to the top, they are done.   Drain.
3.) In a medium bowl, combine sauce, peas, basil, and ¼ cup parmesan.  Stir in gnocchi.  
4.) Lightly spray or oil a small casserole dish (8 inch oval). Transfer gnocchi mixture to casserole.   Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.  
5.) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

A few weeks ago, Megan posted a recipe on Betty for mini cheesecakes that I couldn't stop thinking about.  I knew I had to make them soon, but I also knew that I had to somehow incorporate chocolate into them since I don't like pie filling.  They turned out really yummy and chocolatey and satisfied my cheesecake craving.  Thanks for the recipe, Megan!

2 8oz. packages cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

1 bag mini chocolate chips
24 Oreo cookies
24 cupcake liners

*Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans and place one Oreo in the bottom of each.  Set aside.  Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add chocolate chips and mix until blended.   Scoop onto Oreos until cupcake liner is about half full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I don't like the chicken salad from Costco--large chunks of chicken, too large pieces of grapes and/or craisins and way too much dressing. There--I said it. If you like it we are still friends! My wonderful friend Brooke came up with this recipe for a bridal shower a few years ago and it is a favorite at our house. I frequently make it to keep in the fridge so my hubby can make his own lunch!! Good idea, no?

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  (or skip this step and used canned chicken--I don't like)
Place breasts in a pan and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Add:
   1 stick of celery--cut into a few pieces
    1/2 of a medium onion, cut into chunks
    a few mini-carrots

Bring the chicken to a boil and turn heat to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes until chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool. Discard the broth or save it for a recipe that needs chicken broth. It's tasty. Make sure it has enough salt.  Shred chicken.


equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream
  Amount determined by how much dressing you like
One medium apple, peeled and diced small or grated
1/2 c. slivered almonds (or pine nuts, walnuts or pecans)
2-3 diced green onion--diced very small
salt and pepper to taste

Optional add ins:
  Diced celery
  Diced red pepper

Mix altogether with shredded chicken. Refrigerate and serve on croissant rolls, or any good sandwich bread. Is good with crackers or on celery sticks also.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cashew Chicken

You know when you see a recipe popping up everywhere you look, it's got to be a good one.  That's what was happening with this cashew chicken so I finally decided I needed to make it.  What's not to love about a crock-pot recipe that is not only easy but delicious?  We had it on Sunday and I am still enjoying the leftovers for lunch.  And don't tell the chicken breast marketers, but I have totally converted to chicken thighs.  So good.
Pick a link, any link:

recipe here
recipe here
recipe here

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Avocado, Bacon and Onion Chicken

My friend, Brittney, has completely changed her family's way of eating.  It's been almost 2 years since she started their journey and I am amazed at her dedication to this difficult process.  Her family is on the GAPS diet.  She has a blog you can check out to find out more information about the diet and her family's journey on this new road.  I got this chicken recipe from Brittney a few months ago.  It is such a simple dish but pleases the taste buds and makes for a great dinner dish. 

Avocado, Bacon and Onion Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 slices bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced

Season chicken breasts with garlic salt.  Bake chicken at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes or until done.  Meanwhile, saute onions and bacon on stove until cooked through.  When chicken is done, top with mozzarella cheese, onions, bacon and avocado.  Serve.

*I added the cheese and garlic salt.  Not sure if they are part of the GAPS diet.  Just did it for my own liking.
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