"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Pork Tenderloin... A Dinner To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!

I know I've told you before, but I have a serious sweet tooth. I would gladly choose a dessert over having an actual, nutritious meal. You should see my "sweets" section in my homemade recipe-book. I think it's about 4 times the size of all my other sections...combined. I just can't resist a good dessert recipe! They're the ones that always stick out to me when I'm looking at all the food blogs I love.

When I get food cravings, it's usually for something sweet. Cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream....oh Lord, I'm salivating.  Here's a recipe that is sweet, but still nutritious and can be classified as a "main course." It's like dessert... okay, I'm kidding. We all know that there's no way you would eat this Cinnamon Apple Pork Tenderloin and not want dessert afterward! That would be just crazy!

It's not a secret that pork and apples just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly...or macaroni and cheese.... or peaches and my belly :) Just kidding. But really, there's something about the combination of the pork and the sweet, soft apples. It's delicious. 

This recipe couldn't be easier. You just mix a couple things together, dump it over the meat and bake it. So easy! 

Sweet, juicy, cinnamon apples! Yum!  

Cinnamon Apple Pork Tenderloin

1-1 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks (I used Granny Smith)
3-4 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. dried cranberries (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Get out a baking dish or roasting pan. (I just used a 9"x13" cake pan. You really just need something will tall sides.) Line the pan with foil. You'll thank me for this tip later! Just make sure the ends of the foil kind of fold up so any juices don't get on the pan.

Next, salt and pepper your pork. I know this sounds weird with the sweet apples, but salt and pepper are standard things to put on any meat. It will give the pork more flavor.

Like so! See how the sides are folded up?

Now it's time to make the cinnamon apple mixture. Sometimes cutting up fruits and vegetables can be intimidating. It sounds silly, but I'll walk you through how I cut up my apples.
First peel it, with either a paring knife or vegetable peeler and remove the stem.

Then slice it down the middle so you end up with two halves. Then cut each half into two pieces.

As you know, apples have seeds, so we need to get rid of them. You can either lay the apple piece on it's side and cut into it at an angle to cut the chunk with seeds in it out, or you can set each piece up straight and slowly slice it out.

Stand it up straight...

Slice it, cutting straight down, so you cut out the seeded part. Be careful!!

Then slice each quarter into three pieces, lengthwise. Line those up, like you're putting the apple pieces back together, and chop them into chunks. I think I got about 4 chunks out of each piece.
 You'll end up with this!

Dump all your apple chunks into a medium sized bowl and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and dried cranberries if you're using them. The cornstarch probably seems strange, but it reacts with the juices that come out of the apples and pork to create a thick sauce that is delicious. I've also made this once without the cranberries and once with them, and both were good. So don't worry if you don't have them or don't like them!  

Stir until everything is coated and combined!
Spoon this mixture around the pork tenderloin and cover the pan with foil. Pop it into the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.
 Cover this and throw it in the oven! Delish!

Take it out after 30 minutes and take the foil off. Spoon the apple mixture over the pork tenderloin and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  The apples will look shiny, brown and juicy. (Like the first picture I posted.)

Y'all will love this recipe... guaranteed! Enjoy :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Exploring Dallas... and a trip to the Farmer's Market!

I've lived in Dallas for a little over 23 years now, yet I tend to stay in my little Richardson bubble. I mean, do you realize how many things there are to do in Dallas? A WHOLE LOT, I'll tell you that much! I've decided to take more advantage of all these cool things Dallas has to offer.

My wonderful boss (Hey Lisa!) took me to lunch last week to celebrate my birthday and we went to a place called Hattie's in the Bishop Arts District.  It was so good, y'all. It's my new favorite restaurant! It's right up my alley, too. They have good, southern, home cookin', but it's perfected versions of the classics and everything is wonderful. The menu isn't that big, so I knew that meant that everything on it had to be so outstanding that they don't need to offer a lot of options. Let me tell, everything I had was incredible. Even the iced tea was perfect....that's how good it was!


Since I was at a place serving southern food, I of course had to try some fried chicken. So I had a fried chicken sandwich and it had spicy mustard and homemade pickles on it. Lisa got a crab cake salad and said it was great. The Four-Cheese Macaroni was calling our names from them menu so we ordered a small side of that so we could try it. They also serve you homemade bread with the softest butter that was to die for. We couldn't resist dessert, so we ordered the Pecan, Chocolate, Coconut Pie with vanilla ice cream. I know what you're thinking... "Is that all one pie?" YES IT IS! I had to ask the waiter. I couldn't believe it. It was incredibly delicious. I've decided to keep going back until I've tried everything on the menu because it was so incredible and everything sounded good. (We're talkin' Pecan-Crusted Catfish, Shrimp & Grits, Grilled Cheese..... okay stop salivating!)

The actual space is darling. It's so bright when you walk in and it looks like the inside of a southern plantation. It's really vintage looking, but it still feels updated and modern. Just go, y'all. You won't regret it....unless you forget to invite me to go with you :)

 I love how bright it is! 
I also made a trip to the Dallas Farmer's Market this weekend. I haven't been since probably elementary school. I can remember going with some family friends of ours and I remember us buying a huge crate of oranges. Too bad I wasn't interested in cooking and baking when I was 7 years old, or else I would have been putting oranges in everything!

The Farmer's Market is so cool! Each stand was full of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the vendors were eager to give you samples of pineapple, oranges, mangoes and more. I was in heaven. It was kind of hard to keep track of where I saw the best prices of things, but I got some good stuff! With everything I bought, recipes were flying through my brain! I got...
  • green beans
  • spinach
  • okra
  • green onions
  • oranges
  • canteloupe
  • corn 
  • Peach flavored white balsalmic vinegar (I'm thinkin' salad dressings...)
I've already made some green beans and I fried up some okra last night. You should know this about me... I love fried okra. I've loved it since I was little. I could eat loads and loads of it. However, my first attempt at making it did not go well, but it won't scare me away from trying again! Here's another thing you should know about me... I LOVE PEACHES AND ANYTHING PEACH FLAVORED. Did I make that clear enough for you? Peaches are, by far, my favorite fruit. I love all other fruits too; I'd say watermelon is a close second, but peaches are, without a doubt, my favorite. I love peach cobbler, peach tea, fresh peaches... you get it? When I see recipes with peaches in them, I always write them down. I'm patiently waiting for peach season to roll around so I can go buy a case of them at the Farmer's Market!

 These were the biggest onions I had ever seen! The picture doesn't do them justice!

The Farmer's Market also has an indoor area with specialty foods. That's where I got the balsalmic vinegar. I also bought some candles that smell amazing. One is lit right now as I type this :) It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be, but I think with the weather being nicer these days and more produce is coming in season, it will get more crowded.

These people spelled "pickles" wrong on every jar. Poor things!

I encourage you Dallas people to check out the Dallas Farmer's Market one Saturday. You will have so much fun and you'll end up taking home some yummy, fresh produce! The website is really helpful. I looked at it the night before I went and they had a list of everything that was in season for the month of February. It will also give you directions and tell you where to park. 

Sorry, no recipes today. I'm making a pork tenderloin tonight, so I'll post that tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The All-American Meal... Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Meatloaf. Mashed potatoes. Biscuits. Does that scream All-American to you? It does to me. When I was making it, it made me feel like I was in the '50s, wearing a tight-waisted dress, a strand of pearls, and high heels in the kitchen with all the old-school appliances (in reality I was wearing a big t-shirt and shorts, but that's okay!). This has to be one of the most common meals around, but if you make each part of it really good, then it turns into an amazing, comforting meal.

I didn't take a lot of pictures when I was making this. Okay, I took one... but really this is a no brainer. The meatloaf is a dump and mix kind of thing and the mashed potatoes are super easy. Don't worry, I'll walk you through it, I just don't have as many pictures as I usually do. You could say I get a little camera happy when I'm cooking for the blog. :)

My yummy plate!
I actually really like meatloaf. I didn't grow up eating it , but I remember making it at school two years ago because one of our friends did us a favor and we said we would cook him any meal he wanted to thank him.  When he said he wanted meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I had to google the recipe for meatloaf. I knew it couldn't be hard... from what I understood it was a big glob of some stuff mixed together with meat and you shape it on a pan and bake it, topped with ketchup. I took a shortcut and bought one of those McCormick seasoning packets that do half the work and it turned out pretty well! When I took my first bite I thought, "Is this what I've been missing?!?"

A while back I found a recipe for "Brown Sugar Meatloaf" and it sounded SO good to me. You should know, when I see a recipe that I think sounds good, I obsess over it. It's all I can think about. I think about the steps in making it and what it will taste like. It's pathetic. Cooking consumes my brain. Baking does too actually, and what's silly is that I hardly eat any of the stuff I bake. I'll try it once and then give it away. I really just like baking and the whole process of making it.

Look at me getting sidetracked....goodness. Okay, anyways, this recipe was fantastic. I loved it and Mom and Daddy did too. The brown sugar makes all the difference. I am not a ketchup person and I never have been. I'd rather eat my french fries plain than dip them in ketchup. I'm more of a ranch dressing kind of gal :) So the brown sugar mixed with the ketchup sent it over the top. It was so easy to make and so delicious.
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
Recipe from All Recipes.com 
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I only had plain and it worked fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil (SERIOUSLY DO THIS. Clean up will be a pain in your you know what if you don't. Trust me.) Make sure when you form your loaf that you put it in the center of the pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the brown sugar, ketchup and worcestershire sauce. All you have to do is use your hands (the best kitchen tools you have) and squish it all together. Yes, "squish" is a cooking term. I know you were wondering! Just make sure everything is really combined, but don't overwork it. Dump the mixture onto the center of the foil-lined baking sheet and form into a wide log-shape.
Next, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce in a bowl and then spoon, or pour, over the loaf so that it covers it. This sauce adds SO much flavor to the meatloaf and it is waaaaay better than just putting ketchup on it. You'll never go back to that, I promise!
Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour or until the juices are clear (to be honest, I didn't know what this meant, so I just baked it for about an hour!) The pan will look like a mess when you take it out of the oven. A lot of my sauce had run off and cooked too much on the foil, but don't worry about it. The meatloaf will still taste good!
I took this picture from the internet, but there just aren't enough pictures on this post! It's bothering me!

Best Ever Mashed Potatoes
3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 oz. cream cheese (light is fine)
1/2 c. sour cream (again, light is fine)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tbsp. butter

Peel your potatoes and cut them into pieces that are all about the same size. Put them into a large pot and add just enough water to cover them. Salt the water generously, I think I added about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons. Cover the pot and cook on high so the water comes up to a boil. 

It's important to add water after you put the potatoes in the pot because this allows the potatoes to all cook evenly and at the same time. Cutting them into similar sized pieces helps with this too. Plus, if you add the potatoes into hot water, the boiling hot water will pop out at you when you drop them in and IT HURTS. I know from experience.

Let the potatoes cook in boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender. This means you can stick a fork through a piece of potato and it goes through easily and the potato might even fall apart. This ensures that they will be easy to mash!

Drain the potatoes and add to a large bowl. Add in all your mix-ins and mash away. The sour cream and cream cheese give these potatoes amazing creaminess and flavor. This is my version of my Grandma's mashed potatoes that are famous within our family. Hers go in the oven for a while though and use actual chopped garlic.

I really think I could eat a whole bowl of these. They're SO GOOD.

I didn't take this one either, but these still look delicious, don't they?!
Now it's time for me to introduce you to one of my favorite southern cooks out there. I just found her last summer through her blog Southern Plate. Her name is Christy Jordan and she is incredible. Her blog is precious... she adds a cute story to each recipe post and her writing is so cute. I remember when I found her blog last summer. I think it took me about 2 minutes to fall in love with her and her blog. Once I realized that her blog lead her into creating a cookbook, I literally went to Target that day to go buy it. I knew it wouldn't let me down and it never, ever has. I've made several recipes out of it and each recipe is fantastic.  
The thing I like most about Southern Plate is that each recipe is down home, southern cooking, but it's still easy and carefree. Some recipes out there require so many steps that it can scare you away from making it. None of Christy's recipes are like that. If you read her posts, she doesn't even buy pure vanilla extract... she buys the imitation stuff and isn't afraid to admit it. She usually uses margarine instead of butter and hardly ever buys anything but store brand stuff. She's a regular woman, running a family and cooking good food along the way. Go buy her cookbook! It's my absolute favorite out of all of them in my collection...it even beats out Paula's books, and that is saying a whole lot!

This is Christy's recipe for biscuits and they were the best biscuits I've ever made. There's only 3 ingredients...you can't screw this up!
"Daddy's Rise-and-Shine Biscuits"
2 1/4 c. self-rising flour *
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used cold because that's how I know to make biscuits)
1 1/4 c. buttermilk*
all-purpose flour for dusting
melted butter for brushing the baked biscuits

* To make your own self-rising flour, simply add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt for each cup of all-purpose flour.
*To make your own buttermilk, add 1 tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 c. milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir and use in place of buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter in with a long-tined fork or pastry blender, I used my Grandma's :). You want the mixture to be crumbly and for the butter to in tiny pea-sized pieces. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. (Since I used cold butter, I skipped this step.) Remove from fridge and slowly pour in the buttermilk and stir until just moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 3-4 times with your hands, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Don't overwork the dough. This will give you tough biscuits. Not good! I've learned that lesson the hard way. With well-floured hands, pat the dough out into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Fold each side over into the center as if folding a letter. Repeat two more times, beginning with patting the dough out.

Pat the dough out a final time until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter (I used a juice glass... it's called being resourceful!) dipped in flour. Make sure you don't twist your cutter into the dough. You need to press straight down so the layers will rise like they're supposed to. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet with the sides touching. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

You caught me, this isn't my picture either, but mine looked like this!

You should definitely try these for breakfast this weekend. Or anytime :)
Sorry for the long-winded post, but I just had to get it all in!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best Banana Nut Bread EVER.

I swear, nothing makes the house smell better than banana nut bread baking in the oven. Yes, you have your chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods, but there's something about that warm banana smell. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Well, lucky you... I happen to have the BEST banana nut bread recipe EVER. Seriously, this is the best I've ever had. It is so moist and has the perfect amount of spices, bananas and nuts. The first time I made this banana bread it vanished by the end of the day. Only the little end of it was left. I only had one piece! It's so good and addicting. Now I've learned my lesson and I always double the recipe to make two loaves. I've sent some to work with Mom before and one of her coworkers paid me to make her four loaves of it... that's how good it is. I'm not messin' around here, people!

I'm sure everyone has had banana nut bread before (if you haven't, you are totally missing out), but promise me you'll try this recipe. I've had my share of banana bread and I had when it's so dry that you're looking around for a bottle of water to help you get it down. This recipe has never dried out on me.  Have I persuaded you to try this yet?

 As you can see, my recipe is all wrinkly and has spill stains on it. That's how much I've made it.

This recipe is from The Neely's and it's called "Momma Callie's Banana Nut Bread". Let me give you a little tip on how to spot a good recipe. If the recipe ever starts with someone's name, like "Momma Callie's" or "Aunt Sue's" or "Grandma's" you KNOW it's going to be GOOD. This means the recipe got so many rave reviews that this person became famous for making it. I know that in my family, my Grandma's mashed potatoes are the first thing everyone heads for at Thanksgiving.

Break out those brown bananas and mash'em on up! It's time to make some banana bread!

Momma Callie's Banana Nut Bread

1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 large, very ripe bananas (We're talkin' brown spots all over)
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2. sour cream (Light works just as well as regular. In fact, I've always used light.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash of ground clove  (I add more spices to mine because that's how I like it, but only add cinnamon if you want, in the amounts that you want!)
3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

This will make one loaf, but I always double it to make two!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. (I use 9"x 5".) Okay, DO NOT SKIP THIS. Take the time to butter and flour it. You don't want to just spray it with non-stick spray and risk your loaf falling apart or parts getting stuck in the pan when you try and take it out, because when this happens you will cry. You really will. Trust me, I know from experience. So just butter and flour it, it's not hard :) Wipe your pan down with butter (I use a paper towel swabbed with some margarine) and then sprinkle some flour around. Then shake the pan until the flour has coated everything and then shake the excess flour out. I always set my loaf pans on a baking sheet lined with foil too, just in case there are any spills. Cleaning your oven is never fun.

It should look like this! Lightly dusted.
Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together in a large bowl. It's important to combine this well so your whole loaf rises and is seasoned evenly. Then mash your bananas. (I had some in the freezer that I had put in there when they were almost too far gone. If you use frozen bananas, just set them on a plate and let them defrost for a little bit.)
 Use a fork to mash! It's kinda fun :)

Next, cream together your butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until its well combined. Then add your eggs one at time, combining well after each. Add your vanilla and sour cream and mix well.

 All the wet ingredients... 

Now add your bananas (low speed) and once those are combined slowly add your dry ingredients that you set aside. I usually turn the mixer speed to low and use a small measuring cup to slowly scoop some dry ingredients in.

 Like this!

Once all your dry ingredients are in, add the pecans mix a little more. The batter should be pretty thick, but still wet.
Like this :)
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.


I hope you try this recipe next time you have some brown bananas hangin' around your house!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup...Yes, it exists outside of a can!

What do you think of when you hear the words, "Chicken Noodle Soup?" Probably either being sick, the stuff from a can, or that obnoxious rap song where they say those words repeatedly. Well guess what... chicken noodle soup actually exists outside of a can! It's really good and easy, too!

Wait, before I get into the soup we need to talk about the Superbowl. I am SO, SO, SO glad the Packers won. This means that Graham Harrell, the former Texas Tech quarterback that led us to our best football season ever, gets a Superbowl ring! Since the Superbowl was on my birthday, I had some close friends and family over and I cooked up a big feast. The pictures I took are on my Mom's camera and I'm working on getting them on my computer so I can do a post about the food!

It was a good game, but I didn't like halftime. I don't really like the Black Eyed Peas because, in my opinion, their songs are SO REPETITIVE. Especially that "Tonight's Gonna Be A Goodnight" song. They just sing the same words over and over and over and over.... you get the idea. However, the low point of the game was when they showed Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod. SICK. I thought Cam was smarter than that.

Okay, on to the food! This recipe is adapted from one I found on Deep South Dish. I, of course, changed it a tad :)

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 (32 oz) cartons of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 bay leaf
1 package of egg noodles, or any kind of pasta
3-4 tbsp. heavy cream
salt & pepper

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once those are melted together, add the chopped onion, celery and carrots. You want these to cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until kind of soft.

See? The onions are translucent.

On a side-note, I nearly went blind chopping this onion. Seriously. My eyes have never stung so bad. I had to step out of the kitchen and sit on the couch with my eyes shut for a good 5 minutes before I could go back to that stupid onion. I remember watching Paula Deen one day and she was wearing these.
They're called "Onion Goggles". Besides the fact that they're pink, they keep the oniony-ness out of your eyes while you're chopping them! Genius!! You can buy them on Paula's website.
Anyways, back to the soup.  Once your vegetables are tender, add your garlic and cook about one minute, until fragrant. Then add the chicken stock and your spices.
 In go some of the spices...I know I said one bay leaf, but one was so small so I added another.
If my hand looks a little pink, it's because I spent yesterday rolling some red velvet cake balls and they stained a little bit :) Let the soup simmer for a good 30 minutes to 1 hour with the lid on over medium heat. This helps all the flavors come together. Meanwhile, shred your chicken up. I had a little helper watching closely...
 My kitty, Purrcilla, lickin' her lips after I slipped her a piece of chicken!

Okay, once the soup has simmered for a while, add your chicken in and pop the lid back on. Cook the egg noodles, or other pasta, according to the package directions in a separate pot. Once the pasta is done, add the cream to the soup. This will make it rich, delicious, and not so brothy.

Now, at this point you can add all your noodles in, which I did last time I made this. We had some leftover and while the leftovers waere in the fridge the noodles soaked up a lot of the liquid and became nasty and gummy. So this time I just let everyone put their own noodles in and kept them separately in the fridge.

Hey, don't forget to take our your bay leaf!
I promise that you'll never want the canned stuff again. Okay, that's probably a lie because we all know that when we're sick and want chicken noodle soup that we do NOT want to cook anything, but I still want you to try this!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Ice Cream!

I woke up this morning and looked outside to find FOUR INCHES of snow! FOUR. INCHES. I don't think I've ever seen that much in Dallas and I've lived here for almost 23 years. I'm getting really tired of this weather. I've been in the house for so long now that I'm getting cabin fever! At least this is just snow and not ice. 

 Our backyard, covered in snow!

Look how deep those footprints are!

So, what to do with all this snow.... build a snowman? Maybe. Snowangels? Eh, I don't want to get snow all over me. How about some snow ice cream? YUM!
This recipe is so easy. Seriously. THREE ingredients. I saw Paula Deen make it on her show one day and I thought to myself, "I would never be able to try that because we hardly ever get that much snow in Dallas." WRONG. So I made it this morning and it's actually really tasty! Believe it or not, it taste like Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, the best kind of vanilla ice cream around! Here's the link to Paula's recipe

Snow Ice Cream

8 c. snow
1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

 Only three ingredients!

Go outside and scoop you up some snow. Just make sure to avoid leaves, grass, and the yellow stuff :) Once you've got it in the bowl, pour in your can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.

Now just keep stirring 'til the ingredients are all combined together. You're not going to end up with as much ice cream as you think. Once it's all combined, scoop some into a bowl and top it with whatever you want or eat it plain. I put some sprinkles on mine and my Dad put some crushed Oreos on his.

You have to try this recipe! 

No, seriously, you should try this. Come on, what else are you going to do today? You can't go anywhere!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Better-Than-Crack" Brownies: What a name!

I know what you're thinking, and yes, they're really called "Better-Than-Crack" brownies. If this name offends you, then feel free to change it to something like "Better-than-fitting-into-a-smaller-dress-size" brownies, or maybe "Better-than-a-tall-glass-of-wine-after-a-hard-day" brownies. Whatever floats your boat :)

This recipe has been on my mind for a while now. I first saw it over at How Sweet It Is, another one of my favorite food blogs. I love this blog because she her writing is genius. She's totally sarcastic (like me) and loves desserts (like me). Now I have FINALLY made them and they completely live up to their name. YOU WILL NOT REGRET MAKING THESE!

These brownies are filled with layers and layers of yumminess. I just know that when you look at them you're going to think to yourself, "Uh there's no way I can eat one of those. There are too many calories." Here's a little life tip from me: YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. Who cares about calories? One little square of these sinful treats will have you forgetting what a calorie is... guaranteed! Plus, my birthday is coming up this weekend (Superbowl Sunday) and I just figured that if I can't have a sinful treat on my birthday, then when can I do it? Am I right? I thought so. Thanks for agreeing with me :)

If you love peanut butter, you will LOVE these. If you love peanut butter and chocolate together, you will ADORE these. I didn't have the Reese's peanut butter cups on hand and in this weather I was not about to make a trip to the store, so I made some changes. I'll post the original recipe. Okay, enough talking. Let's get to the baking!

"Better-Than-Crack" Brownies

1 batch of brownies (boxed or homemade)
1/2 c. salted peanuts
1 c. chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 tbsp. butter (I added more b/c I had 2 tbsp. leftover from a stick and just threw it in)
1 1/2 c. rice krispies cereal

Mix brownies according to box directions (or make your favorite homemade recipe) and pour into a greased 9"x13" pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and top with peanuts and chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, then bake for 4-6 more minutes. (Like I said, I didn't have the Reese's, so I used the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and put them in with the peanuts.)

Ready to go back in the oven!

While the brownies finish baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter together. You can do this over a double boiler on the stove (that's what I did) or you can do it in the microwave (heat at 30 sec. intervals and stir well between each interval).
Time too melt...

Keep stirring until it gets smooth and creamy, like this!

Does anyone have a spoon?

Once the mixture is smooth, pour in the rice krispies and stir to combine. I had about 2 cups left in my box because I made Rice Krispie Treats recently, so I just dumped the whole box in. I figured it could only make it better.
 Fudgey, peanut buttery, crunchy goodness!

The brownies should be done by now (unless you couldn't contain yourself and had one before you poured this yummy mixture on top...it's okay...it happens!) Pour the melted mixture right on top of the brownies. It should look like this!


Make sure you refrigerate these for at least 2 hours after you make them. I know, I know. The word "torture" is probably coming out of your mouth right now, but it will be a nice reward for your patience, right? Trust me, it took every ounce of self-control to not dig into these while they were warm and melty! In fact, I stuck them in the freezer for 45 minutes instead, so I could cut down the waiting time. Now that I think about it, I should have just stuck these bad boys outside in Dallas' 19 degree weather! They would have chilled just as fast!

I hope y'all enjoy :) Try not to hate me when you end up eating the whole pan!