Best Ever Meatloaf

This last Sunday, I was in a total comfort food mode and decided to try this new meatloaf recipe I came across over on another blog.  I'm adding it here with no picture because we LOVED it that much and this blog is still very much a place for me to "store" my tried, true, and favorite recipes.  Seriously though, it was scarfed down before I could even attempt to get a picture!  Plus, at this point, I'm pretty sure everyone knows what a meatloaf looks like! Hopefully at some point I will capture one and get it added to the recipe!

Some notes on making this...use lean meat, the leaner the better or you may just have a really juicy meatloaf that crumbles when you pull it out of the pan - it'll still taste amazing though, I promise.  LET IT REST!  I'll say it again, let it rest - this helps it stay together when you're serving it!  If you don't have any apricot preserves, feel free to use any jelly you have on hand - grape, orange marmalade, etc would all taste fantastic too!

If you try it, leave me a comment!


Best Ever Meatloaf

2 lbs Lean Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, or Ground Venison
1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 Cup Milk (can add up to a full cup if needed)
1/2 Cup Ketchup
1/3 Cup Onion, finely chopped
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

3/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 5x9 loaf pan lightly with cooking spray - set aside.  In a large bowl, combine ground beef, crackers, egg, milk,  ketchup, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix together until thoroughly combined - use your hands, they really do work the best for the job (sans germs and rings of course).  Put meat mixture into the pan and spread evenly.  Plan loaf pan on rimmed baking sheet (for any accidental overflow of juices) and put in oven.  Bake for 90 minutes - add sauce half-way through baking.  Let meatloaf rest for 15 minutes after removing from oven before slicing and serving.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, brown sugar, apricot preserves, and Worcestershire sauce.  Spread half or so of the sauce over the meatloaf halfway through baking.  The remainder can be used for more dipping/topping. 


Banana Cake with Browned Butter Icing

I have had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for a long time and finally was able to make it!  This is a great addition to any bundt cake lovers recipe collection!  Only thing I did differently from the original recipe was use my beloved browned butter icing recipe.


Banana Cake with Browned Butter Icing

3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cups Butter, softened
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
4 Bananas (the riper the better)
1 Cup Sour Cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

1/4 Cup Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 Tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour your bundt pan.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl - set aside.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then add vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Slowly mix in bananas, then sour cream until well combined.  Gradually add in dry ingredients/flour until just combined.  Pour into prepared bundt pan and tap pan flat on the counter a few times to help batter settle.  Bake for 60-75 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  Transfer to cooling rack for 20 minutes before inverting out of pan.

Melt butter in small saucepan on stove until it turns a light brown color.  Whisk browned butter into powdered sugar and vanilla, then add milk until desired consistency.  I let mine cool a minute or so before pouring slowly over cake to help avoid it running off too quickly.


Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

A yummy and easy cake to whip together with your apple harvest in the fall!


Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Applesauce (I used unsweetened - you can also substitute oil for this)
2 Tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs
3 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Medium Apples (peeled, cored, and chopped finely)

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Milk (can substitute with Half/Half or Cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour bundt pan and set aside.

In large bowl, beat together sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs until light and fluffy.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon - stir into wet mixture until just blended.  Fold in apples and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour up to 1 hour 20 minutes; until toothpick comes out clean from cake.  Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before inverting to finish cooling on wire rack.

While cake is cooling, make glaze by combining ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and remove from heat.  Let cool a minute or so before slowly pouring over warm cake (I put aluminum foil under the wire rack to catch drips for easier cleanup).


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I whipped up this recipe with some things I had on hand and I love the way they turned out.  Even better, there was no electric mixer needed!  Nice and light, but super moist and just the right amount of chocolate!  I've included some substitutes for making this a bit healthier next to the applicable ingredients if you desire - measure the same.  These will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for a couple days.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

1 Cup White Flour (substitute: wheat flour)
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (substitutes: vanilla or plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 Cup Oil - I used a canola/vegetable blend (substitutes: applesauce or melted coconut oil. Measure coconut oil in melted form and let cool slightly before using)
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup Ripe Bananas, mashed (approximately 3 bananas)
3/4 Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (substitute: dark chocolate chip or any chip you desire)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with 12 liners and lightly spray liners with cooking spray (these like to stick - skip the liners, grease, and lightly "flour" tins with cocoa powder).

In small bowl, whisk (or use a fork) together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside.  Mash up bananas and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.  Stir in mashed bananas and flour mixture until just combined.  Then, stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly among the 12  muffin liners.  Bake for 18-25 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of muffin.  Allow to cool 5 minutes, then remove, and finish on a cooling rack.

Enjoy warm or cold!


Eggs Benedict Breakfast Bake

I love eggs benedict, but I love how easy this casserole is to make more!  I made this recently for a weekend retreat and the pan was almost licked clean, they all loved it so much!  This is a make-ahead, overnight casserole - so nice to just pop it in the oven the morning of!  I mixed up my hollandaise sauce during the last 10 minutes of baking.


Eggs Benedict Breakfast Bake

6 English Muffins, chopped in 1" pieces
12 oz Canadian Bacon, chopped
8 Eggs
2 Cups Milk (I used 2%)
1 Tsp Onion Powder
Salt & Pepper
1/4 Tsp Paprika

4 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Cup Butter, melted

Split English muffins and chop into one inch pieces (I chopped mine into 9 pieces).  Spread pieces onto an ungreased baking pan and broil for 2 minutes (until bread is toasted) and then flip over and broil for another minute or two.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, onion powder, salt, and pepper (to taste).

Grease 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle half of the Canadian bacon on bottom of dish, top with broiled English muffins, then remaining Canadian bacon.  Then, pour egg mixture evenly over top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove dish from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until center is set.

In a double broiler or metal bowl over simmering water; constantly whisk eggs yokes, cream, lemon juice, and mustard until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Reduce heat to low.  Slowly whisk in warm melted butter, making sure not to stop whisking until it is all incorporated.  Drizzle over casserole or portion sauce on each plate.


Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

I know it's been entirely too long since I posted a recipe over here.  Life has been busy, to say the least.  I hope to bring you more sooner than later!

This week we celebrated my daughter's birthday and this frosting was used!  If you love marshmallows and the sweetness of buttercream, you won't be disappointed!


Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

2 Cups Butter, softened
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Almond Extract
1 - 13 oz Jar Marshmallow Creme

Cream butter with electric mixer until butter is fluffy.  Gradually add in powder sugar a 1/2 cup at a time and then beat in almond extract.  Gently fold in (or mix on low speed) marshmallow creme into frosting until incorporated.  Now you can frost away or fill your favorite cookie and make a creme pie!


Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

I came across this recipe awhile back, pinned it on Pinterest and then completely forgot about it (that's never happened to you either, right?!).  A week or so ago, I was doing a big group baking session and really wanted something different and went searching around on my Pinterest.  I came across these and at first thought they were more work than I wanted.  I ultimately ended up deciding to give them a try and let me tell you!  First, they really weren't difficult or time consuming at all and second, they were AMAZEBALLS!  Make these for your next cookie exchange, you won't regret it!  Please excuse my iPhone photography - I left my big girl camera at home!


Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup Pecans, chopped
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/8 Tsp (pinch) Ginger
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

For cookie dough; combine butter and brown sugar - mixing until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined.  Add flour and baking powder, mix until combined and dough pulls together.  Set dough aside.

For filling; in a separate mixing bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar, and spices together.  Add cream and vanilla, mix until well combined.

Roll out cookie dough in 1.25" balls (I use a cookie scoop to measure them out) and space about 2" apart on your pan.  Once you have rolled all the cookie dough into balls, make an indentation in the center of each, rolling your thumb around to slowly stretch the dough out. Fill each indentation with approximately a teaspoon of the pecan filling.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are brown.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes or so before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes approximately 20 cookies.


Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes

Mmm....mmmm....mmm!!  Yes, that's about all I can get out about these simple, YUMMY cupcakes!  Really, they are morsels of heaven in your mouth!  If you have ever loved cookies 'n cream anything (such as myself), make these!  You won't regret it!

These can be made in any pan size you wish, I just happened to be in a cupcake mood!  There will be quite a bit of frosting (perfect amount to frost a layered cake, but probably a bit extra with cupcakes) and if there's extra save it in the fridge for dipping graham crackers or whatever suits your fancy.  Not that I did that or anything...


Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes

1 White Cake Mix (I prefer Duncan Hines) + Ingredients Called for on Box
1 Package of Oreos
1 - 8 oz Package of Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
16 oz Powdered Sugar (approximately 3 3/4 Cups)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla
1 - 8 oz Container Cool Whip

Prepare cake according to instructions.  Crush 15 Oreos and fold into cake batter.  Bake according to instructions for pan size used.  Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth, add vanilla and beat until combined.  Fold in cool whip together with cream cheese mixture.  Crush 15 oreos and fold into frosting.  Frost cake and serve!

*store cake in refrigerator


Texas Caviar

I came upon this recipe through a blog I followed a few years back.  I apparently became too dependent on finding it online though because when I went to make it a few months ago, the blog no longer existed, thus no recipe to be found!  Gasp!!  To my luck, with some googling and trials, I was able to recreate it!  Let me tell you, if you google "texas caviar recipe" you're bound to find LOTS of variations to this recipe!  I'm sure they're all good, but this version is my favorite!  I serve with corn chips (frito scoops) or Tostitos scoops!  Most of the time I have to control myself from eating the whole bowl and a bag of chips, but I've herd it's excellent as a salad with some shredded chicken or  even as an addition to tacos!  This is a great dish to share at one of your summer potlucks too!


Texas Caviar

1 Can Garbanzo Beans, drained
1 Can Black Beans, drained
1 Can Light Red Kidney Beans, drained
1 Can Sweet Corn, drained
1 Small Sweet Onion, chopped
3/4-1 Cup Italian Dressing (I eyeball and use about 1/3 of a bottle)
2 Limes
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Avocados, cubed
1 Bunch of Cilantro, ripped

In medium bowl, combined beans, corn, and onion.  Add dressing, juice of both limes, sugar, and salt to taste.  Stir well, cover, and chill in fridge overnight or for at least a 2-3 hours.  Before serving, stir and drain off some of the liquid, add avocado, and cilantro to taste.  Toss together and serve!!


Chocolate Chocolate Banana Bread

Before I became a stay-at-home-mom, I worked in a business office with it's own cafeteria.  The cafeteria used to make delicious, chocolate chocolate chip muffins people would vie for.  You often felt like you won the lotto if you made it to the cafeteria in the morning and one was left for you!  So, when I came across this recipe, I couldn't help but give it a try!!

This bread is a dense, chocolate, banana infused slice of yummy!  We couldn't get enough of it and the kids really enjoyed slathering on some leftover cream cheese frosting from some cupcakes we made earlier that day! 

This recipe makes 2 - 8x4" loaves, but can easily be split to make a single loaf.


Chocolate Chocolate Banana Bread

2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2/3 Cup Oil
2 1/2 Cups Mashed Banana (approximately 5-6 bananas)
2 Tsp Vanilla
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
2 Cups ((12 oz bag) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray bottoms of loaf pans.  In medium bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and oil - beat on medium speed until combined.  Slowly beat in mashed banana and vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix together (I use a wire whisk) flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.  On medium speed, beat in flour mixture with banana mixture until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and then divide batter between pans.  Bake for 60-75 minutes - until a toothpick comes out clean from center.  Remove from oven, let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and finish cooling on wire rack.