Knock-Off Starbucks Coffee Cake

If you're like me and like a good piece of coffee cake with your coffee...this one definitely rivals Starbucks!  I only used 1 cake mix, but if you want a nice thick piece like you get at the coffee shop, double the recipe and use 1 - 9x13 pan and 1 - 8 x 8 pan - you'll need to adjust baking times and such...


Coffee House Coffee Cake

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix(plus ingredients listed on package)

1 Cup (2 Sticks) Butter, Cold/Chilled
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 1/d Tbsp Cinnamon
1 3/4 Cups Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix according to package directions. Spray pan with non-stick spray.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes - until center is just barely set.

While cake is baking, prepare crumb topping.  In large bowl mix all ingredients with electric mixer until crumbly.

IMMEDIATELY after cake is removed from oven, break crumb topping into pieces with fingers and sprinkle over top.  Put back in oven and bake an additional 15 minutes (topping will begin to look a little less wet/raw).

Let cool fully.  Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.


The BEST Chocolate Cake!

I have made this recipe over and over again in different variations and it's NEVER failed me.  I discovered this recipe as I was out looking for new fonts at Kevin & Amanda's blog and then stumbled over to Amanda's cooking blog where I saw THIS and knew I just had to make this cake!  Don't expect you'll be able to stop yourself at just one piece!  Obviously, you can make whatever kind of frosting you prefer, but I love a nice smooth cream cheese frosting to offset all the yummy chocolatey-ness of this cake.  Instead of chocolate chips I've used cut up peanut butter cups, mint chips, etc.  You can pretty much alter this cake in many ways to suit your tastebuds! :)


The BEST Chocolate Cake

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 Small Box Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (No Sugar Free or Fat Free Allowed!)
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix everything together, but the chocolate chips - batter will be THICK.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread into prepared pan of choice (9" round, 9x13, bundt, etc).  Use the back of your cake mix as a guide for the amount of time to bake, then add approximately 10-15 minutes.  Test cake for done-ness, but remember you may get chocolate on your toothpick because of the chips.  You don't want to over bake this or it'll lost some of its moistness!  Let cake cool and frost away!!

Cream Cheese Frosting

I use this on The BEST Chocolate cake quite frequently, but it's delish on just about any other cake too. :)

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 - 8 oz Bricks Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter, softened
2-3 Cups Powder Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla

Mix butter and cream cheese until well combined.  Add vanilla and combine.  Slowly add in powdered sugar - after second cup, taste test. If you like it sweeter add the remaining cup.


Shrimp Enchiladas

This is yet another no-fail recipe from MKC (My Kitchen Cafe)! These are SOOO yummy! I only used a pound of shrimp and then used red and yellow bell peppers with fabulous results! I think next time I might add some shredded crab meat!


Shrimp Enchiladas

1/2 Cup Sweet Red Pepper, chopped
1/2 Cup Onion, minced
1/2 Cup Green Pepper, chopped
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
1 Tbsp Flour
3 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (1/2 pepper jack cheese can be used too)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 lbs Shrimp, peeled and devained
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
2 Cups Ripe Tomatoes, chopped
8 (9-inch) Flour Tortillas

Saute red pepper, onion, and green pepper in 1/4 cup butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cream, and flour - blend well. Continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese - stir until melted. Add sour cream - stir to blend and set aside.

In another skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. Saute shrimp and 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are pink. Remove shrimp and chop - return to butter and onion. Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll up tightly and arrange seam side down in a 9x13" glass baking dish (I used stoneware without any problems). Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


Pound Cake

I came across this yummy recipe the other day on The Pioneer Woman Cooks! - it was so easy to put together and very tasty.  I will definitely be making this again when I'm in a pinch for something yummy!  FYI:  You most definitely could use diet pop in the recipe, but really what's the point with how much butter is in this beauty?!  :)

Buttery Pound Cake

1 1/2 Cups (3 Sticks) Butter, softened
3 Cups Sugar
5 Eggs
1 Tsp Butter Flavoring
2 Tsp Lemon Flavoring
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Lemon/Lime Soda (Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist, etc)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream butter, then add sugar 1 cup at a time - mixing after each addition.  Add eggs 1 at a time - mixing after each addition.  Add butter and lemon extracts - mix well.  Add soda (slowly or you'll have a mess - believe me, you should have seen my counter) and mix until combined, scrapping sides until well combined.

Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until the cake is no longer jiggly.  Remove pan from oven - invert pan until cake drops out.



Cereal Munch

I usually just call this "munch" or "crack" (as in, it's so addicting).  You can change this up to suit your taste - add candies, different cereals, etc.  I added M&M's to the batch this time and they were a wonderful addition (be prepared if you choose to add them to yours, they will melt and break apart while you're stirring everything together).  There's not really any set measurements of ingredients to make this wonderful stuff, but here's what I usually throw together.

Cereal Munch

1 Box Rice Chex
1 Can Party Peanuts
1  Bag Pretzels
1 Package Almond Bark/Candy Coating

In large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.  Meanwhile, melt bark according to package directions, being careful not to scorch (I usually melt it in my microwave).  Once melted, fold into dry ingredients until coated.  Spread out onto wax paper to cool.  Once cool, break apart and store in air-tight container.



Tator Tot Hotdish

This is a staple meal for us in our house and makes a heavy rotation on our dinner menu!  The beauty of this recipe is that you can change up the ingredients with what you have on-hand!  Best of all it's pretty darn cheap to make and the left-overs are wonderful!  This recipe makes a great freezer meal to be pulled out and baked later too!


Tator Tot Hotdish

1 lb Ground Beef
1 Onion, minced
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
1 Can Cream of Mushroom OR Chicken Soup
1 (Soup) Can Milk
1 Bag Frozen Vegetables (we like corn)
1 Bag Tator Tots
8 oz Cheese, Shredded (optional)

Brown beef with onion and garlic, drain. In 9x13 pan, mix soup, milk, and beef, and 3/4's of the cheese (the picture above we used monterey jack, but cheddar and others work well too). Top with tator tots.  If desired, sprinkle remaining cheese over tots. Bake for 30-45 minutes in 350 degree oven, until bubbly and tots are browned.


Buttermilk Banana Bread

This bread is definitely lighter (in color and consistency) than your regular everyday banana bread recipe.  I love the buttery/crispy crust on it!

You're going to hear me mention MKC (My Kitchen Cafe) a lot over here - in fact, it has its own tag for quick reference.  ALL of the recipes I have ever tried from there have been incredible and this recipe definitely lives up to the reputation!  :)


Buttermilk Banana Bread

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs, well beaten
1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 bananas)
4 Tbsp Buttermilk
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
Dash Baking Soda

Cream butter and sugar - add eggs, bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to banana mixture - mix until combined.  Divide batter into greased and floured pans.  Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 50-55 minutes OR until toothpick comes out clean.

Yields: One large loaf pan of bread

Tip: Mashing Bananas

I know there are a lot of people when they need ripe, mashed bananas for a recipe just throw them in with the mix whole and let their beater do the "mashing."  I used to be one of those people, but let me tell you there is a difference between mashing them and then putting them in the mix compared to just letting your mixer do the "mashing."

All you want to do is peel your bananas - put on a dinner plate, cutting board, etc and then use a fork to mash.  Because the bananas will already be pretty ripe, you'll really only need to go over them once with the fork.  Easy peasy and believe me, you'll notice a difference in your batter! :)

Happy Baking!


Cheese Stuffed Shells

If you're looking for the taste of manicotti, but don't want all the fuss of stuffing manicotti tubes - this is the recipe for you!  This is also a great make-ahead/freezable meal for those nights when you just want to pop something in the oven.  The recipe below is meatless, but you could easily fry up some ground beef or sausage and add it into the cheese mixture.


Cheese Stuffed Shells

12 oz Box Jumbo Shell Pasta
2 Eggs, beaten
30 oz Ricotta Cheese
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4-1/3 Cup Parsely, Chopped (fresh is better, but dried is fine)
1 Tsp Salt
Dash Black Pepper
Large Jar Spaghetti Sauce (26 oz or bigger)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Boil shells according to package directions.  Drain and cool on wax paper to keep from sticking.

Combine eggs, cheeses, and seasonings in bowl.  Spoon about 3 Tbsp of mixture into each shell.  Spread 2-3 Tbsp sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan - arrange shells on top of sauce.  Pour remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.


Chocolate Chip Cookies w/an unexpected {Healthy!} TWIST!

I'm so happy to be a guest-poster on Molly Crocker Cooking! Thanks Molly for inviting me!! :)

I am a sucker for chocolate chip cookies. I have a favorite go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe that never fails to produce the BEST chocolate chip cookies. Today, I couldn't find that recipe, so I experimented with something a little different, and these cookies did NOT disappoint!

With a healthy addition of oats and whole wheat flour as well, these definitely moved to the top of my recipe arsenal!


Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal-Pecan Cookies

1/2 c Butter, melted
1/2 c Shortening
1 c Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 c Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
3/4 c Rolled Oats
1 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour (I used Stone Ground)
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour (you can add more if your dough seems sticky.)
1 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Salt
1 (12 oz) bag Chocolate Chips (I used a mix of Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet.)
1 (6 oz) bag Pecan Halves, toasted & chopped

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Toast Pecan Halves and Chop - set aside.

Cream butter, shortening and sugars - then add eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Shape dough into 1" balls (I just use my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop with the rounded part facing up). Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned; remove from oven. Let the cookies rest on the pans for another couple minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Peanut Butter Temptations

These cookies are incredibly addicting - you won't be able to stop popping them in your mouth!  One batch is usually perfect for us, otherwise we would all have a tummy ache! :)  We make them all year round, but these make a great addition to your Christmas cookie assortment.


Peanut Butter Temptations

Approximately 40 Miniature Reeses's Peanut Butter Cups  (11 oz Bag)
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.  Remove wrappers from peanut butter cups.  Line mini-muffin tin with paper cups, if desired.

Cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter - then add egg and vanilla until fluffy.  Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.  Shape dough into 1" balls (I just use my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop with the rounded part facing up).  Place one in each paper-lined or ungreased muffin cup.  Do not flatten.


Bake 10-12 minutes until puffed and lightly browned; remove from oven.  Immediately press peanut butter cup in center of each cookie.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.


Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

I discovered this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen - I needed a crock pot meal for a busy day and this definitely fit the bill and won us over!  We had ours with rice and loved it!


Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

6 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle Italian Dressing
8 Oz Cream Cheese
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

Mix together in bowl; cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and Italian seasoning until combined.  Cover and set in fridge.

Next, take frozen chicken breasts and put in the bottom of a large crock pot - cover with the Italian dressing.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  When chicken is finished, drain remaining liquid and place chicken back in crock pot.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Cover with the cream cheese/soup mixture - cook on high for 30 minutes or until completely heated.  If in a hurry, you can preheat the cream mixture in the microwave before pouring over the chicken to save a step.

Serve over any kind of pasta or rice.


Apple Crisp

I love the simplicity of apple's definitely one of my "go-to" comfort food recipes because it's not only easy to throw together, but I usually have all the necessary ingredients.  We really like the crumb topping here, so if we're in the mood I double it up!  For the topping you can use white or brown sugar - whichever you feel like.  :)


Apple Crisp

Peel, core, and slice approximately 2lbs apples to fill 9x13 just over half-full (they can be heaping a little, they'll settle while baking).  Sprinkle apples with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

For the topping mix the following dry ingredients:
3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Quick-Cook Oats
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Then add 1/2 Cup softened butter until crumbly  (I like to use a fork to mix this or just go to it with my clean hands).

Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes or until nice and bubbly.  Test for done-ness with a fork in the should feel the softness of the apples as you push it through.  You really can't ruin these by baking them longer...they'll just get really soft.  :)

Serve warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream - come on, you know you want to....


Cauliflower Soup

I was trying to decide what to make for supper the other night when I came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs I frequent - The Pioneer Woman.  It really is a wonderful, light soup.  You could certainly add whatever vegetables you want to this and make it nice and "chunky."  I forgot the sour cream, but we didn't even notice and ate it right up!


Cauliflower Soup

1/2 Cup Butter
½ an Onion, Finely Diced
1 Carrot Finely Diced
1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
1 to 2 Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
2 Tbsp Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
6 TbspFlour
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Half-and-half
2 Tsp To 4 Tsp Salt, To Taste
1 Cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.  Serve immediately.


Sour Cream Banana Bars

This recipe has been around FOREVER in my family.  When I was growing up I don't think the pan ever had the chance to cool before they were all gone!  They're sooo moist and wonderful!


Sour Cream Banana Bars

1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup (8 oz) Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Bananas, Mashed
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Grease and flour jelly roll pan.  Cream butter and sugar, add sour cream and eggs and beat for 1 minute.   Add bananas and vanilla - mix well.  Beat in flour, salt, and soda on medium for 1 minute.  Stir in nuts if desired.  Pour and spread dough in pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes then frost with Brown Butter Frosting.

Note: you can make these in a 9x13 pan, they'll just be more like banana cake :)  Make sure to check for "done-ness" in the center with a toothpick before removing from the oven.

Brown Butter Frosting

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

Heat butter in heavy saucepan until a delicate brown.  Mix in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.  Spread on while warm.


Chocolate Nibblers

One of my best friends shared these with me...they are so darn easy AND you won't be able to stop eating them!  You can change up the cake mix for any kind you like  - they may just spread a little more than the chocolate does.  Enjoy! :)

Chocolate Nibblers

1 Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Eggs
Powdered Sugar

Stir together cake mix, oil, and eggs until combined.  Scoop balls of dough, roll in powdered sugar and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes.  Cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.


Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I usually double this recipe or triple it - we LOVE this soup (stew? it's on the thicker side)!  You can easily freeze this to reheat later - I like to do it in my food-saver bags, then all I have to do is boil the bag.  I tend to "eye-ball" my measurements on the onion, carrots, celery because they just add more wonderful flavor anyways.  With the wild rice - you can either use the directions listed below or cook according to the package directions with as much rice as you want! :) Serve with a nice crusty bread - I really like french or ciabatta because they're both good at soaking up the last wonderful drops in the bowl!

{please excuse my scratched up stoneware and slops of 
soup on the sides...I was in a hurry to gobble this up}

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2/3 Cup Uncooked Wild Rice
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Onion, minced
1/3 Cup Carrots, Diced
1/3 Cup Celery, Diced
1/3 Cup Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Qt. Chicken Broth, heated
3 Cups Cooked Chicken, Diced
Pepper, to taste
1/2 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 Cup Cream

Rinse wild rice.  Soak in cold water for one hour.  Drain rice.  Cover with boiling water and cook over low heat for 40 minutes.

Melt butter in a 4-quart pan, saute' onion, carrots and celery until tender.  {isn't that just so pretty! and it smells YUMMY too!} Blend in flour.  Gradually add the heated chicken broth, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.  Stir in the rice, chicken, and seasonings.  Simmer over low heat 7-10 minutes.  Add the cream slowly to the soup.  Heat just to serving temperature.

Makes approximately 6 bowls.
Welcome! Welcome!

This blog is my goal for's where I'll share my tried and true recipes, cooking tips/tricks, and some other fun things along the way.  Most of the time you'll notice the recipe title is a link - it'll bring you to the recipe on recipezaar for easy printing.  :)  Please leave a comment if you try a recipe!

Stop by anytime!