Enchanted Mommy

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread!

 

Can you stand it?  Don’t you just want to gobble it up and lick your fingers after?!?!?!  What if I told you the other half had walnuts?  Even better huh!  I have always been a fan of monkey bread ever since I went to my very first slumber party as a kid and my friend’s mom brought it down to us for breakfast!  This is better than monkey bread though… this is like monkey bread on steroids!  This gooey delicious monkey bread is stuffed with delicious cream cheese and topped with chopped walnuts!

 

Cream cheese stuffed in the middle! Perfect combination!

About once a month my friends and I plan a girl’s night.  Girl’s night ALWAYS involves good food!  We often go out to dinner, sometimes a movie, or often after dinner just head to one of our houses for some dessert.  This month was my turn to bring the dessert.  I had been saving this recipe from pinterest for a long time… just waiting for the opportunity to make it!

We seriously gobbled this up!  I only put nuts on half of it just in case there were leftovers and my kids wanted some… that idea was wasted!  The side with chopped walnuts was the first to go!  It was delicious and blended in nicely with the cream cheese flavor.

So I will stop rambling now and give you what you really want… the recipe!

CREAM CHEESE MONKEY BREAD
Adapted from pipandebbby.com

2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
2 -12 ounce tubes of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (make 10 equal sized round discs from each tube)
8 ounce cube of cream cheese (cut into 20 equal cubes)
3/4 cup butter melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees and spray bundt pan with cooking spray.
  •  Mix sugars and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  • Put one cube of cream cheese in each biscuit dough disc and fold the dough around the cream cheese leaving just the top of the cream cheese exposed.
  • Sprinkle have your chopped nuts along the bottom on of the pan
  • Put 10 discs in the bundt pan (on top of the nuts) with cream cheese facing up
  • Dump 1/2 of you melted butter across the dough and sprinkle 1/2 your sugar-cinnamon mixture on top of that
  • Place the last 10 discs in the bundt pan with the cream cheese facing down this time
  • Dump the rest of you melted butter around the dough and then sprinkle the rest of the sugar-cinnamon on the top
  • Top with chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Bake for 40 minutes
  • Invert and serve warm

Place half of your discs around your bundt pan with cream cheese facing up

The second set of discs has already been put in face down. This is ready to bake! I only put nuts on half of mine... sometimes my kids can be picky!

Finished baking and ready to invert

The gooey masterpiece! So yummy!

Fluffy Lion House Dinner Rolls

Yummy dinner rolls from the famous Lion House Bakery!  I was really excited to try this recipe and was pleased with how they turned out.  The part I like about this recipe is that they make a lot of rolls on one baking tray!  When you put 20 rolls on one sheet it saves a lot of time from the usual roll recipes.  I got 2 1/2 dozen rolls out of my batch.

Lion House Rolls
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
2 Tb active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted

1.  Combine water and dry milk first.  Then mix in your yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and egg on low speed until combined.  Then mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

2.   Add 2 cups of flour.  Mix on low until combined and then on medium for 2 minutes.

3.  Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing each time until dough is soft, but not too sticky.  It is not necessary to use all of the flour.  Only use enough to make the dough soft, but still workable.  The recipe doesn’t say this, but I did knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes… old bread making habit I guess.

4.  Put one tablespoon of vegetable oil all around dough, turning the dough to make sure it is completely covered.  (This keeps the dough moist while it rises).  Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let it rise until double.  This takes about an hour and a half if you don’t use a quick rise method (heating pad or a previously warmed oven that has been turned off).

5.  Sprinkle work surface with flour (I use oil to keep the dough extra moist).  Roll and shape as desired.  To roll using the Lion House method you need to roll in a long rectangle.  Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangles using the length of your pointer finger and the width of your thumb as a guide.  Then roll up and place on cookie sheet with tail resting on the pan.  Rolls need to be placed only an inch a part if you are using this rolling method as they need to be able to lean against each other as they rise.  See the Lion House video here to see how to roll dough.

6.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth once more and let rise until double.  Again, about an hour to hour and a half if you don’t use a quick rise method.  I am impatient and always use the quick method.  It shortens the time to 30 to 45minutes and I dont see a difference in how the rolls turn out in the long run.

7.  Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush the rolls with melted butter while they are still warm.

This bread is great with butter, honey butter, and homemade strawberry jam!

Use the length of your finger and the width of your thumb to guide you as you get ready to roll your dough.

 

Rolls getting ready to rise. Make sure the tails all face the same direction. Notice how close together they are. It is okay for some of the rolls to be bigger than others. The irregularity happens when you don't roll your dough evenly.

 

They are ready to go into the oven now! See how they needed to lean on each other.

Just out of the oven! Brush with melted butter while they are still warm!

So yummy with some homemade strawberry jam! A great addition!

Homemade Strawberry Jam! A How-to on Canning!

Some of my hubby’s fondest memories from his childhood is going strawberry picking with his family.  They did it every every year and came back with buckets and buckets of strawberries.  His mom would make homemade jam from the strawberries and can them so they could have delicious strawberry jam all year.

As the spring weather approaches my husband always starts craving that homemade jam!  Unfortunately, his mom now lives 2000 miles away from us so I have had to step into the role of fulfilling his strawberry jam requirement.  I have to say that I am glad though… I would never have done it with out his insistence and am happy to have learned this skill and be able to pass this tradition on to our own growing family.

After a lot of research from several different sites, I have mastered canning strawberry jam!  I mostly pulled my research from LovelyLittleDetails.com and pickyoruown.org.  Let me first just suggest you buy this canning kit from Amazon to get you started with all the useful tools.  It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is only $12.97 and will make your life much easier.  You’ll also need some canning jars.  You can get these at most grocery stores or target/walmart.

Before you start make sure to sanitize your jars and rings in the dishwasher or by boiling them in water.  DO NOT WASH THE LIDS.

Ingredients:
6 pints or 4 lbs of fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar (if you are not using reduced sugar pectin you will need closer to 7 cups, check the pectin box for specifics).
1 box reduced sugar pectin
2 lemons or 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp butter (optional)

MAKING YOUR STRAWBERRY JAM

1.  Rinse and hull your strawberries.  The goal is to cleanly remove all of the stem of the strawberry.  I use a small paring knife and just get at each one individually while I watch TV however, I am guessing there is probably some tool out there to do this for you, but I just never think about it until I am already hulling.

Try to get the entire stem out without sacrificing too much of the fruit.

 

2.  Mash up your strawberries!  Some people like to use a blender to do this, but personally I like to have a few small strawberry chunks in my jam so I prefer to use a potato masher and to leave it a little chunkier.

If you are not sure what consistency you want this first time you can try mashing half and blending the other half. This will give you something in between.

 

3.  Put the strawberries in a large pot and begin cooking on high heat.  Add one pectin packet and the juice of 2 lemons (or 1/4 cup of lemon juice).  The lemon juice helps preserve the jam so it keeps longer and the pectin helps to thicken the jam.  The next step is optional.  Adding butter to the strawberries as it heats helps reduce foaming.  You can always skim the foam off the top instead of adding butter and you may need to skim a little foam even with the butter.

 

4.  Let the jam come to a full boil before adding the sugar.  Then, stir constantly and bring to a rolling boil.  A rolling boil is a vigorous boil that keeps boiling even when you stir.  Keep the jam at this rolling boil for at least 3 full minutes.  Don’t forget to keep stirring!  It’s very important!

5.  Skim any foam from the top of the jam using a large sauce spoon or a ladle.  Keep a spoon in a cup of ice water.  Then to test the consistency of your jam, pull out the spoon  and scoop up a teaspoon or so of jam.  Let it cool to room temperature then turn it sideways checking to see if it is firming the way you would like.  Don’t worry… if it is not as thick as you want just add a little more pectin from the 2nd pouch in your box and bring to a rolling boil for another 3 minutes.  Then test again.  You can continue doing this until you are satisfied the pectin is thickening your jam.  I usually add another 1/4 a packet to mine…. maybe I just like mine a little thicker.  ;)

Ice water spoon test!

 

6.  Poor the jam into the jars.  I needed 7 jars (1/2 pint sized).  You can use the funnel from the canning kit for this or you can cheat like me and poor all the jam into a juice pitcher and then poor into the jars.  I found this way easiest and less messy.  Wipe all along each jar to make sure there is no jam residue from pouring.

7.  Get the jar lids in some hot water to soak.  This loosens up the waxy stuff on the rim of the lid to help it seal.  Let the jam sit to cool for 5 minutes while the lids soak.  Before you put the lids on stir your jam carefully one more time.  This makes the chunks of strawberries distribute more evenly instead of all floating to the top.  Seal the jars tightly with the lid and rings and your are almost done!

8.  Put the sealed jars in a large pot of boiling water.  Note:  Do not let the jars rest directly on the bottom of the pan.  You need a buffer of some sort.  I use a wash rag at the bottom and put my jars on top of the rag.  Make sure the water is at least 2 inches above the top of your jars.  Let them boil for at least 10 minutes.  You don’t want to keep them in much longer than that or the jam will get runny and turn dark.  Be careful putting the jars in and pulling them out… this is where the jar tongs from the canning kit are very useful.

8.  Pull the jars out and let them cool on a wire rack.  You will hear a popping sound as the jars cool and seal.  Check to make sure they have sealed after 24hrs by pushing in the center of the jar.  If it pops up and down your lid did not seal correctly.  If you do not can your jam it will keep for a month in the fridge.  If you can them they will keep for a year, but start to get runny after about six to eight months.

That’s it!  You’re done!  Now you can tie a cute ribbon around it and you have a great gift for a friend or neighbor.  I will be using some of mine for teacher appreciation week. :)  Enjoy!

The jam tastes great on rolls, breads, crepes, cheesecakes, short cakes, etc… Pretty  much anything!!!

 

Love this jam with homemade Lion House rolls!


Chewy M&M Chex Mix! So Yum!

This is one of my favorite snacks!  It’s really my mom’s genius recipe… she has been making it for as long as I can remember.  Movie nights as a kid, long car trip snacks, game night treats, party treats, or just because treats!  I always loved them and have many great memories eating them!  Later I began making them for my roommates at college and even later for my own family.

It’s easy to make and is seriously so good!  Perfect game time snack!  I couldn’t resist making it with Easter m&m’s!

Chewy M&M Chex Mix
1/2 box Golden Grahams cereal
1/2 box Honey Nut Chex cereal
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup slivered almonds
1 bag m&m’s (any kind you like)
1 stick butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Karo syrup

***Mix cereal, coconut, and almonds in the largest mixing bowl you can.  Melt butter, karo syrup,and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Let it boil for at least two minutes, but keep stirring.  Poor over cereal mixture and mix using a strong spoon.  After a minute, dump in m&m’s and keep mixing.  I always add the m&m’s a minute later so that they don’t melt.  My mom would tell you to keep stirring until the mixture cools, but I cheat!  Once it is all combined well I spread it out on the counter on top of some parchment paper or tinfoil to cool.  These keeps it from getting all stuck together in one giant ball.

So yummy! I could just dive in!

Great snack to bring to a party!

**Update**

I just made the Christmas version of this recipe!  Check out the colors!

Love how you can make it for each holiday!  Merry Christmas!!

Love how you can make it for each holiday! Merry Christmas!!

Yummy Chicken Divan!

chicken divan

Such a yummy dish!

Remember my recipe party?!?!  Well, this was one of the dishes that I made.  It is another awesome meal to take to your new mommy friends too (notice I say this a lot, I was SO appreciative of all the meals I received!).

Here is what you need:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • 1 can cream of chicken
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder (we like curry so I go with 2)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • Bake Chicken on 350 degrees for 1 hr then cut up into cubes (this is what I did last time) or cut into cubes and cook on stove top with some oil (less time).  I put some salt and pepper on it before baking.
  • Cut up broccoli and steam. (I put a little bit of water in a pot and throw the broccoli into the strainer and put a lid on it and I also seasoned with salt).  Do not over cook the broccoli.
  • Meanwhile, mix milk, mayo, cream of chicken and curry powder into a bowl.
  • Put chicken and brocoli in a 9×13 pan and pour mixture over it.
  • Top with cheese.
  • Put in oven on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • I served over brown rice!
Wahlaaaaaaaa:
Chicken Divan

Delicious Chicken Casserole

Even my adorable 11 month old loved it!

Even my 11 month approves!

Can’t beat that for cute!  Happy cooking!  Let us know if you make it!!!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Looking for a fun St. Patrick’s day treat for the kiddos?  I came across this recipe from Betty Crocker.  Green and cute, but with lots of mint and chocolate flavor.  Simple recipe and the grown ups will like it too!  I love the mint taste in these!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Any sugar cookie dough you want (homemade, mix, premade… doesn’t matter)
6 – 8 drops of food coloring
1/2 tsp mint extract
1 cup Creme de Menthe baking chips
1 cup chocolate chips

***Make up your sugar cookie dough, add the food coloring and mint extract and mix well.  Gently stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chips.   Bake the cookies how your sugar cookie recipe directs (although mine needed an extra few minutes).

Most important ingredient! So yummy! You can find them in the baking section in your local grocery store.

The dough is yummy too! Love the chocolate mint flavor in these!

Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot

whole chicken

Literally falling off the bone!

I always noticed the whole chickens in the grocery store and was almost afraid of them.  I had no clue what to do with them.  It was priced so much cheaper than chicken breasts (which were always my go to), that I thought I would give it a try.  I looked up a recipe from food dot com and I found this one.  It was even better that it was a crock pot recipe.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large roasting chicken (with pop-up timer if possible)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (optional)
How to make this good lookin’ chicken:
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  • Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken.
  • Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.
  • Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. (I skipped this because I didn’t think about it until the day of).
  • When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crock pot.
  • Add chicken. No liquid is needed, the chicken will make it’s own juices.
  • Cook on low 4-8 hours.
whole chicken in crock pot

Look at this beauty!

Wahlaaaaaaaa…. Now you have yourself a pretty chicken!  We ate this for a few meals.  So delish!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The fluffiest peanut butter cookies on the planet!  Seriously, I am not kidding here!  They are so good!

My boys have been begging for the past week for me to make some cookies.  I have been refusing because I have no will power as of late and I know if I make them I will REALLY enjoy eating them!  I started to feel bad though and caved to their sweet little faces.  However, I  decided that if I was going to make them then I was going to make sure it was worth it!  I started searching pinterest for the most delectable fluffy cookies and was thrilled to find these at howsweeteats.com.

Seriously, next time you are in the mood for some fluffy, chewy, chocolatey goodness… MAKE THESE!  :)   I was actually torn between trying this recipe or trying a similar one that included oatmeal.  I love oatmeal cookies so after using half the dough I mixed 1/2 cup of oats in the rest of my dough so I could have both.  Love them, loved them, loved them!  The oats gave them a great texture.  I will add oats to the entire batch next time.  Drool, drool…

I was hoping to tell you how they taste the next day, but they did not last that long!  Guess that is what happens with 3 little monkeys (and a mom with no will power… hehe).

These ones have the oats added.... mmmmm

 

Adding the melted peanut butter to the sugars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from www.sweeteats.com
Makes 18 cookies (although my batch made 30 so clearly I didn’t make mine as big as recommended)
1/2 cup salted butter
6 Tb peanut butter (I didn’t measure just estimated since it is just over 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg + 1 egg yoke
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup Oatmeal (optional, but I am telling you it is delish!)

1.  Melt the butter and PB together in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds.  Mix and let cool completely.
2.  Wisk flour and baking soda together and set aside
3.  Mix both sugars and PB mixture together in large bowl
4.  Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well.
5.  Slowly add flour.  Mix until just combined.  You may need to add 2 Tb of milk if your dough is too thick (I did).
6.  Stir in chocolate chips (and oatmeal if you are adding it)
7.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Cool completely on rack.

No oats in these ones, but still oh so good!

Nice and fluffy inside! Love these cookies!

Chicken Spaghetti

You know how much I love recipe parties.  Last year, my neighbor had one and gave away this recipe.  It is so delish and there are always plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.  This is also a great recipe to take to a brand new mom (always do something for your new mom friends).

chicken spaghetti

yum yum

 

All you need is:

chicken spaghetti ingredients

can of rotel, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, thin spaghetti, cheddar cheese, 1 lb chicken tenders, 1/4 cup chopped green peppers, 1/4 cup chopped onions, 1 1/2 cups water, salt, pepper, garlic salt

1 10 oz. can chopped Rotel
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
14 oz. thin spaghetti
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 pound of chicken tenders (I cut mine up)
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
salt, pepper, garlic salt (to taste)

 

Directions:

Bake chicken on baking sheet in oven: 350 degrees for 1 hr 15 minutes– cut up into bite size pieces.
Heat Rotel, soups, broth, onion, bell pepper and seasonings. Add 1/2 cup cheese.

spaghetti chicken on stove

cooking all together

Cook spaghetti.
Mix chicken, sauce and spaghetti.  Put into 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Cook on 350 for 30 minutes.

Wahlaaaaaaaa.

delicious chicken spaghetti

so delish!

 

 

 

Delicious Slow Roasted Beef Brisket

Last year I ordered one of those grass-fed steers from a local farm in my area.  Seriously, one of the best things we ever did.  We got A LOT of fresh beef at a cost that was better than what you pay per pound out a grocery store and the meat was fresher, leaner, safer, and much better tasting.

I looked in the freezer last week to see what I could make and noticed my  last piece from this order in there.  It was a beef brisket.  I had never cooked brisket and didn’t really know what to do with it… hence it was the last piece.  So I set up to research the best way to cook brisket and the best recipe.  I checked lots of websites and talked to my brother who has worked at a fresh bbq joint for years now.

I don’t want all that research to go to waste so I figured I would let you all piggy back on the research I did and tell you the best brisket recipe out there!  I used a combination of information to come up with this recipe.  It turned out perfect!  It was tender, juicy, and delicious!

All the information I came across told me a dry rub was best and not to add any liquid to the pan as it roasts.  The brisket is fatty enough on its own that you really don’t need to add any liquid to it.  Also, if you are picking out a brisket, do not get the corned-beef brisket.  You wil not have the same results.

Here is what I came up with for the dry rub:
DRY RUB:
2 Tb salt
2 Tb black pepper
1/2 Tb red pepper flakes
2 Tb garlic powder

OTHER INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:
1 large onion
2-3 sweet potatoes
2 cups of baby carrots

You want quite a bit of spice for your dry rub. Use every bit of it.

Rub the spices over every piece of the meat, even crevices. As you can see, it is a lot of spice! Don’t be scared!

INSTRUCTIONS:  
You do not need to brown the brisket as you would with tradition beef roasts.  The trick to the brisket is to cut up 1 whole onion and place it in the middle of your roasting pan in one big pile.  Lay the brisket directly on the onions with the fattiest side facing up.  This allows the juices from the fat to drip through the meat and keep it tender and flavorful.  Cover the pan tightly with tinfoil and slow roast on 250 degrees for 5 to 6 hours.  This is for a 5-6 lb brisket.  You will need to adjust the time for larger or smaller cuts.  Let the brisket sit for 20 minutes before carving.  This allows the juices in the meat to redistribute and gives you a much more flavorful taste.

WHAT TO DO THE LAST HOUR:
Add some freshly cut vegetables the last hour of baking.  Some recipes said it was fine to leave them in the entire time, but I feel like the vegetables always turn to mush.  I like my vegetables tender, but not to soggy or mushy.  I added freshly cut sweet potatoes and carrots sprinkled with salt, paper, and onion flakes.  Then I covered it back up with the tinfoil and let it roast for one more hour.  The vegetables were perfect.  They absorbed the juices and spices from the  brisket and had a great flavor to them.

Sweet potatoes cut and ready to go in for the last hour of roasting

Carrots and sweet potatoes are placed all around the roast so they can absorb the juice and flavor from the brisket.  I always put the carrots towards the bottom as they are a much firmer vegetable and can cook better at the bottom.

Perfection! Add a small side salad to this and you are set! This is a great meal to have with company!