Posts in the ‘Recipes’ Category

We're Featured in the Back to School Foodie App!

Now that it's back to school time, are you fretting over what to pack your kids for lunch? I know I am. My daughter, Lainey, is the pickiest eater.

Well, here's the new free Back to School Foodie app for iPad and iPhone, filled with 40 creative ideas for school lunches to get both you and me inspired for the months ahead. And another cool part is my chicken soup recipe is featured! Thank you, Foodie!


Here's my soup. It is something my daughter loves and will eat anytime! If you have a picky eater in your house, you might want to try it, I think it's foolproof. Plus, its so warm and comforting on those cool fall days.



Some of my favorite recipes from the app are the soft granola bars, the roasted chickpeas, the lentil salad, the roasted carrot soup, the breakfast cookie (will definitely be trying this!), and the strawberry-kiwi fruit.

Download the app today, it's totally free and the photos are so beautiful. It will make you hungry.

Foodie puts out new editions of their app every month, so be on the lookout at the App Store.

Apple Cake Pops Great for Back to School {RECIPE}


Molly Allen, our baking contributor, and the creative force behind CakeFYIcreated these awesome back to school treats for us!

Looking for a quick, easy, and fun treat for back to school? These Apple Cake Pops are the perfect treat! Using just a simple cake recipe, icing, and a few embellishments, you can make these cute cake pops for your kiddos!


Apple Cake Pops


For the Cake:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1 3/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • Also Needed:
  • Batch of homemade or store-bought icing
  • Cake Pop Sticks
  • Red Sprinkles
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Green Candy (for leaves)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.


Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract and mix well.


Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated.


Add half of the milk and mix well. Add another third of the flour, mix, and then add the remaining milk. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until well mixed.

Using a measuring cup, pour batter into a greased 13 X 9 cake pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool completely.

Once cake has cooled, break it apart in a large bowl, and crumble the cake with your hands. Add two cups of red store-bought or homemade icing, and mix into the cake crumbles with your hands.

Roll cake and frosting mixture into small balls.


Insert a cake pop stick into the bottom of each ball. Roll the cake pop in red sprinkles, and then insert half of a pretzel stick in the top to act as the stem.


Insert leaf shaped green candy next to the pretzel stick. Place cake pops in the freezer to set.



Adorable! Thank you, Molly, I love how easy these are!

To learn more about Molly and read all about her baking adventures, check her out at CakeFYI.

No Flour Enchilada Sauce Recipe and a Cookoff!


Talk about a fun challenge... We were asked by Fresh & Easy to take one of their Kitchen To Go meals, replicate it from scratch, and do a taste, cost, and time comparison. We chose their Vegetable Enchiladas and decided to make ours with a delicious homemade enchilada sauce. no-flour-enchilada-sauce-recipe-70A

Our enchilada sauce doesn't use flour. We used pureed chili peppers to give it body, and boy, does that work, plus you get so much flavor from the added peppers. It turned out thick and smooth, and has enough kick to keep your mouth excited.




  • 3 ancho chiles (dried poblanos)
  • 1 poblano chile pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes (about 6 medium sized tomatoes)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Start by rehydrating the ancho chilies. Cut off the stems end and shake out the seeds. I don;t worry about getting them all out. Put them in the toaster oven and toast for about 1 minute, just until they start to puff a bit. They go quickly from puffy to burnt, so keep an eye on them. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for 10-15 minutes.


While the ancho chilies are soaking, dice your onion, and put into a pot with a little vegetable oil, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are transparent, then add the tomatoes (chopped).


Remove the stem and seeds from the poblano pepper. Roughly chop it up and to the pot along with teh garlic (minced or pressed). Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.


Remove the ancho chilies that have been soaking, and chop them up. Add them to the pot along with the chicken stock and the spices and simmer for about 30 minutes.


Use an immersion blender to puree, or you can move it to a blender. If you think it is too thick you can add some more chicken stock, and if it is too thin let cook down for another 10 minutes. And here is the finished sauce! Besides enchiladas, my favorite way to use the sauce is to top my chicken with it.


Now for the taste test... Here was our competition, Fresh & Easy Kitchen to Go Vegetable Enchiladas.


We bought our enchilada ingredients at Whole Foods and got them ready. We chopped up green pepper, onion, zucchini, summer squash, and tomato, then sauteed the veggies until they were brown but still crunchy.


We lined our pan with our enchilada sauce, then rolled up 5 corn tortillas with cheddar cheese.


We topped our enchiladas with our enchilada sauce, sauteed veggies, and cheese. Then we put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


We also baked our Fresh & Easy veggie enchiladas. Right out of the oven, here's how they both looked.


I thought they both looked tasty, plus their spicy tomatoe-y smells were making me hungry. Thankfully, it was time for the taste test.

The Fresh & Easy veggie enchiladas was full of flavor. The vegetables were nicely grilled and still had crunch, and the heat from the sauce was noticeable but not too spicy. Plus you could tell their ingredients were healthy just by looking at them and it was nice to learn that Kitchen to Go doesn't use any artificial colors or flavors like high fructose corn syrup or added transfats in their meals. Here's what their enchiladas looked like...


The difference between the two was really the sauce. Ours was definitely more vibrant and complex, considering we just made it a half hour before. Here's what ours looked like...



So, for me, the takeaway from the challenge is... If you have the time to make fresh enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, I highly recommend it. Our dinner was bursting with flavor! But it took an hour at the grocery store and an hour and a half at home to make, not a quick meal by any stretch.

If you are short on time, and don't want to spend $30.46 on dinner, which is what we spent (you can see our itemized receipt below), vs. $6.99, which is what the Fresh & Easy meal cost, the Kitchen to Go meal is a tasty, healthy alternative! You won't be disappointed, and if you want to try Fresh & Easy Kitchen to Go meals, here's a $5 off coupon.

My shopping list for my homemade vegetable enchiladas from Whole Foods:

  • Poblano peppers $1.11
  • Organic Ancho chili $3.29
  • Organic tortillas $2.99
  • Organic coriander $3.99
  • Organic cumin $2.79
  • Mexican oregano $2.99
  • Medium cheddar $3.29
  • Zucchini $1.02
  • Organic onion $1.06
  • Garlic $0.84
  • Tomatoes $4.87
  • Green bell pepper $1.44
  • Zuchini squash $0.78
Total cost for homemade enchiladas: $30.46 

Sometimes you want ingredients. Sometimes you just want to eat. At Fresh & Easy, find freshly prepared meals that are ready to eat in minutes, delicious options that are ready to cook and even the raw ingredients you need to create your own recipes. Fresh & Easy makes grocery shopping easy with great food you can trust at prices you can afford and a small store to make it easy to get in, get out and get on with it. Fresh_Easy_Logo

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Fresh & Easy via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Fresh & Easy.


{RECIPE} Homemade Hostess Cupcakes



Molly from CakeFYI is back with a delicious back to school treat... the homemade Hostess Cupcake! How delicious do these look?!!

If your kids keep asking you to pack Hostess cupcakes in their lunchboxes, then this recipe is for you! Try out these Homemade Hostess Cupcakes, and you’ll never pack store-bought again. They’re so simple and sweet, and even a little retro!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C White Sugar
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 C + 2 TBSP Flour
  • 1/4 C +2 TBSP Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/4 C Saffola Oil
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Water, Boiling

homemade-hostess-cupcakes Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together.


Add egg, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat well.


Pour in boiling water, and stir the batter until combined. Grease or line a cupcake pan. Using a ¼ measuring cup, pour batter into the pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool completely.

While cupcakes cool, prepare the Whipped Cream Filling.

Whipped Cream Filling


  • 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract



Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until stiff peaks form.


Whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar and mix thoroughly.

Once cupcakes have cooled, filled each cupcake with Whipped Cream Filling using a piping bag and round tip. Push the tip into the cupcake, and squeeze to fill as you pull the tip out of the cupcake.

homemade-hostess-cupcakesOnce filled, set cupcakes in freezer to set while preparing the Chocolate Glaze.

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract



Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Dip each cupcake in Chocolate Glaze, swirling the cupcake to remove excess glaze.


Allow to set in freezer. Once set, pipe icing loops on top of each cupcake.


Incredible, Molly, thank you so much for creating these for us!! To learn more about Molly and read all about her baking adventures, check her out at CakeFYI.

{RECIPE} Italian Roasted Potato Salad


My husband is not a fan of mayonnaise, so I'm always on the lookout for non-mayo salads. I saw Mario Batali make this warm potato salad on The Chew, the new food show on ABC, and thought it looked delicious! Plus, who doesn't love Mario Batali! If you haven't checked out The Chew yet, you definitely should, it's a lot of fun to watch, and I keep getting great tips and recipes.

I wanted to give it a try, but I also wanted to make a few tweaks, like roasting the potatoes instead of boiling them, and substituting thyme for marjoram because thyme is one of my favorite herbs.



  • 2 pounds new (small) potatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon thyme + 1/2 tablespoon for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 shallot minced
  • fresh pepper to taste


Preheat the to 400 degrees. Quarter potatoes.


Toss the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and salt.


Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes - until they start to brown. Halfway through I turned the potatoes so they would brown on both sides.


Here's what they looked like roasted.


Cook three eggs over easy and cut into slices.


In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, thyme, and the minced shallot to make the dressing. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and top with the fried egg slices. Garnish with couple more pinches of thyme.


While it tastes terrific warm, you can also enjoy it cold.


The Chew celebrates and explores life through food - from cooking to food trends, restaurants, holidays and more all aimed at making life better, fuller and more fun. Featuring celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz, “The Chew” is a leap forward into a delicious new kind of talk show.

Watch The Chew Weekdays at 1e|12p|c on ABC!


Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ABC via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ABC.

{RECIPE} Easy and Delicious Herb Compound Butter


Do you know what inspired me to make this herb butter? This video from The Chew, the new food show on ABC. It's all about how to save fresh herbs so they don't go to waste.

I had no idea I could save my herbs by  putting them in water in the fridge. After I made this herb butter, the basil I bought at the grocery store lasted more than a week this way! I'm so used to watching my herbs wilt after two days in the fridge and eventually throwing them out, this was such a great tip. I will be putting my unused herbs out like flowers all over my house now!



  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon basil (notice how fresh mine looks in the mason jar filled with water)
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice


Let the butter come to room temperature. It should be soft, but not melted. Mix on high for 3-4 minutes until it is light and creamy.


Finely chop the basil, thyme, and rosemary.



Add the chopped herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice to the butter, and mix for another 1-2 minutes.


Use a spatula to put the butter on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Fold the paper over the top, and roll it into a tube shape. You can use a baking or cutting sheet to help pull it tight.


Put it into the refrigerator for a couple hours, until it firms up enough to slice easily.


My favorite ways to serve herb butter is on steak, on bread, or in rice and pasta. It adds such a great rich, creamy punch to your dish!  The best part about making your own flavored butter is you can choose from an infinite array of herbs and spices.


If you love food (like me) and haven't checked out The Chew yet on ABC, you're in for a treat. It's a fun and breezy show, all about food, packed with tons of tips and recipes. Check out this episode here:

The Chew celebrates and explores life through food - from cooking to food trends, restaurants, holidays and more all aimed at making life better, fuller and more fun. Featuring celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz, “The Chew” is a leap forward into a delicious new kind of talk show.

Watch The Chew Weekdays at 1e|12p|c on ABC!



Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ABC via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ABC.

We're Featured on the Summer Sweets Foodie App!

If you love looking at gorgeous food, especially desserts, you must check out the new free Summer Sweets Foodie App available for the iPad and iPhone. And if that's not compelling enough, our Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Shortcake is featured as the second recipe!! Woo hoooo!


Here's our recipe! Thank you, Foodie, for including us. I promise this strawberry shortcake recipe is delicious and perfect for summer!!


Some of my favorite recipes from the app include: a s'mores bundt cake, a nectarine blackberry open-faced pie, a roasted peach cobbler, mango haberno popsicles, and a bacon and dulce de leche ice cream pie! My mouth waters every time I look at it.

Foodie puts out new editions of their app every month, so be on the lookout at the App Store!

Fruit Cookie Pizza {RECIPE}


I'm so excited to feature this Fruit Cookie Pizza Molly at CakeFYI create for us!! Isn't it gorgeous?!

Looking for the perfect summer dessert for your upcoming Memorial Day or 4th of July celebrations? Then this is the recipe for you! This Red, White, and Blue Fruit Cookie Pizza uses a sugar cookie crust as the perfect base.

Spread homemade whipped cream over the top and add strawberries and blueberries for a colorful treat. You’re certainly welcome to use other fruit as a topping, but combining strawberries and blueberries with the fresh whipped cream will give you the perfect festive look!


Red, White, and Blue Fruit Cookie Pizza


  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 3/4 C White Sugar
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.


Beat in the flour and baking soda until a soft dough forms.

Let the dough chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. In the meantime, grease a round cake pan.

Press a thin layer of dough into the pan.


Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden.

While the cookie cools, prepare the whipped cream topping.

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream for about ten minutes until it starts to firm. As it thickens, add in the powdered sugar and whip until well combined.



Place the prepared Whipped Cream Topping in the freezer to keep cool while you prepare the fruit.

Wash the blueberries and strawberries, and cut the strawberries into triangles.


Spread the Whipped Cream Topping over the top of the cookie crust. Arrange fresh strawberries, blueberries, and any other fruit you like on top.



What a perfect treat to serve at a July 4th BBQ or anytime throughout the summer!! Thanks, Molly, for all your creativity!!

To learn more about Molly check her out at CakeFYI.

{RECIPE} Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcakes

chocolate-peanut-butter-cookie-dough-cupcakes Molly at CakeFYI is back with another insane dessert... chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cupcakes!! I'm dying because this is so up my alley!!!

In my household, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is an absolute dessert staple. If you love it too, then you’ll definitely want to try these cupcakes!

This unique recipe starts with a simple chocolate cupcake batter, but by adding edible raw peanut butter cookie dough to the center, as well as more to the batter, you get something totally transformed. Plus I top them with peanut butter cookie dough frosting for just a tad more decadence!

Edible Raw Peanut Butter Cookie Dough


  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1/4 C White Sugar
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 C Flour
  • 1/4 C Peanut Butter

Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in flour and peanut butter until well mixed. Set aside.


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/4 C White Sugar
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 C + 2 TBSP Flour
  • 1/4 C +2 TBSP Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/4 C Saffola Oil
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Water, Boiling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Mix all dry ingredients together.


Add egg, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat well.


Pour in boiling water, and stir the batter until combined.

Grease or line a cupcake pan. Fill each cupcake well halfway with batter, then add a teaspoon sized ball of cookie dough in the middle. Top with additional batter.


Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool completely.

Once cooled, top with Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Icing and sprinkles.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Icing

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • Remaining Cookie Dough
  • 2 1/2-3 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Milk
  • 1/2 C Peanut Butter, or more to taste

Cream the butter and remaining peanut butter cookie dough.


Then add half of the powdered sugar. Add the milk and continue to beat. Continue to add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Beat in the peanut butter. final 4

Molly, once again you've blown me away with what you create, thank you!!!


To learn more about Molly check her out at CakeFYI.


RECIPE: Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites


Molly from CakeFYI has been busy dreaming up some more delicious treats for us! Check out her newest recipe!

To me, soft pretzels are a dream come true. They’re kind of tough on the outside, but they’re so fluffy on the inside. They’re the perfect snack at any age, but let me tell you, those simple pretzels can get so much better.

It’s sort of a timely process to make pretzel bites, but it’s incredibly fun and pretty darn simple. I dunked these in a homemade salted caramel sauce and sprinkled them with sea salt to give them an extra kick of flavor. I don’t think you need any more convincing.


  • 1 1/2 C Warm Water
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Pkg Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 1/2 C Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 6 Cups Water, for boiling
  • 1/4 C Baking Soda, for boiling
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
Tools: Stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, large pot, baking sheet


First, add your water and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then sprinkle in the yeast.


Give the mixture a little stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes.


After about 5 minutes, the yeast mixture will begin to bubble and foam. Then, gradually begin to add half of the flour, mixing on low as you go.


After adding half of the flour, gradually add the melted butter. Then, continue to add the remaining flour.


Once you’ve added all of the flour, and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, it’s ready to knead. Put your mixer on medium-high, and let it knead the dough for 5-7 minutes.


Next, brush the sides of a large bowl with oil, or spray it with cooking spray. Roll the dough around in the bowl to coat it in oil. Let the dough sit to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, we’re ready to form the pretzel bites!


Fill a large pot with water and add the baking soda before you turn the stove on high. Let it come to a rolling boil. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Working with 1 dough portion at a time, roll out fat ropes of dough, about 10 inches long and 1 inch wide. Cut each dough rope into 8 small pieces, and set them on a greased baking sheet.


Once your water begins to boil, carefully drop 6-8 pretzel bites into the pot. Let them boil for about 30 seconds, and then place them back on the greased baking sheet. I like to use a slotted spoon or a spatula to get them out. That way, there isn’t too much water on the baking sheet. They’re going to look a bit lumpy at this point, but don’t worry about it. They will take shape once they’re baked.


Whisk 1 large egg yolk with a splash of water. Brush the pretzel bites with this mixture to give it an egg wash.


Bake the pretzel bites for 7-8 minutes until golden. Immediately transfer them to wire racks to cool.


Now, what about that Salted Caramel Sauce I mentioned?

Salted Caramel Sauce


  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tsp Salt


In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar, milk, and vanilla and whisk well. Let the sauce boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Do not stir it!

Once boiled, remove it from the heat and whisk well. Pour it into a jar or bowl immediately, and place it in the fridge for 5 minutes to slightly thicken.

Grab a cookie sheet, and place it under the wire rack. Dunk the top of each pretzel bite in the caramel sauce. Swirl it around to get the excess off. Top them with a sprinkle of salt, and let them set to dry for 1 hour.



And voila!!! Bite size deliciousness... bet you can't eat just one!



Thanks Molly, for the yummy recipe! To learn more about Molly check her out at CakeFYI.

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