Ham and Cheese Croissants

{breakfast food, redone!}
One thing I miss most about the Inn is the croissants. They were my absolute favorite things to eat. I miss them greatly. I got this idea the other day when the deli meats were on sale for $3. If you are thinking 'how in the world is that a sale?'... trust me, compared to the regular price of $5, it's definitely a sale. I basically had to buy some because that is just something I could not pass up. Thus, my idea occurred. However, I have to admit that I didn't make the croissants myself- it was too hot to bake and I knew I was strapped for time, so I cheated and bought the pre-made ones in the can. If you are interested in making your own, I highly suggest this one- it's my favorite! 
1 container (or as much or as little as you'd like) deli ham (you could experiment and use turkey if you wanted)
1 block of Swiss Cheese (again, more or less- you could even try cheddar with the turkey)
4 strips of croissant bread dough cut into long, right triangles (throw in a little geometry for ya)

Roll out one triangle of dough, and place 2-3 slices of ham on top. It's best to not bunch it up, instead lay them out flat. Then take 1-2 small slices of Swiss and place on top of ham. Roll up the dough starting at the larger end, ending with the smallest corner of the dough. Do this for each one, place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. You can try serving with ranch dressing, if you're in the mood to try something different. :) 
This could be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a snack!  


Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

{Wisconsin would be proud}
I know it's a little out of season for soup and chowder, but given all the rain it just sounded good. Kinda like chili- but not.

2 bunches (about 1 pound) fresh broccoli
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk (you could probably get away with 2 or 3)
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli just until tender. Do not overcook. Drain and cut into small pieces; set aside. Saute onion in the 1/4 cup butter until tender; set aside. In a large saucepan or soup pot prepare a white sauce: melt the 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, then stir in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in milk, chicken brother, and salt. Stir constantly until mixture reaches a boil. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Add broccoli and onion. Stir in cheese. cook briefly over medium heat. Avoid bringing to a boil. Serve immediately or keep warm over low heat.


French Bread

{J'adore le pain, or I love bread!}
I could just eat bread all day long, but then of course, I'd weight a million pounds.
2 pkg dry yeast (2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup warm water                          {for proofing}
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons oil
6 cups flour
1 egg white; sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon sugar. In large bowl combine hot water, sugar, oil, salt and half of the flour. Mix. Add yeast mixture when all bubbly. Mix in remaining flour. Keep in bow and let rise 10 minutes. Mix again and then let rise for another 10 minutes. Repeat 5 times. Once all that is done, take it out of the bowl, and divide into two, and roll out on counter into a rectangle shape. Roll up and put on cookie sheet. Slice 3 times over the top. 

Take egg white and beat. Brush on dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake 25 Minutes at 400 F or until golden brown.
O l'amour!



{who said your food couldn't be cute, too}
Great for Halloween... perhaps?
1 package (8 bread sticks or 11 oz.) bread stick dough
1 package (16 oz) hot dogs (Brats, Cheddar Dogs, Cheddar Brats maybe even... yum!)
Mustard and poppy seeds for the eyes (if you want you could opt the mustard for Cheese Whiz)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Using 1 dough strip for each, wrap hot dogs to look like mummies, leaving opening for eyes. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Place dots of mustard and poppy seeds for eyes. 

Cheese lovers pasta roll-ups

{a new way of looking at pasta}
I no longer hate Ricotta cheese

1 egg, beaten
1 container Ricotta cheese
2 cups Kraft 4 Cheese Italiano
4 green onions, chopped (I wouldn't recommend this if you use a pre-made pasta sauce, too many flavors for me)
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (even an alfredo sauce would go nicely!)
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese

Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce onto bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread each noodle with 3 tablespoons of cheese mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in dish. Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake 40-50 minutes or until heated through. Oven at 350 F.

Cafe Rio Chicken

{I should really get my own pictures of these}
Click here for the great blog in which this picture is originally taken.
1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 lbs. chicken breast

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.

Cafe Rio Rice

{again, need I say more?}
Not my picture, click here for the link
3 cups water
4 teaspoons chicken boullion
4 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 can green chiles, or equivalent fresh
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion
3 cups rice

Blend cilantro, green chiles and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve!

Cafe Rio Ranch Dressing

{the secret to my success- I mean, Cafe Rio's success}
Have you ever heard of these things before? I hadn't. But they are very much important!
1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 Jalapeno (No seeds. You could substitute a few drops of green Tabasco for the jalapeno)

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate for two hours, then serve.
It should look like this when finished... NOT my picture... here is the link for it.
Muy Buen!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

{need I say more?}
This is not my picture, btw. However, the recipe IS mine!
click here, for the link of picture
3-5 lb. pork shoulder roast
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Molasses
2 cans (12 oz.) Dr. Pepper (Cola also works if you want a lighter taste and color)
1 cup brown sugar (more or less for sweetness)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup salsa or tomato paste

Mix garlic, molasses, soda, brown sugar, and salsa in a bowl until well mixed. Pour over salt and peppered roast in crock pot. Cook on low for 5 hours. Shred meat and continue cooking for additional hour.

Seven Layer Dip

{a classic crowd pleaser for all ages}
I made this dish for a group of friends, it was gone in 15 minutes. But I don't mean to brag ;)

Ingredients, in order:
1 can refried beans 
3 mashed avacado's with lemon juice and green tabasco sauce
1/2 c mayonnaise with 1 cup sour cream
3 chopped tomatoes (I used about a 1/2 cup [more or less] of salsa)
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 small can of chopped, black olives

Layer on a serving platter in order, don't forget the chips!

Arrabbiata Sauce

{authentic Italian}
Care of Lenora Mazzocchi

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Parsley

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry garlic and onion for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, basil, pepper flakes, tomato paste, lemon juice, Italian Seasoning, black pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, and serve over your favorite pasta.
Garnish as desired!

All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies

{straight from Grandma's kitchen}
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls about 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets. 
*Note: For smaller cookies, preheat oven to 375 F. Preheat dough as directed; drop heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. 


Rich Chocolate Cupcakes

{A simple twist on a chocolaty classic}
My husband doesn't like cake, or any sweets for that matter. But he raved about these cupcakes, and ate more than just one! 
1 Devil's Food cake mix (any chocolate cake mix will do) and the ingredients to make it
2 packets of Jell-O milk chocolate pudding mix
1 container of Chocolate frosting (or make your own, something I haven't mastered yet)

Mix all required ingredients for cupcakes as per package. Once well mixed, add the 2 pudding packets, stir until well mixed. Bake cupcakes per box directions. Let cool and frost. 
Once you bite in, you can tell that the cake is thick and rich, and more like a brownie than a cake. It's divine!


{Meat, or no meat- it is the same}
Everyone knows what a lasagna is, so let's just cut to the chase!
1 jar (27 oz, or 700 mL) of your favorite pasta sauce (or make it from scratch)
9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of cottage cheese (the regular size container should do, unless you like more then, by all means...) 
Salt and Italian Seasoning to taste
1 lb. of lean ground beef, browned and drained 
1 egg

In a large pot, boil 6 cups of water, add a little salt to help it boil quicker (and to help flavor your noodles). Once to a boil, add lasagna noodles and cook until soft and wiggly (you don't want to over cook them, they have a tendency to tear). In a large bowl, add some cool water. Drain noodles and place them in the bowl of cool water. This shocks them and keeps them from continuing to cook, it also cools them down so they are easier to handle. Set aside. Mix your pasta sauce and ground beef together in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until simmering and warm. In a small bowl, mix  cottage cheese and egg together.
Don't forget to preheat your oven to 350 F. In a 9x13 greased baking dish, spoon a small amount of sauce on bottom of pan. Next, place 3 noodles down. Then spoon a thin layer of cottage cheese and egg mixture on top of noddles. Add a thin layer of Mozzarella. Then top with another thin layer of sauce. Repeat until all the noddles are used up. Be sure to save as much Mozzarella as you can for the top. Take remaining Mozzarella and spread over the top. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and continue cooking until bubbly! 
*You can opt out the ground beef if you don't want to use meat*

Chicken Enchiladas

{Definitely in my top 5}
This recipe is adapted from Kevin and Amanda's Recipes, but I changed some things.
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 small can of Old El Paso chopped green chilies
1, 8 oz. (250 g) package of cream cheese (you can use light cream cheese if you prefer)
4-6 small tortillas (see note below for larger servings)
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese (I added some left over Mozzarella- highly recommended if you like cheese, like me)
1 tomato, chopped (optional, I used a little salsa)
1 pint whipping cream (Half and Half if you'd prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small frying pan, saute the chili's and the tomato for about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese a little bit at a time, until well incorporated and melted. Add a couple pinches of the cheese and the chicken and stir until well mixed. Remove from heat. Grease a 9x9 baking dish with Pam. Fill each tortilla with a few spoon fulls of the chicken mixture, roll up and place in pan, seem side down. Once the pan is full, spoon the remaining chicken mixture over top of the filled tortillas. It should look something like this:
Next, sprinkle the rest of the Monterrey Jack over top and pour the cream over stop of the cheese. Cover with foil and pop it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the cheese is slightly golden on the edges. 
*Note, you can use a larger baking dish and more tortillas if you have more mouths to feed ;) *

Hanky Panky Cupcakes

{Formerly known as Better Than Sex Cake}
*original recipe adapted from iheartcuppycakes*

1 Devil's Food Cake mix (and the ingredients to make it)
1 can of Eagle Brand Sweet and Condensed milk
1/2 cup Caramel ice cream topping (I used the dipping sauce found next to the apples in the produce area)
2 Heath or Skor candy cars, broken up into pieces (I used Skor)
Whipped cream (I made home made, but store bought is just fine)

Make cupcakes as per recipe on box. Next, take a skewer or a fork and poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes. Make the sure holes go at least 2/3 of the way down, if not further. Mix the sweet and condensed  milk and the caramel sauce together over low heat in a medium sauce pan. (I used a microwave because I'm lazy). You just want it to get warm enough that they mix well together. Spoon small amounts of the caramel mixture over the cupcakes, allowing it to sink down into the holes. You may have to repeat this step once or twice, you can add as little or as much as you want. Let cool. Dollop some whipped cream on top, and then sprinkle the candy car pieces on top of that!  If you want to get even more creative, you could drizzle more of the caramel mixture on top again.
*side note: if you aren't going to serve them right away, it's best to keep them in the refrigerator so that the whipped cream doesn't melt.*


Welcome to my new cooking blog!

I decided I wanted to start a separate blog for all my cooking creations. I know I'm not great at cooking... I'm no where near being a chef, but I wanted to provide a way for my friends and family to see what I'm making and perhaps, provide them with great recipes that they can use themselves! Take a look!

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