October 29, 2014

20 Halloween Dinner Ideas to Warm you Up

It always seems to be cold here on Halloween night.  Here are 20 dinner ideas that will warm you right up.

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October 26, 2014

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie Bars

Today is Pumpkin Day.

I was at the Bookstore a few days ago, picking myself up a present (The Neely's newest Cookbook) and the cashier gave me a coupon for a Pumpkin treat at Starbucks, since October 26th is Pumpkin Day.

So, in celebration of Pumpkin Day, here is a super tasty pumpkin treat for you.
These bars are Awesome!!

The Pumpkin Layer is so creamy, not too sweet and has just the right amount of pumpkin spice flavor.  It melts in your mouth.  

You get just a hint of the butter pecan flavor as an aftertaste.  If you are not a fan of butter pecan, you can really use any flavor of cake mix that would pair well with pumpkin . . . white, yellow, chocolate.
Have you made any new Pumpkin Recipes lately? 

You might also like these Pumpkin recipes:
White Chocolate Pumpkin Bread with Crunchy Streusel Topping 
Pumpkin Molasses Sandwich Cookies 
Bread Machine Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread  
Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie Bars
adapted from: Kraft
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 pkg. Butter Pecan cake mix
1 egg
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

Pumpkin Pie Layer:
1 (8 oz). pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 (3.4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 Tbl. pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs

For Serving:
whipped cream or Cool Whip
chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper extending over the sides and spray with cooking spray.  Mix dry cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter until blended; press onto bottom of prepared pan.

For the Pumpkin Pie Layer:  Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar, dry pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice and 3 eggs with mixer until blended; pour over cake layer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set; cool 10 minutes.  Use foil handles to transfer dessert to wire rack and cool completely.  Serve with whipped cream or Cool Whip and chopped pecans.  

October 24, 2014

Soft and Crunchy Tacos

My family eats a lot of tacos.  They are fast and easy and perfect for a busy weeknight.  At times, it is nice to switch things up with a two layer version.

Besides, if half the family likes crunchy shells and half likes soft shells, give them all what they want.   A soft shell and crunchy shell held together with creamy refried beans.

Taco night just got better :)

I am sharing these delicious tacos over at Sweet Treats & More today.

Click HERE to check out the post and get the yummy recipe.  

October 20, 2014

Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels Plus Sweet Cookbook Review

This cookbook is FULL of sweets, sweets and more sweets.

I thought it would become my new favorite cookbook.

But . . . I didn't like this cookbook as much as I had hoped.  It is full of yummy looking desserts, but there is only a handful of recipes that I would actually make.   Each section has one or two recipes that I "flagged" and that is about it.

Some of the recipes have a full-size picture while others have a small picture.

 There is quite the variety of sweets in this book that range from very simple to make (like Classic Lemon Bars) to more intermediate recipes (like Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake).

There is a divine sounding fudge recipe, but it is a long and very detailed recipe that involves cooking the ingredients to a certain temperature and then cooling it to a certain temperature before mixing  and so on and so on . . . not the easiest fudge recipe, but the picture looks amazing. 
I only tried one recipe out of this book for my review.
Have you ever heard of a chocolate caramel?  I hadn't either until I found this recipe.

These chocolate caramels are weird, yet good at the same time.  They kind of taste like a cross between regular caramel and a tootsie roll.   I only added the Sea Salt to half, because I had no idea what to expect, but I liked it.  It didn't make these taste "salty" it just added a hint of a unique flavor.

The original recipe said to use an 8x8-inch pan, but those would have been the thickest caramels and not what I prefer.

This was a fun twist on the traditional caramels that I am used to, but it won't be replacing my go-to caramel recipe

Anyway,  I would suggest borrowing this book from someone or checking it out at the bookstore before actually purchasing it.  Hey, you might love it and it might become your new favorite.

For me, it was just okay. 
Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels
adapted from: Sweet
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 248 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Carefully pour the hot caramel mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle with Sea salt and let cool.  Cut into 1-inch squares.

For High Altitude: Subtract 1 degree from the final temperature for every 500 feet you are above Sea level.  I am at around 4600 feet above Sea level, so I subtracted 9 degrees.  I took my caramel off the heat once it reached 239 degrees, but it still took right around 15 minutes.    

I received this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review, but all opinions express herein are my own. 

Linked up at Weekend Potluck!

October 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken

I have a reaaaaally good dinner recipe for all of you.

I've decided I should use my slow cooker more often, at least on the weekends.   It's hard for me to use it during the week, because if I started a dish before work, by the time I got home, it would be way over cooked.  Maybe I should get one of those slow cookers where it automatically flips to "warm" when the cooking time is over.  Does anyone have one like that?  Do you like it? 

This chicken only takes a few minutes to put together and in just a few hours, you can have a terrific dinner ready for your family.    
  The chicken was so tender and shredded apart beautifully.  We did not skimp on the toppings.  Sour cream, Cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onions and tomato made this already delicious chicken dish even better.  It doesn't get much easier than this :)     

Get this MUST MAKE recipe over at THE RECIPE CRITIC's site.

Linked up at Weekend Potluck! 

October 14, 2014

Six Sisters' Stuff 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Plus Baby Ruth Bars

The Six Sisters have released their 3rd book, 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff.   Like their other books, you not only get recipes, but you get other fun stuff too.  There are 12 different sections in this book and each section is in sets of 12, like 12 Homemade Christmas Gifts, 12 DIY Christmas Decorations (I love the Candy Cane Frame and I totally want to make it), 12 Spectacular Christmas Treats, 12 Christmas Cookies and more.

If you would like to read about their first book, click HERE or their 2nd book, click HERE.
 A lot of the treat recipes are not your typical, same-old, Christmas Recipes.  They have new fun and delicious treats that you and your neighbors are sure to love!  Like . . .   Mini Turtle Cheesecakes, Almond Joy Bars, Frosted Toffee Cookies and Chocolate Orange Cookies, which sound amazing by the way, because I love Chocolate Oranges and Orange Sticks. 

I wanted to make one of the yummy recipes and I was trying to decide between the Nutella Banana Bread or their Eggnog Cookies.  October seemed a little early to have eggnog in stores, but surprisingly they already had it.  But . . . at almost $5, I decided to pass until closer to Christmas. 

I ended up making their Baby Ruth Bars.  I had everything on hand, except for the peanuts and I realize that peanuts are a big part of an actual Baby Ruth Bar, but I left them out. 

These Baby Ruth Bars are so chewy and delicious.  I think the extra 1/2 cup of chocolate that is drizzled over the top is optional.  They were plenty delicious without that, but if you want to dress them up a bit, the chocolate drizzle is a good idea. 

No Bake treats are always a winner in my book.

You can purchase 12 Days of Christmas HERE
Baby Ruth Bars
From: Six Sisters' Stuff
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
6 c. cornflakes cereal
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips, divided
2/3 c. roasted peanuts

Grease a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine corn syrup, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Stir until smooth and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Mixture will start to bubble.  Remove from heat and add cornflakes and 1 cup of milk chocolate chips and stir until cornflakes are completely coated.  Press mixture into the greased baking pan and let cool.  When bars are set, melt the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and drizzle over the bars.  Let the chocolate set before serving.  Makes 16 bars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The publisher provided me with a copy of this cookbook for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed herein are my own.  Giveaway is offered by the publisher and will be shipped by the publisher.    

Linked up at Weekend Potluck!