Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lime Cheesecake Pie


I posted this recipe waaaaay back in September of 2009!  I don't think it got a lot of attention because the photo I posted with it was TERRIBLE.  Finally, finally I have a photo worthy of this simple, yet elegant pie.  Doesn't it look scrumptious?  I recently served it to some sister missionaries from our church and it was a hit.  The sour cream topping is a recent addition and it goes perfectly with this lightly tart and seriously creamy dessert.  Just looking at the photo makes me want to make another one!

3 limes is about all you need for the juice (maybe 4 or more IF your limes are really small or if you don't have a good juicer like this one).  Before juicing, I reserve the zest of one in a covered container to use for the topping later, and zest another one into the bowl for the juice.  That way there is no waste!


1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened (do not use fat free! 1/3 less fat is okay)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
food coloring, if desired: 1 drop green, 2 drops yellow
1 graham cracker crust

1 cup sour cream
zest of 1 lime
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in condensed milk, lime juice, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, zest, and sugar until smooth.  Spread gently over pie.  Chill for another hour or overnight.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Asian Chicken Salad

The first time I had this salad was back in October of last year.  I was in Georgia visiting old friends and they shared this recipe with me.  I LOVED it!  Not only is it pretty to look at with the red cabbage and green onions, but it tastes FABULOUS.  There is so much fun for your mouth - crunchy cabbage and almonds, soft yet firm ramen noodles, and the slight spice of cilantro.  The recipe makes a lot: doubling it would definitely feed a crowd.  And for a great price!  Many of the ingredients are super cheap.  I plan to take this next time I'm invited to a potluck.

The dressing comes from a bottle, and while I'm usually more inclined to make my own dressing, I doubt I could top the flavor of this one.  It's Ken's Steak House Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger & Soy:

You'll only use 1/2 a bottle for the recipe below, but the flavor of this stuff is amazing.  You won't regret having some left over.

This can be made the day before, but I really think it's best the day of (though it does need to chill an hour or so for the flavors to fully develop).  I've eaten it 2 days later and still been happy with it.  I've been told it holds up left out in the heat on a buffet, but haven't tried that out yet myself.

serves 6 as a main dish, 8-10 as a side

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded (thinly sliced and chopped)
2-3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works!)
3 pkgs. (3 oz each) ramen noodles (Oriental or Chicken flavor are best)
1 bunch green onions, sliced
heaping 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (about 1/2 a bunch)
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (plus more for garnish, if desired)
1/2 bottle Ken's Steak House Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger & Soy dressing

In a large bowl, toss chicken with about 1/4 cup of dressing.  Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds and almonds just until fragrant and light, light brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water mixed with ramen flavor packets to a boil.  Break ramen into quarters like so:

Add ramen to boiling water and cook for 30 seconds (this is to simply soften the noodles slightly, not cook them); drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.  Remove to a cutting board and roughly chop the ramen:

Add the cabbage, ramen, onions, cilantro, almonds, and sesame seeds to the chicken in the large bowl.  Toss with about 1/2 the bottle of dressing, or to taste.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Best Frosting Ever

Once again, I am updating an old post with a new photo.  One that is prettier and more appealing!  This frosting continues to be a favorite and I always get asked for the recipe.  It's light and creamy and not too rich or sweet.  The recipe below makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes in the manner seen in the photo.  I use a large Wilton 1M tip and pastry bag (found at Michaels or Joann) to frost my cupcakes.  It actually makes quick work of it and gives a lovely presentation.  Here is where I learned how to do the swirls and my other favorite design with the 1M tip: the rose.  It's REALLY EASY.  I promise.

More often than not I use 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tsp. almond extract* when making this frosting.  That seems to be the most popular flavor combo.  If you want a brighter white frosting, you'll have to use the clear imitation vanilla.  If you are going to use food coloring, I recommend the gel or paste varieties.  Liquid coloring thins out the frosting too much and you will not like the result.  And, as mentioned below, this frosting is best eaten the day of or at least after no more than 48 hours.  I typically make my cupcakes the day before, keep them in an airtight container, and frost them just before I leave/serve.

March 2010:

This frosting is to die for. It's like whipped cream. You MUST try it!

I've seen it in several places on the internet, so I don't know who came up with it first, but I used the recipe from OurBestBites. The Pioneer Woman also posted one on her Tasty Kitchen blog. They both include photo tutorials that are worth checking out. I recommend the one from Our Best Bites, because they get a better finished product.

This frosting is best eaten within 24-48 hours and does not do well in the fridge or in warm temps (above 80 degrees). Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature (65-75 degrees F).

Also, you can use any flavoring/extract you want: vanilla, almond, coconut, lemon, etc.

THE BEST FROSTING EVER (makes enough for 24 cupcakes)

1 cup milk
6 Tbsp. flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (salted or unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
2 tsp. vanilla extract*

In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and milk until there are no lumps. Stirring constantly over medium heat, whisk the mixture until it thickens:

You want it like a very thick pudding.

If you screw up and get lumps (been there, done that), strain the mixture through a sieve, using a rubber spatula to press it through. Don't worry if it gets super thick. It will still work. Pour flour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until cold (this can take up to 15-20 minutes).

In an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and vanilla extract. Now beat at a high setting until creamy and sugar is dissolved (this can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes - just test it with your fingers to see if it's still grainy). If it looks goopy and weird, keep beating.

Once frosting is creamy you can add gel or paste food coloring, if desired.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Orange Rolls

I posted this recipe back in April of 2011 and thought I should bring them back up since Christmas is almost here.  I make these for Christmas morning every year.  Easter, too.  I LOVE these rolls.  They are soft, sweet but not too sweet, and bursting with orange flavor.

APRIL 2011:

These are SO GOOD!!! If you love the Pillsbury orange rolls but want a preservative-free alternative, these are your rolls. These are now my favorite breakfast rolls.  Loooove them!

I've adjusted the recipe using rapid rise yeast. I rarely have the patience to wait through two risings, so I prefer the speed of using rapid rise yeast. For directions on how to make these with regular yeast, click on the link to the original recipe. Just note that I have adjusted the amount of orange zest in the dough and changed the filling and frosting from the original.

adapted from Orange Cinnamon Rolls on

1 (0.25 oz) packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
zest of 1 orange
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 orange

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter, softened

Combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the rapid rise yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine water, orange juice, and melted butter in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and heat to 120-130 degrees. Mix in liquid with flour mixture until smooth. Add egg and orange zest. Beat in enough of remaining flour to make a dough easy to handle.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let dough rest 10 minutes in a lightly greased bowl.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest in a small bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 9x15 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll dough, lengthwise into a 15-inch tube, pinching to seal. Using dental floss or serrated knife, cut into 1-inch rolls (should make 15 rolls) and place in lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make frosting: in a medium size bowl, beat powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and butter until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding

It's that time of year again - pumpkin everything!  I love it and hate it at the same time.  I love it because most of the time pumpkin foods are yummy and delicious.  I hate it because some food bloggers take it too far and make some pretty gross stuff all in the name of pumpkin.  Let's keep it real, people.  Like this Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding!

This is simply an adaptation of the Rich & Creamy Rice Pudding recipe I posted back in April of 2012.  We're using canned pumpkin in place of the half-and-half and pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon.  Easy peasy.  My daughter LOVES this stuff and I found my husband eating a bowl of it late last night - which means he likes it.  :)  I only got one serving of it and that makes me sad.  Guess I'll be making more!

Wondering what to do with leftover canned pumpkin?  Here are some ideas: Pumpkin Spice Granola, Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins, Pumpkin Spiced Almonds, Pumpkin Bread, Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies, Creamy Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie, Easy Pumpkin Crisp (Pumpkin Dump Cake).


3/4 cup uncooked white rice (not instant)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Garnish, optional:
whipped cream

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add milk, sugar, and salt and cook over med-low heat until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally (about 15-20 minutes).  <---this as="" cook="" don="" if="" is="" it="" kind="" like="" long="" longer.="" nbsp="" of="" p="" pudding="" really="" rice="" step="" t="" taste.="" thick="" thin="" to="" you="" your="">
Mix the beaten egg with the canned pumpkin; whisk into rice mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.  Let cool a bit before serving warm with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.  Pudding will thicken upon standing.  If you want to serve it cold, cover and refrigerate until chilled.  You may need to stir in more milk if the rice pudding has thickened too much while cooling.  Makes 4-6 servings, depending on size.

Friday, October 3, 2014

White Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes aka the Best Cupcakes Ever

Another flashback: this one is from October 2009.  Have I really been blogging that long?!  I consistently get rave reviews and demands for the recipe when I share a batch of these cupcakes.  The frosting pipes so beautifully, it's one of my favorites to work with.  They look so pretty with red liners and pearl sprinkles - perfect for Christmas!  Or Valentines Day.

October 26, 2009:
I got this recipe from my sister-in-law who got it from a friend. These are by no means good for you, but they are worth the fat in my opinion. You don't have to make it into cupcakes (it makes 24). It will also make two 8 or 9 inch rounds or one 13x9. Be sure to use the cream cheese frosting though, as that is what makes these cupcakes so darn delicious! For a whiter frosting, use clear imitation vanilla.


2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 scant tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, soda, and salt. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and water over medium heat. Stir in sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Pour into flour mixture and stir until combined. Divide into 24 lined muffin cups (or greased and floured baking pans). Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.


8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, beat butter vigorously with an electric mixer. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Frost immediately and refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fried Rice

I've tried a lot of fried rice recipes over the years, trying to find one that is a copycat for the fried rice you get from a place like Panda Express or your local Chinese restaurant.  I never really found something that tasted right and was therefore worth making at home.  Until now.  This recipe, to me, is almost identical in flavor to restaurant fried rice!  My husband and daughter, who both always order fried rice, agreed and gave this two thumbs up.

Some key things to remember: you get a better result when you use day-old cooked rice (though you certainly don't HAVE to wait that long) and when you don't cook your rice too soft or sticky.  A good rule of thumb is to use one cup of water for every cup of rice.  So 2 cups of rice + 2 cups of water should yield the 4 cups of cooked rice needed for this recipe.

slightly adapted from Kittencal's Best Chinese Fried Rice With Egg

3 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium) + more, to taste
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 green onions, chopped (optional)

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with water.  Melt the butter in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Pour in the eggs and leave flat for about 2 minutes or until cooked through; remove to a plate and chop. 

Heat the vegetable oil in the same skillet and add onion and peas and carrots; saute until onion is softened and peas and carrots are cooked through - about 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add rice.

Drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil evenly over rice mixture and stir or toss over heat for about 5 minutes; add more soy sauce, if needed, to taste.  Mix in pepper, chopped eggs, and green onions, if using.  Serve hot.