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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 9 Reader Favorites of 2015

It's been a yummy year! Not all of these recipes were new to our blog in 2015, but most of them were.  Thanks for reading and cooking along with us. Your comments on the blog and our social media sites are fun for us to receive.  

We look forward to a New Year and some new yummy recipes coming your way!  

Starting from the top and moving from left to right here are this years favorite recipes based on the most viewed each month.  

1. German Pancakes - Lu's Family's New Year's Day breakfast tradition.
2. Baked Breakfast Taquitos - These went crazy all throughout the year - we love them as much as you do.
3. Double Chocolate Brownies - I'm glad that some chocolate was included in the favorites this year.
4. Spicy Hawaiian Pizza - mmmm, one of my top 3 favorite pizza combos. 
5. Ham & Potato Blender Quiche - so yummy and easy - no crust rolling for this one. And it's perfect for using up leftover ham and potatoes
6. Lemon Shortbread Cookies - these also went crazy throughout the year, with lots of page views coming in mostly in the spring and Christmas season. 
7. Carmel Apple Cinnamon Rolls - from Oct 2014 - these are still a fall favorite for all!
8. Creamy Balsamic Parmesan Dressing -  a real favorite in the summer time, especially over this pasta salad.
9. Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - I posted these back in June 2014 - they continue to rage in the page views.  These bad boys are so soft and tender, they melt in your mouth. We left them out for Santa this year.  Santa was feeling pretty lucky!

After reviewing all those recipes, I'm ready to eat again!  

Happy New Year! Thanks for supporting us on our recipe sharing adventure! 

Leesh & Lu

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mini Hashbrown, Bacon and Veggie Breakfast Casseroles

I've hosted two baby showers in the last few months and wanted to do some kind of breakfasty/brunch for the main dish.  Both times I mini egg cups, one was more quiche like and this one was more breakfast casserole like. It was hearty and filling and full of veggies I love. You can definitely cater each cup to have whatever veggies you and or your family members or guests might enjoy.  I love how adaptable they are.  

One of the best things is that you can easily make them ahead of time and then reheat in the oven or crockpot (or microwave if you want a quick breakfast) and serve them when you are ready.  That's what I did, so I wasn't making a mess in the kitchen the morning of my baby showers.  The heated up lovely and tasted just as fresh as the night before when I had baked them. 

Weather you want to serve these for breakfast, brunch, or brinner, they are sure to please!  Enjoy!

Mini Hashbrown, Bacon & Veggie Breakfast Casseroles

Yield: 12 regular muffin sized casseroles

2 tablespoons butter
15 oz frozen shredded hashbrowns (½ a 30 oz bag)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced
⅓ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
⅓ cup green chile, chopped
½ cup cheese, grated (I used garlic herb white cheddar but monterey, pepper jack, or colby would also be good)
4-6 white button mushrooms, sliced and halved
8 eggs
⅓ cup of milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

You could really omit or add most any other veggie, meat or topping that sounds good to you in these, they are really adaptable. These are great to make ahead of time. When you want to serve simple place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and heat them in the oven at about 200 degrees for about 30 minutes - keep them in a crock pot to stay warm while you serve them.  

In a deep non-stick skillet melt butter; add hashbrowns and garlic salt and cook over medium heat until the hashbrowns are soft and they start to brown.  They taste better with a little browning.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray grease a regular sized muffin tin with 12 cups.  When hashbrowns are done, fill each cup about ⅓ way full with hashbrowns.   Sprinkle the toppings on top of each hashbrown cup. I prefer this order bacon, green onion, roasted red peppers, green chile, cheese, and mushrooms. MIx eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl until incorporated, divide the mixture amongst the 12 cups evenly, leaving about ¼ inch empty at the top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked. I test with a toothpick or chopstick.  Serve warm (see notes above for making ahead and reheating).

Recipe Source:

Adapted from this recipe and this recipe. Originally posted on

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing each of you a very merry Christmas! Sadly, we aren't spending Christmas together as sisters this year.  We hope Christmas finds each of you surrounded by those you love (and good food!), taking part in rich traditions, and and rejoicing in the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

We got dumped on here in Utah this last week and we have been loving it!  I love the way that snow makes everything seem more hushed and quiet.  My kids have practically been living outside this week and having so much fun in the snow.

This is pretty much my idea of a perfect meal after playing in the snow all day.  Warm, hearty, and creamy (without the cream!).  I like to consider it healthified Cheesy Broccoli Soup.  The potatoes help make it heartier and the chicken adds some protein to round out the meal.  If you're like me and love your carbs, add some rolls or breadsticks and it's pretty much perfection in a bowl.

Cheesy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Servings: 5
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, in bite sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese sharp cheddar or colby jack are our favorites here
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed rotisserie chicken works great here!
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and saute for 2 minutes. Add potatoes, broccoli, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer until veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on how soft you like them. Add in cooked chicken, if desired
  2. While veggies are simmering, in a medium-sized saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. While stirring, gradually add milk. Allow it to come to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir the cheesy roux into your simmering veggies. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Originally posted on

Monday, December 21, 2015

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

These rolls have quickly skyrocketed to the top of my favorite rolls list.  I love rolls (all carbs really!) and feel like you really can't have too many good roll recipes.  These particular ones are my current favorite dinner roll.  

The cooked oatmeal in the dough is unlike any other roll I've made before.  It did something magical though.  It made these rolls so soft and chewy.  And guess what? They stayed soft and moist for 4 days! Most rolls I only eat the day they are baked.  Sometimes the next day, too.  But usually by day 3 they are too dry for my liking.

They are nice and fluffy like a dinner roll should be, but the oatmeal (and whole wheat flour if you choose to use it) give this roll a bit heartier texture.  The brown sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness.  Slathered with butter = HEAVEN! 

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (or active dry)
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 3/4 to 5 ¼ cups All Purpose Flour
  1. In a medium size sauce pan bring water to a boil. Once it's boiling dump in the cup of oats and the butter or oil. Cook and stir for one minute. You don't want it to cook longer or the oats get tacky as they lose the water. Remove them from the heat, stirring often so they cool quicker, cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the cooled oats, sugars, salt and 3 1/2 cups of the flour; mix until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. If using an electric mixer add flour a bit at a time until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead by hand on a floured surface or in the mixer for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, rolling the dough over to coat both sides with grease, and cover with plastic wrap. Let is rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch the dough down and on a clean and lightly greased counter top divide the dough into 24 even sized pieces (this makes the perfect dinner roll size). Shape into balls. Place the dough balls on a greased 11x17 rimmed baking sheet, cover and let them rise til doubled 30-45 minutes.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once baked remove from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes
Adapted from this recipe from Taste of Home.

Originally Posted on

Friday, December 18, 2015

Traditional Wassail {the one and only receipe you need}

Wassail reminds me of Christmas a lot. My mom used to make wassail for us as kids around the holidays. The warm drink smells so good and reminds me of home, warmth, family and Christmas time.  The smell of apple cider, cranberry juice, and spices simmering in a pot (or crock pot) is like pure heaven. No candles or real tree needed to fill the house with amazing aromas. 

When my husband and I were dating and engaged we started attending the same church (ward) and come to find out, a hysterical man (Mike) that I knew from a mutual friend was one of the counselors in our bishopric.  He was good friends with my husband and his brother, Russell.  Over the course of conversation that winter we found out he had a marvelous wassail recipe.  My husband recalls his brother, Russell making Mike's recipe, and enjoying it thoroughly.  So we were after the recipe.

Last year I emailed Mike to get his recipe.  He sent it to me in the mail along with this intriguing story about where "wassail" comes from.  This history makes that wassail even more enjoyable to make!

Here is what Mike wrote to us: 
"The word "wassail" presumably comes from an Old English custom known as "wassailing", which was celebrated the night before the winter solstice (Dec 21, in the northern hemisphere). On that darkest night of all the year, the villagers ventured forth into the orchards and fields to toast to the good health of the trees, crops and each other. Of course, to really get into wassailing and wander around in the frigid darkness risking attach by vampires, werewolves or Jack the Ripper, which were known to inhabit the English countryside in those ancient days, it would help to have had several tankards of wassail. Back then the drink was made of liberal doses of ale, cream, eggs, pieces of apple, berries and...who knows what else. One thing is certain: the drink would not have included any citrus juice as many trashy, cheap, modern-day imitation recipes for "wassail" insist upon. Orange and lemon trees have never done well in Britain's fog, rain and cold temperatures. So with that short bit of dubious gastronomical history, let me proceed with the only true wassail recipe that has been personally approved by His Eminence, The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Lord Archbishop of Canterbury."

I have to say that this explanation makes this wassail the only legitimate one I could possibly lay my hands on.  Aren't you convinced this is the real deal?   After enjoying several mug fulls of this last winter, I'm convinced this is the only warm holiday drink that needs to be made.  It trumps hot cocoa and peppermint tea, no doubt!  

Thanks for the great history and wonderful recipe, Mike!  
Also, in case you are like my and don't drink alcohol and might now where to find this mixer.  Here is a picture of it. See the recipe notes as to where to find it in the store.


Without further adieu, here is the beloved recipe: 



2 quarts apple cider (best variety possible (not apple juice)).
1 pint cranberry juice cocktail
½ to ¾ cup sugar (pick your sweetness)
1 teaspoon Angostura brand aromatic bitters
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1-2 oranges, rind and pith cut off (all the white pith needs to be removed so you don’t have a bitter tasting wassail)
Cheesecloth, clean nylon or a tea ball


- for the apple cider: if you can find a variety from a nearby orchard, that would be best, if not Simply Apple juice brand works well.  
- Angostura brand aromatic bitters - this is a flavoring like peppermint or vanilla, it can be found in the grocery store near the mixers such as Bloody Mary mix, etc.  A small bottle will last a long time and it is really essential to the taste of the wassail.
-If you want it alcoholic I’ve been told that 1 cup of Myers Dark Rum goes well mixed in with everything.

Combine apple cider, cranberry juice cocktail, sugar, and aromatic bitters in a pot or slow cooker.  Place whole spices in a piece of cheesecloth, clean nylon, or teaball with the ends secured up so you don’t have to strain them out when it’s done.  Place the peeled (and pith free) oranges in the pot/slow cooker and simmer for at least 2 hours (do not boil). Turn crockpot to high.  Once it’s simmered or cooked in a crock pot for 2 hours turn the heat to low to keep it warm and enjoy the drink all day. Store any cooled leftovers in the fridge and reheat to serve again the next day.

Recipe Source:

From a good family friend, Mike Stauffer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Honey Chicken & Veggie Stir-Fry

We're down to single digit days on our Christmas countdown.  For me that means lots of last minute errands, gift wrapping, and not tons of extra time to spend in the kitchen.  Lu shared this recipe with me and we had this for dinner last night.  It was so yummy!  I told my kids it was Christmas stir-fry and they ate it right up.  The best part is that is was on the table in under 30 minutes.  Also, it was pretty much a one pan meal...well, one pan + a rice cooker--but still pretty minimal in the dirty dishes department.  

We're sharing the recipe over at Or So She Says today.  Head here to get the handy dandy printable and give it a try.  Also, bonus points if you can find Lu in the picture below:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mini No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

Looking the the perfect holiday dessert?  These are cool, creamy, and dreamy.  They scream Christmas to me.  

They are quick and easy to put together and can be made ahead of time, yet are sophisticated enough to serve to dinner guests.  The huge bonus: you don't even need to turn your oven on! Chocolate and peppermint is a match made in heaven and these are sure to be devoured by kids and adults alike.

The warm peppermint-spiked ganache is what really puts these over the top.   Try them at your next holiday get-together.  You won't be disappointed! 

No-Bake Mini Peppermint Cheesecakes


1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ pint whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks form
1 cup powdered sugar
4-5 drops peppermint oil or 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

For the Crust:
1 ½ cups crushed chocolate cookies--oreos, teddy grahams, chocolate animal crackers
1/4 cup sugar (If using oreos, cut the sugar to 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup butter, melted

For the Ganache:
⅔ cup whipping cream
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon peppermint extract, or 2 drop peppermint oil (optional)


Line a 12 cup muffin tin.  Set aside.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine whipped cream, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add peppermint oil or extract.  

In a separate bowl, combine crushed chocolate cookies, sugar, and melted butter.  Mix until incorporated.  Spoon cookie mixture evenly into the bottom of the liners.  Use a small cup to pack the mixture in.  

Spoon cheesecake mixture over packed crust.  Spread and smooth to remove air bubbles.  Freeze at least 2 hours.  If freezing longer, cover with foil.  

Allow cheesecakes to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.  While cheesecakes are thawing, make the ganache.  In a small saucepan over low heat, heat whipping cream until just boiling.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth and melted.

To serve, remove cheesecakes from liners while they are still frozen.  Top with ganache and crushed candy canes, if desired.


It really doesn’t matter if you put the crust or the cheesecake mixture in the liner first.  Putting the crust in first makes it easier to pack, but putting the cheesecake first makes it easier to invert and serve.  

These are also delicious served with York Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Sundae Syrup in place of ganache.

Monday, December 7, 2015

French Bread Pizza

 Hey friends, we are still alive, we've just really been enjoying family and the holidays, sorry for being MIA for so long. Today I want to share a fun family involved recipe. It's easy, quick to make, and the whole family can be involved! 

So I shared this recipe on Real Imprints a few months ago. They were looking for recipes that involve the family and I was happy to share this one.  I love their mission and theme. There is lots to be found on their website to help inspire and lift others.  It's such a neat place to visit! 

I hope that the recipe I'm sharing today will help you to draw closer to the ones you love. After my son passed away (you can read more about him here and here), I realized even more how extremely important family is.  I want to cherish my moments with my family as much as I can.  Leesh and I love to let our kids be included in our recipe making adventures.  It's a fun way to learn and grow together.  What do you do to be close?

So this recipe for French Bread Pizza is a simple meal the whole family will enjoy.    My mom used to make this for us when we were kids and I always loved it.  I've learned a few tricks that have helped the pizza be even better too (e.g., no soggy bread for the crust). So follow the instructions, involve your kids as much as possible and enjoy! I hope you have a fun time making it and that you will really enjoy it! 

French Bread Pizza


1 loaf french bread, sliced in half lengthwise (like a sub sandwich)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic salt, for sprinkling
½-⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated.
1-2 cups pizza sauce, depending on how saucy you like it
1-2 cups Mozzarella/Colby jack cheese blend, depending on how cheesy you like it
Pizza toppings of choice (we used pepperoni, olives, green chile and roasted red pepper)


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the loaf of french bread in half lengthwise the way you would a sub sandwich) and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Press the bread down on the cut side with your finger tips to kind of compress the bread. This helps it not be soggy.  Lightly brush each open face of bread with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese. Try to get good coverage of the Parmesan cheese, this will help create a barrier between the bread and sauce so you don’t get the soggy crusted pizza. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden (including the Parmesan cheese, it will be slightly hard to the touch). Don’t burn the cheese though. Remove from the oven.

Spread sauce over each half and sprinkle with ½-1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Top with your desired pizza toppings.  And if you’d like a little extra cheese on top add 2-3 tablespoons.  

Bake for 6-10 minutes or until the cheese is starting to bubble and brown slightly and the edges of the bread are turning a nice deep golden brown. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoy!

Recipe Source:

Originally posted on Real Imprints. Recipe inspired by our mom, and a few extra tips from Mel