C 9

Carmelitas – Yum. Yum. Yum.

These are really, really, really, truly good. Caramel and chocolate are two of my favorite things, and together they are AWESOME. And with an oatmeal cookie-like top and bottom – who can beat that? I mean, really.

I found this one from Lulu the Baker. You actually should read this post from her too – it’s pretty funny. She is a bit obsessed with them, which – when you have tried them – is totally understandable. :)

Ingredients: (this is for an 8×8 recipe – for a 9×13 recipe, just double it)

32 caramel squares, unwrapped (many hands makes light work – bribe your roommates, spouse or children to help)

1/2 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. butter, melted

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 c. flour

1 c. rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

6 oz. (1/2 bag) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine caramels and cream and melt over low heat. You’ll want to keep an eye on this and stir until the caramels melt and it is completely smooth. This takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R, so start on Step 2 while you are doing this.

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and baking soda. Pat half of this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan (whatever it takes to cover the bottom with no gaps). Bake for 10 min. Snack on some of the remaining oatmeal cookie dough while you have nothing else to do (yuuuuuummmmmmm – egg free is the way to be).

Step 3: Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Pour your caramel mixture over the chocolate chips (after the mixture is all melted and smooth).

Step 4: Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel and return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.


These are good enough that even the edge pieces, which are not usually my favorite, are SOOO good because of the cooked caramel.

Enjoy!! :)

PPP 2

Pasta Tuna Salad – “Pasta Puna Pasta”

This is a big favorite in our family that I found from my friend Michelle @ Made By Michelle. It is perfect for the warmer weather that we have been having here, and is great for summer. Our kids love it enough that they have renamed it to “Pasta Puna Pasta”, and they do a little happy dance when they find out we are having it for dinner.

And yes, that is dill that you see there. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

 

Ingredients

1-1/2 c. pasta (shell, farfalle, whatever)

1 pkg. frozen peas, thawed (10 oz.)

1-1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/4 c. onion, finely diced

2/3 c. mayo

2 T. lemon juice

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dill weed

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 can tuna (or we will use 2 cans for dinner)

 

Cook pasta; drain well and set aside to cool (or run cold water over it to cool it down faster). Combine pasta, peas, carrots, onion and tuna in a large bowl and mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together (mayo, lemon juice, sugar, dill weed, salt, pepper) and mix well. Pour mayo mixture over pasta mixture and toss lightly to combine.

That is it! It is very easy, and INCREDIBLY yummy. I will probably consider doubling the recipe the next time we make it because we go through it so quickly and wish there was more.

Thanks Michelle! And don’t forget to check out her blog – she is very talented, and makes a lot of cool stuff to sell. You can see her ad on the sidebar as well to get an idea of what she can do, or just go check her site out.

MC 4

Easy Manicotti

This recipe is easy, delicious and another family winner dinner. It is always nice to have an easy weeknight dinner, and this qualifies. I found it in the Kraft Magazine a few years ago, back when they used to send them out for free. Those were good days. You can still find the recipe online here – along with their other recipes. This recipe introduced me to the joys of pesto – yummmmmm.

Ingredients

12 cooked manicotti shells, rinsed in cold water

2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided

1-3/4 c. Ricotta cheese

1-1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. pesto

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you haven’t done it yet, cook your manicotti shells according to the directions on the box. Rinse in cold water. Set aside.

Step 2: Line the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan with foil. Spread 3/4 c. spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Step 3: Mix cheeses, egg and pesto in a bowl. Move your mixture into a resealable bag. Clip one of the corners of the bag off. Our favorite pesto is Classico’s Traditional Basil Pesto. I’m sure any pesto would be great, though.

Step 4: Fill your manicotti shells by squeezing some of the cheese mixture into EACH side of the manicotti shells. Place the shells in a baking dish and cover with the remaining spaghetti sauce. Cover. If some of your shells have split open in the cooking process, just lay them in your dish, squeeze some of the cheese mixture into the shell, fold it closed, and pretend like everything is okay. :)

Step 5: Bake for 40 min. or until heated through.

There ya go! Sorry for the ugly picture….I think we had some ravenous children so I took one quickly and served them up. At any rate, this is very tasty, and actually, kind of fun to do. I normally end up with 8-9 filled manicotti shells – I think I am a little extra generous with my cheese filling. If you want more filled shells at the end, just watch how much you fill – you won’t want to stuff them completely.

Enjoy!! :)

The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys

If you haven’t heard these guys – I promise that listening to them will make your weekend. If you have heard them play, go and enjoy them again. They are so, so good.

John Schmidt (piano) and Steven Sharp Nelson (cello) have teamed up to create The Piano Guys. They take popular songs and put an amazing classical twist on them, or will take classical songs and put an amazing modern twist on them.

I am a little bit obsessed with them right now. To the point that I have had to limit my “Piano Guys” intake. But I still wanted to share their awesomeness with all of you.

 

These are a few of our family’s favorites:

A Thousand Years (Christina Perri) – this is their newest one and is beautiful

 

Peponi (from Coldplay’s “Paradise”) – my 2-year old says this one is her “favite” (favorite) – mine too.

 

Happy Together (we have watched this probably 20 times – it still hasn’t gotten old):

 

Bourne Vivaldi – they are on a TRAIN for part of it

 

You can go to their You Tube channel and watch/listen to all of their videos by clicking here.

John and Steve, thank you so much! Your music is incredible.

CDB 5

Cookie Dough Brownies. Yum.

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CDB 5

 

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