Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

Prepare yourself for a restaurant quality bread side you’ll want to eat again and again! This version is semi-homemade because I used store-bought yeast rolls, but you can easily make rolls from my Homemade White Bread recipe for a completely homemade treat!

Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

I prefer Kroger brand yeast rolls, but any yeast roll will do. If you are making rolls from scratch, omit this first step. Set 16 rolls out at room temperature until they have thawed. Once thawed, cut each roll in half.

Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread #1

Melt your butter. Stir the Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, parsley, garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning together with the butter. Toss the rolls in the mixture and pour into a greased, round cake pan. Let rise until doubled in size (about an hour depending on your kitchen temperature).

Top the rolls with the remaining mozzarella cheese before baking. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve by itself or with my Homemade Marinara Sauce for dipping!

Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread #5

Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 16 Frozen Yeast Rolls
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. Parsley Flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Directions

  1. Thaw the yeast rolls.
  2. Cut yeast rolls in half.
  3. Melt the butter.
  4. Combine the butter, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, parsley, garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning in a bowl.
  5. Toss rolls in butter mixture.
  6. Pour roll mixture into well-greased, round cake pan.
  7. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size. Approximately 1 hour depending on kitchen temperature.
  8. Top rolls with remaining mozzarella cheese just prior to baking.
  9. Bake rolls at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

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Freezer Friendly Chicken Parmesan

My husband tends to pick the more expensive options for lunches. A very popular freezer meal brand charges $2.50 for one portion of chicken and a whole lot of pasta in the Chicken Parmesan meal. That’s HALF the tasty part for $2.50. You’ll be delighted to know that these 2 chicken fillet portions will only cost you $1.75 each! I know I was!

Chicken Parmesan (Freezer Friendly)

I hadn’t ever fried anything before making this, but after a few batches I feel like an old pro. First, I prefer canola oil for two reasons. It doesn’t affect the flavor of the breading and it has a higher flame point than olive oil. The flame point is the temperature at which the oil will catch fire, and because I’m a big old chicken… I prefer a higher flame point.

The first thing to do is prepare your chicken. After playing around with it, two smaller portions of chicken reheat much better than one large portion. If you are serving immediately this obviously is a mute point. Cut up all of your chicken.

Chicken Parmesan #1

Then I set up my assembly line of chicken, seasoned flour, egg wash, bread crumbs and a plate for the breaded chicken.  Each piece of chicken gets dredged in all three dipping stations. Flour first, then the egg wash and finally a heavy coat of bread crumbs.

Repeat this process until all of the chicken fillets have been breaded. You’ll want to fully attend to them once they are in the frying pan, and you don’t want to leave the hot oil unattended.

Chicken Parmesan #5

Now you want to prepare your frying pan. You only need about 1 cup of oil, potentially a little more if you have a really large frying pan. Keep in mind it only needs to cover one side of the chicken. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until the oil starts to become wavy. Once the oil is ready, cook the fillets for about 1 minute on each side. You want the breading golden brown but not burnt.

After both sides are golden brown place the fillets on a broiler pan. (I jerry-rig my own with a cooling rack on a foil-lined sheet pan.) Top each fillet with a generous amount of my Homemade Marinara Sauce, then grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Then you bake them for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Make sure the chicken is cooked through and your cheese is completely melted. Then label and package in freezer safe containers (these are my favorite). When my husband takes these to work he always stores them in the fridge until lunch time, and then microwaves them for 3 minutes until heated through.

Freezer Friendly Chicken Parmesan

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour, salt & peppered
  • 4 Eggs + 2 Tbsp. Water, Beaten
  • 2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1-2 Cups Canola Oil
  • Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breasts into fillets.
  2. Mix flour, salt & pepper.
  3. Make egg wash with eggs and water.
  4. Form an assembly line with seasoned flour, egg wash and bread crumbs.
  5. Dredge chicken in flour. Tap off excess.
  6. Dredge chicken in egg wash. Let excess drip off.
  7. Dredge chicken in bread crumbs. Don’t be stingy!
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until all fillets are breaded.
  9. Heat canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until oil is wavy.
  10. Fry each fillet for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown.
  11. Place fried fillets on a broiler pan.
  12. Top with a generous portion of my Homemade Marinara Sauce.
  13. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  14. Bake chicken fillets at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, ensuring chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.


To reheat from frozen: Allow to thaw in the fridge from morning to lunch. Reheat in the microwave for 3 minutes or until heated through.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

I love sauce, especially red sauces. While this will always be my favorite, this marinara sauce has quickly become a must-have staple in my freezer. Its perfect for spaghetti, dipping bread or topping Freezer Friendly Chicken Parmesan. I served it over Christmas with my Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread, and I think the bread may have become a delivery system. There was no marinara left behind!

Homemade Marinara Sauce

As far as sauces go, this one is pretty quick and fool proof. The most time consuming part is letting the sauce simmer to develop the flavors.

Start by heating the olive oil on low-medium heat. The oil is ready when it looks wavy. Saute the garlic and onion until they are translucent, pictured below.

Marinara Sauce #1

I like to go ahead and open the can of tomatoes and measure out the spices while the garlic and onion are sauteing. Once they are ready, you risk them burning if you wait to add liquid.

Marinara Sauce #2

Pour in the tomatoes and spices, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes. By now the flavors have developed, you can adjust salt and pepper to taste. The marinara sauce is very chunky at this point. To smooth it out either use an immersion blender (like this immersion blender I got for Christmas which is so much easier to use than a conventional blender and reduces clean up) or dump the whole pot of sauce into a blender and pulse until desired consistency.

Marinara Sauce #3

Use immediately or store in freezer safe containers to use for up to 3 months.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 2 Cans Crushed Tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil on low-medium heat until wavy.
  2. Saute garlic and onion.
  3. Add in tomatoes and spices. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
  4. Use immersion blender or conventional blender to smooth sauce to desired consistency.

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

 

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties are a refreshing treat. Even though they are packed full of sugar the sweetness is cut by the peppermint flavor which pairs perfectly with chocolate. I get asked every Christmas if I’ll be making them. They are a crowd favorite!

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by candy-making especially since this is about as straightforward as you can get. I’ll walk you through it as always!

peppermint-patties-1.jpg

First, let’s make the filling by combining the shortening, corn syrup and powdered sugar. Knead the ingredients together before adding in the peppermint oil to taste. Shape the filling into patties just slightly larger than a quarter. Freeze the patties before dipping.

Before removing the patties from the freezer, melt your chocolate according to package instructions. (You can buy the chocolate melts on sale for next to nothing at your local craft store. The link is to help you know what to buy.) Then dip your frozen patties into the chocolate with a fork. As shown above, tap off excess chocolate by tapping the fork on the side of the bowl. Place the dipped patties on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze or refrigerate until chocolate is set.

Peppermint Patty Graphic.png

Once the chocolate is set, package your peppermint patties for the perfect gift! Happy candy making!

Peppermint Patties

  • Servings: 4 Dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/3 C. Shortening
  • 1/3 C. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 lb. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 lb. Milk or Dark Chocolate Melts
  • 1 Bottle Peppermint Oil Flavoring

Directions

  1. Combine shortening, corn syrup and powdered sugar together in a bowl. Knead together until well combined. (If the mixture appears too thick, add a little corn syrup. If the mixture seems too thin, add some powdered sugar.)
  2. Once filling is well combined, start adding in the peppermint oil until you have reached the desired flavor.
  3. Roll small balls of filling and flatten into a patty.
  4. Put patties on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  5. Melt your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl according to package instructions. Stir frequently.
  6. Using a fork, dip frozen patties into melted chocolate. Rest patty on fork and tap fork on side of bowl to knock off excess chocolate.
  7. Place dipped patties on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Freeze or refrigerate patties until chocolate is set to increase sheen of chocolate.

Storage: Once the chocolate is set the peppermint patties keep at room temperature.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

Coconut Oil Eye Cream

This DIY version of an anti-wrinkle cream was one of the first things I made with coconut oil, years ago. My mom was complaining about how expensive tiny bottles of anti-wrinkle eye cream was, and I had recently read about the benefits of coconut oil on wrinkles and stretch marks.

Eye Cream Graphic

Most drugstore wrinkle creams have Vitamin E in them, which made it an obvious addition. That’s it! Coconut oil & Vitamin E make an excellent anti-wrinkle cream both safe and gentle enough to use on your whole face, including around your eyes.

Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a double-boiler. Once the coconut oil is completely melted, remove it from the heat. Stir in 10 drops of Vitamin E Oil. Pour into a jar and allow to cool before using. Use once or twice a day.

For quality ingredients see My Favorite Ingredients.

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

 

Homemade Chest Balm

As the temperatures drop, I’ve started looking forward to hot cocoa, wonderful treats and dazzling Christmas lights. Unfortunately, all those wonderful things mean cold and flu season aren’t far off. They’ve already started giving flu shots out at the hospital… I have a talent for getting at least one chest cold every year which sometimes turns into bronchitis. When at all possible, I treat my colds naturally. A good chest balm is a must for soothing a cough at night. Think of this as all natural vapor rub.

Young Living’s Breathe Again essential oil blend is the magic ingredient in this chest balm. The blend contains peppermint, myrtle, copaiba and four types of eucalyptus to open airways. If you are interested in more information on Young Living Oils click here.

Chest Balm Graphic

To make your chest balm simply combine the coconut oil and beeswax in a double-boiler until completely melted and combined. Remove from heat. Stir in essential oil and pour into a small glass jar. Let cool at room temperature until set.

 

Rub onto chest and neck to soothe coughs, sore throat and stuffiness. For an extra boost apply to chest before a steamy shower.

Organic Chest Balm

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C. Organic Coconut Oil 
  • 2 t. Organic Beeswax Pellets
  • 20 drop Breathe Again Essential Oil

Directions

Combine coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler until fully melted. Remove from heat and add essential oil. Pour into jar. Let sit until set.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

Autumn Stovetop Potpourri 

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the smell of cinnamon apple wafting through my house. I only have one brand of scented candle that I use because candles, air fresheners and plug-ins are packed full of chemicals. (My guilty pleasure is Vanilla Bean by Woodwick – seriously, they crackle like a fireplace and smell amazing… However, they are expensive and even they have a bunch of chemicals; I burn them sparingly and typically only for special occasions.) I love my house to smell “pretty” or reflect the season, but the majority of chemically produced scents give me migraines. Ain’t no scent worth a migraine. With a little creativity and my trusty essential oils I’ve been able to start enjoying  those “pretty” smells!

Autumn Stovetop Potpourri Graphic

This stovetop potpourri will leave your house smelling like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day baking pies. Simply toss all of the ingredients in a pot with some water and stir. Simmer as long as you like, adding water as needed.

Autumn Stovetop Potpourri #2

Autumn Stovetop Potpourri

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • Water
  • 1 Packet Apple Cider Mix
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/4 t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. Ground Ginger
  • Orange Peel (optional)

Directions

Stir ingredients together in a medium pot. Simmer on low-medium heat for as long as you like, adding water as needed.

Lasagna Roll-Ups

Italian food is no stranger to our dinner table. We could contently eat Italian every day for a week and sometimes we do! I grew up on this lasagna recipe, and I use this sauce in multiple dishes! 😛 Lasagna roll-ups are already portioned, easy to serve and deliciously fun to eat.

Lasagna Roll-Ups Graphic.png

The first step is to brown your ground beef and drain it. Then combine the ground beef, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices in a large skillet. (I recommend using a skillet because you want the sauce to heat through evenly.) On low heat, simmer sauce for 45 minutes to an hour.

IMG_2418

This is a double-batch. Did I mention I LOVE this sauce?

After about 30 minutes, cook your lasagna noodles according to package instructions and drain. While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the ricotta cheese and eggs, set aside. Set up a mini-assembly line for preparing your roll-ups. Lay the noodles out, spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture on all of them and then spread a layer of sauce. Loosely roll each noodle away from you and place in dish (I put them in foil pans for freezer meals).

Top the roll-ups with more sauce and finally, cheese!

Bake for 1 hour and serve with homemade garlic toast. This is an excellent dish to freeze for a busy night, or freeze and deliver to someone with a new baby or recovering from surgery. I hope you enjoy every bite as much as I do!

Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 12 oz. can Tomato Paste
  • 1 T. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1/2 t. Oregano
  • 1/2 t. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 t. Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 t. Garlic Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf (remove after simmering)
  • 1 lb. Lasagna Noodles
  • 15 oz. Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 2 Eggs
  • 16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

  1. Brown and drain ground beef.
  2. In a large skillet, combine ground beef, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Stir together.
  3. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package instructions and drain.
  5. Whisk together ricotta cheese and eggs in a medium bowl.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Lay out noodles.
  8. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture over the noodles.
  9. Add a layer of sauce over top of ricotta mixture.
  10. Loosely roll each noodle away from you and place in a casserole dish.
  11. Bake for 1 hour.

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

Coca-Cola Cake

A Southern classic if ever there was one! I wasn’t lucky enough to try Coca-Cola Cake until I was out of college. A co-worker brought some into work and changed my life forever. What with the stress of impending surgery, I started craving this lovely take on chocolate cake. Luckily I found a recipe pretty quickly, and we had all the ingredients in the pantry. 😛 Yum!

Coca-Cola cake is a super simple, light and fluffy chocolate cake topped with a chocolate glaze, a.k.a. the “wow factor.” The hot glaze is poured over this hot cake and it works its way through the cake. Now I’m going to have to go make this, I’m making myself hungry!

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ground cinnamon and sugar, set aside. (Sifting is very important to achieving a smooth-textured cake.) In a medium-sized saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, Coca-Cola and buttermilk. On high heat, bring these ingredients to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over dry ingredients and whisk together. Then whisk in egg and vanilla. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Boil together butter, cocoa powder and Coca-Cola. Sift in powdered sugar and pour over cake immediately after removing from the oven. (Make sure to sift in powdered sugar to achieve a smooth glaze.)

For best results, let the glaze start to harden before slicing and enjoying.

Coca-Cola Cake

  • Servings: Approximately 16
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

Cake:
– 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
– 2 C. Sugar
– ½ t. Salt
– 1 t. Baking Soda
– ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
– 1 C. Butter
– ¼ C. Cocoa Powder
– 1 C. Coca-Cola
– ½ C. Buttermilk
– 2 Eggs
– 1 t. Vanilla Extract
Glaze:
– ½ C. Butter
– ¼ C. Cocoa Powder
– ½ C. Coca-Cola
– 4 C. Powdered Sugar, sifted
 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ground cinnamon and sugar, set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, Coca-Cola and buttermilk.
  4. On high heat, bring ingredients to a boil.
  5. Pour boiling mixture over dry ingredients and whisk together.
  6. Then whisk in egg and vanilla.
  7. Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Prepare glaze while cake is baking.
  10. In a small saucepan, boil together butter, cocoa powder and Coca-Cola.
  11. Remove from heat and sift in powdered sugar.
  12. Pour glaze over cake immediately after removing from oven.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These cookies remind me of childhood. In fact, I still enjoy smearing around the melted chocolate kisses. 😉 I’ve used this recipe with delicious results every time. This recipe is nearly foolproof, and I’m ready to share this recipe with you.

*See directions at the bottom of the page on how to freeze cookie dough.*

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk (Baker’s tip: using a whisk to blend dry ingredients together will yield almost exactly the same results as sifting the ingredients together with half the effort). Using the beater attachment on your stand mixer, cream together softened butter and peanut butter. Beat in sugars, egg and vanilla extract until mixture is light and fluffy.

Peanut Butter Blossoms #1

The butter and peanut butter beat together.

Peanut Butter Blossoms #3

All wet ingredients beat until light and fluffy, it should have a slight sheen.

With your mixer on stir slowly add in dry ingredients, approximately 1/3 at a time. Mix until JUST combined.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll through granulated sugar and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Blossoms #5

The cookies are baked once they start cracking and light golden brown on the edges.

Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, top with Hershey’s Kisses or Dove Milk Chocolate Hearts – especially cute for Valentine’s Day!

Peanut Butter Blossoms #7

Best enjoyed warm. Five seconds in the microwave makes them taste like they just came out of the oven.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough: Prepare cookie dough as usual, roll dough into balls and coat in granulated sugar. Place dough balls on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight. Place dough balls in a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer. Bake homemade cookies in minutes whenever you want them. Follow the same baking instructions.

 

Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • Servings: 2.5 Dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ½ C. Butter, softened
  • 1/3 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
  • ½ C. White Sugar
  • ½ C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract
You will need some extra white sugar to roll the dough in, and Hershey’s Kisses to top the cookies.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  3. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream together softened butter and peanut butter.
  4. Beat in sugars, egg and vanilla extract until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. With your stand mixer on stir, slowly add in dry ingredients roughly 1/3 at a time.
  6. Mix until ingredients are just combined.
  7. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.
  8. Roll dough balls through sugar to coat all sides.
  9. Arrange on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  11. Top with Hershey’s Kisses immediately after removing from the oven.

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.