Thursday, July 22, 2010

Deconstructed Lasagna

So I wanted to share with you a quick dinner idea I got from Rachel Ray's was the February 2009 edition...I like to keep my magazines for new inspirations! I tried this one out the other night and my family loved it and it fed a lot of bodies...hope you enjoy, the picture is from the magazine because mine was eaten up too fast...

By: Rachael Ray
4 Servings
Prep 20 min

Salt and pepper
1 pound long fusilli or mafalda pasta ~I used bow-tie
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1 small carrot, grated or finely chopped -didn't have on hand, but a great way to get in your veggies!
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 cup beef broth~didn't have on hand, turned out fine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes ~Used diced because that is all I had...worked great!
A few leaves of basil, torn~Used the ones in my spice rack...
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (a couple of generous handfuls), plus more to pass around the table

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
2.While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the beef, crumbling it into bits, and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the beef broth, then the tomatoes and basil; simmer.
3.In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta and parsley.
4.Toss the pasta with the butter, then stir in the parmigiano-reggiano and meat sauce. Scoop the ricotta mixture into each of 4 shallow bowls, then top with the meaty pasta. Pass more parmigiano-reggiano around the table.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

The Famous Neiman Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe
I made these cookies for my cookie bar on the 4th of July and they were everyone's favorite! They were so yummy so I made them again! Enjoy...and here is some history on the recipe...apparantly it is not true, the story at least, but it always makes for a better cookie if there is a story behind it!
The Legend:
My daughter & I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie". {EDITORIAL COMMENT: Neiman's is a VERY EXPENSIVE department store in the United States a.k.a. Needless Markup}.
It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not." "Well", I said, would you let me buy the recipe?"

With a cute smile, she said, "Yes." I asked how much, and she responded, "only two fifty, it's a great deal!" I said with approval, "just add it to my tab."

Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe $250.00."

That's outrageous!! I called Neiman's Accounting Dept. and told them the waitress said it was "two-fifty," which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any *POSSIBLE* interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money, because according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe - we absolutely will not refund your money at this point."

I explained to her the criminal statutes which govern fraud in Texas, I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the State's Attorney General for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want, we don't give a crap, and we're not refunding your money."

I waited, thinking of how I could get even, or even try and get any of my money back. I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250.00 worth of fun."

I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus for free. She replied," I wish you wouldn't do this." I said, "Well, you should have thought of that before you ripped me off", and slammed down the phone on her. So, here it is!!!

Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 dollars for this... I don't want Neiman-Marcus to *EVER* get another penny off of this recipe....

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe
(Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**I did not add this
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)**This is the most time consuming part, but boy does it add another element to
                                               this cookie:
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)**Didn't add this part either

** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
Cream the butter and both sugars.

Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.

Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts.   
                                                                                                                                                              Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.-I baked at 8 mins, 10 seemed to make them too crispy!
Have fun!!! This is *NOT* a joke --- this is a true story..
Ride free, citizens!

Whether you believe it or not, it is a yummy cookie...enjoy!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Frozen Caramel-Toffee Ice-cream sandwhich dessert!!!

If you are throwing a party or just having some friend over for a summer BBQ or just hanging out, I suggest you make THIS for your dessert!!! This screams YUMMY!!!!! It's so easy and so quick, I just had to share from one ofmy favorite food sites...enjoy!!! This is SO yummy...did I mention that? You can also make it with Oreos if you are not a big toffee fan...I made this with oreos and crushed them up for the basketball team a couple years ago...the boys couldn't stop eating it!


1 deep-dish rectangular, throw-away foil pan (9×13)
24 store-bought frozen ice cream sandwiches
2 regular-sized tubs of Cool Whip
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce
bag of Heath bits
4 bars Heath or Skor candy bars, chopped

1. Spray pan with cooking spray. Layer 12 ice cream sandwiches side-by-side in bottom of pan.
2. Spread one tub of Cool Whip over the top of the sandwiches. Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrups over the top of the Cool Whip and then sprinkle with toffee bits. Place in the freezer for about an hour.

3. Layer 2nd level of 12 ice cream sandwiches on top of the toffee bits. Spread with 2nd tub of Cool Whip. Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrup over the Cool Whip. Sprinkle Skor/Heath bars over the top. Place in freezer for several hours until firm.
4. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and use sharp knife to cut into squares.
Yield: One GIANT dessert
Cooking Tips

*For an outdoor gathering, we found this was easiest to eat when cut into squares and served in cups. Place a bunch on a tray for simple serving.

**Warning! This recipe makes a LOT. It keeps well in the freezer for several days. Make it only when you have a large gathering planned, or cut the recipe in half.

***It is suggested that you use the pan indicated in the recipe since you need to have a pan that is deeper than normal. If you have a deep pan alternative, go ahead and try that one (you’ll need about 4 to 5 inches of depth to be safe).
Recipe Source: Adapted from San Diego Cooks Blog

Wednesday July 14th...something free at Panda Express

Thanks to The Frugal Find for letting us know that on July 14th you can stop by any participating Panda Express location for a FREE single serve entree of Thai Cashew Chicken Breast with this printable coupon. No purchase necessary! Enjoy and thanks Frugal Find for always sharing the good free stuff:)!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

American Girl Party

Over the 4th of July weekend, my friend (who made me my capes) asked for some assistance with her daughter's 6th birthday party and boy did we have fun planning and setting it all up! Her little Emma made me feel like a fairy god mother, using my powers to create a magical place for her friends! She just loved it! I made the labels for the cups and plates.  The table cloth was rented, but the fabric was purchased. Most everything we used I already had and the fabric was purchased by the hostess and the banner was made from Paper & Cake. You can see how I put this to use in two parties...great purchase.  The cupcakes weren't there yet when I was taking photos, but there was a small one for the dolls and a normal size one for the girls.  That is why you will see the smaller cake stands at each place setting.  The red bucket labeled crafts was purchased from Target.  And my friend made her pretzels and marshmallows, which turned out adorable!!! Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Super Hero/4th of July

My son is born on the 4th which always makes us have a BBQ with all of our friends and family.  One day he will not want any 4th of July themed party, but for now I can squeeze it in.  He did insist on some sort of Super Hero thrown in the mix of patriotism, so I answered the call. 
This year's party was first inspired by Jessica Levitt over at Juicy Bits. When I first saw her Valentine's Cookie Bar I had to copy!  I saved it in my Favorites and began my journey.  All the labels I made for the Cookie Bar and around the party. All the Super Hero figures though came from TomKatStudio.  She doesn't sell this pattern anymore, but I was lucky to order back when it was still available. Thank you Tom Kat!!! The Super Heroes were a HIT!!! On the invite and around the party.  I took the super hero figures and blew them up and had a friend paint them...thank you Lauren!!!  I propped up the Super Heroes on a dowel and stuck them in buckets which I had glued foam in.  The favors were capes of course and those were made by Khrysten Kent Designs.  The kids LOVED wearing those around the party.  Thank you Khrysten...those were amazing!!!  All the cookies were made by me except for the Chocolate Rolos...thanks Michelle for making those!!!! They were delicious!!!  And the Oreos and Mother Oatmeals were obviously purchased:)...The blue fabric with white stars were table cloths from Kohls which I found on sale one day and had to purchase! I mean there was so much one could do with fabulous table cloths like those!  The Flag Banner on the top of the cookie bar I had and simply stuck some letters on it to make a Happy Birthday Banner. The banner on the table with my son's name I purchased from Paper&Cake Printable Partyware. I just LOVE this company...from the partyware that I purchased I made french fries holders as well as napking rings.  I made the cake, but the party circles were from TomKat ofcourse! Thanks TomKat once again!!! Hope you enjoy the pictures and find some inspiration for your own parties!
These were in my entry way in the sides of the walls.
To-Go Boxes were purchased from Smart&Final and I added the label. The straws were purchased from Hey Yo-Yo and were just too cute!!!
I filled the white cups which I purchased from Smart&Final with Potato Salad.  The labels I got from The Sparkle Spot.  Those were freebies, and boy were they cute!
Our food...including homemade yummy!!!
I found this Pepsi Bottle holder at Pottery Barn...Had to was just to cute to pass up!
The red baskets I purchased online at some restaurant supply shop. And the liners were from Sur La Table. 
And Flag touches were all throughout the house of course to keep the spirit alive:)!

Some of our super heroes!