Friday, May 31, 2013

Rolo Cupcakes

Rolo Cupcakes | Moist, delicious devil's food cake cupcakes with Rolos baked in and a caramel buttercream frosting #dessert

For my little man's 6th birthday, he picked out a Rolo Cake. I showed him the cupcakes I had on my cupcake board and asked him which ones he wanted me to bring to his Kindergarten class and he went with the matching Rolo Cupcakes.

The cake recipe reminds me of the Best Chocolate Cake Ever - which is the best chocolate cake ever. Plus it has a Rolo baked INTO the cupcake and a decadent, rich caramel buttercream frosting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Dozen Copycats

A Dozen Copycats: your favorite restaurant foods at home!

My favorite kind of recipes are copycats. I make dinner for my family every night at home. We eat out on rare occasions when it's convenient or when we get a craving. However, because I don't eat fast food or restaurant food often, when I do, my stomach ends up in knots. So without further ado, here are a dozen of my favorite copycat recipes!

 I had previously tried a copycat recipe for the famous breadsticks, however, it failed miserably. This time around was completely amazing. I froze half the dough to use later on. NOM.

I have never had McDonald's frappes, but I am way too obsessed with BK's caramel frappe. Since I don't drink soda often, I replace my fountain drink with any coffee drink at fast food places. This caramel frappe is unbelievably good.

Taco John's isn't a very popular chain unless you live in the midwest. I haven't had it since I lived in Minnesota. But any kind of taco with nacho cheese and tots is a winner in my book, copycat or not!

I've never had White Castle, but you could also say this is a Krystal's copycat. I personally hate Krystal's, but my husband loves it. We don't have Krystal's up here in New York, so having this for dinner really made my husband a happy guy. He said they were dead on - I think they were better. They had to be because I really loved them. You can also make and freeze them.

I'm still pretty nervous to make copycat snack cakes, but brownies seem pretty easy and these were very easy and totally epicly delicious!

This is another great copycat because you can make a bunch and freeze them.
I packed them in my son's lunchbox and they thawed out by lunch time.

 Starbucks has never been my favorite place to get coffee. It's so bitter and expensive. However, they have good frappes and this one in particular is one of the best. Making it at home just makes it that much better!

If you have ever had a Cinnabon, you know how coveted these babies are. To be able to have a whole batch sitting in your own kitchen, it's just the most amazing feeling in the world.

I looked at the recipe for this copycat and I honestly doubted that it would do anything, but then I made it and it seriously stunned me. I made it for my husband when he got back home from deployment and he was just as stunned. They are almost identical - again they taste a bit better. The rehydrating of the onion flakes is probably the coolest part of the recipe.

Another restaurant that is sorely missed here in the horrible horrible northeast...Chick Fil A. This copycat is dead on and it's the bomb dot com.

These are one of my favorite of the copycats because it seems like Taco Bells have just gone so downhill. Every time I try and order the combo meal for the quesadillas, my quesadillas are awful and so is my soft shell taco.

 Yum. This was a pretty lengthy and involved recipe, but it was worth it in the end. The chocolate cake recipe is to-date the very best homemade chocolate cake recipe I've made.

What are your favorite copycat recipes?
Share your links below! 

For more copycat recipes, click here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tri Tip Burritos

Tri Tip Burritos | Slow-cooked shredded beef paired with refried beans, rice, and cilantro. #recipe

Burritos, in my opinion, are pretty awesome. My favorite thing about them is stuffing them with a billion different ingredients. I personally had never though to add fresh cilantro to it, but it was a welcome change! I really liked the tri tip as well.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Kahlua Cake

This month was a month that I had been looking forward to a while - taking on the mom/daughter duo, K&K Test Kitchen. First off, the blog itself is just the cutest. It's probably my favorite design ever. Secondly, there are so many recipes that I was trying to choose from because everything looks incredible. I narrowed it down to six: Double Chocolate Kale Muffins, Peanut Butter Granola, Huevos Rancheros, Buttermilk Biscuits, Kahlua Cake, and Seven Layer Dip.

As you can see, I went with the Kahlua Cake. When I chose it, it wasn't necessarily the one I personally wanted to try the most - I had a cake auction coming up that I had volunteered to make a cake for. I thought that this would be the most appealing cake, without a doubt. I made a trial cake for myself, after reading Kim's post about how this cake freezes well. I loved it. Let's just say that it never got put in the did not survive. Thank you, Kelsey & Kim, for this amazing recipe :) I can't wait to try the others!

Kahlua Cake - rich chocolate cake flavored with Kahlua |

Friday, May 24, 2013

Smoky Bourbon Baked Beans

I am in love with baked beans. Love love love. I get cravings every once in a while and heat it up for a midnight snack or toss it with some hot dogs for a quick, nostalgic-style lunch.

I've been taking a stab at making my own lately, but I haven't quite worked up to making my own BBQ sauce yet. The smoky bourbon BBQ sauce is definitely one of my absolute favorites.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Texas Steak Hash

Texas Steak Hash | Don't miss out on this incredibly tasty combination of steak, potatoes, fried egg, and more!

Watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives always makes me so hungry. It makes me sad when the food I see is a top secret recipe that I'll probably never taste unless I go on a food road trip. I saw a recipe for Texas Chicken Hash and was so stoked.

Then I realized the recipe on the site could feed a small army and that was a "Woah! I'm probably not going to make this!" reaction out of me. Then I decided to try and modify as much as possible and I had steak instead of chicken. It ended up being one of the very best meals I've ever had.

There was a lot going on and it did dirty a ton of dishes, but it was definitely worth it.

Also worth a mention - I feel like this would be perfect hangover food...just for reference!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Copycat Potato Ole Seasoning

Copycat Potato Ole Seasoning | Taco John's secret weapon for their tatortots #copycat

It has been a very long time since I've been to a Taco John's, so I'm not the most accurate source for how close this copycat seasoning mix is...

But it's definitely a BIG hit in my house. These four spices work together perfectly and are awesome! I used what I had leftover from using it on the tatertots on practically everything. I couldn't help it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread | An amazing variation from the classic cinnamon-sugar treat #recipe

When I first saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was a little scared to try this recipe out - not because I was afraid it would be bad, but I was nervous that I would screw it up. It was surprisingly easy to make and so so so good. So much better than regular monkey bread. Oh my goodness.

A kitty is never far away when I'm trying to get pictures of food :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chicken & Asparagus Penne

Chicken & Asparagus Penne | Five ingredients for this quick meal that will impress everyone you make it for #dinner #recipe

It doesn't get much better than this little dish. I wasn't expecting anything special from it and I absolutely inhaled it! I threw it altogether and baked it for 5 minutes instead of broiling. I covered it up with foil and ran it out to my husband who was supervising extra duty at work. It ended up feeding him, myself, Matt, Cami, and at least 7 soldiers. Everyone loved it! For five ingredients, this dish seriously blew me away!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Navy Bean & Ham Soup

Navy Bean & Ham Soup | A few ingredients thrown in a pot for a quick, delicious #soup #recipe

This is a great shortcut for traditional navy bean and ham bone soup when you have a craving. I personally am still waiting my mom's recipe out and hope to try making it soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brownie Batter Cupcakes

Brownie Batter Cupcakes | A cupcake that has a brownie muffin top and decadent dark chocolate frosting #dessert

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is to make someone a treat that I know they'll love. One of our good friends had a birthday and he loves brownies. Usually he gets a brownie for his birthday "cake", but this year, I wanted to try and combine the two. This was the perfect dessert for that. The brownie is baked into the cupcake and makes a muffin top, but with brownie. *drool* And the frosting is to die for!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grillin' Grub: 5 Recipes to Try This Summer

Grillin' Grub: 5 Recipes To Try This Summer #grill #recipes #summer |

Grilling season is upon us and that makes me so very excited - except for the whole having to get more propane. Did I mention that I have this weird fear of it blowing up in my car? I practically buckle that baby in and cover it in bubble wrap! Okay, well, maybe I just put it in my floor board cushioned with towels, but still! EESH!

I figured it's as good a time as any to share some of my very favorite grill grub! Click the picture to go the recipe :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pasta Week: Taco Ramen

Taco Ramen | A speedy Mexican dish that's easy on your wallet #pasta #Ramen

Ending Pasta Week with a super frugal and tasty pasta dish - called Taco Ramen. This recipe comes from Mika's Pantry. I was unable to find Dorito corn chips, so I used Fritos...and due to trying to rush dinner out the door and getting over to my husband who was about to start a 12-hour night shift, I also forgot the salsa verde...which is one of my new favorite things. It was still really yummy, but I gotta make this again soon with all the right ingredients.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pasta Week: Ground Beef Stroganoff

Blog Update: Alright folks, I'm losing the FB page for good. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, BlogLovin', etc. - pick your poison. Reaching 30 out of 1550 people who like my page seems pointless. ;)

Ground Beef Stroganoff - probably the very best stroganoff you'll ever have #recipe #pasta

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Baking For Kate {An Online Bake Sale}

I am participating in an online bake sale hosted by Carrie of Frugal Foodie Mama and wanted to repost her information about it. She covers everything about the bake sale and tells her story about her friend Kate and Kate's battle with breast cancer.

I really hope y'all check it out and help support Kate and her family!

Pasta Week: Easy Extra Creamy Shells & Cheese

Easy Extra Creamy Mac & Cheese - better than the boxed stuff! #recipe #pasta

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Fantastical Feature: The American Craft Beer Cookbook

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley copy of this cookbook from NetGalley and Storey Publishing for my honest opinion.

 image via

Expected publication: Aug 27, 2013
Synopsis: The pleasure of going to the local pub or craft brewery for a pint and a delicious meal can now be recreated at home with John Holl's collection of 150 recipes that all taste amazingly great with beer. From pub grub and barbecue to appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, breakfast fare, and desserts, many of these dishes use beer as an ingredient, and all of them can be paired with your favorite brews. The recipes were contributed by brew pubs, craft brewers, and other beer lovers across the United States. You'll love the new twists on traditional favorites, such as Slow-Cooked Dopple Bock BBQ Meatballs and American Wheat Beer Steamed Clams, as well as unexpected recipes like Crawfish Bordelaise, Chopped Reuben Salad, Beermosas, Beer Ice Cream Floats, and Chocolate Jefferson Stout Cupcakes. - via

My Thoughts: When I saw this cookbook on NetGalley, I immediately applied to receive it. If y'all recall, I did a beer/homebrewing week on Fantastical in March! My husband has spent the better part of the last year homebrewing as a hobby and I've been along for the ride learning from osmosis. Since he is deployed, a huge goal for me is to brew a successful batch myself. This cookbook was full of so much insanely interesting stuff about brewing and brews.  The format itself is absolutely amazing - each page has something to learn, create, or drool over, not to mention a little bit of information on different bars, pubs, and dives all over the United States. As a newly-converted homebrewing enthusiast, this cookbook honestly captured all of my attention and I wanted to make everything.

One of my favorite features of the book is that the recipes with beer in them suggest a list of beers to use in the recipe. I have to admit - my brain is a bit foggy when it comes to words like lager and ale - so having a list of beers that I can use not only tells me exactly what I need to know, but also gives me options for taste preference!

I made three recipes out of the book, although I made plans for 8 recipes - but preparing for a deployment had me crunching some nights and not really getting free time on the weekends for stuff like the Beermosas [not going to risk drinking and then getting in my car for errands] or the Bavarian Cheese Spread. But what I did make...was the best!

Gouda Fondue
 I got my husband hooked on gouda cheese in 2012 and anytime I mention gouda is going into a recipe, he flips his lid. He goes nuts! When I said we were having fondue, he got even more excited. Then when I told him I had picked crusty French bread, carrots, and Granny Smith apples for dipping. The kids thought this snack was the coolest thing ever! Now I need to invest in a fondue warmer to make it more often.

Asparagus Risotto
 I have always wanted to try risotto, both eating-wise and also cooking it. It was definitely on my mental cooking bucket list. We discovered a Williams-Sonoma in the mall back home in April and they were cooking a Parm-Regg risotto for taste-testing. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten - although I'm sure I say that about a lot of things. When I found out that this cookbook had a risotto recipe, I decided to just go for it. It was such a great decision on my part. You have to babysit risotto, but it turned out just fine and it was super tasty. I loved the asparagus in it!

Roasted Bell Pepper & Tomato Fettuccine Alfredo
This is easily my favorite recipe tried out of the cookbook. The bombalicious alfredo sauce is on the bottom and then it's topped with some ever-wonderful pasta and then comes the best part: the roasted bell pepper & tomato pureed sauce + some garlicky sauteed cherry tomatoes! I added tuna into the dish for a source of protein and also because my husband will whine if there's no meat. I ate seconds. The kids loved it and Nick loved it and we will definitely have this regularly.  

The American Craft Beer Cookbook gets...
I already have it preordered from Amazon and cannot wait to try the rest of the recipes and read more in depth about all the pubs, bars, and breweries. If you are a craft beer fan, definitely preorder yourself a copy - you will not be disappointed.