99 Flavors of Sundaes: # 1 Cherry Almond Crunch Sundaes

Even though school has already started here in the South (we’re already in the third week), it is still summer, which means there is still plenty of time for ice cream desserts.  Since cherries are in season, I made a fresh cherry sauce to pour on top of vanilla ice cream, topped with some sticky almond crunch.

To chop my almonds, I used my nifty hand-grinder for nuts.  It makes chopping just a handful of nuts really simple.  You could also use a food processor or pre-chopped nuts.

chopped almonds

Now on to the cherries.  Cherries are so pretty, especially while they are cooking, which makes them turn a brighter hue of red.

cherries & almonds

Depending on the tartness of your cherries, you can opt to add more sugar.  Or, if you just want your cherry sauce sweeter, go ahead and increase the amount of sugar.

cherry sauce

I found my cherry sauce was just sweet enough when combined with vanilla ice cream.  The sticky, crunchy almonds on top added a special touch to my sundae.

Cherry Almond Crunch Sundae

 

Cherry Almond Crunch Sundae

  • Servings: 4
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Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh cherry sauce and chopped sticky, sugared almonds

Ingredients

  • vanilla ice cream
  • 3 cups whole cherries, pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1 ts cornstarch mixed in 1/8 cup cold water

Almond crunch ingredients

  • 1/4 chopped almonds
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb water
  • 1 ts almond extract
  • dash salt

Directions

1. Place cherries in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with sugar and flour.  Stir in lemon juice and water.  Cook over high heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Pour in the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until combined and thickened. Remove the cherry sauce from the heat and let cool.

2. In another small saucepan, add all of the almond crunch ingredients.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the water has cooked off.  Immediately transfer the almonds to a piece of wax paper to cool.

3. Scoop vanilla ice cream into a bowl and top with cherry sauce.  Break the almond crunch into pieces and place on top of the cherries.  Enjoy!

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99 Flavors of Bars: #2 Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

I just love blondies.  I love oreos too.  So why not combine the two into a wonderfully gooey bar?  These Oreo Cheesecake Blondies have a wonderful caramel, brown sugar flavored base topped with soft, pillowy cheesecake and crunchy oreo pieces.  Yum.

I used the same blondie base as my Peach Streusel Bars, just omitting the extra egg white so these aren’t as cakey.

blon

Next comes the layer of oreo cheesecake.

oreo cheesecake brownies before baking

Of course you can’t go wrong with more oreos, so why not add some to the top?

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These bars turned out ooey, gooey, and delicious.

Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

Oreo Cheesecake Blondies

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar topped with oreo cheesecake and crushed oreos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt

Cheesecake topping ingredients

  • 8 oreos, crushed
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into the melted butter.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt until fully mixed.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.

3. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for another minute until the mixture is smooth.  Fold in half of the crushed oreos.

4. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the blondie mixture.  Spread to cover, then using a knife, gently swirl through the cheesecake mixture.  Sprinkle the other half of the crushed oreos on top.

5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool and cut into squares (you can use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan).  Store leftovers covered in the fridge.

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99 Types of Cookies: #4 Red Velvet Cookies

Honestly, baking a cake, especially a layer cake is a bit of work.  These Red Velvet Cookies taste just like a miniature red velvet cake.  They have a cake-like texture with cream cheese icing.

To achieve the red velvet color and taste, I added red velvet cake mix to a basic cookie recipe.  Adding an extra egg white gives a very cakey texture.

red velvet cookie batter

These cookies don’t look like much when they come out of the oven (hence the lack of pictures), but once the icing is added they are divine.

Red Velvet Cookies

If you’re craving red velvet, but don’t want to go to the trouble of baking a cake, these cookies do the trick.

Red Velvet Cookies

  • Servings: about 2 dozen cookies
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Cake-like red velvet cookies with cream cheese icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tb all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup red velvet cake mix
  • ½ ts baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white

Frosting ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ts vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy. Stir in egg and egg white, then add the red velvet cake mix.  Blend in the flour and baking soda until all ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough will be sticky – refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.  Using a mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well mixed.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating until completely smooth.
  4. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool.  Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Frost cookies with swirls of frosting (you may have some extra frosting left).

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99 Flavors of Pancakes: #1 Funfetti Pancakes

These Funfetti Pancakes are like eating dessert for breakfast.  They don’t taste far off from a donut, especially when drizzled with powdered sugar glaze.  I wanted to eat the whole stack (but I didn’t).

stack of funfetti pancakes

These whip up quickly, only requiring a couple of extra ingredients compared to plain pancakes.  I cooked mine on a griddle heated to 300 degrees.  You can also cook them in a large skillet or griddle pan on the stove top.

funfetti pancake batter cooking

I love the color added by the rainbow sprinkles.

Funfetti Pancakes

Fluffy and sweet, these pancakes are yummy!

Funfetti pancakes with glaze

Funfetti Pancakes

  • Servings: 6-12 pancakes depending on size
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Cake flavored pancakes with rainbow sprinkles and powdered sugar glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cake mix
  • 2 ts white sugar
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup rainbow springkles

glaze ingredients

  • 3 Tb milk
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cake mix, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk, milk, and oil.  Blend the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients using a wire whisk.  Whisk until smooth.  Gently fold in the sprinkles.

2. Heat a griddle to 300 degrees or heat a small amount of butter in a large skillet over high heat on the stove.  Once the butter is sizzling or the griddle has heated, pour circles of pancake batter to the desired size.  Cook for about 2 minutes, then flip.  Cook other side for 1-2 minutes.

3. To make powdered sugar glaze, heat milk in a small bowl (I did this in the microwave for 40 seconds).  Do not heat milk to boiling.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.  Serve glaze over pancakes.

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99 Flavors of Bars: #1 Peach Streusel Bars

It is peach season here in Georgia.  Yesterday we went peach and blackberry picking at a local farm.  The peach trees laden with heavy fruit look just beautiful.

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The peaches were so plentiful it took only a few minutes to pick a peck of peaches.

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Now I have to use all of these peaches.  My daughter dreamed up the idea for these Peach Struesel Bars.  I’m glad they turned out so perfectly.

They start with a blondie base.

blondie base

Which is then topped with sweetened chunks of peaches.

sweetened peach chunksAnd finally, a streusel crumb is added to the top.

peach streusel bars before baking

I love that these bars aren’t overly sweet.

Peach Streusel Bars

If you can get your hands on some fresh peaches, definitely give these a try.

Peach Streusel Bars

Peach Streusel Bars

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar base topped with diced peaches and streusel

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt

Peach topping

  • 3 large peaches, pealed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tb all-purpose flour

Streusel topping

  • 2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Stir together the peach topping ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high 2-3 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.  Let sit while preparing the blondie base.

2. In a large bowl, stir brown sugar into melted butter until well combined.  Stir in egg, egg white, and vanilla.  Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt until fully combined.  Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.

3. Using a slotted spoon, spread peach chunks all over the blondie base.  Let most of the juice drain away as you’re scooping.  Slightly press the peaches into the base.

4. Prepare the streusel topping: fluff all of the streusel toppings in a small bowl until small balls of crumbs form.  Sprinkle over the top of the bars.

5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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99 Flavors of Nachos: #1 Chicken Nachos

I love, love, love nachos, and I’ve come to love chicken nachos more than the ground beef variety.  The flavors and textures of salty, crunchy tortilla ships, spiced, shredded chicken, and gooey, melted cheese, come together so nicely.

Using pre-cooked chicken makes these nachos quick and easy.  I season and roast bone-in chicken breast in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.  Then I shred the meat and place portions into freezer bags for later, which can be used for soups, nachos, tacos, sandwiches, chicken and dumplings, the list goes on…

shredded chicken for nachos

Of course, what would nachos be without lots of cheese?  For chicken nachos, I use pepper jack, Monterey jack, and mozzarella – all soft cheeses that melt well and provide extra gooey-ness.

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For some extra spice, you can add sliced or pickled jalapenos.  Or if you prefer your nachos more cheesy and less spicy, you can omit them (like my daughter’s preference on the left).

Either way, they will be delicious!

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos

  • Servings: about 6
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Nachos topped with shredded chicken, cheeses, and jalapenos.

506 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 ts garlic, minced
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts cumin
  • 1 Tb hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 8-10 oz. tortilla chips
  • cooking spray

Topping Ingredients

  • 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, sliced
  • 4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, sliced
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. Colby Monterey jack cheese blend, shredded
  • sliced or pickled jalapenos

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan generously with cooking spray.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet.  Add the shredded chicken and chopped onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender.  Add the taco seasoning, garlic, salt, cumin, and water.  Stir in the hot sauce.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off, but not all.  You want the meat to be a little juicy.

3. Spread the tortilla chips in the 9×13 pan.  Layer the sliced pepper jack and Monterey jack over the nachos.  Top with the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheeses on top, along with sliced jalapenos.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

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99 Flavors of Meatballs: #1 Sticky Garlic Meatballs

Since my Sticky Garlic Chicken is so good, I decided to pour the sauce onto some tender meatballs.  The result – tasty!

This dish is spicier than the chicken version because I added crushed red pepper to the meatballs.  If you prefer a milder version, you can omit the spice.  I baked these meatballs in the oven on parchment paper to eliminate the grease.

meatballs to be baked

While the meatballs are baking, you have time to make the sauce.  This sauce is so amazing – what else could I put it on?

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Once the tender meatballs come out of the oven, just toss them with the sauce and serve!

Sticky Garlic Meatballs

 

Sticky Garlic Meatballs

  • Servings: 4
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Tender meatballs tossed in sticky garlic sauce.

354 calories per serving

Ingredients

Meatball ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 ts minced garlic
  • 1/2 ts dried minced onion
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper
  • 1/4 ts crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten

Sauce ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 3 Tb dark brown sugar
  • 2 ts sriracha sauce
  • 1 ts sesame oil
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 2 ts minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tb cornstarch
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 ts vegetable or canola oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Crumble ground beef into a large bowl.  Add all of the remaining meatball ingredients and mix well (mixing with your hands works best).  Form into meatballs and place onto sheet pan.  Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.

3. While meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce.  Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a small saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and dark brown sugar. Stir in the salt.  In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch into 1/4 cup cold water.  Add to the sauce mixture.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.  Turn the heat off and stir in the green onions.

4. When the meatballs have finished baking, transfer them to a large bowl.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs.  Serve with white rice, fried rice, or rice pilaf.

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