Saturday, March 30, 2024

Broccoli Shells and Cheese

 We love a pasta with broccoli dish, so I tend to make different variations of them often. When I saw this one on the How Sweet Eats blog I knew right away I needed to try it.

I changed the original directions up a bit. How Sweet Eats cooks the broccoli for 2 minutes, before adding the pasta. I like to start cooking the pasta first and then add the broccoli to the pasta in the last few minutes and drain them together, so my directions below reflect that.

The pasta was extremely creamy - as in the creamiest around, but next time I'd like to spice up the cheese sauce a little with some garlic and onion and maybe some red pepper flakes. The unctuous creaminess is there, it just needs a little more flavor.

Broccoli Shells and Cheese

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 4-6

1-1/2 cups broccoli florets (about 2 heads, cut smallish)

16 ounces pasta shells

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons cream cheese

16 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese 

salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to package directions. Depending on how soft you'd like your broccoli, add the broccoli in the last few minutes that the pasta is cooking. If you'd like your broccoli more firm, add it for the last 2-3 minutes. If you'd like your broccoli a little softer then 4-5 minutes will do. When pasta and broccoli are done to your liking, drain.

While the pasta (and broccoli) are boiling away, make your cheese sauce in a medium size pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk and cook until it's golden and smelling nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and milk slowly, allowing it to steam and thicken up a bit. Stir in the cream cheese until it melts. Turn off the heat and add the shredded cheese in handfuls, mixing until completely melted.

Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta and broccoli and stir until combined. Enjoy!

Potluck Week @ IHCC

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Oreo Peanut Butter Pie


This is one of those easy peasy no bake pies that everyone goes crazy for.

Oreo Peanut Butter Pie. An Oreo crust. A peanut butter mousse filling. A whipped cream topping adorned with crushed Oreos and chunks of peanut butter cups. It's like the pie of your dreams.

The only downside to the whole recipe is that it takes 4-6 hours for the pie to set up in the refrigerator before you can eat it. Waiting that long feels impossible.

My husband kept asking me, "When is the pie gonna be ready?" And he was asking me on repeat all afternoon until I finally declared it ready.

We loved this so much and the recipe is total perfection. It beats any other peanut butter pie I've had anywhere. I will definitely be making this again and I highly recommend it!

Oreo Peanut Butter Pie

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 8

Oreo Crust

20 Oreo cookies

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Peanut Butter Mousse Filling

1-1/2 cups cold heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1-1/2 cups cold heavy cream

crushed oreos

chopped peanut butter cups

For the Oreo Crust: Place the Oreos in a food processor and blend and pulse until crumbs remain (or, if you don't have a food processor, add the Oreos to a gallon size plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they are crumbs). Place the Oreo crumbs in a bowl and stir in the melted butter, until all the crumbs are moistened, then press into an 8-inch pie plate. Press on the bottom and up the sides, almost to the top. You want to try and get an even layer of crust. Pop the crust in the fridge or freezer while you make the filling.

For the Peanut Butter Mousse Filling: In a bowl, add the heavy cream and use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the cream until peaks form. Set it aside. 

In another bowl, use the same hand mixer (or stand mixer) and beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined and creamy. You want it fully combined. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until combined. The mixture will almost be crumbly, or cookie-dough like. Beat in the whipped heavy cream. As the mixture combines, you will end up with a peanut butter mousse-like mixture. Transfer the mousse to the oreo pie crust and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or even overnight.

For the Topping: Using fresh whipped cream is best, but it won't hold up in heat or for several days. If you want a topping that will last, best to go with Cool Whip since it holds its structure and doesn't fall or get weepy. 

To make the whipped cream using heavy cream, just make sure it's very cold and add to a clean bowl and use a stand mixer or hand mixer until the peaks form. You can add in a few tablespoons of powdered sugar if you'd like it sweeter, but the rest of the pie is sweet enough on its own that you may not need to. 

Sprinkle on crushed Oreos and peanut butter cups before serving, and enjoy! This pie will need to be refrigerated when not eating. 

Something Sweet @ I Heart Cooking Clubs

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Lucky Charms Rice Krispie Treats {They're Magically Delicious}


It takes certain amount of patience to pick out all the marshmallows from a big box of Lucky Charms. But on a St. Patrick's Day Sunday morning, when all is calm and rather lazy, one has time for sticky fingers and long projects.

These treats are just like everyone's favorite Rice Krispie Treats except they have Lucky Charms marshmallows on the inside and on top. So they're extra marshmallowy, extra colorful, and extra sugary. I don't have to tell you that this spells d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. 

Is it healthy? Well, of course not. But every once in awhile, on a lucky green holiday, it's fun to have an extra special treat!

The real question is: Do you have the patience to dug out all the marshmallows from a cereal box? Then after that, do you have the patience to artfully place 2 cups of marshmallows on top of the Rice Krispie Treats?

I did not. By the time the treats were ready to be topped with the marshmallows, I just threw them all on top and called it a day.

Lucky Charms Rice Krispie Treats

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 12-16

4 tablespoons butter

1 (10-ounce) bag of mini marshmallows

6 to 7 cups rice cereal

3 cups Lucky Charms marshmallows (get the big box)

Line a 9x9 inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray it with nonstick spray. You can also use a 9x13 inch baking dish, the squares just won't be as thick!

In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted and even a little browned, stir in the mini marshmallows. Stir until the mixture is creamy and the marshmallows have melted.

Turn off the heat and fold in the rice krispies. Completely mix until all the rice cereal is mixed in. Stir in 1 cup of the Lucky Charms marshmallows and fold them in for a few minutes. Press the mixture into the dish. I like to press it down with a piece of parchment paper so it gets super smooth on top and it doesn't stick to the spoon. Then I press the remaining Lucky Charm marshmallows into the top. Let them set for about an hour. Slice into squares and serve.

Something Green @ IHCC

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Puff Pastry Breakfast Pizza {Perfect for Spring Brunch}

  It's no secret that I'm a fan of How Sweet Eat's puff pastry pizzas. They are a real go to for me. Always delicious. Always impressive. Always quick and easy. Always minimal ingredients. This is my kind of recipe!

This breakfast version is a real favorite and all you need is about five ingredients: puff pastry, shredded cheese, bacon, eggs, something green (chives, green onion, chopped spinach), and salt and pepper.

Listen folks...this is so easy. Spread out the thawed puff pastry, spread with egg wash, sprinkle with cheese, top with bacon, eggs, and greenery, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake.

When you pull this out of the oven people will ooh and ahh and start taking pictures with their phone. This is so impressive coming out of the oven. The pastry puffs up real big, the bacon baked into the pastry, and the eggs look so very inviting.

The pizza is light and airy, the eggs cook perfectly, and the cheese and bacon bake right into the puff pastry. It is a truly incredible dish and again, it is so easy. There's no reason not to make it!

Puff Pastry Breakfast Pizza

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 4-6

2 sheets thawed puff pastry

8 slices bacon+1 teaspoon water whisked together, for egg wash

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated

6 large eggs, 

freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh snipped chives for topping

Preheat the oven to 425F. Set the puff pastry out to thaw if it has been in the freezer.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and cook the bacon. You can chop it up to cook quicker or you can fry it in slices. You want it almost completely cooked - the fat rendered - but not burnt or crispy because it will still cook in the oven.

Place the puff pastry sheets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Very slightly roll up the edges of the pastry to create a bit of an edge for the crust. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the pastry. Add on chopped spinach, if you like. Add on the bacon. Crack each egg separately into a bowl, then gently pour it onto the pastry. Sprinkle everything with black pepper. 

Spring Forward @ IHCC





Sunday, March 3, 2024

How Sweet Eat's Favorite Baked Cheesy Rice

 This recipe is so easy a tired mom can do it after working all day! Hooray.

We all need easy side dishes for the weekdays. Or weekends. Or any days, because life is complicated as can be nearly all the time, right?

So, measure some rice, rinse it, dump it in a baking dish. Pour on some chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, top with some cheese and butter and foil and throw in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and put it back in the oven for 20-25 minutes and you have a side dish the whole family will love!

I can see this as a repeat recipe in my house. In fact, I am adding jasmine rice to my grocery order as we speak.

I also see many different possibilities for switching up the flavors: different cheeses, different spices, adding veggies, and so on. Don't be afraid to add what you like because you're the one eating it and you know what you like!

I loved how this rice turned out with the different cheesy textures. The cheese around the edge of the baking pan gets all crispy and provides some texture to the dish, while the cheese in the middle is more melty and ooey gooey.

I sincerely recommend this dish if you are trying to find a kid-friendly side dish, or if you're looking for something tasty and quick, or maybe even something for meal prep. This is a new fave for us!

Our Favorite Baked Cheesy Rice

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 4-6

1-1/2 cups dry jasmine rice, rinsed

24 ounces chicken stock

salt and pepper

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated

4 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter a 9x9 baking dish. 

Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Place the rice in the baking dish. Pour in the stock. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese in and give it a quick stir.

Add the butter slices all over the top of the rice. Cover the dish tightly with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, until the rice is fluffy and the top is slightly golden. Serve! 

Potluck Week @ IHCC