‘Oreo’ Cookies & Cream Brownies

The art of doctoring store-bought brownie mix is no surprise to most who like to bake. For years now, I have used various ingredients, swapped out liquids, and added spices as well. There are many recipes on the web for what has now become a popular brownie, the ‘Cookies and Cream brownie’ with Oreo cookies. Recently I stumbled upon this recipe that not only has the Oreos, but it has the addition of fudge sauce and ice cream. It is almost like having ice cream with your brownie, but this ice cream is within the brownie. To go for the ultimate indulgence, why not serve this decadent brownie with a fresh scoop of ice cream. Either way, these are delicious.

There are a couple of small changes in this recipe as I added a touch of salt and some espresso powder.  The addition of espresso powder adds a level of earthiness that helps balance out the sweetness. Double the recipe if you want extras. The brownies don’t last!

Recipe source: Kevin and Amanda… Thanks for the great recipe!


1 box Brownie Mix

1 tsp sea salt

3 tsp instant espresso powder

eggs & oil (as called for by the brownie mix)

¾ c Cookies & Cream ice cream, softened

1/4 C hot fudge topping (room temp)


Remove ice cream from the freezer to allow it to soften about 15 minutes before preparing brownies.

Preheat oven and lay tin foil or parchment paper in the pan for easier removal, once cooled. Spray prepared pan with cooking spray evenly.

Combine brownie mix with the salt and espresso powder. Add the eggs and oil, per package instructions. Eliminate the water. The ice cream and fudge is taking the place of that liquid. Add ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for as directed on the back of the box, between 40-55 minutes depending on pan size and oven. The brownies will be dense but make sure they are baked through.

Remove from oven and let cool. For the cleanest cut on a brownie, refrigerate the brownies until completely cool before cutting the brownies.

Bon appetit!

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Celery Salad with Edamame and Radish

This is a spontaneous salad that was thrown together at the very last-minute as we were about to have company over and I was a bit unsure if I had enough sides for our impromptu bbq. This salad is very similar to an edamame and carrot salad that I have made on many occasions. With the abundance of celery in the fridge and no carrots, the result was a wonderful crisp, refreshing, and light salad. It is a perfect summer salad that takes very little time to prepare with only a small list of ingredients. You will receive many compliments as well!


1 bunch (3-4 cups) celery, leaves included

2 c edamame, not in their shell

½ c radishes, quartered and thinly sliced

1/4 c cilantro leaves

Handful mint leaves (torn)

3 tbs fresh lime juice

1/3 tbs olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper


Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper until blended. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slice the celery, with the leaves still intact, as thinly as possible and place in a bowl. Cover with cold water and ice cubes and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes for extra crunchiness.

If the edamame is not pre-cooked, cook per package instructions. Drain under cold water and pat dry. Remove the celery from the refrigerator and drain as well. Place the celery, soybeans, radishes, cilantro, mint into a serving dish and mix. Pour the dressing over the salad. Stir and store in the fridge until ready to serve. The longer it sits, the better the flavors will blend. Can be made several hours in advance.



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Farmstand Summer Squash Salad with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Yesterday, the local farmer’s market stands offered a beautiful plethora of the most unusual summer squash, both zucchini and yellow squash. This is a great recipe for the gardener, as well, who is swimming in these vegetables and fresh herbs. It is a colorful crowd pleaser that doesn’t disappoint. The simplicity of the salad is perfect for last-minute summer entertaining. This is a favorite as it is colorful and fresh with a nice tangy lemon dressing.

For a light lunch, serve it with some fresh mozzarella on the side. A perfect match…

Serves 6


1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp dried and crushed red pepper

2 lbs zucchini, yellow squash, or both

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1-2 ears of fresh corned, kernels removed (or 1/2 c frozen corn, thawed)

1/2 c fresh herbs from the garden, basil, chives, parsley, mint…


For the dressing, mix together the lemon juice, salt, and black and red peppers together in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until blended. Set aside.

Cut the zucchini (and/or squash) in half crosswise and then lengthwise so you have four quarters. Then slice the quartered zucchini crosswise into ¼ inch pieces. Mix together the zucchini, tomatoes, corn, and dressing. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Once ready to serve, mix in the fresh herbs. Taste and adjust accordingly with a little salt and pepper or additional herbs.

Bon appetit!

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The Best Chimichurri Sauce Ever

This chimichurri sauce was such a hit the other night and I have been asked over and over again for the recipe. What is so nice about this particular chimichurri is that it is not too spicy. I don’t think there is a chimichurri that I don’t like, however, some can be spicier than others. For a crowd pleaser, I try to go the safe route so everyone can enjoy the meal. This recipe is refreshing, tangy, and packed full of flavors. Perfect for steak, chicken, and even seafood.

I am adding my chicken kabob recipe (bottom) that pairs perfectly with the chimichurri sauce. The marinade is nice and light with citrus and a touch of cumin and cayenne. This makes for a wonderful healthy meal. Enjoy!


4 large garlic cloves , peeled

1 c fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 c fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 c fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c rice vinegar

2 tsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Juice of 2 limes


Place the garlic, parsley, cilantro, and basil in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Add vinegar, Tabasco, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper, process until combined. With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube until it is fully incorporated. Add the juice of the limes and puree until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Reserve the chimichurri sauce in the refrigerator. Once ready to use, remove it from the fridge and let sit out for at least 10 minutes as the oil in the sauce will have hardened. Stir well to combine.

For the chicken kabobs

Zest of one orange

1 tbs ground chili powder

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine orange zest, chili powder, 1½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Place the chicken in a resealable bag and squeeze the juice of the orange and lime into the bag. Remove the air out of the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

Thread chicken pieces onto skewers. Prepare the grill and grease the grates with some canola oil. Arrange skewers on grill and cook, flipping once, until chicken is cooked through and golden brown, 6-7 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Place kebabs on a platter and spoon chimichurri sauce over the kebabs. Place any additional sauce in a small serving dish and set on the side. Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!



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Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

This could be one of the easiest summer dinners to pull together at the last-minute, especially if there is leftover chicken breast in the fridge. A store-bought rotisserie is another option if simplicity is goal. However, there have been plenty of occasions when we simply grill a few chicken breasts in lieu of waiting for leftovers. Regardless of how the chicken is made, with very few ingredients needed, this is a great  dinner the whole family will enjoy. It has become one of our favorites.


1 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup Louisianna Wing Sauce, or your preferred wing sauce

2-3 chicken breasts, depending on size, or 3 cups shredded chicken

4 Kaiser rolls, split and toasted

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Iceberg lettuce


With a fork, shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Some pieces will be bigger than the others. It is not necessary to have the chicken completely shredded.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the wing sauce and chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.

Toast the buns and divide the chicken evenly over the bottom of the 4 buns. Sprinkle with a good portion of blue cheese. Top with a couple leaves of lettuce. Mayonnaise can be used on the bun if preferred. Top with bun and serve.

Bon appetit!

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Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

What is it about egg salad sandwiches? I have yet to meet someone who does not enjoy an opportunity to use leftover eggs for such a treat. This recipe turns yesterday’s eggs into today’s meal. A hint of curry powder adds a bit of spice that transforms the flavors with an ethnic flair. Freshly sliced raisin bread pairs perfectly with the egg salad as the salad as it add a touch of sweetness to the sandwich. Pumpernickel or pheasant bread will work just as nice.


8 large eggs

1/3 c mayonnaise

1/3 c lite sour cream

1 tbs curry powder

1 tbs fresh chives, chopped

1 tsp celery seed

kosher salt and black pepper

2 stalks celery, chopped

¼ c golden raisins (optional)

 Freshly sliced raisin bread, pumpernickel, or any desired loaf

Bibb, red leaf lettuce, or Arugula (for a more peppery choice)


Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 12 minutes. Rinse the eggs under cold water, peel, and coarsely chop. Eggs can be set aside or refrigerated until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, curry powder, chives, and celery seed. Fold in the eggs, celery, and raisins; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The egg salad will take on a rich yellow color as the yolks are stirred in as well as the curry powder.

Place the lettuce or arugula on the freshly sliced bread. Divide the egg salad on the sandwiches and serve. Bon appetit!

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Spanish Rice

For years I have wanted to have my own spanish rice recipe similar to those you find at Mexican restaurants. This recipe comes as close to restaurant style as you can find. Perfect for those Tex Mex evenings when going to your local mexican restaurant is not an option.

This colorful rice is easily accomplished by adding the sauteed onion, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, diced tomatoes with green chilis, and simmered in broth. Perfectly simple and can be an accompaniment to many dishes.


extra virgin olive oil

1 c uncooked white rice

1 onion, chopped

1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 c chicken broth (or water)

1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp sea salt



In a large sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute onion and bell pepper they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another 2 minutes. Remove onion mixture from heat and set aside. Using the same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil, and add the rice. Saute until rice is brown on the edges.

Stir in the onion mixture, canned tomatoes, and chicken broth. Season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Cover, and simmer per package instructions, 30-35 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes before using a fork to fluff the rice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro (optional). Enjoy!

 Bon appetit!

Posted in diy at home, healthy options, main course and dinner, mexican and tex mex recipes, side dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment