Tomato Bisque with Cheddar Bay Dumplings

This yummy Tomato Bisque with Cheddar Bay Dumplings is the soup lovers’ dream come true. A rich, creamy tomato bisque is studded with buttery Cheddar Bay style dumplings for a new twist on on a couple classics.

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Copy Cat Panda Express Fried Rice

 Stay in tonight and still have your favorite fried rice. This copy cat version of Panda Express’ most popular side dish makes it easy to see why it’s so loved. Slightly salty, extra savory this meal packs a flavor punch while still keeping the ingredients simple. In under 20 minutes you can be enjoying this take out- fake out version, and serve it as part of your own two entree plate from the convenience of your own home.

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Copy Cat Hostess Zebra Cake

A fluffy whipped cream filling sandwiched between two soft yellow cakes and covered in a luscious layer of white chocolate. This Copy Cat Hostess Zebra Cake is topped off with a chocolate drizzle before being sliced and served. This cake is a fun, delicious homage to one of your favorite childhood treats and an easy way to usher it in for a new generation.

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Copy Cat Taco Bell AM Crunch Wrap

 To all my regular readers and followers this is not news, but if you’re new here (HI!! we hope you come back to visit often) I’ll let you in on a well-known fact: I am NOT a morning person. At All. I make no secret of this, and my family knows it well. Do not approach me (period) if the coffee has not been brewed. When my cup’s half gone, you may proceed with caution. Nope, scratch that, I’m headed to the bathroom. When only the dregs are left I bear a striking resemblance to something that passes for human and the Mom you know and love. You still may want to tread carefully for another 15 minutes or so though.

Copy Cat Taco Bell AM Crunchwrap

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Sub Sandwiches

$5, $5 foot long …

You know the jingle I’m sure. And it’s a great deal, especially for such a generously proportioned sandwich. And not surprisingly, none of our kids have any trouble (at all!) putting one down in mere minutes. They’re easy, they’re good, and with children who inhale their food, the price is right on point for us.

 Chicken Bacon Ranch Sub Sandwich

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Crockpot Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

It’s the first day of the New Year, and along with 2016 the Winter weather seems to have finally arrived as well. And we couldn’t be happier. Bring it on. We’ve got our hats, coats, and gloves out, and weeks worth of hearty, soothes the soul recipes. And nothing warms you up better than a piping hot bowl of fresh, homemade soup.

And there’s nothing quite as warm and cozy as this copy cat version of Olive Garden’s famous Zuppa Toscana.

 Crockpot Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

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Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Wonton Chips

Have you ever had a Southwestern-style egg roll? They’re so good, and for the most part they’re not too bad for you calorie-wise. Originally we had to go to our local Chilis to enjoy them, but then we began making them at home, using tiny tortillas.

Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Wonton Chips 2

But have you ever worked with egg roll or wonton wrappers? Once you’ve opened the package, you’ve got days at most to use the rest before they go bad. And y’all know how much food waste pains me, so as usual necessity was the mother of ingenuity. And it led to our own deconstructed version of southwestern egg rolls, this time turned into a dip. With an egg roll ‘chip’ replacing our typical flour tortilla.

it good. When we ran out of chips the sons were scarfing it down by the spoonful!

East meets (south)West in this funky Tex-Mex, inside out, version of an egg roll. Its simple, fun and a great way to use up leftovers, especially if you’re like us and you’ve got a half a can of black beans here,a quarter cup of diced peppers there, etc.

Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Wonton Chips

Southwestern Egg Roll Dip with Wonton Chips

1 chicken breast, cooked, then either diced or shredded
3/4 – 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced and then diced
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
package of wonton wrappers
3/4 cup ranch dressing
the juice of 1 lemon or lime, your choice
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 avocado, mashed
salt and pepper, to taste
oil for frying

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, corn, beans, peppers, green onion, spinach, and cheese until roughly combined.
    2. In a separate bowl combine the ranch dressing, the lemon or lime juice, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper stirring until an evenly incorporated dressing forms.
    3. Mix the mashed avocado in with the dressing, whisking until evenly incorporated, and then pour the finished dressing over the veggie mixture.
    Heat vegetable oil in a pan over med/hi heat.
    4. Cut a stack (your desired amount) of wonton squares in half diagonally, forming triangular shaped ‘chips’. Fry the chips a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
    5. Serve the veggie/dressing mix as a dip in a bowl, with the egg roll chips on the side, or scoop out a bit of the dip onto each chip for easy grab and go bite sized snacks.

Sous Chef Sunday: Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

Little Caesar’s $5 hot and ready pizzas have saved my butt at dinner time on more than one occasion. Still I think it’s safe to say that they’re crazy bread is pretty much always the star of their show.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread

Soft and slightly chewy, brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with a heavy-handed amount of Parmesan cheese. They’re pretty much the best version of a bread stick. Arguably, ever.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread 2

I’ve never been good at the whole delayed gratification thing, and even though the closest Little Caesar’s to us is only about 10 miles away, when a craving hits that’s just too far. And that’s one of the reasons I love this make-at-home copycat version so much.

Craving satisfied 🙂

For big and little people alike.

Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

1 can of refrigerated pizza dough, or one batch of Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Roll out your pizza dough onto a clean surface, into a roughly rectangular shape (doesn’t have to be perfect or exact).
2. Cut dough in half lengthwise, and then cut 8 strips vertically (making 16 small bread sticks). Place each strip onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
3. While the bread sticks are baking, melt the butter and stir in the garlic salt. Remove the cooked bread sticks from the oven and brush on the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Copy Cat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

My parents theory for us girls was always keep us busy, and keep us out of trouble. Their updated take on idle hands make the devil’s work, I guess. I’ve got to say though, they’re track record speaks for itself, and the hubs and I’ve pretty much applied the same philosophy to the sons, keeping them enrolled in extra curricular activities. But my, my how times have changed. Or more specifically, how post game snack times have changed.

CopyCat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies 3

Back in the day everybody looked forward to the post game snacks and seeing what dreamy sweet cakes were waiting for us. Complete with a perfectly acceptable sugar-laced juice drink of some sort. If you brought oatmeal cream pies, it was a great post game, regardless of the win or loss. But if you brought cosmic brownies? It was a great game, most likely a championship of some sort. Now-a-days the sons get carrot sticks or bananas post game, or even outrageously expensive, and overly stuffed organic snack bags with several different options to choose from. And I get it, I do. Of course there little bodies need to refuel, but every kid (at least once in their lives) deserves to experience the sheer joy of biting into a fudgey brownie, topped with chocolate ganache, and studded with fun candy-coated, rainbow-colored chocolate candies.

Cosmic. Brownies.

CopyCat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies 2

Yep, I was that mom on snack day. And no I didn’t pair them with bottled water, or little organic juice drinks. Capri Sun all day. Erry day. And damn if those kids didn’t think it was magic. Even the sons (who’re used to sweet treats) were a bit in awe.

I even brought enough to share with the parents. You can’t be stingy with something this great. And I happily shared the recipe with each and every one who asked for it. Now I’m sharing the love with all of you too.

Copy Cat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

CopyCat Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

For the Brownies
3/4 cup butter (1½ Sticks)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup, packed, light brown sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the chocolate ganache topping:
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup M&M minis, or rainbow chocolate chip candies

Directions

1. Line an 11×7 inch pan with foil. Spray with non stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, melt butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or melt in a small pot over low heat and then transfer to the bowl.
3. Whisk in the sugars, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Then whisk in the cocoa powder until the batter is smooth and not lumpy.
4. Add flour gradually, stirring until everything’s evenly combined.
5. Pour the batter out into the prepared pan, and use a spatula to gently spread it out evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool completely.
6. Heat the heavy cream in a medium sauce pan over medium-medium low heat. Add in the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally until they’ve both completely incorporated and the ganache is smooth.
7. Pour the ganache over the completely cooled brownies. Smooth it out with an offset spatula.
8. Sprinkle the M&Ms, or rainbow chocolate chip candies, over the top of the ganache. Refrigerate until the ganache has set. Cut brownies into squares to serve and enjoy!