No Bake Cake Batter Truffles

I mean, do I even need to explain why I would make something called No Bake Cake Batter Truffles? I didn't think so. Beyond delicious. Relatively easy (if you aren't OCD about the chocolate not being perfect) and will last a few days...if you don't eat them all at once. I made these for J's bday party, but ended up NOT putting them out for the masses because they were just too good to share. Thank you Chef in Training for this tasty treat!

No Bake Cake Batter Truffles
Makes: 20-25 Truffles
Cook time according to Chef in Training: She doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 35 mins + at least an hour in freezer or refrigerator
How difficult was this for Rachel: Not too hard!

1 cup vanilla or yellow cake mix, dry
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Agave
1 container dipping chocolate

You will also need parchment paper


In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients except chocolate. Mixture should be quite solid and not runny. 

Dough looks dryer than it should. I flipped 2 steps. Don't ask.
Roll dough into small balls. Refrigerate for 15 mins. Remove balls from fridge. 

Prepare dipping chocolate according to directions. While chocolate is melting, place the parchment paper onto baking sheet.  Here comes the fun part. Dip balls into chocolate making sure the ball is fully covered. I used a tooth pick. If you have a better idea, let me know.

Place balls onto parchment paper. I didn't really care how "perfect" my balls looked.  Once all balls are dipped and placed, refrigerate or place in freezer for at least an hour or until chocolate has hardened. 

Make sure to store any uneaten balls in the fridge. 


3 Cheese Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

It was J's birthday this past week and we celebrated the two of us at a Hollywood sushi staple, Katsuya. But this weekend, the real celebration went down. After a successful housewarming party, J wanted to have another party at our house, so of course I used this as the perfect excuse to make a few recipes I've been wanting to try.

It is no secret I love any form of macaroni & cheese. Put the cheesy goodness into a finger food?  As soon as I saw the photo for these "3 Cheese Mini Macs" at Food and Wine my stomach told me I HAD TO MAKE THESE...and they were everything I hoped they would be. Super easy to make and so so so delicious. It's a good thing I sampled as I made them, because all 48 were gone quickly. I want to have another party simply so I can make them again.

3 Cheese Mini Mac & Cheese Bites
Makes: 48 mini cups
Cook time according to Food & Wine: 45 mins
Cook time according to Rachel: 45 mins!
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!
Note: These can be made the day before up until they need to be baked. Just make sure to store in the fridge. (I did this and it definitely saved me time day of the party)

1/2 lb elbow macaroni                                          
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup skim milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese
4 ounces deli-sliced American Cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp paprika
baking spray

Bakeware: 2  24 cup mini muffin tins


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large saucepan or pot, cook the macaroni according to directions on the box. 

While the noodles are cooking, in a large sauce pan, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour over medium heat for aprox 2 mins.
 Whisk in milk and cook until mixture boils. Now, my mixture was boiling right away, so let cook for a few mins if that happens to you.  Add in the cheddar and american cheese. Whisk until melted.
(Try not to eat the cheese straight out of the pot) 
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the egg you and paprika.
Add the cheese to the noodles and completely mix through.
Spray the mini muffin tins with baking spray and sprinkle in a pinch of Parmigiano in the bottom of each cup.
Spoon 1 tbsp of mac and cheese into prepared cups. 
(If making these ahead of time, once all cups are filled, cover with foil and refrigerate)
If you made these the day before, sprinkle on a little cheddar before baking
Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
With a spoon, gently remove from muffin tin. 
Duke did a great job supervising. I did let him sample just a little bit. He worked hard after all.


{Recipe} Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Well, I might have found my new favorite casserole.  Chicken, veggies, cheese...topped with Grand's Biscuits?? OK! I was having a really long day at work and was craving something for dinner that was easy and would warm my insides.  This dish actually tastes very similar to Chicken Pot Pie.  The original recipe called for 1 can of peas, but after reading some comments, other folks used corn. Well, I love both...so why not throw both into the mix? I got this recipe from a new blog I stumbled across, Marie's Cooking Adventures. It is safe to say I will be spending more time on Marie's blog looking for more awesome recipes!

Serves: 4
Cook time according to Marie: Doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 50 minutes
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Easy!

1 tube Pilsbury Grand Biscuits
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 stick butter, melted
1 small can peas
1 small can corn
2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup low fat mild cheddar cheese
2 tbsp's skim milk


Heat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly coat 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Mix soup and 1/2 cup sour cream.
Stir in chicken, peas, corn, milk & melted butter. Sprinkle top with cheese.
Layer biscuits on top of cheese as seen above. (And no, I didn't use a square baking dish. Mine was busy storing some brownies)
Bake for 35 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. 
You will see the excess butter pooled at the top. The original recipe called for 1/2 stick melted butter which is what I used. I cut the amount in half in the ingredients listed above.
Serve in a bowl, mixture is more liquid-y than a typical casserole.


Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I know I say this a lot, but these were awesome! They are super easy to make and perfect for a weeknight meal when you don't feel like putting a lot of effort into dinner.  These could also be used as an appetizer. I love taking something that is traditionally fried and baking it instead. You won't lose ANY of the flavor and it's way healthier. And anything I can eat with my hands? Bonus points. Once again, this recipe came from Six Sisters Stuff. They NEVER disappoint! 

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Makes: 9-10 Taquitos (note, these are thicker than your avg Taquito)
Cool time according to Six Sisters: 20ish mins
Cook time according to Rachel: 30 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Pretty easy!

1/2 (4oz) cup light cream cheese
1/3 cup green salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups shredded chicken, cooked
1 cup cheese of choice. I used 4 cheese mexican

Dipping Sauce: Equal parts Ranch & red salsa


If you're like me and you usually buy the typical salsa (Ortega, Pace etc), branch out. I tried a new brand and it was an awesome change. 
(I also might have just bought these two because they looked cool. Whatever)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil & lightly coat with cooking spray

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften up. Add cream cheese, green salsa,  lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly.

Add chicken and cheese. Combine well

Place 2-3 tbsp of chicken mix on the lower third of the tortilla. Roll as tightly as possible. Place seam side down on baking sheet.

Lay all filled tortillas on baking sheet. Make sure they aren't touching each other.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle salt on top. (Totally forgot this step)

Bake for 15-20 mins or until crisp and the ends start to become golden brown, 

While taquitos are baking, combine equal parts salsa and Ranch dressing. I was skeptical, but it is pretty tasty!


Slow Cooker Taco Meat!

I didn't understand how cooking taco meat in my crock pot would make it taste that much better than when I normally prepare it on the stove. Especially because this particular recipe calls for browning the meat first! As the hours ticked by, the house slowly started to smell amazing. I was so anxious to taste the meat, I forgot to take pictures.  After taking my first bite, I now understood why this should be the only way taco meat is ever made. The meat was SO much tastier and flavorful.  Thank you Everyday Mom's Meals to for the recipe!

Serves: Aprox 8 tacos
Cook time according to Everyday Mom's Meals: doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 4 hours 15 minutes
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? EASY.


1 lb ground turkey
1 (1.25oz) packet taco seasoning
1/4 cup salsa

Taco Accoutrement's:
shredded lettuce
sour cream
taco sauce
shredded Mexican cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground turkey.

Once ground turkey is cooked through, drain and place in crock pot. Add in taco seasoning, salsa & 3/4 cup of water. Mix thoroughly.

Cook mixture on low heat for 4 hours. I did stir once an hour just to keep the meat from burning.

Serve immediately!


Pancake + Muffin Tin = Puffins!

Well, these are just genius.  I LOVE breakfast foods, but don't usually have the patience or time to cook in the morning.  Enter Puffins. Delicious pancakes in muffin form.  Thank you The World According to Egg Face for this awesome new recipe (I did modify it a bit).  The best part is the ability to use a wide variety of toppings. My only mistake was asking J if I should make one tray or two. Of course he suggested I make 2 trays worth. We ate Puffins for 4 days.

Serves: Each tray makes about 3-4 servings
Cook time according to Egg Face: Doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 15-18 mins (plus any cook time for meat toppings)
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!

Pancake mix (any additional ingredients listed on the batter box)
Toppings of your choice
(I used turkey sausage, bacon, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and bananas)
Cooking spray (IMPORTANT)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix batter according to directions on box. 1 Batch of pancakes as directed on box makes 12 puffins.
Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Pour batter into muffin cups filling up only half way. 
(I went filled the cups a tad too high)
Put desired toppings on each cup. 
If you use any meat, make sure to prepare ahead of time
Bake for 12-15 mins. They should be a bit more golden brown than these above. Because I filled the cups too high, only the sides browned. Whatever, they were still delicious.
Serve right away!
As usual, Duke supervised. 


Branching Out! Traditional Japanese

Photo borrowed from Robata JINYA
I had to do a quick food-related non cooking post about my dinner from last night because I can't stop thinking about it. My cousin and his girlfriend were in town, and we decided to go to Robata JINYA. I had never had traditional Japanese (other than when they cook in front of you...I love that!) and let me say, it was awesome.

Looking at the menu, I had never felt so lost. I know sushi (and I know it isn't for me) but everything else was foreign. Thank god my cousins girlfriend was a pro and was able to help guide us. We decided to order a bunch of Robata, grilled skewers and vegetables, for the entire table.   It was awesome trying so many different types of foods without it feeling overwhelming. 

I tried sneaking a picture at dinner, but it was the first time meeting my cousins lady and I didn't want to come off as that person. The one photo I got is below. Otherwise, the pictures from their website do the food much better justice. Can't wait to go back!