Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brownie Batter Dip

A few months ago I was at a party at a friend's house and she served this fabulous chocolate dip that I new I just HAD to make!  It is so much more than just chocolate, when I learned that the recipe name was Brownie Batter Dip I wanted to lick the entire bowl!!!  My friend served it with graham crackers, strawberries, and marshmallows I have also dipped pretzels, pound cake, and nilla wafers in it.  The recipe is from Life in the Lofthouse blog.  I didn't change the ingredients, but I did reduce the amount of each of the ingredients by half to make a smaller batch.  I was making this for a small group so I did not need the large amount that the full recipe makes.


  • 4 oz of Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Mini Chocolate Chips for Garnish (optional)
Cream together butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer.  Add in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix.  Place in bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Chocolate Strawberry Drop Cookies

My friend Tina made these cookies for a cookie exchange back in December.  I finally remembered to ask her for the recipe and I was pleased to know that they are SUPER easy to make!  I love to turn cake mixes into cookie dough.  One of my favorite ways is Rolo Cookies.  The combination of chocolate and strawberries is always delicious, so why not turn it into a cookie!

  • 1 Box of Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup of Chocolate Chips (I used 3/4 Cup mini chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand)
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a mixer blend cake mix, flour, water, egg, and oil.  When they are well combined hand stir in the chocolate chips.  
 Place drops of cookie dough onto baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let them cool or enjoy them warm!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Take out food can be expensive and you just never know exactly what is in it.  This dinner can easily be made in about 30 minutes and pleases my whole family.  As much as I try to get my kiddos to eat all the veggies that my husband and I eat they sometimes just refuse.  The vegetables in this are large enough that even the pickiest eater can pick around them and since my kids like all things pasta this is still a winner!

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of White Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of Canola Oil
  • A couple handfuls of Pea Pods
  • About 10 Mushrooms (sliced)
  • A couple handfuls of Beansprouts
  • 1 box of Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Garlic Chili Sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
This recipe fed 4 adults and 2 kids

In a small bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, canola oil, minced garlic, and garlic chili sauce.  Pour a little bit of the sauce in a large skillet, add chicken, and cook thoroughly.  Remove chicken from skillet and add pea pods.  I add a little bit of water to the skillet to help the veggies steam a bit.  When the pea pods have cooked for a couple of minutes add the bean sprouts, mushrooms, and about a tablespoon of the sauce.  Return the chicken to the skillet, add remainder of sauce, and heat throughout.  Last add in the cooked angel hair pasta and toss to coat with the sauce.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

30 Minute Stuffed Pepper Soup

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, but we still have some patches of snow on the ground.  It is starting to warm up THANK GOODNESS!!!  I am not sure how much more cold weather I can handle-my kiddos REALLY need to start playing outside.  While it is still chilly outside I am going to make a few more soup recipes.  This recipe is quick, easy, hearty, and DELICIOUS!  The adults in my family (in-laws and husband) recently requested Stuffed Peppers.  I had to laugh at them because most of them don't even like pepper, they just love the "goodness" that is inside the stuffed pepper.  This is all of the good stuff in one pot!  They loved it! peppers and all!  Activities are starting to pick up (ok maybe they never calmed down) in our house which means that any meal that can be made in less than 30 minutes is a hit with me!

Serves 6


  • 1 Large Green Pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 of an Onion (finely chopped)
  • 14-16 oz of Beef Broth
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of Basil, Oregano, and Garlic Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 Jar of Chunky Tomato Sauce (I used  a jar of Prego Thick and Chunky Garden Style Pasta Sauce)
  • 1 Box of Long Grain and Wild Rice (cooked according to package)
  • 1/4 pound of Mild or Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 3/4 pound Ground Beef
The rice will take about 25 minutes so start cooking it when you start the sausage.  Cook sausage, onion, and green pepper in skillet until sausage is cooked through.  Dump can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth in soup pot.  When sausage and onion are done dump them in too.  Using the same skillet as the sausage, cook and crumble the ground beef.  Drain the ground beef and add to the soup mixture.  When the rice is done stir it into soup.  You will have a thick, slightly spicy, and yummy soup that is perfect for any chilly evening.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekly Menu #5

Now that we've had a few nice days, I'm really itching to cook on the grill. Just the other night we threw some hot dogs on the grill because it was a last minute decision and we didn't have anything else to grill, and then sat around by a fire once the sun went down and it was awesome! So we'll start incorporating a few more grill ideas as we move forward. Hopefully it will get so nice outside that we can do an entire week full of grilled dinners!

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Flattened Redskin Potatoes

Cha Cha Chicken Tacos with mango Tango Salsa

Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches
Cucumber Salad

Grilled Bourbon Pork Medallions
Grilled Rosemary Chive Potatoes
Waldorf Salad

Lazy Lasagna
Caesar Salad

Here are some suggested snacks and desserts to go along with your menu this week.

Be sure to check out our other weekly menus for ideas and inspiration for your family's meal planning.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sharp Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese

I am notorious for throwing together a homemade mac and cheese with random cheese that I have on hand.  Some are winners and some are just okay.  This one is definitely one I will be making again.  I have used this same milk/butter/egg/flour combo a few times before.  I like it because it creates a great base for the cheese.  You can substitute other cheeses, but I like to make sure that at least one of them is on the stronger side.  I like cheese any cheese...YUM!

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Guyere
  • 12 oz of Pasta cooked al dente (I used medium shells)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
While the water for the pasta is coming to a boil I shred the cheese and gather and measure my ingredients because this is one of those recipes that the last 5 minutes is when it all comes together and you can't be scrambling for things.  
Once the pasta is cooked and drained, set it aside.  In the pot you boiled the pasta in melt the butter.  Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour.  Whisk continuously over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, don't let it burn.  Slowly add the milk, heavy cream, and ground mustard to the butter/flour mixture.  Continue whisking until sauce thickens.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  The next step is a little (just a little) tricky.  Remove about 1/4 cup of the sauce mix.  Gradually whisk the sauce mix into the bowl with the beaten egg.  Make sure you do it slowly so that you don't cook the egg.  Pour the egg mixture into the sauce mixture, mix well.  Next, add the shredded cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mix until cheese is melted.  Last add the cooked macaroni and stir.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Apple Butter BBQ

This is one of those recipes that I started the blog post for and then forgot to complete it.  Darn these kiddos for wanting me to play with them instead of share this delicious recipe!  LOL!  So here we are about 6 months later and I am just getting around to completing it.  I made this for dinner again tonight with a new mac and cheese recipe and the whole thing was a HIT!  I love mixing old favorites with new recipes because it helps to keep dinner interesting.  The BBQ sauce in this recipe is on the sweeter side.  The nice thing is that you can start with this and then spice it up if you would like.
Check out the Sharp Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese.
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 3/4 Cups Apple Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A couple dashes of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 6-8 Chicken Thighs
The directions are super simple.  Combine all ingredients except chicken and mix well.  Divide sauce into two bowls.  The chicken can either be grilled or baked.  I have done it both ways, but since it is February and still freezing cold I decided to save my finger tips and bake it.  Place chicken in baking dish and brush on Apple Butter BBQ sauce.

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  I like to brush on some more sauce about half way through the baking time.  The sauce is so yummy, I serve the reserved sauce on the side.  
This recipe was featured on our 30 Days of Dinners June Menu, Make sure to check out all of the other great recipes on this month's menu!