Fudgy Brownies


Mmmmm, Fudgy Brownies! My kids love brownies and I love that they are fast and easy.  As you may have noticed before,  those are my favorite recipes! I have a regular brownie recipe, but I was on the hunt for one that tastes like the one on CiCi’s pizza buffet (gasp). I haven’t eaten there in over 4 years and when I did,  I didn’t care for the brownies, nor the pizza for that matter.  But my kids love it and eat there whenever they go shopping alone with their Dad (LittleChefsDad).  They don’t get it alot so it’s a very special treat to them. Trust me when my crew goes there, they lose money that night. LOL 😀IMG_2403


LittleChef3 has asked and asked for me to try and duplicate their infamous brownies. Who knew I’d have so much trouble doing that?? He said this recipe didn’t taste exactly like CiCi’s, but was still awesome.

When my other kids had to stop eating them because they were too rich, I suspected they were very fudgy.  I can’t begin to tell you how incredible the house smelled and how bad I wanted to be the one biting into those brownies! I may have to try some out with GF flour so I can sample this recipe!


I asked the kids if they liked the Fudgy Brownies better than our old stand by recipe, they all agreed this one was excellent too.  LittleChef2 said he didn’t know, he didn’t remember exactly what the old one tastes like. Yeah right!  I guess I will have to do our old one and let them compare. Nice play my little food lover. Score one for the kids!!

Fudge Brownies


LittleChefTip: To get a clean cut on brownies, use a plastic knife.  Yes, seriously! It really works, even on hot brownies.  I don’t know why, but I’m glad it does:-)




Fudgy Brownies
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl.
  5. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.
  9. Recipe source: Allrecipes.com



I love my brownies with walnuts in them, do you have any special add-ins that you just love? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear 🙂



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Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese


I love mac ‘n cheese, seriously I just love it! In fact before LittleChefsDad and I were married I’d eat that along with corn for my complete meal! As complete a meal can get when you’re 20 years old. LOL!  It was one of the few items I knew how to fix and I loved it, still do. Even the gluten free mac ‘n cheese still has a place on my plate, thankfully.  I ate it a couple times a week when I was pregnant with the twins.  It accompanied fish and vegetables.  I had to have a starch to balance my meal you know 🙂

Grandma's Macaroni N Cheese

I grew up eating macaroni and cheese from a box, always a box!  So when I first tasted my Mother-in-law’s mac and cheese it was love at first bite!! So cheesy and creamy, the perfect gooiness.  You know any food that is described by gooiness is a must have!!   In fact, gooiness should be a real word! 😉Grandma's Mac N Cheese

Now whenever I make macaroni and cheese for the kids, this is the only recipe I use. The blue box got kicked to the curb when she told me how to fix this.

As with any great cook, Grandma, aka Cathy, doesn’t measure anything out.  I hope I do her recipe justice because I  just throw stuff in there till it looks good and gooey, yummm!

 Cathy doesn’t look like a Grandma, at least not the one that comes to my mind.  When I say Grandma, I think of an older person with gray hair up in a bun and glasses on. She looks much younger but is all Grandma, she loves her Grandsons! How blessed they are to have her!

Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese
Start with ⅓ cup milk and add more depending on your personal preference. If it looks dry, add more. Remember you can always add more but you can't take away so easily!
  • 12 ounces dry macaroni, elbow shaped
  • 10 ounces Velveeta Cheese, cubed
  • ½ stick butter (4 TBLS)
  • ⅓-1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain
  2. Add rest of ingredients and mix well
  3. Cook on low heat to melt cheese


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Tuna Patties



This is the only recipe I have for tuna that my kids and husband will even eat!  The secret is the Lawry’s Seasoning Salt.  It totally covers up the fishy tuna taste.  What I LOVE about this recipe, other than it’s super quick and easy, it’s so frugal.  It’s perfect for the times you have more month than paycheck 🙂  It’s also great for when you need a meat to go with dinner but only have frozen options.  Just go to your pantry and grab a can, or two!

Quick & Easy Tuna Patties

I serve this with mashed potatoes, Cheesy Garlic Buttered Noodles, and peas. Although I’m the only one that eats peas here, I try to add some color!  In a pinch you can ground up some croutons in place of the bread crumbs.

Obviously if eating gluten free, sub GF bread crumbs, or I have even ground up oats and used those to make it GF.  If you do just add some Italian seasoning. It’s an easy to change recipe.


Tuna Patties

Serves: 8 patties

Makes great tuna burgers too!
  • 2 cans tuna,(6oz), drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbls Lawry's seasoning salt
  • veg. oil for frying (small amount)
  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Form into patties (mixture will be soft)
  3. Fry in skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked

I realize the picture quality isn’t great. I took pictures inside and at night. The twins have their first illness, a bad cold, and I was trying to be as quick as possible while they were happy sitting on their own. Let’s just say having 1 sick baby is bad, having 2 sick babies is very bad!! I’m praying they continue to get better and don’t develop any other infections.

Anyway, try out this recipe, even tuna hating folks love it!

Herbed buttered Potatoes (Stovetop)

Herbed Buttered Potatos

Oh potatoes, how I love thee, let me count the way…..

you all would be here a long time 🙂

I LOVE potatoes, in any form or any recipe! The humble spud packs a special place in my heart for my favorite comfort food!  You really can do so many tasty things with a potato!

My mind immediately goes to the great potato famine of Ireland. Here’s an excellent short read if inquiring minds want to know. Small snippet:

What was the Irish Potato Famine?
The famine was a devastating moment in Ireland’s history, when the failure of the potato crop led to mass hunger during the mid-19th century, a famine that killed one million people and crippled the country.


Famine memorial_0The haunting memorial to the Irish Potato Famine in Dublin

Bet you didn’t expect a little history lesson about a potato today, did you??

I have warned you all repeatedly that it’s kinda scary up in here (brain), and I blog what I think 🙂

Moving on…

The potatoes cook about 30 minutes on the stovetop in a Dutch Oven.   It’s quick and tasty and no boiling water to mess with. I found this recipe a couple years ago on the internet by Ina Garten. Normally I don’t care for her stuff, she just seems to pretentious.  Not to offend anyone, I just never liked watching her shows on Food Network.

Herbed Buttered Potatoes

 Anyway, last weekend we had our church anniversary service, and I had the biggest cake fail of my life! It was pinterest fail worthy! I’ve baked many cakes and followed the recipe to a tee and it was still a disaster! I didn’t find the recipe on some blog, no, it was an award winning baking cookbook!  Now I’m afraid to try other recipes from it.

I know I was absent last week, but I did fix two of our favorite quick appetizers and meals.  But didn’t have time to photograph or blog.  So that will give me an excuse to fix them again soon 🙂

After a great weekend of guest preachers,  we get to hear another preacher from Mexico tonight. I’m very much looking forward to that!!

Herbed buttered Potatoes (Stovetop)
Make sure you use a Dutch Oven or an equivalent pot.
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2½ pounds small white or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, use less if of butter is salted
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh green herbs, such as parsley, chives, and dill. (I use dried)
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Add the whole potatoes, salt, and pepper and toss well.
  3. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size,until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a small knife.
  4. From time to time, shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the bottom potatoes from burning.
  5. Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes.
  6. Don't overcook! Toss with the herbs, and serve hot.

I usually always peel my potatoes, I just don’t like getting the peel off in my mouth, so if that doesn’t bother you, then this recipe is even quicker!




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Cheesy Garlic Buttered Noodles



If LittleChef2 had to pick one favorite thing I fix for him,  then hands down it would be these noodles!  This kid has been happily eating them for over 10 years now! He even ate these during a bout with a stomach virus. I tried my best to convince him to let me fix something else, but he begged for the noodles as they’re affectionately known here.  I cringed with each bite he took, but thankfully he kept them down and he was comforted.   I fixed them for dinner last night and as I was photographing the picture, he stepped out onto the back deck and told me the noodles and mashed potatoes were the best ever and he could eat the whole thing.  Exaggeration I thought, so I told him to eat as much as he wanted.  Hmm, that kinda backfired on me because when I came inside and fixed me a plate, there were barely any food left and LittleChef1 still hadn’t eaten, nor LittleChefsDad!  I said Nicholas I can’t believe you ate the whole thing!!  He said I just ate half (not exactly!) and you did tell me to eat what I wanted.  Indeed I did!  Lesson learned…

Buttered Noodles

One thing I love about LittleChef2 is that he enjoys food, not just loves to eat, no, he takes the time to sit and enjoy food.  He immediately noticed the change in the mashed potatoes , he picks up on the faintest ingredients.  I look forward to see what career he chooses in life.  I’m thinking he’d make a fantastic chef, but you never know what the Lord has in store for him.

Even from a baby he has always had a voracious appetite. He would gum his food because he was a late teether and he would sit and cry for food. Forget the baby food, he wanted meat and potatoes!  Now at the age of 13 the boy can put the food away!  Trust me, it is scary having teenage boys and even scarier having all boys to feed!  No dieting here!  There’s no need to convince me my grocery bill isn’t higher because I have all males, I would never believe you.  You do not get in the way of a boy and his food!



Cheesy Garlic Buttered Noodles
Note: recipe will need to be doubled or tripled to feed a family. This makes enough for four small servings or one teenage boy :-)
  • ½ stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese & additional for sprinkling on top before serving
  • 2 heaping cups dry egg noodles
  1. Cook noodles according to manufacturers directions
  2. When noodles are almost done boiling; Melt butter on low heat,
  3. add milk and garlic salt
  4. cook till warm; stir in parmesan cheese
  5. Do not Boil; Remove from heat
  6. Pour over cooked and drained noodles, mix well. Enjoy!





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Delicious Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon Toast

Where was this amazing toast all my life??? I only discovered it about 6 years ago when I was flipping through a cookbook I bought called The Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook. I remembered it the next time I had some leftover bread that needed to be eaten up. The kids loved it!  I didn’t eat any because at the time I was doing Weight Watchers. Fast forward a couple months and I fixed it again. This time my willpower was basically null and I ate it and oh my goodness was it ever good!!! No wonder the kids loved it, it was delicious! I have since then modified the recipe, not much, and they love it even more!

Growing up my Mom would fix us apple butter toast, but the toast was soggy,  always soggy. Who likes soggy bread? Not me! So even though I loved the taste of hot apple butter, I didn’t like a sink hole in the middle of my bread!
Delicious Cinnamon Toast!

So you can guarantee the cinnamon toast I fix the kids is not soggy! To ensure toastiness (possibly could be a made up word), please, please, bake your bread in the oven till crisp before slathering on the cinnamonny sugar butter! I promise you, you won’t regret it!

I feel like I’m just making up words today, just play along 😃

Delicious Cinnamon Toast

Serves: 12 slices

Note: Use thick, firm white bread. If you have homemade bread, slice pieces about ⅓ " thick.
  • 12 slices white bread
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together,minus the bread.
  3. Toast the bread slices on cookie sheet till crisp.
  4. Remove from oven and flip over; spread butter sugar mixture on one side of each bread slice, covering as much as possible.
  5. Place back in the oven and broil until the mixture melts and the bread is bubbly all over.
  6. Serve immediately.

There’s several approaches to cinnamon toast, but I think this one is the most delicious way! Sure, you could just melt some butter and sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon, but that won’t leave your mouth singing with joy. No! You need to try it this way and taste the difference!

The smell is so tantalizing and is real torture for a person that can’t eat bread. The only people that say, oh it would be so easy for me to give up bread, are the ones that don’t have to worry about not giving it up! And they say that with bread crumbs on their face 😉

So to all my gluten eating friends, do yourself a favor and fix this delicious cinnamon toast today!

Sidenote: You gotta love a boy in a camo robe posing for a picture for his crazed food blogging Mom!


Disclaimer: Little Chef Within is not to be held accountable for anyone becoming addicted to this toast. 🙂

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Easy No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies


The classic beloved no-bake oatmeal cookie.  It’s the perfect blend of chocolate and peanut butter.  Not only did I love it as a child, but now my own kids love it too!  In fact it’s LittleChef1 and LittleChef4’s favorite cookie.  That’s super great for me because it’s so very quick.  My oven is on several times a week, no matter the season.  But it’s much easier not to heat up the oven in the summer and still have a sweet treat!

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

I’m sure everyone has eaten this cookie before, it’s the only cookie I remember actually making during my childhood. So I know the recipe is old since I’m not a spring chicken anymore 🙂

I love that it’s gluten free so I can happily eat it with the kids, if there are any left!  This is a hard to resist cookie and even harder to wait for it to cool and set up!

LittleChefTip: Use a smaller spoon or cookie scoop for smaller cookies.  That way when your kid wants to eat more than one, you can just smile and say okay.  They will think you’re the greatest Mom in the world and only you will know you cut the portion size in half, LOL!

Easy No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  1. Add the first five ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil and let boil for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth, then stir in the oats.
  5. Use a Large Tablespoon or Cookie Scoop, drop onto wax paper.
  6. Let cool until set.



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Chicken Doritos Casserole

Chicken Dorito Cass.


I hate to admit it, but I LOVE Doritos and I had never heard of this casserole until my friends fixed it.  Now we are hooked! It’s simple and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.  It truly is a tasty dish.  The kids always fight over the last piece!

I can’t remember where I first had this casserole at, either my dear friend Amber or Krista’s house.  They are siblings and both have such big hearts and generous spirits.  They are the closest sisters I have ever known, but they have the ability to always make you feel like a part of their family.  They are very special to my heart.  When I was on bedrest with the twins, they brought us food daily and this was one dish Amber brought that the kids happily devoured it and begged me to request it again 🙂  She even made it gluten-free so I could eat it.  When someone goes out of their way to make a person with Celiac something gluten-free, then they are the best friend a girl could ask for!!

Krista made me a GF casserole that LittleChef1 just loves!  I promised him to fix it in the next few days, so stay tuned.  In the meanwhile, you can find some yummy recipes at MannersandMayhem.com

Chicken Doritoes Casserole

I always want to put an in Doritos, not sure why.  I even double checked the bag before I wrote this post.  Yeah, I’m neurotic like that 😉

Dorito Casserole
Note: If you don't have enough chips to cover baking dish, crush up some more. You don't want to skimp on the Doritos.
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (we prefer diced)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we prefer Colby Jack)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (use GF if needed)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
  • ½ packet taco seasoning
  • Bag of regular nacho cheese Doritos
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except Doritos.
  3. In a greased 2 qt baking dish, put a layer of crushed Doritos (about 2 cups), then a layer of the chicken mixture.
  4. Repeat once more, ending with a layer of chicken mixture.
  5. Top with more shredded cheese, cover, and bake for 30-35 minutes, till bubbling hot.

Here’s an up close view.  I took the pictures inside because I was running late and depending on the placement of the food with the lighting, everything looks different.  Very annoying!  I’m a beginner and I know we all have to start somewhere.  Sorry for the little rant and sorry for the discrepancies in the pictures!

Doritos Casserole



Cinnamon Roll Cake


Cinnamon Roll Cake, what a concept!  I hadn’t even thought of the idea before.  How ingenious!  When I saw this recipe I immediately knew I had to make it for LittleChef3.  He is my die hard cinnamon roll lover.  In fact, cinnamon rolls were the first thing I baked after having the twins.  The babies were almost 3 weeks old and my feet had finally shrunk back down to normal.  I thought I had the skinniest feet in town then. LOL!  I could finally go back into the kitchen without severe pain and I asked the kids what they wanted baked first.  The kids said I don’t care, except for Evan, his big brown eyes widened even larger and yelled cinnamon rolls!  So that is what he got!

Cinnamon Roll Cake-LittleChefWithin.com

I wish I had found this recipe sooner because it’s so quick and easy.  It must taste really good because LittleChef3 was guarding it like a hawk and watching his brothers get their servings.  He was kind enough to save LittleChefsDad a piece and there was one left over, naturally he saved it for himself.  He did help me make it though and he told his brothers that the chef always gets the last piece.  Well played my son!

I found this recipe at Motherthyme.com and didn’t change a thing with the cake and filling.  I did however use cream cheese frosting that was already made up in the fridge.  When I make cakes I always make extra for piping borders and store the rest in the fridge to use on things like quick breads or muffins.  Since this recipe only requires frosting an 8″ pan, it worked out perfectly!  I have included her frosting recipe also because it’s the same ingredients I use in mine.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
  • Cake
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspon vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly dust an 8-inch round cake pan with flour and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl mix sugar, milk, butter, egg and vanilla.
  4. Gradually stir in wet ingredients into dry until just combined.
  5. Pour into cake pan.
  6. Filling
  7. In a small bowl mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour until blended.
  8. Dollop mounds of filling onto top of cake.
  9. Using a kitchen knife swirl filling around cake.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing and frosting.
  12. Cream Cheese Frosting
  13. Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter.
  14. Stir in confectioner sugar until combined.
  15. Add in milk and vanilla and beat until creamy.
  16. Frost generously on cooled cake.
  17. Chill until ready to serve.





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The Best Black Bean Dip

BlackBean DipIf I had to pick one appetizer to eat for the rest of my life, it would be this Black Bean Dip! It’s that great my friends! It truly is the best dip I have ever eaten!  Even my bean hating kids loved it! (Yes, I realize I used way too many exclamation marks) 😃

Unearthed below the beautiful hue of tomatoes and green onions is a cheesy bean mixture. It’s like a cheesy explosion of deliciousness in each bite! The cream cheese delivers this smooth taste.

Hot Black Bean Dip

I had a recipe saved on my phone to make for the past week. We were having Doritos Casserole and thought this dip would go well with it.  Not only did it go good with it, this dish was the star of the party!

The original recipe used chili beans, but I just adore black beans so substituted that instead.

Black Bean DipYou seriously have to make this recipe. Like right now! Your mouth will thank you.

The Best Black Bean Dip
  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese, slightly softened
  • ½ cup salsa (I used mild)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1½ cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • green onions, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • tortilla chips for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an oven safe dish, spread cream cheese into a thin layer to the edges of dish. (I used a deep dish pie plate)
  3. Spread salsa over cream cheese.
  4. After opening black beans, pour off some of the liquid on the top (about 1 TBLS). You want to keep most of the sauce in there though.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are hot and bubbly.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and tomatoes.
  7. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
  8. Recipe Source: Diaryofarecipecollector.com