Dinner & Dessert: Steaks and Pioneer Woman Apple Dumplings

IMG_1285We’ve recently remodeled our kitchen (more on that in another post), so of course we had to break it in with a fancy dinner.  Of course the meal we wanted was steaks.  Nothing is better than a nice steak…nothing.  Once we settled on steaks we threw on some simple sides to it and the set off looking for a dessert to make.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

So, dinner.  We grabbed some filets from the grocery to grill up.  We used the rest of our steak rub we picked up from Findlay Market to get a nice taste to the steaks.  Along side of those we made some baked potatoes.  The way we made them comes from my mother-in-law and it’s great.  Poke some holes in them, cover with olive oil and salt, and bake at 450 for about 30-40 minutes (or until done depending on the size).  These things are so good.  I literally eat every bit including the salty crunch skin…damn they’re good.  Since you should have veggies we steamed some broccoli, but because we were making a bad ass first dinner we put some cheese sauce on top.  Add a garlic knot and some beer and SHAZAM!  I finished my plate and part of my wife’s and I was stuffed.

However, as a true American…I had to eat dessert.  I mean, I cleaned my plate and that’s what my second stomach is for.  The wife had found a Pioneer Woman recipe earlier in the day that we wanted to try out.  With most Pioneer Woman recipes…it’s not going to be bad.  This was definitely the case here with these things.

The assembly of the apple dumplings looked pretty simple as I watched the wife work her magic.  Once assembled you pour butter and Mountain Dew over the top of them.  I’m pretty sure this recipe is a Honey Boo Boo fever dream come to life.  It will simultaneously rot your teeth while clogging your arteries…in the most delicious way possible.

Once this came out of the oven, we plated the things up and scooped some vanilla ice cream on top.  Not to let anything go to waste, we poured some of the extra sauce on top.  HOLY BATMAN PEOPLE! They were legit good.  Super easy to make and super enjoyable.

It was a great meal overall in the new kitchen.  If you ever need to celebrate something in the future, I recommend steaks and something from the Pioneer Woman for dessert.  I know I’ll be using that plan!

Pioneer Woman Apple Dumplings


  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cinnamon, To Taste
  • 1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda


  1. Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
  2. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Dinner: Homemade Pasta

IMG_0212I don’t really have a recipe here.  This is kind of one of those things you just throw together without any direction.  In this case, with my mom and her BF in town, we decided to make a pasta we’ve come to enjoy.  We made it a couple of visits back and it’s just a light pasta with simple ingredients.  It may have had a few different iterations, but it usually has at least:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Olives
  • Peppers
  • White Wine
  • Shrimp
  • Cheese (we used a fontina/asiago blend)

The amounts of the above items can vary based on your preferences.  As you can see in the pictures below we sautéed everything up in our braiser before adding in the pasta.

Now, the best part of this night was that we made homemade pasta.  Making pasta has been done by my grandma and my mom.  This was the first time that we actually did it at our house.  So, we started passing down the recipes from one generation to the next.  Now the recipe doesn’t have much to it, but we learned how to make our own pasta…and since our son has some Italian in his blood, it is something that he needs to know.  There is no…NO substitute for homemade pasta.

Again…no recipe here for this.  I checked with my mom and she said that you use about 3/4 cups of flour to one egg.  I think we used about five eggs and it was plenty for five people (and more).  Once you add those in, you use a little water until everything comes together to make the dough.  Knead it a little and set it aside until you are ready to roll it out.

My mom and Bob got us our first pasta maker to use just for this.  It takes the little sections of dough that we cut up and helps roll it out thinly into strips.  From here it cuts all the strips up into the exact pasta you want.  In our case we went with more of a standard spaghetti or angel hair pasta (not a fan of thicker noodles in this house).

Once the pasta was done and the other ingredients cooked up, we through it all into a bowl and added the cheese.  The cheese and white wine helped form up a nice, light sauce.  About four school fulls later onto my plate and I was ready to eat.  It was a hit all around.  It’s no wonder why we make this each time my mom comes around town.  It’s kind of a tradition now…and now we have the tradition to make homemade pasta as well.  We had enough left over to feed four of us the next day…and even the leftovers were legit.

All I can say is…if you have the time, treat yo self to some homemade pasta.  It will change your world.

Dessert: Pioneer Woman Dump Cake

photo 5Sometimes you’re off your diet while watching a football game (pizza and beer of course), and you say screw it…let’s make something delicious and unhealthy for dessert.  The day prior to watching football, I had The Pioneer Woman‘s TV show playing.  If you’re hungry and/or on a diet, this is not a show to be watching.  During the particular episode that we were watching, she made a dump cake for her family.  It was super simple and horrible for you…and of course looked delicious.  It’s basically a simple cobbler.

We had not planned on making the dump cake over the weekend, but when we saw that we could have our son make it with us and I was already off my diet for the day…well, all bets were off.

The dump cake takes about three minutes to put together.  The hardest part is opening the cans and boxes.  This is definitely a fun recipe to make with kids because it really hard for them to screw up.  If your kid is like ours and has an egg allergy, this works out perfect as well.  He loved making this one.  He called it a “sandcastle cake” because the cake mix on top reminded him of sand (he’s adorable…I know.)  Once everything is in the pan, set the timer for about an hour and…DUMP CAKE!

This thing is delicious.  Again, horrible for you…but delicious.  We had some vanilla ice cream around from our son’s birthday party a few weeks back so we went ahead and topped it off with some more sugary goodness.  Eating this thing hot is probably best, but a few hours later I swung by the pan and just grabbed a few more bites with a fork.  Still good cold.  Another nice thing about this recipe is that you can use other fruits as well.  We thought about doing something with apple pie filling…maybe blueberries…or cherries…damn, I’m hungry.

If you need a simple dessert that’s easy to make and a crowd pleaser, this is it.

Pioneer Woman Dump Cake


  • 1 can (21 Oz.) Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 can (15 Oz.) Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 box (about 18 Oz.) Yellow Or White Cake Mix
  • 1 stick Margarine
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  •  Whipped Cream


  1. Dump cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into baking dish. Stir together.
  2. Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the fruit. Slice margarine and butter and distribute over the surface of the cake mix.
  3. Bake this sacrilege at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.`

Dessert: Piña Colada Sorbet

securedownload-8With another round of BLT Pasta (recipe here), the wife was off with something new to satisfy our nightly sweet tooth…sweet teeth (?)…whatever.  Anyway, before we had actually gotten dinner together, she had thrown together some piña colada sorbet.  I didn’t even know she made it until I heard our ice cream machine churning away.

We got the ice cream bug a little bit ago when we made bourbon ice cream with salty buttered pecans (recipe here).  We had talked about doing ice cream again, but hadn’t gotten the chance.  With being on some diets before family pictures…gotta look good…we thought about what we could do to make up some healthy ice cream alternatives.  The wife had done a pineapple sorbet like option before in the Vitamix, but this time she found a recipe and went to work.

The recipe comes from a blog (SkinnyTaste.com) that we have gotten a lot of good recipes from in the past.  For our needs here we found a recipe for piña colada sorbet.  You can see below that there is little actually in the recipe and little that you’ll need to make it.  We happened to have some pineapple around the house, so all we had to do was grab some coconut milk from the store.  For this round of the recipe we left our the rum.  Like I said before, in about three minutes the mix was made and in the ice cream machine.  After a little bit in the machine, it was into the basement freezer.  We left it there for a good few hours while we went about our business.

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Dessert: Bourbon Ice Cream with Salty Buttered Pecans

securedownload-6A few weeks back I attempted my first batch of beer with a buddy…we’ll see how that turns out in a couple weeks and I’ll let you all know if it is delicious or tastes like the backside of a skunk.  In any case, the wife as she is aught to do, wanted to cook up something special for the occasion.  Since we had some friends coming over that had our same affection for booze we decided maybe some homemade ice cream was in order…but with, you know, booze in it.  A long time ago we had purchased a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating Jeni’s ice cream before…do yourself a favor, stop reading, buy some, and thank me later.  Seriously, their whisky pecan and riesling poached pear are freaking amazing.  I digress…

So as we turned the pages of the cookbook we saw a few recipes for ice cream with beer, but we landed on the one with bourbon.  We were already going to be drinking beer that evening so why not make our dessert with some hard liquor.  Once we read over the recipe and saw there wasn’t too much to the ingredients and making of the ice cream, we were in.  Really, the wife was in because she did all the work.  I tasted per usual.

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IMG_3785Along the dieting path, you need a break from all of the healthy meals.  Granted, the ones we make are quite tasty…sometimes you need to add a little extra fat and flare to your meals.  We will normally allow ourselves one cheat meal per week (or two).  This helps breaks up the diet and keeps things fun and fresh.  It seems most of the time we’ll go out to eat for our cheat meals, but every now and again we’ll cook it up at home.  This happened to be one of those times where we made the cheat meal ourselves…and it was glorious.  You know what they say, “GO BIG OR GO HOME”.

We did in fact share this meal with some friends, but I’m not going to lie when I say that I put a sizeable dent in this meal myself (beverages included).  This is one meal you don’t track your calories for, as it would boggle the mind.

For starters we went to a recipe we use often when we need to bring meals to folks after surgery or having a baby, taco pizza.  It’s easy to make, easy to reheat, and tastes great.  You like pizza?  You like tacos?  Well, pony up the table and get down with this thing.  I mean, the crust is Pillsbury crescent rolls.  C’mon son!  On top of the deliciously, buttery, flaky crust goes beans, meat, cheese, tomatoes, and green onions.  This is another of those base recipes where it can allow you to add a number of different toppings depending on your tastes.  I could totally see us adding jalapenos, corn, or other things to spice this up.  Top it with a bit of sour cream and/or guacamole and you’re set.  It’s delicious and again, easy to make.  To accompany dinner, we busted out one of my favorite local brews…a nice, cold Hudy Amber Lager.  It’s definitely a good one to have handy around the house if you need a light beer that’s local.

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Dessert – Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert


I swear on my life that this was about the best dessert that has ever hit my lips.  I know that most of the recipes I post are healthy, but this thing is too damn good not to share.

I wish I could take credit for these recipes and making them, but all of that goes to the wife.  In this case we needed to bring a dessert to a pot luck get together with some friends.  Always wanting to try something new, she found this doozy of a recipe to bring (original here).  She texted me a photo during the day of what you see here and told me what was in it.  I had to wipe the drool off of my phone.

Inside of this insanely great dessert is a crust of Oreos, chocolate and peanut butter mousse, and peanut butter cups.  It’s literally Oreo cookies, mousse, peanut butter cups, more mousse, and more Oreos and peanut butter cups on top.  Seriously, if you may be diabetic…it may be worth the coma.  I have no other way to say how delicious this was.  It’s not too rich to where you can’t go back for seconds…which of course I did.  Hell, it was my cheat meal.

So, seriously…if you need to make a dessert to bring somewhere that will be gone by the time it’s time to leave, make this.  People will make noises that they can’t control when they bite into it.  I’ve seen it happen.


  • 20 chocolate cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix


  • Crush 16 cookies; toss with the butter. Press into an ungreased 9-in. square dish; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
  • In another large bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners’ sugar on low speed for 2 minutes Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in remaining whipped topping.
  • Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Yield: 12-16 servings.