Diet Coke Brownies

Have you seen the recipe on Pinterest for Diet Coke Brownies?  I wondered if it actually worked.

Pour brownie mix in bowl and mix with a Diet Coke.  Pour in pan and bake.

It seemed too simple. So, what better to do on a cold, rainy evening? Bake brownies!

The Cast

I followed the directions on the website, with a slight alteration. We had one caffeine-free Diet Coke in the fridge leftover from a party a while back.

The baking time on the back of the box says 25-30 minutes. Because these were pretty soupy when I first poured them into the pan, I baked them for 35 minutes.

The results?  Well, they weren’t pretty ~ definitely not show-stoppers.  The problem was that I found them difficult to cut neatly.  BUT.

I found them to be very tasty! 🙂  My children loved them! 🙂 And my husband was just happy that I made dessert! 🙂

The Curtain Call

I also altered from the prescribed recipe upon cutting these.  Because they were so messy, I didn’t even attempt to cut them into 24 pieces.  Going by the calories listed on the brownie box and dividing it by 16 (the number of brownies I cut.)  These moist and wonderful brownies are about 137 calories each. Yummy!


From the Kitchen – Chicken Spiedies

If you want an amazing marinade and sauce for chicken, make this.

If you want people to fall down and kiss your toes because it’s so good, make this AND serve it on a buttered-toasted sub roll.

Chicken Spiedies (Cooks’ Country)
You will need metal skewers for this recipe.


1/2 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 t. grated zest plus 1 T juice from 1 lemon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
3 T mayonnaise
1 T red wine vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
6 6-inch sub rolls


1. Make sauces: Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes in large bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to a separate bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar and lemon juice; refrigerate. (Sauces can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.)

2. Prick chicken breasts all over with a fork, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes to 3 hours.

3. Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto six 12-inch metal skewers. Grill Chicken over hot fire, covered and turning frequently, until lightly charred and cooked through, 10-15 minutes.

4. Put chicken on sub rolls and drizzle with mayo sauce.

5. Serve to your family and be prepared for comments of how wonderful you are. 🙂


Notes (Things I Did Differently) or Tips:

I used the juice of 1 lemon rather than 1 tablespoon of juice because I wasn’t paying attention.  It made for a very lemony marinade, but it was delicious none-the-less.

I’ve only made this using the sub rolls, but I’m pretty sure I could get away with making just grilled chicken using this marinade.

I used the mayo sauce on other items later in the week. It is divine!





From the Kitchen – Shepherd’s Pie

My days of the week got out of whack, so here’s a Tuesday recipe on Thursday.  I promise it tastes just as good. 🙂

This was one of those recipes I saved for when Hubby was out of town.  Because generally speaking, he doesn’t like “food that touches other food.”  Anything that could be called a casserole is not accepted at our dinner table when the picky man is home.  This recipe definitely falls into that category, but even Mr. Picky ate the leftovers and said it was pretty good.
Skillet Sheperd’s Pie (Cooks’ Country)


8 C. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (country style, not cubed)
4 T unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef (could use lamb if you like)
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 t. minced fresh thyme
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. low-sodium beef broth
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. frozen pea and carrot medley, thawed


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Toss potatoes with 2 T. butter, 1 t. salt, and 1/4 t. pepper in large bowl.  Wrap tightly with plastic and microwave until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, cook beef and onion in a large heatproof skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef mixture in colander.

3. Return drained beef mixture to pan. Stir in thyme and flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in broth and Worchestershire and cook until sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in pea and carrot medley and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Scatter cooked potatoes over beef mixture and brush with remaining butter. Broil until potatoes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve.



Notes (aka Things I Did Differently):

1. I don’t have a large enough heat proof skillet, so I used a Dutch oven.  I think it worked okay, but it would have been easier to serve out of a skillet.

2. I used the whole bag of potatoes.  The boys LOVED all of the potatoes.

3. It took more than 5 minutes to brown the top of the potatoes, but I don’t know if that is because of the depth of the Dutch oven, or if I have an oven issue.

4. The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but we were able to have 7 servings. Maybe because I added extra potatoes?


Anyway this was scrumptious.  The first night it was great. The boys & I both loved it.  The leftovers were good, but not great. (It’s hard to get that crunch in leftover hash browns.)  The boys and I still liked it, and amazingly Hubby, the Anti-casserole King, thought it was good.





Tasty Tuesday – Apple Muffins

Inspired by my friend Kim over at The Misplaced Midwesterner, I decided to share a recipe that was an absolute hit in our house this week.

After nearly 8 years of marriage, I learned that my husband likes apple muffins. Not applesauce muffins, but apple muffins.  So began my quest for Apple Muffin recipes.  This is a take-off from a recipe I found; I tweaked it by making it lower in calories and fat.

These turned out just marvelous. Warm and tender, straight from the oven. Not too sweet. Just a hint of spice, and lots of yummy apple bits.

Apple Muffins

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. Splenda
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. Penzeys Ground Vietnamese Cinnamon
3/4 c. apple juice
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 medium apple – peeled, cored and diced

1. Preheat oven to 400 ° F.  Insert liners into muffin tins or grease bottoms of muffin tins.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a larger bowl, combine apple juice, oil, and egg – blend well.  Once wet ingredients are blended, add dry ingredients.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, but don’t mix it well – (if you do, your muffins will be tough instead of tender).  Stir in chopped apples.

3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for a moment before removing from the tin. Serve warm.

Makes 15 muffins.

Nutritional information according to my calculations:
111 Calories
4 g Fat
17 g Carbohydrates


Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!



I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Today, we were able to mark another thing off of our Summer 2011 Bucket List – we made ice cream!  Oh, so fun.  We used recipes found on and allowed Woody and Tigger to use up some excess energy by following the “shake, shake, shake” directions.  Woody made strawberry, Tigger made chocolate, and I made vanilla.

First, we placed ice in a gallon size ziploc and then added rock salt.  Next, into a cup, we added our half & half, sugar, and flavoring.  After mixing, we poured it into a quart size ziploc and sealed it (with a bit of packing tape at the top just to be safe.)  After placing the little bag into the big bag, it was time to shake things up.  Minutes later, we had ice cream!

What a fun and delicious way to spend a 101° afternoon. 🙂

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