Recipe: Six Marinades to See You Through Summer

Mrs. Fields Secrets Summer Marinades
It’s time to break out the grill and get ready for a season of great backyard meals. Say goodbye to dry, flavorless meat with these six simple marinades that will see you through the entire summer. Marinating your meat before grilling allows it to absorb rich flavors and retain moisture, which gives you robust flavors and juicy meat every time. Try them all for a summer your taste buds will remember forever!

HINT: The magic minimum marinating time is 30 minutes, but 3-4 hours is even better.

HINT: To speed the process of infusing the flavors into your meats or veggies, place everything in a plastic bag and squeeze out all of the air before sealing.

HINT: Use a food processor or blender to fully emulsify your marinade. This will allow all the ingredients to evenly flavor the meat.

Italian Dressing Marinade
Straight from a bottle or made from a dry mix, Italian salad dressing is an excellent marinade, especially when you are in a pinch for time. Try it with chicken, fish and vegetables for a tangy, flavorful bite.

Balsamic Herb Marinade
Mix 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons oregano, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 2 teaspoons salt and two teaspoons pepper. Works great with chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables.

Mango Jalapeño Marinade
Blend 1 very ripe mango with 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, 1 shallot, 1 small jalapeño pepper (use or discard seeds, depending on your preferred spice level), 1 tablespoon honey and 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper.

Caribbean Jerk Marinade
Mix 1 small onion (chopped), 1 chili or jalapeño pepper (use or discard seeds depending on your preferred spice level), 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons thyme, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper.

Mayonnaise Marinade
Your simple, full-fat jar of mayonnaise is perfect for marinating chicken that you want to use in salads or sandwiches. Generously coat the chicken with mayonnaise and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes before grilling. Add a little bit of salt and pepper while grilling and you’ll have juicy meat every time.

Classic BBQ Marinade
Mix 1 1/2 cups steak sauce with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing, 1/3 cup honey, 1 minced garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

Casserole Series: Cheesy Pineapple Casserole

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cheesy Pineapple Casserole
We’re rounding out our Casserole Series today with a fabulous sweet and savory casserole that is a southern favorite. It’s got the sweet richness of pineapple with the sharp tang of cheddar cheese with a buttery crumble on top. This is ideal for a picnic or potluck since it is just as tasty at room temperature as it is warm out of the oven next to a slice of ham. You could also take it in a spicy direction by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pineapple mixture and a few more to the crumble top. Try it out and make it your own!

Cheesy Pineapple Casserole

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 (20 oz.) cans pineapple chunks, drained but reserve 6 tablespoons of juice
1 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish with the butter, then melt the rest of the stick and set aside. In a large bowl, stir the sugar and flour together, then add the drained pineapple and cheese. Stir until well combined and transfer to the prepared casserole dish. In a separate bowl, stir the crushed crackers, melted butter and reserved pineapple juice together to create a crumble. Spread the crumble evenly over the pineapple and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly around the sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe: Bunny Bark

Mrs. Fields Secrets Bunny Bark
We’ve got a bonus recipe for you this week, heading into the holiday weekend. This treat is perfect to prepare and have out all weekend long for your Easter guests. It’s great for snacking or even to soothe your sweet tooth after dinner. Follow our recipe as a guide, but incorporate your own favorite cookies and flavors to make it your own.

Bunny Bark

16 ounces of white chocolate or almond bark
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
1 cup pretzels, broken
1 1/2 cups m&m candies (any variety)
1/4 cup sprinkles

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the cookies and pretzels evenly. Scatter half of the m&m candies over the cookies and pretzels. On a double-boiler or in the microwave, melt the white chocolate or almond bark over low heat until smooth and runny. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the cookie mixture. Use a spatula to smooth the melted chocolate over the entire sheet. Tap the baking sheet on the counter five or six times to remove any air bubbles and allow the chocolate to get in all the crevices. Next, scatter the remaining m&m candies all over the top, followed by the sprinkles. Allow to cool and solidify at room temperature for 5 hours or overnight before cutting into squares or breaking into bite-sized pieces.

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Casserole Series: Broccoli Water Chestnut Bake

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brocolli Casserole Bake
Our casserole series is back today with the perfect side dish for your Easter feast. This is a delicious recipe that you’ll try once and keep in your repertoire forever. Adults love it, kids love it, and you’d better get a big helping to begin with because people are always going back for seconds with this.

Broccoli Water Chestnut Bake
from Susan Stewart Vaughn

4-6 cups broccoli tips
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 cup light sour cream
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 (8 oz) cans sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash broccoli and cut into bite-sized pieces. Steam for a few minutes until broccoli is tender, but bright green and still crisp. Then spread into a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with half of the green onions. Stir mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest and pepper together. Spread the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture over the broccoli and top with shredded cheese, then water chestnuts and remaining green onions. Finally, combine the crushed crackers with the melted butter until you have a consistent, moist crumble. Spread the crackers crumble evenly over the entire dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Casserole Series: Tamale Pie

Mrs. Fields Secrets Tamale Pie
Today we’re starting a new casserole series aimed to give you new twists and big flavors in one dish. Today’s recipe does just that. It has big bold Tex-Mex flavors, a rustic presentation, and is perfect for a weeknight or weekend meal. Top a slice of this Tamale Pie with fresh avocado, sour cream and serve it up, but be ready for applause and several requests for the recipe.

Tamale Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can creamed corn
1 (14 oz.) can medium pitted black olives
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large, cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add ground beef and cool until just brown, then add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook about two more minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, and olive (juice included!) and stir. Slowly stir in corn meal to avoid lumps. Finally, stir in the beaten eggs, incorporate completely and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until browning around the edges and firm in the middle. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
Ditch your Sunday brunch reservation at that fancy bistro and whip up a batch of this delectable dish. It is sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich, hearty but not too heavy and it has the capacity to make your entire day. Pick up a fresh loaf of Italian bread (unsliced) at your grocery store, along with a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to homemade brunch bliss.

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

1 loaf Italian bread, unsliced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup blueberries
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar

In a small mixing bowl, stir ricotta, lemon zest, sugar, half the blueberries and nutmeg together. Add the juice from half of the lemon and stir to incorporate, then set aside. Slice loaf into two-inch slices, then saw a pocket down the middle of the top of each slice to contain the filling. Whisk the eggs, milk and teaspoon of sugar together and pour into a shallow baking dish. Preheat a griddle to 375 degrees. Add two spoonfuls of ricotta mixture into the pocket of each slice of bread, then dredge the bread in the egg mixture on each side before placing on the hot griddle. (A pat of butter melted first makes it divine.) Cook until crusty and brown on each side, then transfer to a serving dish and top with fresh berries and syrup. Makes approximately 8 servings.

Recipe: Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
One of our most popular recipes on the blog has been our Big, Old-Fashioned Snickerdoodles. So, the bar for Snickerdoodle recipes on this site is very high. That means today’s recipe has to be spectacular, and it is. The brown butter in these cookies is the secret ingredient, giving them a rich, nutty depth of flavor that will absolutely wow you. These are grownup Snickerdoodles, friends.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
adapted from TastyKitchen

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (for rolling)

Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon and salt together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir sugars together and set aside. In a small saucepan (preferably without a dark lining), melt the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Allow the butter to foam and bubble, then stir constantly as the butter starts to appear more clear and then begins to brown. As soon as the color starts to get darker and you smell a nutty aroma, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the butter to the mixing bowl with the sugar to halt the cooking process. On low speed, combine the sugar and butter, then add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until completely combined. Chill the dough for a minimum of one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and combine rolling sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide dough into 2-tablespoon size balls, roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on a prepared baking sheet. Press the top of each ball to make a subtle flat top. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until top is crackly and edges are just beginning to brown. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

How to Make Silky Scrambled Eggs

Are you ready for the cold, hard truth? You are probably cooking your eggs wrong. Don’t feel bad; most everybody is guilty. While there’s nothing wrong with a quick, two-minute scramble, you owe it to yourself to learn the correct way to make scrambled eggs. It’s like eating pure silk, a simply divine experience. All you need is the right technique and a little bit of extra time. Once you try these, you will never settle for another two-minute scramble again.

Silky Scrambled Eggs
from Mark Bittman

4 or 5 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them until the yolks and whites are just combined. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in the cream. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat for about one minute. Add the butter or oil and swirl it around the pan. After it melts, but before it foams, turn the heat to low. Add the eggs to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. After ten minutes or so, the eggs will begin to form curds. Keep stirring, breaking up the curds as they form, until the mixture is a mass of soft curds. After 30-45 minutes, when the texture is even and silky, remove from heat and serve immediately.

Recipe: Mason Jar Mud Pies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mason Jar Mud Pies
It’s the time of year where everywhere you look, there seems to be mud. But you know what they say, “When life gives you mud, make mud pies!” This recipe is simple, but amazing. You can use your favorite ice cream flavors, but the secret ingredient is the cookie crumble. Don’t improvise there, this stuff is golden. The other important tip is to thoroughly soften the ice cream first. This will make the process much easier. Building mud pies in Mason Jars is a great way to serve this dessert and it also makes it portable and perfect for parties. Try this recipe and you’re sure to feel sunny all over.

Mason Jar Mud Pies

1 package Oreo Cookies
1 box Little Debbie Nutty Bars
1/2 gallon chocolate-based ice cream
1/2 gallon vanilla-based ice cream
Caramel sauce (optional)
Whipped cream
Maraschino cherries
10-12 Mason Jars

Allow ice creams to defrost on the counter for at least an hour, or until soft and stir-able. In a large plastic zip-top bag, combine the Oreo cookies and Nutty Bars and mash with a rolling pin until the mixture is crumbly and well combined. Once the ice cream is softened, stir it until smooth. Spoon a 1-inch layer of cookie crumble into the bottom of each jar, then top with a generous layer of the chocolate-based ice cream. Add another inch of cookie crumble and top with a layer of the vanilla-based ice cream and another layer of cookie crumble. Cover and freeze jars until solid, at least 3 hours. Before serving, add a drizzle of caramel sauce, a generous dollop of whip cream and a cherry.

Cooking with Beer: Apple Ale Cake


It’s time for our annual Cooking with Beer recipe as we approach St. Patrick’s Day. Today’s recipe is a deliciously moist cake that isn’t too sweet, that introduces complex flavors, and is perfect for your St. Patty’s party, and the glaze has a perfect hint of the ale too. All the alcohol is cooked out, so this is safe for anyone to eat. Try it with your favorite apple or pumpkin ale and raise a toast to…cake!

Apple Ale Cake with Glaze

1 box spice cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup apple ale (for cake)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup apple ale (for glaze)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small sauté pan, toast the nuts and set aside. Preheat oven according to cake mix directions and prepare a bundt pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle toasted nuts evenly in the bottom of the cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, applesauce, and one cup of apple ale. Mix on medium speed for two minutes, then pour into the pan and bake according to directions. Remove cake and allow to cool for ten minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or serving dish. For the glaze, stir the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/3 cup of apple ale over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for one minute. Remove from heat. With a skewer or forks, poke several holes all over the cake and then drizzle the cooled glaze all over the cake.


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