Tag Archives: snacks

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

This easy stuffed mushrooms recipe is a great appetizer! It’s one of the best stuffed mushroom recipes I have found!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a great meat-free appetizer!Robb is the kind of dad who takes a picture of his butt crack to use as his profile picture on his kids’ phones.

The Fruitarian was laughing his face off, looking at the text message bubbles, which now appear to be coming out of Robb’s coin slot.  He couldn’t stop himself from using a fart noise as his notification sound for text messages from Robb.

So… that’s what it’s like at our house.

Robb is also the kind of dad who will never introduce his children to artichokes.  Or mushrooms for that matter.  That responsibility lies solely on my shoulders.  He’s the fun dad, joking about his crack, and I’m the boring mom, making them eat artichokes.

Truth be told, in my 17 years of parenting, I have never actually made my kids eat artichokes.  Except once, when they had a spinach-artichoke-crab-and-lobster-cheese dip which was so freaking amazing, you would never guess there were actual vegetables in it.

(See related post: Stuffed Mushroom Cups)

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a great meat-free appetizer!

Pin this to your appetizer or party ideas Pinterest board!

It’s kind of what I was going for with these mushrooms.  If you’re looking for a meat-free appetizer, these babies are IT.

I think I ate half the batch all by myself.

While I was making them, I dropped some artichoke on the floor, and the dog slurped it up without hesitation.  It gave me some comfort, knowing that if the kids declined the mushrooms, the dog would happily take them.

My classic sausage-and-cream-cheese stuffed mushrooms are always devoured in record time by the kids, (not the husband though.  Never the husband.) so I wasn’t too concerned.

(See related post: Pulled Pork Tortilla Cups)

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a great meat-free appetizer!

He may not eat his veggies, but I’m glad my husband is the fun dad.

Even if he does show his crack too much.


Want more?  Get more savory snacks and appetizer recipes here!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Cook time
Total time
Cooked mushrooms, filled with an artichoke cream cheese mixture.
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 24 oz.mushrooms, cleaned, and stems removed
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (6.5 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  1. Place softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, artichoke, worchestershire, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, and salt in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Place mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish or baking sheet, tops down. Fill each mushroom very full with cream cheese mixture.
  3. Sprinkle tops with bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parmesan.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Serve warm.


Toasted Coconut Popcorn

This sweet popcorn recipe includes toasted coconut.  Very easy and quick to make sweet popcorn recipe.

Toasted Coconut Popcorn from JensFavoriteCookies - this sweet popcorn feeds a crowd quickly and easily!The whole family was together recently for a funeral.  After the funeral, we played games and shared memories.

My brother provided the root beer floats for the game night, and I brought a giant bowl of popcorn.

Maybe you’ve heard me tell you before how often we eat popcorn, and how picky we are about how the popcorn is prepared.  I should seriously start a second blog just for popcorn recipes.

And, maybe you’ve heard me tell you before about how much we love coconut in this family.

It’s only natural that I should put coconut and popcorn together.  Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t done it before now.

Toasted Coconut Popcorn from JensFavoriteCookies - this sweet popcorn feeds a crowd quickly and easily!

For this recipe, I started with my favorite Sweet Popcorn Glaze, and added coconut in the form of coconut extract and toasted coconut. Continue reading “Toasted Coconut Popcorn” »

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers

Flavored oyster crackers are fun to make and tasty!  They’re a great snack for parties.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!Our son planned a weekend video gaming party with his cousin.  He instructed me that he would be needing snacks for this little soiree.

And not just any snack would do.  Popcorn?  No.  Licorice?  Maybe.

Actually, he wanted muddy buddies, but I nixed that idea.  Chocolate and powdered sugar + video game controllers?  Not so much.

The thing with gaming party snacks is, they come with rules.  Wrappers take too long to deal with.  Cookies take too long to eat.  You need something with no wrappers, something that can be eaten one small handful at a time, something that doesn’t get your hands messy.

And the answer is… flavored oyster crackers.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!

There are lots of ways to flavor plain crackers.  Whatever flavor you choose, they’re simple, quick, and really delicious.

This particular flavor combo was suggested to me by a friend.  A brilliant friend.  A friend who knows what’s good.

I was kind of surprised, actually.  You can taste both the onion and the dill in these crackers, but the combination of the two flavors was something else entirely.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!

You don’t have to limit yourself to oyster crackers here.  This same combination would work with pretzels or saltines, too.

But for this little gaming get-together, the oyster crackers worked perfectly.  Maybe next time, I’ll have the party and my kids will make the snacks!

More great party snacks you’ll love!

caramelized onion dip and potato chipsPotato Chips &
Caramelized Onion Dip
Mustard PretzelsMustard



Onion Dill Oyster Crackers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Flavor your store-bought oyster crackers with dill and onion for a tasty snack!
Recipe type: Snacks
  • 1 pkg. oyster crackers (12 oz.)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons dry onion soup mix
  • 1½ teaspoons dill weed
  1. In a small dish, combine oil, onion mix, and dill.
  2. Pour crackers into a large bowl, pour oil mix over the top, and toss to coat.
  3. Place crackers in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and bake at 250F for 15-20 minutes.


Peanut Butter Granola Bites

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Peanut Butter Granola Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  packed with protein, dried fruits, and nuts.Robb and I have been having this disagreement lately.

It all started when I decided to make some healthier eating choices.  The truth is, I found the new rules to be kind of a drastic change from the old ones, and really difficult to stick to.  So, I came up with a brilliant plan…


I figured I could have a weaning-off period, a period during which I don’t completely give myself to the new lifestyle with wreckless abandon, but I start moving in that direction by getting halfway there.  Robb has always been a black-and-white kind of guy, so the whole idea of half measures makes him nuts.

He says I should just do it, or not do it.  Half measure are for wimps.

To each his own, I guess, my half measures have been working out great for me.

Peanut Butter Granola Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  packed with protein, dried fruits, and nuts.

One of my alternatives to junk-food snacking this season is these Granola Bites.  There is still enough sweetness in them to make them really fun and delicious, while packing a protein punch that keeps the cravings at bay. Continue reading “Peanut Butter Granola Bites” »

Soft Pretzels

Soft baked pretzels recipe; See why I’m addicted to this very easy and tasty soft baked pretzels recipe!

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com I made these pretzels on a far too common day off school.  Which, naturally, means my house is full of teenage boys.

The smell of this soft baked pretzels recipe was enough to bring them running (I exaggerate not) up the stairs.

“I smell food.”
“Mom, we’re hungry.”
“Is there any pizza left?”
“Can we have snacks?”

*sigh*  My pantry was looking like Old Mother Hubbard so I told them to wait for me while I photographed these pretzels, and then they could dive in.

They waited… staring… sort of patiently.

“You only need one photo, right?”
“Shh… let her get in the zone.”

As soon as I gave them the all-clear, they devoured the pretzels.  Within 5 minutes, all but one of those 16 pretzels were gone.  Not a crumb remained.  It was seriously like those African ants that march through the town and eat everything in sight.

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com

To tell you the truth, I sort of wish I had never learned to make them, because they are far easier and faster than I expected, and seriously?!!  Warm bread… extra salt… This is going to be SO bad for my waistline.  I’ve made them about 5 times in the last three weeks.

So maybe it was a good thing all those boys were around to help me eat them.

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com

A word to the wise: eat these babies fresh out of the oven.  First of all, they taste sooooo good warm.  And second, they just don’t really keep well.

If you’re anything like me, you won’t have any trouble wanting to eat them the minute they come out of the oven.

Last recommendation: try them with my Cheesy Mustard Dip!


Soft Pretzels

A basic recipe for soft baked pretzels.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 38 minutes
Servings 8 large or 16 small pretzels
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup warm water (about 110F)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • sea salt


  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast and 1 cup water. Continue until it forms a heavy dough.

  2. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rise until about double in size, about an hour.

  3. Split dough into 8 pieces for large pretzels, or 16 for small pretzels. Form each piece into a long rope, and tie into a knot.

  4. In a small dish, combine ½ cup warm water with baking soda. Dip each formed pretzel into baking soda water, and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt.

  5. Let rise while preheating oven to 450F, about 10 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until brown and cooked through. Serve warm.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip

appetizer meatball recipes; This meatball dip is quick and simple to make, and tastes great with meatballs or small sausages.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!Do your kids cook?  Mine do.

Our schedule is crazy enough, it has given me a really good excuse to get the kids cooking.  They each have one night of the week, and they have to decide ahead of time what they’re making, so I can get the ingredients at the grocery store.

Our meals aren’t complicated, as you might imagine, but the kids are getting to be pretty good cooks.

Meatballs have become one of our staples.  We buy the giant bag of frozen meatballs at Costco, and put about half of them in the crock pot.  Cover them with sauce, add some veggies, and voila!  Dinner is served.

I love having meatballs as game day food, too.  They’re small enough to be a snack, but unlike the chips and cookies and breads we usually have, meatballs make you feel like you’ve eaten real food instead of just junk food.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!

This dip is my favorite thing with meatballs.

It’s crazy simple, just chili sauce, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar.  When I first heard about chili sauce, I wasn’t sure what it was, to be honest.  We’re not big on condiments, which makes me not very condiment savvy. Continue reading “Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip” »

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

Red Velvet dip;  This easy to make dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite CookiesEver since we got Netflix, I’m getting hooked on one series after another.

Murder mysteries, mostly.  I watch one series from beginning to end, then spend a few days wishing there were more episodes, then I start over with a new series.

I was sort of devastated when I came to the end of “Dexter.”  That one will be hard to replace.

Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of “Columbo.”  Peter Falk is classic.  I even found a few episodes I hadn’t seen before.

It’s a terrible habit.  I should space them out, I would probably enjoy them more if I didn’t watch one right after another.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

I am the same way with food.  A couple weeks ago, I made some chicken salad for lunch, and enjoyed it so much I made it three more times within the next week and a half.

I’m a little sick of chicken salad now.

But my latest obsession is cake batter dip.  Lawd have mercy, I can’t stop myself.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Seeing as how February is right around the corner, I decided to try a red velvet version of this treat.

The kids LOVE when I make this stuff.  LOVE it.  They basically fight over it, and I have to threaten bodily harm to get them to share.

The Fruitarian: “This dip is so good!!”
Me: “Of course it is.  Never doubt me.”

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter! Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Since our Valentines Day celebrations basically center around the kids, I think this dip might need to be part of it.

Knowing me, I’ll probably make it four times between now and then.

Maybe I’ll eat it while watching old episodes of “Columbo.”


Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

An easy cake batter dip, perfect for dipping crackers or fruit. Try it at Valentines Day!


  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3/4 cup dry red velvet cake mix
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until smooth and creamy.

  2. Serve at room temperature with crackers or fruit.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Simple garlic bread recipe;  Fun football party ideas from DiGiornio and Walmart.  This is the best recipe for garlic bread I have found.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!It’s funny, we’re not big sports fans at our house, but every year, we like to get together with family and watch the big game.

And when I say “family,” I mainly mean my dad.  The Lizard (our son) enjoys football and basketball, but doesn’t really enjoy watching games alone, so most of the time he just doesn’t watch them.  I know that if he lived with my dad, they would watch every game together.

Poor kid.  He has to live with us boring people.

So I do try to work out opportunities for him to get his sports fix, and dad to get some company.  It works out pretty good for everyone.

And, what’s a game watching party without food?  If you ask me, that’s what game days are for.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread! #GameTimeGoodies #cbias #shop

So good news!  The DiGiornio Pizzas are on rollback at Walmart for just $4.50.  I bought two.

I figured I could cut them into squares and serve them with cheesy garlic bread sticks.  And popcorn… and chips… and frosty beverages… you get the idea.

This is the part where I tell you about my absolute favorite way to make garlic bread sticks.  I love it because it gives you an easy way to create single servings that are just the right size, and also, the texture is perfect, just the way I like it!

The big secret is… drumroll…  hot dog buns.  Yeah.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Cheesy Garlic Bread from JensFavoriteCookies.com - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Not to mention, the combination of DiGiornio Pizzas and homemade hot dog bun garlic bread is easy to make in less than 30 minutes.  What you do is put the pizza in the oven, then take a few minutes to put the breadsticks together, and let them join the pizza in the oven for the last 10 minutes of baking.

They come out of the oven at the same time.  Hot, bubbly, cheesy, delicious.  The perfect companion to the Sunday afternoon game.


Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Hot dog buns covered in garlic butter, herbs, and cheese.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 pieces
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 6 hot dog buns


  1. Melt butter in a bowl. Add cheeses, garlic, and seasoning, and mix together.

  2. Separate hot dog buns into two long pieces, so the top and bottom halves of the bun will each form one breadstick. Spread cheese mixture on top of each bun.

  3. Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Moist chocolate banana bread; this is the best chocolate banana bread recipe I’ve found, and tastes fantastic with peanut butter!

Chocolate Banana Bread from Jen's Favorite CookiesI have this friend who is an avid cyclist.  And by “avid,” I mean “crazy.”  This woman regularly goes on marathon bike rides.  She is always telling us about her latest and greatest 50 mile ride up some mountain or another.

I don’t know how one rear end can take that much time on a bicycle seat.

I complain about piano benches, but they’re nothing compared to bicycles.

Some time ago, she was gushing about the amazing snack they had after their 30 mile ride up the canyon.  It seems someone had made chocolate banana bread and slathered it with peanut butter and honey.

The thought of it almost made me want to ride a bike up the canyon, just to get a slice.


Chocolate Banana Bread from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I recently found myself saddled with ripe bananas, when the project I had intended to use them for fell through.  The memory of this chocolate banana bread discussion came flooding back to me.

And if I’m being completely honest, the thought of how this bread would look on this cutting board is the real reason I ended up making it.

I know I’m being biased, I know I am… but The Lizard (our oldest son) made this board in his wood shop class, and when he brought it home, I gushed and gushed about it.  Maybe you saw where I immediately posted a photo of it on Instagram?  That’s the kind of mom I am.  The Lizard said, “You haven’t even had it 2 minutes!!”  Then he took immense pride in the number of likes and comments that photo got on Instagram and Facebook.  (Oh yes, I copied the photo to Facebook.  Did I mention how excited I was?)

Chocolate Banana Bread from Jen's Favorite CookiesI had intended to be the best mom in the entire world, and send peanut butter on chocolate banana bread sandwiches in sack lunches for the kids.  Buuuuuuutt…  it was Sunday afternoon and that bread just kept calling to me.  And calling.  And calling.

My resolve lasted approximately 45 seconds before I sliced into this baby and smeared it with peanut butter.  The entire loaf was gone within minutes.

Now that I have experienced this particular snack, my butt is going to need that 30 mile bike ride up the canyon.  Was that part of your master plan, Lish?  Because if it was… brilliant.  Just brilliant.

More banana recipes you’ll love:



4.3 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Banana Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips.
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Serves: 8 slices
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 T. cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add banana, and mix until banana is mostly mashed and mixed in. Add eggs and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and baking powder and mix well. Add cocoa powder and mix well.
  3. Add flour, and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325F for 60-65 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Chocolate Banana Pancakes from Mandy’s Recipe Box
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes from Love and Olive Oil
Frozen Banana Copycat from Eat the Love


Why I Make My Kids Eat After-School Snacks

Healthy and unhealthy snacks for kids; These after school snacks are a must have!

Why I make my kids eat after-school snacks | JensFavoriteCookies.comThe house is quieter when the kids are at school.  And the fridge is emptier.

I swear the kids are hungrier during the school year than the summer.  They come home from school, and the first word out of their mouths is not “Hi, Mom!”, it’s “What’s there to eat?”

I’ve just started planning on having an after school snack available, so they can start saying “Hi, Mom!” again.

Here are my rules for after school snacks:

  • It must not require much time.  In other words, no baking cookies.  If I can’t make them in less than 20 minutes, I probably won’t do it.
  • There must be a variety.  I like when the kids feel excited to come home and see what snack I planned for them.  Some days it’s just fresh fruit.  Some days it’s a chocolate shake.  You just never know.
  • It must require them to sit in the kitchen for a few minutes, not a granola bar or something like that that they can walk away with.  I want them to sit and tell me about their day while its fresh in their minds.  I’ll use paper plates if I’m worried about dishes, I just want them to talk to me for 5-10 minutes.
  • It must taste good.  I guess this goes without saying.  After all, good food = love.

I have this friend who is a Marriage and Family Therapist and also blogs about these things.  He has a series called The Five Connections where he talks about 5 things parents can do to prevent addictions.  If you do all five of these things, you have an 85% chance of keeping your kids addiction free.  The Second Connection is to check in daily with each child.

These daily check-ins are not meant to be unpleasant or an excuse to lecture, just to gather information about their lives and strengthen your connections.  Since teens tend to be busy and out of the home a lot, I try to use any opportunity I can to sit eye-to-eye with them for 5 or 10 minutes.

And more often than not, that opportunity is the after school snack.

Why I make my kids eat after-school snacks | JensFavoriteCookies.com

I’ve collected 10 great options for you.  All of them follow these rules.  I hope you will find them useful and delicious.

Since I have this belief that snack time = chat time, I’d love to hear from you what you are doing to get your kids talking about their lives away from home.  Leave a comment below!

  1. No Bake Cookies – these are classic.  You can whip them up in 10 minutes or less, and throw them in the fridge, or even the freezer if you’re in a hurry.  I like to put them in a mini-muffin pan, partly because it’s easy, and partly because the kids have to stand in the kitchen and dig the cookies out with a spoon.
  2. Oreo White Chocolate Popcorn – because we love popcorn and we love Oreos.  Plain old Oreos they can walk away with, but a single big bowl of popcorn to share requires everyone to be in the same place.
  3. Mango Salsa – I love this salsa because it uses my kids love of fruit to develop their taste for avocados.  Again, I use one bowl of salsa and one bag of corn chips to share.
  4. Grilled PB Chocolate Sandwiches – Depending on the size of your griddle, you can make several of these at a time.  I like to have them really close to ready when the kids walk in the door, so they will sit in the kitchen and wait for them to be done.  More than 2-3 minutes, and they will wait somewhere else; less than 2-3 minutes, you may not have time to get them talking.
  5. Orange Juice Smoothie – this Orange Julius knockoff can be mixed up in just a minute or two, and the kids can even do it themselves.  Since it’s served in a glass, they can technically walk away with it, but if you get the kids doing the blending, they’ll still have a few minutes together.
  6. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites – Okay, these are just crazy delicious.  I make them up ahead of time, and keep them in the fridge.  What will happen is the kids will eat a couple, then within a few minutes, they will return to the fridge for a couple more.
  7. Garlic Parmesan Home Fries – These may stretch the 20 minute rule, but sometimes you want something warm and comforting.  If you’re experiencing a particularly cold winter day, and you don’t mind turning on the oven for a bit, these are your babies.
  8. Funfetti Oreo Stacks – This is another one that is more hands on for the kids.  I like to put some frosting in a piping bag, and let the kids make their own stacks.  You can vary this by using different flavored frosting.
  9. Chocolate Waffle Iron Cookies – This is one of my favorites.  Each batch of cookies cooks in the waffle iron for about 3-4 minutes.  I do the cooking, and the kids stand in the kitchen and frost their cookies.
  10. 9 Minute Microwave Cake – the easiest cake of all time.  This one is perfect for the days the kids bring friends home with them, because it makes plenty and is best eaten fresh.  This recipe uses both chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, but you can use any cake and frosting combination you like.

If you enjoy this post, you might also enjoy:

no bake20 No-Bake Desserts lemon crinkles cookies6 Lunchbox Cookies



unhealthy snacks for kids

after school snacks

Grilled Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich

This sandwich recipe uses peanut butter and Nutella; Recipe for a grilled sandwich with bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate hazelnut spread, a delicious after school snack.

grilled-sandwichI have this pet peeve.  Every time I tell my kids I’m running a quick errand and I will be home in 10 minutes, they call me.

Hippie Chick is notorious for this.  She will literally ignore me for hours, and the minute I leave the house, she has some pressing urgent issue to discuss with me that cannot wait 5 more minutes.

The minute I see the word “HOME” on my phone screen, I answer the phone this way:

Me: You better be bleeding out your eyes.
Hippie Chick: Uhhh….  Mom?  I’m hungry.  Can I have an apple?
Me: This can’t wait 2 and a half minutes until I get home?

These calls are basically always because they are hungry.

But I got the jump on them this time.  THIS time, I made the snacks BEFORE they got home from school.  Take that, kids.

Grilled Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich | Jen's Favorite Cookies

I can’t really claim this sandwich idea as my own.  This baby is the brainchild of my talented cousin.  I have these awesome cousins who live all over the country.  It’s lucky we have facebook, or I would have a tough time connecting with them.

She told me in a Facebook post about her delicious grilled PB&J sandwiches, with bananas and chocolate chips.  I mean, let’s face it, the idea is brilliant.  I did make some changes, mostly because I’m lazy.

First, I eighty-sixed the jam, partly because I wasn’t into that part of the idea, but mostly because I didn’t have any in the pantry.  Second, I traded out the chocolate chips for Nutella.

sandwich recipe

In retrospect, that part may not have been such a good idea, because I basically gain weight every time there’s Nutella in the house.  The stuff is SO deliciously evil.

But, on the bright side, I earned myself 10 minutes of uninterrupted errand running.  (i.e. going to the gas station for Diet Coke.)  I hope.

Eat your sandwich, children.  And don’t call me.

no bake dessertsNo-Bake PB Bars peanut butter pretzelPB Pretzel Bites Granola Bar RecipePB Granola Bars

Continue reading “Grilled Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich” »

Stuffed Mushroom Cups

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite appetizers.  Since I kind of love appetizer recipes, I decided to remake this old classic with a new twist.

stuffed mushroomsI can’t remember where I learned to make stuffed mushrooms, if that tells you how long I’ve been making them.  I have a vague sense that this tradition began when I was in college.

At least, I remember being kind of mean and nasty to my college friends, and making them eat the stuffed mushrooms, even if they were mushroom-averse.

I’m nicer than that now, just so we’re clear.  And if any of my mushroom-phobic college friends are reading this, I’m sorry.

These days, if you don’t like the stuffed mushrooms, it just means there’s more for me.  And now whenever I make them, people get really happy and excited about it.  They never last long.

By the way, what is the story with people disliking mushrooms, anyway?  I used to kind of understand this, but the older I get, the less I understand it.  Mushrooms are SO amazing.

stuffed mushrooms

I remember my junior high French teacher, when we were learning fruits and vegetables vocabulary, telling us quite animatedly about her love of mushrooms.  “J’aime les champignons!!,” she said.

I did think it was a little weird to love mushrooms as much as she claimed.  Now I dream of Stroganoff with fresh mushrooms, and garlic sauteed mushrooms on my steak, and mushroom bisque with crusty bread for lunch.

Madame Baigue was totally right.

appetizer recipes

I don’t have that many occasions to make appetizers, to tell you the truth.  I wish I did, because they are so fun to eat.  When I had some friends over this week, and needed some appetizers, I wanted to fall back on my old standby.

However, I had these cute-as-heck fillo cups in my pantry, and these babies were calling my name.  Now I had a decision to make.

Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…  Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…

And the answer is: Both.  Obviously.

appetizer recipes

Normally, I fill the mushrooms with sausage and cream cheese.  To make them suitable for fillo cup filling, I added some finely diced shrooms.  You could throw in a little onion if you wanted, too.

Another nice thing about this appetizer recipe is that you can make it a few hours ahead of time, and pop it in the oven right before everyone comes to the door.  Then they walk in to the lovely aroma of sausage and mushrooms, and see you pulling them out of the oven, all ready to eat, like you’re Holly Homemaker or something.

They’ll never know how totally easy that was to do.

They don’t need to know.

P.S.  These fillo cups are not always easy to find.  I did find them at my local grocery store, but when I went back for more, they were nowhere to be found.  It might take a little hunting to come up with them.  Or you could just grab them from Amazon.
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Brown Butter Cream Cheese Dip

This cream cheese dip with browned butter has a rich, caramel flavor.  It makes a great fruit dip, also great on graham crackers.  You’re going to want to hide the mixing bowl from your kids.

fruit dipI have a confession to make.  I love my kids and all, but I really like having my days to myself when they’re at school.  It’s all silent, here, with just me and the dog.  No one is begging me for food or asking to play video games or leaving their snowy shoes right in front of the door where every one has to step on them to get in the house.


On the other hand, there are some real bonuses to those no-school days.  Like not packing cold lunches and not getting up at the butt-crack of dawn.

I’m not a morning person.

Today was one of those rare half-days, when they get out at noon.  There’s only a couple of them each year, and frankly, they are a great compromise. I still have to get up at o’-dark-thirty, but I don’t have to pack lunches.

Of course, they still come home hungry.  But when is that not the case?cream cheese dip

My sister recently sent me a recipe for cookie dough dip, which is basically just a euphemism for “just go ahead and buy some larger pants now, because we all know where this is going.”  But as I perused the short-but-sweet-and-fatty ingredient list, I just couldn’t stop thinking about brown butter.

I blame Annie.  I drooled over these cookies for 15 minutes straight this morning.

And thus, brown butter dip was born.

cream cheese dip

I was so disappointed {why does my blog still not have a sarcasm font?} when I had my photo shoot all set up, and then grabbed my camera and found that the battery was dead.  Disappointed because it gave me a few precious moments alone with what was left in the bottom of the mixing bowl, and what was left in the bottom of the graham cracker box.

Lawd have mercy, this stuff is good.

Do you like how I took pictures of myself with my snazzy super-red nails dipping an apple in this, like I totally ate this on an apple an not on my finger?

The kids didn’t know what hit them when they walked in the door at 12:30, and left their shoes and coats on the floor.  I was all “You guys are home already finally!”  Then I introduced them to brown butter dip, and they dove in face first.

Then I licked my fingers and headed to the computer to do some online shopping for new pants.

fruit dip

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Dip

A rich brown butter and cream cheese dip for fruit or crackers.

Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. In a saucepan, melt butter, and cook until brown. Add brown sugar, and stir until dissolved.

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add vanilla and cinnamon, and mix well.

  3. Add butter mixture, and mix well. Serve with crackers or fruit.

Chunky Taco Dip

taco dipI like making lists for my kids.  They hate it, because the lists are always lists of chores to be done, and never lists of ice cream places we’re visiting or lists of video games we’re planning to purchase.

After showing a dear friend my new list-making-system, she confessed that her husband loves lists.  She makes lists for him, and he happily goes about checking things off.  She also admitted that if he did the same for her, she would be… well,… let’s just say it would not end well.

Which got me thinking.  I asked Robb whether he would like me to make him a list, and his reply was an emphatic “No.”  I tried to remind him how much he loved the extensive and detailed lists I have made in the past when I have gone out of town and left him home alone with the children.  He claims he only likes those lists because I have so much stuff to do.  {Welcome to my world.}

I feel I have a new thing to tease Robb about, and let’s be honest, teasing Robb brings me so much joy.

chips & dip recipe

This same friend and her family came to our house for an evening of chatting and chatting and board games and more chatting, fueled by Mexican food and Dr. Pepper, and lots and lots of cookies.  And guess what?  It wasn’t me that made the cookies this time. Continue reading “Chunky Taco Dip” »

Lemon Mini-Meringues

lemon treatI’ve never been to Peru, or Namibia, or Egypt, but I cannot imagine they are drier than Wyoming, no matter what Our Amazing Planet says.

Technically speaking, Wyoming is no drier than my home state of Utah, (they both have average humidity levels around 55%) but you would never know that, listening to Robb complain that it is “SO humid in Utah!”


It is not humid in Utah, and I can prove it.  My house is cooled not with the coveted central air conditioning, but with the much less expensive swamp cooler.  I fully expect that many of you will not have a clue what a swamp cooler is, so let me explain.

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Butterscotch Popcorn

Butterscotch popcorn recipe;  You’ll love this easy and simple butterscotch popcorn recipe.

Butterscotch Popcorn from JensFavoriteCookies.comMy kids have the worst teeth.  You wouldn’t believe some of the things my dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon have told me.

Yeah, we have an oral surgeon.  No biggie.

Whenever we go to the dentist, the Lizard (kid #1) is the favorite.  He has no cavities, and no need of braces.  Of course, he doesn’t brush his teeth much, either, but that doesn’t seem to be causing him any problems.  He does have one weird little quirk.  The dentist’s exact words: “His teeth look like jelly beans.  Sideways jelly beans.”  Which really means nothing, except that sometimes it feels like he has a cavity, when he really doesn’t.

The Hippie Chick (kid #3) inherited an underbite.  She requires one round of braces for the underbite, and a second for teeth straightening after her molars all come in.

Continue reading “Butterscotch Popcorn” »

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Granola Bar RecipeThe teenage boys went on a camping trip with the youth group at church this weekend, leaving Robb and I home alone with the princess.  It’s a good thing she is not an only child, because she pretty much gets spoiled rotten when she’s the only one home.  Let’s just say, she has her dad wrapped around her little finger.  A few items on the “Spoil The Daughter Weekend” official to-do list:

  • Dinner out.  She chose Apollo Burger, much better than the original idea, Wendy’s.  It’s a local chain owned by Greeks, so in addition to great burgers, they also have decent gyros, which is what I always get, and why I was thrilled to take her there.
  • Shopping at her favorite store, Target.  Not. A. Problem.  We love the dollar aisle there.  And we got a salted pretzel. Continue reading “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars” »

Mustard Pretzels

Recipe for making mustard pretzels; Use your favorite kind of mustard to turn plain pretzels into honey mustard pretzels or sweet-hot mustard pretzels.  This recipe is super easy to make!  No measuring necessary!

Who is your favorite Criminal Minds character? And don’t say Hotch.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Hotch as much as the next girl, but he can’t be your favorite on general principle.  He’s the main guy.  It’s like saying Superman is your favorite super hero, or Christmas is your favorite holiday.  Okay, well, Christmas actually is my favorite holiday, but you get the point anyway.

I know you’re thinking Derek Morgan is your favorite, because he’s all tough and gorgeous and stuff.  He is pretty, but you’re still wrong.

Your favorite character is the same as mine… Spencer Reid.  Because he’s all small, and cute, and sweet, and unassuming, but under the surface, he’s a powerhouse of smarts and creativity and heroism.  *sigh*


Derek Morgan

Can you believe my husband wasn’t interested in watching the 2-hour season finale with me?  Me either.  Since I was watching it alone, I needed a snack that was only for me, too.  Something that wouldn’t take too much time, nor distract too much from the drama of JJ’s inner turmoil.  Because, when JJ and Morgan are chasing down sadistic bank robbers, the last thing I need is a distraction.

These mustard pretzels were the perfect snack for the occasion.  They are easy to make, require very little cleanup, they go great with Diet Coke, and most importantly… my husband really dislikes mustard, so these babies are all mine!!  (cue evil laugh.)  Plus, I had tons of Hickory Farms Sweet Hot Mustard in the fridge, just dying to be eaten.

I’m going to put some measurements in the recipe, but honestly, I didn’t actually measure anything.  I opened a 10-oz. jar of mustard, and poured about half of it in a big  bowl.  I added some vegetable oil, just enough to loosen it up.  I poured in about half of my 1-lb. bag of pretzels snaps, and stirred it all together.  So easy, a caveman could do it.  The only thing is, they get kind of soggy when covered in mustard, so they need a good, long, low-temp bake to crisp them back up.  Mine took a little more than an hour, maybe 70-75 minutes at 200 degrees.

Here’s the question I was pondering, as I was enjoying my warm and crispy mustard pretzels and watching the awkward love-moments of all the BAU members…  Why did the show begin with the Twitter hashtag #goodbyeprentiss in the bottom corner?  I pretty much knew how it would end, because of that.  So, thanks a lot, CBS, for spoiling the surprise.

Mustard Pretzels
Cook time
Total time
A simple recipe for mustard-coated pretzels.
Recipe type: Snacks
  • About ½ cup Sweet-Hot Mustard
  • About 2 T. vegetable oil
  • About ½ pound pretzels
  1. In a large bowl, combine mustard and oil.
  2. Add pretzels and stir to coat.
  3. Pour pretzels onto a sheet pan, in a single layer. Bake at 200 degrees for 70-80 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Taco Seasoned Pretzels from Bake Your Day

Chocolate Covered Pretzels from Baked Perfection

Homemade Honey Mustard Dip from The Nourishing Cook

mustard pretzels

honey mustard pretzels

Chunky Guacamole and Fresh Corn Chips

A recipe for a fresh and chunky guacamole and corn chips.

Saturdays were made for snacking.  And so was guacamole.  I didn’t come to love guacamole until later in life.  I was influenced in this by my brother, who spent some time in South America and came home with a love affair with avocados.  He later married a woman who is from Mexico, which is somewhat fortunate for me, because it means I get to use their incredibly delicious and authentic Mexican guacamole recipe.  I’ve been eating it almost every day lately, after my doctor suggested I eat more avocados.

Best. Prescription. Ever.

Continue reading “Chunky Guacamole and Fresh Corn Chips” »

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Large marshmallows dipped in chocolate and decorated with a variety of toppings.

Yield:  About 30-35 large marshmallows

It’s funny, how we make decisions sometimes.  I was wandering through the blogosphere, looking for fun cookies and other recipes to try when I found a picture of these marshmallows dipped in chocolate.  They reminded me of a local candy company that sells amazing candied apples.  I’m not a big fan of caramel apples, myself, so I was much more impressed by the one tray of candy marshmallows in their window.  They look a lot like the apples, just not quite so round.  The next day, I found marshmallows on clearance at the grocery store, and in that moment, the decision was made.

Continue reading “Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows” »