Brown Butter Butterscotch Monkey Bread

That’s a mouthful!


My kids love monkey bread. They love when I buy it at the local bakery. I knew they would get a kick out of this easy make-at-home recipe.

This was the first thing I ever made in the kitchen. My grandma and I would make it all of the time. Then we moved on to a children’s cookbook. We rarely made monkey bread after that. This recipe brings back such memories of nostalgia, as only the tantalizing scents of cinnamon and sugar together can evoke. Has there ever been a more perfect pairing?

This recipe is fantastic to bake with kids. They love cutting up the biscuits and shaking the dough in the sugar. It is a quick and easy treat. Perfect for those of us who need immediate gratification.

This recipe was adapted from The Pioneer Woman and the butterscotch pudding part was courtesy of my good friend, Kerri. She once made the stuff and I dreamed about it for weeks. The brown butter part is strictly from my gluttonous imagination.


Bundt Pan


3 large cans of refrigerated biscuits (I use 2 regular and one buttermilk)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
1 3.4 oz. package of regular (not instant) butterscotch pudding

You can get crazy with this treat! Dare I say, if you monkey around with this recipe in the kitchen, the possibilities might be endless.


Let me hang and scratch my embarrassed head.

On to the baking:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease bundt pan.


Cut biscuits into small pieces with a pizza cutter. I cut one can of biscuits into shapes of four, one can in shapes of six, one can in shapes of eight. I like a variety of sizes in my monkey bread. Let’s call them squirrel monkey, chimpanzee, and gorilla sizes. Because we can? We’re quite passed the point of should. We’re using two sticks of butter and over a cup of sugar here, peeps. Crazy names for biscuits are the least of our worries.


Combine the regular sugar and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar and mix. Place in a gallon sized bag. Or if you reach this step and realize you are completely out of gallon sized bags, call yourself a monkey’s uncle and mix the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Primitive times are these, my friend.

Add cut biscuits in the bag of sugar mixture and shake. If you added it to the bowl, please do not shake, just mix. Of course, you knew that. But if a monkey child is reading this, I want to be specific.


In a small saucepan on the lowest heat on your largest burner on your stovetop melt the butter. Stir every minute or so. When the foam starts to turn a caramel brown (usually about ten to twelve minutes) turn off the heat. Your nose will be able to tell you when the butter is brown because it will smell like the most glorious nutty caramel. The foam will start to bubble up in a gluttonous display of brown surrender. This means it is done. Remove from heat.

Now pour the sugar-coated biscuit dough and all of that glorious sugar mixture evenly into the bundt pan (I have a vintage yellow one from Etsy. You can find them there for around $15. It won’t make your monkey bread taste better but it will make you feel better).


Mix the pudding mix into the brown butter. Edited to add: I do this with a fork. Beat it for just thirty seconds or so like you would an egg. It does not have to dissolve all of the way. It will do that when baking. If there is any bigger bits, just put it on the money bread. It will bubble up in the oven and become one gooey mixture. Oh, take a moment, if you must. This is the part where I get teary eyed. Pour brown butter pudding mixture over the top of all of the biscuit dough. Try to do this as evenly as possible.


And scrape up all of the decadent brown bits at the bottom of the pan and put on top of the dessert.

Place in the oven and bake for 60 minutes. Cover the top with foil after it has been baking for twenty five minutes so that it does not get too crunchy and brown on top.


Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Turn over on serving plate. It is easiest to hold the hot pan with a cloth kitchen towel versus the bulk of oven mitts. Say a quick prayer to the monkey Gods. Offer up a banana sacrifice, if you must. This part is tricky. The caramel in the pan will be hot, be careful not to burn yourself. Gently pull up on the bundt pan. If there is any caramel mixture on the bottom, scrape it up and put it on the monkey bread.


Whoooo! Whoooo! Heeee! Heeee! Haaaa!


The monkey bread will pull apart in yummy gooeyiness.

Scratch your underarms and scream in triumph at the magnificent success. And if some of the monkey bread sticks to your pan just place it back on the dessert. Or if it completely falls apart (happens to the best of us, rearrange the pieces in two loaf pans. No one will be the wiser. Besides it will be gone before anyone, or any primate for that matter, would ever notice, anyway.


Enjoy! I don’t mean to brag, but my brain thighs are entirely made of this stuff.

More Sweet Margarita

recipe is for one drink



1/3 cup silver tequila
1 tablespoon triple sec
1/4 cup lime juice (about three limes per drink)
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. simple syrup


Schlooppo. i made a margar-ita. Note to self. Do not type an alcohol lic recipe after consuming the alcoholic drink. Makes snese right?

You would think so.

But sense has never been my middle name.

I was making my chicken tacos (do you know that if you misspell tacos with a “c” for the “a” as tchos, autocorrect will not guess tacos? Nope. It suggests you must be thinking of “tc how.” Which makes as much sense as tchos. I decided to look up acronyms for “tc.” Spoiler: there are a lot of them. My favorite is “take care.” Which really makes total sense. Maybe autocorrect was looking out for me. But then I scrolled further down the list to “Tom Cruise” and then “top cat” and I realized autocorrect was just drunk on margaritas… too). Anyhoo, I decided what would make the meal perfect. Just perfect. Would be a margarita. So, I made two based on this recipe from The Food Network. But it was much too much too tart for the likes of me. If you like your margaritas more authentically tart, I definitely recommend using the original recipe in the link.

I changed it up just a bit and from now on, this is the only way I shall make my margaritas.

Or type a recipe.

Autocorrect never had it so good.



Make your simple syrup. In a small saucepan boil one cup of water and one cup of sugar until sugar dissolves. Whisk occasionally to make sure sugar does not stick to bottom of pan. Set aside. This would be better made in advance and chilled in the refrigerator. It keeps for one month in the refrigerator.

Squeeze limes into a clear 2 cup measuring glass until you have the appropriate measurements for the amount of drinks you are making.

Fill a glass with ice.

You may brush the rim with simple syrup and stick it in sea salt or sugar if you like that sort of thing. I do not. Too Coarse.

Pour your tequila, triple sec, lime juice and simple syrup into the glass. Mix.



Try to type a coherent recipe.

I dare you…

Take Cover.


You’re Too Cool

To Calculate

The Charges.

Now Toast… and Cheers.


“To Crazy.”

Winning Creamy Chicken Enchiladas


On our third date, my husband made me dinner. It was our third date in three days. It was also the night we decided to get married. We make quick decisions.

I did not know the trouble he had had making these enchiladas before I got to his apartment.

He burned the chicken for the filling and had to run out. For some reason he substituted it with canned chicken. Gulp. He was also on a health kick and used all low-fat ingredients. Double gulp. Needless to say that dish is a bit different than the one we make today.

I say “we” but I really mean “I.”


1 1/2 pounds of salsa chicken (recipe here. It will make double the amount of chicken you will need for this dish. You can halve it, double this recipe or save it for a different dish. I use the leftovers from tacos the night before)
15 oz. can green enchilada sauce
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. softened cream cheese
10 white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded mexican cheese
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Optional toppings:

Sour cream



Make my salsa chicken in the crockpot. This will take 4-5 hours. Shred. Set aside. I used leftover chicken from the night before.


Pour vegetable oil in a small skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot. Fry tortillas one at a time for approximately 8 seconds each side. You do not want the tortillas hard, just soft and malleable. Don’t worry about any little holes in a tortilla. It will be covered with cheese and no one will ever know. Well, unless you post the pictures of it on the Internet. But who would be dumb enough to do that?


Lay two paper towels on a plate. Place the tortilla on the paper towel lined plate. Lay four-five tortillas on paper towels in a single layer. Repeat paper towel layers. Repeat tortillas until all fried. Allow tortillas to cool while moving on to the next step.


In a large skillet, mix together cream cheese, cream of chicken soups, and green enchilada sauce. Heat and stir ingredients in skillet over medium heat.


It will be lumpy at first. Keep stirring. I use a whisk.


And then, in a miraculous moment, it will all come together. Turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Smear some of the enchilada sauce in a 9 X 13 pan.


Take a tortilla and rub some sauce down the middle.


Place a good handful of shredded chicken in the middle of tortilla. Roll up tortilla with sauce and chicken inside and place seam side down in pan.


Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. I fill the pan, even on the sides because I do not want to dirty more dishes.


Pour remaining sauce on top of filled tortillas. With a spatula, flatten it into place.


Cover with the scrumptious cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for twenty five minutes. After twenty five minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional ten minutes.

Remove from oven and serve!


We used to make this enchilada dish every Christmas Eve. This was the first year we made it for Christmas instead.

You see, a few years ago my husband decided to switch up the recipe. He abandoned this one and made The Homesick Texan’s Chicken Enchiladas. And everybody loved them. And all was good. But I missed his old recipe. There was something divine in the simplicity of its creamy essence.

So, we had a battle of the chicken enchiladas on Christmas day. As one does.

My husband won.

Or so he thought.

He forgot one very important factor.

While he may cook ten days out of the year.

I cook on almost all of the days in-between.

That’s a lot of days.

I had not given up on the chicken enchilada recipe.

So, I made them the next week.

And the next.

And the next.

I kind of could not get enough.

My family, on the other hand, finally caved. “Okay! You win!” My daughter finally shouted when she saw the enchiladas make an appearance for the fourth time.

My son did not have her tact. He dragged himself to the dinner table on his knees. “Not again,” he murmured from the floor as he shuffled morosely towards his chair. I did not take it too personally. He dislikes any sort of enchilada. The poor guy had reached his limit.

My daughter was not done. “Look, Mom, these were great the first time. Good the second time. Fine the third time. But, oh my gosh! I don’t know if I can eat any more of these! We have had them so often!”

But I was not done either. “All right. I might not make them again for awhile,” I heard my family give a sigh of relief. I relentlessly continued, “if you can answer me one simple question.”

They looked up at me with shadowed eyes of enchilada weariness. “Anything,” they would have said if they had not fallen into a creamy-cheese-induced-coma.

“Whose enchiladas are really the best?”

“Yours!” Came the pleading sobs from my family.

Just as I suspected.


Cheesy Salsa Chicken Empanadas

Makes 70 Empanadas


The name “empanada” has always made me smile. I think being a gnome lover has me appreciating the “imp” phonetic beginning of the word. These empanadas are small little appetizer sized delights. Or for a gnome or an imp, a complete meal.

I have been making these empanadas for what seems like forever. I had originally seen Paula Dean make them on her show. This recipe is adapted from hers. Over the years, I have changed them a bit to reflect how I like them to taste. This recipe makes seventy empanadas plus enough mix left over for a dip. This is enough for three meals. The empanadas freeze well and I always freeze a batch and give a batch to my sister because they are her favorite things that I make. The empanadas are time consuming. However, you will be making three meals in one cooking effort. So, I think it all evens out.

Besides, I am not one to overexert myself for anything. Even food. Heck, the other day I drove down to my mail box and it is literally one house away. It does not get any lazier than that. Although, in my defense it was not the effort of the walk but rather the sordid fact that I was on my second day in the same pajamas that forced me to drive and avoid the neighbors. I couldn’t be bothered to shower or change. Wait. That probably doesn’t make the story any better… What I am trying to say is, if I can do it, then you definitely can to.



3 pounds of salsa chicken (recipe here, a separate 4-6 hour cooking time is involved)
8 oz. softened cream cheese
5 packages of refrigerated pie crust (with two rolled doughs a piece)
3 cups shredded mexican cheese
1 finely diced seeded jalapeño
1 finely diced red bell pepper
4 oz. can green chiles
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. Olive oil

Optional toppings:

Hot sauce
Sour cream
Chopped Cilantro


Make my salsa chicken in the crockpot.

When the chicken’s cooking time is finished, leave it in the crockpot for the eight minutes it is going to take to sauté the jalapeño and red bell pepper.

Take pie crusts out of refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Sauté the jalapeño and red bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Usually this takes seven to eight minutes. Add green chiles with juice and sauté an additional minute.

Remove cooked chicken from the crockpot. I set mine into the bowl of my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. If you do not have one of these, put it in a very large bowl. Mix chicken with a bit of its cooking liquid (be sure to remove bay leaf) until nice and moist (approximately 2/3 cup).

All right. I am not sure how to explain the next step without it sounding weird.

Here it goes.

I think you probably started to suspect what might be coming when I had you put the chicken in the mixing bowl.

We’re going to mix the chicken.

To smitherines.

I know.

Just trust me.

One of the best meals I have ever eaten was at a restaurant in Cozumel. Now maybe it was the strawberry margarita the size of my head that accompanied it, but I think not. That might explain the mariachi band on the ceiling, but delicious food? Nah. The chicken enchiladas I had there were amazing. The chicken was mixed like we are about to do here. It all worked out. If you want, I’ll wait for you to grab a margarita before we get started.

Are you ready now?



Now either mix the chicken mixture in your stand mixer on medium speed or with a hand mixer in a bowl on medium speed. Mix until it looks like the above. About two minutes.


Add sautéed vegetables along with 1/2 of the oil and liquid they cooked in into the chicken. Add cream cheese. And mix on medium speed until incorporated for one minute.

Add cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Mix with a spatula into chicken mixture. You don’t want the cheese whipped by the mixer. It kind of gets lost into pieces and won’t live up to its full potential. Taste mix. Add more salt as needed.


Now lay your pie crusts onto a flat surface and use a biscuit cutter to cut circles in the dough. I get seven circles out of one sheet. If you are not lazy, you could save the scraps and roll them out for more empanadas. I am wasteful. And do not. Extra effort and all of that.


Put them into a stack.

Because it is pretty.

Like a doughy imp throne.


Now scoop up a small amount of filling, about one and a half to two Tbsp. I use one of those small handy scoops. And place in the center of a circle of dough.


You will start to get the hang of how much filling to put inside based on the ease of closing the circle into a crescent shape. Fold circle in half and place on cookie sheet.


Repeat until cookie sheet is full leaving space around each empanada.


With a fork, crimp the edges of the empanada and poke it once in the middle to allow for the steam but also because it is pretty.


Put tray into refrigerator for fifteen minutes to set.

Repeat empanada creation on to a separate cookie sheet.


Remove original cookie sheet from refrigerator. Bake if you are eating right away. If not, place empanadas gently into a large gallon sized bag. I put twenty three in each one. Refrigerate if using within the next day. If freezing for a later use, place empanadas lying in a single layer in freezer. Not clumped together. You could always place cookie sheet in freezer for fifteen minutes and then put in baggies so they will not stick. Again, extra effort. I skip that step.

Keep alternating the two cookie sheets and empanadas until all are prepared.


Bake the ones you are eating right away for twenty five minutes.


Serve warm with optional toppings. I also present it with salad.

Now go have that margarita (or second one if you had to get over the shock of our chicken preparation)! And build your imp a new throne. You’re eating his old one. And left him with nada.