Baked Brie With Apricot Jam and Cranberries

The recipe is always a crowd-pleaser! It takes about 5 minutes to assemble and will always make you look like “the ultimate hostess”

You can customize it to your liking simply by changing the jelly/jam/preserves! Don’t be afraid of using puff pastry. It’s really not that hard to work with and coupons for it should start showing up soon as we enter the “holiday baking season”. This recipe makes 2 (since there are 2 puff pastry sheets in the box) and you can easily freeze the 2nd one for a future party


  • Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed as directed
  • 19.6 oz Presidents round Brie, cut in half or 2 approx. 10 oz Brie
  • 4-6 heaping tablespoons Apricot jam, jelly or preserves (I’ve used raspberry as well – try your favorite!)
  • 2 handfuls of nuts (hazelnuts are best…but really anything but peanuts will work well)
  • dried cherries or dried cranberries (optional, but makes it SO much better at Christmas parties!)
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg, beaten with a little water


  1. Thaw and roll pastry sheet just enough to roll in the seams and make it a little bigger.
  2. Put each Brie half on a pastry sheet and top the Brie with 2-3 heaping tablespoons of jelly, jam or preserves.
  3. On top of the jelly, add a handful of nuts and a handful of dried cherries or cranberries (you want them in the jelly so that they stay put)
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the corners off the pastry to make it more of a circle, saving the cut-off corners.
  5. Gather the pastry up around the cheese like a “pouch” and pinch the edges to seal and press down on top of the bundle. Since this will NOT look pretty at this point, cut those pastry corners into 1/4? strips and twist them and lay them over the top seam as a decoration
  6. Brush the whole bundle with the egg wash and bake at 350 degrees until brown
  7. Serve with Carr’s water crackers and/or sliced pears and red grapes for garnish (to provide a color-contrast and make it look pretty!)

Note: to use one that you have frozen, let set out 20 minutes before baking. It needs to be chilled when it goes in the oven or everything will spill out of the pastry making a big mess!

Thanks to my mom, since this is something that she made one day and shared the recipe with my sister and I. There are very few parties in my family that don’t include this recipe!

Szechuan Chicken Noodles

szechuan chicken noodles recipe
This recipe for Szechuan Chicken Noodles is one of my go-to recipes when we have a party or just want something different for dinner. This is the “mild version” of the recipe for people who don’t like things too spicy. I usually add some crushed red peppers to the sauce when I am just making it for my family. Everyone but my daughter just adores spicy foods!

I got this recipe from my mother and she has been making it for years….long before you could easily find rice noodles or lo mein noodles at practically every grocery store! When my mother started making it, she just always used spaghetti (or thin spaghetti) because those were really our only choices. I have made it with rice noodles and it isn’t bad, but I really like it when I buy Lo Mein Noodles.

You do want to be careful with the sauce, because it can tend to get sticky quickly. One thing that I like to do is reserve some of the water that I cooked the noodles in to add to the pasta and sauce to help “loosen it up” a bit.

Szechuan Chicken Noodles

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Szechuan Chicken Noodles


    Sauce Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter (chunky is best)
  • 6 Tbsp Soy Sauce (reduced sodium is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp red hot pepper oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (although I just run 2-3 cloves through the Garlic Press)
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • salt & pepper
  • The Rest of the Ingredients:
  • 1 lb linguine, spaghetti or lo mein noodles
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • Chopped scallions and dry roasted peanuts for garnish


  1. Poach the chicken breasts. Set aside to cool
  2. Cook pasta or noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain and rinse pasta.
  3. Place pasta in a big bowl with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in the bottom. Add 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil on top and toss very well so that the noodles don’t stick.
  4. Shred chicken on top of the linguine that has been tossed with the oils.
  5. To make the sauce, first mix the peanut butter with 1-2 Tbsp of the soy sauce to “loosen it up” (I find microwaving them together for about 30 seconds helps this process. Add remaining sauce ingredients and mix
  6. 5. Pour entire sauce over noodles and chicken and toss to coat. Add some of the pasta cooking water if needed.
  7. 6. Garnish with chopped scallions and peanuts and enjoy!


I like to add crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce to give this a little bit of a "kick", but be careful not to overdo it!

Wicked (Wizard of Oz) Cupcakes

I absolutely LOVE the musical Wicked…in fact, I have seen it 3 times!

My friend Toni recently saw Wicked and her daughter fell in LOVE with the show.  It seemed only natural that she would have Wicked-themed cupcakes for her birthday party!

You can check out the instructions HERE!

Game Day Recipes: Free eBook

We are still getting ready for our Super Bowl party at the Casa de Cherry and I still haven’t nailed down everything I am making….if you are in the same situation, you might find some good ideas in the new eBook available from Recipe Lion.

Get a FREE 39 Appetizer Recipes eCookbook which includes recipes for things like wings, bruschetta, dips, and more!


Other eBooks still available from Recipe Lion:

33 Hearty Slow Cooker Recipes - 50 pages of quick and easy recipes

Restaurant Copycat Recipes – Volume III

Sweets For Your Sweet – Easy Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes

Want more freebies? Check out the other recent freebies that I have posted.  Make sure that you also check out my Getting Freebies the Smart Way post to avoid having your email inundated with spam!

Christmas Cookie Recipes: Free Ebook!

I love baking Christmas cookies!

If you are looking for some new Christmas Cookie recipes to try this year, you can get a FREE Christmas Cookie eBook filled with 50 Cookie recipes

Want more freebies? Check out the other recent freebies that I have posted.  Make sure that you also check out my Getting Freebies the Smart Way post to avoid having your email inundated with spam!

Free Grilling eCookbook (+ More!)

There is a new FREE eCookbook on the Mr. Food site!

Get your copy of Let’s Get Grilling containing 42 recipes, including: Beer Can Chicken, Asian Skewered Chicken, Homestyle Grilled Vegetables, Tropical Pork Kebabs and even grilled Dessert Recipes!

While you are on the Mr. Food site, don’t forget to snag your copy of Decadent Desserts as well!

Additionally – the following free eCookbooks are still available:

29 Tasty, Easy Breakfast Recipes Click Here

Restaurant Copycat Recipes Vol. II Click Here

Restaurant Copycat Recipes Vol III Click Here

Never miss another deal again! Get free updates from Moms Need To Know when you subscribe by email or via RSS Feed.

BJ’s: 12 Budget Recipes on The Facebook Fan Page

BJ’s Wholesale Club has come up with some great new recipes on their Facebook Fan Page. We are making a switch to a more “whole foods” in our family (much to the chagrin of my children) and these recipes are easy weeknight recipes that are also very budget-friendly AND don’t rely on heavily processed ingredients!

And since it is a Friday during Lent, here is what we are having for dinner tonight:

(recipe courtesy of BJ’s Wholesale Club)

Shrimp Lo Mein
Serves 4, $2.74 per serving

8 oz. Barilla® Whole Grain Spaghetti
1 Tbsp. Kikkoman® Soy Sauce
1?2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Domino® Cane Sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, grated
2 tsp. Argo® Cornstarch
1 lb. Berkley & Jensen® 21/25 Frozen Raw Shrimp, defrosted
4 Tbsp. Berkley & Jensen® Peanut Oil
2 stalks Celery, finely sliced
11?2 cups Fresh Express® Cole Slaw (undressed)
1 Green Onion, minced

1. Cook spaghetti until al dente and drain immediately. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Set aside.

2. Mix soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch, salt and sugar in large bowl. Add shrimp and let marinate for 20 minutes.

3. Heat wok or large, straight-sided skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 2 Tbsp. of oil. Using slotted spoon, carefully add shrimp to hot pan. Reserve marinade. Stir-fry until shrimp is just opaque. Immediately remove from pan and set aside.

4. Add remaining oil. Stir-fry celery, slaw and green onion until just tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Add shrimp to ingredients in pan, along with reserved marinade. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, or until sauce boils and thickens.

6. Add spaghetti to pan and toss to mix. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Worth Reading: Once A Month Slow Cooker Meals


Anyone who has been reading this site for more than a month should know that I have an unhealthy obsession with my Crockpot.  I’ve also been saying for quite some time that I wanted to start doing some Once A Month Cooking (OAMC, for short).

What is OAMC?  Simply put, it is setting aside a day to make a ton of meals to freeze.  It’s making yourself insane one day a month to help save your sanity the rest of the month (I don’t think that’s the “technical definition, but it is the “net result”!).

I have had Once A Month Mom in my Google Reader for quite some time and when this post popped up in my Reader the other day, I was thrilled.  It combines my love of the Crockpot with the convenience of OAMC!

Check it out!

PreOrder The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook for $10.11


If you have never heard of the $5 Dinner website, you have been missing out.  I “met” Erin online a long time ago (and can’t wait to meet her in person this February at Blissdom) and her blog has been in my Google Reader for what seems like forever. 

Her concept is simple:  make a dinner for a family of 4 for under $5!  As an added kick?  Due to some allergies in her family, a good number of her recipes are gluten-free! 

Because her website became so popular, she was approached to write a cookbook.  If our Facebook and Twitter  conversations are any indication, she poured her heart and soul in to this book.  I literally can’t wait to get my copy!

The The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook is being released on 12/22/09 and you can pre-order it now on for only $10.11.  It contains over 200 recipes that can be made for $5 or less.  It won’t arrive in time for Christmas, but it would be a great addition to any kitchen library!

And I can’t say this enough…congrats to Erin for taking a simple concept and running with it.  Your recipes have helped me spice up our family dinners while still staying within our weekly grocery budget!