Category Archives: Karen’s Kitchen

Recipe Review {Party Edition}

In addition to a weekend full of mountain biking and helping Abbie with her move in to her new apartment in Dallas (hooray!), Brian and I co-hosted an engagement party for our friends in our home. We were so excited to share in their celebration, and loved being able to open our home for the party.

I also loved perusing my favorite food blog for recipe ideas, and, as always, she did not disappoint! I was able to snag two delicious recipes from the blog, and I am sure I will be making them both again in the near future.


Because of the craziness of preparing for this party after a work day, I was unable to snap any pics pre-party. This is the best I could do. The aftermath. We had Pirouline cookies, Popcorn Chocolate Crunch, Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip, Spinach Artichoke Dip (both served with pita chips), Bruschetta, Oreo Cake Balls and a Cherry Whiskey Smash cocktail. {I was going for equal parts cozy and festive with the menu}

Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip

Yields 1 1/2 cups (I doubled the recipe to accommodate our party, and it was a cinch)

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese (I used 8 ounces of cream cheese in lieu of macarpone…gotta work with what you have, people!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I was generous with this flavor-enhancing ingredient)
  • pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mascarpone, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parmesan and 1/2 cup almonds. Mix with a spoon to combine, then press into a baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining almonds. Serve with crackers and pita chips!

This was delicious and incredibly easy! Perfect for any party.

Florentine Artichoke Dip (courtesy of Karen’s Kitchen)

Yield: 4 cups

spinach artichoke dip

  • 1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 (6 ½  oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 ½ (8 oz) pkg. light  cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain spinach; press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. (I just squeeze out the moisture through a colander or sieve). Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Spoon into a lightly greased 11” x 7” baking dish.  Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve with assorted crackers, bagel chips, or bread sticks.

karen's dip

This recipe is another Mahoney Family favorite, and will definitely make you think twice about ordering spinach artichoke dip off a restaurant menu in the future.



Unfortunately, this is a secret family recipe from Karen’s Kitchen…and I did not even get a chance to grab a picture of the finished product before it disappeared. But, come over anytime and I will make you this delicious hors d’oeuvre!

Oreo Cake Balls

oreo cake balls

These are just wow.

And could not be easier. Seriously.

melting chocolate

  • 1 package regular Oreos
  • 1-8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • (Godiva dark chocolate–I accidentally picked up the peppermint crunch version–it was a hit!)


In a food processor, mix Oreos until they become crumbs. Add cream cheese in chunks and process until you have a dough. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Set in the freezer or refrigerator to harden for 1-2 hours.

Once Oreo balls are set, dip in melted chocolate – chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate, etc. Add any decoration on top.

Store in the freezer and serve cold.

cake balls

And finally, for the booze. We served beer, wine, champagne (of course!), and this cocktail. Again, going for a festive flavor, annnnd again, no pics.

But delish!

Cherry Whiskey Smash Cocktails

Yields one, is easily multiplied (you bet we did!)

1 ounce jack daniels
1 ounce cherry juice
1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce ginger brandy
2 ounces cherry cola
5 maraschino cherries

Add cherries to the bottom of the glass and muddle until smashed.Add ice.In a cocktail shaker add jack daniels, cherry juice, amaretto and brandy, shaking for 15 seconds – to combine.Pour over ice, then top off with cherry cola and stir.Serve with additional cherries if desired.

Super simple; super sweet.

All in all, it was a great hosting experience. I learned a lot (many “how-to’s” as well as many “what not to do’s”) for future entertaining; and I’ll be sure to share my discoveries in upcoming posts. Until then, cheers!


Recipe Review {Thanksgiving Edition}

We successfully hosted our first holiday last week! And I must say, we could not have done it without it being the team effort that it was. Between multiple trips to the store, green bean casserole spilled all over the oven, and a turkey that cooked shockingly fast, we had our curve balls…but it all worked out!

The menu consisted of:

  • Roasted Turkey with gravy and stuffing (the Tochman Men took the lead on these dishes)
  • Smashed Potatoes (courtesy of Denise—so delish!)
  • Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts (so, so good, and recipe courtesy of my favorite food blog!)
  • Hot Corn (via Karen’s Kitchen—see below)
  • Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyère Cheese (my personal fave from the day, and beyond easy)
  • Pumpkin Bread (always a good choice)
  • Cranberry Sauce (out of a can…I know, I know, classy!)
  • Baked Onions (courtesy of April—really good!)
  • Green Bean Casserole (courtesy of Denise; recipe on the back of the French’s Fried Onions container)


  • Apple Streusel Pie (my favorite!)
  • Pumpkin Pie  (thanks, again, to April!)

Yum, yum.

Hot Corn


  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 (8oz.) package of cream cheese
  • 24 oz. bag of frozen corn, thawed and drained
  • 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Melt butter in sauce pan over low heat. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Set aside. Put drained corn and chilies in a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour cream cheese mixture over corn and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

So easy, so delicious!

All in all it was a wonderful meal, and a good memory of time shared with family. I am thankful.

Honey’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is as easy as it is amazing.


One of my favorites from growing up in Karen’s Kitchen: Honey’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies. And they are quite famous in the Mahoney household.


I will always remember pushing a kitchen chair up to the counter and sharing it as a stool with Abbie. We used to sneak spoonfuls of batter throughout the recipe and inevitably always ended up with stomach aches by the time the cookies were popped in the oven.

Last night when I made these, it was no different. But who could resist?!


Warm, chewy deliciousness.



1 cup vegetable oil
1 lb. brown sugar
2 cups oats
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon


Add oil, sugar, oats, and eggs together and mix well. Combine the remainder of ingredients together and then add to the oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 375* for approximately 10 minutes.

See? Could it get any easier?! And it is sure to be a crowd favorite, just as it is in our home!


My Favorite Food

I am no foodie. And in fact, those that know me best would say I am rather close-minded when it comes to food. I like what I like and that is that. Though, I will admit–and boast–about making tremendous progress towards becoming more adventurous at the dinner table. Example? I tried and enjoyed some ahi tuna in Hawaii. Baby steps.

Anyway, one food I have always loved, and always will (I consider it my go-to answer to the question “What is your favorite food?”) is pumpkin bread. But not just any pumpkin bread, my mom’s recipe…and once you try it, you will know why! So, without further ado, here is the recipe:


  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Peanut Butter Chips (Optional)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)


Mix pumpkin, oil, water and egg in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly and then gently stir in peanut butter chips and/or chopped nuts.

Prepare 3 (8″x4″) loaf pans and pour batter evenly in to pans.

Bake at 350* for 50-60 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!!

Recipe Review

Last night I made Chicken Rockefeller, and it was a hit! This meal is very easy, and if the chicken is pre-cooked (which ours was not), it would honestly be a ten minute meal.


1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach

1(8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (can be light), softened

1 c. milk

1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

¼ tsp. garlic salt

½ c. shredded parmesan cheese, divided

2 c. cooked chicken, cubed

½ c. crushed cornflakes, if desired


Defrost spinach, drain well, and spread across bottom of small casserole dish.  Spread cooked chicken on top. In bowl, combine cream cheese, milk, jack cheese, garlic salt, and ¼ cup of parmesan.  Cook in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.   Heat long enough to melt cheeses.  Pour over chicken.  Top with remaining ¼ cup of parmesan and ½ cup crushed cornflakes.  Place in microwave and cook for 6 minutes.  Can brown top in broiler if desired.


My dear friend, Lauren, came over to help me cook and we had a lot of fun catching up over wine while we cooked. I love that my friendships and the way we spend time together evolves as we get older, and I am truly thankful for friends like her who I can share openly with….and who will touch raw chicken! Love you, La!

The Puppy Chow did not get made…but it’s on my “to-do” for tonight. Looking forward to munching on it during  a movie night with Brian!

On the Menu

Tonight I am making Chicken Rockefeller out of my mom’s “Women of Great Taste” cookbook. This is one of my favorite recipes she made while I was growing up. I also LOVE this cookbook. I have never made or tasted anything less than amazing from it! Buy it!!

I am also making my sweet friend, Lindsey’s Puppy Chow for dessert…and maybe a snack, and breakfast. Haha!  I.can.not.wait.

It’s going to be a good night in the kitchen!