Hi. I'm a thirty-something year old mom who's always enjoyed eating and cooking (for the most part), so this is a great way for me to keep all my recipes in one spot and share them with all of you. No compliment is greater than someone loving what you made for them (so leave comments *hint hint*)! I also love trying out new restaurants--so I'll let you know what dishes are the best to order and where. I might even be lucky enough to recreate them!

May 30, 2013

Oven Tacos

Tacos right out of the oven, before adding lettuce, tomatoes, etc
These things are sweepin' the nation, man! I first saw them on Pinterest and the recipe linked back to THIS blog. These things are my family's new favorite dinner. Seriously. I think I make them about once a week now! I never have been a huge "hard shell taco" fan (we usually do soft shells) but this recipe has changed that for good! There's just enough moisture in the filling to still keep the shells crunchy but they don't crumble all over the place when you try to eat them.

Recipe for the Tacos
1 lb ground beef or turkey (I've used both and liked both)

half small onion, diced
half small can diced green chilies
half recipe for Homemade taco seasoning (below) OR a 1/4 c. taco seasoning mix/packet
half of can tomato sauce (so use 4 oz) 
half can refried beans (so use 8 oz)
shredded cheese for topping 
12 hard taco shells (regular sized)
whatever toppings you like after they bake (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, taco sauce, etc)

Taco Seasoning Recipe (this is enough for 2 lbs of meat, so if you're using the taco recipe above, only use half of this!)
1 tablespoon chili powder1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

First, saute your beef with the onion. Drain out any excess fat (if you don't, your tacos might be soggy). I just pool all the fat to one side of the skillet and use a paper towel to absorb it. Next, add in your green chilis, tomato sauce, beans, and seasoning. Mix well. Grab a baking dish (a 13x9" will be too big, you want it small enough so you can "stand your tacos up", see pic)...spray bottom of dish with some PAM to keep anything from sticking. Start filling your tacos about half full with filling. Then carefully start to place them into your dish, trying to keep them standing upright. Top with your choice of cheese(s). Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and tops of tacos are starting to brown a bit. Remove from oven and top with whatever your family likes and eat them right away! *some notes* Her recipe for taco seasoning is good, but with the pepper it does add a little kick. If you're not into that, leave the pepper out. I have also just used my own taco seasoning (or a premade packet/about 1/4c.) and it's great as well. Next time I want to try this with shredded chicken. Enjoy.

Jun 26, 2012

Bruschetta

Picture taken from HERE
This isn't really a recipe so much as an ingredient list. You can add more or less of whatever depending upon your tastes. The first time I had this was at an Italian restaurant and I was so surprised that I liked it because normally I avoid eating raw tomatoes at all costs! But since the seeds are removed and the tomates get to marinate with all sorts of yummy flavors, it was like my tongue was having a tastebud party. So now it's pretty much the only way I'll eat raw tomatoes! I am successfully growing a bunch of fresh basil on my porch, so I couldn't wait to make this on my own. Oh and typically this is probably thought of as "chick food," but my manly man hubby ate it and loved it as well. Ha!

Here's what I suggest putting in your recipe:

Tomatoes (diced and seeded) at room temperature
Extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff, not the light versions), use enough to really coat everything
Splash or two of balsamic vinegar
Fresh garlic (minced or squeezed through a press)
Fresh basil (stack and roll up the leaves, then slice)
Kosher salt
Shaved parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Crusty baguette (may I suggest making this one from scratch)

Mix everything in a bowl except the cheese and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may want to do this an hour or two ahead of time so the flavors have time to get to know each other. If you do this, keep it on the counter at room temperature. Slice bread into about 1" slices. Lay on a cookie sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Place under broiler until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and spoon tomato topping over the bread. Add black pepper and some parmesan cheese shavings. Eat immediately. So yummy! You could also serve this at a party and let guests assemble the bruschetta themselves so their "toasts" don't get too soggy from having the tomato mixture sitting on the bread for too long.

EASY Artisan Bread...you will FREAK OUT



(This post has been updated as of 6.26.12) Ok ok ok, when I say EASY I mean EASY. I thought in order to get this kind of oober crusty bread with a spongy, holey, soft middle required hours and hours of love and weird things like spraying water into your oven, etc., or having your own personal wood fired oven. Yeah, right.

In fact, I was so blown away by this recipe that I hesitated to share it with all of you bc it will ruin my culinary prowess of being able to surprise the socks off of people when they try it. But of course I cannot keep all of this fabulousness to myself! SO, now you, too, can freak people out with how awesome this bread is!!!!!! My only warning to you is that you have to think ahead for this one--I like to mix it up the night before I want to actually eat it--either that, or you'll have to get up really early in the morning so it's ready in time for dinner!

3 c. flour (i used half all purpose, half bread flour, not sure it matters?)
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. warm water

Let yeast and salt dissolve into warm water. Then add flour. Mix by hand (don't waste your time getting out the mixer--you won't need it). If you are used to making bread, you will be very worried at how "loose," wet, and sticky the dough is when you're done adding flour. That's Ok. It's supposed to be like that! Cover the bowl you mixed it in with plastic wrap (no mess to clean up!) and let it sit out at room temperature for at least 8 to 10 hours. I left mine on the counter from about 8pm until 5pm the next day and it was just fine.

When the time is up, you'll need to find a large oven-proof pan that has a lid. I used a cheap turkey roaster. Preheat oven AND pan to 475 degrees.

Then put a LOT of flour on your counter. Plop your dough out into the flour (mine was so "loose" that I had to scoop it out with a spoon!) and COAT it with flour and shape into a "baguette" (long and relatively skinny loaf).

Take hot pan out of the oven. Carefully and quickly pick up your shaped "loaf" and place it into the pan (my "loaf" ran the entire length of the turkey roasting pan). You don't need to grease the pan bc the dough will be coated with plenty of flour that will keep in from sticking. Bake for around 20-30 minutes with the lid ON. Then remove lid and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until browned. Cool on wire rack so heat can escape and keep the bread crusty. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS! FYI: I used this bread with my spinach and artichoke dip. Just recently, I used this bread for bruschetta! I think this would be sooo good for sooo many things! I can't wait to make this again! This recipe makes ONE good-sized baguette (not two, like pictured above).

*NOTE* This bread was best when eaten the same day it was made (especially hot!). I used some for the next day that I had wrapped in cling wrap. It was still good, but the crust became very soft and lost its crunch. If you want your crust to stay crunchy, don't wrap the loaf after it cools off!

Jun 21, 2012

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes

picture from Land O' Lakes website. Mine look the same except the fresh green onions on top add some freshness
I think I first came across this recipe on Pinterest, which linked back to Land O Lakes' website. I made a few changed to their recipe (in italics). This recipe will blow your mind! Simple potatoes with rich, creamy, cheesy sauce. I never even knew you could buy white deli american cheese! (I've also heard this is the secret to good homemade queso)! I brought these to our family Thanksgiving meal last year and everyone was dying over them. I am planning on making them again this week and when I do, I'll update the picture for my blog.

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup whipping cream
1 large (3/4 cup) onion, finely chopped
1 rib (1/2 cup) celery, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 pounds red potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 pound sliced white Deli American Cheese (I prob used a pound. You can find this in the deli section of your grocery store behind the counter where you can get sliced lunch meats)
diced green onions for garnish

You'll need a 4-5 qt slow cooker. I love using those slow cooker liner "bags" so I don't have any cleanup. Spray your bag (or crockpot) with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in large bowl except potatoes, butter and cheese slices; mix well. Stir in potatoes until well coated. Spoon potato mixture into slow cooker; drizzle with butter. Cover; cook for 6 to 7 hours on Low heat setting.

Meanwhile, stack cheese slices. Cut into thin strips; separate. Stir cheese strips into potato mixture just a few minutes before potatoes are done cooking. Heat until cheese is melted (5 to 7 minutes). Stir well. Top with fresh green onions!!!
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Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Ohhhhh Ahhhhh. Blueberries...
I'm not normally a huge muffin fan, but when I saw blueberries and lemons in the title, I had to try this recipe. Plus, it sealed the deal when I saw some nice lookin' fresh blueberries at the grocery store! Anyways, I did a few things to this recipe to make it my own, and I was very pleased with the outcome. These are very moist and really good served warm. Hope you like 'em! My sister made them just the other day and loved them, so I decided to make them again this morning for breakfast. I forgot how AWESOME they are! So I updated this recipe just a bit for all y'all.

Ingredients:
2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
zest of one lemon
1/2 t. salt
one egg
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. melted butter (real butter)
1 c. fresh blueberries (or 1.5c if you like tons)

Topping:
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and shortening. (If you don't have buttermilk, you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for at least 5 min. that's what I did). Add dry ingredients and stir gently to combine (the more you mix muffin batter the more tough the muffins will be). I used real buttermilk this time and found the batter to be almost "cookie dough" thick, so I added a bit more. Fold in blueberries (if you dust them lightly with flour first, it helps to keep them from all sinking to the bottom of your muffins). Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 min. Meanwhile, combine butter and lemon juice. While the muffins are still warm, brush the tops with the butter and lemon juice, then quickly sprinkle sugar on top! Makes 12 regular sized muffins. You may want to double this recipe so you can freeze a bunch! I let them cool completely, then stick 'em in a gallon sized ziploc bag and pop 'em into the freezer. Reheat for a few seconds in the microwave when you're ready for one!

Dec 26, 2011

Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter Bars

My husband's nephew's wife brought these to our Thanksgiving dinner this year and I thought I would die and go to heaven. They were so good that I am thinking I should completely delete those "cake mix PB/chocolate bars" I posted just a few days ago!!! Anyway, they were very peanut buttery, chewy, moist...perfect if ya ask me. And they were simply frosted with store-bought chocolate frosting! These are definitely more like a soft, dense PB cookie's texture. I love the oats in it as well! She just sent me the recipe, so here it is for you to enjoy as well. Thanks, Ashley!

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup oats
chocolate frosting

Mix first 8 ingredients. Reserve 1 cup peanut butter for later. Mix well. Add flour and oats. Spread on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min, checking every 10. (She used just a 13X9 pan but it took longer to bake...I liked the thickness of them how she did it, so I will probably do the same when I make them).

While still warm, spread 1 cup peanut butter over top. Cool completely then frost. 


Special Ham n' Cheese Sliders

Picture and recipe found HERE
Well, well, well...these caught my eye a while back and it just so happened I had a nice stash of leftover Honeybaked ham sittin' in my fridge. These were super easy and soooo good!!! I had to "borrow" the picture from this blog (where I found the recipe as well) bc it was just too mouth-watering and I knew I couldn't take one nearly as well as she did! So here's a shout out to "The Girl Who Ate Everything" for her fantastic food pic and recipe to boot! Alrighty, on to the recipe, which was ever so slightly adapted by me:


12 good white dinner rolls
12 pieces of quality ham
12 slices Swiss cheese (I used colby jack since I was out of swiss)
mayonnaise

Poppy seed sauce (I had a decent amount of sauce leftover)
1/2 Tbsp poppyseeds
3/4 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp minced onion
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Spread thin layer of mayo onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place close together, so sides are touching.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Brush enough sauce to evenly cover tops of all of the sandwiches.  Let sit a few minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm. I dipped mine in some Ken's Honeymustard. Deelish!

** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

Dec 5, 2011

PB & Chocolate Cake Mix Bars

This is just a piece of what was left after using a small circle biscuit cutter to cut out my bars. I was in too much of a hurry to take a pic of the "cute" ones. Oh well!

I saw this recipe on Pinterest via this blog and made these for a funeral (sad, I know). It was a good time to try them out, though. It uses a cake mix for the "dough," so that simplified things quite a bit. I love that. They were really good with a slight peanut butterness to the dough, and the chocolate layer was soft & creamy after cooling. Good one to keep on file. I used a small biscuit cutter to cut them into cute circle shapes. Squares are just as cute, though!

1 (18.25) package plain yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla


Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Combine cake mix, melted butter, peanut butter, and eggs in a large bowl using a mixer or spoon. Press this into a 9X13 pan reserving 1 1/2 cup of the mixture to crumble on top.
3) In a small pot, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut.
4) Spread chocolate mixture over the mixture pressed in the pan and then crumble the 1 1/2 cups of reserved cake mixture on top evenly.
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Crockpot: Roasted Salsa Verde Chicken Mix (for Nachos,Burritos, Quesadillas)

Took this pic so you could see the consistency
This is a concoction I came up with the other day bc I was craving nachos like a madwoman. I am very happy with how it turned out, and since then I've used leftovers to make burritos (mixture + rice + cheese) and quesadillas as well. The green salsa it cooks in is roasted, which I love, because it has a that "smoky, grilled flavor" to it. Mmm. Anyway, if you're curious about how I made my nachos, I'll post that below the recipe.

3 nicely sized chicken breasts (sorry, I didn't weigh them)
16 oz. jar of World Table Roasted Salsa Verde (@walmart)
can of white beans (I wanted to use pinto but I was out of them)
1 chipotle pepper*, seeded, then diced (add 2 if you like a lot of heat)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

Place onions in crockpot first. Then add everything else and the chicken. Cook on low about 8 hours. Shred with a fork and toss well to coat. Enjoy! **if you want a "saucier" chicken mixture, you can use less chicken or put in more of the green salsa.**

For nachos: Place tortilla chips onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Put some warmed refried beans (you want them warm bc they will not be under the broiler long enough to fully heat up) into a ziplock bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Squeeze refried beans from bag (kind of like drizzling icing) onto chips. Next plop chicken mixture (also needs to be warmed up) on top of the chips. Then add monterrey jack cheese. Place under broiler for about 5 minutes (watch it, it can burn quickly) until cheese is melted and tips of the chips are browned and crisp (yum!). Then do the same technique with another ziplock bag filled with sour cream. Drizzle all over the top. Add diced tomatoes and green onions (or whatever other toppings you love). Serve immediately. Delicious!!!!! (Really wish I would have taken a pic of mine. They were gorgeous!)

*I buy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, found in the mexican section of your grocer. you can store leftovers in fridge for a long, long time. you can also dice these up and freeze. removing seeds inside reduces the heat factor!

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Nov 6, 2011

Avalanche Bars

obviously this pic is from mels kitchen cafe.com
This was the first time I made these and I learned a few things along the way. Apparently, The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory makes these and this recipe is a copycat recipe floating around the internet. These were really good, but really sweet, too (my teeth were feelin' the ache). I put some notes in italics next to the things I will change the next time around to suit my tastes. The only other "problem" I had was that my bars didn't set up well. I think my chocolate mixture had cooled off way too much by the time I pressed it all into the pan...bc my bars were super crumbly! Boo! Well, at least they tasted delicious! These are so easy to do! This recipe was found on melskitchencafe.com.
12 ounces white chocolate chips (I used almond bark with great results)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (wondering if a pinch more would be ok?)
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (next time I think I'll add a bit more)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (next time want to do more of this as well, also want to use normal sized semi sweet chips instead of the minis to cut the sweetness of the white chocolate)
Lightly grease a 9×9 pan (or 8×8 if you prefer thicker bars) and set aside (I doubled this recipe and used a half sheet pan, it was perfect). In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chips for one minute. Stir. Then continue to microwave in 30 second increments until the chips are completely melted. Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Add the Rice Krispies. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes, stirring now and again (this is the part to really watch. you just want it to cool off enough that it won't melt your chocolate chips). Add the marshmallows and the mini chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of a spoon, taking care not to press too hard or they will be overly compact and it will make the bars dry and tough. Garnish with additional mini chocolate chips, if desired. Let the bars cool completely before serving.

Nov 2, 2011

Chili Cheese Dip or Sauce

picture from McCormick's site
This is another recipe I got from a college roomie, Jenni. There's lots of variations of it out there, but this is the one that I make bc it is delicious! I usually use it as a dip for tortilla chips, but recently I tried it out as a sauce on grilled hotdogs and it was AWESOME. So now  you have 2 things you can do with it, haha.

2 cans Hormel chili, no beans!
16 oz. original velveeta (cut into smaller pieces for easier melting)
1 small can diced chilis (4 oz?)

Melt everything on stove top, microwave, or put into crockpot until melted. Mix well. Serve hot!

Oct 17, 2011

Red Lobster Garlic Cheese Biscuits

These are really similar to the ones at Red Lobster! I made them with dinner tonight on a whim, so I thought I'd post them here so I don't forget about these since they are so easy to whip up!
another pic with bad lighting...it was at dusk. sorry!!!
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/8 tsp garlic powder


Mix Bisquick with milk until soft dough forms. Fold in shredded cheese. Drop 6 biscuits by spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until tops are browned. Meanwhile, mix melted butter with garlic powder. As soon as biscuits are done, brush with garlic butter. Serve hot!



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Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

I usually toss tilapia fillets into a skillet with seasoned salt and lemon juice, and call it good. But some days call for a smidge more fanciness, yet still simple in execution. I found this on allrecipes.com and it's fantastic. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except for the celery salt part. I don't have that; besides, I hear it's not very good! Ha ha ha. Anyway, here's the recipe the way I did it:
By the time I got outside to snap this picture it was too dark out!  I promise my fish isn't really blue! Ha ha ha.


  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (from the jar)
  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1-2 tsp dried parsley
  • 5 tilapia fillets

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder. Add parsley. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Prepare your mouth for a parmesan cheesy party!

Oct 14, 2011

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler Bars

There are so many variations of peach cobbler out there in the world. I'd say this one is more like a peach pie, than cobbler. I'm not a huge fan of the biscuit-y type of cobbler, but I do like the cobblers made with cake mix topping. However, I came across this one and it just looked perfect to me. The recipe is from HERE on allrecipes.com with a few adapted changes by moi. I wanted to do a peach cobber but in "bar" form so it was something you could actually cut into squares. This recipe worked great (see my notes below, however) and was delicious. I think my husband wanted to marry me all over again, haha. Of course I served it warm with vanilla ice cream! This was another recipe I used fresh peaches in due to the huge box from my mother-in-law. I am kind of peach-crazy right now!
Photo from allrecipes.com since I forgot to snap my own pic!

  • 1 store-bought pie crust (2, 9" circles of dough) or you can make your own
  • 3 lbs fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced (this probably means 3 lbs BEFORE peeling & pitting them)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  •  
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out half of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Place in a 9x13 inch baking dish, covering bottom and halfway up sides. Prick with fork. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix the peaches, lemon juice, and orange juice. Add 1/2 cup butter, and cook over medium-low heat until butter is melted. In a mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cornstarch; mix into peach mixture. Remove from heat, add vanilla, then pour into baked crust.
  3. Roll remaining dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into half-inch-wide strips. Weave strips into a lattice over peaches (I just laid them on top in a criss crossed pattern). Brush dough with melted butter, then sprinkle generously with sugar.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top crust is golden brown and bars are nice and bubby. Serve hot with ice cream!
***Note from Amiee. Somehow I seriously ended up with DOUBLE the amount of peach mixture you'd need for the bars. I poured in just enough (about 1.5" deep) and skimmed out any excess liquid for fear of it not cooking correctly. They turned out great! I didn't weigh my peaches and I think I just had way too many (I peeled and chopped about 13 medium sized peaches). However, I used my leftover "pie" filling for crepes the next day (yummmm). I just strained out any excess liquid, tossed it back into a pot to warm it up, and put some peach filling inside of crepes. It was really, really good!***


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Fresh Peach Muffins w/ Pecan Streusel Topping

In hindsight I should have cut into one of these so you could see all the peach gloriousness!
At the moment I cannot remember where I got this recipe, so thank goodness I jotted it down on a notebook because it was awesome! I also remember reading a bunch of reviews on this before I did it, so I made a lot of changes to the original recipe anyways. I have never made a peach muffin before in my life, so I was definitely curious as to how it would turn out. I also used fresh peaches for this recipe since I inherited a ginormous box of them from my in-laws' peach tree! Holla! Something to note about these is that they freeze well, but if you leave any sit out for longer than a day or so they turn very mushy due to fresh peaches inside. So don't do that! I freeze them in gallon zip-locks so I can pop 'em in the microwave for 15 seconds for a quick, yummy breakfast whenever I like!

For the batter:
3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. canola oil
3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. peeled, chopped fresh peaches

For the Streusel Topping:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. crushed pecans
2 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. in large bowl mix oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl mix flour, cinnamon, soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture into wet. Mix only until they come together (overmixing results in tougher muffins, though I'm not sure why--probably something with the eggs?). Your batter might be thick, but it should thin out once you add the juicy peaches. Then carefully fold in fresh peaches. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 way full.

Before baking, mix up the streusel topping. I dump everything into a small bowl and use a pastry blender to incorporate the butter a bit. Then I end up using my fingers until it forms a nice, crumbly mixture. Place a heaping Tablespoon of mixture on top of each muffin before baking. Then bake for about 15-18 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. I got 28 regular sized muffins out of this recipe. Enjoy!

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Trail Mix Trio

I first had this from an ol' college roommate of mine, Jenni (shout out!). It's super easy and really good! All you need is plain M&Ms, cherry Nibs (or cherry Twizzler Bites), and salted roasted peanuts. Make sure you get the roasted ones bc you want that salty, powdery "dust" to get all over the Nibs! I like to pick out the Nibs, but I eat the M&Ms and peanuts together. I also like about a 2-part chocolate to peanut ratio. :) Happy snacking!

Oct 12, 2011

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

picture "borrowed" from HERE
So my new internet obsession is Pinterest (website where you can "pin" any picture of any item to a "board" with comments, etc., kind of like an organized visual binder of favorite things)! Ironically, this is where I first came across this recipe and decided I must make it for dinner asap. Lately I've been in a total cooking rut and haven't tried anything new in way too long. Can I just say that I LOVED this??? I was out of a couple things but made some quick substitutions and it turned out brilliantly! Will definitely be making this again! Yummmm! The recipe was on The Girl Who Ate Everything's blog. Oh! And might I add that it wasn't until I was actually making this that I realized you just layer everything into a 9x13" pan! No rolling up and toothpicking on this one! Ok one more thing--call me crazy, but this is the first recipe that I've ever seen mix breadcrumbs and melted butter together and then sprinkle them on top of the food. GENIUS. Until now, I had only seen the "sprinkle breadcrumbs then drizzle with melted butter" method, which does NOT work as well. Funny how the little things can amaze me. Ok, I'm done blabberin'.

For the Cordon Bleu:

  • 3 large, thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise (to make two thinner chicken breast cutlets out of each one)
  • 12 slices good quality deli ham (I used presliced ham that comes in a chunk, so my slices were thicker than deli meat, which I really liked!)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)- I used Panko with awesome results
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 pound (8 oz) thinly sliced Swiss cheese- I used monterrey jack and I loved it!

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base paste (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the kind that comes in the plastic jar since I had a horrible experience using the real Parm-Regg cheese and my alfredo came out so bitter it went straight to the trash-
Directions:
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.

Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Lightly salt and pepper them. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham (in my case, just one since mine were already a good thickness) and top with slices of Swiss (monterrey) cheese, layering across the chicken breast to make sure the entire chicken breast is covered with ham and cheese. When I did this I made sure to layer each breast individually so when they were done cooking it would be easier to take each one out for serving. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden. I had a bit of excess water from the chicken when mine was done, so I just tipped the pan over the sink and poured it out.

When the chicken has about 10 minutes left to cook--in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon and salt. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in some more milk. If it's too thin, simmer longer.

Serve each chicken cordon bleu portion with warm sauce. Makes 6 servings.

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Sep 9, 2011

Beef Stroganoff (over rice)

this picture is borrowed from thefrugalflambe.com, but this is pretty much what mine looks like!
This is another one of those recipes that I sort of made up as I went along and it came out WONDERFULLY. Problem is, it's been about a week since I made it and I'm making myself blog about it so I have a chance at recreating it in the future. This is a great dish to use for leftover pot roast! I'm always on the hunt for leftover pot roast recipes bc I love pot roasts and I always have extra beef once that is all said and done. The other thing I love is to eat this over rice. I know traditionally it's eaten with egg noodles, but I think it should be eaten with rice hands down. And jasmine rice at that! Ahhh, it's so good. Ok let's get started.

Leftover pot roast, cubed or shredded
Lots of cremini or white button mushrooms. sliced or diced
Evaporated milk (I used about half a can)
10.75 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup
3/4 of the soup can filled with water
about 1/3 of a block of cream cheese
about 1/3 c. of sour cream
1-2 tsp of Beef base (or beef boullion--about a cube or 2)
splash of worcestershire
Tony's Chachere's seasoning (red pepper, garlic, salt)
Fresh or dried parsley (for garnish)

Begin by sauteing mushrooms in butter and a bit of oil. Make sure they are nice and browned, remove from skillet and set aside. While skillet is still hot, add cream of mushroom soup and the water from the can. Let simmer. Then add the cream cheese, sour cream, and a Tbsp of butter. Mix until blended well and is simmering. Then add the beef base, worcestershire, and evaporated milk until desired consistency. Toss in cubed beef and mushrooms. Let simmer for a few minutes to meld all the flavors. Season with Tony's to taste. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over jasmine rice. 

2-Step Potato Wedges

My sister-in-law sent me this recipe to try, which is originally by Rachel Ray. My mom also tasted these and sent me the same recipe! Ha ha ha! So if two people recommended it, I guess I'm trying it. Just so happened the week before I picked up some true sweet potatoes at the farmer's market. NOT the orangy/yam kind, it looks more like an "Idaho" baker but with a light, yellow flesh. They are sweet but don't have as "gritty" of a taste to them as yams do. Anyhoo, here's the recipe with some addt'l notes/changes by me. They were really, really good and not "mealy" at all. Even crisped up nicely in the oven! Definitely will be making these again. Next time I will try them with regular Idaho bakers. Like maybe tonight!

3 or 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into wedges (w/ skin on)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons season salt (or lots of salt and pepper)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (I used less)

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Put the potatoes in a large pot over medium heat and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Add salt, to taste, to the water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and put them, while hot, in a bowl. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and the grill seasoning and the paprika (I sprinkled the paprika on separately) and gently toss to coat evenly. Arrange the potatoes on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, so the heat can go all around the wedges. Roast until crisp, about 15 to 18 minutes. (I am at high altitude and found I had to cook my potatoes much longer until they were nice and browned). Serve immediately!