Sunday, December 22, 2013

Spinach Mushroom Creamy Soup

This soup is mm mm good and a long over due request from Becky to post on here. It's been a large group/showers/book group staple for my mom for as long as I can remember but I like to make it just for me (since my husband wont eat mushrooms) too.

(Serves 4-6)
5 tbsp butter
1/4 lb fresh mushrooms sliced
1 scallion
5 tbsp flour
2 c chicken broth
2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 lb cream cheese softened
1 c fresh grated swiss cheese
3/4 lb fresh baby spinach trimmed, cooked in microwave and drained of water

(for large groups triple milk and spinach. quadruple everything else)

Melt butter in large sauce pan. Slowly saute mushroom and scallion till tender. Add flour stir till just cooked- a few minutes. Whisk in first chicken broth and then milk, stirring until thickened. Add spices, cream cheese, swiss cheese. When mixed in then add precooked and drained spinach. Heat through while gently stirring. Serve hot.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Parmesan Basil Orzo

 This is the most delicious, simple side dish. I had to add it because I've made it several times. This was given to me by a friend, Jessica Klemetson.
PARMESAN BASIL ORZO
INGREDIENTS:
3 Tablespoons Butter 1-½ cup Orzo 3 cups Chicken Or Vegetable Stock 6 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil 1 cup Parmesan Cheese ½ teaspoons Salt ¼ teaspoons Pepper
Instructions:
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and saute for a few minutes, until the orzo starts to get golden brown. Add the broth and cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, add the basil and Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Skillet Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is an easy last minute meal if you are feeling like comfort food or an easy "gourmet" side



From Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 3 1/2 cups water, plus extra if needed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks
  • Ground black pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS
  1. Bring 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes.
  2. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce (I didn’t need any additional water when I made it). Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
NOTES
Ham and Pea Variation: Follow the recipe, adding 4 ounces deli-style baked ham, diced medium, and 1/2 cup frozen peas to the skillet with the cornstarch mixture in step 2.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pecan Pie

Jason's favorite dessert is pecan pie. I've been on a mission to find the perfect pecan pie recipe to rival that of the famous Elizabeth who brought him pies in Hampton weekly. Don't worry, I'm not too intimidated by her-- She's 80 years old! After two different recipes from allrecipes.com, I think I found our favorite. I guess I'm getting old because I've never even liked pecan pie and always considered it "old people food". I like it now! And I was pleased with how easy it is!

Pecan Pie

INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 c white sugar
1/4 dark karo (I used regular) corn syrup
1/4 c butter
1 T cold water
2 t corn starch
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 c whole pecans
1 pie shell (I like Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. In medium sauce pan heat first five ingredients. Bring to boil and remove from heat. In large bowl beat eggs until frothy. Gradually pour in hot mixture and combine with eggs using beaters. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour into pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes. Let sit for about an hour.

Fairbanks Rolls

My friend Robyn is famous around Augusta for these rolls. They are amazing. To me, the flavor is unparalleled. She also uses this same recipe for cinnamon rolls. Its worth ordering the dough enhancer! This will be your new favorite recipe. I also love that it only makes two dozen. Its the perfect amount for a Sunday dinner! She uses a bread maker but I used my bosch.

INGREDIENTS:
1 heaping T of yeast
3 cups of bread flour
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c powdered milk
1 t salt
1/4 c melted butter
1 1/2 egg
1 c warm water
1 heaping T dough enhancer

Put in mixer and mix for ten minutes. Let it raise in mixer until it doubles (about 1-2 hrs).  Turn dough out onto floured surface. Cut into 24 squares and pinch four corners together underneath. Dip top in butter and place on buttered cookie sheet. Raise 2-3 hours. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Makes two dozen.
*I didnt have dough enhancer the first time so I used vital wheat gluten and they were still delicious!



Friday, December 6, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


I learned how to make these by a retired wedding cupcake maker a few years ago and have made them every Christmas since. They are easy, amazing and a must try.

Cupcakes:
1 Duncan Hines Devils Food cake mix
1 Large package of instant chocolate pudding
1 Package of Trader Joe's Peppermint Jo jo's (or peppermint oreos)
  • Make the cake mix according to directions (oil, water, egg etc) and add the pudding powder at the end before baking.
  • Line muffin tin with cupcake papers
  • Place a spoonful of batter in the bottom of paper placing a cookie on top and covering with another spoonful of batter (make sure the cup isn't too full of batter adjust accordingly)
  • Bake according to package directions
Frosting:
2 Cubes of unsalted butter at room temp (those details are a must for yummy frosting- don't skip)
1/2 tsp of salt
3 and 3/4 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
  • Combine all ingredients except for the milk thoroughly and add milk at the end.
  • Wait till cupcakes are completely cooled to frost
Frosting tip:
you can either spread on think with a knife or place a large frosting tip in the corner of sandwich bag. Cut off small tip of sandwich bag and push frosting tip out so exposed. fill bag with frosting, twist the top shut and frost cupcakes.



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili Recipe

Loved this recipe.  It was even better the second day and each day after.  Honestly, I kind of feel like the chicken was an afterthought so wouldn't feel totally compelled to use it.  I did have to add some extra water in the end but it was so hearty and flavorful.  Plus...a slow cooker...hello!

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili Recipe

Recipe from queenbeecoupons.com
INGREDIENTS
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
One (1) 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)
One (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
Two (2) 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
One (1) 15 oz can of corn, drained
3 Cups chicken stock
2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp chili powder
This has a nice little kick to it, but I didn’t think it was too spicy. If you’re nervous about spice, reduce the red pepper and the chili powder by half.
HOW TO PREPARE
1.) Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high. I added frozen chicken breasts to mine and cooked on high for about six hours. As long as the chicken is cooked – it’s done!
2.) Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.
3.) Top with cheese, sour cream, avocados – whatever sounds good to you! I’m thinking the next day it would probably thicken up enough to eat in a whole wheat tortilla.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meatballs for Spaghetti

I thought these were pretty tasty and easy! I like meatballs and I like the idea of being able to pick how much meat you want with your spaghetti! 


Meatballs Adapted from Rachel Ray

1 1/4 pounds ground sirloin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper


Preheat over to 425
Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake balls 10 to 12 minutes, until no longer pink.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Browned Butter Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know what you're thinking..."we really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe on Peachtree Cooking".  Right?  This one is different from your regular cookie because of the browned butter- it gives the cookie a rich, caramel flavor that is beyond delicious.  David White's cute wife, Bonnie, brought these over when we had them to dinner, and the plate was cleaned before any of us had enough.  Seriously amazing.
actual picture
Browned Butter Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bonnie White

2.5 c flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1.5 c packed brown sugar
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs. Greek yogurt
1/2 c semi sweet choco chips
1/2 c milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.  Brown your butter in a skillet on your stovetop until it turns a golden brown, but before it burns (don't leave it).  Pour into mixer and blend with sugar until well blended.  Add remaining wet ingredients.  Mix in dry ingredients until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Chill in freezer for 30 minutes.  Scoop onto baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt (optional).  Bake 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fig Prosciutto Pizza




Fig Prosciutto Pizza

There is a famous restaurant here in Boston called Figs that has amazing pizza. Probably their most famous is their fig prosciutto pizza and it is so amazingly good I have dreams about it. For pizza night the other night I decided to try and replicate it and came across this recipe that the Pioneer Woman posted. It is super easy and def a different flavor then the usual marinara pizza. The crust recipe she lists is good for 2 pizzas FYI.

- Also a plus- you can find all of these ingredients including pre-made yummy pizza dough at Trader Joe's if you live by one which makes the prep that much easier.

  •  Pizza Crust
  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  •  FOR THE PIZZA:
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Fig Spread Or Jam
  •  Kosher Salt To Taste
  • 12 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Thin
  • 6 ounces, weight Thinly Sliced Prosciutto- I cook it on the pizza rather than add it after baking.
  • 1 bunch Washed And Rinsed Arugula
  •  Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan

Preparation Instructions

NOTE: PIZZA INGREDIENTS IN THIS RECIPE ARE FOR 1/3 OF THE PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE. USE LEFTOVER DOUGH TO MAKE OTHER KINDS OF PIZZA!
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least an hour. Use right away or store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Roll out 1/3 of the pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place on a large baking sheet.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Spread fig spread (or jam) all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Lay sliced of mozzarella all over the surface. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and immediately lay prosciutto over hot pizza. Just before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan shavings.
Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately!

Amy's Chocolate Chip Cookies



Rachel gave me this recipe years and years ago and I cannot believe we've never posted it here before! I get requests for this recipe ALL THE TIME when I make them. They are sooo yummy. They are definitely my go-to chocolate chip cookies recipe and that's saying a lot since I make cookies at least weekly.

Amy's Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Amy Shumway

3 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 eggs
4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1-2 pkg. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Place slightly softened butter in mixer and add sugars. Mix until butter and sugar is totally incorporated and the consistency is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl 1 or 2 times. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well, scraping down sides of bowl. Consistency should be light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, and salt in the mixing bowl and mix just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Don’t overmix! Add chocolate chips and mix just until distributed. Don’t overmix! Using a cookie scoop, place cookies on sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is golden brown around the edge.
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie


Ummm...YUM! Can't believe Im just now posting this recipe! Its amazing! I love white chocolate and the oatmeal gives it a good texture and flavor! This is my new favorite cookie recipe!


White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies  from AllRecipes.com
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups white chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until completely incorporated. Fold in the oats and white chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and let cool.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My favorite Veggies

So, I know this may be lame, but I thought I'd post my favorite way of preparing veggies.  We eat a TON of veggies and I've found this to be the easiest and yummiest way to get them to the table...and have your kids enjoy them.



My Favorite Veggies
From Rachel

Vegetables (I like a carrot, cauliflower and broccoli combo)
Olive Oil
Salt (try the Pink Himalayan salt at Costco- its much more nutritious than table salt)
Cajun Seasoning

You'll need a steamer of some sort on hand (I have a metal basket that fits on top of my regular stovetop skillet- got it at Williams-Sonoma for about $8).  Put water in the bottom of the skillet, but careful not to do too little or the veggies burn, or too much, or the veggies boil- you don't want the water to overflow onto your steamer basket.  Chop veggies to similar sizes to allow for even cooking. Place them in the basket and steam with lid covering until desired tenderness (I like mine with a little crunch).  Empty the water from your skillet and return skillet to hot stovetop.  Pour olive oil to coat bottom and heat slightly. Return veggies to skillet and season with salt and cajun seasoning.  Stir to coat and remove from heat- you don't want to cook your veggies any longer.  Enjoy.  I love serving these veggies tossed with these Simple Sesame Noodles.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fresh Homemade Salsa




My friend gave me this salsa recipe a couple months ago and I have made it numerous times since then and I realized that I hadn't posted it yet! It's so yummy and so easy! You just throw everything in the blender and voila! It keeps for up to a week in your fridge in any storage container.


Fresh Homemade Salsa
from Melanie Stephens

4 cups diced tomatoes (can be fresh or canned or both!)
1 large green pepper
1 large yellow onion
1-2 jalapenos (depending on your spice level- take the seeds out for less spice)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Throw everything in the food processor and blend! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mozzarella Stuffed Bruschetta Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Mozzarella Stuffed Bruschetta Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

I know, it's been a while since I posted.  I am on a health kick right now so am trying new recipes.  We had this one tonight and it was so, so good....and easy!  I am not usually a ground turkey kind of girl but these were very flavorful.  We used some bruschetta that I bought at Sam's Club but I am sure this homemade bruschetta is also amazing.



Mozzarella Stuffed Bruschetta Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Glaze
From Iowa Girl Eats Blog

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)
    For the burgers:
    • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
    For the Bruschetta:
    • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
    • Salt & pepper, to taste
    For the balsamic glaze:
    • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
    Instructions
      For the burgers:
      • In a large bowl combine turkey, salt, pepper, basil and parmesan cheese. Divide mixture into 8 portions.
      • Line a peanut butter jar lid with foil, then plastic wrap and press 1 portion of the turkey mixture into the lid. Heap 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese into the middle, then top with another portion of turkey. Press down to seal, then invert the patty onto a plate. Continue until you have 4 burger patties.
      • Grill burgers for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes per side over medium heat.
      For bruschetta mixture:
      • combine all ingredients, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
      For the balsamic glaze:
      • Heat balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer, and stir frequently, until the vinegar has reached the consistency of thin maple syrup.
      • Top grilled burgers with Bruschetta mixture and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

      Monday, October 21, 2013

      The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

      Our family makes chocolate chip cookies almost every Sunday.  I love to try new recipes (I think I've tried every one on this blog), while my husband sticks with good ol' Nestle Toll House.  His argument..."Why try to improve on perfection?"  Well, yesterday, improve we did.  Only, in my humble opinion, this improvement is about 100 times better than Nestle Toll House.  It really is the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I have to give credit where credit is due, though.  My 13-year-old daughter made these cookies by herself while I was gone, and I only helped her shape them on the pan when I returned.  I assume she followed the recipe exactly as it is (with a few extra chocolate chips, a mix of milk chocolate and semi-sweet).  I did give her one tip before I left the house:  always use a wooden spoon rather than a beater to stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

      picture courtesy of Annie's Eats
      The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
      adapted from a friend's recipe

      1 cup butter, at room temperature
      1 1/2 cups brown sugar
      1/2 cup white sugar
      2 large eggs, at room temperature
      1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
      2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
      1 tsp. baking soda
      1/2 tsp. salt
      2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (or you can use a plain old jelly roll pan)

      Beat butter with electric mixer until creamy.  Add the brown sugar and beat for 5 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for another minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well.

      Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two or three additions, mixing on low speed just until the flour is incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips using a silicone spatula or the mixer on low speed.

      Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving a few inches of room between them.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

      *my daughter used a rather large ice cream scoop and made bigger cookies, pressing the dough down so they were evenly spread.

      Sunday, October 13, 2013

      Perfect Potato Soup

      DSC_8512
       Pic courtesy of Pioneer Woman Cooks


      This soup really is perfect. It's a lot healthier than my old potato soup recipe. It actually has lots of veggies in it! It's a little more intense than my old recipe, but it really is worth it.

      Perfect Potato Soup
      from Pioneer Woman Cooks 

      • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
      • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
      • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
      • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
      • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
      • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
      • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
      • 1 cup Milk
      • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
      • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
      • Black Pepper To Taste
      • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
      • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
      • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

      Preparation Instructions

      Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
      Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.
      Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
      Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth (I added all of the soup so my kids would eat it.). Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.
      Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.
       

      Friday, September 27, 2013

      Chicken Burrito Bowls (Copycat Chipotle)

      I'm making this for the second time tonight, its that good! And may I add healthy! It's another Pinterest find! Enjoy!

      Chicken Burrito Bowls

      babycenter blog


      1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
      1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
      1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      Dash of cayenne pepper
      Pinch of garlic powder
      1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
      Olive oil
      1 red onion, chopped
      1 red bell pepper, chopped
      1 cup frozen corn, thawed, or fresh corn cut off the cob
      1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
      2 cups cooked brown rice
      Avocado, cilantro, and lime juice for garnish (optional)
      In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly over chicken pieces.
      Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook through. Remove the from the pan and set aside.
      If necessary, add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the onion, pepper, and corn. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender, about 7 minutes. Add the black beans and heat through.
      Layer rice, bean mixture, and chicken in a bowl and top with avocado, cilantro, and lime juice if desired.

      Wednesday, September 25, 2013

      Honey Caramel Sauce


      I tried this at a baby shower and fell in love! Its so delicious and easy!

      HONEY CARAMEL SAUCE
      1/2 c honey
      1 stick butter
      3/4 c brown sugar
      1 can sweetened condensed milk

      Directions: Combine first three ingredients on medium high. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for two min. then add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Store in airtight container in fridge. Reheat in microwave when ready to eat.
      *tip: this made enough for four smaller mason jars so I jarred them and am taking them to the sisters I visit teach with apples and I dipped pretzels in chocolate! YUMMYYYY!!!!*

      Wednesday, September 18, 2013

      Fresh Peach Crisp

      Perfect Peach Crisp from Our Best Bites
       Pic courtesy of Our Best Bite



      I'm seeing a lot of sweatshirts on Instagram which means Fall is here in some parts of the country, but not here in Texas! I'll take another month of heat for a nice, temperate Winter, though. I was feeling Fall-ish the other day, though, and decided to make a fresh peach crisp because we invited some friends over for dessert. It was seriously SOOOO delicious. Everyone loved and it and it was gobbled right up in a hurry. I served mine up with a scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream. There is a great tutorial on how to get the skins off of peaches on Our Best Bites. If you're going to make this, definitely take a look at it to save time and energy. Mmmmm!

      Fresh Peach Crisp
      Topping by Our Best Bites, Filling by ATK

      Filling Ingredients
      3 1/2 lbs ripe but firm peaches (6-8), peeled, pitted, and sliced into 3/4″ wedges.
      1/3 cup granulated sugar
      1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
      1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
      Pinch salt
      pinch of cinnamon
      pinch of ground nutmeg
      Crumb Topping
      1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1/4 cup flour
      6 tablespoons cold butter
      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      Preheat oven to 350.
      Instructions
      For peach filling, gently combine peaches and sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain peaches in a colander set over a large bowl, reserving the peach juices. Whisk 1/4 cup of the drained peach juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in small bowl.  (You can discard the rest of the excess peach juice or toss it in a smoothie!) Toss juice mixture with peaches and transfer to an 8 or 9 inch square pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Any size pan that’s close to that is fine, it doesn’t need to be exact.  As long as it all fits, it’s good :)
      For topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon and either grate the cold butter with a large-hole cheese grater, or cut it into small cubes and use your fingers to crumble the mixture together.  Sprinkle topping evenly over pan.
      Bake for about 30 minutes.  The topping should look golden brown and crisp, and I always watch for little bubbles of peach liquid to start popping though the outside corners.  Let cool to luke warm before serving.  Spoon over ice cream.

      Sunday, September 8, 2013

      Simple Sesame Noodles

      TPW_1367

       Pic courtesy of Pioneer Woman



      This is one of those meals that I threw together kind of last minute and I wasn't expecting much, but it was seriously SO good! It got rave reviews from the whole fam!

      Simple Sesame Noodles
      from Pioneer Woman

      Ingredients

      • 12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained
      • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
      • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
      • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
      • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
      • 3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
      • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
      • 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

      Preparation Instructions

      Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
      Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
      Sprinkle with green onions and toss.
      Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

      Italian Chicken Hoagies with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

      Quick and Easy Italian Sandwiches from Our Best Bites
       Pic courtesy Our Best Bites



      My mouth is watering just remembering how good these were! I bought fresh basil to put on them but by the time I made them my basil had all pretty much wilted, so I only had a few bites with basil on them and they were still so scrumptious.



      Italian Chicken Hoagies with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
      from Our Best Bites

      Ingredients
      7-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry (about 3/4 C)
      1 clove garlic, chopped
      1/2 cup mayo
      1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
      kosher salt and black pepper
      1 large french baguette (about 24″ long) or 4 large hoagie buns
      2 cups cooked shredded or (or a few chicken breasts grilled and sliced)
      1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or several slices
      a handful of fresh basil leaves
      Instructions
      Place roasted red peppers, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice (if you don’t have a lemon, sub red or white wine vinegar, or just leave it out!)  in a food processor.  Add a pinch of salt and a few cracks of fresh ground pepper.  Process until smooth and then store in the fridge until ready to use.  You can make the sauce ahead of time.
      Slice bread in half to open it up.  Lightly brush with olive oil or butter and place under a broiler until golden brown and toasted.  Remove from oven and spread red pepper sauce on the bottom half of the bread.  Layer chicken on top of it and top with cheese.  Place back in the broiler just until cheese is melted.  Top with basil leaves.  Spread red pepper sauce on other side of bread and put sandwich together.  Slice in to 4 large hoagies, or 8 smaller sandwiches.

      Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

      DSC_0050
       Pic courtesy Sisters Cafe


      I love when I can make something at home that I used to buy at the store. I know exactly what's going in to it and it tastes SO much better! These are no exception. Next time, I'll double them b/c they were gone so fast!

      Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
      from The Sisters Cafe 


      2 1/2 cups oats (*can use gluten free oats)
      1/2 cup rice krispy cereal (*can use gluten free rice krispy cereal)
      1/4 cup coconut
      1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 cup butter
      1/4 cup peanut butter
      1/8 cup honey
      2 TB corn syrup (optional- I didn't use this)
      1/2 tsp vanilla
      Put butter , peanut butter, honey and corn syrup (if using) in a small saucepan over low heat until liquid.  Add remaining ingredients to a bowl.  Pour liquid from saucepan over the dry stuff and mix together until combined. Press into a square 8×8 pan.
      Bake at 350 for 20 minutes–I did almost 30 minutes but I did double the recipe.  Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars.
      Let it set completely and then cut into bars. Enjoy!

      Easy Vegetable Lasagna

      I threw this together tonight, so the measurements are not exact and may need adjusting, but this is so delicious and easy, especially if you use pre-made spaghetti sauce.   You can adapt to your family's tastes.  My kids won't come anywhere within 10 miles of a mushroom, and most of the veggie lasagna recipes I came across called for mushrooms, so instead I used zucchini.  You can add roasted red peppers (I think I'll try that next time!), squash, broccoli, peppers, anything that sounds good and is already in your fridge.  Just remember when sautéing the veggies, cook the hard veggies, such as carrots, longer and add the softer veggies, such as spinach or squash last.  I didn't miss the meat at all, and my kids even came back for seconds (though, I'll admit, I found a few pieces of zucchini pushed to the side on their plates).


      Easy Vegetable Lasagna

      9-10 lasagna noodles, cooked
      Large Jar (3-4 cups) of spaghetti sauce (I used Kirkland's marinara)
      3 cups Ricotta cheese
      1 egg, lightly beaten
      3-4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
      1-2 tsp. dried basil
      1-2 tsp. dried oregano
      1/2 tsp. salt
      1/4 tsp. pepper
      1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
      2 Tbs Olive Oil
      1 cup chopped onions
      1 tsp minced garlic
      1 cup chopped carrots
      2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
      1 zucchini, sliced and quartered

      Preheat oven to 350.  

      Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat.  Add carrots and other hard veggies, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add onions and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Then add zucchini and spinach.  Cook until veggies are softened, then add spaghetti sauce and heat through.

      In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1-2 cups of mozzarella, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and egg.  Stir until well mixed.  

      In a 9x13 glass dish, layer three times: noodles, cheese mixture, veggie sauce.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30 minutes then let sit for 5-10 minutes.

      Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice

      Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice

      This was dee-licious. Seriously one of the best meals I've had in a while. And the flavors were just so original and different. Definitely a guest-worthy meal:).

      Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice
      from Mel's Kitchen Cafe 


      Ingredients
        Chicken and Marinade/Sauce:
      • 3 tablespoons oil
      • Zest and juice of 1 lime
      • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
      • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 2 teaspoons curry powder
      • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
      • pinch cayenne pepper
      • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note above)
      • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      • Fresh limes, cut into wedges
      • Coconut Rice:
      • 1 cup jasmine rice
      • 1 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
      • 1 cup water
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt

      Directions
      1. In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, salt, sugar, curry powder, coconut milk, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
      2. For the coconut rice, bring the rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-16 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated. remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.
      3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill (see note above if not grilling) to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (actual time will depend on the thickness of the chicken). While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade into a small or medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      4. Place the grilled chicken on a serving platter or plate. Drizzle with sauce (reserve the remaining sauce to serve separately) and sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top. Serve with lime wedges and additional sauce.

      Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

       Pic courtesy of Six Sisters Stuff


      We had this for dinner a couple nights ago and it was a real winner. I love grilling b/c it can be done pretty last minute and this was a little different twist on BBQ chicken.


      Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe
      from Six Sisters Stuff
      Serves 4

       Ingredients:
      1/2 cup of any whole grain mustard (I just used regular old French's mustard)
      1/2 cup of honey
      Juice of 1/2 a lemon
      1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
       1/2 teaspoon paprika
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

      Preparation: Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 4 tablespoons of sauce and then pour the remaining honey mustard mixture over the chicken, toss and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the grill on medium-medium high heat, grill chicken for about 6 to 7 minutes per side or until chicken is done. Pour the reserved honey-mustard sauce over chicken and let rest under foil for about 5 minutes. Serve.

      Thursday, August 15, 2013

      Pizza Sandwiches


      These have recently become a family favorite after seeing the idea on six sisters. Its obviously super simple and I'm a little embarrassed to even be posting....but we love it so I gotta share!  Its also super quick and every single person (even my picky husband) loves it. But I'm tellin' ya, ya need to use the white bread and real butter. Taste will definitely be sacrificed if you don't! We've only made them with pepperoni or just cheese but the options are endless with this recipe!

      Pizza Sandwiches

      -Medium weight White bread (we use the "Italian" variety made by pepperidge farm)
      -Mozzarella cheese mixed with a bit of parmesano orregiano
      -Italian seasoning
      -garlic powder
      -SOFT butter
      -pepperoni
      -other pizza toppings if desired (banana peppers, olives, sausage, etc.)
      -pizza/spaghetti sauce

      Directions:
      Mix soft butter with seasonings and garlic powder. I usually do about 4 T butter and 1 t. of ea seasoning.
      Spread seasoned butter on one side of two pieces of white bread. Place on panini maker, griddle, or frying pan with cheese and desired topping in between bread. Serve with a dish of hot spaghetti/pizza sauce.

      Thursday, August 8, 2013

      Grilled Honey Chicken Kebabs

      Honey Chicken and Veggie Kabobs 


      We're on a major kebab kick lately. We have them at least weekly here. I love them b/c the chicken pieces are small, so they cook quickly and they're really flavorful. Anyway, I made these last night and here I am posting them already, so they are THAT good.
      I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and she grilled them up with veggie skewers as well and I'll include her instructions on those. I didn't make them b/c my family doesn't eat cooked veggies:(. Just FYI: I halved the marinade amount b/c I didn't make the veggies skewers.

      Grilled Honey Chicken Kebabs
      from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

      Ingredients
      • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
      • 1/2 cup honey
      • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
      • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
      • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
      • 2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cubed
      • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into large pieces
      • 1 large red onion, cut into large pieces
      • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, stemmed
      • 2-3 cups fresh pineapple chunks
      Directions
      1. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, pepper, garlic and oil. Measure out 1/4 cup marinade and place in a covered container in the refrigerator to use for grilling. Place the cubed chicken in a large ziploc bag and the vegetables in another ziploc bag. Pour half of the remaining marinade over the chicken and the other half over the vegetables. Seal the bags and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (can be refrigerated up to 24 hours).
      2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water 30 minutes prior to cooking. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and alternate the veggies/fruit on separate skewers.
      3. Preheat a grill to medium heat and grill the skewers, flipping every couple of minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (about 7-10 minutes total, depending on the heat of your grill and size of the chicken pieces). The vegetable skewers only need a few minutes per side. Use the reserved marinade to brush over the chicken and veggies during the final minutes of cooking. Serve immediately.

      Sunday, August 4, 2013

      Sweet Cornbread

      So...I know I just posted a recipe for Johnny Cake like two days ago....but, we had that delicious leftover Brunswick stew for dinner tonight and I didn't have any more JIF corn muffin mix so I went to allrecipes.com and found this recipe for completely homemade sweet cornbread. I am picky when it comes to cornbread and this definitely did not disappoint. It was so moist due to the sour cream! Try it a mix of 50/50 soft butter and honey!


      Sweet Cornbread
      1 c flour
      1 c cornmeal
      1/4 c sugar
      1/2 t baking powder
      1/2 t baking soda
      1/2 t salt
      1 egg
      1 c sour cream
      1/3 c milk
      1/4 c butter, melted

      Mix ingredients. Pour into greased pie pan and cook at 400 for 20 min. Garnish with honey butter.

      Marty's Brownies

      Admittedly, I've never been a huge fan of homemade brownies. I'm cheap and easy--  Ghiradelli or even Betty Crocker suit me just fine. But I had these at a playgroup and immediately got the recipe from my friend Jesi. So, throw your diet aside, ignore how much butter is in them, and make them. Now.They are delicious and easy! I skipped the sifting part and they turned out great! I served these with vanilla ice cream and Aunt Elisabeth's hot fudge sauce (also on the blog).



      Marty's Brownies
      1 1/8. c buttter, melted
      2 1/4 c sugar
      1 T vanilla
      5 eggs

      Sift together and then add:
      1 1/8 c flour
      3/4 c cocoa
      3/4 t baking powder
      3/4 t salt
      Add one cup of semi-sweet choolate chips. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Dont over bake!