Saturday, November 21, 2015

Raspberry Fluff

 So this is one of the yummiest easiest side dishes around!  This recipe comes from my sweet friend Amelia.  She made it for a party once and my whole family was hooked.  We have it for Thanksgiving, most kids birthdays, and in between! We have it for dessert or as a side.

I love it because there's no measuring or anything.  You just dump whole containers of stuff in and it takes about 2 minutes.  It's a great recipe for letting a kid help make the meal.  I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do!

Raspberry Fluff
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries
1 (8 oz) container cool whip
1 small box vanilla pudding mix
1 (32 oz.) container vanilla yogurt

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  No need to defrost the raspberries but I usually do break them up while I'm mixing so that the juice stirs in and makes the fluff look pink :)

Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Cheeseball






So we've probably all had a cheeseball at some point in our lives but until a couple years ago I had never made one before.  I wish someone had told me how easy it would be. So now I'm telling you...it's so easy!  I love to make one of these for Thanksgiving so that people have something to snack on all day while the food is cooking.  It's an easy thing to bring to a party too and is always a crowd-pleaser.  Give it a try!

Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball
2 (16 oz.) packages cream cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 T. thinly sliced green onion
1-2 T. minced red bell pepper
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
cayenne pepper (to taste)
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup pecans (chopped)

Mix cream cheese and cheddar together until well combined and cream cheese is softened.  I used my kitchen aide but you can do it by hand too.  Add all remaining ingredients except for pecans.  Mix thoroughly and form into a ball.  Roll cheese ball in chopped pecans and refrigerate for at least 30 min.  Serve with crackers (such as ritz or wheat thins) or veggies!





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Well Thanksgiving is upon us. Such a fun time of year! Also, I've decided to take up with my food blog again.  Hooray!

I'll be posting some new recipes over the next week, but for today I thought I'd start by compiling some recipes that have found their way on to my Thanksgiving Menu over the years.  This way all those yummy recipes will be linked to one post! Some of the recipes on this list are staples and some change year to year depending on my mood.  Probably best not to make all of these recipes at once unless you plan on rolling home ;) But take a look and see if there's something new to add to your family dinner this year. Or let me know if we have any of the same Thanksgiving recipes! Or tell me about some of your traditional family recipes!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Appetizers:
Candied Pecans
sweet cream cheese dip (with pumpkin chips)
Bacon Cheddar Cheeseball
Pilgrim hats  (fun for kids)
Veggie tray (don't forget the olives!)











The Main Event:
Rosemary Citrus Turkey











Sides:
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet potato casserole 
Apple Cinnamon Stuffing
Cornbread Spoon bread (cornbread casserole)
Glazed Carrots
Tangy Broccoli Salad
Raspberry fluff
Cranberry sauce (I prefer the canned jellied variety)
Stuffed Mushrooms
Rolls
green bean casserole
deviled eggs
turkey gravy (Costco's gravy is the best ever...back by the rotisserie chickens and such)

Drinks:
Lime Slush (my mom's recipe that we used every year growing up...coming soon!)
fruited ice ring (great for punches or water)
sparkling cider
cranberry sprite










Dessert:
Banana Cream Pie
Chocolate cream pie
Coconut cream pie
Eggnog Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping
Frosty Pumpkin Dessert
Fruit Crisp
Pumpkin Torte
Libby's Pumpkin Pie









Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes


Well, the rain has finally subsided and the sun is out in full force which means it's HOT!  I'm typing this up at 9am and it's already 76 degrees inside my house!  We don't have air conditioning so in the summer months I try and use my oven as little as possible...which means it's now officially BBQ and Dutch oven season at our house! While the heat is not my favorite I do love cooking outside. So you have to look on the bright side :)

I had to take this picture on the fly at a party so it doesn't adequately capture the deliciousness of this recipe. BUT believe me when I tell you that they are amazing!  Alex and I made this together which gave them an extra shot of awesome! I'm not trying to brag...I'm just saying we make good things together...just look at our kiddos!

Anyway, I had been looking for a dutch oven potato recipe for a while but after being disappointed with a few I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.   A lot of recipes like this call for cream of chicken soup, or cream of mushroom, etc.  I don't use those that much these days so I decided to make my own sauce to add.  When you're camping I could totally see the ease of using a can of cream of whatever, but if you're home and feel like taking it to the next level give this a try!

These are a great side to any potluck or party too.  It makes a big batch and stays nice and warm in your dutch oven.  They are pictured above with the amazing Bullock family's baked beans and dutch oven chicken. YUM!

Dutch Oven Smashed Potatoes
Cooking Equipment:
12 in. dutch oven
24 heated charcoal

Ingredients:
1 lb. uncooked bacon (divided)
5 lb bag small baking potatoes (sliced into quarter inch round slices)
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
3 T. flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Heat charcoal using whatever method you prefer.  We have a small charcoal chimney (bucket with a side handle and small holes around the bottom) that we bought at smiths (probably about 10 bucks) that helps get them hot fast.  It is so worth getting one, especially up here where it's always windy.

Once your charcoal are heated place 12 briquettes under your dutch oven.  Give the oven about 5 minutes (without the lid) to heat up.  Once the dutch oven is hot throw 3-4 pieces of the bacon in there.  While bacon is cooking break it up into smaller pieces.  Once bacon is cooked completely, add the garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper.  Make sure the bottom is completely coated in the seasoned grease.

Add sliced potatoes and olive oil.  Give them a good stir so that they are gently coated in the bacon mixture.  Cover oven with lid and top with remaining briquettes.  At this point you can also move 4 or 5 of the briquettes from the bottom to the top.  Having more of the heat on the top will keep the bottom from burning.

Bake potatoes in dutch oven for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the rest of your bacon in a frying pan until nice and crispy. Crumble bacon.

 Give the potatoes a stir and check how they are doing. Cook for another 15-25 minutes depending on softness.  Don't overcook them or you'll end up with potato mush when you mix in the next ingredients.  Tender but not soggy is perfect! Meanwhile, In a separate pan mix cream, water, flour, and chicken bouillion together.  Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to boil.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens into a roux.  Remove from heat.

When potatoes are done to your liking, Add  bacon, cream mixture, and 1 cup of cheese.  Stir slightly until well incorporated.  Some of the potatoes will break up and that's okay.  Top with remaining cup of cheese.  Replace the lid and let sit for about 5 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.  Enjoy!







Monday, April 20, 2015

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream


I was asked to make a cake for a baby shower brunch over the weekend and I wanted to make something breakfast-y! As breakfast like as a cake can be anyway :)  I decided to make a blueberry breakfast cake (click here for recipe).  I usually just bake it in a 9x13 and serve it directly from the pan so I was a little nervous about it turning out of the pan okay. I doubled the cake recipe and baked it in two well-greased 9 in. round cake pans and luckily it fell right out!

But what to do for frosting? What to do?  Finally, after much thought I decided to make a lemon buttercream.  And then I thought...what's lemon without cream cheese really? And thus an amazing new frosting recipe was born.  It was easy and smooth and went great with the blueberry cake.  It's also flavorful enough to hold it's own on a simple white cake. One recipe will make enough frosting for one 9in. round cake or 24 cupcakes. It's cool and tangy and perfect for summer!


Lemon Cream Cheese Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup shortening (room temp)
1/4 cup cream cheese (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest* (or zest from 1 fresh lemon)
2 T. milk**

Cream butter, shortening, and cream cheese together until well combined and smooth.  Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, taking time to let sugar mix in between each addition.  Add lemon juice and lemon zest.  Add milk 1 T. at a time.

* For stronger tasting frosting add extra lemon zest
**For thinner frosting add extra milk until desired consistency is reached.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chicken Club Pasta Salad


So I had this yummy pasta salad a couple years ago at my friend Angela's and we've been making it ever since. I'm looking forward to summer cooking! I love barbecuing, eating outside, and being able to serve a cold salad and call it dinner. This is one of my favorite summer dinners.  A cool, filling pasta for a hot day!

I love that the sauce uses avocado and honey to give it a creamy consistency without overusing mayo.  Plus it has bacon in it so even my kiddos will eat this dish despite it's obvious veggies :) It's a great side or main dish.  It makes a huge batch so it's great for parties, picnics and potlucks!  It's very fast quick to throw together and stays fresh for several days in the fridge. So cook it on a Monday and then you can spend the rest of the week at the pool :)

Chicken Club Pasta
1 lb. medium shell pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1 container cherry tomatoes- chopped in half (apx. 1 1/2 cups)
10 slices bacon- cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded or chopped chicken (I used a rotisserie)
2 cups baby spinach -chopped
1 1/2 cups cheese -cubed (I've used cheddar, pepper jack or colby jack...you can't go wrong)
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
Dressing:
1 lg. avocado -peeled and pitted
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used fresh)
2 T. honey
2 T. Mayo or greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic- minced
salt and pepper -to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse in cold water and drain.  Place pasta in a large mixing bowl.  Add tomatoes, bacon, spinach, chicken and cheese.  You can also add the chopped avocado if you like! Yum!

In a blender combine avocado, lemon juice, honey, mayo, garlic, salt and pepper.  Blend together until smooth.

Stir avocado mixture into pasta.  Toss together until well combined.  Chill in fridge 2 hours or overnight before serving.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chocolate Cream Pie

 In honor of pi day coming up I thought I would post my favorite pie recipe!  This recipe never fails. It is rich and creamy, always sets up perfectly and is my family's favorite.  It's also super rich so you only need a tiny piece to feel satisfied.  You can view the original recipe for the filling at kingarthurflour.com 
Below I've posted my version of the recipe with a different topping and a few altered directions. 

Hope everyone has a great pi day this Saturday.  If you don't live in as nerdy of a town or family as me you may not realize that pi day this year is extra special since it is 2015.  That make the date 3/14/15 and the digits of pi are 3.1415. Our church group is taking it a step further and celebrating at 9:26 making it 3.1415926.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Cream Pie
1 pie crust (baked)

Filling:
2 T. butter
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream (divided)
2 cups milk

topping:
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 granulated sugar
shaved chocolate pieces for garnish (if desired)

Make and bake 1 pie crust.  Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large plastic mixing bowl, combine butter, chocolate chips and vanilla.  (You'll need to add these quickly later so it's nice to have them ready)

In a large saucepan, without heat, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder.  Whisk in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the egg yolks.  Place saucepan over medium heat and whisk in remaining 1/2 cup of cream and all of the milk.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook 3-4 minutes or until mixture thickens. (The larger the saucepan the faster your mixture will thicken. It may take more time...don't panic just keep whisking) When desired thickness occurs,  Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour in the prepared chocolate chip bowl.   Stir to combine all ingredients. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture appears smooth.  Pass the filling through a strainer and into the prepared pie crust.  Smooth chocolate evenly in the pie crust. Chill pie in fridge for at least 4 hours or until completely set.

When ready to serve.  Dissolve 1/3 cup sugar into whipping cream. In a kitchen aid or with a hand mixer, beat on high until whipped cream is formed.  Cover the top of pie completely with the whipped cream.  Garnish with shaved chocolate pieces if desired and serve!



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ground Turkey Stir Fry with Zucchini Noodles





So yesterday I posted my favorite way to make zucchini noodles so I thought I'd follow up by posting one of my favorite dishes to make with them!  This stir fry is a quick low calorie alternative to regular stir fry.  It came together quickly and had a little something for everyone so my kids could at least eat the part that appealed to them :) 

I used a store bought sauce and added my own spices to it so that saved a little time.  If you do go with a store bought sauce just watch the sugar content!  I like San-J Teriyaki sauce and marinade.  It's super tasty and only has 3g of carbohydrate.  Or, if you have some extra time, make your own sauce!

Stir Fry w/ ground Turkey and zucchini noodles (serves 4)
1 recipe zucchini noodles
1 lb. lean ground turkey
4 cups frozen stir fry veggies
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
sesame seeds (to taste)
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce (I use San-j teriyaki or you can make your own)

In a large pan cook ground turkey until cooked through.  Add frozen veggies and cover.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are thawed and crisp tender.  Add seasonings and sesame seeds and continue cooking 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.  Toss with cooked zucchini noodles and teriyaki sauce.  Cook until sauce is heated through and enjoy!






Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How to make Zucchini Noodles


Alex got me a veggie spiralizer for Christmas and I've been loving it!  So I thought I'd share with you how to make zucchini noodles!  They are super tasty, very filling, a great way to add more veggies to you diet, and a lower calorie option to regular pasta.  

The first thing you'll need is a spiralizer. I have a Paderno World Cuisine spiral veggie slicer.  It's similar to an apple corer and works great. It has different types of blades so you can slice your vegetable in many different styles.  In the picture below I'm making zucchini spaghetti. It also works perfectly with yellow summer squash and a variety of other vegetables and fruits. It's about $30 on Amazon.  Here's a link with more information: Paderno Slicer. They also have fancy ones that are automatic and do the work for you. I just wanted something simple to start and this has done the trick. Check it out for yourself!


Once I've sliced the zuchinni into noodles.  I toss them with salt and leave them to dry out a bit in a strainer over a paper towel.  You could also just leave the strainer in a sink to drip but I don't trust my kids so out of reach and over a paper towel it is :)  This helps to remove some of the moisture so that when you cook it the vegetables maintain a noodle type consistency instead of becoming a mushy mess. Below is a picture of what this looks like...I'm always surprised by the amount of liquid that strains out.

  

After about 30 minutes, a lot of the moisture will have strained out.  Now take a paper towel and dab the top of the noodles to get any extra moisture off of them.  They are never going to be perfectly dry so don't go crazy trying.   The paper towel also helps to remove some of the salt so they aren't overly salty.  The rest of the salt will help give them flavor when cooked. 

When the zoodles are ready to cook, heat 1 T. of olive oil in a large skillet and add the zoodles.  These are very thin and cook very quickly.  Saute zucchini for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  At this point add any spices you want.   Basically the seasoning will bring out the flavor of whatever dish you are making with the zoodles.  If you're making an Italian dish use garlic, an Asian dish use ginger, etc. If you're going to eat them plain I like to add a little red pepper flake to make things interesting :)  Once the spices are added continue sauteing for 2 more minutes or until zoodles are slightly tender.


 Once your zoodles are finished you can add them to any recipe that calls for noodles! Top them with your favorite sauces or mix them in a stir fry.  They are delicious!

Zucchini Noodle Recipe
4 medium zucchini (yellow squash works well too)
salt (to taste)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
additional spices as desired

Wash and cut off ends of zucchini.  Spiral slice zucchini using a veggie spiralizer.  Toss zoodles with salt and place in a strainer for at least 30 min. to remove extra moisture.  Dab zoodles with paper towel to remove more moisture and some of the extra salt.

In a large pan heat 1 T. olive oil.  Add zoodles and saute (stirring constantly) for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and other desired spices and continue to cook for another 1-3 minutes or until zoodles are crisp tender.  Serve immediately in your favorite pasta dish.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps


Okay these were so yummy and filling!  When I think buffalo wings I think junk food.  This was a great low calorie variation!  Plus anything I can put bleu cheese on is always great in my book :)

 I wanted a crockpot recipe and couldn't find one so I decided to make my own my piecing together parts of other recipes I've seen. I got the lettuce wrap idea from ellaclaireinspired.com.  You can check out her original recipe by clicking on the link. If you're not into the whole lettuce wrap thing you can definitely put this on rolls too. This chicken is great and could be used any way you want.  The girls ate theirs mixed into homemade mac and cheese.  Click here for my baked macaroni recipe.

The lettuce wraps came together super fast so we will definitely be making them again.  Enjoy!

Crock pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Makes about 16 lettuce wraps)

For Chicken:
4 medium chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups Franks Buffalo wing sauce (divided)
1 tsp. celery seed
2 T. butter

For toppings:
reduced fat bleu cheese crumbles
ranch dressing
2 stalks celery (cut in half length wise then sliced)
1 head iceburg lettuce

Add chicken breasts, 1 cup of buffalo sauce and celery seed to crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.  Drain any excess liquid and shred chicken.  Add last 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce and butter and continue cooking 15 minutes or until butter is completely melted and combined.

When chicken is cooked fill each leaf of lettuce with chicken and top with celery, bleu cheese and dressing as desired. 








Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Homemade Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Okay, honestly this recipe was one of those that turned out way better than I expected.  I have been wanting to try a cauliflower crust for a long time but after hearing so many recipe fail stories and imagining my families complaints about cauliflower I had put it off.  So this week I decided to finally try it and it was amazing!

I adapted this recipe from a cauliflower bread sticks recipe I found online. When my husband first saw it come out of the oven he said "that really looks like pizza!" so I'm calling that a win.  The crust isn't quite like bread (it's more moist) but it held together enough to pick it up and eat it.  We used forks and it was great that way too.  My older girls could tell a difference but my younger two just called it pizza and ate it like it was normal. Topped with your favorite toppings it is very satisfying and filling!  The garlic and cheese give it a nice flavor.  My family knew it wasn't bread but couldn't figure out what it was made of, so I think that means it wasn't overly cauliflower-y.

The only downside was that cauliflower doesn't smell quite as amazing as pizza dough while it's cooking but once you get all the garlic and toppings in there it smells enough like pizza to cover :) Give it a try...

Homemade Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
1 large head of cauliflower (enough to make 4 cups finely processed cauliflower "rice")
4 eggs
1 T. italian seasoning
2 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
1 cup pizza sauce (I use Classico or homemade)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
your favorite toppings

Topping ideas:
chicken
ham
pepperoni
pineapple
green bell pepper
mushrooms
black olive
tomatoes
onion

Prepare one large baking sheet with sides (or two 9x13 pans) by lining the bottom with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Chop up cauliflower and place in a food processor.  Process until it resembles course bread crumbs or rice".  The finer it's processed the better.  Place in a microwaveable container and cover with a lid.  Cook in microwave at normal power for 10-12 minutes.

In a large bowl mix softened cauliflower, eggs, italian seasoning, minced garlic and 2 cups mozzarella.  Stir until well combined.  Spread out on prepared cookie sheet.You can also split it between two 9x13 pans for a thinner crust.  It's okay if the mixture doesn't quite touch the sides of the pan they will still cook.

Bake crust (without toppings) at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  You want it to be as crispy as you can without burning the bottom.  Don't be afraid to give it a few extra minutes to get nice and crispy.

Top with pizza sauce, remaining cheese and toppings.  Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until cheese is melted and toppings are cooked.  Enjoy!






Friday, January 9, 2015

Taco Salad w/ mixed greens, ground turkey and yellow squash


I love taco salad and I love calabacitas so this recipe was born by mixing the two together.  This salad is so filling and the squash is a healthy replacement for chips. It great because you can have the squash ready for people who want that on their salads and still have tortilla chips for the kiddos! For the meat I cook ground turkey w/ tomatoes and green chilies. I also use mostly mixed greens but add a little shredded iceberg lettuce to add some crunch.  Then top with all your usual taco toppings!

Taco Salad w/ Ground Turkey and Yellow squash
For the meat:
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 can rotel (diced tomatoes w/green chiles)
2 T. red chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the squash:
1 medium yellow squash
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. olive oil

Salad topping ideas:
mixed greens
shredded lettuce
avocado 
black olives
cheddar cheese
black beans
Annie's cowgirl ranch (or your favorite ranch)
fresh cilantro
salsa
sour cream
green chiles

Brown turkey in a medium frying pan.  Add rotel, chili powder, and garlic powder. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through.

While meat is cooking, thinly slice the squash and saute in olive oil.  When squash is softened (about 7 minutes) add garlic.  Continue to cook 1 min.  

Wash mixed greens and arrange on plate.  Top with meat and squash.  Top with desired toppings and dressing (I use avocados, olives, cheddar, black beans, salsa and ranch)




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chicken and Butternut Squash

So...when I read my husband the list of ingredients he was pretty skeptical but after he tried it he had to admit this recipe was super good!  It had the feeling of comfort food without all those "comforting" calories :) It has lots of yummy spices and uses coconut oil and coconut milk to make it super creamy. And it's super filling!

I found the recipe at heandsheeatclean.com.  I more or less left it alone except to change the spices a little based on what I had.  I also used a steamer pan for the squash instead of boiling it.  It's very easy to make and other than cooking the squash, only takes a few minutes to throw together.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Butternut Squash (4 servings)
1 small butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut cream (skimmed of the top of a can of coconut milk)
1 T. coconut oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
black pepper (to taste)
1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
2 cups cooked shredded chicken

Peel and cube a small butternut squash.  Place in steamer pan for about 30 minutes. (If you don't have a steamer pan you can boil it in a regular sauce pan for about 40 min. and drain)  When squash is cooked place in a medium sauce pan and mash with apple cider vinegar, coconut cream, and coconut oil.  Add spices and stir until well combined.  Add peas and continue to cook until heated through (about 5 minutes).

Serving suggestions: It's very filling by itself but could also be good with brown rice or egg noodles if you want it to go further.