Monday, February 10, 2014

General Tso's Chicken

This pregnancy has had me craving chinese food like crazy. So I try to make my own even though it doesn't taste as good as takeout (probably because I have to clean up after myself). I've never actually had General Tso's chicken from a restaurant, but this is awesome!
General Tso Chicken
Photo Credit to Tracey's Culinary Adventures
General Tso's Chicken
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes {I used 1 3/4-2 lb}
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
6-8 spring green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated {I just used ground ginger, 1/2 tsp maybe}
hot pepper flakes (optional) {I will use it next time}

Mix together the first 6 ingredients (through the water) and set aside. This is the sauce.

Dredge the chicken cubes in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the chicken until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil with onions and chopped ginger. Fry about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. Add the chicken back to the skillet, toss to coat with sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Serve garnished with green onion tops and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips

Okay, these were amazing. Cheesy and oh. so. delicious. I will definitely be making these again, and probably again.
Photo Credit to Vittles & Bits
Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips
3 medium potatoes, sliced evenly 1/8" thick {I used red potatoes, and…yes!}
cooking spray
3/4 C. shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
2 T. crumbled bacon (about 2 slices) {I used real bacon bits}
chopped parsley or chives, for garnish

Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce
1 T. ranch dressing
3 T. sour cream
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder
1/8 t. cayenne (adjust more or less depending on how spicy you want)
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder

For the Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce: place all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Refrigerate to allow flavors to meld together.

For the chips: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bring sliced potatoes to a boil in cold, salted water to cover for 5 minutes. Carefully drain, and transfer slices to a paper-towel lined countertop or cutting board. Pat to dry.
Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray, and lay out potato slices so they are overlapping on it. Spray lightly with additional cooking spray, then sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese & bacon.
Bake 12-14 minutes in preheated oven until cheese is melted & bubbly. Serve with chipotle ranch sauce.

Recipe Source: Juju Good News 

Peanut Butter and Jam Muffins

More peanut butter and jam! Yes please. Also, add more jam than it says because these are delicious, but very very thick, so jam it up!

Post image for Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
Photo Credit to My Baking Addiction
Peanut Butter and Jam Muffins
2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
jelly or jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners, or spray each well with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add peanut butter, and mix on medium speed until well combined and crumbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla. Add to peanut butter mixture and mix until just combined.
Using a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) add muffin batter to prepared muffin wells. Next, place 4 teaspoons of your favorite jam or jelly in the center of the muffin batter and top with another scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) of muffin batter. If necessary, use a spoon or knife to gently spread batter to cover the jam.
Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes.

Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction

Banana Crumb Muffins

Oh, remember how I love muffins. Here's another one. This is a like a perfect one though. It's pretty light and airy and the banana is so delicious. I think that if I do make the crumb topping again though, I will cut the ingredients in half to make is less sugary. That might sound weird, but I don't love how sugary/crunchy the top was. Delicious though!
Post image for My Favorite Banana Crumb Muffins
Photo Credit to My Baking Addiction
Banana Crumb Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping: {I will half this next time}
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Omelette in a Bag

Omelettes are delicious but I hate cooking them. I'm really awful at it. But eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados, cheese, ham, bacon….the list gets longer and I get happier. This is an awesome way of doing it. Super simple, everyone can make their own at the same time, and it's a great way of making them while camping!
Omelette in a Bag - how to
Photo Credit to Favorite Family Recipes

Omelette in a Bag
2 eggs {Yes, two eggs is enough for one omelette}
1 Tbsp. water

additional ingredients (to your liking):
cheese, shredded
ham, diced
bacon, cooked & chopped
sausage, cooked & crumbled
tomato, diced
bell peppers, diced
onion, chopped
mushroom, sliced
(whatever other toppings you like)

Optional Toppings:
Salt & pepper
Sour cream
(any additional topping ingredients you like)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (appx. 2/3 full)
While waiting for the water to boil, crack eggs into a Ziploc heavy-duty, large (at least quart-sized.. preferably gallon-size) freezer bag and add water.
Seal and shake, smash, squish the bag... whatever you can to get those eggs really beaten up.
Add any remaining ingredients that you would like, press as much air out of the bag as you can and seal tightly. Smoosh the ingredients around a little bit to get an even distribution.
Place bags (up to 6) in the boiling water and cook for 13 minutes (adding 1-2 minutes per additional egg if people want bigger omelettes). Make sure the tops of the bag don't hang out over the edge of the pot, especially if you are doing it over a fire-- you don't want the plastic to melt.
Carefully remove the bags from the water. When you open the bag, the omelette should easily slide onto the plate. 

Recipe Source: Favorite Family Recipes

Peanut Butter and Jam Skillet Monkey Bread

You can never go wrong with peanut butter and jam. Never. Seriously I love the combination so much. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I used to mix peanut butter and jam for a snack. Then, my roommates would get mad that I left it in the fridge and it looked gross. Not gross, amazing. So these are wonderful and beautiful.

Photo Credit to Picky Palate

Peanut Butter and Jam Skillet Monkey Bread
1 can Refrigerated Biscuits, 8 count (I used the Simply line from Pillsbury)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, warmed in microwave until liquid like {I probably used more…double?}
1/2 cup jelly of choice, warmed in microwave until liquid like {Also, used just a little more}
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray 9-inch cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut each biscuit into fourths. Place melted butter into a large ziplock bag and toss in cut biscuits. Shake around to coat then toss in sugar, mixing to combine. Pour into prepared 9-inch cast iron skillet and drizzle warmed peanut butter and jelly over top. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
Whisk the heavy cream and powdered sugar until combined then drizzle over warm biscuits. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: Picky Palate

{Overnight} Cream Cheese-Stuffed Lemon French Toast with Strawberries

Lemon and strawberry is one of my newfound favorite combination of flavors. Remember this jello salad? I made one with strawberry jello instead of orange and shabam! So delightful. So yes, you will love this and I love it. Just make sure you get lots of strawberries, because you will want more and more.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
{Overnight} Cream Cheese-Stuffed Lemon French Toast with Strawberries
6 large, stale butter croissants {I used 10-ish small croissants}
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 lemons
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Strawberry Sauce
Sliced fresh strawberries (about 2 cups)
Sweetened Whipped Cream (optional) {I used cool whip}

Slice the croissants in half lengthwise. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, zest of one lemon, strained juice of one lemon (about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons){I did not strain mine}, and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Spread the lemon cream cheese mixture over the bottoms of the croissants and then replace the tops, pressing down to flatten. Cut into halves (or even fourths if necessary) and arrange the pieces evenly in a 9×13″ pan lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, lemon extract, zest from the second lemon, and remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Pour evenly over the croissants and cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 8-10 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Bake covered for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the croissants are golden brown and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the oven and allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares and top individual servings with Strawberry Sauce, fresh sliced strawberries, and, if desired, sweetened whipped cream. 

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

{Overnight} Blueberry French Toast

I'm pretty sure that I've said before {possibly more than once} that I love overnight breakfast stuff. This is one of my faves. Blueberries and cream cheese?! Have mercy! Yes, it is heavenly. I've made it with the blueberry dressing and also just used cream syrup. The blueberry syrup is really good but is extremely blueberry-y.
Overnight Blueberry French Toast Recipe
Photo Credit to
{Overnight} Blueberry French Toast
12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast

Recipe Source:

Whole Grain Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love muffins. I really don't know what it is about muffins, but I have this love affair with them and I feel like I can never have too many. Part of it is probably the face that you can freeze muffins and keep them for awhile. I love making then freezing breakfast food. These are awesome and are probably my kids favorite muffins.
Whole Grain Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Whole Grain Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 average-sized bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (optional)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with cupcake liners (lightly grease the muffin liners if using).
In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, egg, and applesauce.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Don't overmix.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Ham & Cheese Soufflé Roll

Never had I had a soufflé roll before January. And now, I have. And is my life better? Yes, yes I would say it is. Much better in fact. I can't even imagine a chocolate soufflé, but it makes me super excited because this ham & cheese one rocked my world.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
Ham & Cheese Souffle Roll
4 Tbs butter (this is for the actual recipe. Use additional butter for greasing pan)
1/2 C flour
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 C milk
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 oz thinly sliced ham (go to the deli counter and ask for thin slices)
6 oz thinly sliced Swiss or porvolone cheese
Sauce- see options at end.
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil (a large rimmed baking sheet) extend foil about 1 inch over edges of pan. Grease well with butter and lightly flour the foil.

In a medium saucepan melt 4 Tbs butter. Stir in flour and pepper. Gradually and slowly stir in milk while whisking to remove lumps. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly; cool slightly. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; gradually stir in milk mixture. In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight.) Fold some of the beaten egg whites inot the egg white mixture. Fold egg yolk mixture into the remaining beaten egg whites. Spread in the prepared baking pan.

Bake about 20 minutes or until souffle is puffed and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, place a long sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. After baking souffle immediately loosen edges of souffle from baking pan.  Invert soufflé onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Carefully peel off parchment.

Place ham and cheese slices in single layers on top of souffle. Starting from a short side, use parchment on baking sheet to lift and help roll up souffle. Don’t roll the paper inside. Use it to lift soufflé roll onto another flat baking sheet. Cover souffle with foil and chill for 2-24 hours.

Before serving, preheat oven to 350. Bake souffle roll, covered with the foil, about 45 minutes or until heated through. To serve, uncover and transfer souffle roll to a warm serving platter (a giant spatula works well, you can sort of slide the whole roll while helping it with the spatula). If desired, spoon a little sauce over the top. Slice with a serrated knife; serve with remaining sauce. If desired, garnish with snipped parsley.

BHG Parsley Sauce {This is the one we used and it was awe.some.}: In a blender or food processor combine 1/2 C ligthly packed fresh parsley sprigs; 2 green onions, cut up; and 1 tsp dry basil. Cover and blend or process until finely chopped. Add 1 1/2 C whipping cream, 1 Tbs cornstarch, 1 Tbs dijon mustard, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and blend or process for 10-20 seconds or until mixture is slightly thickened. Don’t over process, or you’ll make butter! You can make to this point ahead of time and store in fridge. When ready to serve, shake sauce; transfer to a medium saucepan, and cook while stirring over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Low-Cal Parsley Sauce: For these photos I made my own, lighter version of this sauce by making my Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. Decrease milk to 1 1/2 C and to the blender mixture add 1/2 C roughly chopped parsley, 1 tsp dried basil, 2 green onions (roughly chopped), and 1 Tbs dijon mustard. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

*Note: Click on the above link at Our Best Bites for wonderful "how to" photos

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Red Peppers

So we had a billion pounds of turkey leftover when I decided to randomly cook one. So I used turkey in place of chicken this recipe and it was delightful! I'm sure it would be just as good or better with chicken, so I'll make it again to see.
Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms and Red Peppers
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Red Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 average-sized chicken breasts (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds), cut into chunks
1-2 red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch pieces
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound orzo pasta
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions until tender. When the orzo is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (ladling it into a small bowl is my method) and then drain the orzo and set aside.
While the orzo cooks, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on all sides. When nicely browned (but not all the way cooked through), add the peppers, mushrooms and thyme. Stir and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
In the skillet over medium heat, add the softened cream cheese (if you forgot to let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, no worries! Pop it in the microwave for one minute on 40% power) in bite sized chunks and stir so that the cream cheese melts and coats the chicken and vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir. Add the orzo, Parmesan, lemon juice and fresh parsley. Stir to combine and heat through. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

{Healthy} Baked Oatmeal

Now, I'm trying to find the best way to make oatmeal. Whenever I make it in a pot, it actually never tastes very good. So, in my quest, I found this super healthy delicious oatmeal. Obviously the recipe is written with blueberries, but I'm sure that any fruit would be wonderful.
Photo Credit to Real Mom Kitchen
{Healthy} Baked Oatmeal
2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup Splenda granular (or 1/2 cup to taste)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 -2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine wet ingredients, add to dry ingredients.
Bake in sprayed 8" square pan for 35-45 minutes.
Cut into 6 squares.
Recipe Source:

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia

More fish! We love fish in our house. Now are we not only obsessed with tuna sandwiches, but this little sucker of a recipe too! Amelia loved it and kind of freaked out about wanting more. It was cute, and worth it. This is a great recipe.
Parmesan Tilapia from
Photo Credit to Favorite Family Recipes
Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. butter, softened
4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. celery salt
1 Lb. (about 4) tilapia fillets
Old Bay seasoning (or your favorite seafood seasoning salt)
paprika, to taste
parsley, to taste

In a medium-sized bowl combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, butter, and mayonnaise.
Add lemon juice, basil, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt to mixture. Set aside.
Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan and generously sprinkle Old Bay seasoning over the top only.
Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over, sprinkle on the Old Bay seasoning again, then broil for a couple more minutes.
Remove the fillets from the oven and pat about 3 Tbsp of the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side of each fillet.
Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.
Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.

Recipe Source: Favorite Family Recipes

{Overnight} Baked French Toast

So I love overnight stuff. Where I prepare it while staying up til midnight rather than try and wake up super early to make my family a nice breakfast. This one is a simple "flavor" but I actually really loved it. Probably one of my favorite breakfasts ever.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
{Overnight} Baked French Toast
8 eggs
2 cups half and half (one pint)
1 cup milk (whatever kind you have on hand)
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (a little less if using table salt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 lb loaf of french bread
softened butter for greasing baking dish (2-3 tablespoons)

4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold butter

For Serving
melted butter
maple syrup
powdered sugar
whipped cream
cream syrup

Crack eggs into large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in half and half and milk. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Set aside.

Use softened butter to butter bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Cut bread into 1 inch chunks and place in dish. Whisk egg mixture one more time and then pour evenly over bread. Use a rubber spatula to very gently toss bread, moving bread on bottom to top, and making sure all of the piece on top get dipped in egg mixture. Spread out evenly, cover dish, and place in fridge overnight.

To make topping, place brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and stir to combine. Cut cold butter into very small pieces and add to bowl. Use clean hands to break up butter and combine mixture until crumbly. Cover and place in fridge until morning.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic from dish and sprinkle topping evenly over top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown. You can stick a knife or skewer in the casserole to make sure the egg mixture is set on the bottom. *Note I have left a generous baking time window because it varies on ovens and the size of your bread cubes. I used to cook this closer to 60 minutes at my old house, but in my new convection ovens it’s done closer to 45. Keep an eye on it and let me know how long yours takes to bake!

Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares. Drizzle with melted butter and syrup, top with berries, whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar if desired.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

{Copycat} Wingers Amazing Sauce

My husband loves Winger's sauce so much. Every time we go to Winger's, he gets so excited, and eats like it's nobody's business. So when I tried this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday, and it was just like it, we both kind of flipped out. We were both so excited…and he dipped everything that he ate in this sauce.
Wingers Wings with Freakin' Amazing Sauce - the ORIGINAL recipe! from
Photo Credit to Favorite Family Recipes
{Copycat} Wingers Amazing Sauce
1/3 c. Franks Hot Sauce (It has to be Franks Hot Sauce... no other sauce will taste as good)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water

Heat up hot sauce, brown sugar and water in a saucepot until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp before adding to wings OR prepare ahead of time and refrigerate. The wings turn out best if you don't pour warm sauce over them. You want it nice and thick.

Recipe Source: Favorite Family Recipes

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad

My mom literally makes this every time my dad's side of the family gets together. Mostly because of my cousin's husband whose favorite it is. But we all really love it. Every time I've made it for something, it's the first salad gone. It makes me very happy.
Photo Credit to Five Little Chefs
Mandarin Orange Jello Salad
Makes 9x13 pan {despite the picture}
1 large package Cook & Serve Lemon pudding
1 large package Orange Jell-o
1 small package Instant Lemon pudding
1 cup milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 8 oz cool whip
1 can mandarin oranges

Prepare Cook & Serve Lemon pudding and the Orange Jell-o as directed for each. Put them both in the 9x13 pan and mix them well. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Mix Instant Lemon pudding, powdered sugar, and milk, then fold in the cool whip. Layer on top of the Orange Jello. Drain can of mandarin oranges, then place them on the pudding layer in a fun pattern of your choosing!

Recipe Source: Susan Warren, aka Mamacita

{Copycat} Orange Julius

We have made this recipe over and over. It's delightful, but I'm not really sure how close it is to the original because I'm too cheap to buy one. But this is so good that I just don't need the original.
Orange Julius from
Photo Credit to Favorite Family Recipes
Orange Julius
Serves 3-4 adults
1 can (6oz) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
2-3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
about 10-11 ice cubes

In a blender, blend all ingredients except ice. Slowly add ice cubes one at a time until it reaches a “smoothie” consistency. Serve immediately.
(*If you are adding frozen fruit, add a little at a time BEFORE adding ice cubes. If using fresh fruit, add at the very beginning when you are blending everything else.)

Recipe Source: Favorite Family Recipes


Never in my life had I made a turkey. I was scared. I thought only those who were 50+ could make a nice, delicious, juicy turkey. I was mistaken! And I did it! This is such a great recipe, and I love that it only took a couple of hours to cook. I didn't make it on Thanksgiving or anything, but I also didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make it. Try this recipe and you will love yourself.
Photo Credit to Fairfield Green Food Guide
1 18-22 pound turkey (I’ve used a 14-pound turkey with great results, also)
carrots, celery (cut into large chunks), onion (peeled and cut into large chunks), garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
brown paper bag

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and let it heat for one hour. Meanwhile, remove giblets and neck and wash the turkey. Fill the cavity of the turkey with carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Combine the lemon juice, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning in a small bowl. With your hands, rub the entire turkey with the lemon juice mixture.
Place the turkey breast down (this is opposite of how a turkey is normally cooked – so just flip the turkey upside down) in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the hot oven for as many minutes as the turkey weighs (ie. 19 lb. turkey = 19 minutes). Bake for the allotted time.
Meanwhile, grease a large brown paper bag with butter on both sides. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully (because the turkey and roasting pan are HOT) make a tent out of th paper bag and drape it over the turkey, taking care to tuck the sides of the bag into the roasting pan (otherwise, the butter will drip off the bag, leap onto the oven burner and possibly create a large fire…I may or may not know this from experience). See pictures on Mel's website {in the link by "Recipe Source"} for a visual image. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and cook the turkey for two hours.
Remove the roasting pan and turkey from the oven and let turkey sit for 20 minutes. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and pour the drippings into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry from flour and water (to the consistency of thick, heavy cream) and add to the drippings until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe 

Peach-Orange Smoothie

Smoothies are easy, delicious, and most of the time healthy. I love this one. Especially in my Blendtec. It's frothy, and so…so…good.
Peach-Orange Smoothie
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Peach-Orange Smoothie
2 cups fresh orange juice (or good quality store-bought like Simply Orange)
1 cup peach yogurt
2 cups frozen sliced peaches {or blueberries, spinach, strawberries}
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hoisin Rice Noodles with Shrimp

This recipe is so easily adapted. We've only used it with chicken, but I bet it would be awesome with shrimp. Also, I cook my vegetables, and I use a LOT of them. It's basically a stir fry, but amazing. The sauce is SO amazing!!
hoisin noodles1
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Hoisin Rice Noodles with Shrimp
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter or tahini
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 ounces rice noodles
Grated carrots, chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, chopped red pepper for topping

Prepare the rice noodles according to package directions by soaking in hot water.
For the sauce, whisk together the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, hoisin and peanut butter. Set aside.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pat the shrimp {or whatever protein you use} dry and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp with about 1/3 cup of the sauce until they are bright pink and cooked through, flipping once or twice, about 3-4 minutes. Scoop the shrimp and sauce onto a plate and set aside.
Drain the noodles and add them to the hot skillet with another 1/2 cup of the sauce. Cook over medium heat, tossing the noodles with the sauce, about 3-4 minutes until the noodles have soaked up a lot of the sauce and become even more tender.
Cook Vegetables with another 1/2 cup of sauce.
Place noodles, protein, and vegetables in separate bowls; then the leftover sauce in another bowl.
Allow everyone to dish up themselves and!

Recipe Source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

Super healthy, super delicious, super slow cooker-y. The perfect combination, yo.
Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs {I used leftover turkey}
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 poblano pepper or large green pepper, diced {I used diced green chiles}
32 ounces low-sodium chicken {I used turkey} broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cans (15-ounces each) white beans (like Great Northern), rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Sour cream
Avocado, diced
Chopped cilantro
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips

Place the chicken in the bottom of a round, 5-quart slow cooker. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until rippling and hot. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker.
Add the chicken broth and stir in the cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and chili powder.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove the chicken and shred into bite-sized pieces. Stir in the rinsed and drained beans. Cook on high for 30 minutes until beans/soup are heated through. Stir in the lime and cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with garnishes

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Heaping Hash Browns

Hey, so these are ahhhh-mazing. Not healthy. But that perfect amount of crunchy outside and soft wonderful inside for the perfect texture of hash browns. Seriously amazing.
Heaping Helping Hash Browns are so good everyone will want a heaping helping on their plate!
Photo Credit to Made from Pinterest
Heaping Hash Browns
1 bag of hash browns {I prefer the "shredded" hash browns}
1 stick of butter
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Open the bag of frozen hash browns. Microwave them in the bag for 6 minutes to soften. Pour them in a bowl and add all but 1 tablespoon of the butter. If you have a problem with using a whole stick of butter, you can use less or none, but your hash browns will not be as amazing as they should be. Throw caution to wind. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to suit your taste. Stir it up. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium and melt the other tablespoon of butter in it. Pour the hash browns in the pan and press them down. Do not stir the potatoes! Let them be. When the edges begin to get brown, put a plate over the skillet.
Holding the plate tight to the skillet, flip the potatoes over onto the plate.
Melt a little more butter in the skillet, and carefully slide the potatoes back into the skillet. When the edges are brown on the underside, they are ready. Gently lift them with a spatula to check for brownness.
Flip them onto a clean plate and serve.

Recipe Source: Made from Pinterest

Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing

I love salads, especially lately. I honestly don't know why. This one is a simple taco salad, but what I really love about this recipe is the Catalina dressing. I've never tried Catalina before, so I'm not sure how it compares...but I love it!
Chopped Taco Salad
Photo credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing
1/2-1 pound ground turkey or beef
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 cup cubed (small) cheese, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, etc.
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1 6-ounce can olives, chopped {I didn't put these in because…I don't like olives. Gasp!}
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
1-2 avocados, chopped
Crushed tortilla chips

1/4 cup ketchup (see note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, nonstick skillet, brown the ground turkey or beef with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon of each) until cooked through, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces as it cooks. Drain excess grease if needed. Scrape the meat onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool a bit.
For the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up 3-4 days in advance.
In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together (including the cooled meat) except the crushed tortilla tips.
Serve the salad with the dressing and crushed tortilla tips.
Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Buttermilk Biscuits

So I love bread. Any kind. It's really probably bad for me, but I can't help myself. I love it too much. I've tried a lot of biscuit recipes, but this one is awesome. According to my husband. And he doesn't call too many things awesome. So I'm awesomely excited about these delicious biscuits.
Buttermilk Biscuits
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold butter cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, more or less

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is like coarse meal and the butter is in small, pellet-sized pieces (slightly smaller than a pea). This will take a few short pulses in the food processor.
Pour in the buttermilk and mix/pulse only until just combined. The dough should start to come together but you don't want to overmix the dough. If there are lots of dry patches throughout the dough, add a bit more buttermilk, just a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough comes together.
Scrape the dough out of the food processor or bowl onto a lightly floured counter. Gently pat (do not roll with a rolling pin!) the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Gently fold the dough in half or in thirds, repeating for a total of 4-5 times and pressing it gently to 1-inch thick after the last fold. These folds, combined with the cold butter, are what help to create flaky layers in the biscuits.
Use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut into circles {OR just cut the dough to make rectangular-ish shapes, you make awesome shapes and use all the dough}. Do not turn the cutter while pressing into the dough, just press firmly enough to cut all the way through the dough.
Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper. Place the biscuits on the pan with the sides barely touching each other. This helps the biscuits rise up instead of out. If you like crustier sides to your biscuits, space them further apart. They won't rise as high but they'll have golden edges.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and bottom, taking care to not overbake. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sticky Chex Mix

Oh my. I love this stuff. Every time I get around it, I lose all willpower and seriously eat all of it. I just made a batch and I think the rest of my family had around 3 cups in total. I ate the rest. Yes I am disgusting, and yes, I love it. I have had some buttery versions of this, but that is why I love this version, not too buttery. Hallelujah.

Sticky Chex Mix
6 1/2 c. Rice Chex
4 1/2 c. Golden Grahams
1 c. sliced almonds
2 c. coconut
Optional: M&Ms, Reeses pieces, anything else your little heart desires
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) real butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. light Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a VERY LARGE bowl, combine cereal, almonds, and coconut {just an FYI, I just used whatever cereal I had to made 11 cups mixed together}. Set aside. In a large saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. While the mixture is still hot, pour over the cereal mixture and stir well so the candy mixture coats the cereal. Serve in a large bowl or divide into individual portions.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites