Friday, September 26, 2014

Coffee Cake Cookies

These little babies are delectable and delicious! Sometimes I crave stuff without chocolate, as weird as that seems. Because I'm a woman. And I love chocolate. But these were awesome enough that I didn't even miss my chocolate.
Photo Credit to Bakers Royale
Pecan Streusel:
1 ½ cups of pecans, toasted
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cookie dough portion:
½ cup of unsalted butter, browned
1 egg
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour

To make pecan streusel:
Place pecans on a bake sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes or until pecans start to darken slightly and smell nutty. Set aside to cool. Chop pecans once cooled.
Place chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and whisk to combine. Add melted butter and toss to combine. Set aside.

To make cookie:
Heat and melt butter until it is brown and nutty smelling. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place egg, dark brown sugar and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and mix on medium speed with a paddle attachment and beat until mixture is glossy, about 1-2 minutes. Add sour cream, cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt into mixture and beat to combine. Add in cooled butter and beat to combine. Turn off mixture.
Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, fold flour into wet mixture. Add 1/2 the streusel mixture and fold to combine.
Scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture and light roll into a ball and place cookie on bake sheet. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of streusel on top of cookie and lightly press onto the top of cookie.
Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Recipe Source: Bakers Royale

Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla

I love simple, easy, and quick. This is definitely one of those! You for sure need to add a side of vegetables, or fruit, or, in our case, both.

Photo Credit to Mrs Harding Cooks
Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas
onion, sliced (one small onion was about right for two quesadillas)
olive oil
dash salt
dash sugar
chicken, cooked and shredded (we had 2 leftover drumsticks)
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
mozzarella cheese, shredded (any kind of cheese you have will do)
barbecue sauce

Caramelize the onions: Heat olive oil over medium-low heat (about 1 T to 1 onion), add onions, salt and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.

Wipe out the skillet from the caramelized onions and heat to medium. Pile onions, shredded chicken and cheese on tortilla. Drip a few dollops of barbecue sauce over it, then top with a second tortilla. Toast quesadillas in skillet for a couple minutes on each side, till cheese is melted and tortillas are lightly browned.

Serve with extra barbecue sauce for dipping, if desired.

Recipe Source: Mrs Harding Cooks

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chicken Chili

Hey-o. This is my favorite chili recipe right now...and by right now, I mean for the last 5 years. It's delicious, healthy and yummy, plus scrumptious. Get the picture?
Photo Credit to Mrs Harding Cooks
Chicken Chili
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 cups chopped yellow onion {2-3 onions}
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers {I used 1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow}
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely diced {I couldn't find this, left it out}
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 (28 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes in puree, not drained
2 (15 oz.) cans beans, drained and rinsed {I used 1 can black and 1 can pinto beans}

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the garlic to the pot and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the chopped bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, oregano, chipotle, and kosher salt. Cook 5 more minutes. Place the canned tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly so the tomatoes are cut to large chunks. {You could also break the tomatoes up with your fingers.} Add the tomatoes with the puree to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the shredded chicken and the beans, and allow to simmer for another 20 minutes.

It's very healthy on it's own, but I like to serve it with chips, cheese and sour cream.

Recipe Source: Mrs. Harding Cooks

{Healthy} Banana Bread

I have made lots of different banana breads. This is not a cakey, sweet deliciousness. This is a healthy yummy very banana-y bread. I love it!
Banana Bread with honey and applesauce Recipe
Photo Credit to Just a Pinch
{Healthy} Banana Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar free applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Recipe Source: Just a Pinch

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

{Healthy} Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Delicious. Simple. Healthy. Yummy.

Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
{Healthy} Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drain tomatoes into a 2-cup liquid measure. Add water to tomato liquid to make 2 cups. Add tomato/water mixture and 1 teaspoon salt to skillet.
Scatter noodles into the skillet, layer tomatoes over the noodles and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, stirring occasionally (so the noodles won’t stick!) for about 10 minutes.
Stir in zucchini and squash, cook, stirring now and then, until noodles and squash are tender, about 8 minutes. Add basil and half of the rictotta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese to the noodles, stirring until the sauce is creamy. Dollop remaining ricotta cheese over the noodles, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Carnitas Tamale Pie

The Carnitas that we made were delicious, and we loved them. But this pie. Ahhhhhhmazing. So delicious, and yummy. The more cheese the better. The much better.
Carnitas Tamale Pie
Photo Credit to Pinch of Yum

Carnitas Tamale Pie
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow corn meal
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can diced green chiles
⅓ cup milk
1 egg
1 can cream corn
2-3 cups leftover carnitas
1 cup enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded white cheese (Jack, White Cheddar, Pepperjack, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the oil until the mixture makes soft crumbs. Whisk in the milk and egg. Add the cream corn and green chiles and stir until just combined. Bake in a 9-inch square pan (or larger, depending on how thick you want it) for 25 minutes or until set. Since it's a tamale-like base, it won't be completely dry like a cornbread. It's supposed to be just a little mushy.
Poke holes in the crust with a fork. Pour the enchilada sauce over the crust. Squeeze or drain excess moisture out of the carnitas and arrange on top of the crust. Sprinkle with cheese.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Cover with foil, return to oven, and bake for 20 minutes. When everything is heated through, remove foil and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Top with chopped cilantro, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and cut into slices or scoop into bowls.

Recipe Source: Carnitas Tamale Pie

{Healthy} and Delicious Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Okay, I was waiting to write about these until I refrigerated the batter for awhile. And guess what? They're awesome! And delicious! and Healthy! {and have lots of fiber! Hehehehehehe}
Healthy and Delicious Refrigerator Bran Muffins
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
{Healthy} and Delicious Refrigerator Bran Muffins
4 cups wheat bran flakes or plain wheat bran
2 cups bran buds (look like little pebbles) or all-bran (look like little twigs)
2 cups boiling water
1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, melted
½ cup (no-added sugar) applesauce
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid, place the wheat bran flakes (or plain wheat bran) and the bran buds or all-bran. Pour the boiling water over the bran and mix well. Stir every couple of minutes while the mixture cools to room temperature. The mixture will become very thick and sticky.
After the mixture cools, add the buttermilk, melted butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well to combine all the ingredients together.
The batter can be covered well and kept in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. To bake, scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins. Fill 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for about 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

{Healthy} Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado

The awesome thing about a huge butternut squash can make, like, a million different dinners. Okay, three. But seriously, that's awesome, right? Yeah, this stuff is so yummy. A little bit spicy {and gets spicier if you leave it in the fridge for a day}, yummy adobo flavoring, and super healthy. Plus I loved adding the avocado.
Readers' favorite butternut squash chili recipe -
Photo Credit to Cookie & Kate
{Healthy} Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 small butternut squash (1½ pounds or less), peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground sea salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½+ tablespoon chopped chipotle pepper in adobo {More if you want it spicier}
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
14-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
4 cups cooked black beans or 2 cans, rinsed and drained
14-ounce can (about 2 cups) vegetable {I used chicken} broth
2 Avocados, diced
3 corn tortillas for crispy tortilla strips {or chips}
cilantro (optional, for garnish)

In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sautée the chopped vegetables (onion, bell pepper, butternut squash, garlic) in one to two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly.
Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Cover for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste test for spice level and add more chipotle if desired.
By the time your chili is done, the butternut squash should be nice and tender and the liquid should have reduced a bit, producing the hearty chili consistency that we all know and love.
Make the crispy tortilla strips: stack the corn tortillas and slice them into thin little strips, about 2 inches long. Heat a small pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and toss in the tortilla slices. Sprinkle with salt and stir. Cook until the strips are crispy and turning golden, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 7 minutes. Remove tortilla strips from skillet and drain on a plate covered with a piece of paper towel.
Serve the chili in individual bowls, topped with crispy tortilla strips and plenty of diced avocado. I added a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional). Cilantro would be nice as well. You might want to serve this along with some chipotle hot sauce (Tobasco makes one) for the spice addicts like myself.

Recipe Source: Cookie & Kate

{Healthy} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ew, ew, yummy, yummy! These were so good. A stronger hint of pumpkin than I've ever had before and not too sweet, I loved these babies!

{Healthy} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes a dozen
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur)
3/4 cup raw sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or canola)
2 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
baking spray
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray liners with oil for easy removal.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix pumpkin puree, oil, egg whites and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Photo Credit to Skinnytaste

Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, then blend at low speed until combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake on the center rack for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let them cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: Skinnytaste

Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins

Funny story about these. They're delicious, and I can't wait to make them again. But, I put our butter in with the spices and it soaked up all the flavor from the spices, so I thought these had something weird going on with them...turns out it was just the butter {never mind that it took me 4 times of eating these muffins to figure that out}.
Healthy Oats and Applesauce Muffins
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
{Healthy} Applesauce Oat Muffins
1 cup rolled/old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease the muffin cups. Set aside..
In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and cranberries or raisins if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined (don't overmix or the muffins will be dense and dry). The muffin batter texture might be a bit different (wetter?) than other muffin batters but no fear, carry on!
Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the muffins will be dry.
Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely. Once cool, I place 6-9 muffins in a large freezer ziploc bag, suck all the air out (oh yes I do) and seal the bag, then freeze, pulling them out one by one to stick in my kids lunches or warm slightly for a snack.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert

Holy delicious. What I've decided lately is that there are too many recipes that try too hard. With too many different ingredients trying to be the best recipe blog {for example-Chocolate Orange Basil Brownies...really?}. So I love getting back to the basics of mint and chocolate. Plus anything with whipped topping on it is amazing.
DSC 3817
Photo Credit to Hungry Runner Girl
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert
1 row of chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed fine
2 tablespoons of butter
Hot fudge
1 carton of mint ice cream {I like mint chocolate cookie the best}
8 ounce whipped topping
extra chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

Mix the chocolate sandwich cookies with butter. Press them into a 9x9 {or 8x8}. Put a layer of fudge on top. Soften ice cream, then spread the ice cream across the fudge. Freeze for a few hours at least. Spread whipped topping, then add crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and fudge.

Recipe Source: Janae at Hungry Runner Girl

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These were amazing! A great way to use up extra ricotta if you have it. They were thick and so yummy with the strawberry jam {oh yeah, I just used jam, and didn't make the syrup}.
Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes |
Photo Credit to Taste and Tell

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

For the pancakes:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the syrup:
4 cups fresh strawberries, diced
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

For serving:
fresh sliced strawberries

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, milk, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Heat a griddle over medium heat and lightly grease. Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until bubbly. Flip and cook until the pancake is golden.

{I didn't actually make the syrup, just used strawberry jam}
Process the strawberries in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour through a wire mesh to remove all the seeds.
Combine the strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice in a pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. If foam forms on the top, use a spoon to skim it off. Remove from the heat and cool.
Recipe Source: Taste and Tell

Ricotta Cheese

One time I needed ricotta cheese and I was too lazy to run to the store, so I made some. I know that seems weird, like maybe making your own cheese is a lot more work than running to the store. You are mistaken friend...this stuff was super easy and it made me very happy. Plus, it was actually really yummy.

Ricotta Cheese
2½ tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
2 quarts pasteurized whole milk
1 tsp. salt

Be sure your milk is fresh homogenized or pasteurized – not ultra-pasteurized or ultra-heat-treated (these will not curdle correctly.)

Combine the milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk registers 185˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.

While the milk is heating, prepare a colander and line with a double layer of cheesecloth. (Cheesecloth can be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.)

Once the milk has reached the desired 185˚ F, remove from the heat.

Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture will begin to curdle quickly. Stir just enough to evenly distribute the acids. Let rest 5-10 minutes.

When the mixture is adequately curdled, it will have separated into white curds and translucent yellow whey. Gently stir at the edge to ensure that this has occurred. If there is still milky whey in the in the pot after 10 minutes, add in more vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and let sit 2-3 minutes more until the curds separate.

Very carefully pour the mixture into the prepared colander. If you want to reserve the whey, be sure to place a bowl underneath the colander. Let drain about 8-12 minutes (shorter for a moist result, longer for a drier end product. Moist is best for an appetizer-type spread, drier is better for lasagna and the like.) Transfer the curds to a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store up to 5 days. {or you could be like me and wait til it grows mold}

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce

Hey-O. Super easy, but you have to have that one jar of processed stuff (or you can make your own, which I did not do). It was creamy and delicious and oh so delicious. Oh, did I say that already? Oops.
Tuscan Pasta With Tomato-Basil Cream Recipe
Photo Credit to
Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce
1 (20-oz.) package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli
1 (16-oz.) jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons white cooking wine
2 medium-size fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh basil strip

Prepare pasta according to package directions.
 Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Succulent Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Okay, so I thought this thing was delicious. And so did Scott. Then we gave it to our girls...and they went nuts. I've never seen them eat so much meat ever (except maybe shrimp). Needless to say, it was a delicious and wonderful hit, and we will be making it over and over again.
Succulent Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Succulent Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2-3 pounds pork tenderloin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger and garlic. Place the pork tenderloins in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the pork. Seal the bag and refrigerate the pork for 8-12 hours (perfect to prepare overnight for grilling the next day).
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Grill the pork tenderloins for 8-12 minutes per side, until the pork is cooked through. Tent the pork with foil and let it rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into slices and serving warm.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Shrimp Enchiladas

Another point for "making Mel my best friend even though she has no idea I exist." Kaching. This was a winner. Delicious, healthy, no cream-of-anything soups and...shrimp. I don't really need to say anything more.
Shrimp Enchiladas
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Shrimp Enchiladas
Cheese Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whipping cream or milk
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, light or regular
Shrimp Mixture:
1 tablespoon butter, canola oil, coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
8 (9-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch dish and set aside.
Saute red pepper, onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour; blend well and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute. Whisk in the cream or milk and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the cheese; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.
In another skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute onion in the oil until translucent and soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink (don't overcook or the shrimp will be tough). Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll the enchiladas up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 9X13-inch glass baking dish. Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Puffed French Toast

This stuff is so amazingly yummy, scrumpcious, unhealthy, and wonderful! They are kind of like the french toast sticks you get at Burger King. So yeah, I love them.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
Puffed French Toast
2 eggs
2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4″ of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it’s just right.

Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak it both sides in the milk/egg/flour mixture. If you leave it in too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice, crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3-5 minutes per side; you really need to babysit them and make sure they’re cooking correctly) and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature it will go.

When ready to serve, roll each piece in cinnamon sugar.

Golden and crispy on the outside with a sugary crunch, and heavenly soft in the middle.

Slice the bread into strips for great french toast dippers. Kiddos love these- or talk about killer party food! You could pile them high on a platter and then serve next to ramekins filled with different dipping sauces.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Broccoli Beef

Oh man. I love stir fry anything because it's fast and, lets face it, who doesn't love rice? This thing was awesome and I loved it. Another reason Mel is my best friend (creeper? Yep, that's me.)
Broccoli Beef
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Beef and Broccoli:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
1 1/4 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup water
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal, optional

In a medium bowl, combine beef and soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure or small bowl. In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.
Heat 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don't overcook the meat - cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with a lid and tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.
Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until rippling and hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the broccoli. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve - or be like me and serve it straight out of the skillet!

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

I made this for Valentine's Day. No, not for a romantic dinner for me and Scott, but as a fun special dinner date with the entire family. That is our new tradition for every day. Neither Scott nor I like to be anywhere near a restaurant on Valentine's Day, so we're making it a family affair. It was such a fun night and I can't wait to do it again next year!
Tuscan Garlic Chicken
Photo Credit to Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuscan Garlic Chicken
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.
In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is lightly to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.
While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Perfect Brown Rice

I love brown rice, but I'm not awesome at cooking it and it's always a little harder than I want it to be. Anyways, this rice is the softest and loveliest brown rice I've ever had. Delish.
Photo Credit to Our Best Bites
Perfect Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in an 8-inch square baking dish.
Bring water and butter or oil to a boil, either in a saucepan or in the microwave. Keep an eye on it and take it off heat immediately after it starts boiling. Immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice in baking dish. Cover baking dish tightly with 2 layers of foil, or heavy-duty foil. Transfer baking dish to oven and bake rice until tender, about 1 hour.
Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with fork, then cover dish with kitchen towel and let rice stand for 5 minutes. uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

{Olive Garden} Breadsticks

These are the real deal folks. Delicious and really taste like they're fresh out of the Olive Garden oven. Mmmm...
Photo Credit to Readable Eatables
{Olive Garden} Breadsticks
1 1/2 cups warm water 
2 Tbs sugar 
1 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs salt (yes, the recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon, which I use every time and they turn out great.)
2 Tbs butter, softened 
4-5 Cups flour 

3 Tbs butter melted 
sea salt 
1 tsp garlic powder 

For the dough, pour the water into a stand mixer with the sugar and yeast, let that sit and froth for about 10 minutes. Add salt, butter, and 2 cups of flour. Mix the dough on low. Add the rest of the flour a half cup at a time, until dough scrapes the sides of the bowl clean. Mix the dough about 5 minutes on medium speed, until its soft and easy to work with.
Let the dough rest in the bowl until doubled in size, about 1 hour and then roll it out. Roll the dough out into a long log, spray a knife with cooking spray and cut the dough into 24-28 pieces. Roll those pieces into about 6 inch long snakes. Spray 2 large cookie sheets with cooking spray, ( I usually only use one) and lay the breadsticks out leaving about 2 inches between each one.
Place them in the oven with the temperature turned to 170 degrees. Let them rise for about 15 minutes, or until doubled in size.( I have also let them sit at room temp until they are doubled in size and then bake them in the oven)
Once risen, brush them with the 1 1/2 T of melted butter and sprinkle them with salt. Now preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake them for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. While they are baking combine the rest of the melted butter with 1 tsp garlic powder. When the breadsticks are golden brown, remove them from the oven and brush them with the butter/garlic mixture.

Recipe Source: Readable Eatables

Swiss Chicken Breasts & Stuffing

This is what I have come to call a "Mormon meal." You can whip it up super quick, but it's not very healthy, and almost all of these meals have cream of chicken soup in them. Don't get me wrong, this is delicious...but it's so not healthy, so I make it only when I don't have the time (or energy) to make anything else :)
Photo credit to Pinterest Created
Swiss Chicken Breasts & Stuffing
3-4 Chicken breasts
Swiss cheese slices
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 package stuffing
3/4 can water

Make stuffing, set aside. Put chicken breasts in a 9x13 pan with a slice of cheese on each. Mix cream of chicken soup with water & pour on chicken. Add stuffing on top. Cover and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours depending on size of chicken pieces.

Recipe Source: Mamacita