Friday, November 30, 2012

Make-Ahead Cheesy Bacon Mini Meatloaves

Katie emailed me this recipe yesterday. She said it was a big hit with everyone at her house! That's always a sure sign of a winner recipe. It's also a recipe you can make ahead and freeze, bonus! Katie adapted this recipe from one over at Kraft Foods. She told me she thought Nate would really enjoy it. Bacon, Stove Top stuffing, barbecue sauce, three of his most favorite foods. I'm sure once he sees this he'll be asking for it to be put on the menu. This also seems like a recipe that would be great to take over to someone who's just had a baby or surgery, I'm sure they would enjoy it.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (6 oz.) package chicken flavored Stove Top stuffing
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
3 green onions, sliced
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
8 slices of bacon

Whisk the eggs and milk in large bowl until blended. Add all remaining ingredients (except bacon); mix lightly. Shape into 8 one inch thick patties and then wrap the bacon slice around the edge of each patty.

I doubled the recipe and cooked half at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and then added a scoop of mashed potatoes on the top while they finished cooking (another 15 minutes). So yummy!

With the remaining patties I flashed froze them and then individually wrapped and then put in freezer bag for another night when I am tempted to buy dinner because of a crazy day. Then it says to cook the unwrapped frozen patties for 45 minutes.
I suggest spraying the pan with cooking spray before placing on the rimmed baking sheet! Enjoy!

Here is a batch all wrapped and ready for the freezer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mini Kisses Praline Bars

This is a recipe that Anna wrote down especially for her Aunt Katie. Katie emailed it to me today and I thought it was very fitting for this time of year when everyone loves to bake those fun holiday treats. The recipe and the photo come from Hershey's. Enjoy!

1-3/4 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S MINI KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1-1/3 cups packed light brown sugar , divided
1/2 cup (1 stick)plus 2/3 cup butter , divided
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or pecan pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour and 1 cup brown sugar in large bowl; with pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/2 cup butter until fine crumbs form. Press mixture into 13x9-inch baking pan; sprinkle with pecans. Combine remaining 2/3 cup butter and remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar in small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, 30 seconds, until sugar dissolves; drizzle evenly over pecans and crust. Bake 18 to 22 minutes until topping is bubbly and golden; remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle chocolates pieces over top. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut into bars. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Homemade Crunchwraps

Don't even be surprised that it's another Mexican dish! They are always a hit at our house. Poor Nate had gone a week or so without Mexican food due to the holiday, he was overdue! This recipe is a copy cat idea from a dish they serve at Taco Bell. I don't know how close this is to the actual crunchwrap, but we both liked this version and will definitely be making these again. I really liked that you can individualize these crunchwraps, that way Nate can make his as spicy as he wants and I can have mine the way I like. Enjoy!

1 lb. ground beef
1 can refried beans (I used fat free)
1 packet + 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
shredded lettuce
hot sauce (Nate's favorites are Tapatio and Sriracha)
queso (we like Tostito's brand salsa con queso)
tostada shells or broken up tortilla chips
large flour tortillas (the largest ones I could find were burrito sized and they worked well)
shredded cheddar cheese
vegetable oil

In a large skillet brown and crumble ground beef. Halfway through cooking, add the diced onion and green pepper. Once browned, add the taco seasoning packet and water and mix thoroughly, reduce heat and finish cooking according to packet directions. Once complete, set aside. Heat the refried beans with 1 Tbsp. of taco seasoning added. I just do it in a small pot over medium heat. Also heat up your queso. The crunchwraps just get grilled for a few minutes, so you want your fillings to go in hot. Now you'll need to assemble your crunchwraps, you can do it in any order you like, this is just how Nate and I made them last night. I microwave my flour tortillas for just 10-15 seconds so they are pliable and easier to work with. Place a tortilla down, then spread a bit of queso in a circle in the center of the tortilla. Remember you're going to be folding up the sides, so don't make too huge of a circle. Then spread some refried beans on top of the queso. Place a tostada shell on next, you can also just break up some tortilla chips instead. You don't want the chips to be powder fine, just broke into large pieces so you still get a good crunch. Next top the chips with some ground beef. Then add some hot sauce or taco sauce or salsa on top of the beef. Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on next if you like and finally top with some shredded lettuce. Now you'll gently fold up the sides of the flour tortilla. Be careful not to pull too tight or you'll break the tortilla. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. I brushed a tiny bit of vegetable oil over the bottom of the pan. Once hot, place the crunchwrap folded side down into the skillet. Grill for a few minutes or until you get that nice golden brown color. Then flip the crunchwrap over and grill the other side until golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I shared this over at High Heels and Grills.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Acorn Donut Holes

I saw these online last year and I'm so glad I remembered to make them this year! Definitely just a fun little fall treat. Super easy and would probably be fun for kids.

glazed donut holes
chocolate frosting
chocolate sprinkles
pretzel pieces

Warm the frosting so it's nice and smooth. Dip the top portion of the donut holes into the frosting and then into the sprinkles. Insert a little piece of broken pretzel into the top as a stem. Enjoy!

Easy Chocolate Cream Pie

Nate's pie request for Thanksgiving was chocolate cream. I must have sent him a dozen links to different chocolate cream pie recipes. He chose one from Jamie Cooks It Up, and it totally worked for me, it was by far the easiest recipe too. Nice! If you need another pie recipe for the big day tomorrow, you can't get easier than this!

1 graham cracker crust (pre-made or make your own)
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping, thawed (I used fat free)
7 (1.5 oz.) Hershey's milk chocolate bars

Break up chocolate bars. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir after every 30 seconds and melt until chocolate is smooth, taking care not to burn it. Thoroughly mix together the melted chocolate and thawed whipped topping. Evenly spread chocolate cream mix into pie crust. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until set. I had another chocolate bar and just used a peeler to get a few chocolate shavings over the top for garnish. Enjoy!

Simple Pan Roasted Asparagus

I LOVE asparagus! And yes, I am well aware that it is not in season, but I don't care. I love it, it is a wonderful vegetable. When I was little one way my mom could convince me to come home from the park was to promise me asparagus for dinner. I also remember picking fresh asparagus from the canals by my grandma's house when I was young. My grandma would cook it for us right when we got back. Seriously, dirt to dish in less than a half hour, you can't beat that! Anyway, the best asparagus I've ever had is this grilled asparagus. This recipe is the same idea, just made stove-top. It was delicious, even Nate ate some and you know how he feel about veggies!

1 small bundle asparagus
1 Tbsp. butter
kosher salt
steak seasoning, optional (if your steak seasoning has salt and pepper in it, you may not need to add additional salt and pepper)

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. I had it turned to just past medium. Once butter is melted add asparagus and seasonings to taste. Cook for 5-8 minutes, rotating stalks as needed. Cooking time depends on how thick your stalks are and how crisp you like your asparagus, I like mine to still have a nice bite to it so I cooked it for about 6 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Italian Breaded Pork Chops

I was spoiled tonight. I've been a bit stressed lately and Nate told me that he'd like to help me out and cook dinner tonight. He said pork chops sounded good and I told him some ideas for pork chops that I had saved. This idea is from Allrecipes and we just adapted it for the ingredients we had on hand. Nate did a great job and dinner was really good. Thanks Nate!

2 boneless pork chops, thick cut (ours were nearly an inch thick)
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. In another dish combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and garlic bread seasoning. Dip each pork chop in the egg mixture, coating both sides and then dip in the breadcrumb mixture. In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add the pork chops to the skillet and brown on each side for about 4 minutes per side, you want them to be a nice golden brown. Transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet and finish them in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oreo Fudge Ice Cream Cake

This is what I made as Nate's birthday cake this year. We went to a game night tonight so it was perfect to share. I don't like chocolate or ice cream, so it was nice to have others to share with so Nate didn't have to eat cake alone! It's a fairly simple dessert to make and Nate really enjoyed it. I saw the idea over at Day to Day with Holly. This would be really nice on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed (Nate likes the Mrs. Richardson's brand)
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided (we used fat free)
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) Jello Chocolate Instant Pudding
8 Oreo Cookies, chopped
12 cookie 'n cream ice cream sandwiches

Pour 1/2 cup fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip. Add dry pudding mix and stir for about 2 min. Stir in chopped oreo cookies. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on a foil lined baking sheet. Top with half the pudding mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining Cool Whip. Bring up foil sides and loosely seal around cake. Freeze for 4 hours. Nate heated up a little bit more of the hot fudge to drizzle over the cake just before serving.

The red stuff is because I used holiday oreos.

Ugh, I wish this picture showed the layers better, but it was starting to melt when we were slicing it.

2 Ingredient Punch

Okay, seriously, this could not be easier. This is a perfect go-to drink when you want something easy and tasty. You also make it any flavor you like.

1 can frozen concentrate, any flavor you like (our two favorites are the Hawaiian's Own brand in strawberry guava and passion lemonade)
1 (2 liter) bottle of lemon-lime soda, chilled (regular or diet, your preference)

Empty frozen concentrate into a pitcher and mash it up a bit. Then slowly add the lemon-lime soda, stirring gently to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This is the passion lemonade flavor, so good!

Chicken Fried Steak Casserole

This is one of the four recipes Nate requested for his birthday. Nate is a big fan of chicken fried steak. It's one of his favorite comfort foods. I originally showed him this recipe online as a joke, but he got all excited to try it. Tonight was the night to try it and Nate really enjoyed it. He said he definitely will be requesting it again. I saw the idea over at Mr. Food and just tweaked a couple of things. So next time your husband's in the mood for a hearty meat and potatoes kind of dish, try this out.

1.5 - 2 lbs. cubed steak
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
Lawry's seasoned salt
Lawry's seasoned pepper
hamburger or steak seasoning
vegetable oil
prepared mashed potatoes (I used 2 packages of Idahoan butter and herb instant potatoes)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
shredded cheddar cheese (we went really light on the cheese)

First you'll need to prepare your chicken fried steaks. In a shallow dish add flour and season with a bit of salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish whisk together egg and milk, again season with a bit of salt and pepper. Then in a third shallow dish add the breadcrumbs and again season. You don't need to season the breadings heavily, but you do want flavor in each layer. Season the cube steaks themselves with a bit of hamburger or steak seasoning and salt and pepper. Dredge the steaks first in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg/milk mixture, and lastly in the seasoned breadcrumbs, being sure to shake off the excess of each dipping. In a large skillet heat 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks once hot and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until cooked through, turning once. You want a nice crispy golden brown exterior. I set the cooked steaks on a plate lined with paper towels and then blotted off any excess oil. Lay the cooked steaks in a 9x13" glass baking dish that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. Evenly spread your mashed potatoes over the top and then top that with a bit of shredded cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. I made my potatoes just beforehand so they were still warm and so I only baked mine for 15 minutes. You just need the potatoes to be hot and the cheese melted. Top cooked casserole with a sprinkling of thinly sliced green onions and serve hot. If you like, you can always make a gravy to serve with the casserole. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Bake

So Nate's birthday is on Monday and in celebration I had him choose 4 meals that he'd like me to make him around his birthday. I told him he could have anything he wanted, even things that I didn't necessarily like. Nate chose Baked Tacos, Nate's Super Manly Mexican Dip, this chicken alfredo biscuit bake, and a chicken fried steak casserole I'll be making tomorrow. I'm not at all a fan of alfredo sauce, but this dinner really surprised me. I enjoyed it and will definitely make it again. I saw the idea over at High Heels and Grills. I made the shredded chicken the day before and this meal was so easy to throw together tonight. This casserole is definitely comfort food and smells divine while it bakes. This is one of Nate's new favorite meals. ***Update- I've made this three times since Nate's birthday and he says it's one of his top 5 favorite dinners. Also, Nate did the math, a generous serving of this dish plus a side salad (with croutons, no dressing) is less than 550 calories all together. ***

3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cups broccoli
4 cups (32 oz.) alfredo sauce (I used 2 bottles of Classico's light alfredo)
1/2 cup milk
garlic bread seasoning
Lawry's seasoned black pepper
1 can refrigerated biscuits (I used Pillsbury grands layers biscuits)

In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. When hot add diced onions and sautee until soft, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are done, stir in the alfredo sauce, milk, chicken, 2 tsp. (to taste) of garlic bread seasoning, and some pepper to taste. Cook until hot and bubbly, stirring every so often and adjust seasoning as needed. Add broccoli. I cook the broccoli covered in the microwave for about 2 minutes, not so much that it's mushy, but not quite cooked through completely. Then it can finish cooking in the oven and still have a good texture. Once the broccoli is combined in the sauce, cook for another minute or two and then pour the sauce mixture into a 9x13" glass baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Next you're going to top it with biscuits. Split each biscuit into two (that's why I chose the layered biscuits, really easy to split). Arrange the biscuits on top of the sauce mixture. It is important that your sauce mixture is hot! The biscuits won't cook correctly if you put them on top of cold sauce. We also cut some small biscuit pieces to fill in any gaps. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and brush over top of the biscuits and then sprinkle a small amount of garlic bread seasoning on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through. Make sure the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot and enjoy!

Photos update 01/14/13. When it's just Nate and I, I halve the recipe and just make an 8x8" casserole.

We're hoping to adopt, check our profile out at and feel free to pass it along!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Simple Shredded Chicken

I feel like we all have tons of recipes that call for shredded chicken. Whether it's needed for soup, salads, filling for burritos or enchiladas, etc., we all use it. I know that lots of people cook it in the crock pot but some days there isn't always that much time, or we leave dinner to the last minute. I saw this idea over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, my favorite recipe blog, and it's brilliant. I didn't change a thing It's a great technique for a basic shredded chicken, that can be used in most any dish. Better yet, you've got all these things on hand. So if you're in a bind for shredded chicken, try this out! I'm using this chicken in an Italian dish, I would add some of my favorite Mexican chicken rub if I were using it in a Mexican dish.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper (I used Lawry's seasoned salt and seasoned pepper)
3/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth (I used broth)

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken top-side down in the hot skillet and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes until golden brown on top. Flip the chicken, add the water or chicken broth, cover the skillet and let the chicken simmer gently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (it will register 160 degrees on a thermometer). Don’t overcook or it might be dry. While the chicken is simmering, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Let it cool slightly before shredding. The cooked chicken will keep well-covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or can be frozen for up to 2 months. Makes 3-4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

Hey- this is our 300th post! Woot woo! We hardly ever fry anything in our house. Maybe 4-5 times a year. I'm not a big fan of the mess, the lingering grease smell, or how unhealthy the food is. This recipe is definitely worth the hassle though. Nate is a huge fan of Chick-Fil-A. He has even requested it for his birthday dinner one year. I came across this recipe from My Name Is Snickerdoodle a while ago and it got good reviews and so I figured it was worth a shot. We just tweaked the seasoning a bit for our tastes and both Nate and I enjoyed the final product. They don't taste exactly like the restaurant, but they are pretty close. This definitely makes for a fun dinner and would be a treat for the kids or an at-home date night. Enjoy!

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3 tsp. salt (we used Lawry's seasoning salt)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used McCormick's GrillMates chicken rub)
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it soak for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will make the chicken very nice and tender. In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. I used my big blue dutch oven. Over medium high heat (more towards the high side) heat oil until hot. Using a thermometer, heat the oil to 375°. Adjust your heat if necessary. Using tongs remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through. Also keep an eye on your oil temperature and make adjustments as needed. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce!

I shared this recipe over at Mandy's Recipe Box,Chef In Training, and High Heels and Grills.