Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quinoa Chili...

Damn Delicious is a food blog that is quickly becoming one of my favorites! Everything I've tried from her blog thus far has been exactly as the name of her blog implies. This Quinoa Chili definitely delivers, it's incredibly good and will definitely be a dish we make throughout these cold winter months. The leftovers were amazing too! The only changes I made to the recipe was omitting the cayenne pepper so it wasn't too spicy for our toddler and omitting the ground coriander simply because I didn't have any on hand.

This winter when you're craving a bowl of warm comfort food give this dish a try and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chicken Shawarma...

This recipe for Chicken Shawarma has been in our families meal rotation for several years now. We hosted a foreign exchange student from Germany, Katy, a few years ago in our home and one of our favorite things to do together was cook new recipes. This recipe was one she came across and at the time I was doubtful it would be as good as the shawarma we loved from our local greek restaurant but she pleasantly surprised us with this recipe and it actually is so good we now rarely like the shawarma we get in restaurants as much as we like this home cooked version!

Since our family is small we typically just marinate and grill one chicken breast which is always plenty for us. Seriously the smell alone from the marinated chicken on the grill will make you hungry! If you've never purchased tahini before let me warn you it is expensive, but one jar lasts us a really long time and it's a dish we love so it's totally worth it. Side note tahini is an ingredient you'll also need if you want to make homemade hummus. We use either pita or flat bread like the one pictured below in the pic, either work great!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hashbrown Ham Quiche...

I got this recipe from my friend Sara who is an amazing cook and was nice enough to share it with me after she made it for our play group. We LOVE this quiche, it's so delicious and really simple to throw together. I love that you can do most of the work the night before and then the morning of it's really simple! It's perfect for a brunch get together or if you're having guests over for breakfast. It's great leftover but more often then not it gets devoured whenever we serve it! 

Hashbrown Ham Quiche

3-4 cups thawed shredded hashbrowns
3 Tbsp veg oil
1 cup shredded pepper jack
1 cup shredded swiss
1 cup ham cubed
2 eggs
½ cup whipping cream
¼ tsp seasoned salt
Grease 9” pie plate and preheat oven to 425. Mix oil and hashbrowns and then press into the sides and bottom of greased pie plate. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are browned.
Combine cheeses and ham and spoon into crust. (At this point, you can put it in the fridge and finish in the morning, that’s what I did). In a bowl, beat eggs, cream and salt, pour over ham and cheese mixture.
Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes (sometimes takes more like 30-40 min) or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 min before serving.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

BLT chopped salad...

If you're in the mood for a good salad this BLT chopped salad with corn, feta and avocado from How Sweet It Is is sure to satisfy & is SO easy to make! Seriously the hardest part is frying the bacon! The dressing is light, delicious and goes great with the salad. We did a mixed greens lettuce instead of what the recipe called for but I'm sure either would be awesome. Also just did some canned sweet corn to make it easier.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Pumpkin muffins...

Fall is here which means the season of all things pumpkin has officially arrived! If you're a fan of pumpkin these muffins are for you! This pumpkin streusel muffin recipe by Gimme Some Oven is SO delicious!!! I did use the whole wheat flour but I'm sure either would be amazing. I made the muffins the night before and then added the glaze the morning before our guests arrived and they were a huge hit. These are definitely going to be making their way into our kitchen several times this fall and winter!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Broccoli Cobbler...

This broccoli cobbler by Half Baked Harvest is a great comfort dish and is pretty simple to throw together. I'll totally admit I was slightly intimidated by the biscuit topping but I followed her directions and they turned out delicious! This is one of those dishes that even non veggie lovers will probably like because it's got all that yummy creamy soup cheese mixture going on.

Next time I make it I'd like to try doing the homemade cream of soups and see how it turns out.

Before they went in the oven....


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Roasted Veggie Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce...

This recipe by Naturally Ella for Roasted Veggie Tacos with Avocado Cream & Feta is another awesome meatless dish that we love!! I've actually already made it twice since trying it a couple weeks ago we were such fans and really with the exception of taking the time to chop the veggies it's pretty simple.

I used a can of sweet corn instead of an ear of corn, flour tortillas instead of corn and nonfat greek yogurt but otherwise followed the recipe. Really you could include whatever vegetables you have on hand or that your family prefers for the tacos.

The first time we made them I had a couple of corn tortillas on hand so we tried one of each but since we typically have flour tortillas that's what I usually use and really either is delicious. If you have a garden this would be a great dish to use some of the vegetables you've grown!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Caramel Bars...

These Oatmeal Chocolate Caramel Bars are such a delicious sweet treat and one of my favorite quick easy desserts to throw together when we're getting together with friends. They are incredibly addicting though and lets just say I've learned the hard way to only make them when we can share them with others because otherwise it is entirely likely your family will eat the whole 9x13 pan on your own within a week!

One tip, for the caramels some stores now sell these caramel bits  which make melting the caramels and heavy cream together a bit easier. They come in an 11oz bag and I typically just use one of these as a substitute for the 14oz bag of caramels, which means no unwrapping each little caramel and they melt a lot quicker!

Trust will love these!!! And my picture below does not at all do the deliciousness of these bars justice. Mel's pictures give a much better representation of how good they are!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cheesy Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas...

We love enchiladas and when I saw this recipe for Cheesy Black Bean & Corn Enchilada's on Pinterest I knew this was one we'd have to try. As I've mentioned previously we just started cooking more with black beans in the past year and have found they've become a staple in our weekly ingredients and something that make a great healthy meat substitute.

The only two changes I made to this recipe were that instead of making the homemade enchilada sauce I just used canned. I'm sure the homemade sauce is delicious but I wanted this to be a simple dish and the canned red enchilada sauce worked great for us. I might try the homemade at some point in the future to compare. Since we love onions I also sliced up a large yellow onion and sauteed it and then added this to each of the enchiladas.

These also made great leftovers the next day! Seriously, look at all that cheesy goodness...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Butternut Caprese Salad....

This Butternut Caprese Salad is not only delicious it  makes such a gorgeous side dish for summer get togethers! With the exception of cubing the butternut squash it is an incredibly simple dish to throw together and is typically a crowd pleaser. Even our toddler loves it since its easy to eat and really with the combination of ingredients who wouldn't like it?!

Seriously, is this not one beautiful dish?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bacon wrapped little smokies...

We got this recipe from an old church cook book that was given to us. It is a sure fire delicious appetizer for any get together and is always wildly popular whenever we take them to parties. The best part...they're so simple and only 3 ingredients!!!

Bacon wrapped little smokies

1 pkg little cocktail sausages
1 pkg bacon
Brown sugar

Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap a piece of bacon around a sausage and hold it together with a toothpick. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle brown sugar over all the bacon wrapped sausages. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45min or until bacon is done.

You've been warned though...they are highly addictive!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cheese Fondue...

Who doesn't love fondue?! It's such a fun meal to enjoy with friends and family. There is definitely no shortage of delicious fondue recipes out there but this Easy Cheesy Fondue from Rachael Ray is one of our favorite cheese fondues we've enjoyed over the past few years.

We skip the potatoes and just use a french baguette with our favorite vegetables for dipping. Yum...these were the choices we had available last time we made fondue!

Cheesy deliciousness....

Ready to fondue...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake...

Yes, you read that correctly...cinnamon roll and cheesecake together! This was another Pinterest find and it is a decadent treat to share with those you love! Now I will absolutely be the first to tell you that although I love cheesecake I've always been a bit intimidated by it, but my husband and I decided to attempt this one together and it was definitely worth the effort. It is a great dessert to take to a get-together so you can share the love, because otherwise you'll likely be tempted to eat too much of it yourself! Thanks to The Girl Who Ate Everything for this delicious Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake dessert!

My mother in law is a cheesecake pro and she taught us the trick of placing a jelly roll pan with water in it on the rack underneath the cheesecake while it's cooking in the oven to help prevent cracking.

Just something to keep in mind when baking this the cheesecake, it did take close to 70 minutes to bake in our oven and not the 45-55 the recipe suggested.

It's like a cinnabon cheesecake combined, and one I'm certain you and your friends or family will love!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Beef Kebobs...

My very dear and fabulous friend Audra passed on this recipe for beef kabobs and we were finally able to get around to grilling them a couple weeks ago. This is an awesome summer grill out recipe!

I copied and pasted the recipe and her instructions below. We actually loved it all so much there weren't any leftovers, but I'm sure as she mentioned the veggies would be awesome in an omelet the next morning! We just served the kebob and veggie skewers themselves but the rice would help to make a good filler to go with the meat and veggies.

For ease of grilling we skewered each of the veggies and meat separately. My husband likes to do it this way for better control so the onions get enough time without the meat getting dry. Seriously though my pics don't do them justice, they're delicious!

From the book: Mother's Recipes
A Contemporary Collection of Family Treasures
By Sheryn R. Jones and Barbara C. Jones
Beef Kebobs
2-2.5 lb sirloin steak (we use filets)
fresh mushrooms
bell peppers
tiny onion
cherry tomatoes
1 c. red wine (I prefer Merlot)
2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 c. oil
4 tbsp. catsup
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. seasoned pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
Cut meat into 11/2 to 2 inch chunks. Cut peppers into bite size pieces. Mix all ingredients of marinade together. Marinate steak pieces for 3 - 4 hours. Alternate meat, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes on skewers. Cook over charcoal, turning on all sides, basting frequently with remaining marinade. Serves 8.
(We serve it on a bed of rice. Jasmine, wild, wheat, white... all are great with this and sometimes we even do a few veggie-only skewers and will use the leftovers in omelets the next morning.)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Strawberry rhubarb bars....

Rhubarb seems to be that classic summer dessert ingredient, and I hadn't honestly cooked with it for a couple of years. But when my parents came to visit about a month ago they brought fresh rhubarb straight from their garden, so I had to find a delicious recipe as a treat. I came across these Strawberry rhubarb crumb bars on Pinterest and decided to give them a try, and oh my goodness they were fantastic!!! It's the perfect combination of sweet and tart and that strussel topping...yum!

I made a couple of modifications, and yes, I've already made these a couple more times we loved them so much. I used whole wheat flour in place of the oat flour called for in the original recipe since I had that on hand, and I omitted the crystallized ginger because frankly I had no idea what that was and definitely did not have it. I also skipped the lemon zest since I wanted to throw together the recipe that evening and didn't have a lemon. Still turned out awesome! Also I used my 8x8 glass pan and they fit great.

We picked up some more rhubarb at the farmers market earlier this week so I'm thinking a pan of these might be on tap for the weekend:)

Yum looking filling for the bars...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pasta Carrabba...

This recipe for Pasta Carrabba is another delicious comfort pasta dish. There is a little planning prep required since we marinate the chicken breasts overnight. This is another dish that allows us to use some of the delicious fresh basil from our plant.

I typically omit the peas since my husband isn't a fan and I add a full container of fresh mushrooms that I saute separately before adding them to the sauce. We love mushrooms, but I just can't get into the canned ones, and sauteing the fresh ones only takes a few minutes. As usual, I also substitute whole wheat rotini instead of the fettuccine so the little guy in our house can easily eat this with us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Spicy Fish Taco Bowls...

This recipe for Spicy Fish Taco Bowls  from Pinch of Yum combines some of our favorite ingredients: black beans, avocado, cilantro, and tilapia to name just a few, so I figured it would be a hit at our house. And it's really not that spicy, so even our toddler liked it.

I substituted a sliced yellow onion for the diced red onion since that's what I had on hand, and to be perfectly honest sometimes when I'm feeling a bit lazy I like to just slice an onion instead of dice it. I know that's silly but it's the truth :)

We actually just garnished this dish with the avocado and green onions and it was great!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Copy cat Cheesecake Factory Shrimp Scampi...

I've never tried the Shrimp Scampi dish at Cheesecake Factory so I can't speak to how well this compares to the original, but we definitely thought this copy cat shrimp scampi recipe was delicious! 

I did use less shrimp then it called for because although fried breaded shrimp is SO yummy it's not the healthiest. I also substituted a 13.25 oz box of whole wheat rotini pasta for the angel hair pasta suggested in the recipe as the rotini is more toddler friendly. In the directions of the recipe it didn't mention where to add the shallot, I assumed it should be added with the garlic when you begin the sauce in step 2. 

Yum...honestly this picture doesn't do it justice, don't hold my inability to get a good pic of this dish against it, it's really scrumptious! 

We have this awesome basil plant that has somehow lasted us since last summer, so we love dishes like this that call for fresh basil! If you know me well you know it's a miracle this plant has lasted so long in our house and yet it continues to thrive! We water it religiously every morning and it spends the rest of the day in it's spot by the window. We picked it up at Whole Foods last summer and it was well worth it since it's supplied all of our fresh basil to us for almost a year now! Nick prunes it regularly and it grows so fast I think we throw out more than we use.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Banana Coffee Cake...

Banana bread and coffee cake are both delicious breakfast treats on their own but this awesome recipe for Banana Streusel Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze from Shugary Sweets combines these for one fabulous breakfast that is sure to please your family! The best part is that it's simple and easy to throw together. Also, she's smart in that her recipe makes enough for two cakes. I split it in half and just made one, but it was wildly popular in our house when we had guests visiting and the one was easily devoured. So if you're having guests it might not be a bad idea to make both cakes, and that way you may have some left for the next day.

Tip from Rebecca's kitchen: When I cut the recipe in half to make one cake I substituted 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour for the 1 cup of all purpose flour called for in the recipe to make this a little healthier. I also skipped the maple glaze to save on calories and it was still SO delicious.

I realize it doesn't look that exciting in this pic but it is such a sweet delicious breakfast!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal...

We love carrot cake and baked oatmeal so when I saw this Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal recipe on Pinterest it was a must try!

I love breakfast dishes like this that I can make ahead the night before, throw in the fridge, and then pop in the oven in the morning, and this one is definitely a keeper in our house!!!

Tip from Rebecca's kitchen: Using the food processor to shred the carrots for this dish makes prep much easier! I've also doubled the recipe and made it in a 9x13 pan when serving for guests. I leave out the unsweetened coconut in the recipe and for the glaze I've just added a little vanilla extract to the plain greek yogurt I have on hand. This oatmeal is really great reheated the next day if you have leftovers! Our toddler devours it whenever I make it!

Just out of the oven before glaze is added

Friday, May 31, 2013

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice...

This Thai Pineapple Fried Rice was one of those dishes that the minute I saw it on Pinterest I knew it was going to be a keeper and one that our family would love. There are so many great flavors and textures in this dish. I've tried a couple of dishes from Closet Cooking now, and both have been incredibly delicious!

It's also a great dish to add or substitute vegetables based on your family's preferences. For example, instead of using peas I added a large head of broccoli since our family prefers this vegetable. I also omitted the red chili as I didn't want the dish to be too spicy for my toddler. We add a bit more pineapple than the recipe calls for and use brown rice.

This dish is amazing and another leftover that we love to eat the following day!

Beautiful and delicious...this is one you've got to try...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice...

This Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice by Damn Delicious has quickly become one of our favorite weeknight dinners! It is so easy to throw together; the hardest part is just slicing up all the veggies you want to include and rinsing the quinoa before boiling. Otherwise, once you have everything prepped it's simple and comes together in 15 minutes!

Also, if you've never tried quinoa I strongly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. It's cooked very similar to rice and is so nutritious and also gluten free. If you don't believe me about all the health benefits of quinoa check out this article. I just made it for the first time myself about a year ago and our whole family loves it! 

She's right, this is seriously damn delicious...

Tip from Rebecca's kitchen: We've made this a few times now and typically use whatever veggies are our favorites and what we have on hand. This is definitely a dish you can substitute and include whatever vegetables you and your family prefer. It's a perfect dish to use veggies from your garden or a trip to the farmers market this summer.

I typically just make a few small changes when we make it. I slice one onion instead of chopping as the original recipe suggests. I also double the amount of carrots and slice these as well. I don't include the corn and peas and add extra broccoli too as we prefer the the carrots and broccoli.

Another way that I try to keep this recipe simple is instead of grating fresh ginger I just add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger spice. I really don't want to go to the trouble of grating the fresh ginger so this is my simpler substitute.

We also love this leftover the next day, it's good both cold or heated. I've taken it with us for a picnic the day after and it's perfect for on the go! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos...

This recipe is an old favorite we've had in rotation at our house for several years now! It's one of those we find ourselves commenting on how much we love it when we haven't made it in a while. So if you're a fan of tilapia I'd definitely suggest you try these Blackened Tilapia Baja's a great summer dish!

We change it up a little from the recipe. Instead of combining the first four ingredients in a food processor we just mix them up and put them on the tacos as is because, let's face it, food processors are a pain to clean!!!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies...

I've been a bit behind in posting these, I made them during our last snow storm and it's now in the high 80's! Anyway, I'm a huge fan of salted caramel drinks and desserts so I knew when I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies on Pinterest that I was going to have to try them. They were so delicious and I loved her tip that adding cornstarch to the dough makes the cookies soft! I'm still learning in terms of baking and had never tried this before; will definitely try to remember this for future cookie recipes!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spaghetti squash with feta, dried cranberries and green onions....

I had actually never tried spaghetti squash until a couple of years ago. It was one of those unknown foods in terms of preparation but I'm so glad I tried it because we love it, and it really is easy to prepare! This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy spaghetti squash, with the delicious combination of feta, dried cranberries and green onions in this recipe!  I actually prefer if without the rice vinegar/EVOO dressing but my husband likes a little of the dressing so I typically serve it on the side. This makes a delicious side dish and can be served warm or at room temperature!

Tip from Rebecca's kitchen: If you don't want to heat up your oven you can also just cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave. Just poke holes in it with a fork all over and then cook it for around 15min. Cut it down the middle when done, remove the seeds and then take your fork to twist out the squash noodles.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Mac n Cheese...

This is another dish from Iowa Girl Eats, and let me tell you this Chicken Cordon Bleu Mac n Cheese she came up with is delicious comfort food!

Didn't get a great pic because we totally just dug in and forgot to take one until after...ha, ha! It's another great left over dish and one that is both kid and adult friendly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cilantro Lime Chicken Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce....

We love enchiladas and had a good go to recipe, but since we're huge fans of avocado I knew I had to try this recipe when I saw it on Pinterest, and oh my goodness it was AMAZING! This isn't the simplest of recipes but it's totally worth the little bit of effort because these Cilantro Lime Chicken Enchilada's with Avocado Cream Sauce are SO delicious!

Tip from Rebecca's kitchen: My local grocery store didn't have any poblano peppers in stock so I substituted with anaheim peppers. Using a rotisserie chicken definitely made this recipe easier and added to the delicious factor! We had extra sauce and a little extra chicken; both kept well so we used those to make quesadillas for our little man which he loved! These enchiladas are also awesome as leftovers!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Black Bean Tacos with Avocado...

These black bean tacos have been another of our favorite easy and delicious meal finds from Six Sisters Stuff, they have an awesome blog that has tons of great recipes and craft ideas!

We've made them with corn tortillas and also with flour; both are delicious. Honestly, we only had a couple corn tortillas this time when we made them, and I actually think it was easier with the flour tortillas as they held up better to the flipping in the pan and didn't crumble or break apart like corn tortillas can sometimes do. They were also a bit easier to eat. We're big fans of avocado too, so anything that adds that ingredient into the meal is usually something we'll like.

Look at that beautiful mixture of black beans, red onion, fresh cilantro and spices...YUM!
Corn tortilla topped with some Monterrey Jack Cheese ready for cooking....
 Black bean taco with corn tortilla ready to be devoured...
 Black bean tacos in flour tortilla ready for consumption...

Tip from Rebecca's Kitchen: We've made these with a couple different types of cheese and each time they turned out great. We've tried Pepper Jack, Smoke Gouda, & Monterrey Jack. We typically just top them with sliced avocados and enjoy!

These are an awesome quick weeknight meal or weekend lunch; the prep time is very short to pull them together and cooking them only takes a few minutes. Give them a try for your next Meatless Monday meal. You won't be disappointed!