Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lighter Cheesy Corn Soup

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I got a root canal done the other week, and it was painful. Boy, was it painful. I went into work immediately after (yes, I am crazy) and when I realized I didn't pack my lunch that day, I needed to figure out what I could tolerate since my mouth was still sensitive. I ran over to Whole Foods and got some Corn Chowder, and it was amazing.
Chris had previously planned on going to dinner with his friends that same evening, so I decided to whip up some soup for myself (the only time I can get away with having soup as a meal). The taste of the Corn Chowder was still lingering in my mouth, and I immediately decided to replicate it. I used low-fat milk in this recipe so it is a bit thinner than the normal Chowder type of recipe you would get. If you want to thicken it up, use half-and-half or regular milk. The soup was still hearty and delicious, with a little kick from the cayenne and crunch from the potatoes and corn. The subtle cheesy flavor paired with the crisp corn was definitely my favorite part. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken, vegetable or beef stock (I used a combination)
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, quartered
  • 2 (15.25 oz.) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup bacon, crumbled (optional)
Melt butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Sprinkle onion mixture with flour and stir until well combined. Add stock and milk. Season with salt and pepper; add cayenne pepper. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Add corn and cheeses. Mix until melted. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until ready to serve, stirring every once in a while, for up to 2 hours (or you can eat it right away!). Sprinkle with bacon if desired. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Monday, February 25, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

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One of my favorite short-cuts is to buy a rotisserie chicken whenever shredded or diced chicken is used in a recipe. They are usually on sale and you save a good amount of time if you're trying to put a quick dinner together during the week. Since most recipes do not use the whole chicken, this Buffalo Chicken Wrap is a great way to use the leftovers and not put them to waste.
I used the base of the Buffalo Chicken Dip for the sauce. I wanted it spicy, but not too much, so the Ranch dressing helped to cut back on the heat a little. Serve this with some fries, tater tots, chips (or homemade kale chips!) and you have yourself a quick and hearty dinner. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. light butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank's)
  • 1/3 cup fat free Ranch dressing
  • 2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
Heat butter in a medium saucepan. Add hot sauce and Ranch dressing and stir to combine. Add chicken and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Heat tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds. Sprinkle with Monterey Cheese and lettuce, and top with half of the chicken mixture. Fold the bottom half of the tortilla up, then fold the outer flaps in. Continue rolling up like a burrito to secure the filling. Repeat with the second tortilla and serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Friday, February 22, 2013

Old-Fashioned Crumb Cake

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Oh my gosh, guys.

Have you ever had Entenmann's traditional crumb cake? The kind that comes with the HUGE crumbs on top that you just have to pick off and eat right away? This cake trumps that. Like seriously.
My mom used to do like I do and pick all the tasty crumbs off of the cake and devour them. My mom's grandmother (or my great-grandmother, duh)  would then take the leftover cake pieces sans crumbs, spread some butter on them and have a tasty little treat. I don't get it either (how could you resist the crumbs...they're the best part!), but it was a system that worked for them.
All components of this cake are off the charts, but the crumb topping is exceptional. I resisted taking this to my family and my father-in-law because I knew they'd devour it, but I gave in and I was right. It was gone in 3 minutes. My brother even requested it for his birthday cake (which is 10 months away). Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water

  • 2 sticks margarine
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 5 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup confectioners sugar

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a jelly roll pan and set aside.

Add cake mix, eggs, and water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (may also use bowl and hand mixer). Beat for 4 minutes.

Pour into prepared jelly roll pan, and smooth with a spatula. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes (remove from oven when done, but leave oven on). While it's baking, prepare crumb topping.

For the Topping: Microwave butter and margarine in a bowl until melted (whisk together). Allow to cool and then add vanilla and almond extracts.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, and cinnamon. Cut the butter mixture into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter (or two forks) until a crumbly mixture.

Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the cake and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees F. Allow to cool completely and then sift with confectioners sugar before serving.

Source: My Life as a Mrs.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Steak Pizzaiola (Gluten-Free)

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This recipe is the trifecta of recipes. It's gluten-free, low-carb and low calorie. Since it fits many diet restrictions and is easy to prepare, I don't know why you wouldn't make this!
Anything with a tomato base usually amps up a recipe for me. Adding a few seasonings and pepperoncini gives the dish a little zip. Since I'm going to South Beach in a few weeks with my friends, this is a recipe I'll be making more often since it won't expand my waistline, but it will still keep me satisfied. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless sirloin steak (about 1 inch thick), excess fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 jarred pepperoncini, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley 
Sprinkle the steak all over with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and sear until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the garlic to the skillet. Once it sizzles, add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften slightly, about 4 minutes. Add the pepperoncini, tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and 3/4 cup water and stir to combine. Bring to a rapid simmer, then nestle the steak in the sauce and simmer, turning once, until medium rare, about 7 minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest about 5 minutes. Continue simmering the sauce until thickened, about 3 more minutes.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain and divide among plates. Top with the sauce and parsley.

Source: Food Network

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad (Gluten-Free)

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Today's post for the Secret Recipe Club comes from Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. I had such a difficult time choosing a recipe today just because there are so many delicious looking sweet treats! Since Chris and I are trying to eat healthier (which was difficult between birthdays and Valentine's Day), I decided I would go with a savory recipe as opposed to a decadent recipe. I'm sure I'll be back in no time to choose a cookie or cake recipe, though.
Chris and I are huge fans of the last quinoa recipe I made, so when I saw this one I wanted to give it a try. Chris loved the other salad, but he's a much bigger fan of lime juice than lemon juice, so it seemed right up his alley. The lime mixes well with the cayenne, which adds a little spice. I love the assortment of vegetables in this dish, between the crunch of the corn, the buttery texture of the avocado and the refreshing juice from the tomatoes, the combination is just right. This is a healthy and tasty recipe you definitely need to try. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked in salted water according to package instructions
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole corn kernels
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 pickled jalapeños, minced
  • 1-2 avocados, chopped
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Cook quinoa using package instructions. Drain and place in large bowl to cool.
Combine beans with vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to quinoa along with corn, peppers, avocados, tomatoes and cilantro. Gently toss.

Make dressing by combining lime juice, salt and cumin. Whisk in oil. Drizzle over salad. Toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Chili (Gluten-Free)

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This chili recipe is my favorite of all time. I had already posted it a while ago, but since my photography was much less than stellar back then, I thought I would re-post it for you.
I made this again for the Superbowl, and it was a huge hit. Since this sits in the crockpot all day, it takes minimal effort and the flavors blend to form a perfect concoction. There's a small kick, but add more red pepper flakes and/or some hot sauce it you want to spice it up a bit. I serve this with corn chips, sour cream and cheese, but feel free to use whatever your little heart desires. Enjoy!

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 (29 oz.) can plus 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Optional garnishes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Corn bread
  • Corn chips
Brown meat in skillet until cooked through. Once cooked, drain and add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until combined.
Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.
Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and corn bread or corn chips. Enjoy!!
Source: SK Original

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

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Happy Valentine's Day Eve! Boy, do I have the perfect treat for you to make for your sweetie. This cake will definitely score you some extra brownie points this holiday. Plus it's pink and the strawberries are somewhat heart-shaped, so what more could you ask for??
Fresh strawberries are used throughout this cake to make the texture light with the perfect amount of sweetness. Depending on the consistency of your pureed strawberries, you can have the chunks as big or little as you like. I prefer some chunks throughout the cake, so I tried to leave some texture in them. This strawberry buttercream is the best frosting I've ever had. It's super light and it literally melts in your mouth. The strawberry flavor is apparent, but not too overwhelming. Your sweetheart will love this. Enjoy and have a very happy Valentine's Day!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 cups fresh and ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed and hulled
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar plus 1 tbsp.
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberry puree reserved earlier
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.

Sprinkle the strawberries with 1 tbsp. sugar and toss to coat. Set aside for 1 hour. Pulse the strawberries in a food processor until a chunky consistency. Measure 3/4 cup for the batter and reserve 1/3 cup for the butter cream. (The rest is delicious scooped over vanilla ice cream!)

Sift the cake flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and baking powder and blend on low just until combined. Add the butter and 3/4 cup strawberry puree and mix on low until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low, scraping bowl as needed. Mix on medium a few more seconds until well combined. Place half of the mixture into each cake pan.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool.

When the cake is almost completely cooled, start on the frosting. Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the confectioners sugar about a cup at a time and beat just until blended.

Add the remaining 2/3 cup strawberry puree and vanilla, scrape bowl as needed and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes.

When the cake is completely cooled, spread one layer with buttercream. Put the other layer on top, and continue to spread with buttercream. Chill until ready to serve.

Source: Adapted from Blisfully Delicious

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi

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Although I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman, I typically try to steer clear of her recipes solely because they usually contain 12 sticks of butter. I'm all for tasty recipes and splurging once in a while, but I'm also not a fan of clogged arteries at 27. No thanks!
This is one that I couldn't help but make, and I'm glad I did. The ingredients are a little heavy, but they are well worth it. This grown up mac-and-cheese will have adults and kids swooning. You can mix up the types of cheese to your liking, too, but I'm obsessed with the ones I chose. Fontina, Parmesan, Romano and Asiago. Perfectly cheesy and delicious. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, minced
Rub garlic clove all over the inside of a large serving bowl.

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water, leaning toward the al dente side. Do not overcook! Reserve 1 cup of water and set aside. Drain pasta, then return to the cooking pot.

Pour in cream, butter, cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine, adding hot pasta water as needed for consistency. Don't overmix; if there are little clumps of cheese here and there, it's fine! Taste and add more salt if needed. Mixing stage should happen very quickly.

Turn pasta into large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Friday, February 8, 2013

White Chicken Chili (Gluten-Free)

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Chris was skeptical when I first made this. It's white. And it's chili. Weird.

I had to explain that not ALL chili needs to be a brown/reddish color. Especially when it's made with white beans and chicken. It just doesn't work that way.
He ate this regardless and was pleasantly surprised. This is one of my favorite chili recipes because it's easy to make and it's much prettier than my usual go-to chili recipe. I made this again soon after and gave some to my brother, Mike (the one that I swear doesn't eat because he hates to cook), and he texted me soon after saying (verbatim), "Holy crap this chili is awesome!" So if that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 (15.5 oz.) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (other white beans can be substituted like cannellini)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Tabasco sauce, optional
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onions in oil until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except sour cream and cheese.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until heated through. Shortly before serving, add sour cream and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. If you like a little kick add a few shakes of Tabasco sauce.

Source: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nutella Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies (Gluten-Free)

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Recipes that are naturally gluten-free used to be a rarity to me, but now I find myself coming across them more and more often. Since no one in my household is gluten-free, I don't find it necessary to buy products to cook with that fit that lifestyle. But since my brother and one of my best friends follow gluten-free diet restrictions, when I come across a recipe that allows me to meet their needs and not have to go out of my way, I'm all over it.
Who knew that Nutella was gluten-free? I was so excited when I found this recipe and I immediately wanted to make them and bring them over to my brother. He ate all but one in a single sitting. Peanut butter and Nutella are a combination that need to be recognized more often. Forget bananas and jelly, Nutella is where it's at. Seriously, these are mouthwatering and super addicting. Even your non-gluten-free dessert lovers will enjoy these. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • Sea salt, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In large bowl, stir peanut butter together with sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Scoop onto prepared baking sheet using cookie scoop. Bake 10 minutes, until cookies have slightly flattened and are not shiny. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on baking sheet.

Press thumb into the center of the warm cookie or use the back of a utensil to create an indentation. Spoon in 1/2 teaspoon Nutella into hole and sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Serve.

Source: Lauren's Latest

Monday, February 4, 2013

Baked Shrimp in Tomato Feta Sauce (Gluten-Free)

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Everyone says seafood and cheese don't mix. Well I've got news for you.
They're wrong.
I was somewhat hesitant before making this meal, but I'm so glad I went through with it because this is the best meal I've made in a long time. The creaminess and tang of the feta cheese makes the tomato sauce thick and full of flavor. Make sure you have some bread on the side to sop up all the sauce, though. We made that mistake and I highly regret it. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. medium sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Pinch of salt, more to taste
  • Pinch black pepper, more to taste
  • 3 oz. feta cheese (about 2/3 cup, crumbled)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. 

Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the juices thicken a bit. 

Remove from heat. Stir in the herbs, shrimp, feta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Place pan in oven and bake, uncovered, until shrimp are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

Serve immediately. Serve with crusty French or Italian loaf bread, pasta, or rice.

Source: Simply Recipes

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dill Dip

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Dill Dip is a family recipe that my Mom has been making for years. I'm a huge fan of all types of dip recipes, but this one is definitely different from all the others. There's no cheese, bacon or tomatoes. Instead it's a sour cream and mayonnaise base, and it's spruced up with dill, garlic powder and dry minced onion. And a few dashes of Worcestershire and hot sauce. You also don't serve it with chips or crackers. Instead, we pair it with crispy fresh bread and it's to.die.for. Seriously.
I'm a huge advocate of using lighter ingredients whenever you can, but this is one recipe where you may not want to do that. Maybe you can use light sour cream, but stick to regular mayo. I tried using the fat free kind once and it altered the taste a lot. But it's okay once in a while, right? I can't express how good this dip is, but we've been making it for over 20 years so that should give you some kind of indication. You'll just have to give it a try this Super Bowl Sunday and see for yourself. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 2/3 cups mayo
  • 2 2/3 cups sour cream
  • 4 tsp. dried dill
  • 4 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 4 tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 8 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 loafs bread, torn into small pieces, for serving
Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with bread.

Source: My Mom