Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 End-of-Year Recipe Round-Up

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Happy New Year's Eve!! I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe time celebrating this evening. Chris and I are going to put Bradley to bed and then cook up an extravagant meal to celebrate--just the two of us :) Don't forget to remember all the blessings you have received this year. Also, remember to thank and/or say "I love you" to those people important in your life. Even if you think they already know, it never gets old.

2014 was an amazing year for me. My little baby turned one, my husband and I grew together as parents and partners, I met some amazing new friends, my Blog was featured on multiple sites and reached 500 Facebook 'likes' (THANK YOU!) and I learned a ton of new things about myself and about motherhood. Each year is getting better and better and I'm so excited what 2015 has to offer!

Here is a round-up of 34 of my favorite recipes from 2014. As a blogger, I know a recipe is a favorite when I've made it more than once :) Usually I'm so into trying new recipes that the same meal hardly gets repeated!

Thanks again for your support and I wish you all nothing but positivity in 2015!

French Onion Beef Stroganoff

Source: SK Original

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shredded Beef Tacos

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Chris and I really enjoy this recipe for Southwestern Shredded Beef Sandwiches, so I always make sure to either make extra beef or to make a hearty side dish so that there are some leftovers to freeze. The leftovers always come in handy for when I want to whip up a quick dinner but don't feel like running to the grocery store. Just defrost the meat and dinner is on it's way!
Instead of making sandwiches with the leftover meat I defrosted I went another route and made tacos. I added some extra seasoning and some veggies I had on hand and it made a delicious filling for a classic soft taco. If you don't have all the veggies I listed on hand, feel free to save yourself a trip to the store and just leave them out (or replace them with your favorites!). Anything works in this recipe since the beef is already packed with lots of flavor. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 cups shredded beef, from this recipe
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Tortillas, for serving (optional)
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • Salsa, for serving (optional)
  • Cilantro, chopped, for serving (optional)
In a large skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add the beef, beans, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika and lime juice to the skillet. Stir to combine. Heat for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Serve beef mixture in a tortilla with sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

Source: SK Original

Friday, December 26, 2014

French Onion Beef Stroganoff

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Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Chicken and dumplings. Spaghetti and meatballs. Biscuits and gravy. All pretty famous and obvious (and delicious!) combinations. But French Onion Soup and Beef Stroganoff? Hear me out...
I'm sure you don't normally think of French Onion Soup and Beef Stroganoff together when planning dinner, but you should. Creamy beef pasta is tossed with caramelized onions and topped with ooey, gooey cheese. So it's basically taking one amazing dish and making it even better by sprucing it up a little. It's an impeccable combination that you'll be happy you put together. Chris, Bradley and I happily devoured this and we both suggested that I make it again very soon. I'm pretty positive you'll love this as well. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 onions, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs round steak, cut into chunks
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or Swiss, grated
  • Parsley, chopped, to top
Melt the butter in a large, high-walled and heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, sprig of thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook until the onions are soft and nearly caramelized, about 20 minutes. 

Add in the mushrooms (with a little more butter, if necessary), and saute until the mushrooms are soft and slightly browned and the onions have caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme and remove the onions and mushrooms to a bowl.

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high, and sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper and flour. Saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove the steak and set in the bowl with the mushrooms and onions.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a low simmer. Add back in the steak, mushrooms, and onions and let simmer, covered, until the broth reduces slightly and the steak is cooked, about 8 minutes.

As you wait for the broth to reduce, cook the egg noodles according to the package. Drain and set aside.

Remove the beef mixture from the heat and add in the sour cream, stirring well. Mix in the cooked egg noodles.
Top with the grated cheese. If in a ovenproof pan, put under the broiler until cheese is melted and slightly browned. If not, leave the pan on the burner on medium-low, cover, and heat until cheese melts.
Top with torn parsley and serve.

Source: Host the Toast

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pecan Cookie Balls

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Merry Christmas Eve!! Today is our big Christmas celebration with my family and I'm so excited. My mom always used to make Almond Crescent Cookies for the holidays (among tons and tons of others) and I loved them. She gradually started weeding out her cookie list and only makes a couple different types now, but those were always some of my favorites. These Pecan Cookie Balls remind me of those cookies and I love it.
They kind of remind me of a shortbread-type cookie. They are buttery and melt in your mouth with each bite. But then there are tiny bites of pecans hidden throughout each cookie that adds some bite. They're so delicious and a perfect addition to your Christmas cookie tray. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Makes 4 dozen

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in flour and pecans.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes. 

Remove from baking sheets. Immediately roll hot cookies in remaining 2 cups sugar. Place sugared cookies on wire racks to cool. When cool, roll again in sugar.

Source: McCormick

Monday, December 22, 2014

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

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Every year my girlfriends and I have a Christmas cookie exchange party. It's more an excuse for all of us to get together to catch up and drink some wine (we all have busy lives these days!), but throwing some cookies in the mix doesn't hurt. This year I had trouble narrowing down what I was going to make, so I turned to Pinterest like I normally do. These Buckeye Brownie Cookies were staring me down as soon as I turned on the computer, so they were my immediate pick.
And thank goodness I picked them. I devoured these. I ate two before they even had a chance to cool off. Whoops! They're a thick fudgy brownie cookie with a peanut butter filling and chocolate frosting on top. What's not to like? They're like a sophisticated version of a Reece's cup. Your teeth will sink into them and your eyes will roll in the back of your head from pure bliss. I know you know the feeling. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Makes 24 cookies
  • 1 (18-19 oz.) box fudge brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate frosting, homemade or store-bought
  • Sea salt, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine brownie mix with fudge packet, butter, cream cheese and egg. Stir until dough comes together, it will be very thick and sticky. I used my hands.

Form rounded tablespoons sized portions of dough into balls, placing on baking sheet about 2 inches apart, making an indentation with your thumb in the center of each.

In another bowl stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar. Form peanut butter into teaspoon sized balls and press into the indentations in the brownie cookies.

Press peanut butter down slightly because the peanut butter won't spread and you don't want the cookies to be too tall.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Transfer to wire rack to cool. When cooled top each cookie with about a tablespoon of chocolate frosting. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Friday, December 19, 2014

Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies

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I don't know about you all, but I still have a ton of Halloween candy floating around my house. At first I was ecstatic that Bradley was going trick-or-treating because that meant I was left to eat all of his candy, but I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach. There's so much of it! And there's no way I'm going to let it all go to waste.
I used those mini M&M packets from his jack-o-lantern bucket for these cookies. Since he can't eat them (yet), I don't feel guilty for stealing his candy. Next year might be a different story, but for now I'm doing it while I can get away with it. These are basically the softest and chewiest chocolate chip cookies you'll ever have with M&Ms in the place of chips. To. Die. For. You can even use holiday colored chocolates to make them more festive. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups M&Ms
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in M&Ms. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Adapted from Nestle Toll House