Friday, February 28, 2014

Fried Egg Topped Chili

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So you know we love our chili in this household, right? And we love having it as leftovers, too. With corn chips, corn bread, on a hot dog, on a baked potato. Possibilities are really endless. But when Chris decided to think out of the box and do a breakfast version using some of the leftovers, I was skeptical how it would turn out.
I should have known better. I think a fried egg on anything is good. You definitely have to serve this with toast, though. Give the eggs a poke, and the yolk will run all throughout the chili, making it extra creamy and delicious. This is a hearty breakfast that is perfect for all that leftover chili. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Makes 2 servings
  • 2 cups leftover chili, reheated (recipe here or here)
  • Canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces toast

Divide hot chili between two bowls.

In a small pan, heat 3 tbsp. canola oil. Once hot, carefully crack both eggs into the oil. Using a spoon, spoon the hot oil over the top of each egg to help it cook. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the whites are cooked. Remove egg from the pan and place one on each bowl of chili.

Serve with toast.

Source: Chris Original

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beef Stew

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During the winter I'm all about comfort foods. Good thing I'm also all about comfortable clothes. With an abundance of soup, chili, casseroles and stew on my dinner table, I definitely need it. But it's so worth it. Stew is at the top of my list, but it has to be my mom's recipe. I've tried others before and they just don't add up, so I stick with what I know. 
I had never made her stew before because I thought it was just too good to replicate. I figured it took a massive amount of ingredients and a full day to prepare. I couldn't have been more wrong. The recipe is extra simple and doesn't even take too long to make. The end result is a thick and hearty stew, that just begs to be served with crusty bread. Enjoy this before Spring finally creeps up on us!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. chuck (or any stew meat) cubed into 1” pieces 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (enough to cover bottom of pot) 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1/2 packet dry onion soup mix 
  • 1 tsp. pepper 
  • 1 tsp. oregano 
  • 2-3 cups beef broth or water (enough to cover meat and vegetables) 
  • 10-15 mini carrots or 2 large carrots cut into 1” pieces 
  • 4 medium potatoes cut into 1” cubes 
  • 1 tbsp. Gravy Master 
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch 
  • 2 tbsp. water 
  • Peas, for serving (optional)
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Cover bottom of Dutch Oven with oil. Dredge meat in flour and shake off excess. Add meat in an even layer to the Dutch Oven and brown on all sides. You may have to do it in batches. 

After meat is brown, add carrots and potatoes. Pour broth/water 2 inches above contents of pot. Add onion soup mix, pepper and oregano. Cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. 

Add Gravy Master. Heat to boiling. 

Mix cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water together and add to pot to thicken gravy. You can do this until you get desired consistency. 

To serve, put desired amount of peas on the bottom of each serving bowl and top with stew. Serve with crusty, buttered bread.

Source: My Mom

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sticky Onion Crunch Wings

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Chris' favorite foods are pasta, steak and chicken wings (in no particular order). My mom's pasta sauce is his favorite, so she's got him covered there. He's a grill master, so he usually makes his own steak grilled to perfection. So that leaves me with chicken wings. Someone has to make them for him...
Although I love to make his favorite meals, I don't make chicken wings too often since I usually like to fry them (I bake them sometimes, but let's be honest--there's nothing like a good ol' fried chicken wing). When I do break out the oil and decide to make these babies the correct way, I try to make one new version and one classic version that I know he'll love (in his case, just a mixture of hot sauce and butter). These Sticky Onion Crunch Wings stuck out at me after seeing them on the Food Network, so these were the wild card this past time.
I've been on a hoisin sauce kick lately, so I knew these would be a winner. They are slightly sweet from the pomegranate juice and brown sugar, but the hoisin sauce and horseradish offer a contrasting flavor for your palate. And the best part? The French-fried onions coating the outside. You know those onions you put on top of green bean casserole for Thanksgiving? Now they have another purpose. And it's fantastic. Enjoy, guys!

Printable Recipe


For the wings:

  • 3 lbs. chicken wings, whole or separated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup French-fried onions (I like French's), crushed
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the wings on a baking sheet and season both sides with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

To make the sauce, in a small saucepan, mix together the hoisin, pomegranate juice, brown sugar, garlic, horseradish, scallions, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat. When the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

In a deep heavy pot, Dutch oven, or deep fryer, fill with oil to a depth of about 6 inches, and heat to 360 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the wings; the oil temperature will settle at about 350 degrees try to maintain that temperature by adjusting the heat while you fry. Fry the wings until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Put some of the sauce in a large mixing bowl and toss the wings in batches, adding more sauce as needed, until completely coated. Put the onions into another large bowl, add the sauced wings in batches and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve warm.

Source: Food Network

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I posted these lettuce wraps a while back, but I figured I would bring them to the front since I just love them that much. Whenever I want to make a lighter meal, I usually gravitate towards salads or plain meats. But combining them? That's where lettuce wraps come into play.
The filling is mostly chicken, but it's also jam-packed with water chestnuts, mushrooms and onions. So not only do you get extra filling, but also some added crunch. I just love the mixture of textures in the sweet and savory sauce. Fresh iceberg lettuce leaves are the ideal wrap for the yummy filling, making it light and refreshing. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe 

  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup water chestnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp. onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
Special Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sugar cup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. hot mustard plus 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1 -2 tsp. red chile paste
Stir Fry Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside until you're ready to serve.

Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Keep the chili paste as-is. Before serving, add your desired measurement of hot mustard and/or red chili paste to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done. Remove chicken from the pan and cool.

As chicken cools, mince water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms to about the size of small peas. When chicken is cool, mince it into the same size pieces.
With the same pan on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes until warmed through. Serve mixture in the lettuce "cups" and top with special sauce mixture.

Source: Adapted from

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chris' Bacon Bloody Mary

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I used to solely be a mimosa in the morning kind of girl, but as I got older my tastebuds shifted towards tomato juice instead (mostly because I can no longer handle my alcohol and it gives me some relief!). I've had my fair share of Bloody Mary's, but Chris' version is by FAR my favorite. I like his take on it so much that sometimes I'll randomly ask him to make me one in the middle of the day (virgin of course...I have a baby at home! Sheesh.). I don't know if it's the surprise splash of pickle juice or because he knows just how much of each ingredient to add, but he's got these babies down to a science. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Makes 1 serving
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice, chilled
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of hot sauce
  • Dash of Old Bay seasoning
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dill pickle juice
  • 1 tsp. of olive juice
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • Bacon strips, cooked, for garnish
  • Green olives, for garnish 
  • Mini dill pickles, for garnish
Combine all ingredients except bacon, olives and pickles in a large glass. Use a spoon to mix. Garnish with one piece of bacon, olives and pickles.

Source: Chris Original

Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten-Free)

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First off, I want to say Happy Birthday to my amazing husband, Chris!!!

Today's Secret Recipe Club recipe comes from Jamie over at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. If you ever find yourself in a rut and need inspiration for crafts or meals, her site is the place to go! She has an incredible amount of tutorials and recipe posts, so it's a ton of fun to scroll through her site and get some ideas for future projects!
Since Chris and I were getting ready for our Jamaica trip when I was assigned her blog, I had to force myself to steer clear of some of the carb-loaded recipes and gravitate towards the healthier ones instead. And not only are these healthy, but I only needed two ingredients!! What more could I ask for? 

The bananas act as the glue to hold these cookies together, while the oats add some texture and crunch. I opted to add some coconut flakes and chocolate chips because, well, I could. But you could totally leave them out to make them even healthier. These are moist and delicious! If you're craving sweets but want to stay healthy, these are the way to go. These are a great snack for kids, too. Enjoy!

Makes 16 cookies

  • 2 very ripe, large bananas
  • 1 cup of quick oats
Optional mix-ins:
  • Handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. shredded coconut*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the 2 bananas and mix in the quick oats. Stir everything together and add in your optional mix-ins.

Spoon cookie dough onto a very well greased cookie sheet. Flatten out the cookies since they will not spread during the baking process.

Bake for 15 to 19 minutes or until the cookies look done.

*Adding these mix-ins may make the cookie not gluten-free.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pancake Wrapped Bacon Strips

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Happy Valentine's Day loves! I'm secretly hoping you all have super romantic plans for this evening. Yes? Well, I'm sure all the arrangements have been made for tonight, but if you need some ideas for tomorrow morning, I've got you covered. 
During one of my many battles with Pinterest, I saw a picture of pancake wrapped bacon floating around. I didn't pin it, but I kept it in the back of my head for future reference. This past weekend I decided to try to replicate that sinful image. Bacon alone is good. Pancakes alone are good. Combined? It's everything you want them to be and more. Your sweetie will definitely appreciate them after a fun Valentine's Day evening. Have a wonderful night! xoxo

Printable Recipe

  • 8 strips thick-cut bacon strips
  • 2 tbsp. butter
For pancakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cook bacon until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

Prepare pancake batter. In a large bowl beat eggs. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well until mostly smooth.

Heat a griddle over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and allow to melt. Spread 2-3 tbsp. of batter across the griddle so it is the same length as a piece of bacon. Place bacon on top of the batter and cover with an additional 2-3 tbsp. of pancake batter. Repeat with remaining batter and bacon strips.

Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bottom is lightly brown. Use a spatula to turn pancake over. Cook on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately with syrup.

Source: Adapted from Pinterest, Pancake batter adapted from here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brown Butter Lobster Risotto

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Do you want to do something extra special for your sweetie this Valentine's Day? Instead of treating him/her to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant where they will obviously jack up the prices, try making them this lobster risotto. If the time it takes, the energy you put into it and the outstanding flavor of this dish doesn't win them over, I'm not sure what will!
Risotto on its own is a labor of love. It takes a watchful eye and plenty of patience. Since lobster tails can be pricey and are mostly served on fancy occasions, what better occasion than to show your significant other how special they are on the most romantic day of the year? Serve this creamy and decadent dinner with a tall glass of wine and your night will be made. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. (about 2 medium) frozen lobster tails, thawed
  • 4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 5 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup scotch or brandy
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tsp. dried chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lobster tails and boil for 8 to 10 minutes until the shells curl and the lobster meat turns white. Drain, transfer to a cutting board, and cool for 15 minutes. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut through the top shell lengthwise. Remove the meat and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Keep hot over low heat.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to foam and then turns brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. 

Add the onion and cook, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the scotch or brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. 

Add 1/2 cup of stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to absorb before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining butter and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the risotto to a large serving bowl. Arrange the lobster meat on top of the risotto.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Monday, February 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Chinese Pork Tenderloin with Garlic-Sauced Noodles

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Chris has proclaimed this his new favorite slow cooker meal and immediately asked if I could add it to the rotation. I, of course, obliged. Not only because it's incredibly tasty, but also because it's SO easy to prepare. And easy meals are my thing these days. I love my little boy more than words, but it's not so easy to make dinner with him around. He's somewhat of an attention hog (he gets that trait from his dad).
The pork tenderloin slow cooks with soy sauce and hoisin sauce for 3.5 hours so it can easily be shredded. Oh, and that's another reason I love this recipe. It doesn't take 8-9 hours like most slow cooker recipes, so if I decide last minute that I want to make it, it won't be an issue!

I digress. So the pork falls apart and is tossed with the most amazing marinade of Asian flavors. Matchstick carrots provide some crunch, while the fun texture of the Ramen noodles make it a full meal. This is one recipe I'm sure you'll be adding to your rotation as well. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 (1 lb.) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 3 bags Ramen noodles (seasoning packets discarded)
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 3/4 cup diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped unsalted or lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 9 lime wedges
Place tenderloins in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Combine 2 tablespoon soy sauce, hoisin sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, ginger and garlic; drizzle over tenderloins. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove pork from slow cooker, and place on a cutting board, reserving cooking liquid in slow cooker. Let pork stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles for three minutes. Strain and set aside.

Strain cooking liquid through a sieve into a bowl. Shred pork with 2 forks.

Return cooking liquid to slow cooker; add pulled pork and stir so well coated. Stir in remaining 6 tablespoons soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Cover and cook on HIGH 10 minutes. Add noodles, carrots, green onions and cilantro leaves, tossing to coat. Turn slow cooker to WARM.

Spoon noodle mixture into bowls; sprinkle with peanuts and additional chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Source: Adapted from My Recipes

Friday, February 7, 2014

Oreo Popcorn

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I'm one of the weird ones that love Oreos dunked in milk or coffee until they're soggy. I also love them plain, in desserts, split in half, as a crust and in ice cream. So it's no surprise that when I made popcorn the other day, I decided to throw some in there as well. This snack is great to treat yourself to when you want something slightly sweet, yet easy to prepare. The Oreos add a nice crunch and a little something extra to the salty popcorn. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 package plain popcorn
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frosting
  • 1 sleeve Oreo cookies, crushed
Cook popcorn according to package directions. Place in large bowl and set aside.

Add white chocolate chips and frosting to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Stir and continue until chocolate chips are fully melted.

Drizzle white chocolate mixture over cooked popcorn. Add Oreo crumbs and stir with a wooden spoon until popcorn is fully coated.

Best if served immediately.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spicy Chicken and Green Beans

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With my husband out of town on business, it's been a whirlwind the past few days. Thankfully my parents have been a huge help and I'm grateful to have them close by to lend an extra hand. I give major props to any single parents that have to take care of a small child on a daily basis, though. It's tiring stuff!
Since Chris is gone, I've been slacking on making dinner this week. It's really the only time I don't feel guilty about not cooking, since I like to have a home-cooked meal on the table as often as possible when he's home. This chicken meal is easy to prepare (even with a baby attached to my hip), and is jam-packed with Asian flavors. It's a good one to add to the rotation since it's somewhat healthy, too. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 6 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. hot garlic chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Rice, for serving
Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and chili sauce in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add green beans and cook for three minutes. Remove from water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. 

Once cooked through, add the soy sauce mixture. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and stir, letting the mixture return to a simmer for about a minute, or until thickens. Add green beans and stir to combine. Serve over rice.

Source: SK Original

Monday, February 3, 2014

Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

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I could literally eat this praline topping by the spoonful. It's sweet and rich, and the pecans add a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Using this as a topping for french toast is just evil. It's already good enough on its own, but adding a little sweet crunch on top just blows your mind. 
This is a great dish to serve at your next brunch. It is prepared the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is combine the ingredients for the topping and let it bake. Guests will rave over this one, so be sure to add it to your repertoire. I had some leftover after I served this for my girls day brunch, and it was just as tasty the next morning. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 (13-16 oz.) loaf French bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup
Praline Topping:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. 

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. 

Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients for the praline topping in a medium bowl and blend with a pastry blender or fork. Sprinkle over the top of the bread.

Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Source: Adapted from Food Network