Thursday, December 31, 2015

Slow Cooker Brisket with Brown Gravy

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Pardon the picture (getting dark at 4:30pm does NOTHING for my dinner pictures), but I just had to share this recipe with you. I love simple slow cooker recipes that taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. The hardest part of this recipe was spending 10 minutes searing the beef (if you even count that hard). Other than that, you basically throw everything in the slow cooker and a few hours later you get tender brisket and vegetables with an incredibly flavorful gravy. Ideal for these chilly winter nights. Enjoy! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for searing
  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb.) brisket
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems reserved and leaves chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (.87 oz.) packet slow cooker pot roast seasoning
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 (.87-ounce) packet brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup cold water
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the brisket on both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Sear the brisket in the hot pan until browned, about 4 minutes per side.

To the slow cooker, add the parsley stems, celery and bay leaf. Put the seared brisket on top of the vegetables. In a large bowl whisk together the broth, wine, tomato paste, and pot roast seasoning. Pour the mixture over the brisket, top with onions, and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Halfway into cooking, add the carrots. One hour before the brisket is done, add the mushrooms.

Remove the meat, onions, carrots, and mushrooms from the slow cooker and set aside. Strain the liquid into a medium pan over medium-high heat. 


In a small bowl, whisk together the gravy mix with 1 cup of cold water. Turn the heat to medium and whisk the gravy mixture into the brisket liquid. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Skim any fat off of the top.

Slice the brisket and arrange it on a serving platter. Serve it with the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and gravy. Garnish with the reserved chopped parsley leaves and serve.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Okay, so we definitely have a new favorite soup..and it's made in the slow cooker! All of the ingredients are pretty much pantry staples. I was able to make this super last minute because I just happened to have everything on hand. And thank goodness I did because it's SO so good. Using salsa in the recipe gives it a ton of flavor without needing too many extra ingredients. My boys and I loved this. Plus it made enough so that I could freeze half and defrost it when I don't feel like making dinner. We're all looking forward to that night :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
Optional Toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Lettuce
  • Diced avocado
  • Crushed corn chips
Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, salsa, corn, black beans, water, cumin, and cilantro. Pour over the top of chicken.

Cook on LOW 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken and chop into bite-size pieces. Place back into the slow cooker and add shredded cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Source: Adapted from The Recipe Critic

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Favorite Chocolate Cream Pie

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This is our new go-to Chocolate Cream Pie. It's rich and creamy because of the sweetened condensed milk, which also gives it a sweet, rich flavor. I could eat it straight from the can, so you know I was all about putting it in this pie! It takes 10 minutes to make, so if you need a last minute dessert for your Christmas table definitely whip this up. Merry Christmas!!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 2⁄3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1(14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 (9-inch) baked Oreo crust
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, grated, for serving 
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk water, cornstarch and cocoa until smooth. Continue to whisk until thickened and just begins to bubble. 

Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk well. 

In a small bowl, add egg yolks. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and stir quickly. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the hot saucepan mixture.

Continue to whisk until thickened.

Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted. 

Pour into the baked crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the pie and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or until cooled. 

Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Source: Adapted from Food.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Festive Roasted Vegetables (Gluten-Free)

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Not only do I love this recipe because it's really easy (my two-year-old helped with almost every step) and spiced perfectly, but it's a perfect make-ahead dish. It's great both fresh out of the oven or at room temperature, so you can make it earlier in the day and just let it sit out until you're ready to serve it…totally ideal for Christmas day! The mix of vegetables will satisfy everyone, plus it's gluten-free! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 (8 oz.) packaged sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends removed, halved and outer leaves removed
  • 4 cups red potatoes, cut into quarters (about 1 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add all vegetables into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, oregano, thyme and basil and stir so evenly coated. Pour vegetables into an even layer on two baking sheets.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from Love Grows Wild

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal

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Bradley likes a lot of things, but he goes weeks at a time where he prefers one particular thing more than other things. The past few weeks he's been asking for oatmeal for breakfast, and while I usually give him a low sugar oatmeal that's filled with fruit, once in a while I like to give him something special. Making this sweetened version was partly for him, and partly for his pregnant mom. It's not something we will eat all the time, but definitely something to keep on hand when we want a treat for breakfast. Or when we want a fun Christmas breakfast :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Oats:
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
Glaze: 

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk
  • 5 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

​For the oats: In a medium saucepan over high medium, bring milk to a boil. Stir in sugars, vanilla and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Add oats and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until oats are tender and creamy, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

For the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients.

Serve oatmeal in a bowl drizzled with glaze and sprinkled with remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jalapeño Roasted Chicken with Broccolini

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I know ham is the traditional protein served on Christmas day, but if you want to switch things up a bit I suggest trying out roasted chicken! It's super moist and delicious, not to mention it is extremely easy to make. This version is a little spicy from the jalapeño (but not too bad since the seeds are removed) and it's paired with deliciously moist roasted broccolini. The pan juices are a perfect sauce to accompany the chicken. Everyone will be fighting over the crispy, blistered parts. They're the best. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Jalapeno paste:

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh oregano leaves or 1/3 cup dried oregano
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
  • tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Chicken:
  • 1 (5 1/2 lb.) roasting chicken
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs. baby broccoli (broccolini)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Jalapeno paste: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the oregano, shallot, garlic, butter, 2 tbsp. olive oil, the jalapeno, salt and pepper and process to form a coarse paste.

Chicken: Pat the chicken dry and then put it, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breast, legs, and thighs without detaching it. Spread half of the jalapeno paste under the skin. Put the rosemary and the shallots in the cavity of the chicken. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Spread the remaining jalapeno paste all over the exterior of the chicken. Pour the chicken broth and wine into the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes, adding more broth to the pan if it begins to dry out.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Arrange the baby broccoli snugly around the chicken on the rack. Drizzle the olive oil over the florets and season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast the chicken with the baby broccoli, basting occasionally with the pan juices (adding more broth to the pan if necessary), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the chicken thigh, without touching the bone, registers 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Remove the roast chicken from the oven, tent it in foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a platter, and surround it with the broccoli. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Snickerdoodles

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I'm currently at the hospital getting induced and getting ready to meet our little girl!! YAY! I've set up some posts for you all until I get back at it, but until then…ENJOY AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

I never knew such a simple cookie could taste so good. Snickerdoodles really just consist of all your standard cookie ingredients (sugar, flour, vanilla, etc.), but then they're rolled in a cinnamon-sugar combination for a sweet crust. These are fluffy and light with a perfect amount of sweetness. My husband took some to some of his friends and a few proclaimed they were the best snickerdoodles they've ever tasted. I'll count that as a win. And they're an excellent choice for the Christmas dessert table. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cheesy Veggie-Packed Baked Farfalle

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The past few months I have been stocking up our freezer in anticipation of baby girl's arrival, and that usually means doubling what we're eating for dinner and freezing half of it. Pasta dishes and casseroles work great when freezing, and this recipe fits both criteria. It contains a lot of vegetables, and I opted for turkey sausage instead of pork sausage to save some calories. Plus it allowed me to put some extra cheese on top :) Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 box (16 oz.) dried farfalle pasta
  • 1 lb. uncooked ground Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 cup eggplant, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups reduced-fat Italian blend cheese, shredded, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any salt or oil. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a very large skillet cook sausage, eggplant, mushrooms, sweet pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is browned and vegetables are just tender, stirring to break up sausage as it cooks. Drain off any fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

In a very large bowl stir together the pasta and sausage mixture. Stir in 1 cup of the Italian blend cheese. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Italian blend cheese. Bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crockpot Bourbon Chicken

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No, you didn't misread the ingredient list. There really is no bourbon in this bourbon chicken recipe. I chose to exclude it because honestly…I don't love the taste, and most of the other "Bourbon Chicken" recipes I looked at didn't contain bourbon in them either. So weird. But whatever you want to call this chicken, it's just plain delicious. Chicken thighs get so tender, especially when slow cooked, and the combination sweet/savory sauce is amazing. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • Rice, cooked, for serving
Place the chicken in a slow cooker.

In a small bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, apple juice, honey, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Pour sauce over chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours or on HIGH 3 hours.

When done, remove chicken from the crockpot. If desired, cut into bite-size pieces or you can keep them whole.

Meanwhile, put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Remove about 1/4 cup of liquid from the slow cooker and add it to the cornstarch. Stir very well. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the remaining liquid in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add the chicken back into the crockpot and stir to combine. 

Serve over rice.

Source: Adapted from Spend with Pennies

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fall Baked Acorn Squash

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My friend, Christy, posted this recipe on her Instagram page one day, and I couldn't get it out of my head! As soon as I found some acorn squash in the store, I bought them and needed to replicate the recipe. I added my own twist by adding some stuffing to make the filling heartier, but you can totally leave that out and double the rest of the filling ingredients if you want! We really enjoyed the filling with the flavorful stuffing, though. Perfect for this time of year. And it paired so well with the tender acorn squash! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 (6 oz. box) savory herb flavored Stove Top stuffing mix
  • 4 links apple flavored chicken sausages, casings removed
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the guts. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 40 minutes and remove from oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, cook the stuffing according to the package directions and set aside in a large bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken sausage, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is browned and vegetables are tender, breaking up the chicken into small pieces. Add to the bowl with the stuffing mixture.

Add apple and Parmesan cheese to the stuffing mixture and stir to combine. Divide the stuffing mixture equally among the four acorn squash halves. 

Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the tops begin to slightly brown. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from my friend Christy

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Apple Pie Ice Cream

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Who wouldn't want this tomorrow after gorging themselves with turkey? Freshly baked, warm apple pie topped with APPLE PIE ICE CREAM!! Oh my goodness, please make this. It's so, so good and decadent and will work perfectly with the other desserts on your Thanksgiving table tomorrow. Just imagine creamy ice cream with scrumptious chunks of sweetened apple scattered throughout. Yum. Enjoy and have a wonderful day with your loved ones! 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

For apples:
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
For ice cream:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and stir until combined. Add apples and cinnamon and stir to coat in the butter mixture. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and liquid has reduced.

Transfer apple mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until 1-2 hours or until completely chilled.

In a bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream, half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. Gently stir in the cooled apple mixture. 

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. I have a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker and it took about 20 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 3-4 hours. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BBQ Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

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If you're going to make your Pumpkin Pie from scratch for Thanksgiving, definitely roast your pumpkin seeds instead of throwing them away. It's super simple to do and they're a healthy snack for the whole family. You can roast them plain with a dash of salt, or spruce up the ingredients to make a BBQ version like I did here. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup unshelled, raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 4 to 5 squirts olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and separate them from the stringy pulp. Rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water. Shake off any excess water.

Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes or until seeds are dry, tossing halfway through.

In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and brown sugar.

Remove the seeds from the baking sheet and place the seeds in a medium bowl. Lightly spray with oil. 

Add 3/4 of the spice mixture to the pumpkin seeds and toss to evenly coat.

Cover the sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the seeds evenly on top. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until brown and crunchy, tossing half way through. 

Remove from oven and immediately spray more olive oil over the seeds. Toss with the remaining spice mixture. 

Source: Skinnytaste

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Nutella Cookie Bars

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Want to switch up your Thanksgiving dessert a little this year? You should make something that still includes pumpkin…but also includes NUTELLA!! Sounds like a winner, doesn't it? Cookie bars are exactly what they sound like: a moist cookie-like dessert that is made into thicker bars. And then stuffed with Nutella :) They would be great on your Thanksgiving table and a surprising new treat everyone will enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Place melted butter, pumpkin, and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer, if you prefer. Mix until smooth, about 30 seconds. 


Mix in egg yolk, baking soda, salt, spices, and vanilla. Mix in flour until batter is smooth. It’ll be a soft batter.

Press half the batter in the bottom of the pan. The batter is sticky so you may want to spray your hands with cooking spray. It’ll be a thin layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes.


Place Nutella in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for just a few seconds until pourable. Pour evenly over the top of the partially baked crust. Spread it carefully so it doesn’t rip the cookie bars. Scoop tablespoons of batter over the top and carefully spread with your fingers. It won’t be a smooth layer but will mostly cover.


Bake an additional 17-20 minutes until the top is no longer glossy and the edges are golden brown. Cool completely before slicing.


Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.


Source: Adapted from Crazy for Crust

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brown Sugar Glazed Baby Carrots

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Bradley used to hate, hate, HATE carrots, but the past few weeks he has been really into them. Therefore, I've been more than determined to include them in most things I make for dinner before the phase passes. So far I've put them in Vegetable Soup, an easy pasta with vegetables and our favorite slow cooker meal, but I also wanted to make them as a side dish. These are incredibly easy to throw together and are a perfect side dish for any dinner. Plus you only need a handful of ingredients. They'd be perfect on your Thanksgiving table as well! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
Place carrots in a medium saucepan. Pour in water so that it almost reaches the top of the carrots.

Bring the water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl.

In the same saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the carrots back in and stir to coat with the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until carrots are fully glazed. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather

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Fruit roll-ups used to be one of my favorite treats as a child. I can still hear that thin layer of plastic being peeled away from the sticky leathery treat. But with all the preservatives and sugar buried in the ingredients list, it's one of the last things I want to give Bradley. It was SO simple to make my own fruit leather at home and it came out amazingly similar to the store-bought stuff. I made this one with fall ingredients, but I can't wait to try it out with fresh strawberries and blueberries! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


Ingredients

  • 4 medium-large apples (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Core and peel apples. Chop into large chunks. Toss in lemon juice to avoid browning while prepping the remaining apples.

Drain the lemon juice from the apples and place them in a large saucepan. Add the apple cider, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat. When apples are tender, use a potato masher to slightly mash the apples. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Carefully pour mixture into a blender or food processor to purée.

Divide purée evenly between pans. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the mixture.

Bake for 3 hours or until leather is slightly tacky and no longer wet. (*Time will vary depending on the thickness of your mixture.) Every hour, rotate pans 180 degrees and swap rack levels.

Allow leather to cool before slicing. Using a pizza wheel or knife, carefully slice fruit leather into desired sizes. Wrap in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Baked by Rachel

Monday, November 16, 2015

Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes

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There was no doubt in my mind that for this month's SRC post I would be delivering something Thanksgiving-worthy. Margaret's blog, Tea and Scones, had a ton of options to choose from, but this sweet potato recipe won me over. I really only needed two ingredients (plus a few pantry essential items) and it was really easy to put together. And seeing that I'm due a little over a week after Thanksgiving, I wanted something quick, simple and delicious that I could make without wearing myself out! We really, really enjoyed this side dish and I'm certain I'll be making it again, Thanksgiving or not. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs.), peeled and sliced 1" thick
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato slices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. 

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a large gratin dish. Season with the salt and pepper, then dot with the butter pieces. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the water and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until they're tender and lightly browned. Once done, turn on the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tater Tot Breakfast Bake

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Chris had some friends over the other weekend and told me that he was craving a breakfast that had tater tots in it (since, let's be honest, tater tots make everything better). The first thing that came to my head was a play off of my Sausage and Hash Brown Bake and a random recipe I had seen floating around on Pinterest. This bake was seriously mouthwatering and all the guys devoured it. This definitely might be my new favorite breakfast bake. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground breakfast sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (2 lb.) bag frozen tater tots
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and torn into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook sausage on medium high heat, making sure to break it up as it cooks. Once browned, drain and layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of the Cheddar cheese evenly over the sausage.

In a large bowl, whisk the Bisquick, milk, eggs, pepper, onion powder and salt. Once mixed, pour evenly over the cheese and sausage in baking dish. Layer the tater tops in even layers on the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and top with remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese and bacon pieces. Return to oven and cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Healthy Granola with Chia Seeds and Dried Fruit

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I love how nutrient-packed chia seeds are, so I've been on a hunt for new recipes to make using them. Homemade granola was an obvious choice since Bradley and I both love having yogurt for breakfast, and granola is one of my favorite things to sprinkle on top. It's just so expensive to buy! By making my own at home, I can include exactly what I want in it at a fraction of the cost. Oats, seeds and dried fruit make a healthy and tasty combination for this. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup blueberry infused dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts and chia seeds onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, add the agave, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the ingredients are combined, stirring frequently.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.

Add the oat mixture to a large bowl. Add the dried fruit and immediately pour the liquid mixture over the oats and fruit. Stir to combine. 

Pour mixture back onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

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Sometimes I just want a sweet breakfast that I can enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee. Nothing special or spectacular, just something to do the trick. A simple cake like this is exactly what I need on those mornings--a moist cake with pops of blueberries and a slightly sweet crust. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or coat with non-stick spray and set aside. 

Cream butter with lemon zest and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. of the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. 


Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of flour.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.


Spread batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining 1 tbsp. of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If still wet, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) 


Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Source: Alexandra's Kitchen

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

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Bradley loves getting a lot of attention, and I'm more than willing to give him all the attention he needs (especially before the new baby comes). That makes it more than essential to have dinners on hand that I can either make in advance or that take little prep time. Slow cooker meals are ideal since I can throw everything in the crockpot and then have the rest of the day to devote to my attention-seeking son. 

Chris and I both love sandwiches (and Bradley loves everything!) so French Dip sandwiches immediately sounded like an easy win in my book. They were extremely easy to prepare and even better to eat. The au jus sauce had tons of flavor and was a delicious accompaniment to the sandwich. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 (3-4 lb.) beef chuck or rump roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 (10.5 oz.) cans beef consommé
  • 2 (10.5 oz.) cans reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 envelop Au Jus gravy mix
  • 8 sub buns, cut in half
  • 16 slices Provolone cheese
Season the beef roast with salt and pepper.

In your slow cooker, add the beef consommé, beef broth, Worcestershire, onion soup mix and Au Jus gravy mix. Stir until combined. Add the beef. 

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-7 hours.

Remove beef from slow cooker and shred using two forks.

Preheat your broiler.

Arrange the sub buns on a baking sheet. Top each half with the shredded beef and two slices of cheese. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is crusty. Remove from oven and place the second half of bread on top of the sandwich.

Meanwhile, skim fat from the juices in the slow cooker. Spoon juices into small bowls. Serve alongside bread as a dipping sauce.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce

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Our baby girl will be here in a little over one month and I could not be more excited about it! I know we have a while until we start giving her solid foods, but I am determined to make all of her first foods from scratch, just like I did for Bradley. I really think that's part of the reason why he has such an amazing appetite today! Testing out this slow cooker applesauce was a perfect decision because I realized how easy it is (and how convenient it will be once a newborn is around!) and how much Bradley loves it. Definitely saving this one to use all the time. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
Makes 3-4 cups applesauce, depending on the size of your apples
  • 7 medium-large apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
In a slow cooker, add the apples, sugar, water and cinnamon.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Once tender, mash with a potato masher (or add to a blender/blend with an immersion blender if you want an extra-smooth consistency). Taste and add more cinnamon, as desired.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Overnight Apple French Toast Strata

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This breakfast strata can be prepared the night before and popped in the oven the next morning for a quick and easy warm breakfast! Fresh apples, cinnamon and nutmeg make the flavors of the season come to life in this French toast-style breakfast casserole. It will leave your belly full and your house smelling delicious. Enjoy! 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 5 pieces of white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1/4 tsp.vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maple syrup, for serving
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and 1/2 tbsp. sugar to pan; saute 8 minutes or until apple is tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.

Coat an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of bread in dish. Top with apple mixture; top with 2 tbsp. pecans. Arrange remaining bread over pecans.

Combine the eggs, remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, milk, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour milk mixture over bread, pressing down to submerge. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. pecans. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover dish and bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Serve pieces with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Source: Adapted from Cooking.com

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Turkey Santa Fe Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I'm a huge, huge fan of zucchini boats since they are extremely healthy and make a perfect "plate" for any type of filling. I'm obsessed with this Italian version that I make often, but these Santa Fe boats give them a run for their money. They're packed with tons of vegetables (beans, tomatoes, onions, corn) and then get a little kick from the salsa and cumin. They're really easy to pull together and make a great dinner for a crowd. Using turkey in place of beef saves you a ton of calories, too. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

For the filling:
  • 1 (12 oz.) package 93% lean ground turkey
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 (15 oz.) jar petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup jarred mild salsa
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin
For the zucchini:
  • 5 medium zucchini (7 oz. each), cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese, shredded

Spray a 13x9 in baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Using a small spoon, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 3/4 of a cup to add to the turkey filling, (squeeze excess water with a paper towel) discarding the rest.

In a large skillet, brown the turkey and season with salt. When the turkey is browned, add the reserved chopped zucchini flesh, black beans, corn, jalapeño, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, onion, cilantro and cumin.onion, garlic, black beans, cilantro, serrano pepper, diced tomatoes, reserved zucchini and cumin. Mix well and simmer on low, covered for 15 minutes. Remove lid, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until liquid reduces and mixture thickens.

Place the hollowed out zucchini cut side up in the prepared baking dish. Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats with the turkey mixture, dividing the filling equally, about 1/3 cup in each. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on the top of each zucchini boat.  Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

Source: Adapted from Skinnytaste

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Waffled Banana Bread

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During the week, my family has staples that we stick to for breakfast. Bradley has toast/pancakes, fruit and yogurt while Chris and I have whatever we pick off the pantry shelf that day. But on the weekends it's a completely different story. We like trying new recipes and sitting down to a hearty and delicious breakfast as a family. And what sounds more delicious than taking a moist banana bread recipe and putting it in a waffle maker? Uhh, not much. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup smashed banana (2 to 3 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing waffle iron
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • Soft unsalted butter and confectioners' sugar, for serving, optional
Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (to keep cooked waffles warm). Whisk together the flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the banana, oil, sour cream, vanilla and eggs in another bowl. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (it's okay if there are lumps).

Lightly brush the top and bottom of the waffle iron with oil. Fill each section about three-quarters of the way full (there should still be some waffle iron showing). Close and cook until the waffles are golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Keep the waffles warm in the oven or covered with foil on a plate while you cook the remaining batter.

Spread with butter and dust with confectioners' sugar if you'd like.

Source: Food Network

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fruit and Nut Muffins

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It's safe to say I had a rolling list of about 20 recipes I was considering making from Nicole's blog, PicNic, for SRC this month. But as soon as I came across this recipe my search was over. (Don't worry--I plan on going back to make the other 19 recipes VERY soon).

I still had quite a few apples left from our apple picking excursion a few weeks ago, so a recipe with apples in it was a no-brainer. These muffins are packed with apples and berries, plus a few pecans are scattered throughout to give them some crunch. These are perfect for a chilly fall morning paired with some coffee or tea. The boys and I loved these and they will definitely be going into our rotation! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
Makes 15 muffins
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line 15 muffin cups.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. 

Sift in the flour and baking powder and beat just until combined. Add the milk and beat on low until combined. Fold in the pecans and apples, then gently fold in the berries just until they are incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a spoonful of rolled oats.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.