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.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Promax Nutrition Review

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If you're on the hunt for a new protein bar, look no further!

 I often find protein bars grainy and leaving a bad taste in my mouth, but Promax Nutrition changed my view of them altogether. I would have one for breakfast (and enjoy it!) and it would keep me full and satisfied until lunchtime. Exactly what I want!

The flavor is awesome and true to the label's description. With mouthwatering flavors like Nutty Butter Crisp, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Double Fudge Brownie, Cookies 'n Cream and Lemon Bar there's really something for everyone! And with each bar containing about 20g of protein and 18 vitamins and minerals, you really can't go wrong.

Check them out here and see for yourself! http://www.promaxnutrition.com/

Note: Promax Nutrition sent me samples of their protein bars to sample. All views and opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Marinara Chicken with Vegetables over Rice

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Bradley isn't a picky eater at all (in fact, he eats almost everything) so it's usually not a struggle to get him to eat his fruits and vegetables. The only thing that prevents him is when he sees something else on the table that he would rather have instead. Or when we're eating around family/friends because he would rather play (obviously)! Hiding vegetables in something he loves, like pasta, takes the fight out of those rare dinnertime instances and helps mama know that her baby is getting his nutrients. Plus this is super quick and easy (and the adults in Bradley's life enjoyed it just as much). Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup dried rice, cooked according to package directions

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.

Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan. 

Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil to the pan and add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Saute for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables begin to become tender.

Add the chicken back in the pan. Add the drained diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, salt, pepper, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes over low heat until heated. 

Serve over rice.

Source: SK Original

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

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The other weekend my entire family went on our annual trip to go apple picking, and I came home with an enormous bag of delicious goodies waiting to be baked. As soon as we got home, I ran into the kitchen and made this bread. I had bookmarked it a while ago and it was just begging me to make it! It was light, moist and the perfect treat for fall. Plus it made the house smell divine. This is one recipe I know I'll be making again soon. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 baking apple, finely chopped
Cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray. Line bottoms and up the ends with a strip of parchment paper (for easy removal) and spray again. Set aside.

Whisk together salt, baking powder and flour. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer beat butter, both sugars and cinnamon for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides as necessary. Add in both eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, again scraping sides as necessary.

Turn mixer to low and add in flour mixture and milk in alternating additions, starting and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.

Finally add in apples and stir until just combined and pour batter into prepared pan.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until bread is set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Cookies and Cups

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Panzanella Salad

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With the warm weather winding down, it's the perfect time to head to your local farmer's market to pick up your last few baskets of fresh produce before they close down for the season. Panzanella is a delicious salad that is extra filling since toasted bread is a main component. Adding fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and basil gives the salad a burst of flavor and color. The simple vinaigrette brings it all together for a delicious side dish. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tsp. garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Easy Fudgy Brownie Mix M&M Cookies

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September has always been the busiest time of year for Chris at work, which usually causes him to get home after Bradley's bedtime. Therefore, I try to fill up our nights so Bradley and I aren't stuck alone in the house all evening. 

My sister-in-law invited Bradley and I over for dinner last week since she knew Chris would be working late, and since I hate showing up to people's houses empty-handed (and since I know my niece loves chocolate!) I wanted to bring something chocolaty and delicious for dessert. These cookies fit the bill since they didn't take too long and I knew they'd be scrumptious...especially with the addition of M&M's. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 (18 oz.) box Fudge Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup M&M's
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the brownie mix, flour, oil, eggs and water until combined. Gently fold in the M&M's. 

Scoop the batter into 2 tbsp. mounds on a non-stick baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Bake for 9-10 minutes or until cookies are set. Allow to cool on a cookie rack and store in an airtight container.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pulled Chicken Nachos

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When you let chicken slow cook on the stovetop for a couple hours, it becomes tender and falls apart at the touch. And you know what's perfect to do with that tender chicken? Put it on top of chips, top it with cheese and melt it. Ooey, gooey, cheesy nachos are perfect for game day and are a snack everyone, young and old, will enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 1 Guinness beer
  • 4 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1.5 lbs. frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Nachos:

  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 2 cups Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

Add water, bullion cubes, beer, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, bay leaves and red pepper to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low and add the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 1.5 hours, stirring often.

Once chicken is done, shred with two forks.

Preheat oven to broil.

Place chips on a large baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the chicken and allow to drain, and then spread evenly over the top of the chips. Top with shredded cheese. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and top with desired amount of guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original