Sunday, March 31, 2013

Coffee Cake

There. Are. No. Words.  Ok...maybe a few...make this so you can get away with eating desert for breakfast.  You will have no regrets.  Delicious.  The Pioneer Woman does it again!

Coffee Cake
via Pioneer Woman

For the cake:
1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
2 cups Scant Sugar
3 cups Flour, Sifted
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1-1/4 cup Whole Milk
3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

For the topping:
1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
3/4 cups Flour
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1-1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don't overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter (or in your mixer!) until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm---delicious!

Just delicious.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

Mmmmmmmm...what a delicious mix up from the usual spaghetti!  I had never had a bolognese sauce before, but I loved how you could taste a hint of the wine and all the veggies that were included in it.

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce
via Skinny Taste

4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)  (I left this out because I didn't feel like buying it and I didn't feel like it was missing anything!)
1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1 large white onion, minced
2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), minced
2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), minced
2 lb 95% lean ground beef
1/4 cup white wine (I only had red, so I used red)
2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
salt and fresh pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup half & half cream
Rigatoni or pasta of choice

In a large deep saute pan, saute pancetta on low heat until the fat melts, about 4-5 minutes.  Add butter, onions, celery and carrots and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Increase flame to medium-high; add meat, season with salt and pepper and sauté until browned. Drain the fat then add wine; cook until it reduces down, about 3-4 minutes.

Add to crock pot. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper; cover and set slow cooker to LOW 6 hours.

After the 6 hours, adjust salt and pepper to taste, add half & half and parsley; stir and serve over your favorite pasta.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Chimichangas

Such a yummy mexican dish.  The shredded beef is very tender and flavorful, you could really use it for anything.  We love making nachos with the leftovers.  Chimichangas are basically a lightly friend burrito and this recipe is fantastic.  They taste just like the real thing from the mexican restaurants!

this is how I kept my burritos rolled up while frying, using a toothpick!  here is a great tutorial
Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Chimicangas
via Jam Hands

2 to 3 pound chuck roast
10 oz. can Ro-tel, your choice of flavor. We used Original (Tomatoes & Green Chilies)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg large flour tortillas
sour cream

1. Add the first 5 ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook either on high for 3-4 hours or on low for about 6-8 hours. After it is cooked through, shred the beef with a fork (then add it back to liquid to keep it moist).
2. Fill your tortillas with the shredded beef filling. Fold and secure with toothpicks (see tutorial above). Fry in oil that has been warmed to med-high for a few seconds on each side until browned. Remove and set to drain on a paper towel. Transfer to a plate and top with garnishes of your choice. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

I'm not kidding you, this salad will make you want to have salad everyday, three days in a row, lunch and dinner.  Then again every week following you'll crave it again.  The dressing is sweet and oh the almonds - crunchy and spicy, but still sweet and just so so flavorful!  We added feta, but really any cheese would work, and we've since made it again without cheese and it was just as great.  I am sharing the quick and easy way to make this salad (almonds included) below, but follow the link if you want the original.
Ugh I'm still learning shooting in manual mode with my new camera lens, but it looks like these pictures turned out a little blurry!  Oh well (so excited for our camera class Sarah!)

Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette
via The Cafe Sucre Farine

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/6 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoons poppy seeds
3/4 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoons dried mustard
1/2 tablespoon minced sweet onion
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the almonds:1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1.5  tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt
Ingredients for the salad:
12 ounces baby spinach or field greens
2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Feta (optional)
Place all almond ingredients in a skillet and heat over medium heat until butter melts and sugar and spices start sticking to almonds.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

For the salad, place greens in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chipotle Chicken & Corn Chowder

oh my goodness this chowder was fantastic.  It was so warm and comforting and seriously delicious.  It felt light but creamy at the same time.  I loved the combination of the corn and potatoes with the spice of the chipotles.  This was not spicy in our opinions so I added more chipotles to give it more flavor.  Since apparently its still winter here in Indiana, please make this for yourself and cozy up!

Chipotle Chicken & Corn Chowder
via Brown Eyed Baker

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk (I used skim)
2 cups chicken stock
6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 (30-ounce) can sweet corn, drained (I used frozen corn)
1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 cup crushed tortilla chips (I skipped these)
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)

1. Remove one chile from the can of chiles and mince it. Remove 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce and set it aside to be used later. You can save the remaining chiles and sauce for another use.  (I ended up adding at least 2 or 3 more chiles, so you can add less now, then taste and add more later if desired).

2. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the poblano pepper, red bell pepper, the chile from the can, cumin, thyme and oregano, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peppers become soft. Add the garlic, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

3. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour. Slowly stir in the milk and chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

4. Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife.

5. Add the shredded cheeses a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until the cheese is completely melted.

6. Finally, stir in the chicken, both cans of corn, the tortilla chips (I skipped these), lime juice and the reserved 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soup is completely heated through. Serve immediately.

Note: If you have leftovers that have been refrigerated and reheated, you may need to thin out the soup with some extra chicken stock, as it may thicken up in the refrigerator.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Oh my goodness!  This was by far the best lasagna I've made in a while.  Roasting the veggies and garlic gives them such amazing flavor.  I used a jarred marinara sauce as the recipe suggested and I loved how it turned out.  When I make my own sauce for lasagna it seems to turn out runny, but this was perfect.  The ricotta made it really creamy and I love that this is a healthy dish without tasting like it at all!

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
via For the Love of Cooking

Roasted Veggies:
(note: you can use whatever veggies you have or like, original recipe called for broccoli and carrots as well)
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 red onion, quartered
2-3 orange, red or yellow baby bell peppers, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, leave the skins on for roasting
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Ricotta mixture:
1 16 oz container of fat free ricotta cheese
3-4 tbsp mozzarella cheese, grated
3-4 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Other ingredients:
Lasagna noodles
Mushroom marinara (or your favorite jar of marinara)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Dried basil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil (for quick and easy clean up) then coat the tin foil lined baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Clean and slice the veggies and layer all but the zucchini and yellow squash on the sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, season with sea salt, cracked pepper, basil and oregano to taste. Toss to coat and place in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the zucchini and yellow squash to the roasted veggies, toss and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once the garlic cloves cool down, carefully peel the skin off and slice. Add sliced garlic back in with the rest of the veggies.

Cook your lasagna noodles until al dente (or you can also buy no cook noodles at some stores).  For the ricotta mixture, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish then place a few lasagna noodles down to completely cover the bottom of pan. Add half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodles. Next add half of the roasted veggie mixture. Cover the veggies with lasagna noodles then sauce. Add the last of the ricotta mixture then the remaining veggies. Cover with lasagna noodles, more sauce then sprinkle the top with mozzarella, Parmesan and dried basil. Bake covered for 30 minutes; remove the cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easy Pad Thai

Oh my!  I apologize that I have been feeling in a bit of a blogging rut lately!  There has been no shortage of amazing food being cooked in our kitchen, but I have been awful about taking pictures before its all scarfed down and just really lazy about sharing the recipes with you when I do get pictures!  I am months behind, so I thought I might feel some new enthusiasm if I started sharing more recent recipes.

This one is super quick to throw together, and pretty much just incredible.  While I didn't think it tasted exactly like the "pad thai" I've ordered in thai restaurants, it was still pretty darn tasty.  In fact, I'm making it again this coming week.  We have been craving asian inspired meals in our household lately, so keep watch for more similar recipes!

Easy Pad Thai
via Bev Cooks
yields 2 large servings (I would totally double this recipe!)

7 ounces pad Thai noodles (or any rice noodles)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 cup cilantro
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the noodles. Let sit roughly 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain and rinse under cool water.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium. Crack the eggs and scramble until set, 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sriracha, lime juice, olive oil and brown sugar. Whisk until combined.
Back in the large skillet, combine the noodles, Thai dressing, bean sprouts, scrambled eggs, cilantro and scallions. Toss until combined.
Serve garnished with peanuts!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

This is some incredible pizza right here!  I made this on New Years Eve (a little behind here, haha) and it was a perfect yummy dinner to celebrate a special night!  I've since made it again for a girls night and everyone was a fan!  The sauce is incredibly easy to whip up and makes the pizza.  As you can see we only added bacon to half (mainly because we burnt it) and I didn't even add it the second time I made it because I don't think its necessary (same with the chives).  This pizza is delish!

Chicken Alfredo Pizza
pizza dough
1 1/2 cups cooked or grilled, shredded chicken (I boiled and shredded one chicken breast)
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream (I used half & half)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk (I used skim milk)
2 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese (1 cup) (I used fontina)
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped green onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Melt butter along with garlic powder and onion powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in cream and milk. Bring mixture just to a gentle bubble stirring constantly. Allow mixture to gently boil for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add in Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste then return to warm heat and stir occasionally until ready to use.
Stretch out dough on pan or baking stone.  Pour half of the Alfredo sauce over dough, then use the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer. Sprinkle shredded chicken over sauce layer, then pour remaining sauce evenly over chicken. Sprinkle top evenly with Mozzarella cheese then sprinkle with chopped bacon.  Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes until crust is nicely golden. Remove from oven, garnish top evenly with green onions, cut into slices and serve warm.