December 11, 2017

Dark Chocolate Brownies



These Dark Chocolate Brownies are one of my family's favorite.

The recipe makes an 8 x 8 pan, so it's perfect when you don't want a lot of dessert hanging around.


Using dark chocolate cocoa takes down the sweetness and makes for a delicious decadent treat.

You can just tell how moist these are. You can't see it because this is a center piece, but 
these bake up with that perfect crust around the outside edges.

And then, add some vanilla bean ice cream to start melting down over it.....Oh My! 

So good!

Dark Chocolate Brownies 

1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
2 lg eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup Special Dark 100% cacao (I use Hersheys)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350*

Lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking dish and line with parchment paper.

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

Melt butter in a medium size bowl. Stir in sugar along with eggs (I like to use a fork and break mine up/sightly beat in a small bowl) and vanilla. 

Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Don't over mix.

Bake for 20 - 22 minutes.




December 4, 2017

Chicken Stir-Fry


Making a stir-fry is a quick and easy way to get a delicious
warm meal when you don't have a lot of time.


The hardest thing about it is the prep work, and it doesn't take a lot of skill
to cut up some vegetables and throw a sauce together.

I also like the fact that you can use whatever vegetables you want.

I normally would have added broccoli to my mix, but didn't have any so used kale
instead (so good). Then for a little bit of crunch, I added some chopped peanuts on top.

It turned out wonderful and the family loved it.

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.


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Chicken Stir-Fry
2 medium servings

1 4-6 oz chicken breast, boneless & skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cornstarch
Small pinch of salt
Pepper

Vegetables
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, 1 if large
1 carrot, sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
1-2 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp peanuts, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry sherry
2 tbsp water
Fresh cracked black pepper

1 package of ramen noodles without the sauce packet.

Stir together the 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce, vegetable oil, cornstarch, salt/pepper. Cut chicken into
bite size pieces and add to soy mixture. Set aside.

Chop vegetables and mix together ingredients for the sauce.

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add ramen noodles and cook until tender. Follow time on package. About a minute before they are done, add the chopped kale. Drain.

 Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Cook onion and red pepper flakes (if using) 1 minute.

Add chicken and garlic and cook 1 - 2 minutes or until chicken turns white.

Add carrots and chestnuts. Cook 1 minute.

Add noodle/kale mixture along with sauce and green onions (save a few onions for garnish). Toss until combined and noodles are heated through.

Serve with garnish of green onions and peanuts.

November 21, 2017

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits


These Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits are a great addition to just about any meal.


Not only are they easy to make, but they're quick too.

Crusty on the outside, fluffy & tender on the inside. Perfection!

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.


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Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits
10-11 Biscuits

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed (I use salted)
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 - 1/3 cup finely diced pickled jalapenos (I use 1/3 cup)
1 cup cold milk
1 egg, beaten

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cubed butter and use a pastry blender or your hands to blend until it resembles very course crumbs with some butter the size of small peas.

Gently fold in cheese and jalapenos. Gently stir in milk until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it comes together.

Pat dough out to 1/2 inch thick circle. Cut out biscuits with 3 inch cutter.

Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes. (Can be frozen up to a week)

Heat oven to 375*.

Brush biscuits with beaten egg and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 15-17 minutes.

November 9, 2017

Tortellini Salad

This tortellini salad is one of my all time favorites.


Making the salad is pretty standard, but I have a special tip 
I want to share with you that I like to take with the tortellini.

After it's cooked I marinate it. Yep...makes all the difference.


It gives the salad that little something special.

I enjoy mine with Kraft Zesty Italian dressing but you can obviously use whatever you like.

To me...the perfect meal. Healthy, filling and a little on the lighter side.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.



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TORTELLINI SALAD

Tortellini (I like spinach & cheese)
Fresh mixed greens
Peppered bacon, thick slice
Red bell pepper, chopped
Red onion, thin sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Cucumber, chopped
Fresh Parmesan, shaved
Fresh cracked black pepper
Italian dressing
I've left amounts off because it's really determined from how many salads you want to make. 
The amount of marinade is good for a 12 oz. bag of  tortellini.

Marinade
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp celery seed
Pinch of salt & pepper

Sever hours, or even the night before, cook tortellini just until al dente; drain. In a large bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients. Add tortellini and stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours up to overnight. I like to stir mine several times during the process if possible.

Cook bacon until crisp and break into small pieces.

To assemble: Place mixed greens onto a plate or bowl. Top with tortellini, red pepper, onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Add bacon, a little black pepper and some fresh shaved Parmesan. Top with your favorite dressing.

October 31, 2017

Slow Cooker Chile Verde Pulled Pork Tacos


I've got to say...It doesn't get much better than these tacos here.


I mean...the pork simmers in delicious roasted poblano sauce in a crockpot all day.
How can you go wrong with that?


 I really enjoyed mine topped with a lightly dressed coleslaw.
I added some diced red peppers to coleslaw mix, then added that to a mixture of 
1 tablespoon of mayo, juice of 1/2 a lime, tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, sprinkle of celery seed and some salt and pepper.

I have a couple of coleslaw recipes you can check out if you want. 
This one here is lightly dressed (no mayo) and this Creamy Jalapeno Coleslaw is obviously 
a creamier version with a nice heat from jalapeno. Or...just some shredded cabbage 
topped with sour cream and a shot of lime juice would be good.


We finished up leftovers the next day with our favorite bbq sauce drizzled over 
some warmed up pork and topped with coleslaw. Really good!

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.



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SLOW COOKER CHILE VERDE PULLED PORK TACOS

4 large poblano peppers
corn tortillas
2 cups onion, chopped (apprx 2 onions)
6 large tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered
5 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
4 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place poblanos on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet; broil until blackened, about 10-15 minutes, turning to get both sides. Wrap in the foil and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and remove seeds and membranes.

Also broil 2 corn tortillas until beginning to char, 30 seconds to a minute per side. Tear charred tortillas into pieces.

Process poblanos, charred tortillas, onions, tomatillos, garlic and cumin in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Pour poblano mixture over pork. Cook on low until pork is done, about 8 hours.

Skim fat from top of slow cooker and discard. Remove pork and shred with 2 forks. Stir in 1 cup of the poblano mixture from the slow cooker (or more to taste).

Serve on corn tortillas with desired toppings.

Original recipe from 2017 Christmas with Southern Living

October 25, 2017

Chicken Tacos

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes for leftover chicken.

My family just loves them.


Some of our favorite toppings: fresh tomatoes, avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, salsa, sour cream and definitely a squirt of lime or lemon (I actually prefer lime).


I had some Spicy Tomatillo Sauce that was made several days before (recipe below),
which I added to my taco. It was exactly what was needed to put it 
over the top. I eat it on lots of things like fajitas, grilled hot dogs, 
hamburgers and of course tacos. 


Fabulous!!



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Chicken Tacos with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

2 cups chicken, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced/and seeded if desired
3 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp adobo powder
1/2 tsp southwest seasoning, optional
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup water
Salt
Pepper

In a skillet over med. heat, saute onion, jalapeno, and a good pinch of salt and pepper in olive oil, 4-5 minutes or until onion starts turning translucent, then add minced garlic. Continue to saute until softened.


Add cooked chicken (chopped) and the following spices: cumin, adobo powder, chili powder, southwest seasoning (if using), smoked paprika, and coriander.

Stir together well, breaking up chicken with the tip of your spoon.  Stir in juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/3 cup of water. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes more.

Spicy Tomatillo Sauce 

7-8 tomatillos, husked washed & halved
2 jalapenos
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Heat oven to 450*

Place tomatillos, jalapenos onion and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

Cool, then place into a blender with 3/4 cup of chicken stock (I seeded one of the jalapenos before blending). Blend and pour into a sauce pan; add honey and balsamic vinegar. Taste for seasoning, adding salt & pepper if desired. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened.

October 23, 2017

Spicy Beef Wontons with Chili Dipping Sauce

These wontons were a part of our football eats for this past weekend.

OMG....they were awesome.

Very few of them actually made it on to a plate, lol.


I wish I would have gotten a picture of the inside of one. 
To me, these pictures don't give a great representation of the flavor packed in these beauties.

I made a Spicy Chili Dipping Sauce to serve them with, which made for a perfect combination 
with just the right amount of spiciness.



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Spicy Beef Wontons
Makes 32-35 wontons

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground chuck
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp lime juice
Wonton wrappers
Water for sealing wontons
Vegetable oil for frying
Spicy Chili Dipping Sauce

Heat skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add meat and cook until almost done. Stir in onion, red pepper, cumin, salt, chipotle chile powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Cook stirring occasionally until meat is cooked through and onion and pepper is tender.

Stir in cream cheese to melt and lime juice. Cool to almost room temp.

Fill wrapper with 1 tbsp of filling; dampen all 4 edges of wonton with finger dipped in water; fold and seal.

Pour amount of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet to reach 1 inch deep. Heat over medium heat to 350*. Fry wontons 4 or 5 at a time until golden brown turning 1/2 way through. Approx. 15-20 seconds per side. Keep an eye on them, it doesn't take long.

Spicy Chili Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
3 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup water

Whisk together ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes.

October 16, 2017

Grilled Shrimp Burgers with Sweet & Spicy Tartar Sauce


What a great change up for a burger.

Super easy to make with a few simple ingredients.


My original recipe calls for cornbread crackers. I didn't have any so I substituted saltines, which worked out wonderfully. Instead of adding the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, I kept that to a pinch because of the additional salt in the cracker.


So good. Especially with the tartar sauce.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.


Grilled Shrimp Burgers with Sweet & Spicy Tartar Sauce
Makes 4 Burgers

1 1/4 lb. med. shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 x-large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper, or more to taste
3 tbsp celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/4 cups crushed cornbread crackers, appx 1 sleeve
4 hamburger buns (I like an onion bun or a Kaiser)
Bibb lettuce

Sweet & Spicy Tarter Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp horseradish
1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of red pepper, if desired
Mix together, cover and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Cut shrimp into 3rds.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray.

Stir together egg and next 4 ingredients until blended; stir in celery, green onion and parsley. Fold in shrimp and cracker crumbs (mixture will be very thick). Shape into 4 (4 inch wide, 1 inch thick) patties. Place patties on prepared pan. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. Transfer to freezer, and freeze 30 minutes.

Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high heat). Grill burgers, covered with grill lid, 5-6 minutes or until burgers lift easily from cooking grate using a large spatula. Carefully turn burgers, and grill 5-6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and burgers are cooked through and lightly crisp.

Grill buns on grill 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. 

Serve on buns with tarter sauce and lettuce.


July 6, 2017

Best Baked Beans Ever


I know I have these Baked Beans posted on another post 
but decided they needed a page of their own.

Outdoor barbecues, camping trips and picnics are in full swing right now 
and this is the perfect dish to include. Anyone that's had them says the same thing. 
Their favorite baked beans so far.


They truly are the best I've ever tasted and super easy to make.

Give them a try. I know you'll be happy you did.

Baked Beans

1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 (16 ounce) pork and beans, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans in sauce, drained (do not rinse)

Directions
Heat oven to 350*.

In a large skillet cook bacon, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

In the same skillet, drain part of the grease and cook the onion with a pinch of salt until it gets some color and is tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook 2-3 minutes. Place onion mixture into a large bowl and mix with all other ingredients, except beans and bacon, mixing well, then stir in beans and bacon.

Place in a greased 2-1/2-qt. casserole and bake covered for 40 minutes, uncover and cook an additional 25-30 minutes.


NOTE:  Make sure you pay attention to the cans of beans. To drain or not to drain.....that's the question.